Renewed Focus on VET Sector a Welcome Boost

“The Australian Apprenticeship Support Network and the Industry Skills Fund - Youth Streams announced today are a welcome refocus on the importance of the vocational education and training (VET) sector,” Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“The Business Council has called for the government to restore the role and status of VET as a national economic priority. These announcements show a renewed national focus on the sector which places industry at its centre,” Ms Westacott said.

“Trades are an important foundation of our economy and continued assistance for employers in recruiting and supporting apprentices is essential.

“A strong focus on assisting young people into training, and delivering the skills industry need, is fundamental to ensure they are job ready and find pathways into work. The targeting of regional areas for the youth scholarships acknowledges the employment challenges in these areas.

“These changes complement the education reforms currently being considered by the Parliament, particularly the direct financial support the reforms will provide to students studying diplomas, advanced diplomas and associate degrees,” Ms Westacott said.

While the renewed VET focus is strongly welcomed, longer term there are five additional priorities:

•    Resolving roles and responsibilities between levels of government
•    Adopting a broader tertiary model integrated with industry, where students chose qualifications and pathways, and can move seamlessly between school, VET and higher education
•    Rethinking how and when training is delivered, including work integrated learning, and reconceptualise what is delivered so cognitive skills are developed alongside technical ones
•    Improving regulation in support of a more dynamic, effective and innovative system, including allowing public providers to operate on a more commercial basis
•    Conducting a thorough assessment of future investment needs, taking account of workforce requirements, population growth projections, and implementation of the VET student entitlement.

"These priorities will require change on the part of business as well as government, and the Business Council looks forward to continuing to work with government," Ms Westacott said.

For further information contact:
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2603 • Mobile 0403 241 128