Inquiry into the Perceptions and Status of Vocational Education and Training
On 30 November 2022, the Minister for Skills and Training, the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, referred the House Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training to commence an inquiry into the perceptions and status of vocational education and training.
We made our submission on the 27th February 2023. Some of the key points we made in our submission included:
- We presented evidence and information on the inadequacy of government sponsored information available on VET qualifications online. We pointed out where this information is inaccurate or out of date and provided some suggestions about how the government could be implementing strategies to compete for relevance in internet search engine results.
- We provided feedback about the absence of adequate career pathway information relevant to VET qualifications. We identified where this information is currently either inadequate or in many cases is biased toward higher-ed qualifications. We also proposed changes to the way we are communicating career pathway information to young people to present VET options that are proven to result in a shorter training time, at a lower cost and leading to more immediate employment outcomes with higher pay then higher-ed alternatives.
- We presented information about how government messaging presenting private VET providers as “exploitative profiteers” is undermining public confidence in vocational education training and damaging the perceptions and status of VET. We also recommended changes to the way government refer to VET providers in the media to reflect the diversity of the VET sector, not simply TAFE.
- We provided feedback on the confusion that is created by the university self-accredited Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas that are often directly competing with nationally endorsed qualifications. We pointed out the disadvantages of these self-accredited qualifications including the high cost and lack of portability. We have recommended that higher-ed providers should be restricted to delivering AQF levels 7-10 only (bachelor degree to doctoral degree) qualifications.
- We recommended reforms to the way VET is funded through the national skills agreement to trial a program where employers are provided access to a “skills voucher” which would allow them to engage a provider of their choice to develop and implement training partnerships between VET providers and industry.
- We provided feedback on the often aggressive and direct unsolicited marketing practices by some tertiary education and training providers to secondary school students including the distribution of “early offers”. We have recommended prohibiting any tertiary education and training providers from direct and unsolicited marketing to persons who are secondary school students and reforms to the rules relating to the career guidance information being provided to secondary school students to ensure this information is independent and free from any commercial bias or conflict of interest.
- We have provided some observations about the “Fee Free TAFE” program about its likely consequence in devaluing VET qualifications and leading to much higher non-completion rates in addition to students who are not committed to the course they are entering. We have recommended that student need to contribute even a modest fee toward their tuition to give them some “skin in the game”.
- We provided observations and suggestions to the commitee on many more issues and topics which you can read in the full submission available from the link below.
Our submission can be downloaded from the inquiry website at the following link.
The link to the inquiry home page is below.
Published: 27th February 2023