The Tasmanian election is done and dusted, so what will this mean for TAFE and the broader VET sector there?
What are they aiming to do?
PERSAC was set up before the election to provide advice “on how best to support Tasmania’s short, medium, and longer-term recovery from COVID-19.” They were particularly asked to take a medium to longer term view, with a 2 to 5-year timeframe.
Looking at the COVID and the post-COVID world, PERSAC saw positives and negatives. The downsides are the disruptions to peoples’ lives, livelihoods, businesses and the economy and the uncertainty all this has bought and continues to bring. The upsides they noted were:
“Many of us quickly adapted to new ways of working and doing business. The tyranny of distance faced by some businesses has been mitigated by online business models.”
Key areas PERSAC considered include creating opportunities and linking people with them (and this is where VET will really play a role); addressing health, mental health and housing issues; connecting and engaging with the community, and finally the importance of sustainability and the environment. They also looked at the roles the public sector institutions need to play to make all of this happen. The Jobs Tasmania Local Networks will play a key role. You can read about them in the PERSAC report.
What’s VET’s role?
This starts in schools. PERSAC recommended that the Project establishing year 9 to 12 Project vocational learning elements should be finalised and implemented with strong ongoing consultation with industry. The elements include career education, work-based learning and vocational education and training, apprenticeships and traineeships for school-aged learners and finally industry engagement.
More broadly, they think training priorities need to change. This will be done by shifting the relative priority in skills funding to “forms of training that provide the most direct route into a job for unemployed and under-employed Tasmanians, rather than solely to nationally accredited VET qualifications” and having a greater focus on industry-endorsed skill sets, micro-credentials and short courses linked to industries or occupations with workforce shortages. This, as regular readers will know, is pretty consistent with the national picture.
PERSEC also see a need to maintain contestable skills funding to attract high-quality providers of “specialised and non-core TasTAFE courses” and “prioritise access to Trade Training Centres for vocational training for both school-age and adult learners.”
PERSAC also noted the need for industry to work with Government and take more responsibility in a range of training areas, such as collaborating with and supporting TasTAFE and other providers, providing advice and training requirements, implementing training pathways and providing careers advice and support relevant to their industries.
Take a look at recommendations 11 and 12 as well as 16 to 20, which you can access through the PERSAC’s recommendations publication.
And what about TasTAFE?
Basically, PERSAC acknowledged the importance of TasTAFE to the state, but believes it needs a more independent Board with accountability of government. It also needs more flexibility to operate and expend funds and that a range of other measures are needed to place it on a “fit-for future footing.” Recommendations 13, 14 and 15 are relevant here which you can access through the link above.
There’s a short form of the report which you can access here. You can also hear an audio summary by the PERSAC Chair as well as reflections by individual council members and by the council members overall. The one that may be of most relevance to VDC News readers is the short one on skills and TAFE.