MEDIA RELEASE 30 August 2016
The Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) has welcomed calls for a comprehensive national review of the VET sector. CEDA yesterday released a research report, VET: Securing skills for growth, which found improving outcomes, regulation and oversight, providing certainty of funding and recognising the importance of the sector in skilling people for the jobs of the future were critical.
ACPET CEO Rod Camm a contributing author who spoke at the report launch said the report supported ACPET’s position that a future VET sector should support quality and student choice.
“The report recognised the important contribution of the VET sector and highlighted that now, more than ever, we need a flexible VET sector that can innovate and respond flexibly to the changes confronting Australia’s workforce,” he said. “We welcome CEDA’s calls for a national review of the sector and support recommendations around improving the quality and transparency of data and increasing the power of regulators to act if standards are not met. “ACPET strongly supports every effort to ensure that only high quality providers deliver training in Australia.”
Mr Camm said the ability for the VET sector to operate most effectively is hindered by overly complex funding and governance arrangements. “There is a real need for a coherent and integrated governance and funding structure for the Australian tertiary education and training sector,” he said. Providers currently navigate eight different approaches to VET due to shared responsibilities between states and territories and the federal government.
The increasing prevalence of preferred ‘skills lists’ and the narrow occupational focus of training packages further restrict the ability for the training sector to adapt to change, Mr Camm said.“While occupational competencies remain important, we must prepare people for portability in the labour market, not just for the occupation they choose first,” he said. Mr Camm said the new National Partnership on Skills Reform provided an opportunity to reform the sector and enable it to do what it does best–provide the flexibility and high quality training outcomes that meet the needs of students and employers and contributes to Australia’s growth.
He also called on the Federal Government to provide funding certainty for providers as a priority. “Current funding under National Partnership arrangements runs out in nine months. VET providers need certainty on new arrangements to plan and minimise disruption on students and employers,” he said. “It’s time to sit down and work together on a plan for Australia’s tertiary education and training sector that will prepare our workforce for the challenges and changes ahead.”