We were given a rather dismal overview of the future of young people last month, with the release of several reports that urged immediate action to help rectify the situation.
NCVER released data showing that fewer young people are working in their career job at age 24 when compared with ten years ago, and that the future is much less clear for today’s young people:
A lack of job opportunities and not enough work experience are the main barriers to gaining full-time employment identified by young people in 2018.” Said Simon Walker, Managing Director, NCVER.
The ‘Generation Gap: ensuring a fair go for younger Australians’ report from the Grattan Institute was also released, providing a stark overview of the economic situation of today’s young working taxpayers who are shouldering a burden far greater than previous generations – and the dim prediction that they will become the first generation in 200 years to be worse of than previous generations.
There is fierce continuing debate around vocational education being a far better option for future earnings potential than a university degree in the current environment, with the Grattan Institute again weighing in with commentary on when VET should be considered a good alternative to higher education.
The news is good for men with low ATARS who go into trades such as engineering and robotics, but not so great if you’re a woman going into nursing or the care professions.
Vocational education and training was high on the agenda of the recent COAG meeting attended by the Prime Minister, with COAG releasing its vision for vocational education and training in Australia:
“A strong Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector is critical for our economy and ensuring Australians are equipped for the workforce now and in the future. Leaders agreed to a shared vision for VET delivering high quality education and training that meets the needs of students and employers. VET and higher education are equal and integral parts of Australia’s post-secondary education system. The Commonwealth and states and territories will work together to deliver a system which helps all Australians – for those getting first qualifications or re-training – get the skills they need for employment. Skills ministers will work together through a new COAG Skills Council, in consultation with education ministers, to advise leaders on future reform priorities by the end of 2019 and provide a reform roadmap to COAG in early 2020.”
The Saturday Paper published a lengthy piece (included in this newsletter in full below) on ‘Repairing Vocational Education’, with senior figures inside the sector fearing that the VET FEE-HELP disaster could potentially be repeated in future.
There seems to be a huge push towards reviving the TAFE system from within the education system, with the Chief Executive of TAFE Directors publishing an opinion piece on investing more in public providers to deliver more vocational education training.
We can only support this notion, as the future of Australian vocational education and training regaining its strength and viability lies in creating a dynamic partnership between high-quality public and high-quality private training providers and collaborating in an overall vision for the success of today’s young people.
Note the stress on ‘high-quality providers’ and the emphasis on our young people – their wellbeing and education should be at the top of mind in everything we do to ensure they have a rosier future. It’s up to us.