Government Response to QLD Skills and Training Taskforce

The Queensland Government has released it official response to the Queensland Skills and Training Taskforce Report.

The response released a few days ago is no real surprise with the Government fully supporting 35 of the 40 recommendations and providing in principle support to the other 5 recommendations.  So which of the recommendations did the government only support in principle?  Recommendations 2.1-2.5 all of which relate to the creation of an Industry led Skills Commission were only supported in principle, with the Government committing to;

• rejuvenate the state’s industry engagement arrangements to better meet industry skill
• clarify the contribution of Industry Skills Bodies in gathering advice and insights from a
broad range of industries across the state.

So why didn’t fully support and accept them, personally I think it is an issue of timing and funding.  Skills Queensland already exists and operates exceedingly well within the confines of its powers, although criticisms have been raised of the level of industry engagement it undertakes.  A clarification of the role of Skills Queensland and a strong separation between purchaser and provider as outlined in the recommendations is something that could be done relatively quickly, but in terms of timing it is probably better to deal with the issues surrounding TAFE and get the public provider running more efficiently, effectively and competitively before implementing any other changes.

There are also a couple of other things in the response that I think are worth noting;

  1. direct public training investment towards qualifications that are more likely to lead to  employment – This needs to happen as soon as possible, if there are not strong employment outcomes why is the training being publicly funded,
  2. make funding for entitlement training fully contestable from 1 July 2014,
  3. target training funding towards VET in Schools options that deliver clear employment pathways – Less funding for arts and entertainment (video game design for example) and more funding for Trades and Health and Community Services,
  4.  refocus TAFE Queensland to operate commercially and provide training that is responsive to industry and student demands,
  5. work with TAFE Queensland employees and unions to negotiate a modern enterprise agreement that delivers increased productivity outcomes – See my previous post,
  6. open up third party access arrangements by the end of 2013 with the aim of maximising use of public training assets – private providers able to use TAFE facilities, what and excellent idea.
  7. establish a parent entity for TAFE Queensland, independent from the Department of Education, Training and Employment – This should assist TAFE with the transition, particularly if the right people are put in place from the word go.
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