A report on skills reform released today confirms the critical role Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) system can play in boosting workforce participation and productivity.
Minister for Skills and Jobs, Senator Chris Evans, said Australia’s independent skills and workforce advisory body, Skills Australia, had completed a comprehensive assessment and made wide ranging recommendations aimed at producing a more flexible and market-oriented VET system.
“Building a responsive training system is vital if Australia is to maintain its globally competitive edge,” said Senator Evans.
“This report,Skills for prosperity: a road map for vocational education and training, is a valuable contribution to the reform task ahead.
“It recommends that future funding is used to strengthen accountability of the training system and increase participation to deliver a more productive Australia.”
The Skills Australia report strongly endorses the industry-based, demand-driven approach to skills training already adopted by the Gillard Government in initiatives such as the $200 million Critical Skills Investment Fund.
“The Government has already entered into partnerships with industry to target areas of critical skills needs,” Senator Evans said.
“We have also been clear about our desire to reform the apprenticeship and training systems to ensure they are flexible and responsive to industry needs.”
Senator Evans said VET is on the frontline when it comes to achieving higher workforce participation.
“Compared to higher education, VET has almost double the proportion of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds and five times the proportion of Indigenous Australian students,” Senator Evans said.
The Gillard Government has shown its commitment to improving and reforming the VET sector by establishing a national regulator and investing more than $10.9 billion over the last three years, including more than $700 million on capital works to improve facilities.
Senator Evans said the Government will consider the findings of the report ahead of COAG discussions with state and territory governments about the future of the VET system.
The report can be viewed at www.skillsaustralia.gov.au