Study captures VET sector diversityLH Martin Institute report, Profiling institutional diversity across the Australian VET sector provides an insight on the changes that have occurred over time as policy has evolved, particularly the evolution of contestable markets.

The Institute’s study was supported by TAFE Directors Australia and the Australian Council for Private Education and Training.

The report’s key finding are:

  • Given the national focus on innovation, it is also significant that in Victoria, the TAFEs [are most highly engaged in international student delivery both onshore and offshore. An argument can be made that this more entrepreneurial business model is positively linked to employment and governance structures that enable a more responsive organisational approach.
  • The profiles of the private providers included in the sample indicate a strong orientation to specific student markets and targeted industry engagement, and that the organisational response is to provide only a limited and targeted range of qualifications. This nimble and focussed approach to specific market segments is surely a sign of healthy diversity.
  • One of the clearest findings is the unique provider that serves regional and under-represented groups, providers who are also comprehensive in terms of their delivery. This poses a question that as TAFE providers are amalgamated into larger structures will this type of TAFE provider in time disappear from the system and will this make any difference to the outcome for regional Australia?

The report notes (p. 12) that:

  • Across all training providers, 14.1% have more than 1000 students and are categorised as large training providers, 45.1% are medium-sized (100-999 students), and 40.8% are small providers, with less than 100 students. While the majority of students study with larger training providers, it would appear that the student profile is similar across government-funded and privately funded training categories.
  • While private training providers comprise 62% of all providers, they provide proportionally less of the small training provider niche (54.2%). Schools and community education providers as small training providers comprise 28.3% and 11.7% respectively of this category.
  • Almost 60% of training occurs in the metropolitan regions of Australia, and TAFE remains the majority provider in regional locations; overall private providers have increased their market share at the expense of TAFE under open market conditions.