Fed up with poor VET quality in ECEC? Take a seat at the table and have a say
Representatives from the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector are being called to “take a seat at the table” as part of a fundamental overhaul of Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) system.
The call comes as the ECEC sector grapples with staffing pressures and in response to National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) data which shows that:
- employer satisfaction with VET has fallen from 86.3 per cent in 2009 to 78.8 per cent in 2019;
- 42 per cent of employers report recruitment difficulty, primarily because of applicants’ lack of skills, qualifications or experience; and,
- only 41 per cent of employers said that the VET system is currently meeting the needs of their business.
As a result of the NCVER data, and employer feedback, the Federal Government is investing $292.5 million in new Industry Clusters with the aim of giving employers a stronger, broader and more strategic role in ensuring the nation’s VET system can address skills and workforce challenges.
Skills and training ministers have listened to feedback from the sector received through comprehensive consultations and have now agreed to the arrangements to implement industry engagement reforms. Industry Clusters will be established to provide industry with a stronger, more strategic voice and a broader role in ensuring Australia’s VET system can respond rapidly to changes in Australia’s economy and build a resilient workforce that delivers on employer needs.
The Industry Clusters will:
- Identify, forecast and respond to the current and emerging skills needs and workforce challenges of their industries.
- Develop training products that improve the quality, speed to market and responsiveness of training products, including piloting emerging products and testing new approaches to meet industry needs.
- Work with training providers to ensure training delivery meets employer needs, career pathways are mapped and promoted and the impact of delivery is monitored.
- Provide strategic advice on skills and workforce needs and the effectiveness of VET system policies and standards.
Federal Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business and Acting Minister for Education and Youth, Stuart Robert said that having broader skills reforms will play a key role in the Government’s economic recovery plan.
“As our economy roars back we need a skills and training system that is well-positioned to meet our evolving workforce needs into the future,” he added.
Investing in the new Industry Clusters model will strengthen employer leadership and engagement in the VET sector, and ensure that courses and qualifications in the VET sector are driven by, and better meet, the needs of employers, as well as students.
The new Industry Clusters model — as groups of aligned industries (or employers/sectors) — will replace the current 67 Industry Reference Committees and six Skills Service Organisations and is expected to be fully operational by 1 January 2023.
More detailed information about the Industry Clusters model may be found here. Interested organisations are encouraged to develop their applications for the grants now, which will close on 31 March 2022.
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