Skilling the regions: overcoming barriers to better VET provision

Media release

24 April 2023

Diverse and flexible training approaches are needed for the training sector to better meet the local needs of regional, rural and remote Australia.

This was one of the main findings from VET delivery in regional, rural and remote Australia: barriers and facilitators, the latest report released by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). The research provides valuable insights on how the VET sector could better meet skills needs in regional, rural and remote areas.

Training providers face many different barriers when delivering training in regional, rural and remote locations. These include:

  • provider-based challenges related to trainer shortages and thin markets
  • location-based barriers due to large distances, extreme weather and lack of housing, infrastructure and services.
  • student-based challenges such as literacy and numeracy issues, digital literacy limitations and cultural differences.

Mismatched state and local training priorities and inflexible training package requirements hamper training providers’ ability to provide the flexible training needed to overcome some of these challenges.

The research suggests that the VET sector might better meet the needs of regional, rural and remote Australia if:

  • policy and training package development better enables the flexibility needed across the diversity of regional, rural and remote locations
  • the true costs of delivery in such locations are better understood to ensure funding arrangements are adequate
  • training demand is coordinated to help ease issues of thin markets
  • partnerships between training providers and other local stakeholders are better facilitated to help ensure communities and local industries get what they need from training.

The research also found that many of the barriers identified, such as limited housing and job opportunities, do not fall under the responsibility of the VET sector. This highlights the need for a coordinated and holistic approach to regional development.


VET delivery in regional, rural and remote Australia: barriers and facilitators analysed how various stakeholders understand local skills needs and the barriers faced by registered training organisations (RTOs) when providing training in such locations. A total of 58 representatives of RTOs, industry peak bodies, regional development organisations and government departments in eight locations across Australia were interviewed.

Download the report: VET delivery in regional, rural and remote Australia: barriers and facilitators

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 policy makers, 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 Employment and Workplace Relations.