The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has released a reform roadmap for the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system. It’s a document that proposes a reform pathway that starts the process of implementing the reforms that ITECA, with member support, has argued for. However, to deliver meaningful reform the key will be to ensure that government fully understands, and acts upon, the concern of ITECA members.
Key Issues —
In recent years, multiple reviews have been undertaken at a national, state and territory level that seek to strengthen the VET sector, including the Joyce Review into the vocational education and training system. The 2020 VET Reform Roadmap brings the results of these reviews together into what the COAG Skills Council claims is a coherent reform path for the whole sector. The roadmap does not revisit or extend those reviews or pre-empt outcomes of other reviews currently underway; rather, it intends to define the next steps of reform.
In late 2019, the COAG Skills Council agreed on a new shared vision for VET. The vision recognises delivering high quality training is a shared responsibility for governments in all jurisdictions. In a welcome recognition, the COAG Skills Council has recognised that, in addition to being a genuine shared responsibility, VET requires a viable and robust system comprising both public and independent providers, and that there is a critical need for national consistency in certain key areas while at the same time maintaining the flexibility to meet local needs. Thanks to some great member input, this is the message that ITECA has successfully delivered to government in recent years.
The 2020 VET Reform Roadmap signals a clear intent on the part of the COAG Skills Council to revise the national VET architecture. It starts the process of implementing some, but not all, of the reforms that ITECA members have been seeking in the following areas:
The task for ITECA, with the active support of its members, is to first offer constructive and full feedback on the 2020 VET Reform Roadmap. It’s imperative that the reform pathway delivers the meaningful reforms that ITECA members have identified as necessary to support independent providers. That’s the message that ITECA has given to key Ministers this week with the assurance that once the Roadmap has been finalised and agreed by all Governments, it will be ITECA and its members that hold Governments to account in ensuring it is implemented.
- Trusted and relevant qualifications and credentials;
- High quality education, training, and assessment;
- Apprenticeships and employment-based training that is attractive to employers and individuals;
- All learners access and thrive in training that is right for them;
- Stronger alignment and integration between VET and higher education;
- Government VET investment supports economic and social priorities and complements the investment of industry and learners; and
- National architecture and governance that gives the VET system credibility, impact and stability.
For many in the independent tertiary education sector, it is the reforms to the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) that are of most concern, particularly in the context of ASQA’s demonstrated regulatory over-reach, lack of consistency in decision-making and it’s an unhelpfully aggressive approach to compliance.
The views of ITECA members are clear, ASQA’s approach is an unacceptable way to regulate any sector of the economy. ITECA and its members have and will continue to highlight this and rather than trying to further damage our system, will work tirelessly to seek improvements to it for the benefit of all genuine stakeholders.
ITECA members have clearly articulated the need to dramatically improve the way ASQA engages with independent providers, replacing what has been a combative and at time aggressive approach, with one that empowers and supports independent providers. It’s pleasing therefore, that the 2020 VET Reform Roadmap includes an immediate goal to improve ASQA’s governance, regulatory approach and practice. Reform in this area is something that ITECA, supported by its members, has been actively engaged in over the past year.
Allied to the welcome commitment to reform the approach of ASQA is a commitment to develop new regulatory standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), focussing more on outcomes and excellence rather than administrative compliance.
ITECA, driven by the advice and guidance of its members, is actively engaged with the Australian Government, and its state / territory counterparts, to ensure that the 2020 VET Reform Roadmap delivers the much needed reforms required to allow independent providers to thrive as they offer students and their employers the quality outcomes they are looking for.
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 Vocational Education Reference Committee.
Further Information —
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