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Positive early impacts of the Victorian Training Guarantee on VET enrolments

NCVER     |    21 May 2014

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Training reforms can lead to substantial increases in vocational education and training (VET) enrolments, according to an analysis published by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) on Victorian training reforms.  In terms of outcomes for learners of different ages, the results are mixed, with young people getting the most immediate benefit.

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The research, undertaken by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, investigated the impacts of the first round of Victorian demand-driven reforms from 2009 to 2011, referred to as the Victoria Training Guarantee (VTG).

Between 2008 (pre-reform) and 2011 (post-reform), the VTG is estimated to have led to a 35% growth in enrolments, with much of it in private providers. This increase outstripped growth in enrolments reported in other states and territories over the same period. The growth, however, was not uniform.

Much of the increase in enrolments has been realised as increased enrolments in private institutions. Between 2008 and 2010, the Victorian Training Guarantee was associated with a 60-percentage-point higher growth in enrolments with private providers; between 2008 and 2011 this figure was 300 percentage points. Behind this growth in private provision is a 36-percentage-point higher growth in the number of private providers between 2008 and 2010 and, between 2008 and 2011, a 48-percentage-point higher growth. TAFE (technical and further education) enrolments on the other hand were relatively unaffected, with the Victorian Training Guarantee associated with a seven-percentage-point lower growth than otherwise would have been expected between 2008 and 2011. According to the authors, the suggestion is that private providers have done better than TAFE in responding in the short run to increased demand for publicly subsidised places under the training guarantee. We would note this might be due to highly competitive pricing, made possible by accelerated training, and through the provision of a range of incentives, from Ipads to payments for inducing enrolments.

NCVER’s managing director Rodd Camm said that with other states and territories considering and implementing similar reforms, the work is timely.

It shows that while overall more people enrolled in training, the rise was mixed across learner groups. The effect of the VTG on enrolments for students from non-English speaking backgrounds and those who have a disability were less marked, while for Indigenous students there was no discernible impact.

In terms of outcomes for learners of different ages, the results are mixed, with young people getting the most immediate benefit.

Camm said for 15-19 year olds, the VTG improved both the likelihood of being in a full-time job six months after training and of being satisfied with their course. The outcomes for 20-24 year olds, for whom there was an upskilling requirement, were not as positive.

This outcome suggests that the upskilling requirements of the VTG may potentially need more consideration as it did not support retraining in a different occupation.

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