We’ve recapped three insightful presentations from NCVER’s 30th national research conference. The theme this year was ‘past informing the future’, and each session focused on a different aspect of the complex nature of VET in Australia. Although we haven’t covered every session from the conference (which would make for a very long article), you can take a look at all of the insightful presentation slides here.
Presentation: National Skills Commissioner Adam Boynton
The National Skills Commission (NSC) has been driving innovative research in the VET sector.
Firstly, the NSC pricing methodology outlines a phased approach that aims to solve various problems with current pricing for qualifications. The NSC’s average price benchmark database shows that students pay very different prices for the same qualifications depending on their jurisdiction – with some price variances exceeding $10, 000. This pricing is primarily driven by policy decisions across jurisdictions.
The NSC has also been looking at similarities between qualifications, including course names, units, course descriptions, the frequency of keywords within these texts and more. From this analysis, the qualifications were clustered based on the similarity of the skills taught by the units within the courses. Many of these clusters were found to mirror existing training packages, and some of the clusters intersected, indicating overlap across training packages (in fact, over 2000 units of competency have more than 90% overlap with at least one other unit, and over 5500 units have more than 70% overlap).
Additionally, the NSC is working with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to develop the VET National Data Asset to assess the performance of the VET system with greater depth and accuracy. This links total VET activity data to data on employment, earnings, income support, and participation in further education and training (all anonymously).
The data being examined includes:
This research will be further refined based on stakeholder feedback, expert input and the quality and usefulness of the data – it’s important that the final results focus on the value-add of training.
Boynton also spoke about the effects of the pandemic on the labour market. One trend is that around 93% of new jobs in the next 5 years will require either a VET or university qualification. This can be seen in the shift towards higher skill level occupations and growth in STEM occupations, while routine manual occupations have a challenging outlook. Some additional industries and jobs projected to see further growth over the next 5 years include aged and disabled care, registered nurses and software programmers. Other emerging occupations include digital technology, online engagement, sustainability engineering and trades, as well as new business practices, new regulatory roles and new areas within health.
The key learning from Boynton’s presentation is something many of us are highly aware of – the emerging jobs of today and tomorrow are all likely to require employees to continually refresh their skills and retrain throughout their careers.
Watch the full keynote address here.
Presentation: Dr. Liz Allen, Demographer
Dr. Liz Allen’s inspiring story highlighted many important issues that need to be addressed in Australia’s education system. Allen emphasised just how much education and training determines our lives – from jobs to health, income to wellbeing, and even life expectancy across generations.
Currently, education and training opportunities aren’t granted equally. Allen discussed the issue that those who are born at a lower socioeconomic status have a compounding disadvantage, with the gap between lower and higher socioeconomic statuses growing throughout life. This is a structural problem that needs to be addressed.
Allen’s blueprint for overcoming inequality and disadvantage in Australia starts with education and training. Education and training should be acknowledged as a public good that not only benefits individuals, but communities – and it should be accessible to all and funded fairly. When education is accessible to everyone, it has an equalising and empowering nature that goes beyond socioeconomic status. All educators can make positive change and improve equality in education by ensuring every student, no matter their life circumstance, is granted the opportunity of education to become a passport to life.
Watch the full keynote address here.
Presentation: Professor John Buchanen, The University of Sydney
Buchanen shared important insights from an upcoming study on people from disadvantaged backgrounds in VET, in particular disability. The study found that overall, people with disability and their family members were very positive about their experiences with VET, and appreciated Smart and Skilled fee-free courses. However, there are many challenges when it comes to successful education and engagement for those who are disadvantaged. This includes:
Hallmarks of successful educational engagement and employment include:
Policy is where the VET sector has the most control in improving these challenges. However, according to the study, the real problems with inclusion begin after the qualification ends. The VET sector needs to engage with segmentation, flows of learning and labour and labour demand.
aXcelerate is proud to have been a Gold Sponsor for NCVER’s ‘No Frills’ 2021 Research Conference.
aXcelerate is Australia’s fastest growing cloud-based Student Management System. We started as an RTO, so we know what’s best for RTOs.
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If you're interested in learning more about the state of VET in Australia, check out these articles:
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