As we highlighted in one of the articles above, Skills Ministers met in early October. Their communique from that meeting highlights the focus and progress on a number of fronts.a
Following the Jobs and Skills Summit “Skills Ministers agreed to work in close collaboration and in good faith on several key measures, including immediate funding to deliver 180,000 Fee Free TAFE training places, including 60,000 new places in priority skills need areas.”
They also “welcomed the Commonwealth’s increase in the permanent Migration Program and “commissioned urgent work on what immediate collective action could be taken to alleviate workforce pressures drawing on best practice within States and Territories.” Improving completion rates for traineeships and apprenticeships is also on the agenda.
Legislation relating to the establishment of Jobs and Skills Australia has now been passed both houses. According to Ministers, an early priority will be to undertake a capacity study into Australia’s clean energy workforce and help inform the development of clean energy qualifications and micro-credentials. A new National Skills Agreement is also on the agenda with TAFE at its heart and as the centerpiece of a 12-month agreement while a longer-term one commencing in 2024 is being developed.
Skills Ministers agreed to releasing the draft revised Standards for RTOs for public consultation. The Standards “are aimed at improving the quality of training delivery through building the capability and capacity of teachers, trainers, assessors, and RTOs to innovate and deliver excellence in training that is focused on learner outcomes.”
In addition, “the draft Standards have been strengthened in areas such as learner support and wellbeing, disability, ensuring a culturally safe environment for First Nations Australian learners, and governance arrangements.”
To help with this Ministers agreed to progress a VET Workforce Capability Blueprint “to support, grow and retain a quality workforce [and] identify effective strategies for the attraction and retention of a high-quality workforce, along with capability and career development strategies and succession planning.”
In relation to qualifications reforms, “Skills Ministers agreed to ambitious timeframes to finalise development of a new system of VET qualifications that will include a framework for micro-credentials without compromising quality.” The communique suggests that:
“Better recognition of prior learning and improved use of micro-credentials would provide greater flexibility and more opportunities so that learners can upskill or reskill more quickly.”
Consultations will continue regarding the proposed model, its implementation and transition planning “ahead of further consideration by Skills Ministers in 2023.”