Federal, state and territory governments have opened a consultation process on the proposed new model of VET qualifications that is being publicly canvassed.

There is an online survey that covers 14 questions on areas such as training product design, terminology, training delivery and approaches, collaboration and engagement, and implementation and transition. The survey will be open until 17 March 2023.

Issues and challenges with the current approach

Basically, it’s points out that there are too many qualifications and UoCs! VET is seen as “cluttered and difficult to navigate … with over 1200 qualifications, 1500 skill sets, and 15,000 Units of Competency (UoCs).” In addition, the “highly prescriptive content [of UoCs] stifles innovation and flexibility in training delivery and hinders the recognition of transferable skills and learner mobility.” No new news here!

The proposed model

Basically, people “want a system of VET qualifications and skill sets that is clear and relevant, accessible, flexible and transferable.” It also needs to reflect the needs of the workforce and workplaces. Jobs and Skills Councils, working with Jobs and Skills Australia, will be the new engine rooms to develop ‘job profiles’. These will describe in simple language “all the job functions and necessary skills and knowledge required to do each job.”

In the proposed new products ‘Skill Standards’ will replace Units of Competency as the building blocks for industry specific qualifications, and which will be a job function level. Where feasible, Skills Standards will also be developed that are cross sectoral. Finally, foundation Skills Standards will be developed. This will all be in the form of a national library.

In addition, “Jobs and Skills Councils will develop Training and Assessment Requirements in collaboration with educators.” This is a great step forward, as it signifies the much needed and welcome re-entry of educators to the ‘tent’ and to also ensure that these products “incorporate appropriate educational pedagogy and are fit for purpose.” Finally, there will be a set of completion rules.

Clustering is the go!

As the consultation brief notes, “many current VET qualifications meet a single occupational outcome with limited recognition of transferable skills.” The new proposed model:

“will have qualifications that are collaboratively designed to support clusters of related occupations and combine transferable skills with industry specialisations. Specialisation streams will offer industry specific skills related to a specific occupation.

This allows for broader vocational outcomes for learners, enabling learners to quickly upskill and reskill and move easily between job roles in related occupations without needing to complete a full qualification. Additionally, with greater transferability of skills and mobility, employers would have access to a larger pool of skilled workers to meet their workforce needs.”

There will be benefits!!

There are a proposed number of around 2000 Skills Standards (down significantly from the number of 15,000 UoCs we highlighted above!). In addition, “the development of qualifications with broader vocational outcomes and greater use of specialisations and stackable skill sets would enable greater flexibility, transferability of skills and job mobility for learners, and would allow employers greater access to a wider talent pool to meet their workforce needs.” Training and assessment requirements will also be less prescriptive.

What’s next?

Webinars will be held in early 2023 before the online survey closes in mid-March 2023 to explain the proposed model in further detail and provide an opportunity for us to answer your questions. Please register your interest in attending a webinar via email to QualificationsDesign@dewr.gov.au