Your biggest frustrations around Vocational Education and Training in Australia

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On the 18th June 2013, I sent out an email to selected contacts in Vocational Education and Training (VET) and those interested in workforce development more broadly asking the following question – What is your biggest frustration in VET?

Your responses came thick and fast (and they are still coming in) so thank you for taking the time to reply.

There are many similar ideas and themes in the feedback and I thought you’d like to hear that you are not alone.  So what came through loud and clear?frustration

Here are the themes and a selection of some of the comments as I have aimed to stay true to what you said.

Please let me know what you think and post your comments, share with your colleagues, and consider how these insights relates to your work.

Benefits of VET

  • Commitment to releasing people from the workplace for training and balancing development activities with business priorities
  • Lack of recognition of the qualifications’ that people gain

Competition

  • Providers delivering what they want rather than what is wanted
  • Cheap, fast, low quality delivery

Complexity

  • Ability to arrange motivational professional development programs that provide immediate value
  • Assessment procedures, good quality teaching and assessment methods
  • Knowing the big picture of all the stakeholders

Data

  • Industry information not broken down to useable levels

Delivery

  • Scheduling professional development activities for trainers
  • Keeping pace with industry trends and needs

Elearning

  • Providers need to provide better options and accessibility for online learning that uses new technologies – learning virtually and in real time

Funding

  • Overall reduction in VET funding coupled with increases in workloads
  • For providers, balancing the cost of professional development with maintaining income and cash flow
  • Finding out what funding is on offer and what it covers
  • Lack of security, stability and fairness around funding
  • Providers driven by short term funding opportunities

Quality

  • Tackling individual problem [shonky bro] Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) who give the whole sector a bad name
  • ‘Spot’ auditing of RTO’s should be undertaken
  • People who finish training and do not appear to have the knowledge and skills to do the job
  • Considerable variation in the quality and consistency of training
  • Need for more onsite delivery in workplaces, plus better relationship between training to job roles and work environments
  • RTO’s who continue to sell their products not solutions
  • RPL is not routinely offered
  • Lack of capacity to deliver high post trade, Diploma and Advanced Diploma qualifications in technical areas plus lack of qualifications and knowledge of teaching staff in these areas

Red Tape

  • Clash with the national regulator’s approach vs. state and territory policy and funding
  • Excessive, expensive auditing and compliance
  • Problems with the process and timeframes to get new or upgraded qualifications on an RTO’s scope
  • Mountain of paperwork and reporting required for low risk RTOs
  • Costs and administration workload to move to Licenced Training Organisations
  • Regular changes to contracts and service agreements
  • Keeping up with the rules and all the changes
  • The amount of time dedicated to compliance vs. teaching, learning and assessment

System

  • Not representative or inclusive of the large numbers of Australian small and medium sized enterprises
  • Lack of useable information to make informed decisions
  • Lack of client focussed, user-friendly information for learners and employers to be informed consumers
  • Changes (or lack of) in Training Packages and the time it takes to implement changes, say in qualifications
  • Being able to plan for the future as components of the ‘system’ are so regularly changed
  • Government decision makers not understanding the breadth, depth and differences in the VET workforce

To add a couple of points to your feedback, I’d say that by the volume of comments, red tape, quality and system issues were your biggest concerns.  However getting the chance to have your say, to be listened too, to suggest solutions and to give honest feedback, particularly to decision makers in VET, was my take away from your feedback.  Thank you.

I’d also like to hear from you regarding what’s great about VET in Australia and I invite you to join 4600+ colleagues in the Australian VET Leaders group on LinkedIn.

PS.  To those decision makers reading this blog post, if you’d like to have the opportunity to hear from our clients and contacts, then please get in touch.

Collated by Wendy Perry, VET Specialist, WPAA, July 2013.

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