In a recent press release, Australia’s six dual-sector universities suggested a range of reforms based on their experiences working across the whole tertiary space: VET and higher ed.

As Victoria University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Peter Dawkins noted:

“We need policy reforms that create greater connections between vocational and higher education systems, which in turn will create a more coherent, comprehensive and modern set of opportunities for Australian students.”

They propose effectively utilizing the proposed reforms to the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) “to support learner-centred pathways across the continuum of AQF qualifications”. Like others, including another in the last edition of VDC News, they suggest VET qualifications need modernizing “so competencies focus on broad and future skills needs.”

Finally, they point to the need for a coherent funding framework for higher education and VET, and an extension of work-based learning approaches, including apprenticeships, “into new industries and occupations in both VET and higher education through partnerships with firms, industries and the labour movement.”

We think this could include expanding the use of higher apprenticeships.

The six Vice-Chancellors released a paper in 2019, entitled: Reforming Post-Secondary Education in Australia. In addition to the needs outlined above, it highlighted the need for a common set of policy principles which would enable universal access for young people and lifelong learning for adults, stronger but better-connected education systems and improved approaches to assessment and skills recognition to better support learner’s access and progress.