Students will be better able to mix-and-match their subjects across universities and vocational education to earn the qualifications they need for the jobs they want with an expert review recommending a shake-up of Australia’s qualifications systems.
The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) review chaired by Professor Peter Noonan has recommended significant reforms to reinvigorate the connection between vocational education and training (VET) and higher education.
‘Microcredentials’ would be recognised to allow providers to offer short, highly-targeted courses to students and employers looking to fill a skills gap without getting bogged down in red tape.
Senior secondary students would also be able to study subjects at school that count towards a vocational training qualification or university degree.
The review recommends recognising the diversity of post-secondary education and to offer clear and flexible entry and exit points, as well as pathways within and between VET and higher education.
The AQF is the national architecture that sets the structure for all qualifications across higher education, VET, and senior secondary schools.
The key review recommendations were:
- A revised AQF architecture that is simpler and more flexible to promote the equal value of qualification types across higher education and VET and to reflect the changing nature of work and post-secondary education.
- The creation of a Higher Diploma at the same level as a Bachelor degree and renaming of VET certificates to reflect their purpose.
- Recognition of microcredentials and greater fluidity between VET, higher education and schools.
Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the Government would consider the review and respond in due course.
"This review will help Australia reshape its qualifications architecture to better serve students and meet the demands of the modern economy," Mr Tehan said.
"Allowing students to earn qualifications across VET and higher education based on their learning requirements better reflects the value that both streams of education provide."
Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Senator Michaelia Cash said the report included recommendations which show the strong value of a VET education, these recommendations will be considered as part of the development of the COAG road map for reform of the VET system.
"The report recommends a more flexible system which can provide workforce skills and qualifications for people at all stages of their career, while responding to current and evolving workforce needs," Minister Cash said.
"For example, someone doing a VET course in carpentry may want to study some business courses at a university to help them run a small business. Likewise, someone studying engineering at university may want to get some hands-on experience in refrigeration."
The report is available at https://www.education.gov.au/australian-qualifications-framework-review-0.