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What is Australia doing to improve the standard of VET?

May 27, 2021

Since the 2019 Expert Review of Australia’s VET system by the Honourable Steven Joyce, the need for change in VET has been pushed into the spotlight. With the Review’s roadmap outlining early, medium and end-state actions, we’re likely going to continue to see some big change in the VET sector over the next few years, especially when it comes to jobs, upskilling and promoting VET pathways.

Roadmap to a stronger skills sector[1]

What has changed in response to the Review’s recommendations?

Many of the Review’s early actions have been carried out by the Government and have already created substantial change for the sector.

National Skills Commission (NSC) established

With the appointment of Adam Boynton as National Skills Commissioner in 2020, the purpose of the NSC is to:

  • make an enduring and relevant contribution to labour market information and quality
  • contribute to a labour market that effectively aligns skills needs with education and training
  • improve the accessibility and relevance of Vocational Education and Training.

The NSC is doing this by developing intelligence on Australia’s labour market, workforce changes, and current and emerging skills needs. The Jobs and Education Data Infrastructure project (JEDI) is enabling this development and research. 

Apprenticeships incentives

Apprenticeships incentives for employers and apprentices include Boosting Apprenticeships Commencements, Supporting Apprentices and Trainees and more. We also know the Australian Government will be introducing the Incentives for Australian Apprenticeships (IAA) program in October 2021 to replace the current Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program (AAIP). 

National Careers Institute (NCI) established 

The NCI has been established as an independent office within the NSC, playing the lead role of providing authoritative and accurate careers information using NSC data. They have a focus on marketing and promoting vocational careers, including webinars for school leavers and parents and guardians of school leavers. There’s even a podcast where people who have reached their career goals by completing a VET qualification are interviewed (we particularly love the episode with the amazing Shaona Imaru (2019 Vocational Student of the Year), who we interviewed back in 2019). 

Changes to ASQA’s regulatory approach

ASQA has improved their information about audit processes by evolving their regulatory approach. The changes fit under three main categories:

  • how ASQA assesses performance
  • their approach to compliance
  • their approach to reviewing decisions. 

We’ve covered ASQA’s key regulatory approach changes in more detail here.

Skills Organisations Pilots 

To deepen industry engagement and improve the VET system, three industry-led Skills Organisation Pilots have been established in the fields of digital skills, mining and human services. These pilots have been established to strengthen the role of industry and employers in VET, including

  • the identification of skills needs
  • qualifications development
  • improving the quality of training delivery and assessment
  • engaging with other reforms occurring across the national training system where relevant.

Sector stakeholders will be contributing to the development of projects related to these pilots.

Language, Literacy, Numeracy and Digital Literacy (LLND)

The Foundation Skills for your Future initiative provides free LLND training across Australia.

Foundation Skills program fact sheet[2]

What change are we likely to see in the future?

ASQA as the single national VET regulator

One of the Review’s end-state goal suggestions was to have ASQA as the single national regulator for VET. One of the issues raised in the Review that may be hindering this is the states who don’t use ASQA don’t feel it’s necessary to make the change. However, with the improvements and changes being made by ASQA, we may see this change happen. 

Wrap-around services for vulnerable students

Another suggested action on the roadmap was to link VET to wrap-around services for vulnerable students. ‘Wrap-around’ refers to the process of working with vulnerable youth, such as youth with mental health challenges and their families. This focuses on maximising collaboration between stakeholders, including the client (the student) and their support network, as well as services involved. Funding has been allocated to some wrap-around services[3], however a strong collaborative link of wrap-around services to VET is yet to be achieved[4]. 

VET in Schools

We’re also likely to see more efforts in boosting industry confidence in VET delivery in schools, with emphasis on developing clear and robust pathways to vocational careers. 

Check out this cool first look at new vocational high school facilities:

First look at new vocational high school facilities NSW

Although this isn't a complete list of the changes being made in the VET sector, we hope this has given some good insight into the direction of the VET sector in Australia. As ASQA and other government VET bodies continue to implement these recommended changes and more, the VET sector will continue to see improvements, and increased quality and reputation. 

What’s your opinion on the changes being made? Let us know on LinkedIn


  1. Strengthening Skills: Expert Review of Australia's Vocational Education and Training System
  2. Foundation Skills for Your Future Program Fact Sheet
  3. The National VET Funding Collection explained
  4. Education-Centred Formal Wraparound Services in Support of School-Aged Students with Complex Needs

Want to know more about the future of VET? Check out these articles:

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