The state government has launched a review into Victoria’s vocational education sector to ensure the state has the qualified workers needed for the future economy.
The 12-month review has been initiated by the Victorian minister for skills, Gayle Tierney, and will be led by former federal minister Jenny Macklin. AEU Victorian branch President Meredith Peace and I recently met with Jenny Macklin to discuss the review, which will shape the future of post-secondary education. She confirmed that TAFEs, students and other VET stakeholders will be invited to provide input. The AEU will ensure that the views of our members are well understood. The review will focus on developing an education and training system that meets the needs of students, as well as those of both industry and government. Its terms of reference can be viewed online.
Given the federal Morrison government’s focus on sidelining TAFE and increasing industry’s role in designing VET qualifications, this state review will be important in ensuring that Victoria continues to rebuild and reform TAFE. Doing so is critical to maintaining accessible, high-quality public education and holding the conservative’s privatisation agenda at bay.
The funding arrangements for Victoria’s VET sector will be one of the most important areas to address. Without adequate federal and state funding, any recommended reforms will be more difficult to implement. The Andrews government has made a significant reinvestment in TAFE, but we still lag behind other states in terms of the annual hourly rate of funding for each student.
An initial issues paper will be available by the end of February 2020, with the final report due within 12 months.