In a publication released last year the AISC reflects on its years in operation from 2015 to 2022 and what it sees as opportunities for the future now we are moving to ‘Industry Clusters’.

The AISC was established “to provide advice on the implementation of vocational education and training (VET) policies and ensure the standard of nationally recognised training,” with this latter role “coming to dominate the Committee’s time.”

The paper’s aim is to pass on some of the knowledge and experience AISC members gained from overseeing major elements of the national training system over the past seven years. The paper chronicles the extent and nature of its work and the key initiatives it started and undertook. A number of case studies are also presented, particularly around training package updates that were seen as complex or contentious. The paper noted that finding consensus can be challenging. They see effective consultation as the key to achieving consensus.

The challenges

The context section of the paper points to the challenges of “inconsistent quality of training and assessment, regulatory frameworks which can place a significant compliance burden on registered training organisations (RTOs), rorting of the system, and difficulties accessing relevant data.” In addition, “inequities in Commonwealth and state and territory funding across the tertiary education sector, blurred learning pathways, inconsistent recognition of training and credit transfer, and variable investment by industry” were issues picked up in a range of system reviews. All of this is not new. In fact, these are all well-known and acknowledged challenges.

However, the paper points out that “there has been less consensus in clearly articulating the desired outcomes from the system and diagnosing the specific obstacles that are preventing us from achieving those goals.” Perhaps this is a major problem with VET. The various stakeholders and voices are divided on what is really important and needs to be done.

One of the other challenges AISC identified was “industry stakeholders seeking to use training packages to pursue wider goals that lie beyond the scope of the VET system.” (Developing training products that meet the needs of all stakeholders has always been challenging.) Indeed, challenges that AISC identified in affecting and hindering both progress and positive outcomes in the development and implementation of training packages included:

  • “limited engagement, consultation and validation processes
  • unresolved disputes within or among industry stakeholders that originate outside the training system, e.g. industrial disputes, employment conditions, business models
  • inflexible positions taken by stakeholders where nationally effective outcomes are needed
  • industry stakeholders not meeting or agreeing with national policies and standards
  • differing interpretations among jurisdictions and State Training Authorities (STAs)
  • misalignment between training packages and regulatory frameworks, and
  • siloes which hinder collaboration, innovation and decision-making across the system.”

Another is the effect different interpretations of national policies and standards at jurisdictional and other levels have had on their effective implementation.

The opportunities

One of the limited number of opportunities the paper identifies is the need to ensure that:

“industry sectors are able to adopt a longer-term ‘cross-economy’ lens to better gauge and respond to what is occurring beyond their industry and its current needs and opportunities. Moreover, industries need to be equipped to respond more quickly and effectively to complex trends such as social, environmental and digital change.”