In Summary

The renewed focus on training as part of an enlarged federal education portfolio is welcome, said Professor Linda Kristjanson, Vice-Chancellor of Swinburne University of Technology.

“By joining up primary education, secondary education, vocational education and higher education in the single portfolio under Minister Christopher Pyne, the Commonwealth has an opportunity to drive improved educational experiences for Australians,” Professor Kristjanson said.

“As a dual sector provider, Swinburne understands the unique contributions made both by vocational education and higher education.

“Critically, vocational education and higher education have much to learn from each other. A key challenge in both sectors is how educational quality can be safeguarded and improved at a time that more students are pursuing post-secondary study opportunities.

“Vocational education, in particular, has languished in policy terms and would benefit from renewed focus in 2015.

“A good starting point for the reinvigoration of VET would be the five-point plan outlined by Jennifer Westacott, CEO of the Business Council of Australia (BCA), when she spoke at Swinburne earlier this year.”

The BCA’s five point plan for change to Australia’s vocational education system includes:

  • restoring VET’s role and status as a national economic priority;
  • a call for a more active coordination by the federal government;
  • better integration between VET with schools, higher education and industry;
  • a clearer determination of how the system should support public providers and allow for more private providers in the market, underpinned by a risk-based regulatory framework; and
  • ensuring that funding incentives are right.

Professor Kristjanson also congratulated new Assistant Minister for Education and Training, The Hon Simon Birmingham MP and new Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Science, the Hon Karen Andrews MP.