The Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) has just released a consultation draft for a VET workforce development strategy.

It focuses on these four themes: capability frameworks and professional standards; industry currency, qualifications and entry pathways; professional development and support and supporting learner cohorts.

Building the strategy

“The consultation draft of the VET Workforce Quality Strategy (the draft Strategy) is now available for feedback via an online feedback and submission process.” It builds on consultations and information they have heard, including through a previously published article and a  feedback document summarising the messages from DESE’s consultation process to date. The draft strategy provides some contextual information about the nature and size of VET’s workforce.

Strategy support measures include understanding what best practice looks like both to develop the capability of VET’s teachers, trainers and assessors and to develop “tools, resources and guidance material to assist RTOs to support their workforce and help trainers and assessors in their role.” This focus on tolls and resources, in essence, seems to be the focus of the strategy when you look at the ‘measures to support the quality of the VET trainer and assessor workforce’ proposed in Attachment A of the document. Implementation phases over the next three years (2022-2024) are proposed along with ‘indicators of success’.

What’s proposed?

The headings below summarise the major foci of the proposed strategy.

Developing capability frameworks and professional standards

There are a range of existing capability frameworks, although the only national one is somewhat dated. Misko and her colleagues took a look at this and other relevant issues recently, too. The strategy proposes developing a new updated one to assist with providers’ workforce planning and management, along with “guidance material for individual RTOs to tailor the final product to their organisation.”

Examining qualifications and entry pathways

This focuses around issues with the TAE training package and the review the Education Industry Reference Committee has commissioned. A first step will be to develop a set of principles to ensure the review of the Training and Education Training Package supports the diversity of roles and career pathways within the sector.

Promoting ongoing professional support and industry currency

This step calls for the development of high-quality professional development resources in areas of need and developing best practice principles “which identify the characteristics of high quality and effective professional development.” It will also look at developing resources to support induction and mentoring and a series of ‘best practice’ case studies. However, the proposed strategy notes that: “The costs associated with undertaking professional development will remain the responsibility of the sector.”

Fostering best practice and continuous improvement

In the first instance this will involve the development of “a series of best practice examples and case studies to demonstrate to RTOs what constitutes best practice in supporting the trainer and assessor workforce.” In subsequent years, these will be promoted, shared and evaluated. “A key focus of these resources will be showcasing the diverse nature of the VET sector, [its] delivery settings and learners.”

Workforce planning and data

Finally, the strategy proposes gaining a better understanding of the current VET workforce, as well as how the workforce can be grown, retained and developed. In addition, it’s proposed that work will “be commissioned to scope the value of conducting a regular data collection for the VET workforce, and the most effective way to collect this data without imposing additional burden on the sector.”

Providing feedback

You can complete a submission survey, which is open until 5pm on Monday 27 September. It asks you about disclosure, your contact information, your role in the sector, where you live, and how you see a workforce development strategy working in practice. Have a go and let them know what you think!