Vocational education and training (VET) is central to the growth of Australian businesses and to the capacity of millions of Australians to succeed in a changing labour market.
On Wednesday 28 November 2018, Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, announced the vocational education review at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s annual dinner, along with a promise to set up 10 new tax clinics to provide free advice to small businesses in tax disputes.
The VET Review will focus on ensuring Australians have the skills they need to enter work when they leave school as well as preparing them for jobs that will exist in the future. It will also ensure that businesses have access to the skills they need to grow the business.
“The Review will ensure Australians have the right skills to get a job,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Morrison said providing a skilled workforce to small businesses “depends on vocational education and training” and the review would focus on ensuring businesses had the skills they need to grow.
The sector must be able to “respond to future demands for higher skills, changing industry composition and structural change, especially in rural and regional Australia and people working longer and in varied roles across their working lives”, he said.
Morrison said the review would be conducted “very promptly to make sure we’re training the right people for the right jobs in the years ahead”.
Steven Joyce, the former New Zealand Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, and Minister of Finance, will lead the review. Mr Joyce was the architect of significant reforms to the apprenticeship and industry training system in New Zealand.
Business Council Chief Executive, Jennifer Westacott, said an independent review into vocational education and skills is a good first step towards making the Australian workforce more resilient.
“An independent review into vocational education and skills is a good first step, focussing on the need for life-long learning and building general literacy and numeracy skills to give Australians the best chance in a volatile and changing Australian economy,” said Westacott. “The world is changing rapidly and that means to compete, Australian workers must be the best trained and most resilient on earth.”
Mr Joyce will engage with stakeholders across the country and across sectors, reporting to the Government in March 2019.