This consultation paper is the latest effort to develop a VET workforce blueprint to support and grow a quality skills training workforce. This blueprint aims to explore ways to attract, retain and strengthen the capabilities of this workforce.

The consultation paper is designed to support submissions that will inform the blueprint’s further development.

Making a submission

Submissions are called for from interested parties and the consultation process seeks information about peoples’ understanding and experience of key challenges to support, grow and sustain the VET workforce. It also seeks to gather ideas about actions to address these challenges and how proposed actions can be implemented. This consultation process closes at 11pm AEDT on 26 March 2024. It’s a bit of a tricky process to get to the submission form itself, but start here, scroll to the bottom and go through using the arrows until you are asked if you agree to participate and under what terms.

Responding to a survey

Finally, there is a survey designed to capture the experiences of people who have left VET within the last five years.

What the consultation paper talks about

The paper provides an introduction and context which is useful background. However, the ‘nitty gritty’ of the consultation is concerned with “some of the key barriers for the attraction of teachers, trainers and assessors,” including “perceptions of working in the VET sector,” “the credential and currency requirements for teachers, trainers and assessors” and “employment conditions and wages.”

Another key issue is developing a wide range of ‘fit for purpose’ retention strategies and a need “to consider valuing, supporting and developing the VET workforce across a broad range of areas.” So, career progression opportunities are important, including into leadership roles. However, there is a “lack of role clarity and clear career progression pathways,” the paper suggests.

There are a range of challenges too, including those related to currency and professional development, digital capability, and the skills necessary to support a diverse cohort of students. Finally, there is a perceived “workload burden associated with administrative and compliance activities.”

What those developing the Blueprint want to hear about is:

  • “Do the barriers and challenges identified in [the consultation paper] reflect your understanding of the issues in your organisation and/or in your experience? If not, what are the barriers and challenges you or your organisation are facing?
  • Which barriers are most significant in your context?
  • What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the VET workforce now and into the future?”

They also want to see informed workforce planning, so they also want to know from you:

  • “What mechanisms could be suitable for the regular collection of VET workforce data? (And what data would actually be useful at provider, regional, state and national levels?)
  • Which mechanisms would work best for your organisation’s context?
  • What existing workforce data do you routinely collect and could even share with JSA [Jobs and Skills Australia]?”

A series of key emerging themes and possible action areas are identified. The themes include enabling and promoting entry pathways into the VET workforce, developing stronger partnerships between industry and RTOs, promoting the image and status of the VET workforce, facilitating their continuing professional support, development and progression and finally improving VET workforce data to support more effective workforce planning.

To do this, the consultation paper asks a whole series of questions, including:

  • “What could be done to attract and retain more VET teachers, trainers and assessors?
  • What could be done to attract and retain other key workforce roles such as complementary education professionals (e.g. educational designers, librarians or counsellors) or support VET professionals to enter leadership positions?
  • What strategies or actions might have the best impact for building capability and supporting career development and progression?
  • Are there actions that should be specifically taken at the national level, and at the local level?
  • Are there examples of attraction and retention strategies, actions or initiatives that have worked well? What were the critical factors that made them successful?
  • How can industry assist with building the teacher, trainer and assessor workforce?
  • What collaborative mechanisms could be implemented to assist transition between industry and the VET workforce? Where the employer is the RTO, what would assist in transitioning staff into teacher, trainer and assessor roles?
  • If there was one immediate goal that could be worked towards to relieve the current pressures on the VET workforce, what would that be?
  • What does success look like in practice for the actions proposed?”

The answers to these questions will be really interesting so we’re all eagerly awaiting the next chapter in this VET workforce saga!