The Federal Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, the Hon. Stuart Robert, has announced a major overhaul to our vocational education and training (VET) system, a strategy which has also been agreed to by the states and territories.

Essentially, the changes are intended to create a more flexible and responsive VET system, replacing one which has historically been seen as clunky and bureaucratic.

The new system is intended to give Australians access to more relevant and ‘fit for purpose’ training, which meets the current demands of the workforce. This also means that employers will have access to better-equipped workers, and that emerging jobs can more effectively be resourced.

The changes come at a time when Australia’s VET industry desperately needs reform, with many industries emerging from lockdowns short of skilled workers.

Summary of changes:

The approval process for training packages will be streamlined, with ASIC being replaced by a new ‘independent assurance’ function.

A new Industry Clusters model (made up of representatives from groups of aligned industries) will replace the current 67 IRCs and six SSOs. This changeover will be complete by 1 January 2023.

The Federal Government is investing $292.5 million over the next four years to make this happen (over and above the $6.4 billion already committed to skills and training this year).

The Industry Clusters will:

  • Forecast current and emerging skills needs and challenges in their own industries – and how to best respond to these.
  • Develop training products that improve the quality and responsiveness of training products. They will also test and pilot emerging products and new approaches to meeting industry needs.
  • Work with training providers to ensure that the delivery of training actually meets employers’ needs and that there is clarity around career pathways.
  • Provide strategic input on skills, workforce needs and the effectiveness of VET policies and standards, in the form of an annual ‘health check’.

It is expected that the changes could see the turnaround time for updating qualifications shortened from what was an average of 2+ years to just a matter of three months.

All in all, the reforms mean there will be better transparency, accountability and confidence in providers’ training products, and that industries will be able to play a greater role in shaping the VET system: a win for both learners and employers.

We’ll keep our followers and clients updated with more information around the changes as they come to hand.

More information on the changes is available here.