This report looks at whether vocational education and training (VET) is equipped to meet the changing needs of the modern workplace. It finds that regulation and business needs drive changes in the way the training system operates. The system has advantages and disadvantages: it has strong mechanisms for identifying industry needs but too much bureaucracy and unnecessary detail, which makes it difficult to respond quickly and easily to emerging trends. Adaptation of the system is one thing, but if it is to be effective it requires an increased emphasis on good teaching, learning and assessment practice. It also requires employers to ensure that employees acquire the new skills by encouraging a workplace culture that is conducive to training.
About the research
This report, commissioned by the federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), investigates whether vocational education and training (VET) has adapted to meet the changing needs of work. It provides examples of how work has changed for different occupations and functions, and how systemic mechanisms such as training packages and accredited courses are used to help the system respond to these changes.
The findings indicate in particular that:
- Regulation and business needs drive changes in the way the competency-based training system operates.
The system has strong mechanisms for identifying the needs of specific industries and occupations and formulating units of competency in training packages and accredited courses to address these needs. However, too much bureaucratic red tape and
unnecessary detail make the system sluggish in responding to emerging needs in a timely fashion.
- Having strong mechanisms for the development and review of training packages and accredited courses is only part of the picture. These must be complemented by effective teaching and rigorous assessment practices, as well as up-to-date materials and technology for learning.
Adaptation of the training system is one thing, but it will only be effective if employers ensure employees acquire the new skills. This requires an organisational culture which is conducive to training, and worker willingness to engage in training.
Managing Director, NCVER