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There's a spotlight on the vocational education, skills and training and workforce development due to the Jobs Skill Summit that was held in September. There is so much to digest and lots of different ideas being tabled.

To put the ideas and opportunities in context, AVETRA hosted a post-Summit webinar to hear what it all means from an exciting panel of key experts:

Jenny Dodd CEO of TAFE Directors Australia
Sally Curtain CEO of Bendigo Kangan Institute
Gerald Burke Adjunct Professor Monash University
Kira Clarke Senior Research Fellow at the Brotherhood of St Laurence and AVETRA President

Facilitated by Natasha Arthars from QUT (Queensland University of Technology)

As the Commonwealth, States and Territories sit down to negotiate the new National Skills Agreement one of the key questions facing them is what training to fund? For thirty years governments have pursued reforms to create a VET market where competition would drive innovation and performance. Is the market still what’s needed now? 

Don Zoellner is one of Australia’s leading VET thinkers. In his latest research he has taken the large data sets held by corporate and VET regulators to explore the life cycles of the VET markets in WA, SA, Tasmania, the ACT and the NT. In an attempt to move beyond the well-worn shibboleth of markets = neoliberalism = bad, it is argued that the introduction of markets has been an example of successful policy implementation, but that these markets are now reaching the end of their natural life cycle. Perversely, the major rationale for creating markets – increasing choice – is no longer being provided in these mature markets. 

Since a market-based approach was introduced, TAFE Institutes have lost market share, not-for-profit and social enterprise providers have been forced out of most government-created markets, while a significant number of long-standing for-profit providers continue to trade successfully, albeit in the face of more difficult market conditions. Rather than relying totally upon open markets, the data indicates which portions of the very large VET field respond well to competition and those that do not. Alternative economic theories offer more efficient and effective ways to replace markets that have reached the end of their life cycle; these include system optimisation and public value creation.

Hear more about Don’s research findings and what they mean for the future of VET funding in this important AVETRA webinar.

The recent Jobs and Skills Summit placed a renewed focus on the role the vocational education and training system will play in the response to the climate crisis. One of the summit’s key outcomes was the tasking of the newly established Jobs and Skills Australia to lead the development of the clean energy workforce. This is a welcome outcome in an industry which desires stronger leadership at a Commonwealth level. However, jobs in clean energy only make up some of the jobs which will contribute to climate mitigation and adaptation.

Many states and territories are already developing their own circularity strategies, with job growth predicted within circular industries, and a larger number of jobs to be impacted by the move towards circularity. Too strong a focus on clean energy, at the expense of circularity and wider adaptation processes risks repeating the mistakes of the past. To avoid another ‘lost decade’ of action, the skills and training system must be supported to fulfill its potential to not only contribute to the industries which enable mitigation and adaptation, but to support mitigation and adaptation across all industries and occupations.

This October VET webinar will bring together a panel of VET system leaders and green transition experts to discuss the role of VET in enabling national capability for climate mitigation and adaptation.

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