The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Skills Council (the Council) held its third meeting on 3 April 2020. Skills ministers met to agree a set of urgent national actions to deliver critical skills during the COVID-19 pandemic and to preserve the capacity of Australia’s training system.

The Council agreed to immediate steps to support and protect the interests of students, the skilled workforce and training providers. These measures will also position the vocational education and training sector (VET) to recover quickly when the COVID-19 pandemic abates, to fulfil its vital role in underpinning economic recovery.

The Council agreed to action in three key priority areas:

1. Critical skills and workforce availability

The Council noted the significant disruption being experienced in the national training system as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ministers recognised the risk of a loss of capacity within the VET system. Addressing this will require new ways of working to enable training to continue and to support skills for workers in areas of critical need.

2. Provider viability

The Council agreed to implement actions to support TAFE, public and private provider viability during the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. Supporting students

Supporting VET students is a priority for all jurisdictions, and Council emphasised the importance of ensuring as many VET students as possible are supported to continue their training in the event their training providers temporarily or permanently close during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full communique here.