VET Reform

The Australian Government has created a dedicated website for industry to monitor and engage in consultation over reforms introduced and proposed for the VET sector.
Below is a summary of these reform updates.

Update: 13 November 2015 - VET sector stakeholders endorse government’s deregulation agenda

Stakeholders in Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) sector have strongly endorsed the Australian Government’s deregulation agenda and the national regulator’s implementation of initiatives aimed at slashing red tape.

The Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, the Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP said that a recent survey by the Australian Skills Quality Authority showed that 74 per cent of industry stakeholders agreed or strongly agreed that VET regulatory reforms implemented in 2014 had reduced the regulatory burden on the sector.

“One of the government’s key election commitments was to reduce red tape,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“We have done that in the VET sector and the feedback received through this survey shows that training providers and industry stakeholders are reaping the benefits.”

Read The Hon. Luke Hartsuyker's full media release.

Update: 28 October 2015 - Reviews highlight decades of higher education funding challenges

The Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, today released a summary paper of all recent major reviews conducted into Australia’s higher education system, as part of consultations into developing a fair, sustainable, world-class system.

Speaking today in Sydney at the Australian Financial Review’s Higher Education Summit, Senator Birmingham said the background paper summarised the findings of each major review of higher education from the 1988 Dawkins White Paper to the 2014 Kemp-Norton Review of the Demand Driven Funding System.

“These reviews show that for almost three decades Australia has been grappling with how to enable more students to access the benefits higher education offers – in terms of employment, earnings, social and cultural opportunities – while ensuring the system remains fair, high quality and affordable for both individuals and taxpayers,” Senator Birmingham said.

“Australians place a high value on higher education—more than a third of 25 to 34 years olds now have a bachelor degree, compared to only 12 per cent a quarter of a century ago[1].

“The demand driven system has seen unprecedented growth in higher education participation—a 25 per cent increase in Commonwealth supported undergraduate places in just six years, from 2009 to 2015.  At the same time, government expenditure on higher education teaching and learning has increased by 55 per cent—from about $8.6 billion in 2009 to $13.3 billion this year.”

Read Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 15 October 2015 - VET FEE-HELP Bill to push dodgy providers out of the market

The Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Luke Hartsuyker, today introduced legislation that will strengthen the protections for students in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector and push unscrupulous training providers out of the market.

Mr Hartsuyker said the changes introduced by the former Labor Government had undermined public confidence in the VET sector and created a situation whereby unscrupulous VET FEE-HELP providers have flourished at the expense of students and taxpayers.

“Labor likes to talk about their good intentions when introducing the VET FEE-HELP scheme but it is because of their failure to put in place proper rules and processes that many vulnerable Australians have been duped into training courses they didn’t want and debt they didn’t need or know about” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“The Government has acted swiftly this year to tighten the rules around VET provider marketing, the use of agents and the invoicing of student fees to better protect students and stamp out the unethical behaviour by that small cohort of VET FEE-HELP providers doing the wrong thing.

Read The Hon. Luke Hartsuyker's full media release.

Update: 24 July 2015 - ‘The MAS Experience’ launched

Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham today launched ‘The MAS Experience’ in Adelaide and said that MAS National is providing support through 52 full time, part-time and outreach locations across South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.

“I am delighted to have experienced organisations, such as MAS National, on board to deliver the Australian Government’s significant reform of apprenticeship support,” Senator Birmingham said.

“South Australia previously hosted 24 Australian Apprenticeship Centres but as part of the new AASN arrangements, South Australia will now host 35 locations, including 22 Network sites and 13 outreach services.

“MAS National has been providing support services to employers and apprentices since 1998, and I look forward to working with them over the next three years as they deliver their unique program model called ‘The MAS Experience’ aimed at improving completion rates amongst apprentices and trainees throughout Australia.

“MAS National is one of 11 organisations contracted by the Australian Government to deliver our new AASN which makes it easier to become, or employ an apprentice.

Read Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 19 July 2015 - New support to deliver job-relevant training products

Expressions of interest are being invited from organisations to operate as skills service organisations as part of an overhaul of Australian qualifications.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham said that skills service organisations will play a crucial role in ensuring training delivers the competencies that jobs will require in the future.

“The Abbott Government is introducing a new model of training product development to ensure that training standards are based on the skills needed for real jobs in the Australian workplace of both today and tomorrow,” Senator Birmingham said.

“As employers of current and future workers, industry is best placed to decide the skills levels needed in the workplace, and when and how training packages are developed and updated.

“Skills service organisations will play an important, but supporting, role by enabling industry reference committees to adequately consult and decide on training product requirements for their relevant sector.”

Read Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 7 July 2015 - MySkills update helps inform VET consumers

Vocational education and training (VET) students and potential students, their parents, teachers, careers advisers and employers will benefit from new updates to the MySkills website, the national directory of VET organisations and courses.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham and Federal Member for Lindsay Fiona Scott MP officially launched the next round of MySkills enhancements today with apprentices and trainees working on the Nepean Private Hospital building works.

Senator Birmingham said latest round of enhancements to MySkills would help students, their parents and teachers, as well as businesses, to make informed decisions about the training they need, and how, where and by whom it is delivered.

“With more than 4,500 training providers delivering more than 65,000 courses across Australia, MySkills provides a one-stop-shop for students on the valuable careers pathways that VET training opens up,” Senator Birmingham said.

More information is available in Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 7 July 2015 - Reducing red tape for Australia’s international VET sector

The draft Education Services for Overseas Students Amendment Bills 2015released for public consultation today highlights the Australian Government’s commitment to high-quality international vocational education and training (VET).

Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham welcomed the consultation, saying the growth in the numbers of international students studying skills training in Australia demonstrated Australia’s reputation for high quality, industry-linked vocational education and training.

“Improving the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) framework will simplify and streamline the regulation of international education, allowing education providers to focus on building a skilled workforce for Australia and countries overseas,” Senator Birmingham said.

More information is available in Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 1 July 2015 - VET FEE-HELP amendments to the VET Guidelines come into effect

From 1 July 2015 important reforms to the VET FEE-HELP (VFH) scheme come into effect as part of the first phase of amendments to the VET Guidelines. The second phase of amendments will come into effect from 1 January 2016.

These reforms are the latest of Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham‘s measures to protect vulnerable students from the unethical actions of a small number of unscrupulous providers and their agents.

For further details:

Source: vetreform.industry.gov.au.

Update: 1 July 2015 - New Apprenticeship Network open for business

Australian apprentices, people interested in an apprenticeship, and their employers will be able to get more help, from more locations, than ever before with start of the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (Apprenticeship Network) today.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham said the new Apprenticeship Network was the biggest reform to apprenticeship support in more than two decades.

“The Australian Government is investing up to $200 million annually in the Apprenticeship Network, which will help to recruit, train and retain more than 300,000 apprentices and trainees a year in more than 420 locations nationwide,” Senator Birmingham said.

More information is available in Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 25 June 2015 - Withdrawal fees banned for courses

The Government has today [25 June] announced a ban on withdrawal fees that will make it easier for students to withdraw from courses that they have been inappropriately signed up to.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham said this new measure will further protect students, taxpayers and the reputation of the vocational education and training (VET) sector.

“From 1 July 2015, if a student wants to withdraw from training on or before the census date, a provider will no longer be able to charge a withdrawal fee or place some other administrative barrier in the way of the student,” Senator Birmingham said.

More information is available in Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 24 June 2015 - Reduced financial burden on registered training organisations

In a further bid to strengthen the vocational education and training (VET) sector, the Coalition has confirmed additional funding to the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, said the additional funding to ASQA will help bolster the Authority’s regulatory powers and remove excessive paperwork and red tape for registered training organisations (RTOs).

“This is the first time ASQA has been properly funded to focus its attention on serious breaches of standards,” Senator Birmingham said.

“Without this funding, ASQA would have been forced to increase fees and focus on revenue raising, rather than tackling poor practice.

More information is available in Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 22 June 2015 - ISF Skills Adviser Network announced

The six organisations that will make up the new Industry Skills Fund Skills Adviser Network have been announced today [22 June].

Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, said the Industry Skills Fund (ISF) Skills Adviser Network will invest $43 million over the next three years to provide intensive support to businesses that are looking to grow and develop their workforce.

“ISF Skills Advisers will provide businesses with their experience in workforce planning, training and working with businesses,” Senator Birmingham said.

“Beginning with 83 ISF Skills Advisers from 1 July 2015, the network will expand to 99 Advisers in 2017-18.

More information is available in Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 16 June 2015 - Submissions released on the Draft National Strategy for International Education

More than 100 organisations, individuals and peak bodies have had their say on Australia’s third largest export industry via submissions on the Draft National Strategy for International Education.

The feedback covers all aspects of international education across the sectors and is an important step in developing a coordinated national strategy.

Minister for Education and Training, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, thanked contributors from education, business and the community for taking the time to provide feedback.

“I’m keen to listen to what the international education community has to say on this, given that we are talking about one of our most valuable resources, which brings vast benefits to Australia’s economy, jobs and our relationships in the region,” Mr Pyne said.

More information is available in The Hon. Christopher Pyne MP's full media release.

Update: 16 June 2015 - New International Student Visa Framework a win for VET

Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, has welcomed today’s announcement of a new, simplified international student visa framework (SSVF) to support Australia’s international education sector.

“The decision to simplify the international student visa framework is good news for our economy, our local communities and jobs and the vocational education and training (VET) international students here in Australia,” Senator Birmingham said.

“This new model will achieve greater equity in student visa arrangements, and delivers benefits to a broader range of education institutions, including VET providers.

“The SSVF will support the growth of Australia’s international education sector by enhancing both competitiveness and integrity, while extending streamlined processing to all education sectors and all course types, including those in the VET sector.

More information is available in Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 9 June 2015 - First Australian Industry and Skills Committee meeting held

The newly established Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) will hold their inaugural meeting in Melbourne today.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, will attend today’s meeting and said the Committee is to play a vital role in the Australian Government’s new vocational education and training (VET) model.

“This meeting is an important milestone in the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Industry and Skills Council’s commitment to streamline governance arrangements for the VET sector.  The AISC replaces a plethora of committees that had led to confusion in the management of the nation’s VET system.

“By streamlining arrangements, we have eliminated duplication and created a simpler, more efficient VET governance structure," Senator Birmingham said.

More information is available in Senator Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 3 June 2015 - Coordinating Council for International Education announced

Minister for Education and Training, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, today announced the membership of the Coordinating Council for International Education.

The Coordinating Council will be responsible for finalising Australia’s first ever National Strategy for International Education.

“Our recently-released Draft National Strategy for International Educationplaces international education at the heart of our nation’s economic prosperity,” Mr Pyne said. 

“This is a vision that requires a coordinated and consistent approach across all levels of government. It is essential that the strategy is developed in partnership with education providers, industry and the wider community.

Read The Hon. Christopher Pyne MP's media release in full.

Update: 19 May 2015 - Global Skills Training Forum

On Tuesday 19 May 2015, Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, hosted a Global Skills Training Forum in Melbourne to continue the national conversation on how to further support the internationalisation of the Australian vocational education and training system, and contribute to the Draft National Strategy for International Education.

The Australian Government has released a Draft National Strategy for International Education and is consulting widely on how to ensure we harness the knowledge boom and meet international demand for training and education.

The Forum involves employers, education and training providers and students in considering ways to build more opportunities for Australia to increase its profile as a world leader in international education, and to be at the forefront of global skills training.

The Minister will host two further forums in Adelaide and Sydney in the second half of 2015.

For further details:

For more information, visit vetreform.industry.gov.au.

Update: 11 May 2015 - Next step to strengthen VET reform process

The next step in the Australian Government’s VET reforms will be taken this week when the National Vocational Education and Training RegulatorAmendment (Enforcement) Regulation 2015 is tabled before both Houses of Parliament.

The Regulation was tabled in the Senate this morning and will be tabled in the House of Representatives tomorrow.

Read more in Senator Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 8 May 2015 - New industry and skills committee to strengthen VET

A new industry and skills committee has been established to provide effective industry leadership to the vocational education and training (VET) sector in Australia.

The announcement coincides with the COAG Industry and Skills Committee meeting being held in Melbourne today.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, announced the composition of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee ahead of the meeting with state and territory Ministers.

Senator Birmingham said that under John Pollaers’ guidance, the Committee will comprise twelve members from industry, including a member nominated by each state and territory.

The Committee will also have one industry peak body representative rotating annually. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has nominated the first member while the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Industry Group will participate in future rotations.

Read more in Senator Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 28 April 2015 - Vocational Education and Training Advisory Board appointment

In April 2015, the Hon Simon Birmingham, Assistant Minister for Education and Training appointed Mr Paul Edginton to the Vocational Education and Training Advisory Board. Mr Edginton has been the Chief Executive Officer of SYC Limited since 2004 and is a Board Member of White Ribbon Australia.

From 2005 to 2008 Paul Edginton served as Member of the Minister for Employment & Workplace Relations CEO Roundtable and from 2012 to 2014 was Chairman of the Playford Local Advisory Group for the Minister for Human Services. Mr Edginton has qualifications in communications and management.

The Board is currently comprised of:

  • John Hart (Chair) - Chief Executive of Restaurant and Catering Australia and a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council
  • Tara Diamond - Executive Director, Industry Services at the Australian Mines & Metals Association
  • Dominique Fisher - Executive Chairman and Managing Director of CareerLounge
  • Paul Edginton – Chief Executive Officer of SYC Limited

For more information, visit vetreform.industry.gov.au.

Update: 27 April 2015 - New support network to increase apprentice completion rates

Businesses, apprentices and trainees will now have access to new and innovative support services after the 11 organisations making up the new Australian Apprenticeship Support Network were announced today. 

Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, said the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) is a $200 million annual investment to recruit, train and retain apprentices and trainees across more than 440 locations that will commence on 1 July.

Read more in Senator Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 21 April 2015 - Employers to drive New Model for training product development

Australian employers and industry will be placed at the heart of a new approach to the development of vocational education and training products announced by the Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, today.

“In an increasingly competitive, globalised and technologically-advanced economy, Australian industry needs skills training that meets the demands of their modern workplaces,” Senator Birmingham said.

“As the Minister responsible for vocational education and training I have placed a priority on finalising a new model for training product development, with Australian industry taking the lead, because it is employers who best know what skills and competencies they need in their current and future employees.

Read more in Senator Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 8 April 2015 - Skills Advisors Network Tender Open

A new tender process announced today will address workforce skills needs and help build national productivity.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham said the Industry Skills Fund (ISF) Skills Adviser Tender will select organisations to provide expert industry professionals who will form a national network of skills advisers.

“We want organisations that can provide skills advice to Australian businesses so they can respond to new opportunities and compete strongly in the global market,” Senator Birmingham said.

“The ISF Skills Adviser Network will work with small to medium business to pursue growth opportunities and help them identify skills to boost their workforce and overall productivity.

Read more in Senator Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 2 April 2015 - Dodgy providers will be fined

For the first time Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) breaching standards could be issued with an immediate fine under the new infringement notice scheme starting today.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, said that up until now the national regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) could only write warning letters, or take regulatory action such as cancelling or suspending a provider’s registration.

“The new scheme will come in to effect tomorrow, and along with tough new standards and new laws to crack down on dodgy marketing practices by RTOs and third parties/brokers, will give ASQA a full suite of powers to act on rogue operators, something that didn’t exist under Labor,” Senator Birmingham said.

Read more in Senator Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 1 April 2015 - Time is up for shonky VET spruikers

The next major step in a series of rolling reforms to vocational education and training (VET) commences today, stamping out unethical behaviour by training providers and their agents.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, said that changes to the VET FEE-HELP scheme guidelines mean unethical inducements to prospective students to sign up for a training course and take out a substantial loan are now banned.

“Tough new national standards now apply to VET marketing practices, the information provided to prospective students and how individual learners are supported to meet the requirements of the training product,” said Senator Birmingham.

Read more in Senator Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 1 April 2015 - VET is critical to international education

The Draft National Strategy for International Education released for consultation today by Minister for Education and Training, Christopher Pyne, highlights the critical role vocational education and training (VET) has on the overall spectrum of international education.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, welcomed the consultation period on the strategy saying that Australian skills training are considered amongst the world’s best because it is based on quality and standards.

“We are helping other countries to set standards for their own system and to train trainers and assessors to ensure local skills training are meeting those needs,” Senator Birmingham said.

Read more in Senator Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 17 March 2015 - Government’s stronger training laws pass Parliament

New legislation passed the Senate today that will further crack down on dodgy Vocational Education and Training (VET) providers.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham welcomed the Senate’s decision to pass the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Amendment Bill 2015.

"Passing this Bill sends a clear signal that the Australian Government will take strong action against those who seek to take advantage of vulnerable students and taxpayers," Senator Birmingham said.

Read Senator Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 13 March 2015 - ACPET codes of practice and ethics launched

The Codes of Practice and Ethics of the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) were launched last week in Melbourne by Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham. The codes of practice and ethics are an industry-led response to tackling rogue providers and lifting standards in the vocational education and training (VET) sector.

“I welcome ACPET’s proactive initiatives to boost confidence in the VET sector and I believe these Codes can play an important role in protecting the sector’s integrity," Senator Birmingham said.

“This is a valuable contribution to the work being undertaken to eliminate the questionable behaviour of some brokers and registered training organisations.

For more information, see Senator Birmingham's media release.

Update: 12 March 2015 - Government targets VET FEE-HELP scammers

Important reforms will be made to the Government’s VET FEE-HELP student loan program to prevent unscrupulous marketers targeting vulnerable Australians and exploiting taxpayers to the tune of billions of dollars.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham has announced a rolling campaign of legislative and other changes to deal with rogue training providers and better protect students taking out an estimated $16.3 billion in unnecessary VET FEE-HELP loans over the next decade.

Senator Birmingham said the Government had already begun taken action against unethical marketing practices by delivering tough new national standards and introducing new laws to strengthen the regulator’s powers to deal with rogue training providers.

For more information, see Senator Birmingham's media release.

Update: 5 March 2015 - Youth Pilot Programmes now open for applications

Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Assistant Minister for Education and Training has recently announced that applications to the Youth Employment Pathways and Training for Employment Scholarships are now open.

The two pilot programmes within the Industry Skills Fund - Youth Stream, are open for applications and will be available until 29 February 2016, unless funding is expended sooner, in selected regional areas and areas of high youth unemployment.

The Training for Employment Scholarships and Youth Employment Pathways are new ways of delivering skilled young employees to businesses. These new programmes will address youth unemployment by supporting businesses to employ more young people; and community organisations to help young people return to school, start vocational training or move into work.

The Youth Employment Pathways and the Training Employment Scholarships programmes will be trialed across all states, with 21 regions selected for the Youth Employment Pathways and 11 for the Training for Employment for Scholarships.

For a full list of the regions see the FaQ: What areas will the Training for Employment Scholarships and Youth Employment Pathways be rolled out in?

To view maps of the regions and for GuidelinesFactsheets, and further information, visit business.gov.au/youth.

Update: 25 February 2015 - New laws to strengthen VET standards

Legislation will be introduced into Parliament today to further crack down on unscrupulous Vocational Education and Training (VET) providers and improve training quality.

“The [National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Amendment Bill 2015] sends a clear signal that, when required, the Australian Government will take strong action against those who seek to take advantage of vulnerable students and taxpayers,” Senator Birmingham said.

“Currently, making new standards to address quality issues can take up to 12 months. This can leave students unfairly exposed to poor quality training, or training that employers have raised concerns about, in the meantime.

Read Senator Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 24 February 2015 - VET FEE-HELP providers under the microscope

Targeted audits of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) will address allegations of unscrupulous marketing and other practices intended to exploit the Australian Government’s VET FEE-HELP program.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham said the national regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), would undertake a total of 23 audits of RTOs including of providers who had been identified through complaints made to the authority.

“Our government is determined to stop training providers ripping off vulnerable students and taxpayers through the VET FEE-HELP program,” Senator Birmingham said.

Read Senator Birmingham's full media release.

Update: 19 February 2015 - Businesses Encouraged to Apply to the Industry Skills Fund

Australian businesses can now apply for support to boost the skills of their workforce under the Australian Government’s new $476 million Industry Skills Fund.

The Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, has encouraged business in South AustraliaWestern Australia and Queensland to begin applying to the fund.

Minister Birmingham said that the fund is a key element of the Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda and new way of providing support to businesses that need to upskill or retrain their employees to enable their business to grow, diversify, adopt new technologies, or take advantage of new market opportunities.

Update: 16 February 2015 - QLD businesses urged to apply for new Industry Skills Fund

With around 20% of Australian businesses located in QLD, it is expected the Industry Skills Fund will provide up to $93 million to Queensland employers to access around 40,000 training and support places.

"I urge growing Queensland businesses to access support to upskill or retrain their employees to boost their business productivity and competitiveness.

"The Fund will help businesses in Queensland with training places and skills advice over the next four years. We want to offer real help and real solutions to the industry in Queensland.

For more information, see Senator Birmingham's media release.

Update: 3 February 2015 - Western Australian businesses urged to apply for new Industry Skills Fund

Businesses in Western Australia can now apply for support to boost the skills of their workforce under the Abbott Government’s new $476 million Industry Skills Fund.

“I urge growing Western Australian businesses to access support to upskill or retrain their employees to boost their business productivity and competitiveness,” said Senator Simon Birmingham, Assistant Minister for Education and Training.

“With more than 10% of Australian businesses located in Western Australia, it is expected the Industry Skills Fund will provide up to $47 million to Western Australian employers to access around 20,000 training and support places.

For more information, see Senator Birmingham's media release.

Update: 3 February 2015 - Western Australia consulted on VET

Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham attended the sixth of eight face-to-face consultations about the future of Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Perth today.

"Our government is embarking upon an ambitious program of VET reform to lift the quality of both training providers and their courses, so as to further enhance the contribution VET makes to the employment prospects of students and the competitiveness of Australia's economy," said Senator Birmingham.

For more information, see Senator Birmingham's media release.

Update: 20 January 2015 - National Training Complaints Hotline launched

The Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, has launched a new National Training Complaints Hotline.

The National Training Complaints Hotline directs complaints to relevant authorities, connecting consumers to the appropriate organisation.

Find out how to access the hotline and more about how it operates.

For further information, visit the Reforms Implemented page on the National Training Complaints Hotline.

Update: 19 January 2015 – National consultations on VET Reform launched

The VET Reform Taskforce is undertaking a round of national face-to-face consultations in every capital city throughout January and February 2015. The consultations sessions will be chaired by a member of the Vocational Education and Training Advisory Board.

To coincide with the face-to-face sessions, a series of webinars will also be delivered by the Taskforce during this period.

The purpose of the consultations is to discuss and listen to feedback from our stakeholders on two themes:

Attendance registration for interested parties.

Update: 19 January 2015 - Applications open for new $476 million skills fund

Australian businesses can now apply for support to boost the skills of their workforce under the Abbott Government’s new $476 million Industry Skills Fund.

Assistant Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the Fund, which will provide up to 200,000 training places and skills advice for businesses over the next four years, was a key element of the Abbott Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda.

“This is a new way of providing support to businesses that need to upskill or retrain their employees to enable their business to grow, diversify, adopt new technologies, or take advantage of new market opportunities,” said Senator Birmingham.

For further information and updates, visit VET Reform.

Update: 16 January 2015 - Tasmania consulted on VET

The second of eight face-to-face consultations about the future of Vocational Education and Training (VET) is being held in Hobart today, led by the new Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham.

“Around 43,000 students study VET qualifications in the public VET system in Tasmania, including approximately 9000 apprentices and trainees. These students and potential employers deserve training that is of the highest quality.

For more information, see Senator Birmingham's media release.

Update: 15 January 2015 - Victoria consulted on VET

The Victorian training sector will be the first in the nation to have their say about the future of Vocational Education and Training (VET) in face-to-face consultations led by the new Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, in Melbourne today.

"Our government is embarking upon an ambitious program of VET reform to lift the quality of both training providers and their courses, so as to further enhance the contribution VET makes to the employment prospects of students and the competitiveness of Australia's economy," said Senator Birmingham.

For more information, see the Senator Birmingham's media release.

Update: 2 January 2015 - New Standards come into effect

The new regulatory Standards for training providers and regulators come into force today for organisations applying to become a registered training organisation (RTO) for the first time.

The transition arrangements allow existing RTOs until 1 April 2015 to demonstrate compliance with the new Standards.

The new Standards are another crucial element in the broader reform of the VET system as the Australian Government builds a more skilled and flexible national workforce - a key element of the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda, launched by the Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP in September 2014. The Agenda aims to build a strong, prosperous Australian economy by playing to our national strengths.

The new Standards will also ensure training providers are more accurate and transparent in their marketing of courses and set out the information that must be supplied to prospective students.
See the Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham’s media release Crack Down on Rogue Training Brokers.

Update: 2 January 2015 - Industry Skills Fund guidelines published.

The $476 million Industry Skills Fund is a key element in the Australian Government’s competitiveness agenda and will provide up to 200,000 training places and support services, including literacy and numeracy training and mentoring.

Visit the Industry Skills Fund page to download the Programme Guidelines, Customer Information Guideline, sample enquiry form and sample application form, and for further information.

Applications open 19 January 2015.

Update: 19 Dec 2014 - National Consultations

The VET Reform Taskforce is undertaking a round of national face-to-face consultations in every capital city throughout January and February 2015. The consultations sessions will be chaired by a member of the Vocational Education and Training Advisory Board.

To coincide with the face-to-face sessions, a series of webinars will also be delivered by the Taskforce during this period.

The purpose of the consultations is to discuss and listen to feedback from our stakeholders on two themes:

Stakeholders are invited to take their place at the table, to have their say on VET reform and ensure that the training system is meeting the needs of Australian workplaces now and into the future.

You can register to attend a consultation session on the National Consultations Stakeholder Engagement page on the VET Reform Website.

Update: 3 Nov 2014 - Towards a contestable training package development funding model, and review of training packages

Minister Macfarlene released the following two discussion papers:

  1. Industry engagement in training package development – towards a contestable funding model, with submissions open to 24 December, 2014, and
  2. Review of Training packages and accredited courses, with consultations open to 18 February, 2015

Both discussion papers can be accessed under “publications’ on the VET Reform website. 

Update: 22 October 2014 - New Standards for Training Providers and Regulators

On 26 September 2014, Ministers at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Industry and Skills Council agreed to new regulatory Standards for training providers and regulators.

To download the new Standards, and for information about how the VET reform agenda is moving the system towards a more modern and responsive regulatory framework, see the New Standards for Training Providers and Regulators.

Update: 17 October 2014 - Industry Skills Fund Youth Streams pilot projects 

Minister Ian Macfarlane yesterday released the discussion paper for the Industry Skills Fund – Youth Pilot Programmes, Training for Employment Scholarships and the Youth Employment Pathways.

Businesses, training providers, community organisations and other groups are encouraged to provide input on the implementation of the Training for Employment Scholarships and the Youth Employment Pathways.

Visit the publication page Industry Skills Fund – Youth Pilot Programmes Discussion Paper to download the discussion paper and for further information about the public consultations.

To assist the department in compiling and analysing the views of all stakeholders, I strongly encourage you to provide feedback via email to VETTaskforce@industry.gov.au

Please note the consultation period ends on 14 November 2014.

Update: 14 October 2014 - Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda

The Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP, today launched the Australian Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda.

The Government seeks to achieve four overarching ambitions in the Agenda:

  • a lower cost, business friendly environment with less regulation, lower taxes and more competitive markets,
  • a more skilled and flexible labour force,
  • better economic infrastructure, and
  • industry policy that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship.

The VET sector will play a central role in the Government’s vision to create a stronger economy, boosting our productivity and our competitiveness by producing workers with the skills employers need.

The VET Reform Agenda is delivering real improvements for industry, students and training providers; strengthening Australia’s training system for a sustainable future. 

For further information on VET reform as part of the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda see the factsheet:

A more skilled labour force – improving education and training. 

For further information and updates, visit VET Reform

Update: 26 September 2014 – Australian Industry and Skills Committee

At September’s COAG meeting, Ministers agreed to the Terms of Reference, functions and structure of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee, which will be an industry-led body whose role is to provide advice to ensure that the directions taken by Ministers are informed by an industry-based perspective focused on the quality and relevance of the national training system. Where required, the committee will be delegated authority to approve industry-defined training qualifications.

For updates, visit VET Reform

Update: 11 September 2014 – A new approach to the development of training packages 

On 11 September 2014, the Minister for Industry, the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP announced that, at the end of the current contract period with ISCs, the Government would be moving to a more contestable model for the development and maintenance of training packages.

These new arrangements are planned to commence from July 2015 and are part of a broad Vocational Education and Training reform process.

The new approach will put industry front and centre of the training package development process, ensure value for money and open the role of development and maintenance of training packages to the market.

For updates, visit VET Reform

Update: 1 September 2014 - Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme 

The Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme offers access to practical support to Australian businesses in a simplified and streamlined way. The Programme is a new approach to the way government provides services to business.  Targeted industries: food & agriculture; mining equipment, technology & services; medical technologies and pharmaceuticals; oil & gas; advanced manufacturing, and enabling technologies servicing those sectors.

With a national network of more than 100 private sector Advisers, the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme offers support to businesses through three elements:

  • Business Management;
  • Research Connections; and
  • Commercialising Ideas.

Access to the Business Support and Research Connections streams are now available.

Register for updates and access to guidelines

Update: 28 August 2014 – Vocational Education and Training Advisory Board 

The Australian Government is further strengthening the links between industry and the skills sector, with the appointment of a five-member Minister’s Vocational Educational and Training Advisory Board that will provide advice to the Minister for Industry regarding priorities for reforming the vocational education and training sector

The Board is comprised of:

  • John Hart (Chair) - Chief Executive of Restaurant and Catering Australia and a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council
  • Patrick McKendry (Deputy Chair) - CEO Careers Australia Group and former Chairman of the National Quality Council and TVET Australia
  • Tara Diamond - Executive Director, Industry Services at the Australian Mines & Metals Association
  • Dominique Fisher - Executive Chairman and Managing Director of CareerLounge,
  • Jodie Hughson - Manager for Quality, Learning and Workplace Development for Anglicare, Southern Queensland

Further details are available here.

Update: 28 July 2014 - Industry Skills Fund Discussion Paper

Today the Australian Government released a discussion paper on the Industry Skills Fund to address workforce capability issues impacting on the ability of Australian SMEs to respond quickly to new and changing opportunities and improve their productivity and competitiveness in a global market,

To commence January 2015, the Department of Industry is seeking input on the design and principles of the Industry Skills Fund, including:

  • Funding priorities
  • Eligibility
  • Activities to be funded
  • Merit criteria
  • Funding arrangements
  • Reporting requirements
  • Complementarity of government industry programmes, including the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme

Responses are requested by 7 September, 2014.

Industry Skills Fund

Visit Business.gov.au for more information on the Industry Skills Fund.

Further Updates:

Subscribe to the VET Reform Taskforce for updates.