Joint Media Release with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
The Council of Australian Governments today agreed to create a new, independent national regulator for the vocational education and training (VET) sector.
The regulator will be responsible for the registration and audit of registered training providers across Australia.
It is significant micro-economic reform for a $6.4 billion industry, with close to 5,000 providers charging students almost a billion dollars a year.
More than 1.7 million students and thousands of Australian businesses have a stake in improved quality and better outcomes from the VET sector. These reforms will help to deliver a mobile workforce with common skills standards.
It will mean employers can have confidence in the skills and qualifications of their employees, wherever they are trained in the country. It will also mean employees can invest in their education and training with an assurance about the quality and transferability of their qualifications.
This step will build a stronger national training system and bring Australia closer to an inter-connected tertiary education sector.
A framework for the new body will be agreed by the end of May 2010 with the regulator beginning operation from 2011.
The regulator will be a Commonwealth statutory authority and will have responsibility for VET providers in all states and territories, other than WA and Victoria, and nationally all providers wishing to operate in more than one jurisdiction or enrolling international students.
COAG has also agreed to modernise Australia’s trade apprenticeship system following the recommendations of the Australian Apprentices Taskforce.
COAG has agreed to strengthen apprenticeship participation and support systems and reduce red tape for employers.
Pathways into an apprenticeship will be enhanced through a significant reform of pre-apprenticeships.
COAG also agreed to ensure that there is effective implementation of competency-based progression and completion for apprentices.
The Australian Apprentices Taskforce clearly articulated the role of governments and industry as partners in a streamlined and responsive apprenticeship system.
Its report highlighted the need to improve access, pathways and outcomes for the benefit of employers and apprentices alike.
The Taskforce also noted the importance of a high quality training and employment experience in achieving higher rates of apprenticeship completions.
In addition, COAG agreed to begin work on a Unique Student Identifier system.
This will help to ensure that current and prospective students will have a complete record of their educational achievements across jurisdictions during the course of their studies.
These reforms will help cement Australia’s international reputation as a high quality provider of Vocational Education and Training - with a strong, national regulatory regime.