The National Skills Standards Council (NSSC) is currently conducting a review of the National VET Framework. NSSC started a series of consultation activities with VET stakeholders on June 2012, and recently had published an analysis of 114 submissions received.
A total of 50 RTOs have responded to NSSC’s consultation papers, which represent 1% of current Registered Training Organisations (RTO) national wide.
The number of “regulatory changes” for the VET sector over recent years have been significant, however there are still critical areas of concern that have not been addressed in previous processes. The main areas of concern are:
- Restore/build trust in VET outcomes,
- address the imbalance in the regulation between the administrative aspects of RTOs and their core business of training and assessment, and
- deal with inconsistencies in the quality of training outcomes.
There is a general perception from RTO’s of inconsistencies in interpretation of Standards by auditors that subsequently impact on RTO’s management tasks. There is consensus about the required characteristics of an effective regulatory model: “transparent”, “accountable” and “consistently applied”.
I welcome NSSC’s initiative, and the review of the standards it is necessary by all means, however, another change in the standards will not produce the changes required by the VET sector, as did not produced the changes required when the several versions of AQTF were published during the last 10 years. The changes must include other parts of the VET system; particularly the funding models, where many providers rest, and are not necessarily rewarding quality training outcomes. Consistency of Training Packages, their relevance and currency to the workplace is another area that needs to be addressed. The preparation and continuous professional development of suitable VET practitioners and auditors should be also in the agenda when reviewing the VET system.
Developing Australian’s VET sector means developing Australian’s Human Capital, a necessary tool to support a sustainable industry development, and to maintain Australian’s life style by promoting social inclusion.
A comprehensive review plan for the VET system should be in all stakeholders’ agenda, and 1% of RTOs participation do not met that expectation in my opinion.
A few years ago I attended to a class delivered in line with the unit of competency: TAAENV401A, at some point the trainer was reading a Power Point slide about the VET System that said, “… the training system foundations are the AQTF, the Training Packages/Accredited courses, and the AQF.” I recall thinking that the definition was more appropriate for a “regulatory system” as part of the VET system.
The link between the regulatory approach and the training outcomes are the industry and the learners. The transparency we are looking for is not another set of depurated regulations, but a new system capable of measure “quality training” instead of “compliance”. A system capable to define quality training as the process of training people to perform a job up to Australian’s industry standards, irrespectively of their background, and irrespectively of the funding source.
NSSC initiative gives us an opportunity to participate in this new review process, I encourage all VET stakeholders to take the opportunity and express your opinion. I trust in the people that make this a great industry, and it will be a shame if all that experience, all that expertise does not contribute the change we all need.
More information about the review process can be accessed here.