At the recent NCVER No frills conference Michael Hartman, the CEO of Skills Impact took a hard look at competency, the nature of Training Packages and employers’ role in training.

Hartman’s presentation to No frills and the related PowerPoint notes the limited influence over what, how and when training is delivered, and how it is funded, despite VET being ‘industry led.’

He makes a few suggestions, including renaming Training Packages and calling them ‘Industry Work Skill Standards’ to generate more industry buy in and involve industry in a more structured way right across skills pipeline and, in particular, recognising the role enterprises can play in the developing and assessing competency. These standards would be supported by ‘National Skills and Training Materials.’ Interestingly, this notion is in line with proposals from the second review of Training Packages, but which were never taken up.

The paper argues that attaining competency is a journey not a destination and that:

“You need knowledge and supervised workplace practice to develop real competency.”

This may be true, but to make this work you need a relevant job first and many studying in VET don’t have that luxury, particularly in a post-COVID world with career change a likely focus. Hugh Guthrie took a hard look at the nature of competency in a paper before the review of Training Packages highlighted earlier, and you can access that here.

Skills Impact are conducting research around these topics at present with Griffith University as a research partner. So far, they have surveyed around 500 and “71% of respondents agree that workplaces should have an expanded and direct role in training” while “76% support a developmental approach to competency.”

You can follow up on a couple of their projects, with the first entitled ‘A Potential Solution for Improved Training Products’ with a second called the ‘Skills Improvement Survey’. Both are highlighted in this article, and some details about them can be found on the Skills Impact website here.