This was ‘an urgent review,’ in response to COVID-19.
It reported to the WA Government in June this year and made a total of 41 recommendations for them to consider.
The review process
The review was conducted by Anne Driscoll, the Director General of the Department of Training and Workforce Development, and the Managing Directors of two TAFEs: Michelle Hoad and Terry Durant. They engaged with stakeholder groups, including RTOs, industry and business, and met with over 238 stakeholders in 70 meetings, and also received and considered 74 written submissions.
Their report focused in a range of areas: new futures, maximising skills for Government investment, regional issues, 21st Century apprenticeships and next generation training.
What did they find?
Like other states COVID hit Western Australia hard, with significant effects on women and young people and variable effects in WA’s regional areas. It has also most affected a wide range of industries, including construction; international education; tourism, accommodation and food services; culture and the arts; sport and recreation and retail.
One important thing will be:
“to assist individuals and business acquire new skills to take up the opportunities stemming from COVID-19 recovery measures and public investment. Many businesses indicated their need to gear up quickly for recovery. Stakeholders were unanimous that a quick response from the training sector was needed.”
To address this fee-free skill sets are seen as an important short-term response aimed at providing an entry pathway to further training, meet a defined industry need or as a way to up- or re-skill for career change. The review also sees the need for these new skill sets to be delivered partly or fully online to enhance accessibility, for a lifeline to be provided for apprentices and trainees and:
“There is a need to provide quality career advice and support services for the significant number of people that have lost employment, or whose job prospects have worsened as a result of COVID-19.”
The review pointed to a need to develop ‘skills passports’ “so that the overall progress of a person’s training, including skill sets, could be captured and tracked over time, allowing presentation of the passport to employers and education and training institutions to demonstrate a person’s skills and qualifications.”
Apprenticeships also need to be reformed, the review suggests, to reflect new skills and job roles which can span traditional trade skills, and allow better access to pre-apprenticeships.
And, what about the VET workforce? The review reported that there “was the need to retain or improve the industry expertise and currency of TAFE lecturers,” maybe through return to industry programs in partnership with business.
The report has a series of immediate and more medium-term recommendations and implementation plans with ongoing approaches and proposed next steps. As usual, maybe have a look and see if anything resonates where you are.