Revolutionary VET Reform and Lessons Learnt

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Most people agree that the VET sector is in a state of change.  And they also agree that it’s important to get on top of the changes and reform in VET, to not be overwhelmed by it.

This blog shares lessons learnt, working with all states and territories, helping you to understand what’s going and how to position yourself for the future.

I believe the opportunity that we all have to transform the sector through reform is unique and now is the perfect time to focus on this.  All reform starts with basic underpinning principles and being able to play out the implementation to all possibilities.

Consider, what are the key principles of VET reform and where is comes from?  Look back at the changes introduced in 2011, predictions for what was going to happen to VET in 2012, modifications to User Choice and Australian Apprenticeships.

Talk about Training Packages has been ongoing, although we haven’t seen much activity lately and not everyone knows that these changes that are being implemented go back to Skills for Prosperity and the 2011 Federal Budget.

Implementation of the National entitlement model via states and territoriestraining

Have you ever listened to a point of view that you know is completely sincere, with the state or territory interests at heart, but the implementation of changes and policy hasn’t always followed through on that?

Looking at VET reform from a practical point of view you can see the impact on providers and the market – it’s revolutionary.


In Victoria, the next steps in VET reform have squeezed and spun Registered Training Organisations moving towards a more modern vocational training system.  The TAFE Structural Adjustment Fund Guidelines and Application form are available now for initiatives including Organisational Capacity and Capability.

South Australia

South Australia’s Skills for All has ongoing changes (quarterly) to the funded training list now at version 6.0 with qualifications and skills sets being taken off the list, training accounts limits, subsidies being reduced by 30% and 50% and payments for RPL reduced by 50%.  Skills for All – Training Accounts Limits introduces caps for 74 courses and goes further than the Skills for All Funded Training List 6.0 Consultation and Outcomes Report.

Workforce BluePrint hosted a webinar on Skills for All with Raymond Garrand, CEO of DFEEST in March as February 2013 had seen a letter from Raymond to advise of outcomes from the January 2013 consultation with capping and subsidy reduction.  Consistent feedback through our blogs and survey responses has always been to make Skills for All priorities based upon workforce priorities and critical job roles.  See Skills for All blogs posts:

Skills for All get $27 million (catch up) in the South Australian budget

Skills for All Funded Training List 6.0 – right or wrong questions?

Proposed changes to Skills for All based upon demand?

Skills for All Funded Training List – views on the consultation survey

Skills for Jobs and Workforce Development

Skills for All observations and the Workforce Development Program

Skills for All is here

South Australian State Budget and Skills for All countdown

Get ready for Skills for All


Investing in skills for Queensland, seems practical in one sense but complex in another, with pricing and priorities methodology and calculations not necessarily based upon actual costs.


Skills Tasmania will be progressing rolling out a range of Skills Fund Programs in line with The Tasmanian Skills Strategy and a good base of industry workforce plans – watch this space.

New South Wales

Get ready for Smart and Skilled in New South Wales from July 2014 as we will see major changes for such a large state that has to balance industry priorities with individual and regional needs.

Lessons in short

The lessons in short for VET leaders, policy makers, State. Territory and Commonwealth governments include:

  • Test your assumptions
  • Having preferred providers means considerable contract management and follow up on contract adherence
  • Pricing – get evidence on the actual cost and work through how you will control and manage the budget
  • Promotion including social media is really important in managing the market’s expectations
  • Eligibility for students/learners needs to be clear and pragmatic – this has the possibility to blow the budget significantly if left too open
  • Reporting requirements – balance the information you need, that is also useful for RTO’s, without adding additional red tape
  • Refinements and changes – when changes need to be made, get practical, pragmatic advice on how this will affect RTO’s and their clients
  • Fee for service – consider and benchmark pricing and the current fee for service market
  • ABOVE ALL ELSE – Base the initiative on evidence and intelligence about workforce needs and priorities that match supply with demand.

Written by Wendy Perry, VET Specialist, WPAA, August 2013.

PS. Will I see you at the ACPET 2013 conference in Adelaide on 29-30 August 2013?  I’m presenting on day 2 at 2.30 pm with Richard Finlayson on The future RTO: Diversify, Niche, Collaborate or Die!

P.S.S. If you are coming to the ACPET conference make sure you say hi and after the welcome reception on day 1, I together with Melanie Worrall from The Klevar Group and Aimee Perry from National Crime Check are going to host a group to explore Adelaide’s little bar scene and you are welcome to come along too.  Thanks.

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