Quality Reforms

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What are the Quality Reforms and why are they important?

All Australian Governments are committed to supporting high-quality training in the VET system. While the quality of training is affected by many variables, registered training organisations (RTOs) have a critical role in ensuring training delivery on the ground is high-quality and meets the diverse range of learner and employer needs. 

Reforms are currently underway to better support RTOs to achieve this. These reforms include revising the Standards for RTOs 2015 to be clearer and more outcome-focused and developing a Blueprint for the VET Workforce to support, grow and retain a quality VET workforce. These reforms will be supported by work to help build RTO capability and capacity, including developing tools and resources to support continuous improvement. 

These reforms will complement the Australian Skills Quality Authority’s (ASQA) increased focus on self-assurance and excellence in training outcomes. Further information on ASQA’s reform journey, and the shift to self-assurance in the sector can be found on the ASQA website.

The reforms will also complement the new industry engagement arrangements and reforms to qualifications, which are designed to build better qualifications and strengthen the role of industry and employers in the VET system. Increased responsiveness of the VET system is essential in meeting industry skills needs and driving economic growth.

Why is reform needed?

These reforms build on findings from recent reviews of the VET sector, and feedback from the sector which highlighted opportunities to enhance quality.

Previous reviews of the VET sector have highlighted that identifying what constitutes high-quality training delivery has been an ongoing challenge for the sector, particularly given its diversity. The quality reforms aim to develop a shared understanding across the sector of what high-quality training provision looks like, and support RTOs to achieve this vision. This will help ensure learners and employers have confidence that the VET system will deliver them the skills they need. 

Previous consultation with the sector has identified that many RTOs and stakeholders find the current Standards for RTOs complex and difficult to navigate, with a strong focus on administrative processes, rather than on ensuring learner outcomes. The revisions to the Standards are intended to address these concerns and will have an integral role in setting clear expectations of what constitutes high-quality training delivery. 

Further to this, there are significant and increasing pressures in the sector which impact on the VET workforce, particularly around the need to attract and retain a skilled workforce. Research and stakeholder feedback has shown there is a need to build the skills and capability of the existing VET workforce, particularly early career VET practitioners. There are also demographic challenges in the VET workforce, at the same time skills shortages are being experienced across the economy. Additionally, industry and employers are looking to the VET sector to address their own skills shortages, creating a substantial demand on the VET workforce. 

What is being done?

The revisions to the Standards aim to ensure the Standards are clear, lead to quality outcomes for learners, and enable RTOs to deliver flexibly and innovatively. Draft Standards are now available for public consultation. The draft Standards have been developed based on extensive sector consultation, along with analysis of other sectors, expert reviews, and research. Visit the Skills Reform website for more information on the draft Standards, or to have your say. 

Supports are also being developed to help build RTO capability and capacity. This includes tools and resources, along with a framework for quality improvement that will help build this capability across the sector. 

Development of a VET Workforce Blueprint (the Blueprint), announced as an outcome of the Jobs and Skills Summit, will ensure the long-term sustainability of the VET sector by supporting and growing a quality VET workforce. It will aim to identify effective strategies for VET workforce issues such as attraction, retention, career development and succession planning. 

Work has previously been undertaken to examine the quality and capability of the existing VET workforce through the development of a draft VET Workforce Quality Strategy (Quality Strategy). However, it has become increasingly apparent that any successful actions taken should consider the context of broader workforce issues. The Blueprint presents the opportunity to take a broader view, while still considering and incorporating feedback and proposed actions developed as part of the draft Quality Strategy.

Consultation

Extensive consultation has been undertaken with the VET sector to inform the development of the quality reforms. This included two phases of consultation from December 2020 to March 2021, and August to September 2021. In these consultations, stakeholders were invited to share their experiences and views via online surveys and workshops.

Consultation is now open on the draft Standards. Stakeholders can read the consultation paper to learn more about the approach to the revisions and key changes. Stakeholders can also provide written feedback or participate in a consultation forum either face-to-face or online. For more information, visit the Skills Reform website.
 
Opportunities to engage further with the development of the Blueprint will be provided as they become available.