A new model for training product development was announced earlier this week, passing the responsibility of developing training packages from Industry Skills Councils to Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) supported by Skills Service Organisations (SSO). This is aimed to guide the delivery of vocational education and training (VET) to ensure that training responds to rapid changes of industry demands and producing Australian workers with world-class standard skills.
It is revealed that the Department of Education and Training will select suitable organisations that offer SSO services to IRCs for their chosen industries, through an open competitive grants process. These SSOs will be governed by professional boards and funded by the Australian Government to provide administrative, technical and operational support to assist IRCs in their industry engagements.
The new model thus will place IRCs as the main industry intelligence channel into VET training policy and practice, guiding the development of industry-based training products including training packages and supporting materials.
At this stage, there are approximately 60 training packages containing over 1,600 industry defined vocational qualifications and more than 17,8000 individual units of competency, which covers around 85% of Australian occupations.
The Australian IRCs and SSOs will have overall responsibility to endorse qualifications, advise on VET quality instruments and provide industry input into VET research and the ministerial council.
Announcing the new model at an industry event on Tuesday 21st April 2015, Senator Simon Birmingham, Assistant Minister for Education and Training, said: “This important overhaul in the way training packages and products are developed is all about responding to the needs of the industry, to boost economic growth, business productivity and employment outcomes.”
“We need to revitalise industry engagement in the national training system”, he said. “To do this we will put industry at the centre of the new arrangements and support a dynamic approach to industry engagement.”
The new model is anticipated to be fully operational by January 2016, with transitional arrangements to be in place by December of this year.
The announcement was welcomed by many industry groups and professionals.
“It is certainly great to see that the Government has taken notes of the current issues and tries to put industry at the center of VET training package development. The national training system needs to stay responsive to industry needs in order to produce high quality training that actually satisfy the need of employers”, said Caroline Brock, Managing Director of Circulus Education.
“However, for the VET sector that has seen various changes and reforms through the year, this is just one piece of the puzzle.”
Wilhelm Harnisch, CEO of Master Builders Australia, stated in a recent media release that they welcomed Minister Birmingham’s recognition of the need for the VET system to be better aligned and more responsive to the industry needs. “Skill requirements have changed significantly over the past two decades and the need for new skills is accelerating as the industry adopts new techniques in response to new technologies.. However, industry training packages have struggled to keep up” he said.
“These new arrangements retain industry at the centre of training package development and the determination of the skills needed for the increasingly competitive and technologically advanced economy,” Innes Willox, the Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group commented.
Jenny Lambert, the ACCI Director of Employment, Education and Training, also pointed out that in 2014 there were nearly 2 million students undertook a VET qualification, “so it is important that we ensure graduates have the skills that businesses need.”
On behalf of the Australian Government, the Department of Education and Training will shortly advertise an open grants process to establish a small number of SSOs from October 2015; with the first stage of the process being an open Expression of Interest demonstrating their capacity to engage with industry in development and review of training products and support IRCs, and the second stage is a Request for Quote for services from short-listed bodies representing defined industry sectors.
Commonwealth government continues to invest around $6 billion per annum in support for vocational education and training.
Click here to read the Minister’s media release.
Click here to download a factsheet.
Click here to view the diagram of the new arrangement.
Click here to read the full policy.
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