In a four-part series of articles on training product design and development, ACCI’s Director of employment & Skills, Jenny Lambert, put forward the views of industry on the direction that training reform should take. These articles were first published in Campus Review in November/December 2020.
Australia’s education and training system is well regarded, but it needs to become more efficient and effective so it can continue to deliver the skills needed by a modern economy.
More clearly identify the respective roles and responsibilities of federal and state governments.
Have an integrated plan for facilitating stronger industry engagement.
Reduce the administrative complexity for employers.
Provide relevant and timely information to students, job seekers and workers to improve the outcomes of their choices.
Develop a strong evidence based approach to labour force analysis and forecasting.
Work better with industry sectors to address their specific needs.
Schools are the bedrock of education. School attendance, preferably to year 12, and post-school education deliver the best economic and health outcomes for individuals. Schools need to help the best and brightest students achieve their potential, and also ensure that no student is left behind.
Introduce minimum standards for literacy and numeracy for all school leavers that relate to the standards required in the workplace using international standards such as PISA as the benchmark.
Work with state and federal governments on strengthening vocational training and vocational learning at school.
Implement a needs-based schools funding approach, but given that large increases in overall school funding in recent years have not delivered improved outcomes in key areas of concern including literacy and numeracy, support a review of delivery in order to achieve educational excellence and evidence-based policy.
Support national curriculum, but encourage excellence and innovation at the local level in how it is delivered.
Support increased participation in Asian languages and culture but apply new thinking as to how to more successfully attract students to study languages and teachers with the capability to deliver, as well as how better utilise Asian literacy in the current and future workforce.
Improve the careers advice at schools through stronger industry engagement, and an emphasis not just on courses to study but a deeper understanding of the jobs at the end of the course.
Improve student understanding of the importance of a strong economy, the role of small business and entrepreneurship and innovation, and encourage students to see running a small business as a positive career aspiration.
Rationalise and improve Federal Government career and labour market websites, upgrade the school-facing career education strategy to a career development strategy for lifelong career advice and information, and make it easier for industry knowledge to become available to career planners, students and job seekers.
There are more than 1 million students in higher education. Given the uncapped demand-driven higher education system, students and universities need to be informed about career options and future labour market needs. Policy should seek to optimise job outcomes, with a focus on employability skills. Industry needs a stronger voice in determining teaching and learning standards.
Sound policy requires a holistic approach to tertiary education.
Inform students of labour market needs and graduate employment outcomes to ensure students undertake relevant courses.
Provide students with equitable access, stronger pathways and greater choice in higher education.
Ensure higher education is industry-informed with industry representation on the Higher Education Standards Panel.
Higher education funding and reform is evidence-based.
Higher education to be delivered through high quality teaching and strong regulation.
Higher education funding requires greater transparency and should be fiscally responsible and outcomes driven.
Student contributions to higher education should continue.
Support for Work Integrated Learning (WIL) to be a stronger feature of higher education delivery.
Improve university/industry collaboration, in the area of research to increase commercial opportunities and inform business practice.
Employers value the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system given its emphasis on job skills required in modern workplaces. VET needs to be industry-driven and responsive. Its efficiency and effectiveness are undermined by the lack of clarity over roles and responsibilities brought about by issues of federation.
Increase funding by all Governments in VET to recognise the sector’s important role in meeting labour market needs and improving workplace productivity.
Leverage apprenticeship investment through the Skilling Australians Fund in order to implement an industry-led national approach to apprenticeships and traineeships.
Restore industry leadership in VET at all levels to ensure the system delivers outcomes that meet labour market needs.
Ensure training package developers are responsive to industry through a contestable market for their services.
Support student and employer choice of VET provider in order to ensure providers perform to the standards required by industry as well as remaining responsive to the needs of students.
Implement a national approach to VET funding and policy development to improve consistency and skills outcomes, ensuring there is no duplication in the activities of the Federal, State and Territory Governments
Maintain a strong focus on quality across the education and training system, through the professional development of instructors, institutions and effective and sufficiently resourced national regulators.
Highlight the value of skill sets to provide training focused on employer needs, and support the funding of skill set training in the system.
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