The Productivity Commission has released its final report as part of the Review of the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development (NAWSD).
Some of the review’s key findings include:
- Recommendations address some of the VET system’s acknowledged weaknesses and build on its strengths to lift participation and improve the quality of training.
- The NAWSD is overdue for replacement – targets have not been met and the performance framework has not held governments to account.
- The NAWSD should be replaced by a new principles-based intergovernmental agreement and reviewed every five years.
- Governments should continue to support the development of a more efficient and competitive VET market through informed user choice and a focus on quality.
- There is a manifest capacity for governments to achieve a better return on the $6.4 billion spent on VET.
- VET Student Loans (VSL) should be expanded to include more Diploma and above courses and to most Certificate IV courses.
- Reforms to the trade apprenticeship system should be focused on better screening and matching of prospective apprentices, providing the same subsidy for non-apprenticeship pathways as for traditional pathways and adjusting the timing of employer incentives to provide more support when risk of cancellation is greatest.
- Reducing the large number of Australians with low language, literacy, numeracy and digital literacy skills by coordinating a national strategy to improve school education, ‘second-chance’ learning in the VET sector and other adult education services.
- Addressing key obstacles to lifelong learning through proposed improvements in foundation skills, better credit pathways, an expansion of VSL and a trial of a new financing instrument for mature-age Australians reskilling and upskilling.