Monday, December 3 2018
When it comes to policy advocacy, to be most effective it’s necessary to take a leadership role. The importance of this was underscored last week when the Prime Minister announced the review into Australia’s vocational education and training sector.
ACPET’s leadership, augmented by that of other key stakeholders, has seen us at the forefront of this debate for some time, rallying for dramatic change in the VET sector. It is encouraging to see the Australian Government has heard the collective voices and are responding. This is an excellent example of ACPET representing members through their contribution in a critical policy debate.
Our approach to policy advocacy is highly nuanced. We’re increasing our emphasis on the use of data to underpin the value and quality that ACPET members provide students, business and government. We’re leveraging our relationships with peak employer groups, departmental stakeholders and parliamentarians to deliver outcomes that benefit members. It’s in this context that it was no accident that I was seated alongside the Departmental Secretary at the function where the Prime Minister announced the review.
Throughout the review, ACPET will work with the independent sector, particularly small providers of niche skills, to communicate to the Australian Government the following six key reform priorities:
- An Australian Education sector, which is world class, offering choice, innovation and creative opportunity to students nationally and internationally;
- An integrated seamless tertiary education sector suitable for lifelong learning whilst delivering skills and education in a new digital economy;
- Australian education, which is internationally regarded, because it learns from the past, but focuses on a future for Australian students, for Australian jobs and Australian business and industry;
- A mix of independent and public education, where there is fair competition to offer the best choices and the best outcomes to Australian and international students;
- A regulatory system, which protects students and the educational sector, but offers continuous improvement and innovation. Excessive process regulation will restrict Australian innovation and creativity; and
- Planning for education and assessment of quality must be based on sound objective data and that data must be generated quickly and assessed, as it comes to land to ensure Australia maintains its place in a digital economy.
The terms of reference for the VET sector review recognise that to allow students and business to succeed in a changing environment reform is necessary. There’s also recognition that delivery is afforded by the contributions of public and independent providers. Importantly, the terms of reference place a strong emphasis on the feedback that business has provided the Australian Government that the sector needs to focus not only on specific employment skills, but also build-up foundation life, literacy and numeracy capacity. ACPET welcomes this acknowledgement as the independent tertiary education sector has demonstrated its ability to innovate and provide quality outcomes in this area effectively.
The objective of the review is clearly articulated as ensuring that Australian businesses, including small and family businesses, and businesses in rural and regional areas, have the skills they need to support their business growth. Throughout the course of the review ACPET’s objective is clear – with the support of our members we’ll demonstrate that it’s independent providers that are strongly positioned to achieve this objective.
Troy Williams FIML MAICD
ACPET Chief Executive