Employers and VET system – NCVER survey results

Today saw the release of the latest NCVER report on ‘Employers’ Use and Views of the VET System’, which contains a look at the relationship between industry and employers and the VET system and providers.  So what does it say about this relationship?  In a nutshell, it is not as good as it was.

The first telling statistic is that the proportion of employers using the vocational education and training (VET) system in 2013 decreased by 4.2 percentage points to 51.9% from 2011.  We also see both the apprenticeship/traineeship and other VET training participation number down by around 3.5% in each category and the number of jobs requiring vocational qualifications down by 3% as well.

So if the usage of the system has gone down, maybe the satisfaction levels have stayed the same or gone up.  Unfortunately this isn’t the case either.  We are seeing a marked decrease, around 6%, in employer satisfaction, in the skills participants obtain from doing vocational qualifications.  Now to be fair the percentage of satisfaction is still high, hovering around 80%, and  employer satisfaction with non-accredited training decreased by the same percentage as well, but a 6% decrease is not something to be taken lightly in my opinion and shows that there is a disconnect developing between the needs of the employer and what is being ‘taught’ to participants.

However the really damming numbers that come out of this report are hidden down in the expanded tables, in particular Table 12 – Reasons for dissatisfaction with the VET system.  Across the board the two main reasons for this dissatisfaction are;

  1. Training is of poor quality or low standard (30-50%)
  2. Relevant skills are not being taught (30-40%)

That these two reasons are the significant reasons for the employer dissatisfaction with the VET system is appalling, if the skills participants are being taught are not even relevant then why are we even bothering to deliver training to them.

So why are we seeing these results and are we going to keep seeing them into the future.  I think there are a lot of different things going on here, but some things I think are clear.

  • VET participants are not (for whatever reason, and I could talk about the reasons until the cows come home) learning relevant skills.
  • The training is of poor, low and inconsistent quality,
  • Training is too general to be useful to an employer.

Now these are things that I have spoken about in a number of other places and as I have said many times, one of the reasons organisations, move to operate their own RTO’s is because the quality of employees generated through the public and private provider system is not what is needed by organisations, there is a significant gap between the two, a gap that can be overcome when the training is done internally through the organisation or through a partnership, where the RTO truly understands the business and is will the work with the organisation to get the necessary outcomes.

I have for a long time now, been appalled by the skills of the majority of trainers that I encounter, the quality of the materials and the delivery methodologies of a substantial amount of VET providers, again both public and private, which is why we only work a small and selected group of providers.  Now don’t get me wrong, this is not just a VET sector thing, a lot of the non-accredited training I have  seen has been awful as well.  Good trainers, who can create and deliver good material seem to be as rare as hens teeth these days, and it is beginning to show that people outside the training industry are noticing.

So will see this downward trend continue, unless the training industry does something about it yes.  The industry needs to stop having this focus on government funding and assessment outcomes and start to focus on delivering good quality training that delivers to the needs of employers first and then think about funding and assessment after.  But we need to get the training right first.

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About pauldrasmussen
Paul is the winner of the 2013 Leadership in VET Quality Award and the 2013 LearnX Learning Manager of the year award. A Thought Leader and Speaker on Organisational Learning, Professional Development, Motivation, Leadership, Management and Professional Ethics, he speaks widely and has published work on the areas of Learning and Development, Learning ROI, Business, Management, Leadership and Ethics. With Qualifications in Ethics and Bioethics, Organisational Learning and Development, Training, and Business Management and Leadership, Paul has worked in and with a wide range of public, private, government and not for profit organisations. He is currently the National Training Manager for Spectrum Training and the principal consultant with Rasmussen Learning. Specialties: • Organisational Learning and Development • Ethics (Business, Professional and Theoretical) • Learning Management and ROI • Professional Speaking • RTO Management • E-Learning • Management • Leadership • Learning Management Systems

2 Responses to Employers and VET system – NCVER survey results

  1. Kerry Whitaker says:

    Well said Paul – there are too many players with vested interests which have created a minefield for employers and students alike. If we can cut through the morass of funding options and get back to the basics of training people for industry that would be great! I realize that this could never happen but the entire VET landscape is so convoluted I sometimes thing we should completely scrap it and start again!

  2. Charlie Colclough says:

    I agree with what you have said Paul but one thing that you have overlooked is that some of the responsibility rests with the employers. When out Assessing and Training out the work place I have found that the employers want to have the training and assessing completed under time restraints or that you the Assessor and Trainer are an inconvenience to their program and that they do not see it as a necessity but more as a way of promoting their business. Also in my travels you do hear of many Assessor and Trainers who do not do a very good job at all. The problem is that after the bad experience many organisations tend to steer away from the VET program and do not seek out those of us who are delivering a beneficial program to meet the needs of the employer.

    While I am on the topic I find it frustrating that a program that is deemed to be a national program is then changed by each individual state and territory with what seems to me to be people in their Ivory towers justifying their jobs. These national accredited programs should be run by the Federal Government which over time would cut down on administration and seen by employers as a truely national accreditation. The difference in indicative hours, funding and administration to meet the outcomes of each state is a disgrace and makes it very difficult for RTO’s to work across borders.

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