Industry Engagement Reforms

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What is industry engagement in the VET sector?

Industry, including employers, peak bodies and unions, interact with the vocational education and training (VET) sector in diverse and complex ways. These include:

  • hiring VET graduates
  • engaging and supporting structured training for apprentices and trainees
  • training their own employees
  • representing the interests of employees in the VET system
  • in some cases, working with Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to develop organisation-specific training, including tailored training to meet workforce development needs.

Why is industry engagement in the VET sector important?

The vocational education and training (VET) system is uniquely positioned to support Australians to access secure, well-paid jobs and to achieve their aspirations. Investing in VET will assist Australians to learn new skills, innovate and create new knowledge that will improve productivity, increase future economic growth and meet the skills needs of today and tomorrow.

Stronger industry leadership and engagement is critical to delivering a VET sector that can respond rapidly to changes in Australia’s economy, build a resilient workforce and provide confidence to employers that VET graduates have the right skills for the jobs they have on offer.

Why is reform needed?

Strengthening the role of industry and empowering them to drive reforms to Australia’s VET sector is key to ensuring employers and individuals can access the right skills at the right time.

Industry needs a strong, strategic voice in VET to drive collaboration across sectors, address strategic workforce challenges and to ensure qualifications are developed and updated faster to meet the evolving needs of industry.

Reinvigorating the VET sector at a time of global economic uncertainty, will also support individuals to re-train and re-skill to find and to stay in work, through courses that link with and build on their existing experience and training.

Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs) are being established to provide industry with a stronger, more strategic voice in ensuring Australia’s VET sector delivers stronger outcomes for learners and employers.

As a national network of industry-owned and industry-led organisations, JSCs will provide strategic leadership in addressing skills and workforce challenges, aligning effort across industries to improve system responsiveness, build stakeholder confidence and drive high-quality outcomes for the VET sector, learners and business.

JSCs will identify skills and workforce needs for their sectors, map career pathways across education sectors, develop contemporary VET training products, support collaboration between industry and training providers to improve training and assessment practice and act as a source of intelligence on issues affecting their industries.

JSCs will work closely with Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) including drawing on JSA’s workforce analysis and projections to undertake planning for their industry sectors, creating a consistent understanding of the skills landscape and how skill gaps can be addressed.

The JSCs have replaced the previous industry engagement arrangements which included 67 Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) and six Skills Service Organisations (SSOs) and will be fully operational between May and mid-2023.

More information on the new Jobs and Skills Councils including the features and functions of the new industry engagement arrangements and the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders is available.

Ensuring the new industry engagement arrangements deliver for employers and learners

Skills Ministers have agreed to undertake a review of the new industry engagement arrangements once they are sufficiently established to assess whether the system is working as intended, and to make improvements where needed.

JSC Grant Opportunity and next steps

JSCs are being established through a two-stage grant process to provide industry leaders with an opportunity to self-organise and establish a specific, industry-based organisation with appropriate responsibilities, sub-structures and industry support.

Stage One of the grant opportunity opened on 3 December 2021 and closed on 31 March 2022. The successful stage one grantees are finalising their establishment phases, including bedding down governance and operational arrangements. Stage Two of the grant Opportunity opened in December 2022 and invites the successful Stage One grantees to provide an operational and delivery strategy detailing how they will carry out the full range of functions.

The 10 JSCs listed below are expected to be fully operational between May and mid-2023.

Workforce planning is expected to be the key function for the JSCs within the first year of being operational. Once JSCs have their strategic direction set on the basis of their workforce planning and stakeholder engagement activities, they will be better positioned to undertake activities to deliver their full range of functions. You can view a timeline for implementation.

The 10 JSCs are as follows:

As grant agreements are awarded they are published on GrantConnect, under DEWR 22/23 2.1 Building Skills and Capability.

A factsheet with more detailed information on each JSCs sector and training package coverage is available.

JSC Onboarding Forum

On 28 February and 1 March 2023, the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations hosted a two-day Jobs and Skills Councils Onboarding Forum in Canberra. It was an opportunity for the recently announced JSCs to come together with the department and the State and Territory Representatives to set clear expectations for the program as well as provide an opportunity to facilitate initial cross-council engagement and introductions with key personnel.

The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, Minister for Skills and Training delivered a keynote address reflecting on the previous industry arrangements and spoke to the critical role JSCs have in addressing skills and workforce challenges, including the importance of the JSCs being trusted to operate in the interests of all stakeholders.

Frequently Asked Questions

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document has been developed, and will be updated, for questions raised about the JSCs and the industry engagements arrangements.

JSC Governance arrangements

The Australian Government has committed to establishing JSCs and strengthening tripartite leadership in the VET system, bringing all parties to the table to find solutions to skills and workforce challenges.

In line with this commitment, the department has set out a clear expectation that JSCs will be tripartite. This will be demonstrated by employer organisations and unions aligning on JSCs governance (board composition, membership structures), and operational arrangements (strategic taskforces and technical sub-committees).

Participation by employer organisations and Unions is intended to be fair and equitable.

Integrity Framework

In late February 2023, Skills Ministers endorsed the Integrity Framework which establishes clear expectation, guidance and good practice for the conduct and oversight of industry engagement in the VET Sector is now available, along with supporting documentation for the JSCs.

As part of the Integrity Framework, the following program documentation is now available:

Interim arrangements for training package products

Training package product development

Training package product releases and updates are not expected in the first half of 2023 while Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs) are in their establishment phase. Once established, JSCs will consult stakeholders to determine and prioritise training package needs for their sectors.

Enquiries regarding existing training package product content

Training providers are expected to employ trainers and assessors who are competent practitioners that have skills and knowledge both in their industry area and in delivering vocational education and training. Training providers should also have processes in place to ensure all trainers and assessors will undertake relevant professional development.

Training providers with questions regarding current training products that cannot be answered by drawing on the expertise of their training and assessment staff should refer their enquiries to the relevant organisation below.

  • Enquiries related to Agribusiness, animal and environmental care, food, timber, fibre and furnishing industries should be directed to the Agribusiness JSC at
  • Manufacturing related enquiries should be directed to the Manufacturing JSC via this contact form
  • Transport and Logistics related enquiries should be directed to the Transport and Logistics JSC at
  • All other enquiries should be directed to the department at

Questions that relate to regulatory matters should be raised with the relevant VET regulatory authority:

Update on the TAE and FSK Training Packages

The Skills and Workforce Ministerial Council agreed that the Commonwealth Department of Employment and Workplace Relations will have temporary oversight of the TAE Training and Education and FSK Foundation Skills Training Packages.

Given that the Education industry sector is of critical importance in underpinning the entire VET sector, particularly in respect of supporting foundation skills and the VET workforce more broadly, the department is considering alternative arrangements to best serve the Education Industry sector in the short and longer-term.

In the interim, the department has established a small time-limited TAE/FSK Training Package Technical Reference Group (TRG) to assist the department with the TAE and FSK training packages. The department will work with States and Territories and VET industry stakeholders to consider longer-term arrangements for the vocational education sector, both in the context of broader skills reforms and the new industry engagement arrangements.

Technical queries regarding the TAE and FSK Training Packages can be sent to until longer-term arrangements are settled.

Quality assurance for training products that meet employer and learner needs

The Training Package Assurance function is located in the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations. The Training Package Assurance team is independent from the management of JSCs and is led by a non-statutory appointed Executive Director.

The role of the function is to ensure training packages developed by JSCs meet the requirements of national standards and policies.

For more information, see the Training Package Assurance page.