Australia’s vocational education and training system will be overhauled to become easier to navigate and more efficient, the federal government has announced.
Significant duplication of courses in the higher education sector has meant students have to study the same thing multiple times, said Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor.
There are currently 5,000 vocational training courses (VETERINARY) units that overlap more than 70% with at least one other unit.
“Due to the low recognition of transferable skills, students may need to complete additional duplicate training that provides similar skills to those they already have in order to gain access to a new job,” O said. ‘Connor in a statement.
“Any reform in this important area will take into account industry standards and their specific needs.”
Working with states, territories and unions, the government will make the qualifications system easier to understand through reforms that will give Australians transferable and relevant skills.
Students, employers and training organizations will benefit from the changes aimed at simplifying the system, the minister said.
“We need to reform the VET sector, we need to put TAFE back at the center (and) we need to provide courses, apprenticeships and traineeships that actually fill the skills gaps,” Mr O’Connor told the Sunday. ABC’s Insiders program.
The announcement came after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese pledged to accelerate 180,000 free TAFE places by 2023.
Mr Albanese told participants at the jobs and skills summit last week that the $1.1 billion package would be jointly funded by federal, state and territory governments.
While the funding is for the next fiscal year, O’Connor said federal, state and territorial governments are negotiating a five-year deal.
The Commonwealth could potentially provide $3.7 billion over a period starting in 2024, Mr O’Connor said.
“That’s certainly the amount we hope to be able to provide…but it depends on an agreement with states and territories,” he said.
The deal should ensure reforms to VET systems to make them fit for students, workers and the labor market, added Mr O’Connor.
The announcements made at last week’s summit will make a significant difference to Australia’s regional workforce, said Agriculture Minister Murray Watt.
In addition to workers already in Australia, current estimates show that around 40,000 Pacific island workers are vetted and ready to migrate for work, he told Sky News.
“We also want to make sure that we encourage locals to take up farming as a career and provide them with the skills to do so,” he said.
After the summit, the government announced that Australians on superannuation and veterans pensions will be able to earn up to $4,000 in extra income a year without losing their benefits.
Independent MP Zali Steggall said she welcomed the move, but said it was a “small step” in addressing Australia’s labor shortages.
“Older people have great skills to bring to the job market, great maturity and great experience,” she told Sky News.
“(But) I don’t think they will address the bigger picture where companies are desperate for more staff, skilled labor and skilled workers in certain areas.”
Opposition spokeswoman Michaelia Cash said the announcement was a “half-baked attempt” at a proposal previously made under the former Liberal-National government by the current Leader of the Opposition, Peter Dutton.
“What do we get from Mr. Albanese after the summit? A very strange half-baked attempt to go halfway to achieving what Mr Dutton had put on the table,’ she told Sky News.
By Maeve Bannister in Canberra