New industry engagement arrangements
Vocational education and training (VET) is central to Australia’s economic growth and business productivity and is a key part of Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19. The Australian, State and Territory governments have agreed to reforming the VET system to ensure it is delivering for learners and employers. This will equip Australians with the skills they need to upskill in current roles or apply for new and emerging jobs.
New industry clusters will be established to provide industry with a stronger, more strategic voice and a broader role in ensuring Australia’s VET system continues to deliver on employer and learner needs.
The industry clusters will be groups of aligned industries with a strategic leadership role to identify, forecast and respond to the current and emerging skills needs and workforce challenges of their industries.
They will be responsible for ensuring qualifications are developed and updated faster and training products are aligned with the needs of industry. They will also have a role working cooperatively with Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to ensure training delivery also meets employer needs and working with the National Careers Institute to promote career pathways into, within and across industries.
The clusters will become a key source of intelligence and advice regarding workforce issues and will also play a role in providing advice about the policies that guide the VET system and the extent to which they are fit-for-purpose to meet industry and learner needs.
The new industry clusters will replace the current industry engagement arrangements which includes the 67 Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) and six Skills Service Organisations (SSOs) and are expected to be fully operational by 1 January 2023.
Training package approval processes will also change, with an independent approval body to replace the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) by 1 January 2023.
These changes, which have been agreed by Australian, State and Territory Governments, have been informed by several reviews and extensive stakeholder feedback over many years, including the consultations held earlier this year. You can read what we heard from stakeholders in the article ‘Moving towards better industry engagement in VET’.
An additional $149.2 million funding over four years (bringing the total investment to $292.5 million) will be provided by the Australian Government to support these new industry engagement arrangements.
Transition Advisory Group
A Transition Advisory Group was established to provide advice on implementation and transition arrangements for the new industry engagement model with a focus on minimising disruption to the existing VET system.
The members of the Transition Advisory Group are:
Ms Nadine Williams, Deputy Secretary, Department of Education, Skills and Employment
Ms Jenny Lambert, A/g Chief Executive Officer, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Mr Mike Pope, Senior Policy Advisor, Business Council of Australia
Ms Megan Lilly, Head of Workforce Development, Australian Industry Group
Mr Mark McKenzie, Director, Council of Small Business Organisations Australia
Professor Peter Noonan, Tertiary Education Policy, Independent Expert
Mr Scott Connolly, Assistant Secretary, Australian Council of Trade Unions
Ms Rebecca Atkinson, Deputy Director-General, Department of Employment, Small Business and Training, Queensland
Ms Bec Curtain, Director, Skills Policy Reform, Department for Innovation and Skills, South Australia
For more information about the advisory group, you can download the Terms of Reference:
We will continue to keep stakeholders informed about changes as this work progresses.
Skillsreform.gov.au will continue to be a central location to stay informed and where you can sign up to the mailing list to receive updates.
For further information about the Budget announcement, visit the Department of Education, Skills and Employment Budget 2021-22 webpage.
Enhancing industry engagement is one of many measures Australian governments are taking to improve the national training system and VET system sector. The National Skills Commission and the National Careers Institute have been established, along with other reforms, such as Quality Reforms and Qualifications Reform as set out in the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform.