Defining industry’s role in the VET system: insights from overseas

Media release

22 April 2021

Social partnerships between governments, employers, unions, and training providers are key to effective vocational education and training (VET) governance and improved outcomes for learners according to recent research.

The report Industry’s role in VET governance: using international insights to inform new practices explores the relationship between social partnerships and improved governance. Defining who or what ‘industry’ is, and what industry interaction currently resembles at different levels of the VET system is also examined.

Drawing on selected international country comparisons over the last ten years, good examples of social partnerships and industry engagement in VET governance were found in Western and Northern European countries such as Germany, The Netherlands and Finland. Contrary to assumptions that industry must lead the VET system to achieve good outcomes, in these countries ‘industry’ plays a peripheral role in the top-level governance matters of planning, investing and decision-making.

In many countries, including Australia, successful partnerships can be observed where industry bodies work at the local, state, or regional governance level strengthening partnerships between employers, training providers and local governments thereby improving the quality of VET programs.

Further to training quality and employer engagement, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recommends increasing the integration of quality work placements to ensure they become a significant and mandatory part of all VET programs.

Quotes attributable to Simon Walker, Managing Director, NCVER:

'Industry' within a governance framework context is not a homogeneous term and needs to be unpacked to clearly identify and define what is meant.

Successfully embedding industry in training governance and funding requires skillful coordination due to the multiple, and at times diverging roles of industry in vocational education and training (VET).

The report Industry’s role in VET governance: using international insights to inform new practices is now available from the NCVER Portal.

Media enquiries: Deanne Loan M: 0413 523 691 E:

About NCVER: we are the main provider of research, statistics and data on Australia’s VET sector. Our services help promote better understanding of VET and assist policymakers, practitioners, industry, training providers, and students to make informed decisions.

This work has been produced by NCVER on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments, with funding provided through the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.