Govt's VET reforms 'restoration of apprenticeship brand'
Industry will have a stronger voice in ensuring Australia's workforce is skilled and ready to drive economic growth in the industries of the future, Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane said in announcing a comprehensive reform package for the Vocational Education and Training sector.
Macfarlane announced the second tranche of the government's overhaul of the VET system at the National VET Conference in Brisbane on Thursday (11 September).
The reforms are the second tranche of improvements to the system wchi aims to elevate trades to the centre of the economy and focus on ensuring Australian workers are highly skilled and job ready.
Jump through 'endless red-tape hoops'
The government will make changes to the way the regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) operates to cut the excessive red tape for high-performing training providers and let them get on with "delivering the highest calibre training that meets industry and economy needs".
"The best way to ensure training providers deliver high quality training is to let each (Registered Training Organisation) stand on its reputation – not fill out reams and reams of paperwork and jump through endless hoops," Macfarlane said in a statement.
At the moment training providers are required to constantly seek approval from ASQA before they offer new courses or make changes to the courses they are already delivering.
The government will also work with the sector to implement measures to crack down on unscrupulous or misleading behaviour by 'brokers' who act as an intermediary between students and training providers, as part of the new standards for RTOs which begin in January.
At the end of the current contract period with the 12 Industry Skills Councils, the government will move to a more contestable model for the development and maintenance of training packages.
Current ISCs are welcome to tender under this new model along with new groups.
Apprenticeships 'equal to tertiary degree': MBA
Masters Builders Australia (MBA) said the reforms put "vocation back into vocational education and training".
"Master Builders has long called for a restoration of the apprenticeship brand. The reforms elevate the trades and vocational education as an essential part of Australia's economic future and of equal value to a tertiary degree," MBA's SEO Wilhelm Harnisch said.
"The building and construction industry has seen significant change in the way buildings are constructed requiring a different skill sets for which there are no appropriate accredited training courses.
"The current full trade qualifications need to be complemented by different skill sets to reflect the changing nature of building.
"The initiatives announced by Industry Minister Ian McFarlane are in line with Master Builders calls for a new apprenticeship model capable of tackling declining apprenticeship commencements and completions through more demand driven training relevant to the needs of employers, better career advice and pathway programs and apprentice mentoring which has a proven record of reducing apprenticeship cancellations.
"Replacing red tape hotspots with the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network to provide practical support to employers and apprentices will deliver positive outcomes for the industry."
These reforms build on the first round announced earlier this week to introduce the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network and to run two pilot programmes the Training for Employment Scholarships programme and the Youth Employment Pathways programme.
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