In the last COAG Skills Council Meeting in Melbourne on 20 September 2019 all federal, state and territory skills ministers unanimously agreed that the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), Australia’s national VET regulator, should “improve its engagement with the VET sector” and expand its role in helping to educate training providers.
The inaugural meeting of the COAG Skills Council issued a Communique available here, https://docs-jobs.govcms.gov.au/documents/20-september-2019-coag-skills-council-communique and discussed both the Braithwaite and the Joyce Reviews of VET and how they have highlighted the importance of training providers being helped to understand their obligations, while ensuring that “regulatory decisions are transparent”.
Skills Ministers agreed on key priorities to ensure Australian vocational education and training (VET) is a responsive, dynamic and trusted sector that delivers an excellent standard of education and training. It agreed on reform priorities and discussed short, medium and long term areas for action to inform the delivery of a shared reform roadmap to COAG in early 2020. The Council tasked skills officials with developing the draft roadmap for consideration at the next Council meeting in November 2019.
Members agreed on three future priorities for VET system improvements:
- Relevance – actions in this area will ensure that VET is relevant and responsive to the job market, employers, industry and learners.
- Quality – actions in this area will support public confidence in the quality and value of VET for students throughout their lives and move it to parity with the higher education system.
- Accessibility – actions in this area will ensure all prospective students and employers can access suitable information and training when and where it is required, and include a specific focus on supporting access for disadvantaged Australians
The COAG Skills Council agreed on the importance of placing learners, from every background, at the centre of VET reform. Members also agreed that industry taking greater responsibility for the skills and training of their workforce will be central to the achievement of the COAG vision for VET.
A key topic of discussion was that effective regulation is central to the quality of and confidence in the VET sector. The COAG Skills Council agreed agreed that the national regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) should improve its engagement with the VET sector and expand its educative role.