Vocational students and employers will have a simpler, more responsive national training system under projects agreed today by Commonwealth, State and Territory Skills Ministers.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham chaired today’s meeting of Skills Ministers as part of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Industry and Skills Council.

“Vocational education and training (VET) is critical to ensuring Australia has the skilled workforce it needs for economic growth, competitiveness and productivity,” Senator Birmingham said.

“Our government is committed to a high quality VET system that ensures students are trained in skills for real jobs. That means placing employers at the centre of the training system, and making the training system responsive to industry needs.

“State and Territory Ministers’ today reinforced this approach by agreeing to a range of measures which will help streamline the training system and make it easier for students and employers to find the training that best suits their needs.”

The COAG Skills Ministers today agreed to work together to:

  • Simplify the current 67 different training packages covering over 17,000 units of competency embedded in around 1,600 qualifications as well as 1283 accredited courses and to improve the quality of assessments to ensure students had the skills necessary for modern Australian workplaces;
  • Review the operation of the National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform in light of recent experiences by jurisdictions in delivery of student entitlement systems; and
  • Improve existing surveys and data collections to provide more information to students and potential students, as well as employers, about training, and to reduce the compliance burden on students and providers.

Senator Birmingham said he expected to see this work delivering changes to address the areas of greatest concern in the training system, particularly relating to quality and relevance, in coming months.

“These measures will build on the Coalition’s significant reforms that are already under way to improve training quality, including reforms to VET FEE-HELP, tough new standards for Registered Training Organisations, industry-led arrangements on training package development and more funding for the national training regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority.

“Better informing students and potential students about the job prospects from training, and results from individual training courses, was critical to ensuring the training system was directed towards the interests of students and taxpayers,” Senator Birmingham said.

“At the beginning of the meeting we invited students, employers and training providers to talk to us about their experiences and the feedback they provided will help us to focus our efforts on improving consumer information going forward,” he said.

COAG Skills Ministers also noted the establishment of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC), a single industry-led organisation to advise the Ministerial Council on skills and oversee the development of training packages.

Senator Birmingham announced senior business leader, John Pollaers, as Chair of the AISC, before COAG today: http://www.senatorbirmingham.com.au/Media-Centre/Media-Releases/ID/2681/New-Industry-and-Skills-Committee-to-Strengthen-VET.