Does our VET system work? I actually think it does.
February 16, 2015 1 Comment
So as most of you know I was out at the VET Reform consultations in Brisbane today. (Thank you to Assistant Minister Birmingham, Peta, and the whole Vet Reform Taskforce crew, job well done.) It was an interesting morning with a lot of conversation and discussion and a couple of comments and ideas actually stuck in my mind and I while I was digesting them on the way back to the office I asked myself a question. “If I was building a national vocational education system what would it look like?” The answer I came up with was something pretty much like what we have. A system where the training is developed and maintained by industry bodies to meet the needs of the industries they represent. A mix of public and non-public providers to deliver the training to meet the needs of organisations and individuals. Government funding to assist with the priority areas for the ongoing workforce needs of the nation and a single national set of standards which governed the delivery of these qualifications by all providers. So pretty much what we already have.
Now I am not saying that how the system operates is perfect for everyone and that there are not issues at some of the points along the way, but overall I think we have the structure right. Not everyone agrees that the ISC’s are the right way to develop and maintain packages, a more ad hoc committee structure might work better, but I don’t think anyone is arguing that we don’t need to have the industry connection. We are not debating the overall structure at a high level we are just debating exactly what the best way to achieve it is. Sure there are providers and individuals (both public and non-public) out there who may not be doing the right thing, but that is an issue of governance not the structure. Funding for programs may not always be what everyone thinks they should be, but again, that is about funding and Government priorities not structure.
We have a good, if not great system here, let’s make sure we don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Sure we can do things better, but is the system ever going to be perfect, no, no system ever is. What we need to ensure is that we have a robust and sustainable system that provides the necessary outcomes for all of the stakeholders, everything else is just tinkering around the edges.