New approach for a new era
The Victorian Government is leading a revitalised approach to skills and training. It is connecting the different parts of the sector, drawing together data and knowledge to better understand Victoria’s dynamic needs, and allow students, industry and communities to meet the new era with confidence.
Even before COVID-19, the skills needed for work were evolving rapidly. All those involved in the sector agreed that we needed a more coordinated, purposeful way of working to meet Victoria’s dynamic needs. This was confirmed in the final report of the Skills for Victoria’s Growing Economy Review, led by Jenny Macklin.
Three new structures have been established, to better connect the sector, and help maximise our collective efforts. These are:
- the Victorian Skills Authority
- the Office of TAFE Coordination and Delivery (DET)
These reforms seek to complement and maximise the benefits of other significant investments, including Free TAFE and the new Apprenticeships Victoria approach.
The Victorian Skills Authority
The Victorian Skills Authority is a new organisation, separate from the Department of Education and Training.
Led by a chief executive and supported by an Advisory Board of key stakeholders, it will forge strong connections across the sector. It will gather and analyse data and insights, producing a comprehensive annual report – the Skills Plan for Victoria.
This plan will allow Government, industry, training providers and others to respond and innovate with the speed and confidence that the new era demands.
By connecting the sector, and developing a robust evidence base, the Victorian Skills Authority will also help to generate local solutions to local problems, promote quality improvement and identify Victoria’s crucial skills development priorities and opportunities.
It will have a role to connect all parts of post-secondary education and training, including Learn Local providers (in the area of adult and community education) and VET offered through TAFEs, dual-sector universities and registered training providers.
The Skills Plan for Victoria
A core part of the Victorian Skills Authority’s work will be bringing people together to build a comprehensive annual Victorian Skills Plan. This plan will be based on thorough, ongoing analysis of data and evidence, as well as local insights from employers, workers, unions, community groups and people with direct experience of our vocational education and training (VET) system.
For the first time, Victoria will have a plan based on robust, sophisticated evidence that sets out the skills needed for both the year ahead and beyond. Industry, employers and unions will be actively engaged to test and verify the data underpinning the plan. This will give confidence to government, industry, training providers and others to respond readily and to innovate to meet existing and anticipated demands. Just as importantly, it will also give students confidence that their training is likely to lead to a job.
How will the new Authority work?
The Victorian Skills Authority will make the most of existing expertise and knowledge by bringing together the functions currently undertaken across the system, including building upon the work of the Victorian Skills Commissioner and his office.
The Victorian Skills Authority will be led by a chief executive officer, supported by an Advisory Board. The Board’s membership will reflect the diversity of the sector.
The Board, and the CEO, will be accountable to the Minister for Training and Skills for bringing together industry, unions, providers and communities to enhance the relevance, quality and equity of the VET system.
Critical work under the Industry Engagement Framework, including retention of the existing Industry Advisory Groups and work on Regional Skills Plans, will continue under the new Authority. So, too, will professional development through the VET Development Centre, and ongoing support for students through Skills and Jobs Centres, the TAFE and Training Line, and the Victorian Skills Gateway.
What happens next?
The Victorian Skills Authority will be formally established in the second half of 2021. Recruitment for appointment of a CEO and Advisory Board members will start soon, as will discussions with the organisations and staff who will become part of the new Authority.
The first Victorian Skills Plan will be released next year.
A central TAFE coordinator
The second important part of the reform is the creation of an office to coordinate TAFE strategy, data collection and sharing, and governance.
The new Office of TAFE Coordination and Delivery will be part of the Department of Education and Training. It will reduce duplication and help to foster a more collaborative TAFE network, allowing public providers to focus on setting the standard for the sector in delivering high-quality courses for high-priority jobs.