The Australian Parliament is considering the National Skills Commissioner Bill 2020 (Cth), legislation that establishes the statutory position of the National Skills Commissioner. The Commissioner will be a critical new part of Australia's economic infrastructure, providing independent expert advice and national leadership on the Australian labour market, current and future skills needs, and workforce development issues.
Key Issues —
The role of the National Skills Commissioner is central to the Australian Government’s reform of vocational education and training.
The Commissioner will consolidate and strengthen labour market and skills needs analysis, to provide an independent and trusted source of information about what is happening in the Australian labour market now and into the future. This research and analysis will draw on emerging data sources and cutting-edge analytic techniques to ensure Australia's labour market analysis capability is world leading.
This analysis will help close skills gaps and provide confidence to employers, students and independent Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to ensure that the Australian Government is investing in the right skills at the right time. This is essential to prepare Australians for the workforce opportunities of today and tomorrow.
In addition, the Commissioner will examine the cost drivers and develop and maintain a set of efficient prices for Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses to improve transparency, consistency and accessibility for students. Currently, VET prices and subsidies vary considerably around Australia, with students paying different prices for the same course and facing varying levels of quality.
Following extensive member consultation, the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) has welcomed the formation of this position. Mr Adam Boyton has been appointed as the interim National Skills Commissioner and ITECA’s Canberra based policy team has established a strong working relationship with Mr Boyton.
The engagement between Mr Boyton and ITECA will be critical to the work of determining a nationally efficient price for the Australian Government’s investment in VET programs. The Australian Government has accepted advice from ITECA that an efficient price does not mean the lowest price. At the core of any purchasing decision is a decision about value for money, and VET is no different. In establishing efficient prices, the National Skills Commissioner will consider both the cost of delivering the qualification and the outcomes for the student. If the price for a course is higher, but that course consistently delivers students who are employed quickly with higher
salaries, then it is safe to say it is value for money.
The role of the National Skills Commissioner is vital to the ongoing role of independent tertiary education providers across Australia that support more than 80% of the 4.1 million students in vocational education and training.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 1300 421 017. Stay up to date via Twitter @ITECAust or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/ITECAust.
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