Claire Field on the future for digital skills accreditation in VET


It’s going to be what people can do not what training package they completed

“Creative destruction” and “innovation” are not terms typically associated with Australian public policy.

However, after a webinar last week it is clear that the accepted wisdom on public policy making in VET is being given a HUGE shake-up.

The “Workforce of the Future: Focus on Digital” webinar featured the Chair and a Board member of the pilot Digital Skills Organisation.

The pilot Skills Organisations come from the Joyce Review recommending “industry-owned and government-registered skills organisations to be set up to take responsibility for the qualification development process for their industries and to control their training packages.”

In a complete rejection of the ‘Training Package development’ part of their mandate the Digital Skills Organisation instead intends “to blow things up”. Specifically, their Board member stated the Training Package model is ill-suited to the fast-moving skill needs of the tech sector and therefore they instead intend encouraging/investing in a variety of innovative, non-accredited, education models.

While Joyce also recommended that skills organisations receive funding based on the level of training activity undertaken in their field, it is unclear if the Digital Skills Organisation sees any role for formal IT training in VET. They want to put the emphasis on certifying the skills people gain. Where and how the skills are learned is irrelevant.

One innovative example which was discussed was the 42 Program which one of the webinar participants is involved in bringing to Australia.

CMM readers will know that for some time I have been pondering if and how government would respond to the threat from the non-accredited EdTech sector. I did not imagine they would look to bring it into the heart of the formal VET system.

The video of the webinar is not yet on the Department’s website – but it is a “must watch” when it is.

Claire is an advisor to the tertiary education sector. She has written about the threats and opportunities from EdTech and has interviewed a number of EdTech entrepreneurs on the ‘What now? What next?’ podcast