Queensland’s VET Skills and Training Taskforce (Some More thoughts)
November 7, 2012 Leave a comment
Some more thoughts on the recommendations of the QLD Skills and Training Taskforce
Today I want to continue on from yesterdays post and look more closely at some of the recently released recommendations of the Queensland Skills and Training Taskforce and I thought that I might start off with the second set of recommendations (Recommendation 1.0 really just reaffirms the importance of the VET sector and Training in general) around and Industry Engaged VET system. There are three main areas the recommendations look at;
- An Industry led Skills Commission,
- Government VET investment, and
- VET in Schools and links to Higher Education
So lets look at each of them separately, starting with
An Industry Led Skills Commission (Recommendations 2.1-2.5)
Recommendation 2.1 The Queensland Government establish a truly industry-led Queensland VET sector characterised by the creation of an independent statutory Queensland Skills Commission directly accountable to the Minister for Education, Training and Employment. I really think this is a great idea particularly when linked to 2.3 and 2.4 which would hopefully see the commission have control over the funding and contracting arrangements themselves. This was and I think that I echo the thoughts of a lot of people here, one of the big issues that faced Skills Queensland they did not have any real power in relation to the funding etc which reduced their ability to be as effective as they could have been. (This should not be seen as criticism of Skills Queensland whom I think have done and do a fantastic job in terms of their connection with industry.
The only criticism I would level at this recommendation comes from 2.2 and is around the make up of the commission. While I understand the Governments viewpoint on wanting the ‘4 pillars’ represented to suggest that the largest employment sector in the state (Health and Community Services) should only potentially have representation is ridiculous in the extreme.
The Health and Community Services Industry:
Injects more than $16.2 billion to the Queensland economy each year
- Pays more than $13.5 billion in wages and salaries
- Attracts volunteer and carer contributions, estimated to be worth $10.5 billion annually
- Purchases around $2 billion worth of goods and services annually from other Queensland industries and businesses
- Created 20,400 new jobs in Queensland in 2011 representing more than 80% of Queensland’s job growth of 25,400
- Created 71,900 new jobs or 28 per cent of the state’s total employment growth over five years to 2011
There should without a doubt be at least one representative of the Health and Community Services Industry and I would suggest two (one from the Health Industry and one for the Community Services industry) as despite any assertions to the contrary it is the biggest employment area both currently and into the future and has and will continue to have incredibly high need for training of staff and unlike some other industries (mining in particular) does not have the wealth of self-generated funds to put towards training staff, relying heavily on Government subsidy.
Transforming VET Investment (Recommendations 2.6-2.8)
There is really nothing out of the ball park here, the only thing I would say echo’s my statements above, about the need to ensure that the Health and Community Services Sector is not left out of the ‘selected Certificate IV and above qualifications, skill sets and other specific priorities.’ There is a significant need for the Health and Community Services to be able to access funding for training at levels above a Certificate III level. I would however like to add here that there needs to be some focus on how funding is handled. I have made the point before that a model focussing on Units of Competency rather than full qualifications may in some areas by incredibly useful from both an employee and employer perspective. In order to obtain the best results in terms of completion rates and employment outcomes, more of the funding needs to be funnelled to organisations (employers) and less to individuals. This gives employers the ability to recruit, train and retain staff, at levels that will be achieved without tight employer involvement. I say this because when you consider completion rates from Enterprise RTO’s (that is employers who have their own internal RTO to train primarily their own staff) they are in the area of 90+%, because it is in the interest of the employer to ensure that they recruit the right people and give them all of the assistance necessary in order to complete. This is simply not the case with external providers who are training individuals who are hoping that on completion they will be able to gain employment.
VET in Schools and Links with Higher Education (recommendations 2.9-2.12)
I think recommendation 2.9 definately sets the scene here “There is a clear role for VETiS into the future, within a strictly applied framework that supports achievement of the Government’s economic goals, however, Government’s VRG investment in VETiS needs to be focused on employment outcomes and aligned to the skill needs of industry,” and is on the money. The need for stronger links between the vocational course offered to and taken by high school students become abundantly clear when you see that the biggest increases (between 300 & 800+%) in course has been in entertainment and fitness qualifications. However again (and I know I am banging on about this a little) just going back to offering trade qualifications without reference to other industries with equal or more demand for workers would be a definite mistake.
The need for better dialogue between the VET and Higher Education Sectors (recommendation 2.12) is something that almost self-evident and needs to be improved.
So there you have my thoughts on specifics of the recommendations in section 2 of the report. Tomorrow I am going to have a closer look at the recommendations around TAFE.
As always happy to hear what you have to think on any of these subjects.