Funding of Australia’s vocational education and training system is long overdue for reform. Each state and territory funds students to undertake different qualifications with different levels of funding, with little regard for future employment outcomes. Furthermore, quality independent providers with a track-record of providing students with great outcomes often can’t access funding to support their students. This is set to change thanks to a major series of reforms announced by the Prime Minster.
Key Issues —
The major overhaul of the Australian Government’s investment in skills is a key component of the JobMaker initiative announced by the Prime Minister on 26 May 2020. It flagged a major review of vocational education and training in line with the recommendations set out in the Joyce Review and referenced in the reform roadmap endorsed by the COAG Skills Council.
The Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA), thanks to the great support of its members, has been a strong proponent for reform.
ITECA’s advice has been clear, that the current funding arrangements that assist states and territories fund VET are broken. With many study and funding options, students and employers are finding it hard to navigate the system. In addition, funding is not available equally to independent VET providers, who support more than 80% of the 4.1 million students in vocational education and training – four times as many students than public TAFE colleges. An activity-based funding model that provides state and territory governments with clear guidance on where money will be provided to support students is welcomed.
The Prime Minister, following sustained advocacy by ITECA, has accepted the need for reform. Meetings with Ministers, their advisors and the Prime Minister’s office has secured a commitment to reform.
The Australian Government will seek to transform federal – state relations by ensuring that vocational education and training is activity based. Funding will be based on a state / territory government achieving performance targets. Importantly, funding commitments must be provider agnostic, ensuring that quality independent providers are able to access funding to support students alongside public TAFE colleges.
Independent tertiary education providers are essential in supporting the economy to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. The new JobMaker initiative will see funding directed to skills areas which will best assist economic growth. ITECA, with the input from members, will continue to work closely with the National Skills Commissioner to identify what skills, and therefor training courses, will be in demand to support the economy.
The valuable feedback from ITECA members has support the ITECA policy-advocacy team to deliver a clear message to the Australian Government, and it has paid off. Positive reform is on the way to support independent VET providers deliver the quality outcomes that students and their employers are looking for. We encourage you to get involved.
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 —
For more information on this issue please send an email to email@example.com or telephone 1300 421 017. Stay up to date via Twitter @ITECAust or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/ITECAust.
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