Big news recently with Prime Minister Scott Morrison reaffirming the Federal Government’s commitment to system reform for Australia’s vocational education and training sector, in line with recommendations provided to the government in the Joyce Report earlier this year.
There had been some scepticism that these reform recommendations would not be fully taken into account, with The Australian noting back in May that there seemed to be little reform in store for the vocational education sector with the new government.
“The vocational sector will likely be subject to “tinkering at the edges” but enjoy little in the way of fundamental reform as the Morrison government moves ahead with elements of the Joyce review, which was released just before the election campaign began. While two of the report’s 71 recommendations received funding in the April federal Budget, sector experts say there is a valid question as to how far the newly elected government will go with implementing the entirety of the report from former New Zealand education minister Steven Joyce.”
Additionally, “there are serious questions about the government’s ability to deliver on its most prominent budget announcement — 80,000 new apprenticeships over four years via $8000 employer subsidies. Currently, apprenticeships make up just 20 per cent of vocational enrolments, with commencements at their lowest level since 1996.”
However, in a major speech given to the Western Australia Chamber of Commerce in late June, the Prime Minister reiterated the government’s support of the Joyce recommendations in full. He stated the recommendations from the Joyce Review will provide the blueprint for reforms to the vocational education and training system and that the necessary legislation to achieve this will be presented to the parliament during this term.
An ITECA summary of the speech states: “The message from the Prime Minister was that there is recognition that the economy is growing and changing that the view of the Australian Government is that skills system needs to grow and change with it.”
On another positive note, we have been heartened by the announcement that the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) has now transitioned into becoming the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA). ITECA will provide a focal point of leadership for independent providers in the higher education plus vocational education and training (VET) sectors.
“With the support of members, government and stakeholders across the business community the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) has established itself as the peak body representing the independent tertiary education system,” says Troy Williams, Chief Executive Officer, ITECA
“The transition from the former Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) to ITECA was a considered one. It reflects a growing understanding about the benefits that will flow from an integrated tertiary education system where the higher education and vocational education sectors enjoy a symbiotic relationship, retaining their separate identities within one tertiary education system.”
And finally, here’s some news that cheers us too. NCVER has released new research on small VET providers that proves they are our sectors ‘quiet achievers’.Research by NCVER shows smaller providers play an important role in offering diversity, equity and specialised training services across the sector, something very much to be celebrated!