How can we improve the perception of VET?

You may have read reports in recent years that Nordic countries - Finland and Norway in particular - top the league tables for education, skills and training.

Something that caught my eye in particular was ‘the ease with which businesses can find skilled workers’ in these countries. This is significant because university tuition is free in Finland, however 45% of students choose a technical track rather than an academic track after completing basic education.

It really highlights how, as a country, Australia needs to change its views on Vocational Education and Training (VET), and how important it is that we embrace and support reform in this area.

Why aren’t more people choosing VET?

It’s been widely acknowledged for a long time that Australia suffers from a mismatch between supply and demand for skills, and according to Hays, the issue continues to increase.

In regional and remote areas of the Northern Territory in particular, the skills gap is acute, and has been for a number of years.

With this in mind, VET is surely of significant importance to young people and the future of our economy.

Unfortunately, VET has felt the brunt of a number of challenges in recent years, with complexity, underfunding and a decline in quality touted as major issues facing the sector. It’s undoubtedly damaged its reputation.

Work certainly needs to be done to ensure students are learning valuable and relevant skills for tomorrow’s workplace, and that trainers are upskilled to support that.

How can we address VET’s reputation?

The Industry Skills Advisory Council NT (ISACNT) is a newly created independent body working closely with industry, the Northern Territory Government, national bodies including Skilled Service Organisations (SSOs), Industry Reference Committees (IRCs), Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and business across the Northern Territory to help address VET reform and the region’s skills shortages.

We do this in a number of ways:

  • Engaging with industry to identify skills gaps and connecting companies with the most suitable RTOs to meet their needs
  • Working with national bodies to ensure training products meet the Territory’s requirements
  • Supporting RTOs to provide advice and assistance and relay concerns back to appropriate bodies
  • Meeting with tertiary institutions to encourage and support educational reform
  • Providing guidance to the Northern Territory industry on suitable training and qualification options

Many of the skills required to keep the Territory competitive are vocational in nature. We believe that investment in this area is crucial. What are your thoughts on the future of VET? Contact us to discuss this further.