Federal, State and Territory Skills and Training Ministers met in Brisbane in late February this year “to progress key skills sector reforms and vocational education workforce challenges, aimed at strengthening the quality of vocational education and training.”

Their communique, summarising the discussions at the meeting and their outcomes, considered “reform opportunities under the proposed five-year National Skills Agreement (NSA) to be negotiated in 2023 and commence in January 2024.”

One of the items on the agenda was the establishment of Jobs and Skills Australia. VDC News covered this in an article last year. According to the communique, high on its agenda will be “a new national study of adult literacy and numeracy and a capacity study on the emerging workforce needs for Australia’s transition to a clean energy economy.” Ministers were also keen to ensure that its analysis takes into account individual state and territory intelligence. Another item confirmed Ministers’ commitment to work together to support the implementation of industry engagement reforms, including the establishment of Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs). Skills Ministers have endorsed an Integrity Framework for these Councils and this will be made publicly available on the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations website. Ministers also gave temporary oversight of the Training and Assessment (TAE) and Foundation Skills (FSK) Training Packages to the Commonwealth Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.

For the ‘data tragics’ amongst VDC News readers,

“Skills Ministers endorsed proposed changes to the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator (NVETR) Act, to support timely updates to VET data arrangements in order to remain responsive to the needs of jurisdictions and data users.”

VET quality reforms

Regular readers of VDC News will know how often these crop up. New RTO standards are on the agenda and Ministers agreed to a new commencement date of 1 January 2025 for the revised Standards. In the communique’s words:

“[This] will enable the Standards and related regulatory requirements to be further tested with the sector to ensure the sector is prepared for strengthened Standards and the revised approach supports uniformly high quality training delivery as soon as possible.”

Progress on the development of a VET Workforce Blueprint, including the establishment of a Steering Group to provide expertise, “with a draft Blueprint to be delivered in the second half of 2023.”