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VET Workforce Quality Strategy Phase 2 Consultation Feedback

Infographic titled: A summary of the Quality Reform consultations as at 11 June 2021.

In 2020, under the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform, all Australian governments agreed to progress reforms to strengthen the training system to support Australia's economic recovery.

In acknowledgement of the importance of the vocational education and training (VET) workforce, this commitment included developing a VET Workforce Quality Strategy (the Strategy). The Strategy will support registered training organisations (RTOs) and trainers and assessors to deliver high quality training and assessment.

Phase two consultations, held in September 2021, sought feedback on the measures in the draft Strategy and on the following themes:

  • Capability frameworks and professional standards

  • Qualifications and entry pathways

  • Ongoing professional support and industry currency

  • Fostering best practice and continuous improvement

  • Workforce planning and data.

Key findings

General

Stakeholders generally had a positive response to the measures in the draft Strategy and were of the view that the tools and resources identified would assist in supporting trainer and assessor quality and capability.

Some stakeholders suggested the Strategy include more recognition of the interactions with the broader VET reform agenda, including qualification reforms, industry engagement reforms, revisions to the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 and the review of the Training and Education Training Package.

Capability frameworks and professional standards

Most stakeholders agreed there was value in developing an updated capability framework, or set of professional standards, for the VET workforce. Some stakeholders suggested the following additional themes for inclusion:

  • Professional development

  • Digital literacy

  • Teaching practice

  • Educator career support, planning, and progression

  • Industry currency and collaboration.

Some stakeholders noted that to be effective the capability framework or professional standards would need to be simple to understand and easy to implement. The feedback reiterated the importance of having guidance materials to support RTOs and trainers and assessors to use and implement the capability framework or professional standards as well as understand their purpose.

The feedback highlighted the importance of ensuring the updated capability framework or professional standards were adaptable and flexible for contextualised use within RTOs, allowed RTOs to determine the important areas within the framework or standards for their organisation, and were able to meet changing needs and capabilities.

Qualifications and entry pathways

Stakeholders were supportive of developing principles to guide the review of the Training and Education Training Package to promote VET workforce quality.

Some stakeholders suggested the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment could be improved through increased flexibility and ensuring a focus on teaching practice, and student engagement and outcomes.

There were suggestions to restructure the qualification to include different streams or pathways to accommodate the diverse roles in the sector.

The Certificate IV in Training and Assessment was perceived as ineffective by some stakeholders, particularly in equipping new trainers with the skills required for delivering training.

Using micro credentials and stackable skill sets was suggested as a way to support
industry-experienced professionals develop skills in areas of interest and encourage transition to the VET workforce.

Other suggestions included:

  • Skills sets that are targeted and industry defined

  • Allowing industry-experienced professionals to teach while obtaining qualifications

  • Simplifying the Training and Education Training Package

  • Making entry qualifications less onerous to undertake.

Some stakeholders were of the view that the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment is a barrier to entry for many industry-experienced professionals. Finding a clear and workable approach for attracting industry experts into VET and improving the attractiveness and flexibility of careers in the VET sector, was seen to be important.

Stakeholders noted that improving communication with industry could further promote careers in the VET workforce. It was highlighted that support should be available for industry-experienced professionals to make sure they gain the relevant skills during their transition to the VET workforce. The inclusion of practical mentoring/coaching was seen as an important transition tool for industry-experienced professionals to become trainers.

Stakeholders believed a gradual approach to transitioning to the VET workforce would be beneficial, to allow industry-experienced professionals to adjust to working in the VET sector while still working in industry.

Stakeholders also noted the importance of career development for trainers and assessors. This included the need to provide career pathways and progression for trainers and assessors, including upskilling options. It was also suggested that trainers and assessors should be encouraged to seek higher level qualifications in adult education as they gain experience.

Ongoing professional support and industry currency

Most stakeholders supported the measures in the draft Strategy to develop resources for professional development, mentoring, induction support, and case studies for industry currency. Feedback indicated that the resources would support increased consistency across the sector and improve trainer and assessor capability. Stakeholders highlighted that the resources should:

  • be versatile
  • be accessible
  • be industry relevant
  • cover a diverse range of RTOs, and
  • be clear, simple, and easy to implement.

A small number of stakeholders indicated that resources would not be useful and highlighted that previous resources developed for the sector were too complex and confusing.

The provision of more support to make professional development more effective was raised by some stakeholders. Suggestions included establishing communities of practice, mentoring networks and cross-sector or industry related professional development groups or committees. Some stakeholders also noted the importance of ensuring professional development resources are high quality and focus on effectiveness rather than compliance.

Other suggestions for making professional development more effective included:

  • An online repository or tool for professional development

  • Improved guidance around professional development requirements for RTOs

  • More flexible and innovative professional development.

Stakeholders suggested there should be more industry-based professional development available for trainers and assessors. Additionally, it was noted that professional support resources developed under the Strategy should be established in collaboration with industry associations and should be vetted and endorsed by industry.

The resources should clarify minimum expectations for maintaining industry currency, and other resources in the Strategy, such as an updated capability framework, should also be constructed in a way that supports maintaining industry currency.

Induction support and mentoring resources for new trainers and assessors to improve the capability of the VET workforce was supported by stakeholders. The feedback suggested that mentoring and induction support would assist new trainers to transition into the VET workforce and ensure they are equipped with the right skills to deliver training, beyond what can be taught in the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

Fostering best practice and continuous improvement

The majority of feedback indicated that having resources such as best practice examples and case studies would be valuable. It would provide RTOs with opportunities to learn from other RTOs and help foster a culture of excellence within VET.

A small number of stakeholders noted that they already had their own resource that worked for their organisation and therefore would not find additional resources useful.

Some of the most common topics supported for case studies and best practice examples included teaching diverse cohorts, high quality training practices, and development of curriculum and assessment. Other areas suggested included:

  • Online and digital delivery

  • Maintaining industry currency

  • Industry partnerships

  • Student engagement.

Stakeholders indicated case studies should be contextualised, realistic and high-quality to be useful. The resources should aim to cover the different types of RTOs and industry areas in VET and be focused on improving learner outcomes.

Stakeholders also noted that the resources would need to be regularly revised based on feedback from stakeholders, and that there should be promotion materials to encourage the uptake of resources.

Workforce planning and data

Many stakeholders indicated that broader workforce issues can impact the quality and capability of the VET workforce, and that the workforce plan identified in the draft Strategy would be critical to help address these concerns and complement the other measures in the Strategy.

Stakeholders supported the inclusion of the following areas in a workforce plan:

  • Attracting industry experts into VET

  • Improving retention

  • Supporting and promoting the attractiveness of careers in VET

  • Career progression and upskilling

  • Understanding people's motivations for entering or leaving the VET sector.

Some stakeholders acknowledged that employment security and work life balance were issues for the sector.

Stakeholders suggested that the VET workforce plan should be informed by trainer and assessor data. This data should come from either quality indicators, student to trainer ratios or specifically designed surveys for the VET workforce.

Next steps

The draft Strategy is being revised to reflect consultation feedback prior to being presented to Skills Ministers for agreement.

Please continue to check skillsreform.gov.au for updates on next steps for the quality reforms. You can also subscribe to email updates for news and future opportunities to be involved in Skills Reform.

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