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Forrest review says TAFE funding and courses should be decided by employers

TDA Newsletter    |    4 August 2014

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“Misguided”, says TDA

TAFE Directors Australia has labelled proposals to bypass TAFE and universities with TAFE divisions under the Forrest Review of Indigenous Training and Employment as “missing the mark” and likely to result in hundreds of millions of dollars in duplication.  It also goes way beyond its remit in proposing to remake the entire VET system.

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Martin Riordan, CEO of TDA, said while the approach by Mr Forrest was commendable to improve the capacity for indigenous communities to enter employment, it ignored the demand-led industry system of VET training being implemented by the states and territories.

In its report, Creating Parity, the Forrest Review recommends that all publicly funded vocational education and training be delivered via an employer-provided voucher and be linked to a guaranteed job. The report says:

The vocational education and training (VET) system, including TAFE, is currently moving towards employer-directed job-specific training like VTECs, but the progress is slow and sporadic. Training for training’s sake has led to first Australians accumulating Certificate I and II qualifications that are not valued by employers and rarely translate into a job.

Employer training vouchers “would only fund training that is designed by, and meets the needs of, employers” and would be required for all qualifications and skill sets.

“Certificates I and II would require a guaranteed job written into the voucher and it would only be redeemable on completion of 26-week outcomes.”

“With Certificate III and above, courses would be designed by employers (not trainers) and participants would be assessed at significant milestones for successful completion before the voucher could be cashed,” the report says.

Riordan said:

The Howard government attempted to bypass the existing training and TAFE network, and spent $700 million to create 23 Australian Technical Colleges, which proved to be a failed model – most ATCs required subcontract support by TAFEs even to operate.

The Forrest plan may satisfy – even reimburse – many mining and resource companies seeking enterprise training, yet in reality there is nothing to stop those companies starting their own training operation.

Group Training Australia also expressed doubts over the viability of the VET recommendations of the Forrest Review.

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