Commonwealth Skills Minister challenges the VET sector

The Commonwealth Skills Minister has challenged the VET sector with a series hard questions, reports TAFE Directors Australia. The Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, Stuart Robert (pictured), “has delivered a blunt assessment of key elements of the VET sector, including apprenticeships and qualifications development” in his speech at the virtual launch of National Skills Week. Key points from the Minister:

  • The entire VET ecosystem was designed to be “slow and clunky” at a time when it needed to be agile.
  • A system that requires skills ministers to approve every qualification is “ridiculous” – “do you really want my considered view on the new practices of TIG welding or how we update rooftop gardening, or whatever skill change we need?”
  • The VET sector had failed to respond to training in key areas such as IT and energy.
  • “Why does it take two to three years to update qualifications – why can’t qualifications be updated in a matter of months?”
  • “Why do we have 67 Industry Reference Committees that go back and forward through SSOs (Skills Service Organisations) and then up to the AISC (Australian Industry and Skills Committee), and then finally up to skills ministers?”
  • “Why is it we have such a proliferation of careers advice? We’ve launched the National Careers Institute to try and harness that, but we still have so much information and so many different approaches to careers advice.”
  • “Why does it take four years to do an apprenticeship? Why is it only 2% of people doing apprentices actually have recognition of prior learning, even though vast percentages of them are mature age students?”
  • “Why is it that only 54% of our apprentices actually complete? Thirty-six per cent actually drop off in the first year.”
  • “Why is it that we only have about 15 accredited courses in technology, and less than 4,000 people in the last 12 months graduated with a Certificate IV in Information Technology, yet we need 150,000 a year and universities are only putting out 6,000?”
  • “Why is it we haven’t embraced micro-credentials and allowed these to be racked and stacked?”

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