The AI challenge: VET will need help to keep courses current


the VET sector is going to need to follow higher education’s lead and allow trusted providers to work directly with industry

I have been interested in understanding more about UTS’ partnership with Telstra – developing microcredentials for Telstra staff and contractors – since it was announced in 2019 and launched in mid-2020.

At the time UTS embarked on the project the world was plunged into the COVID pandemic. Despite this, and its very tight timeframes, the project has gone from strength to strength and I was pleased to learn more about it inmy recent podcast interview with UTS’ Enterprise Learning Lead, Fiona Anson.

Unlike the flexibility available to universities and other trusted higher education providers – no TAFE Institute, community or independent VET provider is able to develop and self-accredit their own courses. Instead the sector has had an almost thirty-year focus on national consistency – aimed at ensuring the qualifications and units of competency taught in VET deliver the same knowledge and skills irrespective of who teaches the course, where or in what circumstances.

This focus on consistency through national Training Packages has been important in licensed occupations such as electrical and construction trades – but the advent of ChatGPT and other forms of generative AI are going to challenge the Training Package model in areas like business services.

In a nutshell – generative AI and especially ChatGPT has unleashed such profound changes to a range of business processes in just the last three months that it is difficult to know how the VET sector (through the Digital Skills Organisation’s Jobs and Skills Council) can keep the Business Services Training Package up-to-date.

I have identified at least 50 units of competency in the BSB Training Package which are likely to need updating to reflect how ChatGPT is changing:

* business planning and decision making processes

* development of policies and procedures

* marketing and communications

* business meetings and record keeping

* legal and paralegal services, and

* professional writing and editing.

To my mind, at least in some fields of education, the VET sector is going to need to follow higher education’s lead and allow trusted providers to work directly with industry to develop and amend courses in a timely manner and be self-accredited to do so.

I canvassed these and a range of other ideas in my submission to the House of Representatives committee inquiry into “Perceptions and Status of VET.”

Claire Field is an advisor to the tertiary education sector


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