Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott is encouraging people to have their say on designing a more responsive tertiary education and training system to prevent Australians falling through the cracks as technology continues to transform the economy.
Public consultations on the Council’s Future Proof: Protecting Australians Through Education and Skills reform paper are now open.
The proposed reforms would ensure all Australians can easily retrain and reskill over their lives to keep pace with changing workforce demands.
“Without action, I fear by the time we work out that vocational education is hugely important to the economy it will have been rundown so much we will have to spend billions to put it back together,’’ Ms Westacott said.
“We are at risk of skills shortages and losing our competitive edge.
“The Business Council is proposing a single tertiary funding system across higher education and vocational education and training.
“Each Australian would be given a portable and personalised lifelong skills account to spend on their education and skills.
“The account would enable them to gain their first qualification, and then the individual credentials they need over their working life, choosing modules from a VET or Higher Education provider.
“Australia’s current tertiary education system creates confused and distorted incentives and is unfair in its treatment of students. It needs to be transformed.
“Our VET sector can no longer be an after-thought for policy makers. It needs to work in lock-step with the rest of the education system.
“We have proposed a suite of measures including a single tertiary funding system across higher education and vocational education and training.
“To compete globally we need to ensure our people are the most skilled, best trained and resilient people on earth – getting that right means hearing directly from the community.’’
“These views will help the Business Council finetune the reforms as we prepare to advocate for changes in the New Year.”