The National Federation Reform Council (NFRC), a forum for the Australian Government and the state / territory governments, have signed a new National Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform that charts a new path that locks-in student choice at the centre of the vocational education and training system.
Key Issues —
The new agreement will form the basis for negotiating a new National Skills Agreement to replace the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development and charts a reform pathway on issues including funding and quality. Importantly, it empowers student choice with respect to their selection of training providers, a key issue that the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) has been strongly lobbying for.
Independent providers support more than 80% of the 4.1 million students in vocational education and training. They enjoy a reputation for delivering the quality outcomes that students and their employers look for and this is why ITECA was a strong advocate for its inclusion in the agreement.
The new agreement clearly supports a viable and robust system of public and independent providers, with contestability in vocational education and training to ensure high-quality training and student choice.
The agreement reflects ITECA's position that a student should be able to study with the vocational education and training provider of their choice, whether this be a quality independent training organisation or a public TAFE college. This agreement embeds this principle into future reforms.
An update on the agreement will be provided to ITECA members at the regularly schedule meeting of funded Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and for details on these meetings visit the webpage below.
The agreement commits to a new funding model that improves national consistency for students. The new approach will see the National Skills Commission work to integrate subsidies and loans, then link these to the efficient pricing and the skills needed by employers.
“Funding reform that supports students in vocational education and training is long overdue. That there is an agreed understanding that quality outcomes for students can be delivered by aligning the cost of subsidy to the cost of delivery is welcomed and will further the reputation of independent providers for delivering quality,” said Troy Williams, ITECA Chief Executive.
The focus of the agreement on improving quality was significant as ITECA has told government that it's appropriate that students and employers to have confidence in quality providers of all types. The public TAFE system currently has its challenges in the same way that independent provides have in the past. It is pleasing the agreement has a focus on strengthening standards and building the capacity and capability for continuous improvement across the vocational education and training sector.
Getting Involved —
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 Vocational Education and Training Reference Committee . ITECA Membership – It's a great time to get involved.
Further Information —
If you're an ITECA member and would like more information on this matter, the ITECA team would value the opportunity to talk to you. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 1300 421 017. Stay up to date via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
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