The Business Council of Australia has made a strong stance recently, declaring it is ready to make 2017 ‘The Year of Vocational Education’, a vision we should definitely all embrace!
Business leaders are recognising that VET is no longer a “second-best alternative to a university degree” and that a vocational qualification should not only be valued equally, but that “the VET sector is a crucial piece of Australia’s economic and social infrastructure. It prepares workers for rapid economic change and helps to keep Australia competitive in a global market”. The BCA has said it will stand behind all politicians, industry groups and providers who have a common aim of ensuring all Australians “can access world-class training that unlocks the opportunities of the future economy” and recognise we have a singular opportunity through bipartisan effort and industry cooperation to make Australia’s VET system “the envy of the world.”
In an excellent thought piece entitled “An Education Worth Having”, Jan Owen AM, Chief Executive Officer at The Foundation for Young Australians, has written on her belief that “our young people are not being prepped for the real world” and the perils of an outdated, ‘one size fits all’ education system. She advocates for politicians and industry to do more “to address the challenges that young people face, set the up for a changing future and equip them to take our country forward.”
This view is backed by research released by The Mitchell Institute, ‘Preparing Young People for the Future of Work’ which outlines that “Australia’s education system is not preparing students for twenty-first century success.”
It’s obviously time for us an industry to advocate strongly for the role high quality vocational education will play in the future success of Australia. Things are moving positively forwards already, with the Senate passing legislation for a VET Student Loans Ombudsman to provide an ‘independent umpire’ for the sector, and the recent appointment of Craig Robertson as the new Chief Executive of TAFE Directors Australia – a seasoned industry expert with “a front-row seat to VET policy development” over the last decade and more.
This is all great news for our industry, as recent analysis has revealed there is enormous opportunity for Australia to take its world-leading vocational education and training overseas, to cope with increasing demand for training in the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and Latin America.
To this end, the Australian Government is laying the foundation for greater skills and training collaboration internationally, and is engaging with key countries in the Asia-Pacific region on vocational education and training through its International Skills Engagement Plan and National Strategy for International Education 2025.
We’ll leave you on that very positive note, and add in a happy note of our own – we have refreshed our RTO Advance website this month to provide you with easier and ‘at-a-glance’ access to our services. This includes RTO Consulting Services, RTO Compliance & Audit, VET Learning & Assessment Materials development, as well as assistance for registered training organisations to become CRICOS registered for international students. You can also keep up to date with our monthly industry news via our online blog.
Judith Bowler, Educational Strategist & Founder