What Australia needs now: single-sector training


VET can skill Australia for the immediate post COVID period and become the engine room for the economy for the next 20 years

As the learned Claire Field regularly reports in CMM, work towards national consistency in qualifications is underway. But we need way more –connecting skills planning to industry policy.

Jurisdictions that win out will be those who have clear future-industry plans and can articulate these to the training providers that can build content around future jobs.

But states and territories will also need to work with the Commonwealth, to ensure what international students study fits national strategies and local needs.

For all this to work, institutions will need to adopt cross-sector partnerships and dual-sector providers develop systems in-house to create job-generating skills bases. The recent announcement of TAFE NSW combining with four universities to create a training centre at the “aerotropolis” planned for the new western Sydney airport is a great example.

This joining-up can break down barriers and introduces VET students to higher education opportunities. For a Cert IV student to be studying with people working towards a degree is an essential way to do this. Joining-up will accomplish more than lifting standards of education, and skill acquisition among individuals, it will create skills-based mobility across the workforce.

The nexus between future planning and training is crucial. Business as what used to be normal will not be enough to repair the long-term damage the virus has already done. A connected training system is a big part of the solution.

Dirk Mulder is CMM’s international education correspondent