The Queensland government is asking for public feedback on its plans for the state’s VET system.
On 28 February the Queensland government released Advancing skills for the future: A strategy for vocational education and training in Queensland (24 pages). The draft strategy is anchored in three objectives:
- Industry and innovation – ongoing strategic collaboration between industry, employers and government to support new industries and business practices and advance the growth of priority industries.
- A quality system – world-class VET that underpins economic growth and meets the needs of industry, employers and students.
- Access and participation – all Queenslanders have access to skilling pathways that enhance employability and social wellbeing.
Access and participation in Queensland
In Queensland, access and participation have particular significance. A comparatively high proportion of Queenslanders make VET a port of call. As the draft strategy notes:
‘While only 20 per cent of Australia’s working age population lived in Queensland in 2015, 26.1 per cent of national VET qualifications were awarded to Queenslanders.’
Advancing skills for the future also indicates that:
‘In 2015-16, Queensland was the only Australian state to see growth in student numbers, with about 270,000 people undertaking publicly-funded VET compared with around 256,000 in 2014-15.’
Keeping VET relevant in an era of rapid technological change
The strategy reflects the reality of a changing economy and evolving skill requirements.
It’s estimated that technology will automate around 40 per cent of current jobs within 20 years. Automation doesn’t necessarily mean a jobs contraction, but it does mean many future jobs will be about managing and maintaining automated activity.
The draft strategy intends to ensure VET providers offer relevant training in both technical skills and generic skills (such as those represented in ‘innovative, entrepreneurial and flexible mindsets’). The strategy envisages closer ties between the VET system and industry, and refers to improved capability in ongoing analysis of trends in demand for skills. There is a commitment to ‘evaluating proposals from employers and industry on alternative ways of developing and delivering training for emerging skills priorities.’
A breadth of strategic commitments
There is a clear and pleasing commitment to ‘supporting the professional development of training providers and VET practitioners.’ Other proposed undertakings include:
- tightening entry standards and contracting provisions, only renewing contracts with proven high quality providers, and enhancing pre-qualified supplier risk profiling
- gathering evidence on how consumers prefer to access information about VET, increasing the availability of different types of information, and expanding methods of access
- working with schools to map pathways and help students make good decisions about school subjects, VET in Schools options, and access to higher education
- creating a statement of expectations which confirms TAFE Queensland’s role in delivering key government priorities and in areas that cannot be met through market settings
Have your say
If you’re a Queenslander you might want to chip in your ideas. The draft strategy is open for comment until 13 April 2017. You can complete an online survey or email a written submission to VET.firstname.lastname@example.org
(Regional consultation forums will be conducted too though the schedule was unavailable at the time of writing.)