The Australian Government is addressing industry concerns about the
quality of the previous Labor Government’s Trade Training Centres (TTC) in
schools programme through an independent review.
The review has been ordered based on feedback that students are not
graduating with the skills required by employers.
Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley explained that taxpayers had
spent more than $1.4 billion on the programme since Labor dismantled the Howard
Government’s successful curriculum-focussed Australian Technical Colleges in
2009 in favour of an infrastructure-centric approach. However, industry has
been raising numerous concerns about inconsistencies in the quality of
training, qualifications and equipment offered between different TTCs.
Observing that more kids need to be inducted into trades and training to
address Australia’s skills shortages, she said the training programme needed to
be high-quality and also include on-the-job experience to be effective.
Unfortunately, Labor’s Trade Training Centres programme was more focussed on
building flashy new buildings rather than the quality of training delivered
Since TTCs operate under 20-year contracts, the review will ensure they deliver
both the taxpayers and students maximum value going forward. The review would
also ensure stronger links between industry and schools, and better career guidance
The Abbott Government is currently working with the states and
territories to update the national Vocational Education and Training in Schools
(VETiS) framework for the first time since 2001.
Emphasising the importance of the need for students not only to develop
physical skills but also employability, Ms Ley said a TTC offering a
Certificate II in construction should deliver hands-on experience and training
with tools on a worksite for it to be a worthwhile experience for both the
student and the employer. Likewise, a TTC delivering a hospitality
qualification should go beyond merely teaching school students how to make a
great meal to training them in business fundamentals such as customer service.
At the end of the day, students should consider trades and training as first-class
career pathways similar to university, and not made to feel like they’re
playing on the ‘B team’.
The TTC review will focus on examining three areas:
The current utilisation of training facilities to identify opportunities
for increased or improved utilisation;
The training provided, particularly in terms of industry and employer
engagement, which involves an examination of the current role of industry and
employers in training delivery models to identify models of best practice, options
for strengthening industry and employer links, and opportunities for enhanced
involvement leading to better training outcomes;
Training outcomes and whether they are meeting industry and employer
needs, which will involve an assessment of the current training outcomes under
the Program against program objectives, original funding proposal expectations,
contractual obligations, and industry and employer expectations.
Ms Ley announced that Ms Patricia Scott would undertake the review using
her extensive policy, advisory and implementation experience in various public
service roles, including as a former departmental secretary. The report will be
submitted to the Government later this year.