Skills Gets Greater Focus In New Ministry

Date —

26 May 2019

Industry Sector/s —
Higher Education, Vocational Education & Training

Summary —

The continuation of the Hon. Dan Tehan MP as Education Minister and Sen. Hon. Michaelia Cash as Minister with responsibility for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business has been welcomed by the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA). ITECA has also welcomed the appointment of the Hon. Steve Irons MP as Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships.

Key Issues —

ITECA is the peak body representing the independent tertiary education system that encompasses the independent higher education, vocational education, training and skills sectors. Through its Canberra-based policy advocacy team, it has a strong track-record of achieving reform and, using the advice and guidance of its members, ITECA will engage with the Ministers once they are sworn in.

ITECA believes that the coming three years presents Australia with a real opportunity to restructure the tertiary education system so that there is greater integration between the higher education, vocational education, training and skills sectors. ITECA’s policy advocacy is focussed on ensuring that students should be able to transition from one sector to the other relatively seamlessly without the challenges of different funding models.

During the coming fortnight, ITECA will seek meetings with Ministers Tehan, Cash and Irons to start the conversation to put in place the reforms which will create an integrated tertiary education system in which the higher education and vocational education sectors retain their separate identities. 

“ITECA will work with the new Ministerial team to ensure that students can choose the quality provider of their choice, whether this be an independent provider or a public provider in the higher education, vocational education and training sectors.  At the heart of these reforms is the need to put student choice at the forefront,” said Troy Williams, ITECA Chief Executive.

In the short-term, an immediate priority for ITECA will be to encourage the Australian Government to reduce the unnecessary red-tape that’s abundant in the tertiary education sector.

“ITECA has a track-record of working with government to lift an understanding of, and compliance with, the regulatory standards for independent tertiary education providers.  Quality is very much front and centre of ITECA’s culture and that of our members; however, it’s clear that there is a significant degree of regulatory overreach that’s doing little to support quality student outcomes,” Mr Williams said.

With respect to addressing the red-tape in the vocational education and training system, ITECA sees the recently released report Strengthening Skills: Expert Review of Australia’s Vocational Education and Training System as providing the framework to reduce-red tape.  ITECA looks forward to working with Minister Irons on progressing the reforms set out in the report.

The importance of the independent tertiary education system is highlighted by the fact that independent higher education providers supported 143,680 students in 2017.  In that same year, independent providers supported some 60% of the 4.2 million students enrolled in vocational education and training.  ITECA’s purpose is to ensure that the independent tertiary education system is united, unformed and influential.

Member Engagement:

ITECA’s ability to play a lead role in matters associated with this issue rests on the advice and guidance of individuals serving on the ITECA Higher Education and Vocational Education Reference Committees.

Further Information:

For more information on this issue please send an email to or telephone 1300 421 017.  Stay up to date via Twitter @ITECAust or via Facebook at

Disclaimer & Copyright:

The material published on this website page is intended for general information only and is not legal advice or other professional advice.  It may not be reproduced without ITECA’s prior written consent.

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