VET is the “forgotten middle child of education” that needs attention

VET Securing Skills imageThe Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) has called Australian vocational education and training (VET) the “forgotten middle child”, and has called for a new National Partnership on Skills Reform.

Releasing CEDA’s latest research report VET: Securing Skills for Growth, CEDA Chief Executive, Professor the Hon. Stephen Martin, said VET delivered vital grassroots skills that industry needed but scandals and a disconnect with industry had significantly weakened this important tier of the education sector.

Improving outcomes, regulation and oversight, providing certainty in funding and recognising its importance in skilling people for the jobs of the future are critical recommendations in CEDA’s latest research on the “forgotten middle child of education” – VET.

In the Report, Sarah-Jane Derby, CEDA’s Senior Economist, writes, “like a forgotten middle child, squeezed between  schools  (which  tend  to  get  a  lot  of  policy  attention,  like  the  youngest  child)  and  universities  (which  tend  to  get  the  prestige  and  status,  like  the  oldest  child). There is no doubt that the VET sector has a lower status in Australia.”

The “middle child” concept comes from Dr Damian Oliver, whose Report chapter entitled “Getting Over the Middle Child Status”, notes that “middle children are open to new ideas, patient, great innovators and team leaders, and excellent negotiators” – all great traits personifying the best of VET qualifications.

The CEDA Report calls “for a comprehensive national review of the sector to underpin COAG discussions to reach a new National Partnership on Skills Reform.  The imminent conclusion of the Commonwealth-State funding agreement for VET (National Partnership on Skills Reform) next year, and the fact that there are currently no signs of how or if this will be extended, is a significant issue for the sector,” Professor Martin said.

CCA has welcomed the CEDA report as an important addition to the developing debate about the future of VET.

“The new CEDA report makes an excellent and up-to-date addition to the national discussion on the future of Australian VET,” CCA CEO, Dr Don Perlgut, said.  “CCA endorses the concept put forward by Linda Simon, in her chapter entitled ‘Keeping TAFE the VET centrepiece’.  However our only disappointment in Report is that it – unfortunately like so much VET policy discussion – ignores the substantial contribution made by the community education sector.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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