Future of VET into 2016-17

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A topic that is probably on your mind too, with a webinar for the Vivacity National Conference audience on the Future of Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Australia and Overseas, a presentation on VET Reform/Transformation at EduTECH, and Engaging Employers in Skills Development for the 21st Century with the Australian Government and OECD, this blog post pulls together intelligence on VET into 2016-17.IMG_0878

The challenge for the Australian VET system is relevance and for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) it is sustainability but how so?

Well, on 10 December 2015 in a webinar titled VET Predictions for 2016, we said that with the looming mid-term budget, a new year fast approaching and many changes that had made 2015 a water shed year, VET was at a cross roads.

There were 10 big predictions made covering the following areas:

  1. RTO Fail
  3. International growth
  4. Rise of non-accredited training
  5. Online training explosion
  6. Training Packages
  7. Innovation Agenda #ideasboom
  8. Regional and Rural
  9. Video and Micro-Learning
  10. VET to Employment

Fact checking some of the statement and predictions here are the results:

“Around 20% and up to 1/3 of RTOs wont be here this time next year”, evidence seems to back this up at this stage and all are keen to move past the #RTOFail era.

“VET FEE-HELP should be scrapped or at least reviewed and redesigned”, the Minister looks like he is aiming to get this under control before the election with a long-term solution to follow and Labor is suggesting capping fees at $8000.00.

“International growth and overseas opportunities has to be on every RTOs agenda”, whilst trends show demand a number of RTOs have not yet considered where their capability might add value to institutions in other countries with a two-way partnership.  Read this blog post on Why all VET providers should be thinking globally.

“This year will see the rise and rise of non-accredited training”, this is true outside of the VET sector but most RTOs could do a lot more in this space.

“There is an online training explosion and this is not all about putting resources online but creating engaging digital and video resources with live contact too”, many examples can be sighted outside of the VET sector with some RTOs still needing to get way better at this.

“Skill Service Organisations … I think there is going to be a shake up here”, and there is.  These new players are looking at ways to reinvent Training Packages that better suit a 21st Century workforce and balance here and now job roles with skills for the future.

“Regional and Rural workforce needs to underpin economic development must be balanced with skills requirements for major projects and urban workforce requirements”, which means empowering local industry leaders to collaborate, identifying critical job roles and capabilities.

“Video and Micro-Learning, including Augmented and Virtual Reality, must become a set of tools understood by trainers and assessors”, otherwise your content, resources and approach will be left behind.

“The connection of VET to Employment has always been important and now another ‘e’ which is Entrepreneurship”, and you may be interested to find out more about the newly designed Triple E program for young people – engagement, entrepreneurship and experience.

What else has happened?

The VET funding in Australia report written by Peter Noonan from the Mitchell Institute, under ‘Future Options’ suggests that South Australians, Minister Simon Birmingham and Premier Jay Weatherill agree that VET funding should be the responsibility of the Commonwealth government.

But still the question of demand… student entitlement vs. industry and employers needs goes unanswered.

I believe that where individuals or students may have access to funding, including VET FEE-HELP there must be evidence of demand for these skills in the economy, which is from employers, entrepreneurs, industry sectors and regions.  There are too many VET providers still receiving funding in Australia (particularly VET FEE-HELP) and the number of RTOs is unsustainable.

VET and Higher Education are not discreet markets, nor is non-accredited training.  To think that formal education is the solution for everything, particularly in a workplace context, is setting programs and providers up to fail.

It has always been that one of the main problems with the VET system in Australia is the funding model.

What would be better is a vision for the Australian workforce, a mission for the VET sector in that picture.  Goals, targets and priorities that are evidence based from industry sectors, regions and employers, focusing on 21st Century capabilities and job roles.  A format that the Commonwealth government could lead and each state and territory could apply to ensure local needs are identified and articulated matched to transformation in the economy.

June 2016


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