Government Priorities for Vocational Education and Training

The Australian Government has implemented substantial reforms in skills since 2014. Ongoing evolution is required to ensure the vocational education and training (VET) keeps up with the needs of industry and the demands of the economy.

VET in Australia has industry at the centre to ensure it delivers the right, industry relevant skills that benefit individuals and employers.

Enhancing the VET system has been a priority for the Australian Government since 2013. Reforms focus on enhancing industry leadership in the development of training products (to reflect emerging skills needs and support greater mobility between occupations), strengthening the apprenticeships system and supporting increased participation in high-quality training.

Four key themes reflect the key objectives of VET reform. These are:

  1. Industry responsiveness
  2. Quality and regulation
  3. Funding and governance
  4. Data and consumer information

A Chronology of Reforms Implemented are available. Information about the consultations during this period also can be found here.

Reforms since 2014

1. Industry responsiveness

  • Australian Industry and Skills Committee established to oversee the development of training packages, provide advice to Ministers on the implementation of national training policy, the AISC gives industry a stronger voice in the VET system.
  • New approach to developing Training Packages which places industry at the heart of training package development with the announcement of the network of Industry Reference Committees and the Skills Service Organisations that will support them in advising the Australian Industry and Skills Committee.
  • Better support to apprentices and employers, through the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network
  • Trade Support Loans that provide apprentices with financial support to help them stay in and complete their apprenticeship, particularly at the start of their apprenticeship when wages are lowest.

2. Quality and regulation

  • New training provider standards that strengthen industry engagement, improve the quality of training and but also reduce the regulatory burden on training providers. The new standards also increase protections for consumers by requiring training providers to make clear to all students what they are signing up for and to be responsible for services delivered by brokers on their behalf. The Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 are available.
  • Moving the Australian Skills Quality Agency (ASQA) further towards a risk management approach to ensure regulation is focused on training providers who are non-compliant, and the red tape burden on high performing providers who are doing the right thing is reduced.
  • National Training Complaints Hotline established to enable easier reporting and referral of complaints.
  • There has been a focus on assessment to support improvements to the quality of VET and ensure confidence in the outcomes of training.  

3. Funding and governance

  • Establishment of COAG Industry and Skills Council, in recognition of important link between the skills sector and industry.
  • Streamlined approach to Ministerial Council Committee structures has been implemented to remove unnecessary bodies from the system. 
  • Closure of VET FEE-HELP to eliminate abuse of the system and the introduction of VET Student Loans [LINK] from 1 January 2017. VET Student Loans will be affordable, sustainable and student-centred. It offers greater protection for students and provides access to the quality higher level VET qualifications that industry needs, creating better opportunities for employment.
  • Strengthened the connections across jurisdictions to improve funding and contracting arrangements.

4: Data and consumer information