Small VET providers: the quiet achievers

Media release

30 April 2019

Small vocational education and training (VET) providers have an important role to play in offering diversity, equity and specialised training services across the sector, according to a new report released today by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

The report The role and function of small VET providers also reveals that providers with fewer than 100 students made up around a third of Australian providers in 2017.

There has been a lot of attention in recent years on TAFE institutes and large, high-profile private training providers,” said Simon Walker, Managing Director, NCVER.

“However, the sheer number of small providers and their diverse training specialisations, indicate that they also deserve attention.

The research builds on previous NCVER work to better understand the value that stable small VET providers, defined as those who maintained enrolments of fewer than 100 students across the three-year period of the study, contribute to the Australian VET system.

“What we’ve found is that small providers contribute to the diversity of the VET system in terms of the number of niche qualifications they offer to students,” Mr Walker said.

“Many of them deliver specialised training, often in areas that receive little to no government funding or don’t attract enough students to warrant a larger provider having the qualification on scope.

“Small providers tend to offer training in accredited courses at higher qualification levels, and on a fee-for-service basis compared with medium or large providers.

“Some small providers also offer specialised and essential services for key equity groups, and as a whole they had relatively more students with a disability and more Indigenous students than medium or large providers in 2017.”

Graduates of small providers record similar levels of satisfaction with teaching and training as those who graduated from medium or larger providers. They were also just as likely to recommend their training provider.

The role and function of small VET providers is available from:

About NCVER: we are the principal 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 Education and Training.

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