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Government's second tranche of VET reforms to deliver industry led and job ready skills and training

11 September 2014

Industry will have a stronger voice in ensuring Australia’s workforce is skilled, flexible and ready to drive economic growth in the industries of the future, under the Government’s comprehensive reform package for the Vocational Education and Training sector.

Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane today announced the second tranche of the Government’s overhaul of the VET system at the National VET Conference in Brisbane.

The reforms are the second tranche of improvements to the system to elevate trades to the centre of the economy and focus on ensuring Australian workers are highly skilled and job ready.

Australia’s VET system needs reform. Just one in two apprentices completes their training and just one in three complete their training in the skills area they started.

Employer satisfaction and involvement with the VET system is decreasing and there’s too much churn and waste.

The Government will make changes to the way the regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) operates to cut the excessive red tape for high-performing training providers and let them get on with what it is that they do best – delivering the highest calibre training that meets industry and economy needs.

The best way to ensure training providers deliver high quality training is to let each RTO stand on its reputation – not fill out reams and reams of paperwork and jump through endless hoops.

At the moment training providers are required to constantly seek approval from ASQA before they offer new courses or make changes to the courses they are already delivering.

The result is an excessive amount of red tape and too much time spent filling out forms instead of filling classrooms or workshops.

ASQA should be a regulator, not a book keeper.

The Government will also work with the sector to implement measures to crack down on unscrupulous or misleading behaviour by  ‘brokers’ who act as an intermediary between students and training providers, as part of the new standards for RTOs which begin in January.

The Government is taking further measure to ensure the skills and training system reflects the needs of industry.

At the end of the current contract period with the 12 Industry Skills Councils, the Government will move to a more contestable model for the development and maintenance of training packages. Current ISCs are welcome to tender under this new model along with new groups. The Government will consult with the sector to deliver this outcome

Industry must have the freedom to design the type of training they’re after, through both full trades qualifications and through skill sets.

These reforms build on the first round announced earlier this week to introduce the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network and to run two pilot programmes the Training for Employment Scholarships programme and the Youth Employment Pathways programme.

Media contact: Mr Macfarlane's office 02 6277 7070