The first national survey of Australia’s VET workforce will be launched in March this year.

The survey will provide “a better picture of how many people are working in registered training organisations.” It will also – hopefully – tell us a bit more about them.

Why do we need this?

So many reports in the past have called for such data to be collected. From at least the early 2000s, and even earlier, there have been calls for such a collection. The Productivity Commission in its 2011 report pointed out that “… there is no agreed standard or national system of data collection for the VET workforce” and recommended such a standard be developed and a data collection be made to assist workforce development and other planning decisions. NCVER developed this standard some time ago, but now – for the first time – the collection will actually take place.

This is not before time. In 2018 a paper written by Hugh Guthrie and Anne Jones published by LH Martin concluded that one of the serious issues for the sector was “the lack of comprehensive and consistent workforce planning data”. These data, they argued, were needed “to enable reasoned decisions to be made to assist workforce planning at national, jurisdictional and individual RTO levels.”

What will happen now?

NCVER will soon be inviting a number of RTOs to complete the survey online, so they suggest you “keep an eye on your email for your invitation.” The survey should only take a short time to complete – about 10 minutes – and only one person per RTO is required to complete it. NCVER suggest that the survey “is best answered by someone with detailed knowledge of staff in your organisation.” More information is at NCVER’s dedicated  portal

Who is conducting the survey?

NCVER and Ipsos, an international marketing company, are conducting the survey on behalf of the Australian Government’s Department of Education and Training. The survey is also supported by VET’s national and state regulatory bodies: the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) and the Western Australian Training Accreditation Council (TAC).

It will be a sample survey, with RTOs “selected to provide representative samples according to size.”

The information provided will be confidential, “and only summary information of the main results will be reported. No individual RTO will be identified in any data or reporting.”

What do they want to know?

As the NCVER portal suggests, the survey collects information from RTOs on:

  • the number of staff they employ
  • their employees’ roles, employment status, and the qualifications they hold that are relevant to their job
  • training delivery methods and locations.

The survey will provide, for the first time, a better picture of the VET workforce, including much needed information about their qualifications, employment status and work roles.