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Employment, Workplace Relations, Small Business and Education References Committee-Senate Standing Aspiring to excellence: The quality of vocational education and training in Australia Report, November 2000


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S

enate Employment, Workplace Relations, Small Business and Education References Committee

Aspiring to Excellence

Report into the Quality of Vocational Education and Training in Australia

NOVEMBER 2000

S

enate E m ploym ent, W orkplace Relations, Sm all B u sin ess and E ducation R eferen ces C om m ittee

A sp irin g to E x cellen ce

R ep ort in to th e Q u ality o f V o ca tio n a l E d u c a tio n an d T ra in in g in A u stra lia

NOVEM BER 2000

©

Commonwealth of Australia 2000

ISBN 0 642 71108 9

This document was produced from camera-ready copy prepared by the Secretariat of the Senate Employment, Workplace Relations, Small Business and Education References Committee. The report was printed by the Senate Printing

Unit, Parliament House, Canberra.

M

EMBERS OF THE REFERENCES COMMITTEE 39 th PARLIAMENT

Chair Deputy Chair

Senator Jacinta Collins (ALP) VIC Senator John Tierney (LP) NSW

Members

Senator George Brandis (LP) QLD Senator Trish Crossin (ALP) NT Senator Kim Carr (ALP) VIC Senator Natasha Stott Despoja (AD) SA

*Senator Tsebin Tchen (LP) ** Senator Andrew Murray (AD) VIC - Member until 8 June 2000 WA - To substitute for Senator Stott Despoja on matters

relating to workplace relations and small business.

Participating Members

Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz (LP) TAS Senator Jeannie Ferris (LP) SA Senator Lyn Allison (AD) VIC Senator Brenda Gibbs (ALP) QLD

Senator the Hon. Ron Boswell (NPA) QLD Senator the Hon. Brian Gibson (LP) TAS Senator Bob Brown (AG) TAS Senator Brian Harradine (Ind.) TAS

Senator Geoffrey Buckland (ALP) SA Senator Leonard Harris (PHON) QLD Senator Paul Calvert (LP) TAS Senator Steve Hutchins (ALP) NSW

Senator George Campbell (ALP) NSW Senator Susan Knowles (LP) WA Senator Grant Chapman (LP)SA Senator Ross Lightfoot (LP) WA

Senator Helen Coonan (LP) NSW Senator Sue Mackay (ALP) TAS

Senator Winston Crane (LP) WA Senator Brett Mason (LP) QLD

Senator the Hon. Rosemary Crowley(ALP) SA Senator Julian McGauran (NPA) VIC Senator Alan Eggleston (LP) WA Senator Kerry O’Brien (ALP) TAS Senator the Hon. John Faulkner (ALP) NSW Senator Marise Payne (LP) NSW Senator Alan Ferguson (LP)SA Senator John Watson (LP) TAS

Secretariat Consultant

John Carter Gail Cummins

Geoff Dawson Anne Domitrovic Helen Winslade

Address Phone (02) 6277 3520

SI.61 Fax (02)6277 5706

Parliament House E-mail eet.seniajaph. gov.au

CANBERRA ACT 2600 Website: www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/eet_ctte

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ABLE OF CONTENTS

MEMBERS OF THE REFERENCES COM M ITTEE.................................... iii

TERMS OF REFER EN CE......................................................................................xi

PREFACE.................................................................................................................. xiii

OVERVIEW AND RECO M M ENDATIO NS....................................................xv

CHAPTER 1 ..................................................................................................................1

INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................... 1

CHAPTER 2 ..................................................................................................................9

CONDUCT OF THE INQUIRY........................................................................................9

Process................................................................................................................... 9

Approach................................................................................................................ 9

Evidence considered by the Committee..................................................................10

Committee’s approach to assessing quality in VET...................................................11

Defining Quality· in VET....................................................................................... 11

CHAPTER 3 ............................................................................................................... 13

VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN AUSTRALIA...........................13

Characteristics of the VET system..............................................................................13

Roles and Responsibilities............................................................................................ 15

ANTA structures and arrangements...................................................................... 15

ANTA Chief Executive Officers Committee............................................................15

The Commonwealth role....................................................................................... 15

The states and territories...................................................................................... 15

Planning and Accountability Arrangements..............................................·...............16

VET Funding................................................................................................................. 17

Funding sources....................................................................................................17

Commonwealth contribution..................................................................................18

State-sourced funding........................................................................................... 19

TAFE fee-for-service activities..............................................................................19

Enterprise expenditure on training........................................................................20

Individual expenditure on VET............................................................................. 20

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HAPTER 4 21

THE EMERGENCE OF A NATIONAL VET SYSTEM............................................. 21

Evolution of the VET system....................................................................................... 21

Kangan................................................................................................................ 22

Toward ANTA......................................................................................................23

Establishment of the Australian National Training Authority.................................25 The ANTA Agreement...........................................................................................25

Evaluating the first four years o f ANTA................................................................ 26

Development of Apprenticeships and Traineeships.................................................. 27

Apprenticeships................................................................................................... 27

Traineeships........................................................................................................28

Recent Developments................................................................................................... 30

New Apprenticeships.............................................................................................31

The National Training Framework....................................................................... 31

The Australian Recognition Framework............................................................... 32

National Training Packages................................................................................ 33

User choice..........................................................................................................34

VET in Schools..................................................................................................... 35

CHAPTER 5 ...............................................................................................................37

OUTCOMES FROM VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING...................37

Participation in vocational education and training...................................................38

Growth in participation....................................................................................... 38

Unmet Student Demand for Vocational Education and Training............................ 38 Achievements in Vocational Education and Training..............................................40

Qualification levels.............................................................................................. 40

Module Outcomes................................................................................................ 41

Australia’s qualifications profile.......................................................................... 43

Meeting the needs of employers.................................................................................. 44

VET skills and qualifications needed by employers................................................ 44

Employers ’ views on the relevance of skills acquired through VET....................... 45 Skill shortages...................................................................................................... 46

Non-completion of New Apprenticeships............................................................... 47

Understanding apprentice and trainee movements and transactions......................52 Meeting the needs of individuals................................................................................. 54

Participation and attainment by client groups in VET............................................54

Summary>..............................................................................................................58

CHAPTER 6 ............................................................................................................... 61

NATIONAL POLICY FRAMEWORK..........................................................................61

Effectiveness of national policy structures and arrangements..................................61 ANTA Ministerial Council.................................................................................... 61

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ANTA Board......................................................................................................... 64

The ANTA Agreement........................................................................................... 67

Responsibility for quality.......................................................................................72

National Policy Objectives and Priorities...................................................................73

National Objectives............................................................................................... 73

National Priorities................................................................................................ 74

Place of New Apprenticeships in VET.................................................................... 74

CHAPTER 7 ............................................................................................................... 79

GROWTH, FUNDING AND COMPETITION IN VET...............................................79

The ‘growth through efficiencies’ policy..................................................................... 79

Impact on quality..................................................................................................83

Funding growth in New Apprenticeships................................................................ 85

Funding Future Demand for VET.......................................................................... 86

Establishing the vocational education and training market..................................... 90 Support for User Choice....................................................................................... 91

Impact on TAFE and Quality.................................................................................92

Inconsistencies in implementation......................................................................... 97

Making informed choices...................................................................................... 98

Balancing individual needs and industry needs...................................................... 99

Pricing of training.............................................................................................. 101

Reducedfunds to actual delivery......................................................................... 103

Resource allocation between VET and New Apprenticeships............................... 103 Industry investment in VET....................................................................................... 105

Creating a training culture..................................................................................106

Level of industry investment in training............................................................... 108

Impediments to the development of a training culture.......................................... I l l

What should be industry’s share of training investment?......................................112 Increasing industry investment in training........................................................... 113

CHAPTER 8 ............................................................................................................. 117

ASSURING QUALITY IN VET PROCESSES AND OUTCOMES.......................... 117

The National Training Framework...........................................................................117

The Australian Recognition Framework............................................................ 117

Adequacy of Standards in the Australian Recognition Framework........................119 Australian Recognition Framework implementation by states and territories....... 122 Australian Recognition Framework capacity to achieve national consistency.......127 National Code for Quality in VET....................................................................... 135

National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority.....................................138 Legislative basis for regulating quality in VET.....................................................139

Maintenance of strong role for ANTA...................................................................... 142

National Training Packages....................................................................................... 143

Support for National Training Packages.............................................................. 144

Training Package Development........................................................................... 145

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Inconsistencies in implementation........................................................................147

Strengthening Support Materials to provide implementation options....................149 Narrow job-readiness versus underpinning knowledge and skills......................... 152 Provision for the achievement of the Key Competencies...................................... 154

Implementation timetable.....................................................................................158

Customisation vs labour market mobility............................................................. 159

Assessment Issues................................................................................................ 161

Consistency and parity of qualifications.............................................................. 164

Entry to higher education....................................................................................165

Licensing and trades recognition........................................................................ 165

Resourcing Implementation.................................................................................165

Restoring the skills and qualifications of VET teachers/trainers...........................166

Investigative studies and research relating to National Training Packages......... 170

CHAPTER 9 ............................................................................................................. 171

NEW APPRENTICESHIPS...........................................................................................171

Quality of apprenticeship and traineeship training delivery and outcomes......... 171

Outcomes................................................................................................... 173

Participation in New Apprenticeships..................................................................173

Client Satisfaction.......................................................................................................176

Performance of Registered Training Organisations................................................177

Customisation or tailoring of training to meet enterprise-specific needs..............185

On the job and workplace training and assessment.................................................186

Employer obligations..........................................................................................188

Content of training and the learning experience of fully on the job training......... 190 Support for integrated on and off the job training................................................191

Implementation of Training Agreements and Training Plans............................... 194 Protection of apprentices and trainees................................................................ 199

Performance of New Apprenticeship Centres......................................................... 199

Conflicts of interest.............................................................................................202

Impact of Commonwealth’s New Apprenticeships employer incentives program .......................................................................................................................................205

Effectiveness o f incentives in influencing employers.............................................205

Employer incentives for existing employees.........................................................209

Possible misuse of incentives.............................................................................. 211

Should existing employees attract New Apprenticeship employer subsidies........... 213 Target audience for New Apprenticeships................................................................214

Recognition of Prior Learning.............................................................................219

CHAPTER 1 0 ...........................................................................................................223

VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN SCHOOLS............................. 223

National policy and the role of the Commonwealth.................................................224

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he role of states and territories in providing VET in schools...............................225

Schools and industry....................................................................................................226

The view from the schools...........................................................................................229

Award certification...................................................................................................... 233

Matriculation status for VET courses................................................................... 233

Training Packages and matriculation.................................................................. 234

Final year certificates and the Australian Qualifications Framework................... 235 Schools and TAFE...............................................................................................235

Impediments to school-based VET programs.......................................................... 238

Funding............................................................................................................... 238

New Apprenticeships............................................................................................ 239

Weaknesses in school-based VET......................................................................... 240

TAFE sector criticisms of VET in schools.............................................................241

Teacher qualifications......................................................................................... 242

Western Australian case study..............................................................................243

An equity issue.....................................................................................................245

Industrial issues...................................................................................................246

Teacher union concerns....................................................................................... 246

The need for fundamental policy review....................................................................248

GOVERNMENT SENATORS' REPORT......................................................... 251

AUSTRALIAN DEM OCRATS SENATORS’ ADDITIONAL COM M ENTS............................................................................................................. 259

APPENDIX 1 ................................................................................. 263

LIST OF SUBMISSIONS.....................................................................................................

APPENDIX 2 ............................................................................................................. 269

WITNESSES WHO APPEARED BEFORE THE COMMITTEE AT THE PUBLIC HEARINGS............................................................................................................................

APPENDIX 3 ............................................................................................................. 279

DOCUMENTS TABLED AT PUBLIC HEARINGS.......................................................

APPENDIX 4 .............................................................................................................281

FURTHER INFORMATION.............................................................................................

APPENDIX 5 .............................................................................................................285

SUMMARY OF KEY VET MINISTERIAL COUNCIL AGREEMENTS ON NATIONAL TRAINING FRAMEWORK......................................................................

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TERMS OF REFERENCE

The effectiveness of the vocational education and training sector in developing the educational skills of the Australian people and the skills formation and productivity of the Australian workforce, including:

(a) an evaluation of the place of the new apprenticeships scheme within the national priorities set for Australia’s vocational education system and the appropriateness of those priorities, with particular reference to:

(i) resource allocation across the sector, between the states and territories, and within program priorities, (ii) demographic distribution and equity of stmctured training opportunities, (Hi) opportunities for youth and for older people, and (iv) the respective obligations of industry and government;

(b) an evaluation of claims that the key objectives of the original new apprenticeships scheme, as agreed by the states and territories, are not being met, and specifically whether:

(i) training outcomes are of diminishing quality, (ii) older people rather than younger people and new entrants to the workforce are the main beneficiaries of new apprenticeships,

(iii) the system is more rather than less complex, and (iv) the system is being driven by financial incentives and targets rather than the needs of industry;

(c) an assessment of the quality of provision of technical and further education (TAPE) and private providers in the delivery of nationally recognised and non- recognised vocational education and training (VET) services and programs, including:

(i) the adequacy of current administration, assessment and audit arrangements for registered training organisations and the credentials they issue, (ii) processes for the recognition of registered training organisations, the effectiveness of compliance audits and validations of registered training

organisations, operations, and sanctions for breaching the conditions of registration, (iii) the level and quality of VET occurring within registered training organisations, including TAPE, private providers, workplaces and schools,

(iv) the extent to which employers of apprentices and trainees are meeting their obligations to deliver training on the job, and the adequacy of monitoring arrangements, (v) the range of work and facilities available for training on the job, (vi) attainment of competencies under national training packages, and (vii) the reasons for increasing rates of non-completion of apprenticeships and

traineeships;

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(d) an examination of the impact on the quality and accessibility of VET resulting from the policy of growth through efficiencies and user choice in VET, with particular reference to the:

(i) viability of TAPE, particularly in regional Australia, (ii) quality of structured training, (iii) quality of teaching, (iv) appropriateness of curriculum and learning resources, (v) range and availability of student services, and (vi) effects of fees and charges on TAPE;

(e) an evaluation of the provision of Commonwealth and state employers’ subsidies, including:

(i) the effectiveness of existing subsidies arrangements in meeting national VET needs, (ii) the impact of changes to the new apprenticeships policy, which broadened employer trainee subsidies to include existing workers, and (iii) accountability and audit procedures within the Department of Education,

Training and Youth Affairs, the Australian National Training Authority and state training authorities;

(f) an evaluation of the growth, breadth, effectiveness and future provision of vocational education in schools, including:

(i) the quality of provision of VET in both government and non-govemment schools, (ii) the relationship between vocational education in schools, and accredited training packages, (iii) the effectiveness and quality of curriculum materials and teaching, (iv) accountability provisions for the funding of vocational education in schools,

and

(v) school-to-work transitional arrangements; and

(g) an assessment of the consistency, validity and accessibility of statistical information on the performance of national VET systems, especially relating to apprenticeships and traineeships.

PREFACE

This report is the culmination of three years of close scrutiny of vocational education and training issues by senators covering education policy areas. This has occurred through scrutiny of the Estimates and through legislation as well as through this reference.

The inquiry has already had a significant effect on the deliberations of Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) and the Australian National Training Authority Ministerial Council (MINCO). The report provides a plan for addressing the concerns about the adequacies of quality assurance in VET. These go beyond the current

measures discussed to date through ANTA and MINCO.

This Committee’s broad inquiry into vocational education and training has covered many technical and complex issues facing the sector. The extensive terms of reference addressed by the Committee involved a detailed consideration of concerns held by the wide range of stakeholders in the national VET structure. As well as a mass of written

and oral evidence, the Committee drew upon the extensive research base on VET. The legislative compact that holds VET together nationally includes Commonwealth and state agencies, employer groups, associations of different occupations, training agencies and institutions, trade unions and trainees.

The Committee noted differences in the administrative cultures and regulatory practices between state government agencies, as well as differences in the attitudes between the states and the Commonwealth to the difficulties faced by the VET sector.

Market pressures, which increasingly determine the way VET is delivered, have resulted in widely differing responses from the range of VET stakeholders. Assimilating the evidence provided by such disparate interests has been a challenging task for the Committee.

This report is tabled ahead of a MINCO. A significant issue at the meeting will be the negotiation of a VET funding agreement for the 2001-04 quadrennium, although as this report goes to press no draft agreement has circulated by the Minister. Uppermost in the minds of most MINCO members will be the issue of obtaining sufficient

Commonwealth financial support for a sector which has, over the past three years, been forced to fund its growth through finding ‘efficiencies’ in its operations. This has increasingly resulted in a reduced capacity to provide training of sufficient quality -

the detail of which constitutes the main body of this report.

The Committee emphasises that growth funding is essential to improving the effectiveness of the regulatory framework and thus ensuring quality training. This report details the current regulatory deficiencies and recommends changes.

Without

sufficient new funding, the sudden and belated recognition by Commonwealth and state governments of ‘quality’ as the determinant in meeting national VET goals will be no more than empty rhetoric.

The Committee is grateful for the assistance given by all those who provided evidence to this inquiry. It also acknowledges the significant and valuable role of its consultant, Ms Gail Cummins, in assisting the Committee during the inquiry and in her contribution to the drafting of this report.

The Committee majority commends its report to the Senate.

Senator Jacinta Collins Senator Kim Can-

Chair

Senator Trish Crossin Senator Natasha Stott Despoja

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VERVIEW AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The majority report contains 28 recommendations to the Government. These go to the heart of restoring quality in vocational education and training, beginning with a renegotiation of VET objectives with major participants in the training network, but focusing mainly on strengthening institutional arrangements which ensure compliance

with quality control processes. All that is recommended here is consistent with the federal compact on VET, and the need to provide all stakeholders with a share of responsibility in a vital national endeavour. This includes a reconsideration of the needs and responsibilities of industry which relies heavily on the maintenance of

quality training, and on which national prosperity largely depends.

Re-establishing the fundamentals

R 1. Broadening National Objectives

National Objectives provide the raison d'etre for the vocational education and training system and the context within which policies and programs are designed and implemented.

Australia’s National Strategy for Vocational Education and Training 1998-2003 outlines the major economic, technological and social trends affecting vocational education and training in Australia. The five objectives of the strategy are:

• equipping Australians for the world of work;

• enhancing mobility in the labour market;

• achieving equitable outcomes in vocational education and training;

• increasing investment in training; and

• maximising the value of public vocational education and training expenditure.

The Committee supports these objectives as appropriate drivers of VET policy and provision, but considers that 'equipping Australians effectively to enable them to fully participate in society' is a significant omission. This omission has the effect of excluding the broader social and educational goals that should be an essential part of

any education and training system.

The Committee recommends that:

national VET objectives be renegotiated to include the objective of ensuring that there is equitable access for all Australians to vocational education and training that enhances their capacity to participate in society and take advantage of emerging opportunities in employment and in further education and training.

(Paragraph 6.63)

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R 2. Reaffirming VET's role in Australia's economic and social life

The Committee strongly believes that a new national quality framework is needed for VET: a framework within which a truly national, truly integrated system can become a reality. Vocational education and training policy and the system that supports it are vital to both Australia's economic prosperity and that of significant numbers of its people. Australia’s continued trade and financial integration into the global economy

depends on increasing the knowledge, skills, flexibility and adaptability of its labour force.

It is no longer feasible or acceptable for VET policy and the VET system to operate as disparate entities paying lip service to national goals and objectives. At a time when thinking globally has become imperative, arrangements which restrict VET to state borders can no longer be justified.

In the twelve months to February 2000, 698,000 workers, or 8 per cent of all workers, lost their jobs involuntarily, while another 1.13 million, or 13 per cent, quit voluntarily. The increasing trend for Australian workers to seek to change jobs, either voluntarily or involuntarily, emphasises the importance of broad-based, transferable knowledge and skills and the need for nationally consistent VET arrangements, particularly mutual recognition of training and qualifications.

More and more of Australia's businesses and industries are becoming national and are demanding the services of an efficient, effective, quality national VET system to increase their competitiveness. Achieving world's best practice in VET is being seriously hindered by the failure of current arrangements to develop a national system. The Commonwealth Parliament and the Government must show leadership and commitment to achieving a robust, quality driven vocational education and training

system as an essential and critical part of economic and social policies.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) the Commonwealth Parliament and the Government recognise their responsibilities to develop a truly national vocational education system to meet the challenges of achieving high levels of international competitiveness that have emerged from economic restructuring and globalisation; and

(b) the Government acknowledge that for Australia to be competitive, it must ensure that skills acquisition is given high priority, and that further structural change is accompanied by national skills redevelopment programs for those disadvantaged in employment so that labour mobility and an even spread throughout Australian society of the benefits of economic change can be assured. (Paragraph 8.74)

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R 3. Re-establishing more inclusive partnership and consultative arrangements

The Committee supports a strong and active role for industry in VET but believes the leadership role it has been accorded by the current Government must be shared by other stakeholders. There is a need to ensure that VET policy and planning is determined with both the economic and social goals of education in mind so that the

interests of all clients are considered.

The Committee considers that teaching and educational expertise has not been used to best advantage in national policy making or the development of important components of the current VET system, particularly where aspects of VET delivery and assessment are concerned. Such expertise should be sought at the planning and

development stage of all VET system components in order to avoid difficulties at the implementation and/or delivery stages.

The new ANT A Agreement is an opportunity to restore partnership and consultative arrangements that are inclusive of expertise in teaching and learning, assessment and training delivery. In putting this view the Committee stresses that it does not in any way support a return to a provider driven or an educationally dominated VET system, merely a system where expertise which is integral to quality outcomes is used to

advantage.

The Committee recommends that:

ANT A make a clear policy statement emphasising the importance of including people with teaching or professional educational expertise and experience in all aspects and at all levels of VET decision making, planning and development processes. (Paragraph 6.52)

R 4. Taking advantage o f the expertise of all stakeholders

The membership of the ANTA Board has been a matter of debate since its establishment, particularly in regard to the absence of any practising teachers or professional educators.

The Committee notes that a senior state or territory official is a member of the ANTA Board. The Committee considers this is a positive inclusion in Board membership but that it does not provide the Board with the teaching and educational expertise that is needed to complement its efforts to construct a national VET system capable of meeting the needs of all its clients.

The Committee believes that the exclusion of teachers and professional educators from the policy development and decision making processes weakens the 'partnership' and 'consultative' basis on which the national VET system is founded. The Committee

believes the partnership would be considerably strengthened by the inclusion of a member with extensive teaching and educational expertise and experience.

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The Committee recommends that:

(a) the membership of ANTA provide a balance between national and state and territory governments, employers, unions and VET provider interests; and

(b) at least one member is appointed who is a practising professional VET teacher or educator and who is able to provide the Board with advice based on extensive teaching and educational expertise and experience. (Paragraph 6.23)

Restoring quality

R 5. National code for quality in VET

Problems with the Australian Recognition Framework are undoubtedly some of the more serious issues emerging from the Committee's inquiry. Submissions and other evidence identify three aspects of the Framework that limit its effectiveness in ensuring quality in VET, in providing for labour mobility, and in developing a national training market. These are the adequacy of the content of the Framework documentation, particularly the standards contained therein; the rigour with which states and territories have applied standards in VET provider registration, carried out audits and applied available sanctions; and the capacity of the Framework to achieve national consistency.

The Committee found that there are serious deficiencies in both the design and implementation of the Australian Recognition Framework. These deficiencies include inadequacies in the scope and effectiveness of Standards and Evidence Requirements,

serious weaknesses in the capacity of the Framework to contribute to national consistency and quality in the VET system, and shortcomings in the application auditing by states and territories of the Principles and Standards for provider registration.

ANTA and DETYA have been aware of these deficiencies for some time but both failed in their written submissions to identify these problems. Deficiencies have been acknowledged by government for some time, at least behind closed doors.

ANTA has sought legal advice on a range of aspects of the Australian Recognition Framework. The legal advice, from Minter Ellison, confirms that serious legal impediments exist to the effective operation of the Framework. These legal impediments have not been addressed to date. Nor do any proposals currently before MINCO to rectify flaws in policies and strategies for the development of a nationally integrated VET system exhibit any integrity. There is also an extensive list of MINCO Agreements yet to be implemented (see Appendix 5).

The deficiencies relate specifically to interstate mutual recognition of:

• monitoring and auditing of Registered Training Organisations;

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recognition of providers;

• recognition of training packages and accredited courses;

• recognition of qualifications; and

• quality endorsement.

These deficiencies, unless addressed, will prevent the achievement of a tmly national, truly integrated VET system. There is therefore a very strong case for changing the Australian Recognition Framework. The Committee cannot accept the argument that the system is suffering from 'reform fatigue' and that this therefore constitutes a justification for not remedying system deficiencies simply because it would constitute

further change.

The Committee believes it is imperative that the regulatory and quality framework promotes stability and integrity in the system. The Committee also considers that a stronger hand is needed in the management of quality in order to ensure the integrity of the system. The principles and standards of the Australian Recognition Framework

are not enforceable in law. State and territory management of quality assurance processes for VET are not consistent and in some states not sufficiently robust, and procedures for registration of new providers under the Framework across the states are not always satisfactory. Neither ANTA nor the Commonwealth has the power to

compel VET providers to observe the principles and standards of the Framework, nor states and territories to enforce them. The ultimate sanction provided by the Framework, deregistration, is fraught with legal difficulties and appears little used and thus even less of a deterrent.

Leaving sole regulatory authority in the hands of the states and territories has not worked. It is no longer a viable option, particularly in the light of identified inconsistencies in legal and administrative processes.

The Committee strongly believes that a new national quality framework is needed for VET: a framework within which a truly national, truly integrated system can become a reality.

The Committee believes that national consistency and quality cannot be achieved without agreed, legally enforceable national standards that are consistently applied by all states and territories. The Committee considers the Australian Recognition Framework should be replaced by a National Code for Quality in VET modelled on that contained in the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Bill 2000, and that the National Code should be made legally enforceable through Commonwealth

legislation, again modelled on the ESOS legislation.

The Committee finds it extraordinary that the instructions from ANTA to their legal consultants, Minter Ellison, on the question of national consistency of regulation in the VET sector specifically excluded the provision of advice on national legislation. In the Committee's view the Commonwealth has sufficient constitutional powers in this

regard under Sections 51 (xx) and 122 of the Constitution.

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he Committee would expect all standards and evidence requirements in the new National Code to be considerably higher than those currently contained in the Australian Recognition Framework, and that they would include standards and evidence that relates to both the capacity of a provider to provide quality VET services, and to a provider's actual performance against the standard. Much more emphasis needs to be placed on the quality of outcomes.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) The Australian Recognition Framework be replaced with a National Code for Quality in VET. The National Code should be made legally enforceable through Commonwealth legislation. The National Code should contain a statement of the rights, responsibilities and obligations of all relevant parties, and standards, procedures and evidence requirements to regulate and ensure quality in all aspects of VET, including consistency of implementation. Specifically, the National Code should incorporate:

• principles, standards and procedures for the endorsement of National Training Packages and, where these do not exist, for the accreditation of courses, and for the consistent national implementation of Training Packages and courses (including standards to ensure consistency and parity of qualifications, and requirements relating to the inclusion of the Mayer Key Competencies);

• requirements with which all states and territories would be expected to comply in the performance of their quality assurance responsibilities. These requirements should include a statement of mutual recognition obligations and provisions to ensure proper protection of the rights of students and apprentices and trainees;

• legally enforceable national standards, procedures and evidence requirements for registration to provide VET services, and for performance monitoring and auditing of training providers to be applied by states and territories;

• consistent national standards for the audit process including qualifications and other requirements to be met by auditors;

• explicit and comprehensive standards, procedures and evidence requirements with which registered training providers must comply in the provision of VET services. These should cover teaching and learning, recognition of prior learning, recognition of current competency and assessment of vocational education and training, whether on the job, in the workplace or in an institutional setting and the preparation, monitoring and implementation of Training Plans for apprentices and trainees. The standards and evidence should relate to both the capacity of a provider to provide quality VET services, and to a provider's actual performance against the standard;

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• sanctions, including fines and suspension or cancellation of registration, to be applied to RTOs failing to comply with the Code;

• arrangements for a national register of YET providers, with providers being entered on the register only where the state or territory authority has certified that the provider has been visited and that compliance with the National Code has been established.

(b) ANT A commence work on establishing the National Code for Quality in VET pending the establishment of the National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority proposed in Recommendation 6. (Paragraph 8.84)

R 6. National Qualifications and Quality Assurance A uthority

The current basis for quality in the VET system is the quality assurance measures contained in the National Training Framework (NTF). There is, however, no single body within, or independent of, the ANT A national structure that has overall responsibility for quality.

The Committee believes primary responsibility for the National Code for Quality in VET (Recommendation 5) should rest with an independent National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority (NQQAA). The NQQAA should be established as an independent statutory body by the Commonwealth under new legislation separate

from, but modelled on, the ANT A legislation, and the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Bill 2000, underpinned by an Agreement similar to the ANT A Agreement.

The NQQAA should subsume ANTA's National Training Quality Council (NTQC) but have a broader, clearer and more independent statutory basis. The NQQAA should also have all the powers and functions of the NTQC. The NQQAA should also take on

the role of the national professional teaching standards and registration body recommended in this report.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) A National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority (NQQAA) be established as an independent statutory body by the Commonwealth under new legislation separate from but modelled on the ANT A legislation and the Education Services for Overseas Students Bill 2000, underpinned by an Agreement similar to the ANTA Agreement. The Commonwealth legislation

should empower the NQQAA to :

(i) establish the National Code for Quality in VET;

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(ii) apply and administer the National Code and the standards and other requirements therein, including those relating to national consistency;

(iii) register VET providers in accordance with National Code standards and procedures;

(iv) exercise compliance and audit powers, including the application of sanctions;

(v) report and make recommendations to ANTA MINCO on the states and territories Annual Quality Assurance Plans (see

Recommendation 8);

(vi) develop or assume responsibility for further developing and administering the system or arrangements for tracking, recording and reporting on reasons for and circumstances surrounding withdrawals, cancellations, recommencements or other events which involve an apprentice or trainee leaving an employer prior to completion (see also Recommendation 18);

(vii) develop or assume responsibility for further developing and administering national implementation plans for National Training Packages, with particular attention paid to achieving national consistency in regard to nominal hours, sample training programs, and identification of current and new resources to deliver training;

(viii) develop or assume responsibility for further developing and administering the national register of VET providers recommended in Recommendation 5;

(ix) take on the role of the national professional teaching standards and registration body recommended in Recommendation 27; and

(x) report annually to the Commonwealth Parliament on the operation of the National Code for Quality in VET and all aspects relating to it.

(b) The Commonwealth legislation provide for legal enforceability of the National Code, and provisions for safeguarding the independence of the auditors (including from state training authorities).

(c) The Commonwealth legislation enable the National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority's registration, compliance, audit and sanction powers to be delegated to the states and territories. Under these arrangements the states and territories should continue to have first-line responsibility for quality assurance of VET delivery, including responsibility for provider

registration and audit and for undertaking investigations into providers

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whose integrity or quality has been called into question. Where providers are found not to meet the National Code requirements, the states and territories would have delegated powers to apply sanctions that include fines and suspension or cancellation of registration. If a state or territory fails to

investigate in a timely or adequate manner, the NQQAA would retain powers to initiate its own investigation and apply sanctions.

(d) The membership of the NQQAA provide a balance between national and state and territory governments, employers, unions and VET provider interests. The NQQAA should have deliberative and compliance powers as set out in other parts of this Recommendation, as well as a role in advising ANTA

MINCO and, as set out in (a) x. above, an obligation to report annually to the Commonwealth Parliament on the operation of the National Code for Quality in VET and all aspects relating to it.

(e) The NQQAA have all the powers and functions of the present National Training Quality Council.

(f) The National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority be funded by the Commonwealth. (Paragraph 8.100)

R 7. Maintaining a strong role fo r ANTA

The Committee reiterates its strong support for ANTA and the Authority's central role in managing key strategic aspects of the VET system and in participating in further reform needed to build a quality national VET system that has the capacity to provide for the diverse needs of individuals, employers, industries and the Australian community. The Committee supports a continuation of ANTA's role in giving effect to arrangements with a strategic focus to develop and recommend on national policies

and strategies.

The Committee recommends:

that ANTA continue to have the following core roles:

• progressive development of the National Strategy for VET as necessary;

• provision of advice to MINCO on annual VET Plans;

• provision of advice to MINCO, in the context of the National Strategy, on the principles to be applied in the allocation of funding between states and territories and the release of Commonwealth funds;

• provision of information and advice to MINCO to assist MINCO to identify and plan for future growth requirements, including social, labour market and

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demographic growth, and requirements arising from major changes in factors affecting demand;

• policy review, evaluation and research on national policies agreed by ministers from time to time;

• advising MINCO on the development of key performance measures and reporting objectives;

• ensuring agreed national data are generated;

• coordinating major national initiatives agreed by ministers from time to time;

• administration of arrangements for payment of Commonwealth funds to the states and territories; and

• annual reports to ANTA MINCO. (Paragraph 8.101)

K 8. Restoring growth funding and planning for quality assurance

When the 1998-2000 ANTA Agreement was negotiated, the Commonwealth declined to continue providing the $70 million annually in growth funding that had been provided since 1992. Instead, the states and territories were required to achieve ‘growth through efficiencies’ in return for Commonwealth funding being maintained

in real terms for five years, with 1997 set as the base year for funding for the duration of the Agreement.

State governments insist that while they have achieved efficiencies under the 'growth through efficiencies' policy over the last few years, this has reached its limits. If growth in New Apprenticeships continues at current rates, existing funding arrangements will become unsustainable and states and territories will have difficulties resourcing future demand for New Apprenticeships.

The Committee's view is that demand for VET will and should continue to grow substantially during the period of the new ANTA Agreement. The Committee also considers that additional funding must be provided to accommodate this growth, that there are limited opportunities to achieve further efficiency gains in the VET system and that attempting to continue to fund growth from efficiency gains will have serious and irreversible consequences for the quality of VET in Australia.

The Committee is alarmed that the Commonwealth Government has not recognised the critical state of current VET funding and that it appears determined to enforce a continuance of the policy, albeit de facto, of growth through efficiency. The Commonwealth Government must recognise that it has an obligation to ensure that VET in Australia is adequately funded and that it must restore base level funding to adequate levels and resume its share of contributions to growth funding.

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The Committee recommends that:

(a) the new ANTA Agreement include an agreement by the Commonwealth to meet, in each year of the new Agreement, its share of funding for growth in vocational education and training. In the absence of agreement on the likely rate of growth and the cost associated with that growth, growth funding should be tied to actual growth in successfully completed modules in the previous twelve

month period. Commonwealth funds to ANTA (capital and recurrent) can be adjusted each year by the percentage change in Assessable enrolment-successfully completed Annual Hours Curriculum recorded for the previous year. This was 171,983,920 in 1998 and 183,838,731 in 1999 - an increase of 7 per cent. Applying

7 per cent to Commonwealth funds for the year 2000 ($920m) is $65m. This approach overcomes the need to base growth funding on estimates of growth and automatically rewards states and territories both for growth and for improving success rates.

(b) the payment of Commonwealth growth funding to states and territories be subject to each state and territory agreeing to rigorously implement enhanced standards for registration, performance monitoring and auditing of providers. This commitment should include each state and territory preparing and submitting to ANTA MINCO, along with Annual VET Plans, an annual Quality Assurance Plan that sets out a program and targets for registration, performance

monitoring and auditing of providers, and reports on progress against the previous year's Plan.

(c) ANTA report and make recommendations to MINCO on the states’ and territories’ Quality Assurance Plans, including whether progress against the previous year's Plan is satisfactory. Growth funds should be paid by ANTA to a state or territory only if the state or territory's Quality Assurance Plan has been

considered and accepted by the Ministerial Council. Responsibility for this function should pass to the National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority when it is established. (Paragraph 7.52)

R 9. Revitalising and strengthening Training Plans for Apprentices and Trainees

Along with the registration of training providers and the use of endorsed National Training Packages, the registration of Training Agreements is a particular regulatory mechanism intended to ensure quality in apprenticeships and traineeships. Evidence suggests that there is widespread lack of diligence, lack of commitment to and failure to monitor and ensure compliance with Training Agreements.

The Training Plan, which is supposed to be an integral part of the Training Agreement, has until recently been neglected or ignored by employers, RTOs and state administrators. Many apprentices and trainees have no involvement in developing their Training Plan and it is rarely referred to in order to check progress.

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Some states and territories have recently moved to revitalise and strengthen the role of Training Plans in helping to achieve quality training and outcomes.

The Commonwealth and ANTA, in conjunction with peak employer and union bodies should work to ensure that the Training Agreements for apprentices and trainees are nationally consistent and effectively monitored. This should include revitalising and strengthening the role of Training Plans so that they play a more strategic and effective role in planning and delivering training for individual apprentices and trainees; in providing a means of more closely monitoring progress towards the outcomes defined by the Training Agreement; and in refocussing the attention of employers, RTOs and apprentices and trainees on quality training delivery and assessment. Such a role is of increased importance where training is delivered entirely or largely on the job.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) the Commonwealth and ANTA work together to revitalise and strengthen the role of Training Plans so that they play a more strategic and effective role in planning and delivering training for individual apprentices and trainees, and in providing a means of more closely monitoring progress towards the outcomes defined by the Training Agreement. Training Plans should become auditable documents linked to the registration of Training Agreements and the payment of government incentives and payments. As a minimum, Training Plans should contain the following:

• details of the RTO, employer and apprentice or trainee;

• the Training Package being used and the qualification(s) to be awarded;

• the competencies to be achieved (in the most detailed form available) and the courses, modules, units or other training to be successfully completed in order to acquire the qualification;

• whether recognition of current competencies and/or credit transfer has been requested or provided and a list of competencies for which recognition of current competencies or credit transfer has been granted;

• a statement of the proportion of structured training to be provided off the job;

• a statement of the proportion of training which is enterprise-specific;

• the need for any additional literacy, numeracy or other support and how this will be provided;

• indicative monitoring dates;

• details of arrangements for assessments including indicative assessment milestones; and

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• negotiated arrangements for reporting back to the employer and their trainee or apprentice.

(b) fully completed Training Plans, signed by the employer, the apprentice or trainee and the Registered Training Provider providing or supervising the training be included with Training Agreements when they are submitted for approval and registration. Training Agreements should not be approved or

registered by state or territory authorities unless accompanied by an acceptable Training Plan.

(c) Commonwealth financial incentives not be paid to employers unless an approved Training Plan is in place and evidence of progress or compliance with the Training Plan is provided. (Paragraph 9.121)

R 10. Guarding against conflicts of interest for NACs, RTOs and GTCs

Evidence presented to the Committee registered concerns where one organisation, or closely related organisations, have several roles in relation to training.

The Committee considers that the potential conflict of interest in this situation is obvious - particularly in the situation where 30 of the 35 New Apprenticeship Centres are also either Registered Training Organisations or Group Training Companies or both. There is reasonable evidence of a certain amount of unethical practice which the

Committee views with concern, not least because it has not been properly investigated.

The Committee believes that requirements for ensuring that conflicts of interest are ethically resolved are not adequate and the requirements that do exist are not adequately scrutinised to ensure they are being adhered to.

The Committee recommends that:

the Commonwealth strengthen and more rigorously monitor and enforce measures to avoid real or potential conflicts of interests between organisations operating as New Apprenticeship Centres and/or Group Training Companies and/or VET providers. As a minimum, where real or potential conflicts of interest exist, the same staff within an organisation should not be allowed to carry out multiple roles. (Paragraph 9.145)

Making National Training Packages work

R 11. Ensuring national consistency in the implementation of National Training Packages

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The ANTA CEOs report on national consistency confirms claims made to the Committee about inconsistencies in the implementation of National Training Packages. There are, for example, differences in the availability of endorsed National Training Packages in different jurisdictions, and in nominal hours (and therefore funds) allocated to qualifications in National Training Packages in different jurisdictions. Significant variations in nominal hours makes it difficult to assume

equivalent educational quality between two identical programs, delivered in different jurisdictions. The inconsistencies have arisen because state training authorities have adopted individual approaches to the implementation of Training Packages.

The Committee considers that many of the implementation arrangements could and should be determined on a nationally consistent basis, particularly those relating to nominal hours, sample training programs, and identification of current and new resources to deliver training. The Committee believes that in order to improve consistency between states and territories in the implementation of National Training Packages, national implementation plans should be developed.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) National implementation plans for National Training Packages be developed, with particular attention paid to achieving national consistency in regard to nominal hours, sample training programs, and identification of current and new resources to deliver training.

(b) ANTA commence work on establishing the national implementation plans for National Training Packages pending the establishment of the National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority proposed in Recommendation 6. (Paragraph 8.127)

R 12 and R 13. Ensuring portability o f skills and qualifications

A key objective and feature of New Apprenticeships is the flexibility and choice it provides for training to be customised or tailored to meet industry's needs. This flexibility and choice is provided largely through User Choice arrangements and National Training Packages. The Committee is concerned that the prevailing policy emphasis on meeting industry's needs and the framework used for User Choice has the potential to distort this objective and to result in training which is narrowly enterprise- specific.

With the 'choice' in User Choice resting almost entirely with employers, and with the added flexibility and choice that National Training Packages provide, the danger is that the particular options that an employer chooses from a Training Package as best suiting his/her business may be quite narrow and may not take into account the longer term needs of the apprentice or trainee. This can be exacerbated in some instances where there is too much flexibility provided by particular Training Packages, in terms of how units can be packaged together to provide a qualification, resulting in

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qualifications that do not have enough commonality of outcome to be truly portable. There must be a balance between industry-wide and enterprise-specific training and the portability of skills must be paramount.

The Committee reiterates its view that apprenticeship and traineeship Training Plans should become the key means of monitoring the nature of training to be provided under the Training Agreement, and assessing progress for User Choice and Commonwealth employer incentive payments.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) Training for individual apprentices and trainees must include a sound foundation of portable, industry-wide competencies and qualifications.

(b) ANTA and Training Package guidelines and advice on customisation or tailoring of training to meet enterprise-specific needs be underpinned by a clear policy statement that enterprise-specific training is the responsibility of the enterprise. Training may be tailored to meet enterprise-specific needs, but there

must be a balance between industry-wide and enterprise-specific training, and the portability of skills and maximising the use and integrity of the system of portable national qualifications must be paramount. (Paragraph 7.96)

The Committee also recommends that:

(a) Training Packages not provide so much flexibility in the selection of units for a particular qualification that the qualification has insufficient commonality of outcome to provide the industry and the employee with a truly consistent and portable qualification. Customisation policies must clearly protect the integrity

and portability of the qualification;

(b) in implementing the recommendations for the National Code for Quality in VET (Recommendation 5 and 6), particular attention be paid to ensuring that Registered Training Organisations actually deliver and assess the broad skills and competencies specified in the training package qualifications; and

(c) endorsed Enterprise Training Package qualifications which do not achieve at least 85 per cent commonality with portable industry qualifications not be eligible for User Choice or other public funding. (Paragraph 8.168)

R 14. Encouraging off the job training

The Committee believes that when genuine training is competently provided in a real work context, that is, either on the job or in the workplace, the value of that training is indisputable and the Committee strongly supports it as a cornerstone of apprentice and trainee training.

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However, the evidence considered by the Committee has convinced it that there are serious deficiencies in much of the on the job training being provided in Australia. The deficiencies include inadequate content, poor training delivery, and, on occasion, the absence of any training at all. Fully on the job training in particular is open to abuse, both intentional and unintentional. It was of great concern to the Committee that the problems identified by the Employment and Skills Formation Council in

1995-96 are still prevalent.

The Committee believes that much of the poor quality training is attributable to employers' lack of capability to fulfil their training obligations, a tendency to regard training as secondary to business considerations, or a lack of understanding of their training obligations. Authorities cannot accurately quantify the extent of deliberately unethical or fraudulent behaviour, but it is clear that such practice is sufficiently widespread to seriously affect public trust in the VET system.

The Committee has found that state training authorities, which have responsibility for quality assurance of apprenticeship and traineeship training through their control of training agreements and the registration, monitoring and auditing of RTOs, are not adequately meeting that responsibility. This is particularly so in relation to on the job and fully on the job training and workplace assessment.

While almost all submissions from all sides agreed that a mixture of on and on the job training is desirable, there was convincing evidence that fully on the job training is particularly at risk of poor outcomes.

The Committee recommends that:

no Commonwealth funds be made available for fully on the job apprenticeships or traineeships, and that, as provided for in the following recommendation, Training Plans must stipulate the proportion of training to be delivered off the job. (Paragraph 9.107)

R 15. Underlying knowledge and skills in National Training Packages

A common criticism of National Training Packages is that they have a narrow, task- based focus and lack provision for underpinning knowledge and skills.

There has been a requirement since 1990 for customary task-based standards to include underpinning knowledge and skills. It is evident that in some National Training Packages the specification in Evidence Requirements of underpinning knowledge and skills is not well expressed and lacks an appropriate degree of detail.

Specification is often so broad or general that a teacher or trainer cannot make a judgement about what is required. This is more likely to be the case with earlier National Training Packages. The lack of specificity can become a greater problem when the teacher or trainer may not have sufficient expertise or experience to 'unpack'

the specifications.

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problem is further compounded by some RTOs enrolling students into units of competency in response to new reporting requirements. As underpinning knowledge is covered within each unit of competency in the Evidence Guide in National Training Packages, this can lead to either superficial treatment or duplication of training, unless

the underpinning knowledge associated with the units of competency or specific units of competency in a particular Training Package are drawn together and taught as a 'subject' or 'subjects'.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) ANTA's National Training Quality Council raise the standards for the specification of underlying knowledge and skills in National Training Packages and ensure these are applied consistently;

(b) National Training Packages not receive endorsement until underpinning knowledge and skills are specified in accordance with the strengthened requirements; and

(c) responsibility for this task and all other powers and functions associated with National Training Packages that currently rest with the National Training Quality Council pass to the National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority (Recommendation 6) when established. (Paragraph 8.145)

R 16. Key Competencies in National Training Packages

Many stakeholders believe that National Training Packages do not provide adequately for the achievement of the broader generic skills known as 'soft' skills or the Key Competencies. The Key Competencies are a set of generic competencies that people need for effective participation in the workforce. They provide the structure for the

development of life-long, generic and transferable skills and a foundation for the development of more specific industry and enterprise competencies.

The importance of underpinning knowledge and skills is argued strongly in many submissions. The study commissioned by the Australian Industry Group, Training to Compete, found that the knowledge and skills most valued by employers as a foundation for all others are the generic, core skills needed for work, a mix of specific competencies, personal attributes and interpersonal skills.

The Committee strongly agrees that in the rapidly changing, knowledge-based economy in which Australia now operates, an innovative, adaptable and highly skilled labour force is of utmost importance. In this context the Key Competencies are critical. The Committee notes that there is a requirement for Key Competencies to be

clearly identified in all training packages at the level of each unit of competency. The evidence before the Committee suggests that this requirement may not always have been met. A further problem appears to be that National Training Packages do not always adequately identify how the Key Competencies are to be achieved.

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The Committee recommends that

(a) ANTA's National Training Quality Council pursue initiatives to clarify and improve the specification of Key Competencies in National Training Packages, including the development of standards to be met in relation to their specification; and

(b) in accordance with Recommendation 15, responsibility for further development and enforcement of standards relating to the specification of Key Competencies in Training Packages pass to the National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority when established. (Paragraph 8.156)

R 17. Strengthening National Training Package Support Materials

Training Package Support Materials generally include learning strategies and other support materials to provide teachers and trainers with the guidance and materials they need to implement Training Packages, but there are no compulsory requirements as to what support materials should include. The problem with Training Package Support Materials, according to evidence provided to the Committee, is that they have not yet been developed for all Training Packages, they are variable in quality, many are considered inadequate by teachers and trainers, and they have been developed to be used in an on the job training and workplace assessment context and are therefore not necessarily suitable for students who are not in employment related to their training.

The unavailability of support materials for many National Training Packages is attributed to the haste with which they have been developed and implemented.

The Committee considers that, in addition to the national implementation plans recommended earlier, the support materials for Training Packages should be considerably strengthened so as to provide more specific guidance on implementation, particularly appropriate learning strategies, teaching programs and courses and resource materials.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) ANTA takes steps to strengthen National Training Package Support Materials so that they provide specific guidance on implementation, particularly in regard to appropriate learning strategies, teaching programs and courses and resource materials. These should be developed with both workbased and institutional delivery in mind.

(b) Support Materials be available when National Training Packages are released.

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(c) Responsibility for the development of National Training Package Support Materials pass to the National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority when established. (Paragraph 8.139)

R 18. Understanding apprentice and trainee movements and transactions

A number of gaps in data and information critical for sound VET policy development and planning emerged during the Committee's inquiry. One such deficiency is in the area of individual apprentice and trainee movements or transactions (ie withdrawal, cancellation, recommencement, or any other event that involves the apprentice or trainee leaving an employer prior to completion). A much better understanding of the

employment and training experience of individual apprentices and trainees and the reasons behind their movements between employers and in and out of training is needed.

There are also considerable and unacceptable delays in apprentice and trainee movements or transactions being identified, reported and recorded, which undermines the reliability of apprenticeship and traineeship statistics. Although sophisticated formulas are applied to estimate commencements, withdrawals, numbers in training,

completions etcetera, the true picture cannot be determined with complete confidence at any particular time.

Currently, state training authorities, New Apprenticeship Centres, employers, apprentices and trainees, and RTOs have a role in monitoring, recording and reporting on apprentices' and trainees' movements, and the reasons for movements, but no single group or organisation has primary responsibility. The Committee believes this should be addressed as a matter of priority.

In recommending the establishment of better tracking, recording and reporting systems and arrangements, the Committee acknowledges that young people can be highly mobile and there may be difficulties in contacting them when they leave employment or change jobs. However, the Committee does not see this as preventing the establishment of much better systems than are currently in place.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) Systems and arrangements for tracking individual apprentice and trainee movements or transactions (ie withdrawal, cancellation, recommencement, or any other event that involves an apprentice or trainee leaving an employer prior to completion) be strengthened, including by the establishment of systems and

arrangements whereby

(i) apprentices and trainees whose contractual status changes (because of withdrawal, cancellation, recommencement or any other event that involves an apprentice or trainee leaving an employer prior to

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completion), and their employers, are interviewed in person or by phone about the circumstances surrounding the change; and

(ii) records of such changes and the reasons for the changes are maintained in a form that will allow results to be compiled in a timely manner in a national data base to assist training policy analysis and

development.

(b) ANTA and the Commonwealth jointly convene a working group to investigate and make recommendations to ANTA MINCO on possible arrangements to ensure that apprentice and trainee movements or transactions, and the reasons for these changes, are more effectively tracked, recorded and reported. The investigation should consider the roles and responsibilities of employers, apprentices and trainees, registered training organisations, New Apprenticeship Centres and state training authority agents such as Field Officers, to determine where initial or primary responsibility for tracking apprentice and trainee movements or transactions, contacting apprentices and trainees and their employers, and maintaining records of and reporting on changes could most effectively rest.

(c) Responsibility for administering the systems and arrangements for monitoring and reporting on apprentice and trainee movements or transactions pass to the National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority when

established. (Paragraph 5.70)

R 19. Understanding non-completion o f apprenticeships and traineeships

The Committee regards the rate of non-completion of apprentices and trainees as a matter of great concern because of the significant wastage of public money that it represents. Of equal concern is the findings of research which show that non­ completers have much poorer prospects of enjoying the benefits of full participation in economic life.

Available research suggests that one factor contributing to a decision by many apprentices and trainees not to complete is likely to be poor quality training, or training that fails to meet the apprentice's and trainee's expectations. This view is supported by Callan who found in his March 2000 survey of non-completing apprentices and trainees in Queensland that the majority of apprentices/trainees did not believe that they had access to good trainers or staff who understood their training needs, and that poor quality training was cited as one of the dominant reasons for trainees and apprentices not completing their program of training.

The Committee notes the suggested connection between high rates of non-completion and fully on the job training. The Committee is aware also of some research that indicates a connection between the lack of support systems, particularly peer support, and attrition rates in other forms of VET. The Committee considers that the

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relationship between the nature and availability of both educational and social welfare support systems for apprentices/trainees, and apprentice/trainee movements or non­ completion, either through withdrawal, cancellation, transfer to another employer, or other event, should be a priority for further research.

The Committee recommends that:

ANTA commission independent national research into the relationship between the nature and availability of both educational and social welfare support systems for apprentices/trainees, and apprentice/trainee movements or non­ completion, either through withdrawal, cancellation, transfer to another

employer, or other event. (Paragraph 5.66)

R 20. Protecting apprentices and trainees from wrongful dismissal

Provisions, regulations and processes relating to the termination of apprenticeship and traineeship contracts of training vary between states and the unsatisfactory nature of this has been brought to the Committee's attention. The issue has been addressed in Kaye Schofield’s report on VET in Victoria and in the recent inquiry into the

Victorian industrial relations system. In the original proposals to establish new apprenticeships the need for terminations to be approved by the state training authorities, and access to independent appeals was included in the blueprint endorsed

by the industry reference groups.

The ease with which contracts can be terminated, particularly as apprentices and trainees do not have access to unfair dismissal arrangements, and the anecdotal evidence of employers taking advantage of apprentices and trainees, is of great concern to the Committee. Much more attention needs to be given to measures to

protect apprentices and trainees against abuse by employers. The Committee considers that requirements for terminating contracts should be tightened and more effectively enforced.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) as apprentices and trainees do not have access to unfair dismissal arrangements, the Commonwealth, through ANTA MINCO, prevail upon the states and territories to provide greater protection through regulations and other arrangements that prevent employers terminating apprenticeship and traineeship contracts without the approval of the state training authority; and

(b) access by apprentices and trainees to an independent state appeals tribunal or process be established on a tripartite basis. (Paragraph 9.123)

R 21. Discouraging employer abuse o f financial incentives

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Most submissions stating that incentives are being accessed legitimately by employers also acknowledge at least some degree of misuse by employers and businesses whose motivation is to obtain cheap labour with no intention of providing proper training, or to shift the cost of enterprise-specific training onto government. Misuse of the system

is most often claimed to occur in relation to the converting of 'existing workers' to New Apprentices but is by no means limited to this area.

The Committee is persuaded by the evidence presented to it that many employers who are in receipt of Commonwealth financial incentives for New Apprentices are not meeting their obligation to provide adequate and relevant training, particularly on-the- job training. There are two aspects to this problem: the failure to provide any on the job training in many cases; and the failure in other cases to provide on the job training of adequate quality and variety. The failure to provide training may be deliberate and stem from unethical or improper motives, or it may be as a result of the lack of expertise or capability of the employer. Regardless of the cause, it represents a serious misuse of Commonwealth incentive payments.

The Committee recommends that:

Commonwealth financial incentives not be available to employers who have a persistent pattern or a high incidence of withdrawal, cancellation, transfer or other event which involves an apprentice or trainee leaving the employer prior to completion, unless the reasons for leaving can be demonstrated to be attributable to genuine voluntary choice on the part of the apprentice or trainee. Provision should be made for employers to requalify for Commonwealth financial incentives after demonstrating satisfactory training performance over a period of twelve months. (Paragraph 9.179)

Employer contributions to training

R 22. Establishing a data base and benchmark on employer investment in training

One of the few sources of hard national level data on industry investment in VET is now more than four years old, the ABS having discontinued the Employer Training Practices survey undertaken in 1993 and 1996

The Committee finds it frustrating that there is no quantitative data available that provides both an indication of total industry investment in training and a breakdown by areas of expenditure. Nor is there quantitative data available that allows historical comparisons on the level of industry investment in training. Thus, although research suggests that a large majority of employers value and intend to provide training, there is no evidence of the level of that commitment in financial terms. The Committee is mindful of the Australian Industry Group's study that concludes that even where there are good intentions and strong motivation to train, many employers do not proceed with training plans.

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The Committee recommends that:

ANTA and DETYA continue to pursue options for collecting data on employer training activity and expenditure and for establishing a benchmark that can be used to assess changes in employer investment over time. (Paragraph 7.145)

R 23. Reviewing employer investment in training

It is apparent to the Committee that industry investment in training and returns to industry by way of incentives and subsidies and other measures are regarded as two separate policy areas. The Committee's view is that they are, in fact, two sides of the one coin and need to be considered as a whole.

The Committee considers a fundamental review is needed that examines both employer contributions, in all forms, to training, and the returns or benefits received by employers through the combination of all incentives (both state and Commonwealth) such as grants, tax concessions, and subsidies for the employment of

apprentices. When a better understanding of the level and areas of industry investment in training is obtained, more strategic and effective targeting of incentives and subsidies will be possible.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) an independent review of employer investment in training be undertaken. The review should take account of both employer contributions, in all forms, to training, and returns or benefits received by employers through the combination of all incentives (both state and Commonwealth) such as grants, tax concessions, subsidies for the employment of apprentices and trainees, workers' compensation

arrangements etcetera. The review should investigate measures which could be introduced to lift the level of enterprise investment in vocational education and training which leads to national qualifications, including:

(i) options to encourage and support cooperative schemes at the industry level which work toward this objective;

(ii) incentives which could be introduced to encourage firms to make additional investment;

(iii) the establishment of a target of a minimum investment by each enterprise equivalent to (say) 3 per cent of payroll to be spent on training (exclusive of the wages of those being trained) and the marketing and monitoring of this target;

(iv) measures to ensure that minimum levels of investment in training leading to national qualifications by individual enterprises are a condition of the letting of government tenders, infrastructure projects and contracts;

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(v) the benefits which would flow from, and the costs of, extending the research and development tax concession arrangements to include investment in vocational education and training which leads to national qualifications where the employer spends more than (say) 3 per cent of payroll on training; and

(vi) changes to the Commonwealth New Apprenticeships Financial Incentives Program including the feasibility and likely effectiveness of varying the rate in different industry sectors to encourage training in industries that suffer skill shortages.

(b) ANTA MINCO approve the terms of reference for the review following advice from the Commonwealth and ANTA CEOs. (Paragraph 7.156)

R 24. Re-examining incentives for Group Training Companies

A number of issues relating specifically to Group Training Companies are raised in Group Training Australia's submission. These relate to the 'substantial and negative' impact of changes to Commonwealth incentive payments on Group Training Companies.

Group Training Australia (GTA) has stressed in its submission that it believes the exclusion of ‘not for profit’ Group Training Companies from the completion payments is a significant disincentive to enter into longer term contracts of training. GTA points out that there is also a significant body of evidence to suggest that there is a direct relationship between the level of incentive and the number of apprentices employed. Consultations conducted by The Allen Consulting Group identified a high level of concern among Group Training Companies about the overall reduction in the incentive payments. The Allen report concluded that this concern was brought about because Group Training Companies operate in labour markets that are highly sensitive to price.

The Committee notes that DETYA is currently reviewing a number of incentive eligibility requirements in consultation with states and territories and with industry and considers that pending the more wide-ranging, independent review, recommended

in Chapter 7, of both industry investment in training and benefits derived by industry from the range of incentives and subsidies, DETYA should re-examine the withdrawal of completion payments from 'not for profit' Group Training Companies.

The Committee recommends that:

pending the independent review, recommended in Recommendation 23, of both industry investment in training and benefits derived by industry from the range of incentives and subsidies, DETYA re-examine the withdrawal of completion payments from 'not for profit' Group Training Companies. (Paragraph 9.160)

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R 25. Consulting on changes to Commonwealth New Apprenticeships Financial Incentives Program

The Committee believes that the Commonwealth's extension of subsidies to 'existing workers'1, without consulting the states and territories, has artificially inflated New Apprenticeship growth, has diverted training provision away from younger and new entrants to the workforce and has seriously tested the states' capacity to meet the

additional training costs associated with the growth in New Apprenticeships. The effect of the latter is compounded by the Commonwealth-initiated 'growth through efficiencies' policy.

As the likely consequences of the Commonwealth's extension of subsidies to existing workers were so obvious, and as ANT A cautioned against the move at the time, the Committee has to question the Commonwealth's motivation, and why the states and territories were not consulted. There is no doubt that the Queensland, Victorian, NSW

and Tasmanian Governments are unhappy about the Commonwealth's action. In their submissions they have described not only the additional financial burden it created for them, but pointed also to the lack of adherence to the 'partnership' and 'consultative' model of national policy and planning for VET. The Committee agrees that this action by the Commonwealth is a repudiation of the spirit and the terms of the ANT A

Agreement.

The Committee believes that in a national VET system based on partnership, it should not be possible for one party to unilaterally make decisions that directly impinge on areas for which other parties have responsibility, in this case the responsibility for the quality of training outcomes.

The Committee recommends that:

the Commonwealth not implement changed eligibility criteria for its New Apprenticeships Financial Incentives Program without formally advising and receiving the views of ANTA MINCO on the intended changes. (Paragraph 9.168)

User Choice

R 26. Moratorium on User Choice

The Committee's view is that User Choice as a mechanism for developing the training market and encouraging greater flexibility and responsiveness by providers is unproven. The Committee finds that there are significant problems associated with the current training market which are affecting the quality of outcomes, not just for apprenticeships and traineeships but for the whole of VET. The problems are partly

1 Eligibility criteria was later made more restrictive

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due to the varying success of strategies to increase the diversity and responsiveness of the supply side of the training market, but much of it is attributable to weaknesses in demand side policies and strategies, particularly User Choice.

The Committee believes that a moratorium should be placed on any extension of User Choice until the inconsistencies and legal impediments are resolved and until it can be demonstrated that User Choice has actually delivered net benefits to stakeholders.

The Committee recommends that:

a moratorium be placed on User Choice pending an independent national investigation of the impact of competition policies and User Choice on the viability of TAFE. The investigation should consider inconsistencies and legal impediments in its implementation and, based on experience to date, determine whether it has been demonstrated that User Choice has delivered net benefits to stakeholders. (Paragraph 7.85)

Raising the skills and qualifications of VET teachers and trainers

R 27. Restoring the skills and qualifications o f VET teachers and trainers

An issue of concern to all stakeholders is the level of skills and qualifications of VET teachers and trainers. The Committee gained the impression that in recent years there has been a lowering of the standards required by employing authorities.

The issues surrounding VET teacher and trainer qualifications are not new to the Committee, having been canvassed in some detail during its inquiry into the status of the teaching profession in 1997-98, which resulted in the report, A Class Act, Inquiry into the Status o f the Teaching Profession. The Committee made a number of recommendations in that report and, in the light of evidence put to it about the status and qualifications of VET teachers and trainers in the current inquiry, believes those recommendations are equally relevant and applicable in the VET context.

The Committee considers a national, professional, teaching standards and registration body should be established to develop and maintain standards of professional practice for VET teachers and trainers. It would be appropriate for the National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority recommended earlier in this report (Recommendation 6) to take on the role of the national professional teaching standards and registration body.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) A national professional teaching standards and registration body be established with responsibility, authority and resources to develop and maintain standards of professional practice for VET teachers and trainers. The national

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body should work closely with state governments, industry and peak teaching organisations. The national body should:

• establish national standards of professional practice which take into account what teachers should be expected to know and be able to do in order to facilitate student learning;

• certify levels of entry into the profession, criteria for re-registration and recognition of advanced standing in the profession for full-time, part-time and casual teachers;

• accredit programs of initial teacher training and establish the professional development framework for the maintenance of the professional expertise of all teachers;

• make recommendations to ANTA MINCO on priorities for national professional development programs;

• assist teachers and trainers to improve their skills; and

• manage a register of teachers and trainers who meet and maintain professional standards and are thereby eligible for employment by public and private training providers.

(b) the national professional teaching standards and registration body be empowered to delegate aspects of its authority, and such tasks as it sees fit, to appropriate agencies or teacher associations.

(c) teachers' and trainers' registration fees be levied as an offset to costs.

(d) The National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority recommended in this report (Recommendation 6) take on the role of the national professional teaching standards and registration body. (Paragraph 8.210)

Encouraging recognition of prior learning or current competency

R 28. Encouraging recognition o f prior learning or current competency

An issue that is particularly relevant to existing employees is the recognition of prior learning (RPL) or current competency (RCC). Recognition of prior learning (RPL) was to be a key means of enabling individuals to gain recognition for the skills and competencies they already hold, thus facilitating the achievement of nationally recognised qualifications. Recognition of prior learning was a cornerstone of the

short-lived Australian Vocational Training System but appears to have receded from prominence in the current VET system. There are warm words of encouragement for the concept but there are no actual incentives to progress its application.

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While recognition of prior learning has been promoted as a feature of the National Training Framework, in practice it has had limited application, primarily due to the funding systems operating in the states. Under current funding arrangements most

states and providers find that RPL is a costly exercise. Consequently it has been applied only on a limited basis. Many existing workers, however, through extensive on the job work experience, could complete all or a substantial portion of an AQF qualification through recognition of prior learning or current competencies. This would be a cheaper exercise than applying the costs of a full course.

A major shortcoming of the present system is the reluctance of training providers to recognise existing skills and experience. Students should not be required to participate in training processes where they already have the required skills and knowledge.

In some states, under User Choice arrangements, training providers are not recompensed for the cost of providing an RPL or RCC service. Flence there is no incentive to provide it and an incentive not to if, by including an additional student, more income will be generated.

The Committee accepts that if governments want to increase skill levels within the members of the existing workforce, they should seriously consider providing public funds for skills assessments to recognise the skills gained outside the formal training system.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) the Commonwealth investigate how Commonwealth and state and territory funding for Registered Training Organisations could be used to encourage effective and accessible mutual recognition of prior learning or current competencies; and

(b) where employers demonstrate a preparedness to fund training for existing employees to gain nationally recognised qualifications, the Commonwealth contribute to the cost of recognition of prior learning or recognition of current competencies for those employees. (Paragraph 9.210)

Senator Jacinta Collins Senator Kim Carr

Chair

Senator Trish Crossin Senator Natasha Stott Despoja

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HAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1 The world of which Australia is now a part is currently in the throes of change more profound, more extensive and more rapid than any that it has undergone before. This transformation reaches into all spheres - the political, the economic, the social and the cultural. The explosion in knowledge and communications, aided and

hastened by technological development, is matched by the speed of the expansion of international trade in goods and services. The pace of change has created many challenges for governments, policy-makers and communities.

1.2 The opening up of the Australian economy to that of the world has had marked effects on the lives of ordinary Australians. Key economic indicators in Australia now tend to correspond with those same indicators in many other developed industrialised OECD nations. Australia’s increasing trade and financial integration

into the global economy has resulted in Australian business cycles becoming more closely aligned to the business cycles of other developed and industrialised nations. Some degree of this convergence can be attributed to the adoption by the governments of many countries of broadly similar economic policy agendas. As we become more

open to the fluctuations of a global economy, the shape and sectoral composition of our economy changes in response. This series of changes is central to the challenges facing vocational education and training in Australia today.

1.3 The social effects of these changes are alarming. By 1994 the top 20 per cent of households received 40 per cent of total household disposable income while the bottom 20 per cent received less than 6 per cent. Only the highest quintile had actually increased its share of the total over the preceding decade. The lowest three quintiles

saw average increases in per capita income of 1.1 per cent between 1984-1994 while the highest quintile experienced an increase of 13.2 per cent. The economist Bob Gregory has referred to this highly worrying trend as the ‘disappearing middle’ in the Australian labour market where secure middle income employment is declining as middle income earners have fallen into low wage employment while the low waged

have become unemployed. The impact of global forces, particularly on the less affluent in Australian society, has undeniably been significant and in many respects disadvantageous. A high skill, high wage economy needs to be fostered to ensure that

this trend does not continue to erode Australia’s living standards. Attention to continuing skill development is vital to our future.

1.4 In an environment of profound and rapid change, the ability to adapt, to leam and to apply new skills and knowledge becomes crucial for all: individuals, organisations, corporations and nations. Central to the adaptive process is education, both learning for life and learning which aims to equip individuals for the world of work. Now, more than ever before, the world’s young people must be provided with a framework of skills, information and concepts that are soundly based, rigorous,

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ical and capable of application to new and unforeseen circumstances and contexts. Meanwhile, those already in the workforce and other older people also need the capacity to change and to thrive in new environments.

1.5 During the last decade in Australia the attention of public policy-makers and academics has focussed on higher education, though the resultant debates and controversies are far from resolved. That policy attention has been accorded to universities is understandable. The university sector is regarded as the site for the creation of new knowledge and ideas - through basic research - as well as for the education of the engineers, scientists, economists, managers and teachers seen as the central players in the knowledge economy.

1.6 But for the foreseeable future university graduates will continue to form a minority - though a sizeable and growing minority - in the Australian workforce. Each year, 1.8 million people study in the VET system, three times the number of students at university: the per capita cost in VET is set at only half that available per student in the university system.

1.7 For the majority, access to high quality, relevant, flexible education and training, including vocational education and training, will remain of central and continuing importance. Those in the workforce will need not only highly-developed specialist skills, but also a broad framework of sound generic skills and knowledge that can provide a basis for adaptation and growth. Interpersonal skills, the ability to communicate and to understand the complexities of a changing world are also essential for all, whether as workers or as citizens. While schooling provides a basis

for some of these attributes, access for school leavers to post-secondary education and training opportunities is essential. Older people need to be able to return to study and training so that their skills remain relevant and useful: the policy often referred to as

‘lifelong education’. For most people, this learning will take place in the vocational education and training (VET) system.

1.8 Australia’s system of vocational education and training, however, is a legacy of the past; both the distant past and the more recent. Its structures are based essentially on the foundations of nineteenth century, pre-federation political and economic frameworks; while its philosophy and goals, articulated and implicit, arise from twentieth century attitudes and economic circumstances.

1.9 Yet it is our future that is at stake. Whereas of necessity the past and the present form a foundation for the future, we must ask the question: is Australia’s VET system, as it currently stands, adequate to meet the challenges required of it? Is it heading in the right direction, and does it have the capacity to expand and develop to meet the increasingly complex demands of a global economy, and those who will live and work in it?

1.10 The current state of vocational education and training in Australia is indicative of the failure of policymakers to come to grips with global integration in a way that ensures that all Australians are able to realise their full potential within a

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strong and healthy national community. Many of the efforts of policymakers and government are apparently focused on an array of measures designed to increase productivity: therefore it is difficult to understand why the vocational and educational system has been allowed to be mn down. There need not be a trade off between

increased global competitiveness and a strong commitment to policy aimed at achieving a large measure of social equity. A reformed and nationally integrated vocational education and training system can and should play a central role in achieving such goals. However, this first requires a re-examination of the entire notion

of vocational education and training and the role it can play in achieving a more prosperous, productive, fair and equitable society.

1.11 The costs of not doing so are already manifest. The October 1999 report of the Dusseldorp Skills Forum, The cost to Australia o f early school-leaving, revealed some sobering facts. The report estimated that each year in Australia 35,000 students leave school without completing secondary schooling. It is likely that these same 35,000 young people will not undertake any further formal education or achieve any training

qualification. It is not as if such figures have only recently been identified. The Finn Committee of 1991 established that, in 1989, 51 per cent of school leavers were not involved in any further education or training. The Committee set a target that by 2001 95 per cent of 19 year olds should complete either Year 12 of schooling or an initial post-school qualification, or otherwise be undertaking some form of formally recognised education. By May 1997 only 74 per cent of 19 year olds were meeting

any of these criteria. The Finn targets are not expected to be met by 2001.

1.12 People who neither complete secondary school nor attain post-school qualifications suffer higher levels of unemployment, possess lower levels of labour force mobility, have a greater chance of being retrenched, earn less and undertake less training than people holding these qualifications. These facts indicate the enormous

costs that are borne by individuals as well as by government. These costs are both financial and social. The overall effect on the life of the nation in social, political and economic terms is profoundly disadvantageous, and exacerbates already marked income inequality. In an era of accelerated change associated with Australia’s deeper

integration into the global economy these negative effects are more destructive than ever before.

1.13 At the workplace level, the impact of global economic change is significantly different in the various tiers of the corporate structure. The senior manager may welcome the associated challenges as an opportunity to use knowledge and creative skills gained through education. In such a role, managers and professionals may well

be regarded as having significant impact on the competitiveness and success of their enterprise: their status may actually be enhanced. The skills of the worker (seen as ‘deployed’ by the manager) on the production line or in the telephone call centre, however, may be taken for granted as low-level, non-creative and routine. His or her

status is diminished.

1.14 The implications of these contrasting perceptions for vocational education and training - which often takes place primarily in the workplace itself - are far-reaching.

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he skills of workers are seen as secondary to the needs of employers, and therefore the skilling, or training, of workers receives scant attention beyond the immediate and specific requirements of the task at hand. The atomised and apparently menial tasks required of workers leads to the view that those holding vocational skills are unable to think intelligently or creatively, or to take initiative. Here, vocational education, operating on this set of assumptions, serves the dictates of an essentially Fordist model of production which subordinates creativity and intelligence to the performance of a limited and highly structured range of tasks.

1.15 Society’s views on the nature of vocational education and training, its value, place and role, are influenced by these considerations. There are many negative perceptions within the community regarding VET. These perceptions are ultimately reducible to the belief that to undertake VET is somehow inferior to university study, with its attendant prestige, status and respect. Thus VET is seen as a poor second option for those not ‘bright’ enough to attain university entrance. Australia has a woefully low rate of participation in vocational education or apprenticeships when compared to other OECD nations: although Australia is a comparatively wealthy country, we sit at the bottom end of the OECD table. And yet numbers involved in university study are comparatively high.

1.16 Although it is true to say that vocational education has been the overlooked Cinderella of the education system, the last decade has nevertheless seen immense and sweeping change in how VET is delivered and structured, and in the philosophy that drives it. The comparatively cautious reforms of the early nineties’ ‘Training Reform Agenda’ came after, and were informed by, two major independent reviews. In 1991, the Report of the Review Committee of the Australian Education Council (the Finn Committee), Young people’s participation in post-compulsory education and training, was released. This report concentrated on the educational needs and destinations of young people, specifically school leavers, and established goals in the form of participation targets for young persons in formal education and training. The following year saw a report by the Employment and Skills Formation Council of the (since abolished) National Board of Employment, Education and Training, titled The Australian Vocational Certificate Training System. Known as the ‘Carmichael

Report’, this proposed an integrated national vocational training and certification system. With its emphases, first, on a competency-based approach to learning and curriculum, and, second, recognition of prior learning, the Carmichael Report addressed in part the needs of older workers as well as those of the school-leaver cohort.

1.17 These major reviews (and their adjuncts such as the Mayer Report on key competencies), almost ten years old, are the most recent conducted on a national level that have examined in detail the philosophical and policy underpinnings of the Australian VET system. Nevertheless, the Commonwealth Government has instituted major and fundamental reforms in VET, changes which have gone to the very

ideological basis of the system itself. In essence, the VET system has been transformed, from one where delivery was the concern of the public sector in partnership with industry, to a system driven by a thoroughgoing market approach.

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most recent, and arguably the most radical, change in policy direction has been the introduction of the New Apprenticeships Scheme, which forms a central subject of the current inquiry. This scheme has restructured and deregulated training and also incorporated a fundamental redirection in approaches to curriculum in vocational

areas. Other significant recent changes include the move to a policy of ‘User Choice’, which has encouraged the growth of a substantial private market in VET and raised questions about the adequacy of attendant regulatory, accreditation and quality frameworks. In turn, these latest developments give rise to serious concerns about

future funding of VET, in a climate of continued fiscal restraint and a global atmosphere of uncertainty and fluidity, affecting many Australian industries.

1.18 The transformation of the VET system has not been preceded, or even accompanied, by a process of public consultation and debate leading to a significant policy statement on the part of the Federal Government - such as a White Paper. The result is, first, a restructuring and reorientation of the system about which there is no

consensus. Second, the ‘new’ VET is little understood by many stakeholders, and, more importantly, clients. There has been an ostrich-like reaction to signs that there may be problems and deficiencies in the new arrangements, and dogged resistance to the idea that further change may be needed to remedy those problems and

deficiencies: it is said that the system is suffering from ‘reform fatigue’ and that this is a justification for things remaining as they are.

1.19 VET policy is central to Australia’s economic prosperity. Equally importantly, all Australians need to be able to acquire, adapt and develop the skills and knowledge necessary for full and rewarding participation in the world of work. Part of this foundation must be a base, consisting of general knowledge and generic

skill, on which more specific capacities can grow.

1.20 The first priority, and our primary obligation, must be to the young. Young people must be enabled, encouraged and supported to develop the strong, broad platform of skill and conceptual understanding that will serve them well throughout their working and personal lives. For some, this process will include the pursuit of a

university degree. But for these young persons the process may equally and additionally involve specialised or more general vocational studies within the VET system. For others, specific vocational education and preparation may begin at school, through VET in Schools programs provided either wholly by and within the school, or

else in cooperation with the VET sector. By rendering high quality vocational education accessible to secondary school students, on the one hand, and to university graduates on the other, the often artificial conceptual division between ‘academic’ and ‘practical’ (or vocational) learning can be broken down. This process accords equal

weight and equal respect to both poles of this knowledge continuum, and emphasises their complementarity.

1.21 While much of the education provided in universities as we know them is, of course, vocational, in that it leads to a professional qualification linked directly to employment, this in itself does not constitute an argument for merging the two post­ secondary education sectors. Nor is there any reason for the two to grow more similar

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n terms of mission and objectives. There is room, and need, for both, provided that people, young and older alike, can move between the two without unnecessary' impediment. What matters is that the vocational and educational needs and aspirations of individuals are met.

1.22 For those already working, and those returning to work following a period outside the paid workforce, the opportunity to retrain, to augment skills and knowledge or to undertake general education necessary for employment, is extremely important. Ideally, these processes of renewal, change of direction and skill augmentation will be facilitated by a sound framework acquired when young. Thus the young are the initial policy priority for government. But to neglect the needs of older workers in a policy sense, and to fail to fund programs designed to be accessible to them, would be shortsighted indeed.

1.23 So far this discussion has concentrated implicitly on the role and responsibilities of government in vocational education and training. The difficulties posed for Australian industries by the rapidly changing economic world order are matched by opportunities for expansion and growth. The planning and provision of vocational education must be conducted by means of a partnership between the major

stakeholders - government and industries, but also workers’ organisations (unions) and education providers. This means that employers must meet their obligations to share in the funding of, and responsibility for, vocational education and training for its employees. There has been a tendency in Australia for some employers to seek to evade their obligation in this regard - despite the obvious immediate benefits flowing to them from a trained workforce. Some employers have chosen very narrowly-based training for their workers, suited directly to the company’s immediate and specialised requirements. This can mean that employees end up with a credential that is too specialised or too closely ‘tailor-made’ to be generally useful. Government-funded training has been regarded in some quarters as a financial subsidy for employers in meeting the direct costs of employment itself.

1.24 In contraposition to this scenario is the concept of the integrity of training programs, of vocational qualifications and, finally, of workers themselves, as fully qualified, autonomous individuals able to participate equally with others in the labour market. Skilled workers are crucial to the enterprises for which they work and for the economy more generally. But the labour market will be stronger and more adaptable, and individual workers will achieve more satisfaction from work and life, if the rights of individual workers to develop a coherent body of skill are respected.

1.25 The emerging and serious problem of skill shortages in the Australian labour market can be attributed to many causes. At least one is somewhat shortsighted government policy, developed partly in response to the expressed attitudes of some employers, described above. Increasingly, entry-level training consists of one-year on the job traineeships rather than four-year apprenticeships that provide employers with high-level skills and individuals with an integrated, well-rounded vocational qualification. Meanwhile, as current Commonwealth Government policy - particularly the New Apprenticeships system - has encouraged training at lower skill levels and in

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cheaper’ occupational areas, skill shortages have developed in ‘expensive’ areas and in the traditional trades. Information technology, technological areas more generally, engineering and construction are all experiencing shortages, and this situation threatens to undermine economic growth. A lower value for the Australian dollar is potentially a boon for exports, but there can be no increase in exports unless trained

and highly skilled personnel are available to be employed. Unless Australia boosts its effort in high-level training, the future for our economy looks bleak.

1.26 In vocational education and training policy, the relationship between the individual interests and rights of workers, on the one hand, and the needs and priorities of employers on the other, is reciprocal. Ideally, the acquisition of vocational skill should serve to enrich and empower individuals and facilitate a greater awareness

among workers of the dynamic governing their workplace and, more widely, society as a whole. This is an explicitly social process. It calls into play the context of community within which all human relationships are conducted. To revise notions of VET involves policymakers thinking more holistically and creatively about the role and nature of work, training and education within an explicitly social context where the interests of the community and employers are not taken as by definition mutually

exclusive.

1.27 This is largely a matter of revising notions of ‘education’. Education in this sense should provide the means by which the ‘training’ component of VET is properly contextualised in social terms. It gives those holding skills the ability to understand the value, worth and creativity of possessing such skills, and also of the social context

within which such skills are gained and utilised. Any firm delineation between training and education is an arbitrary one which serves to perpetuate negative stereotypes of VET in comparison with university ‘academic’ education. There is concern that the intensified focus of policymakers on workplace based training is

neglecting the educational role of VET. The development of skills required to meet the demands of the new labour market, characterised by demands for flexibility and transferability of skills, is a challenge that has largely been unmet.

1.28 It is both crucial and timely that this Committee of the Senate turns its attention to a close and critical examination of the current state of play in vocational education and training across the nation, and to look to a way forward. This report aims to inform public debate by providing the citizen with a clear understanding of the issues, and to demystify the philosophy that underlies the rhetoric. Its purpose is to propose new directions for Australia’s vocational education and training system, and

for the role of government in it. Essentially, this can be defined as the responsibility, shared with the other parties, for overall planning, development and funding of the system. In the world that is emerging both beyond and within our shores, this role must have a strong national focus and direction. It is hoped that this report will contribute to the renewal of Australia’s commitment to this critical area of economic

and social policy.

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HAPTER 2

CONDUCT OF THE INQUIRY

Process

2.1 The Senate referred this inquiry to the Committee on 10 August 1999. In response to press advertisements and other means of publicity, the Committee received 140 primary submissions. The Committee heard 158 witnesses over ten days of hearings in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The

Committee held informal discussions and inspected facilities in Brisbane (Construction Training Centre, Salisbury), Sydney (Sydney Institute of Technology), Melbourne (Holmesglen Institute of TAPE) and Geelong (Gordon Institute of TAPE). Lists of submissions received and witnesses heard are contained in Appendices 1 and

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Approach

2.2 The Committee, needing to put its task in context, examined the history, scope, characteristics and recent developments in VET and apprenticeship and traineeship training in Australia, with particular reference to such matters as the role of VET, roles and responsibilities in policy development, planning and management at both national and state level, current and past policies; and VET delivery

arrangements. An overview of the aspects of VET which the Committee considered is provided in Chapters 3 and 4.

2.3 As the central concern of this reference is the quality of vocational education and training in Australia, the Committee considered, at the outset, a range of definitions, indicators and measures of quality, and adopted an outcomes-based approach based primarily on the evidence of the effectiveness with which formal national VET objectives are being achieved. The Committee’s approach is described

in more detail later in this chapter.

2.4 Having adopted this approach to assessing quality, the Committee considered a range of outcomes, consistent with national VET objectives, that could reasonably be attributed to participation in VET or recent changes to the VET system. These are discussed in Chapter 5.

2.5 Much of the Committee’s work focused on an examination, in the light of its assessment of the quality of VET outcomes, on the key constituent parts of the VET system to determine their contribution to the achievement of quality outcomes. The Committee’s findings and the evidence on which they are based is discussed in

Chapters 4 and 5.

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2.6 Finally, the Committee formulated a series of recommendations which address aspects of VET which the Committee believes need reform in order to maximise quality outcomes.

Evidence considered by the Committee

2.7 Evidence was received from a wide range of sources. The Committee considered the perspective of employers, including small business employers, and employer and employers associations; Registered Training Organisations, both public and private; respective RTO associations; TAPE, industries, private provider and school teachers and trainers; unions; industry training advisory bodies; Commonwealth and state and territory governments and agencies; academic and other specialist VET commentators; and organisations representing the interests of both government and non-government schools. A great deal of information was provided to the Committee by the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA), the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), and the Department of

Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DETYA).

2.8 Wide-ranging perspectives were evident in submissions. National employer organisations, including the Australian Industry Group (AiG) and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) provided a perspective on the extent of the VET system’s ability to deal with high-level skills training and provide for consistency across state borders in the regulation and implementation of training. Private and public RTOs gave their perspectives on User Choice and its consequences to their operations. Unions had particular interests in the quality of training, the ethical standards of some employers, recognition of prior learning and funding issues. The evidence from state government agencies was particularly useful for the information and views provided on the implementation of quality control measures, which are a state and territory responsibility.

2.9 Quantitative evidence relied on by the by the Committee was drawn largely from national VET statistics, employer satisfaction surveys, graduate and student satisfaction surveys, graduate destination surveys and a range of ANTA reports such

as its 1988 Annual National Report.

2.10 VET statistics provide important information on outputs and outcomes from the VET system. However, the Committee agrees with the NCVER’s view that statistics are only one indicator of the quality of outputs and outcomes and that a genuine assessment of quality requires more intensive and qualitative analysis and evaluation of processes and outcomes of the program.

2.11 The primary source of published VET statistics is the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). Data relating to VET as a whole comprises information about VET providers and programs, including level and field of

education, student characteristics, and level of activity. Data is reported by training organisations in March for activities in the previous year. Standard statistical reports are available in July each year. Apprentice and trainee data relating to apprentices and trainees, their characteristics and program information is reported quarterly and

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consolidated in an annual publication. Financial data, the primary source of information about how VET in Australia is financed and where the money is spent, is reported and published annually.

2.12 In using NCVER VET statistics to make judgements about quality the Committee had regard to their consistency and validity.

2.13 Qualitative evidence was drawn from submissions to the inquiry, oral evidence and documents provided at public hearings, and research, evaluative and other investigative studies.

Committee’s approach to assessing quality in VET

Defining Quality in VET

2.14 The central concern of this reference is the quality of vocational education and training in Australia, therefore a major consideration for the Committee was what constitutes quality in vocational education and training.

2.15 The Australian Recognition Framework defines ‘quality’ as ‘the level of satisfaction with and effectiveness of vocational education and training organisations, their products and services, established through conformity with the requirements set by clients and stakeholders’.

2.16 ANT A, in November 1999, reported to The ANTA Ministerial Council (MINCO) that ‘the important aspects of VET from a client’s perspective are the products and services that facilitate the acquisition of relevant vocational skills and that what matters is quality learning products, quality facilitation of learning, quality

learning outcomes, relevant information, confidence in the integrity of the provider and appropriate support. ’1

2.17 The Committee noted that most submissions to its inquiry referred to quality repeatedly, in different contexts, but few attempted an explicit description or definition. Some address quality issues in terms of VET as a whole, some in terms of particular components or elements, some in terms of processes, some in terms of

outcomes. Some use the existence of ‘quality’ processes or products, such as National Training Packages, or the implementation of quality assurance measures to imply the presence of quality. In general, however, in submissions, quality appears to be equated with effectiveness, that is, the extent to which VET is achieving certain outcomes.

2.18 The Committee also noted the Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs view that ‘quality of outcomes depends primarily on two factors: the quality of the VET programme and the extent to which individuals meet the desired outcomes.’

1 Australian National Training Authority, Implementation o f the National Training Framework and New Apprenticeships, Progress report to Ministers from ANTA, November 1999, p. 11

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2.19 After considering a range of definitions, indicators and measures of quality, the Committee adopted an approach which involved an examination of both outcomes and processes, the latter including the way VET policy is developed, how the system is managed, and how VET is delivered to clients.

2.20 In considering the quality of outcomes, and of processes, the Committee adopted the five indicators of quality used by Schofield in her reports on the quality of apprenticeship and traineeship training in different states.2 These are effectiveness, fitness for purpose, efficiency, accountability and ethical practice.

2.21 The Committee considers that effectiveness is the principal indicator of the quality of VET outcomes, while the other factors are indicators of the quality of processes, and the likelihood of achieving quality outcomes.

2.22 Fitness for purpose of the constituent parts of the VET system is a determinant of the quality of outcomes. Fitness for purpose in this sense is the capability to contribute to achieving stated objectives. Conformity with specifications is not sufficient: the specifications must be such that they allow the objectives to be achieved. The incidence of service failure is an indicator of fitness for purpose.

2.23 Efficiency is a measure of the extent to which the resources used, the program delivery processes and activities, the purchasing system and the outputs deliver value for money to the taxpayer. Greater efficiency has been a driving force in VET reform.

2.24 Accountability, as defined by Schofield, is the degree to which stakeholders meet and are perceived by others to meet their obligations both in terms of planning, actions and their role in achieving identified objectives. Accountability is a factor contributing to the achievement of outcomes, but is not evidence of the quality of those outcomes per se.

2.25 Ethical practice, the fifth criterion identified by Schofield in her reports on the quality of VET in Victoria and Tasmania, is of particular interest to the Committee because this inquiry owes some of its impetus to a number of allegations of fraud in VET delivery. According to Schofield, even when unethical practice is unsubstantiated, the view that it exists, even in subtle and invisible form, undermines the market and community confidence in the quality of the traineeship system.3

K Schofield, Independent Investigation into the Quality o f Training in Queensland’s Traineeship System, July 1999. K Schofield, A Risky Business: review o f the quality o f Tasmania’s traineeship system, December 1999. K Schofield, Report o f the Independent Review o f the Quality o f Training in Victoria's Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, May 2000

K Schofield, A Risky Business: review o f the quality o f Tasmania’s traineeship system, December 1999, p.44

C

HAPTER 3

VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN AUSTRALIA

3.1 The Committee believes that an understanding of the development of vocational education and training in Australia, and its current nature and scope is necessary to provide a context in which to examine its effectiveness and the quality of outcomes.

Characteristics of the VET system

3.2 The vocational education and training sector is critical to the ways in which Australians gain the skills needed to enter the workforce for the first time, to re-enter the workforce, to retrain for a new job and to upgrade skills for an existing job.

3.3 Within publicly-funded vocational education and training in Australia (including a small amount of fee-for-service activity within public providers), some 1.65 million students undertook vocational programs during 1999. This represents an estimated increase of 111,900 (7.3 per cent) since 1998.

3.4 Of Australia’s working age population (15-64 year olds), 11.4 per cent participated in VET in 1999. From 1996 to 1999, the number of students in vocational programs has increased by 22.5 per cent.

3.5 Of all VET students in 1999, 51.0 per cent were male and 49.0 per cent were female.

3.6 The VET sector provides training for a diverse range of individuals, groups and industries. VET programs are undertaken by students of both sexes, from all age groups, and from a diversity of backgrounds. These backgrounds include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, students bom overseas, students whose main language is not English, students with a disability, students who are employed, unemployed or who are not in the labour force, and students from the full range of prior-education levels.

3.7 A small but increasing number of VET students undertake VET while still attending secondary school, either as part of their secondary school program (known as ‘VET in Schools’) or by undertaking VET subjects independently of their secondary school studies. Of those still attending secondary school, 12 per cent were

undertaking TAPE accredited subjects.

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3.8 As at June 1999, approximately 255,600 (approximately 20 per cent) of VET students are apprentices and trainees undertaking the formal component of their training program.1

3.9 Many of the student groups identified in the data collection are the focus of access and equity programs by providers, state and territory governments, the Commonwealth, and the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA).

3.10 Students in the public VET system come from the full range of socioeconomic backgrounds. The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Education and Training Experience Australia 1997 survey shows that participation in training varies markedly according to labour force status. Of those who were marginally attached to employment, 21 per

cent were participating in study or training courses in contrast to 55 per cent of persons who were wage or salary earners.2 Marked variations in the use of training also occur with respect to employment sector. At the time of the survey, 74 per cent of people employed in the public sector had undertaken study or training courses in contrast to 44 per cent of those in the private sector.3

3.11 The vocational education and training sector includes both publicly and privately funded vocational education and training delivered through a wide range of institutions and enterprises, and via various pathways including online and flexible delivery.. The majority of students (75 per cent) are enrolled in the TAPE system.

3.12 VET programs range from basic adult education to New Apprenticeships, and advanced technical and business diplomas. Clients study on a full-time and part-time basis. Around half of VET clients undertake relatively short programmes of training, while others undertake more extended programs, leading to qualifications under the Australian Qualifications Framework.

3.13 The estimated total level of investment in vocational education and training from public and private sources in 1998 is $8.5 billion. This considerable investment in vocational education and training provides a diverse range of training opportunities for individuals and employers. In 1998 the operating expenditures of the Government- funded component of vocational education and training totalled $4.01 billion.

3.14 Students within the vocational education and training sector engage in a wide range of training experiences within different types of providers, across various disciplines or areas of learning, and at differing levels of skill acquisition. The length of time that individuals spend in training also varies considerably.

National Centre for Vocational Education Research, Australian Apprentice and Trainee Statistics January-March 2000, p.6

Australian Bureau of Statistics 1998, Education and Training Experience Australia 1997, p.6

Australian Bureau of Statistics 1998, Education and Training Experience Australia 1997

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oles and Responsibilities

ANTA structures and arrangements

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3.15 The structures of the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) include the ANTA Ministerial Council (known as ANTA MINCO), the ANTA Board, the ANTA office and a network of committees, sub-committees, and working groups.

3.16 The ANTA Ministerial Council (MINCO), comprising ministers from the states and territories and chaired by the Commonwealth minister, is the primary national decision-making body for the VET system. Under the terms of the ANTA Agreement, the ANTA Ministerial Council sets national goals, objectives and

priorities for the system.

3.17 The ANTA Board’s role is to advise MINCO and support it in all its functions. With members drawn largely from employers, its composition is intended to ensure that MINCO receives high-level formal advice on employer VET needs, and also to provide employers with a key role in providing leadership and advice.

ANTA Chief Executive Officers Committee

3.18 The ANTA Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) Committee, consisting of the CEOs of the Commonwealth, state and territory departments and agencies with responsibility for the administration of VET, and the ANTA CEO, does not have a formal role in the ANTA arrangements. The CEOs Committee considers the

implications for states and territories of proposals under consideration by the ANTA Board. The CEOs are in a pivotal policy position, being individually responsible for advising their own ministers who are members of MINCO, and having the collective task of securing cooperation between systems in the implementation of policy.

3.19 A number of other committees advise the ANTA Board and MINCO on issues like indigenous VET, research and evaluation, New Apprenticeships and performance. The ANTA secretariat, whose CEO is the principal adviser to the ANTA Board, has a liaison and policy advisory role.

The Commonwealth role

3.20 The establishment of ANTA occurred largely as a result of the

Commonwealth’s drive to improve VET in Australia by establishing a more nationally consistent system. The Commonwealth has also initiated many of the more significant policy proposals subsequently adopted by ANTA. The financial power of the

Commonwealth provides it with substantial leverage in the determination of policy at the national level even though it has no jurisdictional responsibility for or control over VET or VET providers in the states and territories.

The states and territories

3.21 The administrative structures providing for vocational education and training in the states and territories vary considerably. Each state has its own legislation

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governing VET and regulating TAPE institutes and private providers, as well as industrial relations legislation and apprenticeship legislation and regulations.

3.22 The structure of VET management across states is, however, broadly similar. Each has a state training board and, or, authority, being a statutory body answerable to a state minister. The placement of VET within portfolio structures varies from state to state. In Queensland, for example, training lies within a portfolio which also has responsibility for employment and industrial relations. In New South Wales and Victoria it is linked with education.

3.23 The states and territories are responsible for the regulation and management of their own systems. This includes state-level policy and planning for VET and the apprenticeship and traineeship system, the regulation of training providers, the allocation of funds to individual providers, and the management of TAPE. The states and territories join with the Commonwealth and employers in national policy setting through the ANTA structures and arrangements.

Planning and Accountability Arrangements

3.24 The major planning and accountability instruments for the national VET system are the National Strategy, Annual National Priorities and state and territory Annual VET Plans.

3.25 A Bridge to the Future, endorsed in May 1998 by ANTA MINCO is the National Strategy for VET for the period 1998-2003. It sets out the medium term strategy for the sector as a whole and is framed around the national objectives of:

• equipping Australians for the world of work

• enhancing labour mobility

• achieving equitable outcomes in VET

• increasing investment in training

• maximising the value of public VET expenditure.

3.26 The National Strategy identifies New Apprenticeships as a key strategy for improving and expanding school leavers’ vocational education and training options and employment prospects.

3.27 Within the framework of the National Strategy, ANTA MINCO agrees on Annual National Priorities for the year ahead. The Annual National Priorities for 2000 are:

consolidation of national training arrangements

achieving diversity and flexibility to meet the needs of all

value for money

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• changing attitudes to training.

3.28 New Apprenticeships have been accorded a high priority in both the 1999 and 2000 Annual National Priorities.

3.29 Each state and territory is required to prepare an annual VET plan that responds to the Annual National Priorities, reports on progress against the National Strategy and provides an activity table that shows the total amount of training to be provided from combined Commonwealth and state-sourced funds (by industry sector and level).

VET Funding

Funding sources

3.30 While publicly funded vocational education and training is constitutionally a state responsibility, contribution to the cost of VET are made by the states, the Commonwealth, employers and individuals. According to ANTA figures, an estimated $8,545 billion was spent on VET in 1998. The Commonwealth and state governments collectively contributed 44 per cent ($3,740 billion), 45 percent ($3,886 billion) is estimated to have been spent by private enterprises and 11 per cent ($0,919 billion) came from individuals. Of the government spending, 62 per cent ($2,304 billion) was provided by the states and territories, and 37 per cent ($1,356 billion) by

the Commonwealth.

Operating expenditure on VET for 2000

3.31 Table 3.1 provided by ANTA shows planned operating expenditure on vocational education and training for 2000 (in accmal accounting terms).

Table 3.1: Summary ofplanned operating expenditure fo r 2000, $m

Expenditure ($m)

New South Wales 1282.600

Victoria 793.100

Queensland 661.600

South Australia 266.800

Western Australia 339.400

Tasmania 87.600

Northern Territory 60.400

Australian Capital Territory 74.900

VET in Schools 20.000

National Projects 23.700

Publication of VET Statistics 0.212

TOTAL 3610.312

Source: Australian National Training Authority, V o c a tio n a l E d u c a tio n a n d T r a in in g - D ir e c tio n s a n d R e so u rc e A llo c a tio n s f o r 2 0 0 0 , R e p o r t to th e M in is te r ia l C o u n c il, November 1999, p.55

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Note: In Table 3.1 estimates of accrual expenditure have been based on the AVETMISS Standard for VET Financial Data. Figures cited are based on total operating expenditure. Figures include ANTA Agreement Commonwealth and state recurrent funds, depreciation of buildings and equipment and other non-cash revenue and expenses used in the production process. Figures specifically exclude fee for service revenue, revenue from Commonwealth specific purpose funds, VET in schools and redundancies as agreed. Estimates have been adjusted to 2000 prices based on the Commonwealth Treasury estimate of price movements as measured by the gross non-farm product deflator.

Commonwealth contribution

Recurrent and capital

3.32 The Commonwealth provides funding under the Vocational Education and Training Funding Act 1992 for allocation by ANTA to the states and territories. M1NCO decides on the split of this funding for payment to the states and territories, primarily on a population share basis. In 2000 the Commonwealth will provide $918

million (subject to indexation) to ANTA. These funds are released following MINCO consideration of, and agreement to state and territory annual VET plans.

For 2000, the Ministerial Council has decided to allocate funds as follows:

Recurrent Infrastructure

($m) ($m)

New South Wales 239.350 59.160

Victoria 172.366 42.500

Queensland 118.020 28.900

South Australia 56.448 13.600

Western Australia 65.938 15.300

Tasmania 20.061 4.420

Northern Territory 8.052 5.244

Australian Capital Territory 14.205 2.720

Publications of TAPE Statistics 0.212

Industry Based Skill Centres 7.000

Skill Centres for School Students 4.000

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Facilities 4.000

National Project for New Technologies 15.000

National Projects 23.7

S u b - T O T A L 6 9 4 .6 5 2 2 0 1 .8 4 4

T O T A L 9 2 0 .1 9 6 8

Includes $1,844 million carry forward Source: Australian National Training Authority, Vocational Education and Training - Directions and Resource Allocations for 2000, Report to the Ministerial Council, November 1999, p.59-60

Other Commonwealth funding for VET

3.33 The Commonwealth also provides funding for National Projects developed within the framework of the National Strategy that support the implementation of agreed national reforms and national priority areas. Funding is also provided through the annual Appropriation Acts for National Programs such as Group Training

Schemes, Training Package Development, Equity Development & Training Innovation, Industry Training Advisory Bodies. The full cost of ANTA’s operations are met by the Commonwealth through annual appropriations.

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3.34 The largest allocation of Commonwealth funding outside of recurrent and capital funding is provided for financial incentives to employers who take on new entrants to the workforce and some categories of existing workers under the New Apprenticeships arrangements. The Government has allocated $354 million for

employer incentives in 1999-2000. This includes support for 134,000 New Apprenticeships commencements. This funding is available for employer incentives and personal benefits for New Apprentices (such as Living Away from Home Allowance) and represents a 20 per cent increase over 1998-99 funding.

State-sourced funding

3.35 States and territories provide capital funding, the bulk of recurrent funding for VET, and funding through a range of programs including labour market programs and incentives employers. According to ANTA, in 2000, the states and territories collectively will provide an estimated $2.3 billion, approximately two-thirds of total

government funding for the delivery of VET.

3.36 The states and territories are responsible for allocating funds to individual providers on the basis of direct payments, open tendering and user choice, the latter being arrangements aimed at encouraging greater competition and an open training

market.

3.37 ANTA Directions and Resource Allocation reports indicate the following amounts allocated through competitive tendering and User Choice:

1995 $21 m (30 per cent of Commonwealth growth funds) 1996 $65m 1997*$153m 1998 $198m ($339.3m including user choice implementation)

1999 $396.3m (including user choice) 2000 $440.9m (including user choice)

(*Data for 1997 onwards is in accrual accounting format and thus not completely comparable with earlier years)

3.38 New Apprenticeships are accorded priority under the National Strategy for VET. Funding for New Apprenticeships is estimated to account for nearly 25 per cent of total public VET expenditure, although the NCVER advises that current data

collection arrangements do not separate operating expenditures on VET provision generally from expenditures on apprentices and trainees.

TAFE fee-for-service activities

3.39 Fee-for-service activities provide a small but increasing proportion of VET funding. In 1997 there were 243.6 million Annual Hours Curriculum (AHC) funded

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under the ANTA Agreement, while public providers generated an estimated 37.3 million AHC in fee for service activity.4 *

3.40 Arrangements vary between states as to whether all of fee-for-service revenue is retained by individual TAPE institutes for their own use, or a proportion or the total revenue is transmitted to the relevant state TAPE authority.

Enterprise expenditure on training

3.41 Enterprise expenditure on VET includes in-housing training, external training, training provided by equipment suppliers and manufacturers, other fee for service revenue and ancillary trading. Over 60 per cent of all employers offer some kind of training to their employees each year.3 In total, private enterprises contribute an estimated 45 per cent (nearly $4 billion) of the national expenditure on training.

Individual expenditure on VET

3.42 Individual expenditure on VET includes fees, charges, payments to private provides. ANTA reported estimated individual expenditure on VET as $0,919 billion, or 11 per cent of the total estimated expenditure on VET in 1998 (including payments to private training providers).6

ANTA quoted in Submission 110, Australian Education Union, vol.6, p. 1656

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Employer Training Practices, Australia, February 1997, Catalogue No 6356.0

Australian National Training Authority, Annual National Report 1998, vol. 3 p. 120

CHAPTER 4

THE EMERGENCE OF A NATIONAL VET SYSTEM

Evolution of the VET system

4.1 The antecedents of modem VET are the laws, policies and stmctures relating to adult education, technical education and apprenticeships which were first developed in Australia in the nineteenth century. Mechanics’ institutes, primarily concerned with adult education, were first established in the early nineteenth century and the schools

of mines, agricultural institutes, working men’s colleges and technical colleges, providing various forms of technical education, were established in the later part of that century.

4.2 As noted by Kirby the emphasis of technical education in the early days was invariably on practical and utilitarian education and training: on the extrinsic value of technical education for employment and industry development.1 Technical education was a colonial (later state) responsibility and, as explained by Goozee, state technical

education systems developed their own individual stmctures as a result of their distinct social, economic, demographic, geographic and political characteristics. Thus, for example, Victorian institutes enjoyed a great deal of autonomy from the time they were established. In New South Wales, institutes developed under a Department of

Technical Education, and have only recently been brought under the administration of the Department of Education and Training. According to Goozee, most of the stmctures and the frameworks for future development had been established by 1889.2 3

4.3 The apprenticeship system was also introduced to Australia during the early nineteenth century, ‘in response to the demand for trades skills in the expanding colonies’/ Authority and responsibility for apprenticeships also rested with each colony. According to Mitchell et al. apprenticeship legislation at that time fell into three categories: that which governed apprenticeship in land-based crafts and trades, that which provided for apprenticing of neglected and orphan children, and that

governing apprenticeship to the sea service.4 These distinctions remained until, towards the end of the century, consolidating legislation was passed in several colonies.

1 Committee of Inquiry into Labour Market Programs (Peter Kirby, Chair), Report o f the Committee o f Inquiry into Labour Market Programs, AGPS, Canberra, 1985

2 Goozee, G, The development ofTAFE in Australia, National Centre for Vocational Education Research, Adelaide, 1993, p.3

3 Commonwealth/State Training Advisory Committee (COSTAC), Essential Features o f Australian Training Systems, AGPS, Canberra, 1987, pi

4 Mitchell, R, Robertson, I, & Shorten, A, Law and Policy in Vocational Education and Training, A contemporary survey, NCVER, Adelaide, 1999, p.20

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4.4 Commonwealth involvement in education was minimal in the first fifty years of federation. An attempt by the states to attract Commonwealth funding for technical colleges in 1936 was unsuccessful. The training requirements of the Second World War aroused some Commonwealth interest in technical education, but this interest waned with the end of the wartime emergency. The Commonwealth first provided

financial assistance of any substance to the states for technical education in 1964.5 * In the seven years between 1964 and 1974 the Commonwealth provided $106 million on technical training.

Kangan

4.5 The Labor Government elected in 1972 made the first major Commonwealth commitment to technical education with the appointment of the Australian Committee on Technical and Further Education, chaired by Myer Kangan, in 1973. Recommendations in the Kangan report resulted in the appropriation in the 1974

budget of $96.5 million over two years for technical and further education (TAPE).

4.6 Kangan is credited with being the first to define a role and purpose for TAPE.1 ’ Goozee observed that prior to Kangan, technical education did not appear to be considered part of the education sector and described it as being consistently under­ valued and under resourced. Kangan not only affirmed vocational education and

training as an integral part of the education system, but placed it firmly in the tertiary education sector.

4.7 Kangan saw a broad educational and social role as being TAPE’S primary purpose. While acknowledging its ‘vital manpower role’, in the comprehensive set of concepts, theories and values that Kangan defined for TAPE, the needs of the individual were considered paramount. As Ramsey observed, Tn Kangan’s terms education also meant education of the whole individual’.7 Kangan’s approach gave professional educators a leading role in how, when, where and what VET was provided.

4.8 Despite Kangan’s pronouncements, and the significant and enduring commitment to his ideologies that emerged in the ranks of professional educators, tension and debate between the training and labour market functions of TAPE and its broader social and general educational objectives have been a feature of the development of TAPE and the VET system over the past decade or more.

D Fooks, ‘The Life and Times of Cinderella’, in Kangan: 20 Years On, Peter Kearns and William Hall (eds) National Centre for Vocational Education Research, 1994, p.35

Australian Committee on Technical and Further Education (Myer Kangan, Chair), TAFE in Australia: Report on Needs in Technical and Further Education, AGPS, Canberra, 1974

Ramsey, Gregor, Future directions fo r technical and further education, in ‘Kangan: 20 years on’, Peter Kearns & William Hall (eds), National Centre for Vocational Education Research, Adelaide, 1994, p. 104

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Toward ANTA

4.9 From 1987 the Commonwealth became increasingly active in bringing TAPE within the ambit of Commonwealth influence. This arose in association with government commitment to micro-economic reform, a task made more urgent by adverse trade balance figures during the middle 1980s. It was clear that any

restructuring of the economy would require a more highly skilled, flexible and adaptable workforce.

4.10 During the 1980s and 1990s, under Commonwealth Labor Governments, VET became the main vehicle for addressing skill levels in the work force, and its role in alleviating youth unemployment was strengthened. The National Training Reform Agenda which emerged in the 1980s was seen as breaking with the Kangan tradition

by ‘diminishing the role of individual needs and asserting the primacy of a labour market orientation relative to an educational and social one’8 Much effort was put into involving employers in decision making and in measures to ensure that VET met employers as well as individual’s needs.

4.11 The government of the day used its links with industry associations and employer groups and unions to establish a new alliance which would, in the words of one commentator, ‘assume “ownership” of vocational education and training from the educators and state bureaucrats who had previously dominated the field.’.9 Unions became influential in policy development and planning, with union representatives

being appointed to a number of important advisory bodies and review committees.

4.12 The period from 1986 to 1992 saw constant change to TAPE systems in all states, partly to bring them into line with the need to fill labour market demand, and partly to reduce the costs of their operation. This was the first period of TAPE institute ‘restructuring’. Interestingly, in view of the increased ‘national’ focus of technical and

further education, restructuring took a form consistent with the traditions of each state, so that by the end of this process, each state ended up with a changed structure, that was different to all other states.10 One common trend was the shifting of TAPE away from education portfolios to employment and training portfolios. Another common trend was the move toward a degree of self-funding. There was also a trend toward

allowing TAPE institutes more autonomy, particularly following the amalgamation of colleges, which took place in some states.

4.13 The two years proceeding the establishment of the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) in 1992 saw the production of three significant reports to

8 Schofield, Kaye, The dash o f the Titans, in ‘Kangan: 20 years on’, Peter Kearns & William Hall (eds), National Centre for Vocational Education Research, Adelaide, 1994, p.61

9 Robyn Ryan, ‘How TAPE became ‘unresponsive’: a study of rhetoric as a tool of education policy, Australian and New Zealand Journal o f Vocational Educational Research, vol.7, no.2, 1999

10 G. Goozee, The Development ofTAFE in Australia, National Centre for Vocational Education Research, 1993, p. 122

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government addressing the role of vocational education and training and the skilling of Australia’s workforce.

4.14 In 1990 employer demand for action on training led to the establishment of the Training Cost Review (Deveson) Committee, which anticipated employers assuming a share of training costs, and concluded that market forces in certain areas of training needed to be encouraged and financial contributions to training more closely tied to benefits received by individuals, the community and by employers. Deveson also anticipated later policy in proposing that private sector training institutions had an

important role in training, along side TAPE institutes.

4.15 The Deveson report was followed in 1991 by the Firm committee report, which pointed out that general and vocational education, and work and learning, were too sharply divided in traditional Australian attitudes and practice. A convergence of general and vocational education was needed, with both schools and TAPE institutes becoming more concerned about issues of employability. The committee recommended, among other things, national participation and completion targets, which were subsequently adopted by relevant Ministers, and a guarantee that students completing year 10 would have a place at TAPE if they chose not to continue school.

4.16 It was recommended that states and territories review their practices to ensure articulation between the sectors. Arising from Finn, the Australian Education Council in 1991 appointed the Mayer committee to further refine and develop national standards in six key competency areas that had been identified by Finn as essential for all people in post-compulsory education. Mayer developed a framework wherein a variety of methods could be used to assess competency at agreed levels.

4.17 Finally, in 1992, the Carmichael report was released, proposing a new integrated entry level training system, the Australian Vocational Certificate Training System (AVTS).11 * . The AVTS was intended to offer a broad range of education and training pathways leading to a qualification, another training pathway, or a career step. “ The AVTS sought to merge apprenticeships and traineeships. All pathways would provide competency based education and training and would provide for the achievement of the key competencies.13 The system provided Certificates for four levels of achievement.

4.18 The AVTS was to be supported by a range of reforms to VET that were being pursued under the Training Reform Agenda. These included the adoption of competency based training throughout the VET system, the establishment of the

Certificate was subsequently removed from the name.

Employment and Skills Formation Council, The Australian Vocational Certificate Training System, National Board of Employment, Education and Training, Canberra, (1992)

The Key Competencies, also known as the Mayer Competencies, are: collecting, analysing and organising information; communicating ideas and information; planning and organising activities; working with others and in teams; using mathematical ideas and techniques; solving problems and using technology.

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Australian Standards Framework (a set of eight competency levels which served as benchmarks for the development and recognition of competency standards in relation to work), the development of industry competency standards, the development of the National Framework for the Recognition of Training (aimed at ensuring national

consistency in the recognition of accredited courses, training programs, training providers, competencies and prior learning of individuals), the development of national core curriculum for both on and off-the-job training, and the development of a training market.

4.19 In October 1991, during the period when these reviews were being conducted, the Commonwealth Minister for Employment, Education and Training released a proposal that the Commonwealth assume full financial responsibility for TAPE and other post-secondary education and training. Under the proposed scheme the states

would retain administrative responsibility for TAPE. The proposal was not taken up by the states. Most premiers indicated their reluctance to relinquish responsibility for a system of education they considered vital to the development of their regional economies, and which were articulated to varying degrees with their school systems.14

Establishment o f the Australian National Training Authority

4.20 The Minister’s innovative proposal was almost successful, being reported to have come within one vote of being accepted. Efforts at reaching a compromise arrangement led in due course to the establishment of the Australian National Training Authority and agreement by the states and territories to work toward a national VET

system. An agreement was announced in July 1992 between the Commonwealth and the states and territories for the establishment of the National Vocational Education and Training System Authority (NVETS). The new structure was created as a

Commonwealth statutory authority, consisting of a board and a ministerial council.

4.21 The Australian National Training Authority (ANTA), as the body became known following the passing of the Australian National Training Authority Act 1992, in November 1992, would transmit Commonwealth funds to the states and territories and administer programs agreed by MINCO as requiring national delivery. The

ANTA ministerial council, known as ANT A MINCO, is comprised of ministers from the states and territories and is chaired by the Commonwealth minister. It is the primary national decision-making body for the VET system, setting national goals, objectives and priorities for the system. The ANTA Board’s membership consists of

independent experts drawn largely from employers. Its role is to advise MINCO and support it in all its functions.

The ANTA Agreement

4.22 The ANTA Agreement, a schedule to the ANTA Act was the key instrument in the formation of what was envisaged to be a new national training system. The Agreement set out the obligations and responsibilities agreed between the

14 Report o f the Review o f the ANTA Agreement, AGPS, 1996, p.27

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Commonwealth and the states and territories with regard to funding and administration of the system. Under the first Agreement the states and territories agreed to maintain their funding for VET at 1992 levels in real terms. In return, the Commonwealth agreed to provide growth funds of $70 million for each year of the Agreement. The ANTA Agreement was renegotiated during 1997 and finally agreed to in early 1998, incorporating new Commonwealth funding arrangements. These required the states and territories to achieve ‘growth through efficiencies’ in return for continued Commonwealth financial support in real terms. The Agreement is due for renegotiation at the end of 2000.

Evaluating the first four years o f ANTA

4.23 This Committee undertook an evaluation of ANTA in 1995, with particular reference to its agreements with the states and territories and the extent to which training outcomes were being achieved under the new national program. The inquiry revealed continued tensions between the states and the Commonwealth; the latter

being accused of ignoring the peculiar problems of small states and obligations to non-metropolitan regions. Larger states, though less critical of ANTA arrangements, expressed concern about the Commonwealth using employers pressure to gain leverage over the states. The Committee’s majority report found that ANTA’s consultation processes for the allocation of funds were far too hasty and recommended

a schedule of consultations take place over a triennium.1 5 16

4.24 The Committee’s consideration of the issue of quality in its 1995 report is noteworthy in the context of the current inquiry. The Committee’s majority report criticised the prevailing focus on quantitative measures at the expense of qualitative measures. It recommended that NCVER be commissioned to evaluate the relevance and quality of training on offer.16 The Committee majority report also noted that the

‘maintenance of effort’ by some states (that is, financial commitment to the national VET system) was not sustained in 1995, despite the NVETS agreement that they do so.

4.25 The Labor and Democrat senators, in their minority report, criticised what they considered to be the confusion of the role for ANTA. It was both an employer-led body driving an employer agenda and at the same time a broker between the Commonwealth and the states, mediating on an aspect of federal financial relations. These roles were incompatible. On a matter which has relevance to the current inquiry, the minority report questioned the commitment of the states to funding a national system. It referred to a requirement that the states maintain effort ‘without resorting to a range of dubious tactics to create an illusion that they have fulfilled their responsibilities. There are considerable variations from state to state to the degree to

15 Senate Employment, Education and Training References Committee Report o f the inquiry into the Australian National Training Authority, November 1995, p.8

16 ibid., p.28

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which they are prepared to observe the spirit as well as the letter of the ANT A Agreement.’17

4.26 A review of the ANTA agreement, commissioned by the government and chaired by Mr R M Taylor, reported to the Minister in February 1996. The report did not deal with quality of training issues. It found fault with the ANTA board’s lack of strategic focus, noting the absence of a sense of ‘ownership’ of ANTA as an

organisation by its key stakeholders, with state officials regarding it as just another Commonwealth agency.

4.27 The Taylor report also noted that some states had not fulfilled their financial support obligations. In fact, none of the states paid their own sourced funds to ANTA, simply advising ANTA of funds they were committing to VET from their own sources, while ensuring that these processes were transparent. The review at one point commended this practice as a sensible arrangement.1’' At another point it referred to tendencies that would weaken the idea of a national system of VET, involving

separate funding pools and accountabilities, simple arrangements which did not require the time-consuming and demanding cooperative ANTA arrangements.19 The review proposed the continuation of arrangements current both then and now.

Development of Apprenticeships and Traineeships

Apprenticeships

4.28 Apprenticeships were introduced in Australia in the early nineteenth century and have been the basis of nearly all training for trade occupations. Apprenticeships in Australia involved a legally binding contract, called an indenture, between an employer and employee. Indentures had to be approved by the state industrial training

authority.

4.29 Apprenticeships were regulated by colonial, and later state, laws which set out the rights and duties of the parties. At different times, age and education standards were set for entry to apprenticeship. In the early part of the twentieth century the minimum age was 14 and indentures expired at 21 years. Later, minimum entry age

was generally not legislated but in practice was 15 years, the minimum school leaving age in most states. For a time some Federal industrial awards placed upper age limits for entry to some trades and some industrial awards constrained female participation

because of particular conditions such as the weights that could be lifted by females. Apprentice wages varied depending upon the age, stage and trade of the apprentice

17 ibid., p.4

18 Report o f the Review o f the ANTA Agreement, AGPS, 1996, p.36

19 ibid., p. 101

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and generally represented a percentage of the appropriate tradesperson’s wage which varied according to the industrial award to which the employer is a respondent.20

4.30 Apprenticeships were ‘time-based’, originally for a maximum of seven years but most were reduced to four years in the late 1960s as improvements in secondary and technical education enabled skills and knowledge to be attained in less time than

previously. Also in the late 1960s, compulsory technical education during working hours was introduced, typically involving one day a week spent in off-the-job training at a TAPE institute or an employer’s training centre. Some of these features, such as the basis of apprentice wages, still apply to some current apprenticeships.

Traineeships

4.31 The first traineeship system in Australia, the Australian Traineeship System (ATS) was introduced in 1985 following recommendations of the 1984 Committee of Inquiry into Labour Market Programs (‘the Kirby inquiry’).21 Developed as a key strategy to deal with youth unemployment, the ATS was intended to ease the

transition from school to work in the non-trade occupations and provide for recognition of the previously unrecognised occupational skills inherent in the non­ trade areas."2 It was also intended that the emphasis of the ATS would be on its role as a training system rather than as a vehicle for placing young people in employment.23 However, the target-driven nature of the implementation of the ATS resulted in the employment objectives taking precedence over the training objectives.24

4.32 The design of the ATS sought to retain the strengths of apprenticeship training while avoiding some of its generally recognised shortcomings, for example, its rigid four year training period, the cyclical fluctuations in recmitment, the imbalance in

gender participation and the cost to the public sector.25 As with apprenticeships, ATS traineeships included a combination of on the job and off the job training. Initially ATS traineeships had a typical training period of 12 months with an off the job training component generally consisting of two days per week over a minimum of 13 weeks. Access to ATS traineeships was initially restricted to 16-18 year olds although

15 and 19 year olds could participate under certain conditions. These restrictions were eased over time.

Commonwealth/State Trainingi Advisory Committee (COSTAC), Essential features o f Australian Training Systems, AGPS, Canberra, 1987

Committee of Inquiry into Labour Market Programs (Chair: Kirby P E), Report o f the Committee o f Inquiry into Labour Market Programs, Canberra, AGPS, 1984

Employment and Skills Formation Council Making the Future Work, National Board of Employment, Education and Training, AGPS, Canberra, 1994, p.28

Australian Education Council Review Committee, Young People's participation in Post-compulsory Education and Training, AGPS, Canberra, 1991, p. 141

K Schofield, Independent Investigation into the Quality o f Training in Queensland's Traineeship System, July 1999, p.14

Employment and Skills Formation Council, Making the Future Work, National Board of Employment, Education and Training, AGPS, Canberra, 1994, p.28

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4.33 Although not conceived of as a competency-based training system, some key elements of competency-based training and assessment were incorporated into various ATS traineeships, and more so when, in November 1990, Commonwealth and state Ministers for employment, education and training agreed to implement competency- based training across the vocational education and training system.

4.34 With ATS traineeships, costs were distributed among employers, the trainees and the public purse. Award wages were discounted so that employers paid only for the time trainees spent on the job. Wages forgone for time spent in training were the trainee’s contribution and the government funded the off the job training component.26

4.35 Career Start Traineeships (CSTs) were introduced in 1992 as part of the July 1992 Youth Package. They continued the focus on traineeships as a labour market strategy rather than a training system. They were essentially ATS traineeships but with more flexible arrangements: for instance, they had no age restrictions and were

open to early school leavers as well as mature age workers. They were also competency based. Career Start Traineeships provided a bridge between the ATS and the new Australian Vocational Training System (AVTS) described earlier in this chapter.27

4.36 During the development and piloting of the AVTS, both the ATS and CSTs continued to operate alongside the traditional apprenticeship system. The ATS and CSTs were phased out in January 1995 when Australia moved to full implementation of the AVTS.

4.37 The AVTS sought to merge apprenticeships and traineeships. All pathways would provide competency based education and training and would provide for the achievement of the key competencies. The system provided Certificates for four levels of achievement.

4.38 The AVTS was to be supported by -• the adoption of competency based training throughout the VET system;

• the establishment of an Australian Standards Framework (a set of eight competency levels which served as benchmarks for the development and recognition of competency standards in relation to work);

• the development of industry competency standards;

• the development of the National Framework for the Recognition of Training (aimed at ensuring national consistency in the recognition of accredited courses,

26 Employment and Skills Formation Council, Making the Future Work, National Board of Employment, Education and Training, AGPS, Canberra, 1994, p.28

27 Department o f Employment, Education and Training, Changing pathways and participation in VOTEC: Australia, Country Paper prepared as contribution to OECD Project on Changing Patterns and Participation in Vocational, technical Education and Training, 1994

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training programs, training providers, competencies and prior learning of individuals);

• the development of national core curriculum for both on the job and off the job training; and

• the development of a training market.

4.39 In 1994, while the AVTS was in its infancy, the Labor Commonwealth Government implemented a range of policies and programs relating to employment and vocational education and training as set out in Working Nation, its policy White Paper. Working Nation established National Training Wage (NTW) traineeships, so called because they were subject to the new National Training Wage Award. National

Training Wage traineeships renewed the emphasis on employment rather that education and training. They were also known as NETTFORCE traineeships after the National Employment and Training Taskforce (NETTFORCE). NETTFORCE was established as a Working Nation initiative to coordinate increased provision of apprenticeships and traineeships, supported by additional incentives for employers.

4.40 There was a perception that NTW traineeships were a new form of traineeship. However they were, for the most part, consistent with AVTS principles and recognised under the AVTS. The major differences were the industrial arrangements associated with NTW traineeships, and the introduction of traineeships with training delivered fully on-the-job in some industry areas. The move to fully on the job traineeships was intended to make training arrangements more attractive to employers in response to their continuing demands for more relevant training and more flexible training arrangements.

4.41 Fully on-the-job training has grown rapidly in recent years. Access to fully on the job training, like apprentice and trainee training generally, is regulated by the state training authorities. Since 1994 traineeship training has been funded by the states and

territories with support from the Commonwealth through the general VET funding arrangements.2''

Recent Developments

4.42 The Coalition government elected in March 1996 retained the national structures it inherited and gave ANTA new tasks in line with policies whose implementation is the subject of this report. The Coalition’s VET agenda called for

fundamental changes to the regulatory and quality assurance arrangements of the VET system and the full integration of a ‘modernised’ apprenticeship and traineeship system with those new arrangements. New Apprenticeships, the National Training Framework, consisting of the Australian Recognition Framework and National Training Packages, User Choice and VET in Schools are the major components of the * *

The Hon. P Keating, Prime Minister, Working Nation - policies and programs, 4 May 1994

Submission 68, Department o f Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, vol.3 p.771

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Coalition VET agenda. While threads of the policy followed by previous governments are discernible in these new arrangements, the directions taken by the current government are significantly different.

New Apprenticeships

4.43 Australia’s apprenticeship and traineeship training is now encompassed under the New Apprenticeships scheme30 The Coalition government initiated the New Apprenticeship system in 1996, with the aim of ‘modernising’ apprentice and trainee training and integrating apprenticeships and traineeships fully into the overall VET

regulatory and quality assurance arrangements. Apprenticeships and traineeships had remained subject to state and territory regulatory systems largely separate from those applying to other forms of VET, and many traineeships did not lead to qualifications under the Australian Qualifications Framework or provide for career progression to

higher level qualifications.

4.44 The ANT A Ministerial Council endorsed the key principles of New Apprenticeships in May 1996, and a more detailed policy framework in May 1997.31 The key principles were that New Apprenticeships should be an industry-led system, with streamlined regulation, expanded training opportunities, a national framework,

regional and community involvement, and attention to access and equity issues.32 3 3

4.45 The development of apprenticeship and traineeship training in Australia is described in greater detail in Chapter 9, where issues relating to the quality of such training are also addressed.

The National Training Framework

4.46 The National Training Framework replaced the National Framework for the Recognition of Training and the Australian Qualifications Framework. The National Training Framework is an agreement between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments which guides the states and territories in their regulation of the VET system. ANT A describes the National Training Framework, endorsed by ANT A

MINCO in November 1996, as the backbone of the national vocational education and training system. It has two key elements: the Australian Recognition Framework, and National Training Packages, both of which incorporate quality assurance approaches.

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30 The Commonwealth initially called the system the Modem Apprenticeship and Traineeship System (MAATS) but soon changed it to the New Apprenticeship System. ‘New Apprentice’ is an umbrella term for apprentices and trainees promoted by the Commonwealth and accepted by the ANTA Ministerial Council. However, it has yet to become commonly used. Queensland has retained the terms ‘apprentice’ and ‘trainee’. Most states and territories still collect separate statistics for apprentices and trainees.

31 Submission 68, Department of Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, vol.3, p.772 & p.812ff (attachment C)

32 Submission 68, Department of Employment, Education and Training, vol.3, p.272

33 Submission 107, Australian National Training Authority, vol.5, p.1454

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4.47 Quality assurance measures for National Training Packages are contained in two documents: Policy for Training Packages and Process for Training Package Development.

The Australian Recognition Framework

4.48 The Australian Recognition Framework (ART) is a set of standards that states and territories, through the ANTA Ministerial Council, have agreed to use in registering training organisations.34 Quality assurance measures in the Australian Recognition Framework include a range of principles, national standards, and protocols, states and territories are responsible for the implementation of the ARF, which commenced on 1 January 1998.

4.49 Organisations may register to deliver some or all of the qualifications in National Training Packages or to deliver accredited courses in areas that are not covered by National Training Packages. This defines the scope of registration of an RTO. An RTO may deliver a training program for a Training Package within its scope of registration without seeking accreditation of that specific program. Until recently,

the ARF also provided for RTOs that meet additional standards to become ‘Quality Endorsed Training Organisations’ (QETOs) QETOs previously were able to receive delegations to self-manage aspects of the recognition process.

4.50 Registered Training Organisations must provide evidence of compliance with national standards, and are subject to monitoring and auditing by state and territory authorities. The Australian Recognition Framework requires that RTOs be audited by the relevant state and territory recognition authority at least once within the

registration period (usually up to 5 years) and on receipt of a complaint.

4.51 Mutual recognition of RTOs across state and territory borders, and mutual recognition of qualifications awarded by RTOs, are central tenets of the Australian Recognition Framework. The inclusion of mutual recognition principles in the ARF

was intended to ensure a provider registered in any state or territory in accordance with the standards would receive recognition by all states and territories and the qualifications that the provider awards would be nationally recognised.

4.52 When the Australian Recognition Framework was first implemented, previously registered training organisations were given provisional registration under the ARF at that time. Transition to the ARF is continuing, with agreement that providers registered prior to its introduction would be subject to an ARF audit by 1 January 2001 at the latest. ANTA has provided Commonwealth funding from the National Project allocation to the states and territories to assist with ARF implementation.35

Australian National Training Authority, Australian Recognition Framework Arrangements, January 1999

Submission 68, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, vol. 3, p.767

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National Training Packages

4.53 National Training Packages consist of endorsed components and training support materials. The endorsed components are competency standards, assessment guidelines and qualification titles and requirements. The Australian Qualifications Framework Implementation Handbook provides guidance for determining the national qualifications included in National Training Packages. The same guidelines are used

for accredited courses. Training support materials (previously known as non-endorsed components) comprise learning strategies, assessment materials and professional development materials are also being produced.

4.54 National Training Packages require RTOs to formally assess individuals against the competency standards, to record and report competencies achieved, and to use the achievement of competencies as the basis for awarding qualifications.

4.55 Industry Training Advisory Bodies (ITABSs), other designated industry-based bodies or designated enterprises develop National Training Packages under the auspices of ANTA. ANTA provides funding to ITABs and other recognised bodies for

the development of the endorsed components of National Training Packages under the Training Package National Program. ANTA funding is also provided to ITABs for the development of support materials but there is a requirement for ITABs to utilise competitive tendering processes when commissioning the development of these materials.

4.56 The ANTA publications Policy for Training Packages and Process for Training Package Development set out national requirements and guidance for developing Training Packages, including consulting with stakeholders, validating the content of National Training Packages and obtaining endorsement by the National Training Framework Committee. Consultation with RTOs is now a requirement

although this was not always the case. Endorsement of a Training Package is a formal process of national recognition which concludes with state and territory and Commonwealth Ministerial agreement for each Package to be placed on the National

Training Information Service. National Training Packages are endorsed for a fixed period, usually three years.

4.57 National program funds allocated for Training Package development were $15,475 million in 1997-98 and $13,016 million in 1998-99.36 Additionally, $8 million from the Commonwealth and $2 million from ANTA National Projects funds is being provided to the states and territories to assist with the one-off transitional

costs in the period 1998-2000.

4.58 All states and territories signed plans for the implementation of the first 31 endorsed packages during 1999 and a further 15 packages were to be implemented in

36 National program funds are allocated under the Commonwealth Appropriation Act No 1 each year and distributed according to Section 11 ofth e Australian National Training Authority Act 1992.

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2000.NCVER statistics show that approximately 9 per cent of VET students were enrolled in programs based on National Training Packages in 1999.

4.59 National Training Packages are intended to become the basis for all VET delivery. Where National Training Packages exist, Registered Training Organisations are required to use them.

User choice

4.60 User Choice is a key element of the current national strategy for developing an open training market. It is directed primarily at the New Apprenticeships training market but lias implications and consequences for the whole of VET.

4.61 User Choice is designed to allow employers of apprentices and trainees, together with their apprentices and trainees, to choose their registered training organisation (RTO), public or private, and negotiate key aspects of their training (such as location, mode of delivery and time of training) with that RTO. Public funding that

is available for such training is then paid to the RTO they have chosen. With User Choice, states and territories pay RTOs for training on the basis of prices and pricing arrangements that each state or territory has adopted.

4.62 The objective of User Choice is to increase the responsiveness of the vocational education and training system to the needs of clients through the encouragement of a direct and market relationship between individual providers and clients. User Choice, in theory, provides VET clients with direct control over product choice. NCVER concludes that, in general, User Choice is nominated as the preferred public sector model of competition because it empowers clients to a greater extent

than other alternatives.37

4.63 In July 1996, ANTA MINCO agreed to the progressive implementation of User Choice during 1997 and to full implementation of User Choice for commencing apprentices and trainees from 1 January 1998. At that time, the New South Wales

government reserved its position regarding User Choice but has since introduced a form of User Choice whereby trainees and their employers can choose their provider, but choice for apprentices and their employers is restricted. Subsequently three states,

Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria have frozen User Choice at 1998 or 1999 levels pending further examination of its impact on the training market and particularly on the viability of TAPE.

4.64 Some states and territories have fixed prices for delivery based on unit cost benchmarks and notional annual hours curriculum, but others let the market set the price by seeking tender prices from RTOs to deliver training. The prices paid for training vary from state to state, within states, from industry to industry and within

Anderson, Damon, Developing the training market o f the future, A review o f research literature, paper prepared for the National Centre for Vocational Education Research as a submission to ANTA’s consultation on “Developing the training market of the future”, Adelaide, 1997, p.5

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industries, and for certain clients, to take account of additional costs for training delivery for certain locations such as remote areas, or client groups such as those with a disability.

4.65 In May 1997, the ANT A Ministerial Council approved a statement of User Choice Policy, common costing principles for User Choice and Guidelines for managing interstate training activity under User Choice.

4.66 The User Choice policy principles recognise that in areas where there are low numbers of clients and where clients have access to a limited number of providers, which is the case in some regional areas, choice may be limited. These are known as ‘thin markets’. In designated ‘thin market’ areas, User Choice may not be

implemented or only implemented in a limited form. Usually, in ‘thin markets’ the choice of provider is limited to TAPE. New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia have used their discretion in the application of User Choice, conscious of the ‘thin markets’ which exist within those states beyond the major populated areas, and

the expectations which many rural industries have of TAPE responsibility to provide training as a community service obligation. South Australia and Victoria, on the other hand, have decided not to declare ‘thin markets’.

VET in Schools

4.67 The extension of ANTA funded VET programs into schools followed endorsement by the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs in 1998 of principles underpinning the application of the National Training Framework in secondary schools. VET in Schools provides pathways to both

higher education and further vocational training. School programs are expected to take account of national, regional and local skill shortages. Work is currently underway in most states and territories to ensure that assessment, accreditation and certification arrangements for VET are aligned with the National Training Framework and are

compatible with university entrance requirements.

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C

HAPTER 5

OUTCOMES FROM VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING

5.1 The Committee was mindful that the Senate’s Terms of Reference charged the Committee with providing an assessment of the quality of vocational education and training based on two criteria: its effectiveness in developing the educational skills of the Australian people; and its effectiveness in providing for the skills formation and

productivity of the Australian workforce.

5.2 The Committee has interpreted the first of these as referring to the effectiveness of VET in meeting the needs of individuals, particularly by providing broad durable skills as a base for long term personal development, access to further learning, and mobility in the labour market, thus enabling them to play a full part in society and to be successful in an increasingly competitive labour market.1

5.3 The Committee has interpreted the second as referring to the effectiveness of VET in providing the labour force with the necessary skills to meet the needs of Australia’s industry and the economy.

5.4 The Committee considered that a number of fundamental questions needed to be addressed in responding to the Senate’s reference:

• How many Australians are gaining learning and skills through VET and what is the nature of the learning and skills they are attaining?

• Are the learning and skills being achieved through VET sufficient to meet the immediate and longer term needs of Australia’s industry and the economy? •

• Do the learning and skills being achieved through VET meet the needs of individuals?

5.5 This chapter explores these questions in relation to VET as a whole. Apprenticeships and traineeships data is included but not separately identified in the VET statistics used in this chapter. Data relating specifically to New Apprenticeships

and major issues concerning New Apprenticeships are explored in Chapter 9.

1 Committee of Inquiry into Labour Market Programs (Peter Kirby, Chair), R e p o r t o f th e C o m m itte e o f In q u ir y in to L a b o u r M a r k e t P r o g r a m s, AGPS, Canberra, 1985

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Participation in vocational education and training

Growth in participation

5.6 NCVER national VET statistics shows that there has been strong growth in total numbers and in the proportion of the working age population (15-64 year olds) participating in VET.

5.7 In 1999, a total of nearly 1.65 million people participated in VET, an estimated increase of 112,000, or 7.3 per cent, over 1998, and an increase of 374,000, or 29.4 per cent, since 1995.

5.8 Of the working age population, 1.189 million participated in VET in 1996 and 1.457 million participated in VET in 1999, an increase of 268,000 or 22.5 per cent. During the same period, the number of 15-64 year olds in the population increased by approximately 4.3 per cent. In 1996, nearly 10 in every one hundred 15-64 year olds participated in VET. By 1998 this had increased to just below 11.5 in every one hundred. Table 5.1 provides participation rates for 15-64 year olds in VET from 1996 to 1999. The largest increase in the participation rate was in Queensland and the

smallest was in the ACT. From mid-1998 to mid-1999 there was a rapid growth in the number of apprentices and trainees, which contributed to the increased numbers in VET overall.

Table 5.1: Vocational education and training participation rates by 15 to 64 year olds as a proportion of total population aged 15 to 64,1996-1999

Y e a r N S W V IC Q L D S A W A T A S N T A C T A u s t A u s t

% % % % % % % % % (0 0 0 ,0 0 0 )

1996 10.3 11.7 8.0 9.0 7.7 7.3 11.4 7.4 9.8 1.189

1997 10.4 12.4 7.0 11.0 8.2 7.7 9.9 7.0 10.0 1.234

1998 10.5 12.3 10.1 11.6 8.6 8.7 11.0 7.4 10.7 1.337

1999 11.0 13.5 11.2 11.4 9.2 9.4 12.7 8.0 11.4 1.457

C h a n g e in p a r t i c i p a t i o n r a t e

1 9 9 6 to 1 9 9 9 ( p e r c e n t a g e

p o i n t s )

0 .7 1.9 3 .2 2 .3 1.5 2.0 1.2 0 .6 1.7

Source: National Centre fo r Vocational Education Research. Note: 1996 data has been adjusted to the same scope and boundary as 1997 data.

Unmet Student Demand fo r Vocational Education and Training

5.9 While participation growth appears very positive, it needs to be considered in the light of a number of other factors, one of which is unmet student demand for vocational education and training. Table 5.2 reports unmet demand in Australia for all

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post-school education and training programs over the period 1995 to 1998.2 The level of unmet demand for VET declined from 1995 to 1997, and remained the same for 1997 and 1998, at around 48,000. In 1999 it increased by slightly more than 10,000 to 58,900. Of this number, 48,500 could not obtain a place in TAPE, an increase of

10,500 over 1998, which accounts for almost all the increase in unmet demand. In 1997 and 1998 unmet demand represented approximately 3.1 per cent of all people who engaged in VET. In 1999 unmet demand increased to approximately 3.6 per cent of the total engaged in VET.

Table 5.2: Unmet demand for post-school education and training, by provider sector, 1995-98 (persons)

1 9 9 5 1 9 9 6 1 9 9 7 1998 1 9 9 9

TAPE 60,700 48,300 35,300 35,200 45,800

Other Vocational Education & Training* 13,600 13,800 12,800 12,900 13,100

Total Vocational Education & Training 74,300 62,100 48.100 48,100 58,900

Higher Education 28,700 25,300 18,300 22,900 20,000

Other Education Institutions 13,700 19,000 8,700 12,500 13,400

Total 116,700 106,400 75,100 83,500 92,300

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey - Transition from Education to Work Australia (cat. No. 6227.0) Note: Table provided by NCVER. All figures have been rounded. *indicates persons wishing to enrol in a program which does not (of itself) result in a recognised qualification. Vocational education and training enrolments are on a module or unit of competency basis and many students

enrol only in the programs they need to enhance their skill levels.

5.10 The Committee is concerned at the inability of the system to reduce unmet demand. While unmet demand as a proportion of all people engaged in VET is quite small, for the 58,900 unable to gain entry to a VET program it can be a serious problem that potentially affects their chances of active participation in the economic

and social life of Australia.

5.11 The Committee also believes that, in view of Australia’s need for skilled citizens there should not be any unmet demand in VET. Unmet demand is a waste of VET’s potential to enhance Australia’s skills base.

2 National Centre for Vocational Education Research, National VET Statistics 1999. The table was prepared by NCVER (1999) from an analysis of the ABS survey, Transition from Education to Work. NCVER cautions that these figures are subject to variability due to sampling. The confidence limits are shown in the appendices of the annual performance reports. Furthermore, it is important to note that

unmet demand is difficult to define and measure. The information contained in the VET performance report is obtained from the annual ABS survey of transition from education to work. The figures quoted are estimates of the number of people who applied unsuccessfully for entry into post-school education and training programs each year. The figures include a small number of applicants who were unsuccessful because they did not meet minimum entry requirements. The NCVER nevertheless considers that the results from this survey provide a reasonable indication of the level of unmet demand.

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5.12 The Committee believes it is probable that the Commonwealth’s ‘growth through efficiency’ policy discussed in Chapter 7 has contributed to the inability of the system to reduce unmet demand, and, as argued in that Chapter, the Commonwealth should reconsider its decision not to provide additional growth

funding for VET.

Achievements in Vocational Education and Training

Qualification levels

5.13 The Committee notes the NCVER’s view that AQF level can be used as an indicator of quality as it provides a profile of the intended skill levels of training being provided in Australia’s VET system, with an increase in the amount of delivery at higher AQF levels indicating a likely increase in higher skill levels being attained by Australians. The Committee agrees with the NCVER view that AQF levels do not provide a measure of ‘quality’ in terms of factors such as the integrity of the qualification, quality of teaching and relevance of training to employment.

5.14 The Committee also notes that NCVER has adopted a methodology for reporting qualification level whereby clients are allocated to a qualification level according to the major (highest) qualification in which they are enrolled. That is, a client who is enrolled in more than one recognised qualification is counted only once, against the major (highest) qualification category. The hours undertaken by a client enrolled in more than one qualification are summed up and reported against the major (highest) qualification category. The Committee considers this methodology may well present an untrue picture of VET participation. Enrolment practices in each state are by no means consistent and therefore the interpretation of enrolment data is very complex. The summing and reporting of all hours against the highest qualification category is also misleading, as the number of hours directly associated with the major (highest) qualification may be relatively low, perhaps even a single module. In addition, where enrolment is into a qualification in which lower level qualifications are ‘nested’ (ie where there are exit points at different qualification levels) it may be several years before the student progresses to the higher level qualification, or the student may not, in fact, continue to the higher level qualification.

5.15 Table 5.3, provided by NCVER, and based on the methodology outlined above, shows a comparison of the number of clients undertaking VET at particular qualification levels, but given the limitations mentioned above, the Committee is cautious about reaching any conclusions based on the data. The table indicates that in

1999 the number of students in all AQF levels, with the exception of AQF diploma and above, has increased over 1998 levels. The largest proportion of students is enrolled in AQF level III (19.6 per cent) and the lowest in AQF I (5.5 per cent).

I able 5.3: Number of VET students in each qualification category, 1998-1999

Q u a lif ic a tio n le v e l 1 9 9 8 ( ‘0 0 0 ) 1 9 9 8 ( % ) 1 9 9 9 ( ‘0 0 0 ) 1 9 9 9 ( % )

AQF diploma and above 198.4 12.9 200.8 12.2

AQF certificate IV or equivalent 150.3 9.8 167.0 10.1

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AQF certificate III or equivalent 267.3 17.4 323.3 19.6

AQF certificate II 196.9 12.8 261.8 15.9

AQF certificate I 76.9 5.0 90.6 5.5

AQF senior secondary 4.4 0.3 3.7 0.2

AQF level not known 91.6 6.0 57.5 3.5

Sub-total AQF or equivalent 985.7 64.2 1,104.8 67.1

Other recognised courses 294.2 19.2 135.4 8.2

Non-award 232.0 15.1 313.6 19.0

Module only enrolments 23.4 1.5 93.3 5.7

Total* 1,535.2 100.0 1,647.2 100.0

Source: National Centre fo r Vocational Education Research. * The scope and boundaries o f the data presented in this table are the same as the annual VET statistics published by NCVER. The figures have not been adjusted fo r factors used in the National Performance Reports.

Module Outcomes

5.16 The Committee considered two sets of statistics on module outcomes: pass rates and completion rates. The Committee notes ANTA’s comments in the Annual National Report for 1998 that in many cases, successful completion of a module

means that the student has been tested or assessed as competent against the industry standard for the module. However, in some areas (particularly language and literacy, preparatory studies and creative studies) different considerations can apply. In these cases, a successful outcome cannot necessarily be readily measured by an examination of pass rates.

Pass Rates

5.17 Table 5.4 below provides a state comparison of pass rates for 1996 to 1999 for all students who were assessed.3 The Committee notes that variations in pass rates between 1996 and 1997 (old pass rate formula) for some states, notably Western Australia and Queensland, are attributable to policy changes in the treatment of some records.4

3 NCVER provides the following notes: ‘A number o f changes have been made to the reporting of module pass and completion rates, as follows: · Until 1998, separate module pass and completion rates were reported in the performance report. As agreed by ANT A and the state or territory reference group, for 1999 only the pass rate is being reported. · Owing to a change in the AVETMISS standard for 1999, the

formula used for determining module load pass rates changed. Therefore 1999 module load pass rates are not directly comparable with module load pass rates calculated for 1996, 1997 and 1998. However, it is possible to calculate the 1998 pass rates on the same basis as 1999, for comparative purposes, as shown in Table 3. · As module completion rates are no longer shown in the National Performance Report they

have not been calculated for 1999. Furthermore, NCVER cannot compute 1999 module completion rates which are comparable with previous years because of the changes to AVETMISS noted above and because their calculation requires a set of adjustment factors which are not readily available for 1999. ‘ National Centre for Vocational Education Research, further information 15 September 2000, p.392

4 Australian National Training Authority, Annual National Report, ANTA, Brisbane, 1999, Vol. 3, p.91

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Completion rates

5.18 The completion rate compares students who completed a module (regardless of whether or not they undertook a final assessment) with all students who commenced the unit and were no longer studying that unit. Completion rates for 1996 to 1998 are provided in Table 5.5. The Committee notes that the policy changes referred to above

in relation to pass rates, also apply to completion rates.

5.19 The Committee accepts the NCVER view that module outcomes should be a broad system-level indicator of quality outcomes. The figures available, even taking account of the break in series, suggest module completion rates have not improved since 1996.

5.20 The Committee notes that there are differing policy and reporting practices between states and territories and views this lack of consistency as a weakness in the national VET system.

Table 5.4: Comparison of vocational education and training pass rates, by state and territory, 1996-1999

N S W

%

V I C

%

Q L D

%

S A

%

W A

%

T A S

%

N T

%

A C T

%

A U S

%

Old pass rate formula

1996 (final) 78.9 80.0 88.6 91.7 90.3 81.8 83.1 75.0 82.2

1997 (final) 77.9 81.6 92.0 91.7 91.6 82.5 75.2 75.0 82.8

1998 * 77.8 80.7 74.9 93.5 81.9 88.9 75.8 79.8 79.7

N o te b r e a k in s e r ie s a n d c h a n g e to n e w f o r m u la

New pass rate formula 1998 * 74.3 75.1 74.0 85.4 75.7 85.4 69.0 76.5 75.5

1999 71.9 73.6 74.9 85.7 73.3 83.4 69.5 79.8 74.4

V a r i a t i o n 1 9 9 8 -1 9 9 9 -2 .4 -1 .4 0.8 0.3 -2 .3 -2 .0 0.5 3.3 -1 .2

( p e r c e n t a g e p o in ts ) ______________________________ __________________ ______________________________________________

Source: National Centre fo r Vocational Education Research. * In I 999 the reporting standard changed with the effect that enrolment withdrawals were no longer subclassed in "student withdrew - without failure’’, ",student withdrew - failed" and "student withdrew - transferred”. 4s a consequence, the formula used fo r calculating module load pass rates changed such that the denominator,

which prior to 1999 included "withdrew - failed" outcomes, now includes all withdrawals. Therefore from 1999 module load pass rates apparently are smaller than in previous years.

Table 5.5: Comparison of vocational education and training completion rates, by state and territory, 1996-1999

N S W V I C Q L D S A W A T A S N T A C T A U S

% % % % % % % % %

1996 (final) 81.4 80.1 83.8 92.0 87.7 85.3 78.1 81.1 82.7

1997 (final) 80.6 80.5 83.2 90.6 88.6 88.3 78.2 80.6 82.3

1998 (final) 80.1 80.3 78.7 87.5 78.8 90.0 74.2 82.8 80.4

1999** n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

V a r i a t i o n 1 9 9 6 -1 9 9 8 -1 .3 + 0 .2 -5 .1 -4 .5 -8 .9 + 4 .7 -3 .9 + 1 .7 -2 .3

43

Source: National Centre fo r Vocational Education Research. ** From 1999 the VET Performance Report no longer includes module load completion rates.

Successful completions by individual students

5.21 The NCVER favours a student-centred approach to completions, looking at success from the standpoint of the individual student. Passes by the student in either assessable or non-assessable training at the unit or module level are viewed as successful completion.

5.22 In 1999, over two-thirds of students successfully completed effectively all (more than 95 per cent) of their training (Table 5.6). A small number of students (12.4 per cent nationally) completed effectively none (less than 5 per cent) of their training.

These figures indicate that a large proportion of students are successful in their VET endeavours.

Table 5.6: Distribution of successful completions for individual students in units of competency and modules by state and territory, 1999 (per cent).

P r o p o r t i o n o f t r a i n i n g c o m p le te d N S W V ic Q ld S A W A T a s N T A C T A u s t

All or nearly all (>95%) 64.7 70.4 66.8 77.3 54.0 67.0 52.7 58.4 66.7

Some (5-95%) 22.6 17.2 23.0 16.1 26.3 19.6 26.7 29.6 20.9

None or almost none (<5%) 12.6 12.4 10.2 6.6 19.7 13.4 20.5 12.0 12.4

Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Source: National Centre fo r Vocational Education Research.

Australia’s qualifications profile

VET qualifications held by Australians

5.23 The Committee considers that a fundamental piece of information needed for its inquiry is how many Australians hold VET qualifications, in what industry or occupational areas, and at what level.

5.24 This information proved difficult to obtain. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) collects and reports on ‘highest educational attainment of the Australian labour force’ in its Transition from Education to Work series. As only the highest level of

qualification is reported, VET qualifications held by people with higher qualifications are not reported. ABS data reported in ANTA’s 1998 Annual National Report shows that more than half the Australian labour force aged 25 to 64 had post school qualifications. Of the total labour force in this age bracket, a third had a vocational education and training qualification and a further 18 per cent had a university qualification.3 For all industries, except the property and business services, education, and finance and insurance industry sectors, VET qualifications were more prevalent that higher education qualifications. What concerns the Committee however, is the 5

5 Australian National Training Authority, Annual National Report, ANT A, Brisbane, 1999, Vol. 3, p.35

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high percentage of the labour force, nearly 50 per cent, who have no post school qualifications.

International comparison

5.25 ANTA reported in 1999 that it would appear that Australia’s skill base remains low compared to those of other OECD countries for whom information is available. In 1996, 37 per cent of Australia’s workforce aged 25 to 64 years had not completed upper secondary, compared to a country mean of 34 per cent. Nearly 35 per cent of the Australian workforce had completed upper secondary education, compared to a country mean of 43 per cent and in total 63 per cent of the Australian workforce had completed some form of post-compulsory education, compared to a country mean of 64 per cent. Australia was in fact 18th out of 26 in the OECD in terms of post Y12 qualifications in the population.

5.26 The Committee is alarmed by this comparison as it impacts directly on Australia’s international competitiveness. The Australian Industry Group points out that Australia currently ranks fourteenth in the World Economic Forum composite competitiveness rankings, and behind the best both in terms of adults with at least

upper secondary education, and in knowledge-developing activity, including spending on research and development. The Australian Industry Group stresses that Australia must continue to strive for world best practice.

Meeting the needs of employers

VET skills and qualifications needed by employers

5.27 The demand for skills is affected by a number of factors, including the Australian economy and the state of the labour market. Economic growth of 4.2 per cent in 1999 was higher than the long term trend, unemployment fell from an average of 8 per cent in 1998 to 7.3 per cent in 1999 and job vacancies reached 103,100 (seasonally adjusted) in November 1999 compared with 97,100 in November 19986.

5.28 The retail trade had the largest share of employment (approximately 16 per cent), followed by manufacturing (slightly less that 14 per cent) and the property and business services sector (slightly less than 12 per cent). The greatest average annual rate of employment growth for one year, from May 1998 to May 1999 was in the government administration and defence industry sector (9.8 per cent), followed by communication services (6.5 per cent), retail trade (6.4 per cent) and cultural and recreational services (6.2 per cent).

5.29 The property and business services sector had the largest share of job vacancies (19.5 per cent), followed by manufacturing with 13.8 per cent and the retail trade and the accommodation, cafes and restaurants sector with approximately 10 per cent

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Economic Indicators, catalogue no. 1350.0, March 2000

45

respectively. There was a 10 per cent increase in the number of skilled vacancies during 1999, and a 20 per cent increase in the number of skilled vacancies for trades.

5.30 Between 1986-1999, the estimated proportion of low skilled employees in the workforce was about 29 per cent. During the same period, the percentage of high skilled workers increased from 33 per cent to 36 per cent, and the percentage of medium skilled workers fell from 38 per cent to 35 per cent'.

Employers ’ views on the relevance o f skills acquired through VET

Employer satisfaction surveys

5.31 Employer satisfaction surveys provide indicators of quality in VET. NCVER has conducted surveys in 1995, 1997 and 1999. The most recent survey, conducted in 1999, indicates an increase (5 per cent) in employers reporting being satisfied or very

satisfied with VET since the last survey in 1997. Compared with 1995, a larger proportion (13 per cent) of employers in 1999 agreed or strongly agreed that the VET system is providing graduates with skills appropriate to employers’ needs. The proportion who agreed, or strongly agreed, that training pays for itself through

increased productivity has remained stable (between 72-74 per cent) for the three years of the survey. There has also been a drop from 40 per cent to 32 per cent in the proportion of employers holding the view that the VET system does not take into account the needs of employers.

5.32 The Committee agrees that the surveys show very positive attitudes to overall VET. However, given the very substantial changes that have been made to the VET system since 1995 in order to make VET more flexible and responsive to employer needs, a more significant increase in overall satisfaction levels could perhaps have been expected.

5.33 The Committee is also mindful of Schofield’s observation that satisfaction is always influenced by expectations and that the expectations of both clients and stakeholders are likely to be different. From the evidence put before it in this inquiry the Committee feels it is safe to conclude that the expectation of most employers is that training will meet their individual needs, which are for immediate, enterprise-

specific skills and training. The Committee questions whether this is in the best interests of individuals and industry more broadly, in terms of labour mobility and currency of skills and qualifications. The Committee notes as well that there is a high degree of inconsistency between the results of the satisfaction survey and evidence

from submissions and public hearings. Most employers or employer associations providing evidence to the Committee gave conditional support for the current system. While they supported many of the changes they also drew the Committee’s attention to many aspects that were not working well. 7

7 Department of Industry, Science and Resources, 2000, Industry Brief: Manufacturing Sector

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Skill shortages

5.34 The Committee also examined the incidence of skill shortages as another possible indicator of whether VET in Australia is meeting employers needs.

5.35 The Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business (DEWRSB) reports that skill shortages have become evident in a broadening range of occupations, especially information technology and telecommunications (IT&T) skills, health occupations and the trades. From 1995-1998 the annual growth rate of

1.5 per cent in numbers of apprentices and trainees in the ‘tradespersons and related workers’ occupational category was the lowest of all major occupational groups which had growth rates of at least 10 per cent. Construction tradespersons, other tradespersons and skilled agricultural and horticultural workers categories shrank, while the food tradespersons category increased by 8 per cent.

5.36 According to DEWRSB, skill shortages, if extensive and sustained, can limit investment and growth opportunities, give rise to upward pressure on earnings and thereby dampen the pace of economic and jobs growth and make it more difficult to reduce unemployment.8

5.37 DEWRSB argues that skill shortages may arise in a number of ways and are the result of a complex array of labour supply and demand factors. Employment and vacancy growth are important influences, as is the education and training system.

DEWRSB identifies occupational wastage (qualified workers who are no longer employed in the trade for which they are qualified) and wastage during training (apprentices not completing their apprenticeship) as major causes of skill shortages. Wastage in these circumstances helps to explain the emergence of shortages in the context where employment for trades overall is growing only slowly (3.3 per cent over the five years to May 1999).

5.38 Other factors leading to skill shortages are:

• economic and demographic change;

• cyclical fluctuations in labour demand (especially for trades occupations);

• emerging demands of new technology;

• lack of flexibility in wages; and

• regional mismatches.

5.39 The Tasmanian Government suggests that skills shortages arise because the pattern of training distribution for the New Apprenticeship Scheme does not reflect the outcomes of the recent Tasmanian Industry Audits that it conducted.

Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business, Skill Shortages in the Trades - an Employment Perspective, September 1999, p.2

4

7

5.40 The Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research and Training argues that the prospect of existing skill shortages and skill gaps is becoming much worse as the combined effects of declining apprenticeship numbers, less formal structured training and the outsourcing of many skilled functions impact on the labour market.9

5.41 Wastage in the trades and traineeship areas due to non-completion of training is discussed below. The Committee sees skill shortages as evidence that there is considerable room for improvement in the extent to which national VET objectives are being met. The Committee considers that skill shortages are a particular concern in relation to apprenticeship and traineeship outcomes.

Non-completion o f New Apprenticeships

5.42 Many submissions are concerned about the rate of attrition in apprenticeships and traineeships. The number of apprentices and trainees who successfully complete their contracts of training, and gain recognised skills and qualifications as a result is

an important indicator of both efficiency and effectiveness of apprenticeship and traineeship training. The Australian Industry Group sees high non-completion rates as indicative of possible wastage in some New Apprenticeships in new industries, and questions whether or not the expansion in New Apprenticeships has led to a less efficient use of public money. Undoubtedly, high attrition rates can represent a massive waste of time, money and effort for governments, employers and

individuals.10

5.43 The Committee therefore considers the level of attrition in apprenticeships and traineeships, and the causes of attrition, as important issues in its inquiry.

5.44 Determining apprenticeship and traineeship attrition rates has proved to be a difficult and complex task, largely confounded by the lack of reliable data. The NCVER, for example, only recently began publishing national data on non­ completion.

5.45 Until recently little research had been undertaken to establish the real extent of attrition in apprenticeships and traineeships, the reasons for attrition and possible strategies to encourage or facilitate continuation of training. Much of this research is currently underway and not available to the Committee during its inquiry. The Committee questions why, as attrition has been recognised as a potential problem for

several years, more substantial investigation and research into the problem of non­ completion was not initiated much earlier.

5.46 The research that is available suggests that non-completion rates differ between those engaged in traditional apprenticeships and those engaged as trainees. The non­ completion rate appears to be higher for trainees.

9 Submission 42, Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research and Training, vol.2, p.369

10 Submission 64, Australian Industry Group, vol.3, p.716

48

5.47 For example, Smith, in a Queensland study, found that over half (52.2 per cent) of the cohort of apprentices who commenced their training in 1994-95 did not successfully complete their approved program.11 This is a higher attrition rate than has previously been ascribed in Qld apprenticeships; the percentage of apprentices who withdraw during their probationary period has remained fairly constant and, in the

light of many current assertions, surprisingly low across the last five years. The 6-7 per cent level of withdrawals indicates that the bulk of apprentices do not, as many believe, tend to pull out very early in their training when they find that it is not what they expected; and if the trend with the 1994-95 cohort continues, then at least 3 per cent of each apprentice cohort are cancelling in the final year of their apprenticeship.

While the percentage itself may not seem significant, this represents something in the order of 350 students a year who may be curtailing their training after successfully completing at least 75 per cent of their program.

5.48 Smith also reported that almost 60 per cent of trainees do not successfully complete their approved program. The attrition rate has been getting slowly but consistently worse over the last five years. Approximately 31 per cent of trainees who commenced in 1998-99 have already withdrawn, cancelled or expired.

5.49 The percentage of trainees who withdraw during their probationary period has remained at a constant 5-7 per cent across the last five years. This level of withdrawals indicates that the bulk of trainees do not, as many believe, tend to pull out because they find that it is not what they expected. Around 20 per cent of trainees in each traineeship cohort fail to complete their training with the prescribed time limit.

5.50 The Smith findings are at odds with the findings of a study by DETYA into attrition among apprentices who started between July 1994 and June 1996.12 The study estimated that about 23 to 30 per cent of the cohort had or would drop out. This is less than the estimates of 40 per cent emerging from the Smith study. The NCVER is discussing the Smith and DETYA studies with the parties concerned to see whether some of the difference might be related to different methodology or datasets.13

5.51 DETYA also undertook a study of non-completion of traineeships which found:

11 L R Smith, Apprenticeships and Traineeships: Queensland Trends, Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations [Qld], 1998. L R Smith, Apprenticeships and Traineeships: Queensland Trends - 1998-99 update, Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations [Qld], February 2000, pp.17,31,36

12 D Ray & others, Attrition in Apprenticeships - an analysis o f apprentices commencing between July 1994 and June 1996, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, February 2000, pp.3,7-8. ‘Attrition’ is defined as: the apprentice leaves the apprenticeship by withdrawing (contract terminated during probation) or cancelling (contract terminated after probation but before completion) and does not recommence within two years in the same occupation.

13 Ms J Borthwick (NCVER), Hansard, Canberra 4 July 2000, p.684

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9

• From 1985 (when traineeships were introduced) to 1993, on average about 40 per cent of trainees did not complete their traineeship.

• From 1995 to 1997 non-completion increased to 45 per cent.

• This rate of non-completion was similar to the rate of separation from permanent jobs similar to traineeships within a year of commencement, and considerably higher than the rate of non-continuation in other forms of education or training.14

• Personal characteristics of the trainees affect the probability of non-completion; but even those who have completed Year 12 and have little or no prior unemployment have a 35-36 per cent non-completion rate.

• The non-completion rate for small business and hospitality/tourism trainees was higher that would be expected. Both these traineeships allow training to be entirely on the job. ‘It is possible that discontent with the training provided in these two traineeships contributes to their high non-completion rates.’15

• Voluntary non-completion (55 per cent of total non-completion) seems to have a number of causes, including wages too low, lack of training and poor workplace relations.16 1 7

5.52 The DETYA study found that non-completion of traineeships is similar to rates of separation from permanent jobs similar to traineeships within a year of commencement. The Committee does not find this provides any comfort. It could be expected that where a contract of training is involved, with elaborate quality assurance measures in place, and the progress and welfare of trainees supposedly monitored by New Apprenticeship Centres and state training authorities, that the rate of separation

would be significantly lower.

5.53 DETYA stressed that it is concerned about the rate of non-completion and it has initiated a project to develop and trial models to support New Apprentices at risk of not completing their training.

5.54 An earlier study, in 1998, by the Australian Council for Educational Research, found that 76 per cent of apprentices who had commenced by age 19 had completed by age 24. This suggests attrition of 24 per cent.1'

14 The dropout rate between first and second year university is about 25 per cent; the non-completion rate for VET modules is about 15 per cent.

15 Among surveyed non-completers (both voluntary and involuntary) the main reason for leaving was: laid off 17%; business broke/changed owner 16%, personality clash/ harassment 14%; pay was too low 11%; personal reasons 11%, job offer 8%, mismatch 8%, poor training/support 6%, poor conditions 4%, did unspecified duties 3%, other 3%.

16 K Grey & others, Traineeship Non-completion, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, February 1999, pp. 1,15,29

17 S Lamb & others, Access and Equity in Vocational Education and Training, ACER Research Monograph No. 55, ACER Press, 1998, p.51

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5.55 A recent NCVER commissioned report considered completion and non­ completion of TAPE courses, using 1994-96 data. It found that 11 per cent of 1994 TAPE participants were enrolled in complete trade courses (stream 3212), which

include traditional apprenticeship courses and that these students have only a 24 per cent probability of completing one of these courses. However they do have a high probability (85 per cent) of completion or partial completion (defined as succeeding in all modules they attempt). The report argues that partial completion is a significant outcome, and raises the question of whether the concept of a full course is becoming redundant as the focus moves to acquiring skills as they are needed, rather than

investing resources in complete courses, parts of which may have little relevance to their immediate need.18

5.56 In evidence the NCVER said:

• There is higher attrition from shorter courses. Since traineeships tend to be shorter than apprenticeships, the recent rapid growth in traineeships relative to apprenticeships may have contributed to the higher attrition.

• Data on completion is the least robust of the data on apprenticeships and traineeships, because of the uncertain extent to which employers and trainees fail to report completion, withdrawal or cancellation. ‘It remains to be seen if the establishment of New Apprenticeship Centres overcomes this difficulty through the application of incentives and fee for service arrangements.’ 19

5.57 The Committee is aware that many non-completions are not negative outcomes from the apprentice’s/trainee’s perspective. Many take up what they regard as better options or opportunities.

5.58 The Committee also acknowledges the possibility that partial completion might also be a positive outcome: One view is that it is possible that both trainees and employers gain benefits from partial completion which offset some or all of any associated costs. The experience and skills gained from partial completion may provide individuals with a stepping stone to other employment. However, some research suggests that non-completers have considerably worse employment prospects than completers.20

5.59 Submissions to this inquiry and available research suggest many reasons for non-completion. These include: workplace conflict; low wages; and conflict arising from misunderstanding of obligations, to poor training, lack of mediation facilitators; extension of training into industry sectors without a training culture; unsuitable

18 J Foyster, Η K Fai & C Shah, Student Flows Through Australian TAFE Courses, National Centre for Vocational Education Research, 2000, p.xv,20,29. Stream 3212 participants are roughly co-extensive with apprentices doing their training at TAFE.

19 Submission 74, NCVER, vol.4, p.903. NCVER, further information 22 March 2000, p.54-55

20 K Grey & others, Traineeship Non-completion, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, February 1999, pp. 13-16.

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enrolments because of pressure by New Apprenticeship Centres or Registered Training Orgainsations to increase the numbers; inadequate basic literacy and numeracy; inadequate support services and lack of pastoral care for trainees; and employer incentives that reward commencement more than completion.21

5.60 Mr Ron Seidel, for example, suggests that if there is an increasing rate of non­ completion this may be due to inadequate support infrastructure possibly brought about by the reduction in resources, and the expansion of apprenticeships and traineeships into areas where these have not previously existed and where there is

limited training experience.22

5.61 The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association, on the other hand, argues that high levels of attrition among trainees are, at least in part, due to the low wages and poor treatment many receive from their employers and the system

generally.23

5.62 The Victorian Government suggests that it is likely that the marketing of apprenticeships and traineeships primarily as a means of accessing employer incentives is contributing to poor completion rates for some courses, arguing that:

In 1997, only around 30% of trainees studying at AQF Level 2 completed their contracts of training, compared to around 50% in the previous two years. Such low completion rates are likely to result partly from people enrolling in inappropriate courses where participation is driven by

employers’ desire to access incentives, rather than training considerations. Employer incentives need to be presented and structured as an extra incentive for employers to make a genuine training effort, rather than as the

main reason to become involved in training.24

5.63 In a survey by the Australian Council for Private Education and Training, only 21 per cent of respondents thought that the main reason for non-completion is poor training delivery. According to ACPET, other factors are: trainee not suited to the work, lack of employer support for traineeship, [poor] quality of information to trainee

and employer, misuse of incentive money and national training wage, personality conflicts on the job and poor attitude."2

5.64 This view is supported by Callan who found in his March 2000 survey of non­ completing apprentices and trainees in Queensland that the majority of apprentices/trainees did not believe that they had access to good trainers, or staff who understood their training needs and that poor quality training was cited as one of the

21 Submission 83, Government of Tasmania, vo!.4, p.1090

22 Submission 22, Mr R Seidel, vol 2, p. 172

23 Submission 50, Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees Association, vol 2, p.532

24 Submission 119, Victorian Government, vol.7, p. 1898

Submission 59, Australian Council for Private Education and Training, vol.3, p.628 25

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dominant reasons for trainees and apprentices not completing their program of training.26

5.65 The Committee regards the rate of non-completion as a matter of great concern regardless of the precise figures. As a representative of the Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations said:

Frankly, I am not particularly concerned whether the Smith [Queensland] methodology is right or the DETYA methodology is right... The point is that, whichever way you look at it, the non-completion rate is too high, particularly for traineeships, and it has always been too high. It is about time that was focussed on as an issue.27

5.66 Non-completion is a great concern because of the significant wastage of public money that it represents. Of equal concern are the findings of research which show that non-completers have much poorer prospects of enjoying the benefits of full participation in economic life. The Committee notes the suggested connection between high rates of non-completion and fully on the job training.28 The Committee

is aware also of some research that indicates a connection between the lack of support systems, particularly peer support, and attrition rates in other forms of VET. The Committee considers that the relationship between the nature and availability of both educational and social welfare support systems for apprentices/trainees, and apprentice/trainee movements or non-completion, either through withdrawal, cancellation, transfer to another employer, or other event, should be a priority for

further research.

The Committee recommends that:

ANTA commission independent national research into the relationship between the nature and availability of both educational and social welfare support systems for apprentices/trainees, and apprentice/trainee movements or non­ completion, either through withdrawal, cancellation, transfer to another employer, or other event.

Understanding apprentice and trainee movements and transactions

5.67 A number of gaps in data and information critical for sound VET policy development and planning emerged during the Committee’s inquiry. One such deficiency is in the area of individual apprenticeship and traineeship movements or

V Callan, Report on Apprenticeship and Traineeship Non-Completions, University of Queensland, 2000

Mr P Noonan (Qld Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations), Hansard, Canberra, 5 July 2000, p797

K Grey & others, Traineeship Non-completion, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, February 1999, p.l

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transactions (that is, withdrawal, cancellation, recommencement, or any other event that involves an apprentice or trainee leaving an employer prior to completion). A much better understanding of the employment and training experience of individual apprentices and trainees and the reasons behind their movements between employers

and in and out of training is needed.

5.68 There are also considerable and unacceptable delays in movements being identified, reported and recorded, which undermines the reliability of apprenticeship and traineeship statistics. Although sophisticated formulas are applied to estimate

commencements, withdrawals, numbers in training, completions etcetera, the true picture cannot be determined with complete confidence at any particular time.

5.69 Currently, state training authorities, New Apprenticeship Centres, employers, apprentices and trainees, and RTOs have a role in monitoring, recording and reporting on apprentices’ and trainees’ movements, and the reasons for movements, but no single group or organisation has primary responsibility for all processes. The

Committee believes this should be addressed as a matter of priority.

5.70 In recommending the establishment of better tracking, recording and reporting systems and arrangements, the Committee acknowledges that young people can be highly mobile and there may be difficulties in contacting them when they leave

employment or change jobs. However, the Committee does not see this as preventing the establishment of much better systems than are currently in place.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) Systems and arrangements for tracking individual apprentice and trainee movements or transactions (ie withdrawal, cancellation, recommencement, or any other event that involves an apprentice or trainee leaving an employer prior to completion) be strengthened, including by the establishment of systems and

arrangements whereby

(i) apprentices and trainees whose contractual status changes (because of withdrawal, cancellation, recommencement or any other event that involves an apprentice or trainee leaving an employer prior to completion), and their employers, are interviewed in person or by phone

about the circumstances surrounding the change; and

(ii) records of such changes and the reasons for the changes are maintained in a form that will allow results to be compiled in a timely manner in a national data base to assist training policy analysis and development.

(b) ANTA and the Commonwealth jointly convene a working group to investigate and make recommendations to ANTA MINCO on possible arrangements to ensure that apprentice and trainee movements or transactions, and the reasons for these changes, are more effectively tracked, recorded and

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reported. The investigation should consider the roles and responsibilities of employers, apprentices and trainees, registered training organisations, New Apprenticeship Centres and state training authority agents such as Field Officers, to determine where initial or primary responsibility for tracking apprentice and trainee movements or transactions, contacting apprentices and trainees and their employers, and maintaining records of and reporting on changes could most effectively rest.

(c) Responsibility for administering the systems and arrangements for monitoring and reporting on apprentice and trainee movements and transactions pass to the National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority when established.

Meeting the needs of individuals

Participation and attainment by client groups in VET

5.71 One of the objectives of the National Strategy fo r the Vocational Education and Training 1998-2003, is to achieve equitable outcomes in VET. This includes improving the participation and outcomes for clients from equity groups such as people with a disability, Indigenous people, women, young people, older people, and people from non-English speaking backgrounds. The Committee notes that states and territories have funded a range of initiatives to assist these particular client groups.

5.72 In VET in 1999:

• (49.0 per cent) were women • 63,200 (3.8 per cent) reported a disability • 50,800 (3.1 per cent) identified as Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islanders • 279,400 (17.0 per cent) were bom outside Australia • 17,100 (1.0 per cent) were full-fee paying students from overseas • 192,300 (11.7 per cent) spoke a language other than English at home

Women

5.73 In 1998, 48.5 per cent29 of clients participating in publicly-funded VET programmes were female. This is an increase of almost 4 per cent over the number of female clients in 1994. Although approximately 51.5 per cent of all clients in 1998 were male, the majority of clients aged over 25 were female. Significantly more males than females participated in New Apprenticeships in 1998: 70.7 per cent (155,301) of New Apprentices were male and 29.3 per cent (64,504) were female.

In this chapter, all data is taken from National Centre for Vocational Education Research, Australian Vocational Education and Training Statistics, various years

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Opportunities for Young People

5.74 The VET sector caters for the training needs of all age groups, with the majority of clients being mature age adults. In 1999 young people aged 15-24 were 36.4 per cent of all clients undertaking publicly-funded vocational programs. This is a

decrease of 1.6 per cent from the previous year, but remains approximately 2.4 per cent above 1997, when 15-24 year olds were 34.1 per cent of all clients.

5.75 These participation rates need to be considered in the light of general demographic trends. Over the period 1995 to 1998:

• The greatest average annual growth rate occurred for the 40 to 64 year old age cohort (2.66 per cent). • The 20 to 24 year old age cohort has experienced an average annual rate of decline of 1.61 per cent.

• Annual growth rates for the 15 to 19 and 25 to 39 year old age cohorts were 1.21 per cent and 0.92 per cent respectively.

5.76 In 1999, approximately 11.4 per cent of all 15-64 year olds in the Australian population participated in VET. When these figures are disaggregated according to age groupings, they show that 23 per cent of all 15-19 year olds and 18 per cent of all 20-24 year olds in the population participated in VET during 1999.

Post-compulsory education and training (Finn) targets

5.77 In 1991, Ministers set targets for the participation of young people in post- compulsory education and training which became known as the Finn targets after Brian Finn, chair of the committee that produced the related report.30 3 1

5.78 The purpose of the targets recommended in the Finn report was to raise the base skill level of those who were entering the work force without any appropriate form of education and training. In its recommendation the Finn committee stated that Australia as a nation should be committed to providing for all of its young people as a

program of education and training which prepares them for life as individuals, citizens and workers now, through the current decade and into the coming century. ’1

5.79 The Finn targets are:

Target One: By 2001, 95 per cent of 19 year olds: • are participating in Year 12; or • have completed Year 12; or

30 B Finn, Young People’s Participation in Post-Compulsory Education and Training - report o f the Australian Education Council Review Committee, July 1991

31 Australian National Training Authority, Annual National Report 1998, ANTA, Brisbane, 1999, vol.3, p.21-22

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• have completed Year 10 and 11 and are participating in some formally recognised education and training; or • have completed Year 10 or 11 and have completed some formally recognised education and training.

Target Two: By 2001, 60 per cent of 22 year olds: • are participating in education and training programs which lead to level 3 awards; or • have attained level 3 Qualifications; or • have attained above level 3 Qualifications; or • are participating in, or have completed higher education studies such as degrees

and diplomas.

5.80 Figure 5.1 shows that participation and attainment for 22 year olds is increasing in line with the Finn targets indicated by the arrow on the right-hand side of the figure. The figure also indicates that if the current participation and attainment trends for 19 year olds continues, the achievement of the Finn target for this age cohort by 2001 will be at risk. As can be seen from the figure, an extrapolation of the time series participation and attainment trend for 19 year olds does not meet the Finn target by 2001. The reduced retention rate of students through to the completion of Year 12, observed since 1993, has contributed to this trend.32

Figure 5.1: Participation and attainment in post-compulsory education and training: people aged 19 and 22

Age 19 Age 22 ■Age 19

Finn Target

^ - A g e 22

Finn Target

1998 2000 1996 1999

Source: Australian National Training Authority, Annual National Report, 1998, vol.3, p.21

32 Australian National Training Authority, A n n u a l N a tio n a l R e p o r t 1 9 9 8, ANTA, Brisbane, 1999, vol.3, p.21-22

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5.81 Submissions referred to the fact that the 1991 ‘Finn targets’ for participation in post-compulsory education by 2001 are not being achieved.33 In general:

The Finn report on post-compulsory education and training in Australia 1991 was a very significant document... Australian governments - Commonwealth, state and territory - subsequently set national targets (known as the Finn targets).....if current trends continue in the down-turn in the participation and attainment by 18 year olds (mainly due to recent

declines in Year 12 retention rates) then the Finn target for 19 year olds in 2001 will not be met/'4

5.82 The Victorian Government also cautioned that Australia was in danger of not meeting the Finn targets. '' Latest figures indicate that neither the age 19, nor the age 22 target will be achieved by 2000, with both likely to be close to 10 per cent below the target on current predictions.

Opportunities for Older People

5.83 A substantial proportion of national VET activity is about addressing the skills needs of the existing workforce. A large proportion of VET students are mature aged and are already in work and seeking to upgrade their skills

5.84 There has been a significant increase in the participation of older people aged 25 and above in VET. In 1998, 61.2 per cent of all clients in publicly-funded vocational education and training programmes were aged 25 and above, an increase

from 50.2 per cent in 1994.

5.85 The VET system can also provide a ‘second chance’ for some mature age students who enrol in preparatory courses in order to move into other education and training courses. In 1998, approximately 20 per cent of VET clients were enrolled in non-award courses, of which around 26 per cent were preparatory or pre-vocational in nature.

People with a Disability

5.86 In general, the proportion of VET clients who have a disability has remained stable over the past three years. In 1998, 3.5 per cent of clients reported having a disability, compared with 3.3 per cent in 1997 and 3.5 per cent in 1996. The self­ reporting option identifying disability makes it is difficult to obtain an accurate picture of participation in VET by this group of people.

33 Submission 139, New South Wales Department of Education and Training, vol.9, p.2416. Submission 140, Australian Council of Trade Unions, vol.9, p.2492

34 Submission 140, Australian Council of Trade Unions, vol.9, p.2492-3

35 Submission 119, Government of Victoria, vol.7, p. 1891

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Indigenous People

5.87 Representation of Indigenous people in VET programmes is higher than their representation in the Australian population as a whole. While Indigenous people comprise approximately 2 per cent of Australia’s total population, 3.7 per cent of all clients aged 15-64 undertaking publicly-funded VET in 1998 were Indigenous. Over the last four years, there has been a significant increase in the participation of

Indigenous people in VET. In 1994, 2 per cent of all vocational education and training client were Indigenous people. In 1998, this proportion had almost doubled. The self­ reporting option regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background, makes it is difficult to obtain an accurate picture of participation in vocational education and training by Indigenous people.

Summary

5.88 The Committee considers that overall VET outcomes are positive. There has been considerable growth, client surveys suggest clients are generally satisfied with the standard of VET delivered. Nevertheless, the Committee believes the system could and should do better. On the evidence available, Australia is still considerably below other countries in terms of educational qualifications and there is evidence it is restricting the country’s international competitiveness.

5.89 With the average age of the workforce increasing, re-skilling older workers will become increasingly important and the increase in participation in VET by older people is to be welcomed. A major concern, however, is that the Finn targets for younger people will not be achieved for either 19 or 20 year olds within the original timeframe, and in fact, the targets will be missed by some 10 per cent for each age group.

5.90 Equity issues did not feature prominently in submissions or evidence, although a number of areas where equity problems exist were brought to the Committee’s attention. The Committee gained the impression that while there is always room for improvement, there have been concerted efforts to address equity issues. The Committee does not see room for complacency, however, and is well aware that equity groups are likely to be the most affected by the problems and deficiencies in the VET system identified later in this report, and will therefore, be equally assisted by the recommended action to address those problems and deficiencies.

5.91 The Committee received few submissions that raise concerns about the quality of overall VET outcomes. Some, however, were concerned that New Apprenticeships and arrangements designed essentially to encourage and facilitate New Apprenticeships training are impinging inappropriately on VET generally.

5.92 Weaknesses in quality assurance processes, the quality of VET programs and assessment processes and the integrity of qualifications awarded emerged as major issues during the Committee’s inquiry and are discussed later in this report. The issues raised are primarily related to New Apprenticeships training, and do not, in the Committee’s opinion, detract from the generally positive outcomes from VET overall,

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as assessed by the statistical indicators the Committee has considered above, and the evidence gathered during its inquiry.

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C

HAPTER 6

NATIONAL POLICY FRAMEWORK

6.1 Sound national policy is fundamental to the quality of VET delivery and outcomes, and sound national policy can only be made if the national policy structures and arrangements are working well. The national policy framework for the VET system includes the ANT A structures and arrangements and the national objectives

and priorities that guide policy making and implementation strategies.

6.2 The establishment of the ANT A structures and associated arrangements was driven by a need to strengthen cooperation and collaboration on VET within the federal system, and to facilitate the establishment of an integrated national VET system, an objective which the Committee fully supports.

6.3 The Committee believes that under the ANTA arrangements and ANTA’s leadership, substantial progress toward a national system has been made, but there is much more that needs to be achieved.

6.4 Submissions generally fell into one of three categories - those that strongly support the national policy framework and believe the reforms and the new system are generally progressing well, although some implementation problems are acknowledged; those that support the national policy framework but believe there are

serious implementation problems, and those that believe the national policy framework has some fundamental flaws that, combined with implementation problems, are undermining quality in VET.

Effectiveness of national policy structures and arrangements

ANTA Ministerial Council

6.5 The ANTA Ministerial Council (MINCO), comprising ministers from the states and territories and chaired by the Commonwealth minister, is the primary national decision-making body for the VET system. Under the terms of the ANTA Agreement, the ANTA Ministerial Council sets national goals, objectives and priorities for the system.

6.6 The Committee notes that there is often a disparity between decisions of MINCO and state or territory action to implement those decisions. On some occasions, a state or territory will record its dissent or objection to a decision and its intention not to proceed to implementation or to proceed in a limited way, as, for

example, NSW did in regard to the implementation of User Choice. On other occasions, although there may have been unanimous agreement at MINCO, implementation varies across jurisdictions. While there is an expectation that, in accordance with the spirit of the ANTA Agreement, states and territories will comply

with MINCO decisions, there is no specific clause or requirement for this in the

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ANTA Agreement. The Taylor Review of the first ANTA Agreement observes that ministers are responsible for ensuring MINCO decisions are facilitated and implemented in their respective states and territories,1 * but it is obvious that fulfilling this responsibility can be limited by the political, financial or regulatory circumstances of their particular jurisdictions.

6.7 The ANTA Chief Executive Officers, in a critical report to ANTA MINCO, draw attention to serious inconsistencies impacting on the establishment of a national VET system." These include inconsistencies in the operation of the Australian Recognition Framework, in legislation regulating the VET system, in the recognition and implementation of endorsed National Training Packages, in access to suitable training wage arrangements for New Apprenticeships, in the availability of User Choice, in the application of training agreements, in access by employers to subsidies and incentives for New Apprentices and in how group training companies are recognised and funded.

6.8 Many submissions also refer to the frustration created by interstate differences in administration of VET. For example, Coles Myer state that interstate differences in administration impacts significantly and negatively on the company’s involvement with the New Apprenticeship System.3 Wodonga Institute of TAFE mentions interstate inconsistencies in registration and audit procedures.4 The ACT Secondary College Principals Association regret the duplication of effort involved in adapting or adopting National Training Packages on a state by state basis.5 The Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry speak of the need to simplify relationships between state and territory employer incentive schemes to ensure a sense of national coherence.6

6.9 These inconsistencies are significant and undermine both the effectiveness of VET and the realisation of a truly national system.

6.10 The Committee questions whether sufficient consultation occurs with states and territories, prior to proposals being put to MINCO, to ensure there are not insurmountable difficulties likely to affect a state or territory’s ability to implement a decision. There is some evidence in submissions regarding the adequacy of consultative arrangements. For example, the Victorian Government believes the process for agreeing national directions through the various arrangements surrounding ANTA generally works well:

R Taylor, Report o f the Review o f the ANTA Agreement, AGPS, Canberra, 1996, p.63

ANTA CEOs, Report on National Consistency, report to Australian National Training Authority Ministerial Council, June 2000

Submission 89, Coles Myer Ltd, vol.5, p.1215. Similarly Submission 115, Sport and Recreation Training Australia, vol.6, p.1847

Submission 43, Wodonga Institute of TAFE, vol.2, p.380

Submission 30, ACT Secondary College Principals Association, vol.l, p.248

Submission 125, Victorian Employers Chamber o f Commerce and Industry, vol.7, p.2028

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While there will always be areas of disagreement and room for improvement, there are adequate opportunities for consultation and discussion, and consensus positions are usually developed.7 8

6.11 On the other hand, the New South Wales Department of Education and Training complain of the complexity of consultative arrangements:

The complexity of the national training system undermines its coherence and direction... The National Training Framework operates through a plethora of working parties and advisory bodies... The governance of many of these groups is confusing and their roles unclear/

6.12 The Committee is concerned that the Commonwealth has, on occasions, taken decisions outside of the MINCO forum, and without prior consultation, which have had a significant impact on state and territory finances and their ability to meet their responsibilities under the ANTA Agreement. The extension of eligibility criteria for New Apprenticeships incentives to employers signing existing employees as New Apprentices9 is one example:

... some unilateral Commonwealth decisions have created problems for states and territories. An area requiring particular attention is the impact of Commonwealth attempts to increase apprentice and trainee numbers, where these are not targeted to priority areas or backed up by additional funding

for training.... It is vital that Commonwealth initiatives are targeted to areas of national priority, and their impact discussed with states and territories before implementation.10

6.13 The Committee considers such action by the Commonwealth is a repudiation of the spirit and the terms of the ANTA Agreement.

6.14 The Committee also questions the wisdom of MINCO adopting important policies and strategies for VET to which there is strong dissent from one or more jurisdictions, knowing that this will lead to inconsistencies and confusion in the system. In this regard the Committee is concerned that from time to time the

Commonwealth may employ inappropriately its financial leverage in the MINCO forum to obtain agreement to proposals, such as, for example, the ‘growth through efficiency’ policy, that are not consistent with achieving the agreed national objectives and priorities for VET.

6.15 Lack of cooperation between states and territories is also raised as an issue impacting on sound policy development. The Queensland government is one state

7 Submission 119, Government ofVictoria, vol.7, p.1901

8 Submission 139, New South Wales Department o f Education and Training, vol.9, p.2442,2463

9 The Commonwealth reintroduced tighter eligibility criteria in May 1999.

Submission 119, Government ofVictoria, vol.7, p.1901,2 10

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concerned by the lack of interstate sharing of information and the lack of national consistency:

There has been insufficient cooperation between the states in sharing resources and experience with the implementation of [training] packages, undoubtedly the most ambitious element of training reform. Further, the development of industrial relations arrangements to support apprenticeship and traineeship pathways through award variations was not given appropriate priority nationally.11

6.16 According to the Queensland government, ‘traditional approaches to inter­ government relations are not sufficient for these purposes [national training reform]. National training reform ought to be conceived as a national business that operates across borders.’12 New South Wales states it would like to see in the next ANT A Agreement an ‘inclusive partnership’ supporting a ‘balanced relationship between Commonwealth, state and territory governments’ in planning the VET system.13 In this context the Committee notes that the ANTA CEOs have begun discussions

recently to ensure greater and more effective sharing of information vital to quality and the operation of the Australian Recognition Framework.

6.17 The Committee reiterates its support for the ANTA structure and associated arrangements and its view that under these arrangements and ANTA’s leadership substantial progress has been made toward establishing a national VET system. Nevertheless much more needs to be achieved.

6.18 The Committee believes that in recent years much effort has been directed to achieving reforms that accommodate narrow political purposes, rather than to resolving fundamental legislative and jurisdictional differences that prevent the establishment of a truly national VET system. These issues are discussed in greater detail in Chapter 8.

ANTA Board

Membership

6.19 The membership of the ANTA Board has been a matter of debate since its establishment, particularly in regard to the absence of any teachers and professional educators. The ANTA Board’s role is to advise MINCO and support it in all its functions. With members drawn largely from industry, its composition is intended to ensure that MINCO receives high-level formal advice on industry VET needs, and also to provide industry with a key role in providing leadership and advice.

11 Submission 131, Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations [Qld], vol.7, p.2121

12 Submission 131, Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations [Qld], vol.7, p.2137

13 Submission 139, New South Wales Department of Education and Training, vol.9, p.2418

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6.20 The New South Wales Department of Education and Training was concerned that the ANT A Board, as a major source of national policy advice, has not included training provider representation in its membership. A 1998 House of Representatives Committee report on the TAPE system examined this issue, and recommended that an

additional member of the ANT A Board be drawn from directors of TAPE Institutes. The Commonwealth rejected this recommendation, saying:

The Board consults extensively with the ANT A CEOs group which provides a TAPE perspective in the national vocational education and training planning and decision making process. The Government considers that the composition of the ANT A Board should continue to be a matter for

collective decision by the ANT A MINCO and that any consideration of direct TAPE representation should be balanced by a recognition that TAPE is not the only provider of vocational education and training.14

6.21 VET stakeholders obviously do not share the Commonwealth’s view, with several submissions to this inquiry calling for teaching and educational expertise to be included on the ANT A Board. TAPE Directors Australia, for example, argue that TAPE has strong grounds for having a voice at the highest levels of policy and

implementation:

...This seems highly appropriate, in view of the fact that TAPE institutes were responsible for the delivery of vocational education and training to 1.1 million students in 1998, excluding fee-for-service or commercial programs. By comparison, the current number of Australians in a contract of training

under New Apprenticeships is only 206,000. From these figures, it is evident that vocational education is much more inclusive than New Apprenticeships, yet TAPE representatives continue to be excluded from policy and implementation processes.15

6.22 The Committee notes that a senior state or territory official is a member of the ANTA Board. The Committee considers this is a positive inclusion in Board membership but it does not provide the Board with the teaching and educational

expertise that is needed to complement its efforts to construct a national VET system capable of meeting the needs of all its clients.

6.23 The Committee believes the exclusion of teachers and professional educators from the policy development and decision making processes weakens the ‘partnership’ and ‘consultative’ basis on which the national VET system is founded. The Committee believes the partnership would be considerably strengthened by the

inclusion on the Board of a member with extensive teaching and educational expertise and experience.

14 House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training, Today’s Training, Tomorrow’s Skills, July 1998, par.2.26. Government Response to the Report o f the House o f Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training, Today’s Training, Tomorrow’s Skills, 30/6/99, p.2

15 Submission 136, TAPE Directors Australia, vol.8, p.2246

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The Committee recommends that:

(a) the membership of ANT A provide a balance between national and state and territory governments, employers, unions and VET provider interests; and

(b) at least one member is appointed who is a practising professional VET teacher or educator and who is able to provide the Board with advice based on extensive teaching and educational expertise and experience.

Strategic focus

6.24 The Committee is aware that the 1995 Taylor Review of the ANT A Agreement found some weaknesses in the strategic focus of the ANT A Board. At that time the weakness was seen to be too great an involvement in detail and operational matters and too little involvement in forward strategy or strategic guidance. The Committee notes the generally positive changes flowing from the Review recommendations. However, ANT A MINCO’s seeming disregard for some critical issues prompts the Committee to question the advice MINCO is receiving, and the basis on which items for consideration by MINCO are determined.

6.25 If matters dealt with by ANTA MINCO reflect the ANT A Board’s advice, the Committee believes that the Board’s strategic focus still needs sharpening. Of particular concern is that the ANTA Board and the ANTA office have been aware for some time of inconsistencies and legal impediments to the effective implementation of elements of the National Training Framework.16 Nevertheless, these matters were not put before ANTA MINCO as requiring urgent attention, but instead were down played as transitional implementation difficulties. The Committee notes, for example, that a special ANTA MINCO meeting was called to discuss a national marketing strategy, but not to address known, serious problems with the National Training Framework. As one state representative pointed out in evidence to the Committee:

We never had a problem with the marketing strategy as such. Because we had been consistently raising the issues (raised in the state Department’s submission)... I suppose our concern was that there was a special ANTA Ministerial Council meeting on the marketing strategy, when in fact our view was that there were more important issues that needed to be discussed by ministers...17

6.26 It was not until its June 2000 meeting that ANTA MINCO decided on action to address the lack of nationally consistent legislation to regulate the VET system, even though this was known for several years to be a fundamental constraint to the

16 See discussion in Chapter 8.

17 Mr P Noonan (Qld Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations), Hansard, Canberra, 5 July 2000, p.789

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effective operation of the National Training Framework and the establishment of a national VET system.18

The ANTA Agreement

Industry leadership

6.27 A number of submissions question the national arrangements for determining the policy and national priorities set out in the ANTA Agreement.

6.28 The original 1992 ANTA Agreement included the objective of close interaction between industry and vocational education and training providers to ensure that the training system operates within a strategic plan that reflects industry’s needs. It specified that industry would be involved in key aspects of the National VET system, in part through membership on the ANTA Board. As well as Board membership, ANTA’s major committees, including the new National Training Quality

Council and its predecessor, the National Training Framework Committee, are industry-led.

6.29 The second, and current, ANTA Agreement has an important change in emphasis. Encouraging the involvement and participation of industry has given way to ‘building a leadership role for industry in national VET decision-making, with government working closely with industry as a key stakeholder’.19

6.30 This changed emphasis created some unease among many stakeholders. The unease intensified when the Commonwealth Minister for Schools, Vocational Education and Training, the Hon David Kemp MP, stated that an essential feature for the reform of VET was giving ‘full ownership’ of the decision making processes to

industry. The Committee finds it surprising that such power and responsibility should be assigned to a single stakeholder. There is no corresponding assignment to industry of the obligations or responsibilities that could be expected to accompany such a role,

no evidence produced of industry’s unique ability to undertake this role, and no requirement for any evidence of commitment on the part of industry to the objectives of the national VET system. ‘Industry’, while assigned a leadership role by the ANTA

Agreement, is not a party to the Agreement.

6.31 Submissions question whether this ‘leadership’ role is appropriate in terms of ensuring due consideration the needs and interests of all VET clients and stakeholders. There is an apparent lack of confidence in the ability of ‘industry’ to put longer term national considerations before more immediate business considerations. Peoples

18 Mr P Noonan (Qld Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations), Hansard, Canberra, 5 July 2000, p.786

19 Second ANTA Agreement: schedule to Australian National Training Authority Act 1992 as amended

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comments that ‘it is a dereliction of public responsibility for governments to hand over ‘full ownership’ to a group whose self interest in these matters is legendary’.2"

6.32 The Australian Education Union comments that ‘the irony is that within the rhetoric of an industry-driven system there is evidence of tension between the national policy and structures, often dominated by large business, and local needs’.21

6.33 Nor is it clear which part of ‘industry’ is to have the leadership role. ‘ Industry’ is largely perceived in submissions as big business or large employers and the extent to which large business employers can represent the views of diverse small businesses is challenged.

6.34 The Committee strongly supports a role for industry in VET but believes the leadership role should be shared by other stakeholders. There is a need to ensure that VET policy and planning is determined with both the economic and social goals of education in mind so that the interests of all clients are considered.

Consultative processes

• Consultation with industry

6.35 Despite efforts to give industry a leadership role and to involve industry in planning and development through participation on ANTA, ANTA committees and working parties, and national and State Industry Training Advisory Bodies, there are many submissions claiming that consultation with ‘industry’ is inadequate.

6.36 There are claims, first, that consultation with industry is limited to larger employers and does not necessarily reflect the diverse interests of smaller businesses; and secondly, that what is called ‘consultation’ is often not true consultation: more often it is merely an advisory process that equates to being told what has already been decided, with little attention being paid to the views of those thus ‘consulted’.

6.37 For example, WRAPS Queensland states that ‘ANTA consulting the captains of industry does not necessarily give an industry viewpoint with widespread support - this can only be achieved through widespread consultation...’ WRAPS also maintain that ANTA places unrealistically short time frames on consultation:

This creates frustration in the Department, industry practitioners and RTOs, and fosters the common view that ANTA is arrogant, anachronistic in its approach and out of touch.’22 * 5

Peoples, K, A Market for all?, in ‘Training Agenda: a journal of vocational education and training’, vol. 5, no. 4, November 1997, p.23-25

Submission 110, Australian Education Union, vol.6, p.1561

Submission 41, Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services Industry Training Advisory Board Inc. (Queensland Branch), vol.2, p.357

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6.38 The Australian Council for Private Education and Training view is that the current system has been developed by a top down corporatist bureaucracy of public sector VET (and industrial relations) professionals:

...’Industry’ input in most cases has been limited by the nature of the process to large companies ... who could afford to be part of the process. As a result the needs being met are largely those of the VET and industrial relations professionals. That is, training reform has had very little to do with trainees

and enterprises at the coal face.23

6.39 The Victorian TAPE Association asks ‘..how can one speak with any surety about the views of Industry?...’

...In some industries, where there is unanimity of views, such a conclusion would be acceptable. However, it is well known that in industries with a more diverse cohort of employers it is unsafe to assume that such a single voice exists... The conflicting interests between the needs of an individual

employer for whom ‘just in time’ training may be adequate and their duty as a trainer to provide for the long-term needs of the ‘Industry’ is clearly apparent.24

6.40 Some submissions express concerns about the role of ITABs in consultative processes. The Australian Council for Private Education and Training believes, for example , that some ITABs are not representative of industry as a whole, and smaller

operators with fewer resources and niche operators with particular needs are rarely represented.25

6.41 TAPE Directors Australia comment that there are often divisions between national ITABs and state ITABs. Some state ITABs feel left out of the development of National Training Packages and therefore do not embrace them enthusiastically.26 2 7

6.42 The Recreation Industry Training Company argues that there is insufficient dialogue between industry and government on key VET implementation issues and that state and territory ITABs are generally poorly resourced and struggling with forced amalgamations aimed at cutting costs to the point where their resources are

spread too thinly to respond effectively to industry issues. "7

23 Submission 59, Australian Council for Private Education and Training, vol.3, p.615. Similarly Submission 110, Australian Education Union, vol.6, p. 1561: ‘The irony is that within the rhetoric of an industry-driven system there is evidence of tension between the national policy and structures, often dominated by large business, and local needs.’

24 Submission 128, Victorian TAPE Association Inc., vol.7, p.2079. Similarly Submission 22, Mr R Seidel, vol.l, p. 171: ‘Industry is by no means homogenous and the needs of one group of employers can be in conflict with the needs of another group within the one notional industry sector.’

25 Submission 59, Australian Council for Private Education and Training, vol.3, p.622

26 Submission 136, TAPE Directors Australia, vol.8, p.2252

27 Submission 65, Recreation Industry Training Company Ltd, vol.3, p.730

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6.43 Inadequate consultation was a frequent complaint in relation to the development and implementation of National Training Packages. Business Skills Victoria, for example, spoke of:

‘...the problematic Training Package development process which frequently does not allow the time or opportunity for strong functional work analysis, broad consultation and field testing prior to endorsement ... The cry is often heard that the timeframes driven by ANTA’s contracts with developers do not allow for longer or better consultation and adequate analysis.’28

6.44 The Committee notes that the ANTA Act does not require ANTA to consult particular interest groups but does name groups with which ANTA may consult as it deems necessary. ANTA told the Committee that in the main, it consults through national ITABs and that the national ITABs have different relationships with state ITABs across different industries.29 ANTA acknowledges that some relationships ‘are not quite as fulsome’ as others. ANTA also draws attention to differing interpretations of ‘consultation’, and the possibility that some parties might claim not to have been consulted because their particular view did not prevail.

• Consultation with educators

6.45 In addition to concerns that teaching/educational expertise is lacking from the ANTA Board, many submissions, mostly from TAPE interests, claim that providers are marginalised in VET planning and development processes.

6.46 The NSW Government, for example, comments that the development of training packages by Industry Training Advisory Boards has not generally sought input from those with expertise in the delivery and assessment of vocational education and training.30 NSW argues that the industry focus must be balanced with an increased role for providers of vocational education and training, ‘particularly state TAPE systems, who appear to have been excluded by some aspects of the system....’

6.47 Similarly, Holmesglen Institute of TAPE argues that National Training Packages have been designed by bureaucratic organisations, such as Industry Training Boards, and created by consultants, without input from the education sector and no real understanding of the needs of VET’s major client groups.31

6.48 The Australian Education Union argues that TAPE is not just another provider, but rather has the expertise and knowledge to contribute to the formation of

Submission 28, Business Skills Victoria, vol.l, p.231

Ms M Scollay (Australian National Training Authority), Hansard, Brisbane, 17 March 2000, p.103

Submission 139, New South Wales Department of Education and Training, vol.9, p.2436

Submission 47, Holmesglen Institute of TAPE, vol.2, p.448

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policy and a broader role to play as a government owned vehicle for policy implementation.'2

6.49 ANTA does not accept that teachers and professional educators have been excluded, claiming this is a misrepresentation:

Throughout this system, we have been concerned to ensure that the education providers, the education system, has got a place in this system, a very legitimate place, and it is in the provision of professional quality teaching and the professional translation of the outcomes and the assessment guidelines into what actually happens in the learning process. That is where that expertise is.3 2 33

6.50 The Committee accepts arguments put to it in evidence that teaching and educational expertise has not been used to best advantage in national policy making and the development of important components of the current VET system, particularly where aspects of VET delivery and assessment are concerned. The Committee

considers that such expertise should be sought at the planning and development stage of all VET system components in order to avoid difficulties at the implementation or delivery stages.34

6.51 The Committee further considers that ANTA has had, at times, a deliberate policy of keeping people with a knowledge of the sector away from VET policy and planning. Evidence supporting this conclusion can be found in a speech by the former

CEO of ANTA in 1998, in which he speculated on whether it was safe at that time to let a few educationalists back into the decision making process.35 It was apparently not. ANTA indicated about the same time, in calling for applications for three senior project officers in policy analysis and development, that there was no requirement for VET work experience.

6.52 The new ANTA Agreement is an opportunity to restore partnership and consultative arrangements that are inclusive of expertise in teaching and learning, assessment and training delivery in VET policy making, planning and development

forums. In putting this view the Committee stresses that it does not in any way support a return to a provider driven or an educationally dominated VET system, merely a system where expertise which is integral to quality outcomes is used to advantage.

32 Submission 110, Australian Education Union, vol.6, p. 1588

33 Ms M Scollay (Australian National Training Authority), Hansard, Brisbane, 17 March 2000, p. 114

34 Training Package development and implementation processes are considered further in Chapter 8.

35 Mr Terry Moran (former Australian National Training Authority CEO), quoted in D Fooks, ‘New Year’s Honours and Horrors’, Campus Review, 28 January-3 February 1998

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The Committee recommends that:

ANTA make a clear policy statement emphasising the importance of including people with teaching or professional educational expertise and experience in all aspects and at all levels of VET decision making, planning and development processes.

Responsibility fo r quality

6.53 With quality as a central concern of its inquiry, the Committee was keen to establish where, at the national level, specific responsibility rested for ensuring system quality and outcomes quality.

6.54 The basis for quality in the system is the quality assurance measures contained in the National Training Framework (NTF), but there is no single body within the ANTA national structure that has overall responsibility for quality. ANTA states that:

Quality assurance is a critical component of the management of the national vocational education and training system. The ANTA Board and the National Training Framework Committee (NTFC), the Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DETYA), states and territories and

industry each have particular roles in assuring the quality of key components of the system and of their interaction.36

6.55 ANTA maintains that responsibility for implementing and managing quality assurance measures rests with the states and territories and that constitutionally, ANTA has no right or power to intervene in the way the states and territories run their VET systems or carry out their responsibilities under the National Training Framework.

6.56 While the former National Training Framework Committee (NTFC) had a monitoring and advisory role in relation to quality in the implementation of the whole Framework, this did not extend to policing the implementation of the Australian Recognition Framework. The National Training Framework’s effectiveness as the key instrument for quality assurance is discussed in Chapter 8. As the evidence presented

in Chapter 8 indicates, there are serious weaknesses in the National Training Framework affecting its capacity to ensure quality in VET.

6.57 The Committee is surprised that the National Training Framework Committee has been replaced, at the instigation of the Commonwealth, by a National Training Quality Council. The description of the Council and its responsibilities and the protocols under which it is to operate suggest that it is little different from the Committee it replaced. It has been given the additional function of providing

information and advice to the ANTA Board on the operation of the Australian

Submission 107, Australian National Training Authority, vol.5, p.1454

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Recognition Framework in each state and territory for inclusion in reports to MINCO.37

6.58 The Committee does not believe this additional advisory function will make the new National Training Quality Council any more effective in ensuring quality than its predecessor because it does not address the fundamental problem: that of trying to

create a national system from a federation, where power is divided between the Commonwealth and state governments and between state governments, and where every step has to be negotiated between these levels of power. The new National Training Quality Council, like its predecessor the National Training Framework

Committee, has been given power to set standards, but no power to enforce standards.

6.59 It has become clear that substantial reform to the regulatory and quality frameworks for the national VET system are needed. This is discussed in greater detail in Chapter 8 where the Committee recommends the establishment of an independent National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority (NQQAA), sitting along side

ANT A as part of a national regulatory and quality framework for VET.

National Policy Objectives and Priorities

National Objectives

6.60 VET objectives and priorities are set out in the National Strategy for Vocational Education and Training 1998-2003, A Bridge to the Future (containing mission statement, objectives and anticipated outcomes), and the Annual National Priorities for 2000 (containing national priorities, anticipated national key result areas

and performance indicators). These, as did their predecessors, rely heavily on consolidating VET reforms that have been pursued for more than a decade.

6.61 The National Strategy and Annual National Priorities are developed and agreed in line with the principles, roles, responsibilities and other arrangements set out in the ANT A Agreement. An underlying principle of the Agreement is ‘a spirit of

cooperation and a commitment to partnership at the national level.’

6.62 The current (1998-2003) National Strategy for Vocational Education and Training lists the following ‘key objectives’ for the national VET system:

• equipping Australians for the world of work;

• enhancing mobility in the labour market;

• achieving equitable outcomes in vocational education and training;

• increasing investment in training; and

• maximising the value of public vocational education and training expenditure.

37 Resolutions of ANTA Ministerial Council meeting 30 June 2000, item 4(B)

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6.63 As discussed in Chapter 2, the extent to which these objectives are being met is an indicator of the quality of vocational education and training in Australia. The Committee supports the objectives as appropriate drivers of VET policy and provision, but considers that ‘equipping Australians effectively to enable them to fully

participate in society’ is a significant omission. This omission has the effect of excluding the broader social and educational goals that should be an essential part of any education and training system.

The Committee recommends that:

national VET objectives be renegotiated to include the objective of ensuring that there is equitable access for all Australians to vocational education and training that enhances their capacity to participate in society and take advantage of emerging opportunities in employment and in further education and training.

National Priorities

6.64 The Committee is required by its terms of reference to consider the appropriateness of the place of New Apprenticeships within national priorities. Annual national priorities are a statement of the key areas of concentration for the national system for a given year. The VET planning working group, which comprises nominees from ANTA, the Commonwealth and state and territory training authorities, develops the statement.38

Place o f New Apprenticeships in VET

6.65 In a process separate from the determination of annual priorities, ANTA MINCO agreed in May 1997 that New Apprenticeships were ‘a high priority to be accommodated in the VET sector’. ANTA advises that:

• The National Strategy identifies New Apprenticeships as a key strategy for improving and expanding school leavers’ vocational education and training options and employment prospects.

• New Apprenticeships have been accorded a high priority in both the 1999 and 2000 Annual National Priorities. These Priorities, agreed by ANTA MINCO, are a clear statement of the outcomes to be achieved by states and territories, the Commonwealth and ANTA and what is needed to do so. Under the ANTA Agreement, states and territories are required to respond to these Annual National Priorities in their planning processes.39

ANTA, 1999, Directions and Resource Allocations fo r 2000, Report to the Ministerial Council, November 1999, ANTA, Brisbane

Submission 107, Australian National Training Authority, vol.5, p. 1457

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6.66 While the importance of New Apprenticeships is not challenged in submissions, there is a degree of concern expressed in many submissions about the priority accorded to New Apprenticeships within national priorities.

6.67 There is a reaction, in particular, to resources being diverted from other areas of VET and to efficiency regimes being imposed on other areas of VET in order to fund New Apprenticeship growth. The Australian Industry Group, for example, expressed concern at the ‘emergence of information from the various state training

agencies that the current focus on New Apprenticeships is diverting resources from vocational training places outside of New Apprenticeship arrangements’.40 WINETAC comments that ‘the increasing VET resource allocation to the new apprenticeship scheme is reducing the resourcing available for training through other

programs more appropriate to the status of the wine industry workforce. This is limiting the uptake of training in the industry.41

6.68 Torrens Valley Institute of TAPE comments that:

Whilst the percentage of students undertaking New Apprenticeships is only approximately 13 per cent of TVI activity, too much attention, policy emphasis and increased funding has been directed towards New Apprenticeships and provides a disproportional view of the impact and importance of New Apprenticeships in the broader VET system.42 4 3

6.69 The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), while fully supporting New Apprenticeships and agreeing that New Apprenticeships should be a top priority for Commonwealth and states and territories funding, comments that there are a range of other training pathways which are not encompassed under New

Apprenticeships that are also a priority.41

6.70 Not only is there a perception that funding priority is being given to New Apprenticeships, there is a perception that VET reforms since 1996 have focussed largely on structures, processes and arrangements specifically relating to New Apprenticeships and that the imposition of these on the whole of the VET system is

not necessarily in the best interests of the majority of VET clients or the national interest. ANTA acknowledges that the commitment to according high priority to New Apprenticeships is reflected in the prominence of New Apprenticeships in national planning processes and resource allocation decisions.44

6.71 The focus, particularly in National Training Packages, on employment-based training and workplace assessment is seen as restricting access to training to those in

40 Submission 64, Australian Industry Group, vol.3, p.716

41 Submission 73, Wine Industry National Education and Training Advisory Council Inc., vol.3, p.870

42 Submission 88, Torrens Valley Institute Council, vol.5, p.l 191

43 Submission 137, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, vol.8, p.2270

44 Submission 107, Australian National Training Authority, vol.5, p. 1457

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employment with a contract of training. TAPE Directors Australia argue there is a bias in New Apprenticeships to ‘those in work - not the unemployed, not people in regional areas where jobs are scarce and not the traditional access and equity clients’ and see this bias as ignoring the vast majority (80 per cent) of TAPE students who come to TAPE for reasons not linked to their immediate employment.’45

6.72 It is also clear from surveys that the expectations and intentions of the majority of students participating in VET are not related to their current employment. Evidence from a recent TAPE SA Student Satisfaction Survey, for example, indicates that 89 per cent of all students were not studying for their current job requirements, but in order to obtain a job, get a promotion, change career or for personal interest.

6.73 Another perception is that employment and labour market considerations, particularly the high youth unemployment rate, are driving VET policy, planning and funding to the detriment of the traditional, longer term, broader education and social objectives of VET, and particularly TAPE. The Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations points out that a major factor associated with the serious problems in the Queensland traineeship system - which were also extending into apprenticeships - was the policy confusion between the employment and training objectives of the program.46

6.74 The Committee has some sympathy with the views recorded above. It is concerned that many students may be disadvantaged through lack of access to workbased assessment because they are not in employment or related employment. Although National Training Packages allow for assessment to be made under simulated work conditions, there is often a high cost associated with setting up simulated workplaces, thus access to assessment through this option is also limited.

6.75 Apart from the assessment aspect, the Committee cannot see that a model of VET that seeks to link qualifications to workplace competencies and to award qualifications on the basis of the achievement of those competencies can disadvantage students. Although a minority are undertaking study as a requirement of their current employment, most have employment as the objective of their study. In these circumstances, their studies should be directed to achieving skills and qualifications that meet industry standards.

6.76 The Committee strongly supports the model of combined work and structured vocational education and training on which apprenticeships and traineeships are founded. The current policy of integrating apprenticeships and traineeships into the national VET system is based on the objective of extending the benefits and opportunities of apprenticeship and traineeship training to a wider range and greater number of individuals. This objective owes its origins to the Kirby report in 1974 which introduced traineeships as a means of easing the transition from school to work

45 Submission 136, TAPE Directors Australia, vol.8, p.2252

46 Submission 131, Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations [Qld], vol.7, p.2123

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in the non-trade occupations and of providing for recognition of the previously unrecognised occupational skills inherent in the non-trade areas, and to the Australian Vocational Training System introduced in 1992 that sought to extend traineeships to industries where little or no structured entry level training occurred.

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C

HAPTER 7

GROWTH, FUNDING AND COMPETITION IN VET

7.1 Funding for vocational education and training, including funding for growth in apprenticeships and traineeships, and the development of the vocational education and training market are addressed in this Chapter.

7.2 Growth and efficiency are two fundamental features of the Coalition government’s policy on VET. Since 1996 the Government has introduced a number of policy initiatives to stimulate the growth of a training market and to induce the states and VET providers to strive for greater efficiency in the delivery of publicly funded

VET.

7.3 These policies include the capping of recurrent funding at 1997 levels, the withdrawal of annual growth funding combined with the requirement for states and territories to fund growth through efficiency gains, and the introduction of User Choice as a mechanism for funding New Apprenticeships.

The ‘growth through efficiencies’ policy

7.4 The ‘growth through efficiencies’ policy is addressed primarily in state government submissions and submissions from TAPE institutes or TAFE-related associations.

7.5 Issues associated with the ‘growth through efficiencies’ policy also arise in relation to policies and strategies designed to develop the training market, particularly User Choice and competitive funding arrangements, as these are employed to achieve

greater efficiency and stimulate growth in the VET sector. User Choice and competitive funding are dealt with later in this Chapter.

7.6 The ‘growth through efficiencies’ policy is a Commonwealth strategy intended to pressure state and territory governments into achieving greater efficiency (ie lower unit cost) in the VET system.

7.7 In the period from 1991 to 1996 Commonwealth funding for VET had increased considerably. By 1996, the Commonwealth was contributing 28 percent of recurrent VET funding compared to 17 per cent in 1991. The increase was primarily due to $100 million additional TAPE recurrent funding the Commonwealth provided

in its November 1991 One Nation Economic Statement. In that statement, the Commonwealth also agreed to provide growth funds of $70m annually in each year of the 1993-95 triennium. This commitment was incorporated in the original 1992 ANTA Agreement which provided for both set-level base funding and per capita

funding for growth, for each of the years of the Agreement. Growth funding was continued in 1996 and 1997.

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7.8 When the 1998-2000 ANT A Agreement was negotiated, the Commonwealth declined to continue providing the $70 million annually in growth funding. Instead, the states and territories were required to achieve ‘growth through efficiencies’ in return for Commonwealth funding being maintained in real terms for five years, with

1997 set as the base year for funding for the duration of the Agreement. The states and territories initially resisted the ‘growth through efficiencies’ arrangement and the setting of base funding at 1997 levels, but eventually agreed in order to guarantee funding stability for the following five years.

7.9 An Agreed Framework fo r Growth Derivedfrom Efficiencies was endorsed by ministers in November 1997. The Agreed Framework identifies growth as the principle objective, with actual Annual Hours Curriculum (AHC) and valid student enrolments being the basis for assessing planned growth. Changes in planned unit costs are the basis for measuring planned improvements in efficiency. An increase in efficiency is either an increase in outputs for the same level of inputs, or a reduction in the inputs required to produce a given level of outputs. The agreed base for assessing planned growth and efficiency improvements is the revised planned 1997 level of

activity and unit costs for each state and territory.1

7.10 Each state and territory develops plans, along with their annual VET plans, for achieving growth derived from efficiency, with these plans being presented to ministers for consideration each November.

7.11 Evidence from the states and territories annual ‘growth through efficiencies’ plans suggests that to date the policy has achieved what appear to be substantial efficiency gains. The total 1998 actual AHC growth over 1997, for example, exceeded revised planned growth by 90 per cent or 7.372 million adjusted AHC. However, not all states and territories achieved their planned efficiency targets and unmet demand in VET increased by approximately 0.5 per cent.

7.12 The states and territories are reported to have planned to improve efficiency by about 6.9 per cent in 2000 over the 1997 level, on average, but performance is uneven across the states and territories. In 2000, states and territories are collectively planning to deliver cumulative growth of 20.9 million adjusted annual hours

curriculum (equating to approximately 160,000 additional student places) above the revised planned 1997 level.2

7.13 The ANTA Board considers that the national aggregate growth and efficiency improvement, both in actual and planned terms, over the three year period of the ANTA Agreement represents a substantial achievement. The ANTA submission advises:

Australian National Training Authority, Directions and Resource Allocations fo r 2000, Report to the Ministerial Council, ANTA, Brisbane, November 1999

Submission 68, Department of Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, vol.3, p.761

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The Board notes that the bulk of the planned growth was delivered in the first year of the Agreement (1998), but that the projected national growth and related efficiency for 2000 is also significant. In this context, the Board is also aware that the 2000 projections are likely to be a minimum if the trend in past years of superior actual performance against that forecast is repeated.3

7.14 ANTA also makes the point that under the previous ANTA Agreement (1994­ 1997) where Commonwealth growth funds of $70 million per annum were coupled with Maintenance of Effort arrangements, the national vocational education and training system grew by 10.9 million hours per annum.4

7.15 The New South Wales Government, on the other hand, argues that the Commonwealth principle of ‘growth through efficiencies’ has had a negative impact on the national VET system, and that it has distorted the notion of a national agreement through a simplistic league table approach to state and territory efficiency

outcomes. Growth through efficiencies, according to New South Wales, is a flawed policy under which the Commonwealth has endeavoured to drive state level efficiencies without any real effort to understand the specific needs and priorities of states and territories.5

7.16 NSW also maintains there has been a major reduction in the funding it receives from the Commonwealth:

Under the original ANTA Agreement growth funding averaged some $23 million per annum over the years 1993 to 1997. Without this annual increment over the three years of the current Agreement, the loss to the state is around $138 million. ANTA capital funding to New South Wales has

decreased from $78.7 million to $59.2 million in 2000.6

7.17 The Victorian Government reports that in negotiating the second ANTA Agreement in 1997, states were placed under sustained pressure from the Commonwealth to adopt the concept of growth through efficiencies and that cutting off Commonwealth growth funds has placed significant strain on state training

systems.7

7.18 The states and territories, however, did not escape criticism themselves. The New South Wales Teachers Federation argued that ‘whilst state training authorities, such as the Department of Education and Training in NSW, may believe that the

growth through efficiencies policy of the Federal Government is detrimental to

3 Submission 107, Australian National Training Authority, vol.5, p.1477

4 Australian National Training Authority, Directions and Resource Allocations fo r 2000, Report to the Ministerial Council, November 1999, ANTA 1999, p.36

5 Submission 139, New South Wales Department o f Education and Training, vol.9, p.2416,2438

6 Submission 139, New South Wales Department o f Education and Training, vol.9, p.2440

7 Submission 119, Victorian Government, vol.7, p.1893

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vocational education and training in their state, by their acquiescence they are also further undermining the ability of TAPE Institutes to continue to offer quality vocational education and training.’8

7.19 Also, the Australian Education Union provided ABS figures that appear to show that in real terms the states and territories have reduced their own contribution to VET since 1992. Several states were challenged about this apparent decline in state contributions to VET. Two states that responded, NSW and Queensland, were able to demonstrate to the Committee’s satisfaction that they had maintained their contribution in real terns and thus had not contributed to any fall in the real level of state and territory expenditure.

7.20 According to figures contained in NCVER’s Australian VET Statistics - Financial Data 1999, total VET operating revenues have risen by $639.0 million (20.5 per cent) in the six years from 1994 to 1999.

7.21 Revenues from government have contributed $457.6 million (71.6 per cent) towards this increase, shared between increased state Government funding of $261.1 million (40.9 per cent) and increased Commonwealth Government input of $196.5 million (30.7 per cent). There has also been a significant increase of $38.1 million (6.0 per cent) in revenue from fee for service operations, reflecting increased training market participation by public providers. Fee-for-service operations represented 9.1 per cent of total revenue in 1999 compared to 9.8 per cent in 1994.

7.22 Figure 7.1 showing VET operating revenues from 1994 to 1999 indicates that state government funding has risen steadily from 1994 to 1999 while Commonwealth funding, after rising from 1994 to peak in 1997, has declined in both 1998 and 1999. Total revenues in 1999 increased marginally (up 0.6 per cent). While state government revenue increased by $33.6 million over 1998 to $2,225.5 million, revenues from all Commonwealth sources declined in 1999 by 4.3 per cent to $828.2 million. The

largest component of Commonwealth revenue, recurrent funding appropriated through the VET Funding Act, remained essentially stable at $725.4 million. Commonwealth funding associated with ‘ANTA funded Commonwealth specific purpose programs’ also remained essentially stable from the 1998 levels at $53.8 million, while O ther Commonwealth specific purpose programs’ declined by $31.9 million in 1999 to $49.0 million.

8 Submission 122, New South Wales Teachers Federation, vol.7 p. 1938

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Figure 7.1: Public VET operating revenues, 1994-1999

Figure 1: Operating Revenues, 1994 to 1999

2,000

l i t— ΓΤΤΤΊΙ r_______‘State G overnm ent f Fee lor Service A n n lary Trading S tu d e n li Fees.Ccivemnwftt and Other and Charges mrm

Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research: Statistics 199: Financial Data: Australian Vocational Education and Training, NCVER, Adelaide, 2000, p.3

Impact on quality

7.23 While the national aggregate growth and efficiency improvement figures may show positive outcomes in terms of efficiency, they do not shed any light on the impact that ‘growth through efficiencies’ may be having on the quality of VET provision. The NSW Government NSW argues:

The key indicator of success under the policy is the reduction in unit costs. Other measures, such as quality, ease and cost of access, or participation by disadvantaged groups are not considered by the Commonwealth to be relevant. The policy fails to take into account a number of other significant areas of performance.9

7.24 The Australian Industry Group expresses concern at the evidence emerging through state training agencies that growth through efficiencies is being achieved through delivery of lower cost training, resulting in the decline of more resource intensive training, but many of the more resource intensive programs are the ones

delivering higher level skills. The Australia Industry Group argues that this becomes a

9 Submission 139, New South Wales Department of Education and Training, vol.9, p.2416,2438

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strategic investment decision and Australia must decide if it wants to have a high skill workforce. If it does, then intervention will be required to achieve this outcome.10

7.25 The Australian Education Union (AEU) argues that the ‘growth through efficiency’ policy has resulted, amongst other things, in states cutting permanent staff and thus ‘casualising’ the TAPE workforce, increasing class sizes, and refusing to offer courses unless they reach a particular class number.11 Such measures generally are not referred to specifically in states and territories ‘growth through efficiency’ plans but at least one includes ‘the continued attention to cost drivers in TAPE programs with the aim of increasing productivity through an examination of class sizes, staff productivity and overheads.’12

7.26 The TAPE NSW Managers Association suggests that it is highly likely that quantitative gains are being purchased through quality losses and state that if a quality TAPE system is to be maintained, it is essential that the principle of ‘growth through efficiency’ is dropped from the next ANTA Agreement.13

7.27 By contrast, ANTA believes that no correlation has been shown between the growth through efficiencies policy and declining quality in training:

There is no lowest state benchmark in relation to growth through efficiency. If you actually draw some sort of relationship between the growth in particular jurisdictions and, for example, the satisfaction expressed by employers, there is quite a neat relationship between systems such as in

WA, South Australia and Queensland and their growth and increasing employer satisfaction.14

7.28 State governments, in response, insist that while they have achieved efficiencies over the last few years, this has reached its limits.

7.29 The South Australian Government states that the rate of efficiency gain in South Australia has slowed down, adding that ‘you can always make what seem to be efficiency gains by deferring expenditure’. The SA Government also admits that cutting quality could also be presented as an efficiency gain but denies this had happened in South Australia.15

7.30 The Western Australia Government said ‘there is a limit to the efficiencies that can be made without affecting the quality of training. There is some evidence that

10 Submission 64, Australian Industry Group, vol.3, p.723

11 Submission 110, Australian Education Union, vol.6, p. 1557

12 Australian National Training Authority, Directions and Resource Allocations fo r 2000, Report to the Ministerial Council, November 1999, ANTA 1999, p.82

13 Submission 90, TAPE NSW Managers Association, vol.5, p. 1221

14 Mr C Eccles (Australian National Training Authority), Hansard, 17 March 2000, p. 109

15 Dr G Wood (Department of Education, Training and Employment [South Australia]), Hansard, 16 May 2000. p.581

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this limit is approaching’. There was particular concern about maintaining quality in regional areas.16 The WA Government representative pointed out that the ANTA Board in its 1999 report to ANTA MINCO had made it clear that ‘there were seven states which in fact had achieved efficiencies and there was nothing more there; you

could not push any more....’ The representative was also emphatic in saying that his state could achieve no further efficiencies without affecting quality.17

7.31 The Victorian Government cites as evidence of declining quality caused by funding pressures the results of the 1999 national Survey of Employer Views on Vocational Education and Training which found that 77 per cent of Victorian employers were satisfied or very satisfied with the VET system, compared with 83 per cent nationally. In a similar survey in 1997, the Victorian rate was 88 per cent, compared to 78 per cent nationally. Victoria also comments:

In the last few years Victoria has been able to achieve very significant growth in apprenticeships and traineeships, but it has been at the expense of some of these [quality] issues that Schofield has talked about.... it is our

view that we cannot have quality and growth in a national system without additional resources. From our point of view we have no interest in nationally consistent mediocrity.18

Funding growth in New Apprenticeships

7.32 New Apprenticeships have contributed substantially to the growth in overall VET. The states and territories, and others such as the AEU, maintain that the Commonwealth has exacerbated the effect of the withdrawal of growth funding by heavy marketing of New Apprenticeships, and in August 1998, without consulting the

states and territories, extending employer incentives to existing workers signed up as New Apprentices.19 These actions, particularly the latter, are claimed to have contributed to the significant increase in New Apprenticeships,20 placing severe

financial pressure on states and territories because of their commitment to accord priority to New Apprenticeships, and the demand-driven nature of New Apprenticeship arrangements.

7.33 Tasmania, for example, argues that pressures on state budgets were largely caused by Commonwealth policies promoting New Apprenticeships:

Traineeship demand has been stimulated by Commonwealth policy directions, and further stimulated by national marketing of New Apprenticeships. Demand cannot be met within existing resources.

16 Submission 114, Ministry o f the Premier and Cabinet [Western Australia], vol.6, p. 1825

17 Mr I Hill (WA Department o f Training and Employment), Hansard, 17 May 2000, p.636-7

18 Ms M Sussex (Office of Post Compulsory Education, Training and Employment [Vic]), Hansard, Canberra, 4 July 2000, p.744

19 Stricter eligibility criteria were reintroduced by the Commonwealth in May 1999.

20 Access by existing workers to publicly funded apprenticeships and traineeships is discussed in Chapter 9

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Therefore, there is seen to be a need for further growth funding from the Commonwealth for vocational education and training, to meet the demand for employment based training for trainees and apprentices under New Apprenticeships.'1

7.34 ANT A reports that so far all states and territories have been able to fund the significant growth in New Apprenticeships through various means including efficiency gains, drawing on funds set aside for other purposes or through managing cash flows. According to ANTA rationing has not yet been necessary. However, states and territories that were funding places for ‘existing workers’ have either ceased to do so or have tightened eligibility criteria.* 22

7.35 ANTA also acknowledges that all states and territories consider that if growth in New Apprenticeships continues at current rates, existing funding arrangements will be unsustainable and they will have difficulties resourcing future demand for New Apprenticeships.

7.36 Victoria illustrates the difficulties faced by some states. In Victoria, the cost of delivery has been substantially below that of any other state or territory, and in 1998, was 23.1 per cent below the national average. The Victorian Government considers that while a degree of comparative efficiency is desirable, differences of this

magnitude suggest that funding levels have been unrealistic. Funding pressures have come from both the Commonwealth and the previous state government. These have put Victorian TAPE Institutes in a difficult financial position. Of the 19 major public TAPE providers in Victoria, four are in serious financial difficulties, and five other

Institutes have been assessed as medium risks. The Victorian Government has allocated approximately $50 million over four years to the TAPE system in Victoria to restore its financial position and argues that the Commonwealth must take some

responsibility for funding the anticipated further increase in VET participation.23

Funding Future Demandfor VET

7.37 A National Resourcing Working Group under the auspices of ANTA examined likely trends in future demand for VET, including the potential up-skilling and re-skilling of existing workers, and the impact of these trends on overall levels of public funding.24 The Committee was provided with a copy of the Working Group’s Draft Final Report and noted ANTA’s advice that the Working Group is to reconsider some aspects of the report the light of questions raised about assumptions made against the demand factors quantified in the report.

Submission 83, Government o f Tasmania, vol.4, p. 1076

Submission 107, Australian National Training Authority, vol.5, p. 1458

Ms M Sussex (Office of Postcompulsory Education, Training and Employment [Vic.]), Hansard, Canbera, 4 July 2000, p.744

National Resourcing Working Group, F u tu r e D e m a n d f o r V o c a tio n a l E d u c a tio n a n d T r a in in g - d r a ft f i n a l r e p o r t, report for ANTA CEOs, April 2000.

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7.38 The Working Group predicted an annual growth in demand for VET of up to 5.7 per cent. This figure has been challenged by the Commonwealth Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DETYA). The Committee notes that the Working Party’s Draft Final Report includes an alternative perspective prepared by

DETYA on demand for VET. Using an individual population-demographic methodology, DETYA estimates the annual growth in demand for VET in the range of 2.5-2.8 per cent. This may be compared with growth of 4.9 per cent from 1996 to 1997 and 5.3 per cent from 1997 to 1998.25

7.39 Even the lower figure implies a very significant increase in public VET costs. For example, using DETYA’s estimate of 2.8 per cent per year growth, and the figure of $26.64 million for each per cent of increase (as calculated by the National Resourcing Working Group), suggests a cost about $500 million greater in the fifth

year than in the base year. This is a 14 per cent increase on the planned public VET expenditure of $3.6 billion in 2000.

7.40 DETYA, however, argued that an estimate of future demand does not necessarily lead to a clear conclusion about future funding needs:

In relation to that figure of $26-odd million [an estimate of the cost of a 1 per cent increase in participation in publicly funded VET], I think it is important to say that it is no more than a fairly crude division of the total amount of money spent on VET by 100. It does not really go to, for

example, what particular areas you would expect to see growth in in the future and whether they are comparatively more expensive or less expensive than the average. I would not put a huge amount of store on it. It is simply presented as a very basic and fairly crude estimate of what a one per cent

growth in the system might cost.26

7.41 The size of likely growth in demand remains a matter of dispute between DETYA and the National Resourcing Working Group, as does the likely cost of such demand. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that there will be a continuing increase in

demand, and even if the most conservative estimates are used, that demand will require significant additional funding. The Committee’s primary concern is that the Commonwealth does not appear to have accepted that substantial additional funding is required, or accepts that it has any responsibility for meeting its share of that funding.

7.42 In the context of the current negotiations for the next ANTA Agreement, the Committee heard that the Commonwealth proposes to continue to cap Commonwealth general VET funding at 1997 levels in real terms. Although the requirement for the states and territories to agree to fund growth through efficiencies, and the need for

them to submit annual ‘Growth through Efficiency’ plans have been discontinued, there is no offer from the Commonwealth of additional funding to accommodate

25 Submission 74, National Centre for Vocational Education Research, vol.4, p.885

26 Mr R Manns (DETYA), Consideration of Budget Estimates, Senate EWRSBE Legislation Commiteee, Hansard, 31 May 2000, p.214

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growth. This represents a de facto continuation of the ‘growth through efficiencies’ policy.

7.43 Additionally, the Vocational Education and Training Funding Amendment Bill 2000, introduced on 21 June 2000, effectively extends the Commonwealth’s policy of no real increase in Commonwealth funding to 2001 (funding is increased from $918 million to $931 million reflecting real price movement in Treasury indices). According to the Commonwealth, this reflects the Commonwealth’s proposal to the states and territories to maintain funding in real terms for a further three years, subject to finalising a satisfactory amended ANTA agreement.27

7.44 The Victorian Government told the Committee that the states had put forward an alternative to the Commonwealth offer, but this was ‘rejected out of hand’:

The states put forward a proposition as an alternative to the Commonwealth offer which had been made on budget night. That new proposition encompassed a commitment to a national system of high quality, a new agreement which related to a forward view—not based on agreement to agreement negotiations but a truly national system—but underpinned by additional resourcing, the dimension of which was subject to negotiation. That proposed agreement was rejected out of hand by the Commonwealth.28

7.45 The Commonwealth has a different view:

The point that the minister made at the open part of the session [ANTA meeting 30 June 2000] ....was that the Commonwealth was offering an assurance of real-terms funding for the three years ahead. The states now know that they have got that, and that gives a remarkable degree of planning assurance. I think the minister posed the question: how many state treasuries would offer a similar assurance in terms of three years ahead?29

7.46 At the time of preparation of the Committee’s report, the new ANTA Agreement is still under negotiation between the Commonwealth and the states in preparation for the November 2000 ANTA meeting.

7.47 The Committee’s view is that demand for VET will and should continue to grow substantially during the period of the new ANTA Agreement. The Committee also considers that additional funding must be provided to accommodate this growth, that there are limited opportunities to achieve further efficiency gains in the VET system, and that attempting to continue to fund growth from efficiency gains will have serious and irreversible consequences for the quality of VET in Australia.

27 The Hon. D Kemp, second reading speech for Vocational Education and Training Funding Amendment BUI 2000, House of Representatives Hansard, 21 June 2000. p. 16525

28 Ms M Sussex (Victorian Office of Post Compulsory Education. Training and Employment), Hansard, Canberra, 4 July 2000, p.752

29 Mr C Walters (DETYA), Hansard, Canberra, 5 July 2000, p.844

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7.48 The Committee is alarmed at indications that the Commonwealth has not recognised the critical state of current VET funding and that, as evidenced by the Vocational Education and Training Funding Bill 2000, it appears determined to

enforce a continuance of the policy, albeit de facto, of growth through efficiency.

7.49 The growth in demand has placed pressure on state VET budgets as a whole as most states have felt honour bound to accord New Apprentices priority for public funding and to fund apprentices and trainees ‘on demand’. In these circumstances, if growth funding is not available, any increase in the number of publicly funded

apprentices and trainees will impact adversely on other forms of VET, through reduced training opportunities, restricted choice or other cuts in quality.

7.50 The Committee has already considered this matter once, in its 1997 inquiry into the Vocational Education and Training Funding Amendment Bill 1997 (which put into effect the ‘growth through efficiencies’ policy in the present ANT A Agreement). At that time Labor and Australian Democrats senators expressed concern about the way the Commonwealth was imposing this policy without any real knowledge of what a likely or desirable rate of growth in VET was, and without any knowledge about the ability of the states to find efficiencies.30

7.51 The Committee is gravely concerned that three years later, with those concerns having been largely substantiated, and in face of insistence by states and territories that further efficiency measures will seriously impact on quality in VET, the Commonwealth is continuing its pursuit of system efficiencies by refusing to meet its

share of growth funding.

7.52 The Commonwealth must recognise that it has an obligation to ensure that VET in Australia is adequately funded and that it must restore base level funding to adequate levels and resume its share of contributions to growth funding. The Committee is not denying the Commonwealth’s right, and public obligation, to obtain

the best value for money from the expenditure of public funds, and it is not unaware of the states and territories’ negotiating tactics aimed at extracting as much funding from the Commonwealth as possible. On this occasion, however, the Committee believes states claims are credible and the Commonwealth must re-examine its approach.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) the new ANTA Agreement include an agreement by the Commonwealth to meet, in each year of the new Agreement, its share of funding for growth in vocational education and training. In the absence of agreement on the likely rate of growth and the cost associated with that growth, growth funding should be

30 Senate Employment, Workplace Relations, Small Business and Education Legislation Committee, Consideration o f Legislation Referred to the Committee - Vocational Education and Training Funding Amendment Bill 1997, pp.26-27

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tied to actual growth in successfully completed modules in the previous twelve month period. Commonwealth funds to ANT A (capital and recurrent) can be adjusted each year by the percentage change in Assessable emolment-successfully completed Annual Hours Curriculum recorded for the previous year. This was

171,983,920 in 1998 and 183,838,731 in 1999 - an increase of 7 per cent. Applying 7 per cent to Commonwealth funds for the year 2000 ($920m) is $65m. This approach overcomes the need to base growth funding on estimates of growth and automatically rewards states and territories both for growth and for improving success rates.

(b) the payment of Commonwealth growth funding to states and territories be subject to each state and territory agreeing to rigorously implement enhanced standards for registration, performance monitoring and auditing of providers. This commitment should include each state and territory preparing and submitting to ANTA MINCO, along with Annual VET Plans, an annual Quality Assurance Plan that sets out a program and targets for registration, performance monitoring and auditing of providers, and reports on progress against the previous year’s Plan.

(c) ANTA report and make recommendations to MINCO on the states’ and territories’ Quality Assurance Plans, including whether progress against the previous year’s Plan is satisfactory. Growth funds should be paid by ANTA to a state or territory only if the state or territory’s Quality Assurance Plan has been considered and accepted by the Ministerial Council. Responsibility for this function should pass to the National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority when it is established.

Establishing the vocational education and training market

7.53 Establishing the vocational education and training market has been pursued through policies and strategies directed at both the supply-side and demand-side of the training market. Increasing the diversity and responsiveness of the supply side of the training market has been an on-going objective of successive governments over many years and has included strategies to:

• promote continuing structural reform in the public VET sector;

• removing barriers to market entry for private providers;

• increasing the scope for funding contestability;

• establish competitive neutrality among public and private providers;

• reform structures to facilitate competition;

• facilitate third party access to essential facilities; and

• develop consistent costing and pricing policies.

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7.54 The NCVER in 1997 observed that research suggested that training market reforms had placed too much emphasis on supply-side competition. NCVER commented that empowering clients in training decisions was also a key to strengthening client focus and provider responsiveness.31 An ANTA consultation paper, which had been released the previous year, identified four competitive practices

operating in the Australian training market at that time that had the potential to empower clients to varying degrees:

• fee-for-service activities;

• competitive tendering;

• preferred supplier arrangements; and

• User Choice.'2

Support fo r User Choice

7.55 A National Evaluation of User Choice commissioned by ANTA and undertaken by KPMG was completed in September 1999. The evaluation looked at the changes that are taking place at the interface between training providers and their clients, the benefits being derived by clients and any wider policy impact from User

Choice. The evaluation found that the User Choice policy framework is progressing well. It is enabling positive change and attitudes on the part of employers and providers. Employers are very positive about the possibilities of choice and record high satisfaction associated with choice, and providers surveyed are also positive

about the impact of choice on their own operations and are making changes that enable them to respond positively to choice.

7.56 The DETYA submission reported that:

The evaluation found that increasing client choice is acting as a spur to provider responsiveness. Many training providers considered that the quality of training provision has improved as a result of more involvement by employers in decision-making %bout training. Some providers reported

having upgraded the quality of their programmes as a result of User Choice. Providers thought that there were better services for New Apprentices as a result of User Choice and increased training opportunities... ,33

7.57 A number of submissions from employers, employer associations and private providers claim that User Choice has delivered real benefits in terms of the relevance, responsiveness and quality of provision.

31 Anderson, Damon, Developing the training market o f the future, A review o f research literature, paper prepared for the National Centre for Vocational Education Research as a submission to ANTA’s consultation on ‘Developing the training market of the future’, Adelaide, 1997, p.3

32 Australian National T raining Authority, Developing the training market o f the future

33 Submission 68, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, vol.3, p.783-4

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7.58 ACCI maintains that its members strongly support User Choice and that:

Full introduction of User Choice is critical to ensure the quality of RTOs. This will ensure that employers have the capacity to choose the provider of their choice which best delivers training which meets their needs, and is of a standard which assists them in recruiting skilled staff or upgrading existing worker skills. Employers demand and expect quality training and their perception of the quality of training will determine their participation in the national training system. The study undertaken by KPMG into User Choice establishes that User Choice is often a central reason for participating in the system, although not necessarily referred to specifically as ‘User Choice’, and has led to significant improvements in the system.34

7.59 Construction Training Australia stated that many industry stakeholders welcome User Choice as it allows employers and trainees to exercise choice in selecting a provider who can meet the training needs of an enterprise and of individual apprentices and trainees. It also allows negotiation on specific aspects of training such as location, timing and mode.35

7.60 The Australian Industry Group study Training to Compete did not include User Choice as a particular item in the surveys it conducted but found that firms were strongly in favour of the opening up of training provision to competition between public and private providers through competitive tendering and User Choice funding. These changes were considered to have increased in the flexibility and responsiveness of the public providers to industry needs and to have widened the scope for all providers to become more competitive.36

7.61 Support, however, was not unconditional. The Australian Industry Group, for example, also draws attention to the complexity of implementation to date and the absence of a uniform approach throughout the nation. It argues that priority should be given to simplifying and encouraging implementation, in order to gain greater support from public and private providers as well as enterprises, and that User Choice has not been effectively presented as an opportunity to providers.37

Impact on TAFE and Quality

7.62 User Choice is a policy chiefly directed at facilitating the New

Apprenticeships training market but evidence was put before the Committee regarding its impact on TAFE, particularly the threat it poses to the viability of TAFE and the

Submission 137, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, vol.8, p.2276

Submission 60, Construction Training Australia, vol.3, p.669

Submission 64, Australian Industry Group, vol.3, p.713ff. The Allen Consulting Group, Training to Compete. The Training Needs o f Industry. The Australian Industry Group, Sydney, 1999, p.xvi

The Allen Consulting Group, T r a in in g to C o m p e te - th e tr a in in g n e e d s o f in d u s tty - r e p o r t to A u s tr a lia n I n d u s tr y G r o u p , n.d., p.xvi

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quality of structured training and teaching: two aspects specifically referred to in the Committee’s Terms of Reference.

7.63 ANTA argues that the impact of the User Choice policy on TAPE providers is dependent upon the ways in which individual state training authorities implement the policy. ANTA maintains that:

It (the policy) is essentially a series of principles which outline the broad concept of User Choice and some guidelines which describe in very broad terms how User Choice will operate. The interpretation and implementation of these principles and guidelines at the state/territory, regional and training

institution level is the responsibility of state/territory Training Authorities.38

7.64 ANTA also reports that the User Choice evaluation does not reveal any conclusive findings about the impact of User Choice on the viability of TAPE, particularly in regional Australia/'9

7.65 The Australian Education Union argues that User Choice:

....is used by some Governments to redirect TAPE funds to non-TAFE providers on a ‘cost without quality’ basis... the KPMG evaluation of User Choice was a complete waste of taxpayers money because it did not measure the quality of training...’40

7.66 Submissions from both TAPE Directors Australia and the AEU argue that ‘growth through efficiencies’ and User Choice have resulted in reduced funding for TAPE leading to arrangements that threaten the quality of VET delivery and outcomes and the viability of some providers, notably TAPE institutes. These include increases

in class sizes, reduction in student contact hours, reduction in the flexibility and choices available to students, reduction in the level of student support services and greater reliance on fee for service activity, with increased fees and charges.41

7.67 These submissions also argue that TAPE is at a disadvantage in a competitive market. TAPE’S competitive ability is said to be hampered by its community service obligations, its commitment to providing effective student support services, the industrial relations context in which it operates, and its public accountability

obligations. Private Registered Training Organisations’ are said to be able to compete more effectively as they are not subject to these considerations and therefore their cost structures are lower.

38 Submission 107, Australian National Training Authority, vol.5, p.1480

39 Submission 107, Australian National Training Authority, vol.5, p.1479

40 Submission 110, Australian Education Union, vol.6, p. 1556

Submission 136, TAPE Directors Australia, vol.8, p.2248. Submission 110, Australian Education Union, vol.6, p. 1555 41

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7.68 The Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET), on the other hand, argues that contracts and compliance and reporting requirements are heavily weighted in favour of TAPE, that is, the obligations imposed on industry in order to access funding expect businesses to adapt to public sector processes which are totally inappropriate for competitive markets. ACPET maintains that the legal and management systems imposed by the states have resulted in contracts that are legally complex, fundamentally one-sided, on occasions in breach of national competition policy and administrative law, and require legal analysis before signing (adding to the cost to business and Registered Training Organisations).42

7.69 Three state governments expressed concerns to the Committee about the way in which User Choice is influencing the training market, and particularly its impact on TAPE. They have been sufficiently concerned about User Choice to place a moratorium on the further expansion of User Choice in their states.

7.70 The Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations submission reports that the full application of User Choice in Queensland in 1998 has led to an unacceptably high level of service failure.43 As a consequence, the Queensland Government has decided that User Choice and competitive initiatives will be maintained at January 1998 levels for a three-year period, to allow TAPE time to adjust to the effect of competitive influences.

7.71 The Queensland Government’s decision was prompted by an evaluation of User Choice in Queensland in 1999. The evaluation found general support for User Choice as a concept, that User Choice is having an influence on the choice of provider and that as a result of competitive pressure created by User Choice, TAPE Queensland has significantly improved its service. However, the evaluation also found that both the training, and the outcomes of training, under the User Choice system are of highly variable and dubious quality, particularly where fully on-the-job arrangements are in place. There is also a degree of scepticism about the purpose of User Choice:

There is an overwhelming belief among users of the User Choice system that the overriding objective ... is to maximise the number of trainees and the number of providers - to the detriment of the quality of training and training outcomes.44

7.72 The Schofield review of the apprenticeship and traineeship system in Queensland, which examined a range of evidence drawn from both internal and external sources, found that one of the most fundamental deficiencies in the current traineeship system relates to the means by which training is purchased, that is, User

Submission 59, Australian Council for Private Education and Training, vol.3, p.615

Submission 131, Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations, vol.7, p.2129

L Smith, T h e I m p a c t o f U se r C h o ic e o n th e Q u e e n s la n d T r a in in g Market, Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations, March 1999, p.viii.

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Choice. Schofield found two fundamental flaws associated with User Choice in Queensland:

• proxy purchasing, whereby the employer is treated as a proxy purchaser of government funded training services - theoretically making an informed decision that directs public funds in the most efficient and effective manner. In practice, the payment system is initiated by the financial beneficiary of the

system (the Registered Training Organisation) without any validation by the proxy purchaser (the employer), and paid by the actual purchaser (the state training authority); and

• the assumption of market viability, that is, the assumption that the conditions required for the operation of a traineeship training market existed, and particularly, that User Choice required a minimalist and purely reactive role for Government in the purchasing process.45

7.73 Despite these findings the Queensland Government maintains that ‘These deficiencies are not an argument to move away from the concept of User Choice but rather to ensure that the system works more effectively.’46

7.74 A Tasmanian evaluation of User Choice in 1998 found that, generally, User Choice is perceived by many stakeholders as bringing beneficial changes to do with the flexibility of providers, particularly the right to negotiate about the trainer, assessments and the Registered Training Organisation. The evaluation also found that

the viability of TAPE Tasmania had not been threatened by the introduction of User Choice in Tasmania, with the amount of funding directly allocated to TAPE under the TAPE Resource Agreement (including guaranteed User Choice funds) remaining constant over the period 1997-99, and the proportion of all available funds declining only very slightly over the same period.

7.75 The Tasmanian Government nevertheless reports that it is committed to hold User Choice and competitive funding at January 1998 levels for a period of three years to allow a pause in growth to enable the market to mature and to identify, through consultation, the most appropriate competition policy for Tasmania.47

7.76 The Victorian Government, in response to concerns about the viability of TAPE Institutes, has frozen contestable funding at 1999 levels for a minimum of twelve months, pending a review of the desirability of increased competition. The Victorian Government submission reports that:

45 K Schofield, Independent Investigation into the Quality o f Training in Queensland’s Traineeship System, VETEC, Brisbane, 1999, pp.54 -61

46 Submission 131, Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations, vol.7, p.2130

47 Submission S3, Government of Tasmania, vol.4, p.1092

96

The Government’s policy is to freeze user choice and competitive funding at 1999 contestability levels for a minimum of 12 months to allow time to assess the desirability of further competition in the training market. User Choice has resulted in a large amount of funding being withdrawn from

TAPE Institutes. Private providers have concentrated on low cost areas, leaving TAPE Institutes to deliver high cost training at inadequate funding levels. Currently in Victoria, 88 per cent of apprentices are at TAPE Institutes, while 77 per cent of traineeships, which are generally cheaper to deliver, are at private providers. These short-term traineeships are the area where audits have revealed most concerns about the quality of training delivered.48

7. 77 Schofield’s review of the Victorian apprenticeship and traineeship system found that User Choice has had both positive and negative impacts, and that there are some significant problems associated with the User Choice system which are reducing training quality. The benefits included promoting more flexibility, responsiveness and

innovation in training delivery, and it has encouraged providers, particularly TAPE Institutes, to get closer to their clients. Schofield also noted that levels of client satisfaction are high.

7.78 In Schofield’s view, many of the submissions to her Victorian review that were critical of User Choice attributed to User Choice effects which are more appropriately attributed to other factors. These include the rise of workplace learning,

increased client demand for customisation, wider issues of contestability of the VET budget in Victoria, the cumulative impact of years of cost-cutting within the sector, and funding systems which rightly sought greater efficiency and accountability but not always with due regard to effectiveness, fitness for purpose and ethical practice.

7.79 The Schofield Victorian Review concluded that from the perspective of its primary clients — employers, apprentices and trainees —User Choice is working well, and while still less than perfect, the User Choice system in Victoria has had the beneficial effect of introducing a major demand-driven element to the training system.49

7.80 The AEU, on the other hand, pointed out that the KPMG evaluation admitted that positive changes observed in the VET system may not be able to be precisely separated from other reforms.50

7.81 The Committee’s view is that User Choice as a mechanism for developing the training market and encouraging greater flexibility and responsiveness by providers is unproven. The Committee finds that there are significant problems associated with the current training market which are affecting the quality of outcomes, not just for

48 Submission 119, Government of Victoria, vol.7 p.1900

49 K Schofield, Report o f the Independent Review o f the Quality o f Training in Victoria’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, May 2000, p.85

50 Submission 110, Australian Education Union, vol.6, p. 1556

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apprenticeships and traineeships but for the whole of VET. The problems are partly due to the varying success of strategies to increase the diversity and responsiveness of the supply side of the training market, but much of it is attributable to weaknesses in demand side policies and strategies, particularly User Choice.

Inconsistencies in implementation

7.82 The Committee also heard evidence that the effectiveness of User Choice as a free market mechanism is impeded by the lack of consistency with which User Choice has been implemented across states and territories. The recent ANTA CEOs Report on National Consistency supports claims made in numerous submissions that there are

inconsistencies in the implementation of User Choice and that these inconsistencies are impacting on the effective operation of the training market and on client choice.51

7.83 States and territories, for example, require providers seeking to access User Choice funding to go through an approval process, even though the providers may already have Registered Training Organisation status. This approval process is usually additional to Australian Recognition Framework requirements. According to the

CEOs Report, problems have arisen because the approval process is misunderstood: the state training authorities see the process as administrative, whereas the Registered Training Organisations see the process as ‘approval to deliver’, which they rightly believe they already have by virtue of their RTO status and the mutual recognition

provisions of the Australian Recognition Framework (ARF). The CEOs Report states that the implications of this for the ARF need to be resolved.

7.84 The ANTA CEOs Report also draws attention to inconsistent purchasing policies and procedures between states and territories. These include differing policies in relation to thin markets and the intervention in the market by some states to control the flow of funds to interstate providers. Different administrative protocols between jurisdictions can also require RTOs wishing to operate across state boundaries to find

out about, and understand, different sets of administrative arrangements in each state. Further differences occur in the definition and eligibility criteria relating to existing employees who take up apprenticeships or traineeships, in price structure and the availability of information on prices. These inconsistencies act as impediments to the

operation of the market, making it difficult for, or discouraging RTOs from, offering VET across state and territory borders.

7.85 The Committee considers that inconsistencies between states and territories in the implementation of User Choice, together with other inconsistencies and legal impediments associated with the implementation of the Australian Recognition

Framework, are seriously impeding the provision of quality vocational education and training. The Committee believes that a moratorium should be placed on any extension of User Choice until the inconsistencies and legal impediments are resolved

51 ANTA CEOs, Report on National Consistency, report to ANTA Ministerial Council, June 2000, p. 14ff

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and until it can been demonstrated that User Choice has actually delivered net benefits to stakeholders.

The Committee recommends that:

a moratorium be placed on User Choice pending an independent national investigation of the impact of competition policies and User Choice on the viability of TAFE. The investigation should consider inconsistencies and legal impediments in its implementation and, based on experience to date, determine whether it has been demonstrated that User Choice has delivered net benefits to

stakeholders.

Making informed choices

7.86 The NCVER observed that one of the key strategies for empowering clients in the VET market is to give clients sufficient infonnation to make informed choices. It was suggested to the Committee in several submissions and other evidence that the effectiveness of User Choice as a free market mechanism is impeded because many clients do not have sufficient information to make informed choices, do not have full direct control over training decisions, and do not have access to assistance to negotiate with training providers.52 *

7.87 The WA Hospitality and Tourism Industry Training Council comments that:

The consumer is very confused by the marketplace, and has difficulty discerning what is value for money. It is difficult for the employer to objectively evaluate a provider, make a judgement regarding value for money, and distinguish quality programs because of lack of knowledge regarding the training market. The concept of “user choice” implies a free market situation in operation, but in practice traditional preferences, links, or other conditions often determine choice. Some employers are unaware that they have a right to choose their training provider.'3

7.88 The Agricultural and Horticultural Training Council of South Australia has a similar view:

It is the intention that 'User Choice' arrangements should allow the market to sort itself out. The reality is that it is not working as well as it should because of the lack of understanding by potential clients. The market is not

National Centre for Vocational Education Research, 1997, Developing the training market o f the future. A review o f research literature, 1997 (Prepared by Damon Anderson. Centre for the Economics of Education and Training, Monash University-ACER) Submission from NCVER to ANTA’s consultation on 'Developing the training market of the future' p.4

Submission 86, WA Hospitality and Tourism Industry Training Council, vol.5, p.l 152

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well informed and has difficulty in distinguishing between truth and marketing hype.54 5 5

7.89 The Schofield Report on Queensland concludes that:

Employers and employee choice of training provider and delivery method is in most cases non existent. Employers, and to a greater extent trainees, are not sufficiently aware of their choices and are therefore likely to choose a standard product from a single provider.35

Balancing individual needs and industry needs

7.90 A corollary of ‘empowering clients’ is the question ‘which clients?’ with many submissions and other evidence suggesting that in reality apprentices and trainees have little choice. Fooks and others raised this issue when User Choice was

first introduced:

Fitzgerald [defined] ‘user choice’ disingenuously as a decision, taken jointly by the trainee and the employer, on who would be the training provider... Few employers are equipped to take such decisions advisedly, let alone youngsters straight from school.56

7.91 Ms Erica Smith in her submission to the Committee observes:

The choice is imperfect. Choices are made by employers, not trainees. ... Research indicates that young apprentices and trainees (as anticipated in several reports) hardly ever get any say in the choice of provider.57

7.92 The Australian Education Union also sees weaknesses in the notion of apprentices and trainees participating in the choice of training provider:

The reality is that because the New Apprenticeships system depends on employment to attract a training contract and employer subsidy, the employer has more power to decide which RTO is to be chosen to undertake

the training. In some cases this can be the employers own RTO.58

7.93 It is clear to the Committee that apprentices and trainees are not able to exercise their market power to the fullest extent. They do not always have access to sufficient information to make informed choices, nor are they necessarily equipped, or

54 Submission 46, Agricultural and Horticultural Training Council of South Australia, vol.2, p.428

55 K Schofield, Independent Investigation into the Quality o f Training in Queensland’s Traineeship System, VETEC, Brisbane, 1999, p.43

56 D Fooks, R Ryan & K Schofield, Making TAFE Competitive, Australian College of Education, 1997, p. 16

57 Submission 23, Ms E Smith, vol. 1, p. 180

58 Submission 110, Australian Education Union, vol.6, p. 1556

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have access to assistance to negotiate with training providers. Employers’ choice rather than apprentices’ or trainees’ choice more often prevails.

7.94 This latter outcome is of particular concern. With the ‘choice’ in User Choice resting almost entirely with employers, and with the added flexibility and choice that National Training Packages provide the danger is that the particular options within a

Training Package chosen by an employer as best suiting his/her business, may be quite narrow and may not take into account the longer term needs of the apprentice or trainee. This can be exacerbated in some instances where there is too much flexibility provided by particular Training Packages, in terms of how units can be packaged together to provide a qualification, resulting in qualifications that do not have enough commonality of outcome to be truly portable.

7.95 The Committee notes the former National Training Framework Committee’s Guidelines for the Customisation of Accredited Courses and also that National Training Packages include advice on customisation options for the users. However, the evidence before the Committee suggests that these guidelines and advice are not always followed or enforced. In the presence of the current policy emphasis on meeting industry’s needs, there is a pervading sense that whatever employers want is acceptable. Some RTOs appear to be susceptible to this notion and fail in their obligation to ensure Training Package requirements are adhered to, and certified outcomes are actually achieved.

7.96 The Committee believes that guidelines and advice on customisation or tailoring of training to meet enterprise-specific needs should be underpinned by a clear policy statement that enterprise-specific training is the responsibility of the enterprise and that training that is largely enterprise-specific is not eligible for User Choice or other public funding. This does not mean that training cannot be tailored to meet enterprise-specific needs, merely that there must be a balance between industry-wide and enterprise-specific training and the portability of skills must be paramount. Apprenticeship and traineeship Training Plans should become the key means of monitoring the nature of training to be provided under the Training Agreement, and assessing progress for User Choice and Commonwealth employer incentive payments.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) Training for individual apprentices and trainees must include a sound foundation of portable, industry-wide competencies and qualifications.

(b) ANTA and Training Package guidelines and advice on customisation or tailoring of training to meet enterprise-specific needs be underpinned by a clear policy statement that enterprise-specific training is the responsibility of the enterprise. Training may be tailored to meet enterprise-specific needs, but there must be a balance between industry-wide and enterprise-specific training, and the portability of skills and maximising the use and integrity of the system of portable national qualifications must be paramount.

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Pricing o f training

7.97 State governments determine the price to be paid to Registered Training Organisations under User Choice arrangements. The price is usually expressed in dollars per student contact hour with the maximum payment being determined by the nominal hours of training set for each program. The hourly rate varies from state to

state and may vary within states. Some states, such as New South Wales, structure their prices according to the method of delivery. In Queensland the price paid for training differs between regions in recognition of differing costs of delivery in some

regions.

7.98 A high level of dissatisfaction was expressed to the Committee about the level of pricing and other arrangements relating to payment for apprentice and trainee training. The most common concern was that the prices set do not adequately reflect the costs of training delivery. TAPE Directors Australia (TDA) outlines some of the additional costs associated with the introduction of New Apprenticeships. These

include the time and resources required to liaise and consult with employers, group training companies, New Apprenticeships Centres (NACs) and other stakeholders, to implement National Training Packages, to find work experience placements, and to

provide assessment services. In regard to assessment costs, for example, TDA argues that the setting up of simulated work environments purely for the purposes of assessment is very expensive when the physical and human resources are taken into account.59

7.99 TDA’s concerns are shared by others. Smith reported that providers in his study believe that a significant amount of work is required in order to ensure that the pricing of training is fair and truly reflective of the costs of providing quality training to apprentices and trainees. A particular concern was that pricing levels fail to provide

sufficient funds to meet the learning support needs of trainees and apprentices.60

7.100 In submissions to the Committee, some providers, mainly TAPE, report difficulties in providing workplace delivery at the prices currently offered by state training authorities. One TAPE Institute argues that:

Without a change to the current funding arrangements, training in the workplace has the potential to degenerate to an assessment service that recognises current competency, with very limited training provided by the RTO to apprentices/trainees.61

59 Submission 136, TAPE Directors Australia, vol.8, p.2250

60 Dr L Smith, The Impact o f User Choice on the Queensland Training Market, Qld Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations, March 1999, p.ix

61 A TAPE institute, quoted in K Schofield, Report o f the Independent Review o f the Quality o f Training in Victoria's Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, May 2000, p.24

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7.101 Unions and industry bodies also argue that the costs involved in the shift to on the job training and assessment are not recognised in apprenticeship and traineeship pricing models.62 The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry warns against underestimating the resources needed for fully on the job training:

One of the issues which needs further consideration is the extent of resources applied to fully on-the-job training and the relative costs to undertake this activity as opposed to fully off-the-job or combined training arrangements. An underlying assumption by states and territories in

allocating resources for on the job training has been that costs would be reduced even though employers need additional support and training activity needs adequate verification in order to ensure that qualifications can be

issued to meet industry standards.63

7.102 The Australian Industry Group reports that many Registered Training Organisations complain of the additional workload that comes with monitoring the delivery of on the job training within current funding arrangements, while the Australian Retailers Association claims that funding for on the job delivery is too

inadequate to enable RTOs to provide significant support to individual workplaces.64

7.103 The Schofield report on the Queensland traineeship system concludes that ‘the pricing list steers providers to pursue particular traineeships and to pursue ‘fully on- the-job delivery modes.... prices in Queensland have worked successfully to ensure quantity and efficiency gains (Queensland can deliver more traineeships at a lower delivery cost), rather than quality and effectiveness.65

7.104 TAPE Directors Australia claims that inadequate resources are forcing TDA members to reduce the hours of off-the-job training. In many instances, traineeships, typically 400 hours off the job, are being reduced to 300 hours. Some institutes have

been forced to withdraw from delivering New Apprenticeship programs because of ‘thin markets’ and costs of additional travel time. Some TAPE institutes continue with New Apprenticeships by cross-subsidising programs.66

7.105 Schofield’s findings are consistent with TDA’s claims. Schofield found that where prices are low and costs high, savings are being achieved by:

62 K Schofield, Report o f the Independent Review o f the Quality o f Training in Victoria's Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, May 2000, p.24

63 Submission 137, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, vol.8, p.2272

64 Submission 64, Australian Industry Group, vol.3, p.721. Submission 72, NSW Primary Industry Training Advisory Body Ltd, vol.3, p.850. Submission 65, Recreation Industry Training Company Ltd, vol.3, p.732. Submission 124, Australian Retailers Association, vol.7, p. 1996

65 K Schofield, Independent Investigation into the Quality o f Training in Queensland’s Traineeship System, July 1999, p.59

66 Submission 136, TAPE Directors Australia, vol.8, p.2250

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• reducing the quantum of facilitated learning in the workplace and increasing the quantum of self-managed learning;

• minimising investment in the development of learning materials, teaching technologies, equipment and materials supplied and other teaching resources;

• increasing the use of sessional staff;

• minimising the monitoring and management of workplace delivery by the RTO and relying to a high degree on the individual trainer’s professionalism; and

• cutting professional development to the bone.

7.106 Schofield found that the cumulative impact on quality appears in some fields and some locations to be quite significant and the longer-term prospects for quality teaching and training are not always positive.67

Reduced funds to actual delivery

7.107 Schofield also found some undesirable practices emerging in the apprenticeship and traineeship market as multiple players try to gain some financial advantage by offering various brokerage deals and undertaking vigorous marketing activities. These are resulting in reduced funds being available for actual training

delivery.68

7.108 Some of the practices include brokers charging employers for services that New Apprenticeship Centres (NACs) provide free of charge, the payment of commissions for directing business to particular NACs, and the soliciting of payments

from RTOs in return for business.

7.109 Schofield, observing that it seems that Training Agreements have become tradeable commodities within some parts of the training market, quite rightly comments that this is a dangerous development undermining their value.69

7.110 The Committee strongly agrees with Schofield that these practices are diverting more and more of the training dollar away from actual training delivery and that this inevitably reduces the quality of training.

Resource allocation between VET and New Apprenticeships

7.111 It is clear from submissions that there is a perception among some VET stakeholders that the priority given to New Apprenticeships in national policy, national priorities and funding is diverting resources from other equally important

67 Schofield, K, Delivering Quality, report o f the Independent Review o f the Quality o f Training in Victoria’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, Office of Post-compulsory Education, Training and Employment, Melbourne, 2000, p.25

68 ibid p25

69 ibid p25

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forms of VET. User Choice is seen to be the primary instrument through which funds are being diverted.

7.112 The Committee notes that neither the Commonwealth nor ANTA determine how funds are apportioned between New Apprenticeships and other forms of VET. This is a state responsibility, as are the methods used by states and territories to allocate funds across the VET sector and between priorities within their own state or territory. However, the ANTA MINCO decisions on User Choice and the priority to be accorded New Apprenticeships has undoubtedly placed pressure on the states and territories regarding the proportion of VET funding allocated to New Apprenticeships.

7.113 Current data collection arrangements do not separate operating expenditures on VET provision generally from expenditures on apprentices and trainees. However,:

...it is possible to make an informed lower-bound estimate of the public- sector operating expenditures on apprentices and trainees. For 1998 this estimate is $600 million out of the total operating expenditures of $4.01 billion, based on the assumption that 15 per cent of all students undertaking VET with providers in receipt of public funds are apprentices and trainees. This estimate is a conservative one because the proportion of VET students who are apprentices and trainees may be more than 15 per cent and the courses in which apprentices and trainees enrol are known to involve above­ average delivery costs.70

7.114 ANTA states that due to the high priority that states and territories have accorded New Apprenticeships, between 20-25 per cent of total public VET delivery budgets of states and territories is being directed to New Apprenticeships.71 7 2 Victoria, for example, anticipates that 30 per cent of its public delivery budget will be needed for this purpose by the end of 1999.'" Apprentices and trainees are variously said to make up between 14 and 20 per cent of total VET clients.73

70 Submission 74, National Centre for Vocational Education Research, vol.4, p.889

71 NCVER financial data do not separate expenditure attributable to New Apprentices from total public VET expenditure. The estimate of 20-25 per cent, provided by DETYA, is obtained by multiplying the number of New Apprentices by 320 (an estimate of the average annual hours of training received by New Apprentices) by $13.40 (the average cost of a person-hour of publicly funded training in 1998), and taking this as a proportion of total public VET expenditure. Submission 68, Dept of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, vol.3, p.771. Dept of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, further information 18 August 2000, p.332. Australian National Training Authority, Annual National Report 1998, 1999. vo.3, p.78

72 Submission 107, Australian National Training Authority, vol.5, p. 1458

73 DETYA suggested that New Apprentices are 14.3 per cent of publicly funded VET participants. ANTA suggested 15 per cent; the NCVER, 20 per cent. DETYA explained: ‘The estimate o f 14.3% in our submission is based on a simple calculation of the number of New Apprentices at a given point in time (30 December 1998) as a proportion of the total VET clients (1.5 million). This produces a conservative estimate at the lower bound. The NCVER have essentially done the same calculation... but they have added in an estimate of the exits (completions, cancellations, withdrawals) during the period. This produces an estimate nearer the upper bound.’ Submission 68, Dept of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, vol.3, p.771. Submission 107, Australian National Training Authority, vol.5. p. 1459. Submission

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7.115 As stated above, ANT A reports that so far all states and territories have been able to fund the significant growth in New Apprenticeships through various means including efficiency gains, by drawing on funds set aside for other purposes or through managing cash flows.74

7.116 The Australian Industry Group expresses concern over the emergence of information from the various state training agencies that the current focus on New Apprenticeships is diverting resources from vocational training places outside of New Apprenticeship arrangements. The Australian Industry Group argues that:

Given that industry is reporting higher level skill requirements at all occupational levels, a balance should be found between the competing objectives of employment based initiatives applying to the entry level workforce (representing 4 per cent of the labour force in any one year) and

the need to develop a training culture and skill acquisition across the remaining and future workforce.75

7.117 Torrens Valley Institute of TAFE suggests that

...it would appear that funding for the increased number of New Apprenticeships taken up by employers has been largely at the expense (actual or through opportunity costs) of other VET and labour market programs.76 7 7

7.118 WINETAC also comments that:

.. .the increasing VET resource allocation to the new apprenticeship scheme is reducing the resourcing available for training through other programs more appropriate to the status of the wine industry workforce. This is limiting the uptake of training in the industry.'7

Industry investment in VET

7.119 The reforms to VET in recent years have provided industry with a much greater capacity than previously to influence both the supply side and the demand side of training. Industry influences the demand side of the training market through direct

expenditure on training, its choice of training provider (particularly through User Choice), and its choice of the content of training (through the use of National Training Packages). Industry influences the supply side of the training market through its role in the development of National Training Packages and its greater role in advising on

industry needs and in decision making in the VET system.

74, NCVER, vol.4, p.886. Dept of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, further information 18 August 2000, p.332

74 Submission 107, Australian National Training Authority, vol.5, p. 1458

75 Submission 64, Australian Industry Group, vol.3, p.716

76 Submission 88, Torrens Valley Institute Council, vol.5, p.l 191

77 Submission 73, Wine Industry National Education and Training Advisory Council Inc. vol.3, p.870

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7.120 Industry’s enhanced role in VET carries with it obligations, particularly in relation to investment in VET. Investment in VET is an integral feature of a strong training culture. It reflects employers’ commitment to training, and is an indicator of the extent to which employers are meeting their training obligations.

Creating a training culture

7.121 ANT A observes that governments have been interested in encouraging industry to train for about as long as governments have been involved in funding VET: a long time.78

7.122 Dawkins in 1991 described a training culture as:

.. .one that puts a high value on training, not just in people’s early years, but as a continuing process of lifelong personal and career development. A training culture sees training as an investment and demands quality training. In a training culture there is a partnership between employers and their industries, learners and training providers.79

7.123 The Employment and Skills Formation Council observed that prior to and up to the late 1980s the institutional and industrial environment in Australia contained major disincentives to training for both employers and employees. The impediments

included rigid award structures, poaching, absence of career paths, high labour turnover, limited access to training and poor management attitudes to training. Training activity by employers was uneven, with as many as one third of all Australian enterprises providing no formal training to their employees. Successive Commonwealth governments have sought to remove the disincentives and actively encourage employers to train. Measures included financial incentives, micro­ economic reform, restructuring of industrial awards and vocational education and training restmcturing and reform.

7.124 From 1990 onwards, industry participation and influence in training became more visible. Industry representatives such as the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Business Council of Australia were appointed to various key government advisory bodies, along with representatives of unions, which, at that time, were considered to be part of industry. Key industry figures such as Ivan Deveson,

Brian Finn, Eric Mayer and Laurie Carmichael were appointed to head major inquiries focussing on critical areas of training reform.80

7.125 In 1990-91, the Commonwealth decided that more forceful measures were required to increase industry investment in training and introduced the Training

Australian National Training Authority, further information 9 August 2000, p.286

Dawkins, J.S., Improving Australia's Productivity, paper presented to ‘Towards a Skilled Australia’ conference, Sydney, March 1991

Employment and Skills Formation Council, The Good, the Bad and Everything in Between, National Board of Employment, education and Training, AGPS, Canberra, 1996, p.9

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Guarantee legislation. This legislation required employers with a turnover above a set limit to spend a minimum amount on training.

7.126 Another major initiative aimed at generating greater ownership of training among employers and their industries was the establishment of ANTA in 1992 with a five member Board drawn from industry. Creating a leadership role for industry has been an objective of both ANTA Agreements to date.

7.127 The creation of a ‘training culture’ as a separate identifiable objective within the VET system has only been agreed nationally since the May 1998 meeting of ANTA MINCO. A major new initiative to instil in the community and employers the desire to acquire skills that are valued, and to engage in lifelong learning is the National Marketing Strategy for Skills and Learning agreed to by ANTA MINCO at

its June 2000 meeting.

7.128 It appears that despite years of encouragement, some sectors of industry still do not train. The Australian Industry Group’s study Training to Compete suggests that even when there are good intentions and strong motivation to train, many employers do not do so:

While a significant majority (of employers surveyed) identified training as an essential competitive tool for the future (82 per cent); expected to invest in training at all levels in the future (between 50 and 60 per cent depending upon the level); and asserted strong motivations to train relating to

establishing competitive edge (74 per cent), innovation (70 per cent) and support for research and development (44 per cent); further investigation suggests that many firms are not able to carry through on these intentions and motivations. This further analysis based on modelling of the survey

results, shows that the vast majority of firms asserted strong reasons to train but were only doing so at a low level.

The survey of Australian Industry Group companies helps to explain some of the barriers faced to investment in learning. The blunt reality is that a majority of companies often see training as a cost and a disruption.81

7.129 Construction Training Australia observes that although historically there had been training for a few established trades, there is no real training culture in Australia.82

7.130 Countering these views are comments such as:

The training culture of the industry is still evolving with more people progressively recognising the benefits of training, particularly as many government services are reduced or removed.83

81 The Allen Consulting Group, Training to Compete - the training needs o f industry - report to Australian Industry Group, n.d., p.77

82 Submission 60, Construction Training Australia, vol.3, p.670

108

The introduction of a Retail Training Package has, for the first time, encouraged and sponsored the development of a training culture in the retail industry.8 3 84

Many companies are starting to develop a ‘training culture’.85

7.131 ANTA’s National Project report on alternative pathways to AQF III in traditional trade occupations observes that workforce restructuring and changes in the way personnel are deployed, particularly through the downsizing of organisations, and outsourcing of functions, has created an employment environment which does not support an employer’s commitment to training. In addition, the related development of the widespread emergence of labour hire companies, which typically do not train apprentices, has acted to erode the level of trade training nationally. There has also been an increase in temporary and casual employment where less investment in training occurs.86

7.132 ABS surveys show a strong decline in employer investment in training following the abolition of the training guarantee.

7.133 The Committee believes that there are signs of a strong training culture in some industry sectors. This is evidenced by the research conducted as a basis for the development of the National Marketing Strategy for Skills and Learning in which 44 per cent of respondents were classed as high valuers of training. A further 37 per cent valued training although their focus appeared to be on immediate training needs. The Committee was inclined to suspect that the latter group may also have placed more interest in enterprise-specific training than training with industry wide applicability, but there was no evidence to support this.

7.134 The Committee is concerned that very little progress seems to have been made in generating a training culture among small business employers, which, as the Department of Industry, Science and Resources observes, is where most of the enterprises and employees are. The continuing non participation of these enterprises and employees in training limits the opportunities for VET to contribute to the strengthening of Australia’s skills base.

Level o f industry investment in training

7.135 There are no definitive measures of the extent or strength of a training culture in Australia but some observations can be made from an examination of a number of relevant indicators. One of the few sources of hard national level data on industry

83 Submission 46, Agricultural and Horticultural Training Council of South Australia, vol.2, p.427

84 Submission 35, NSW WRAPS Industry Training Council, vol.2, p.314

85 Submission 40, ASCET Flexible Training, vol.2 , p.347

86 Australian National Training Authority, Alternative pathways to the AQF Qualifications (National Project report), ANTA, Brisbane, 2000, p.5

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investment in VET is now more than four years old, the ABS having discontinued the Employer Training Practices survey undertaken in 1993 and 1996.

7.136 ANT A advises that the ABS is unable to repeat the survey in its previous form and that ANT A has been exploring other options to collect information on employer training activity. One of the options involves using the hours o f employer-sponsored

training received by the workforce collected through the ABS household Survey of Education and Training Experience.

7.137 According to ANTA, preliminary analysis indicates that, between 1993 and 1997, there was an increase in the level of employer sponsored training. ANTA cautions that this increase is not consistent with expenditure figures for 1996 but suggests that the change from 1993 to 1996 in the ABS surveys may reflect the effect

of the suspension in 1994 and subsequent abolition in 1996 of the Training Guarantee.87

7.138 ANTA advises that it is estimated, using the 1996 figures, that private enterprises contribute in total an estimated 45 per cent (nearly $4 billion) of the national expenditure on training.88

7.139 The Department of Industry, Science & Resources (DISK) advised the Committee that a comparison of 1994 and 1996 data showed that industry expenditure per employee for the total of all industries actually fell in the period by about 3 per cent. For manufacturing as a whole, the fall was over 5 per cent but within

manufacturing there were extremely high variations. Similarly, within the services sector there were enormous variations. The Department was concerned about this trend:

The decline in expenditure on industry training presumably reflects assessments by employers of the benefits they receive from the training. ... It suggests that much of Australian industry is not yet convinced of the implications for training of the trends towards the knowledge-based

economy and the potential benefits to individual firms arising from investment in training.89

7.140 DISK also commented that while approximately 60 per cent of Australia’s enterprises provide some level of structured or unstructured training for employees each year, the majority of this training can be attributed to large and medium

87 Australian National Training Authority, further information 9 August 2000, p.286. The first year of operation of the Training Guarantee legislation was 1990-91.

88 Australian National Training Authority, Annual National Report 1998, Vol. 3, ANTA, Brisbane, 1999, p.119

89 Submission 109, Department of Industry, Science and Resources, vol.5, p. 1517

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enterprises. This commitment to training is less evident in the small business sector where most enterprises and employees are found.90

7.141 The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) challenged the use of the ABS data because it is more than four years old. ACCI comments that it is difficult to quantify the precise extent of industry expenditure on training particularly given the substantial amount of training in the workplace which is informal. The figures also do not incorporate the salary component of those undertaking training which, if included, would substantially increase the proportion of costs borne by employers. ACCI expressed concern that there has been some ill-informed debate around public-private sector cost shifts in training which do not reflect the significant outlay by business on training which is relevant to their needs.91

7.142 DETYA also challenged the use of the ABS data on the basis of the effect of the abolition of the Training Guarantee.92

7.143 In its Annual National Report for 1998, ANTA provided the following table of estimated enterprise expenditure on structured training during 1998. The table was compiled using the ABS 1996 Employer Training Expenditure Survey, plus the NCVER report on Vocational Education and Training Financial Data for 1998 plus updated information prepared initially by the Allen Consulting Group.

Table 7.2:Estimate of enterprise expenditure on structured training, 1998

$ billion per cent

ancillary trading 0.088 2

in-house training 1.846 48

external training 0.672 17

equipment suppliers and manufacturers 1.045 27

other fee for service revenue 0.235 6

total enterprise expenditure* 3.886 100

* monies paid to employees during the training are excluded Australian National Training Authority, Annual National Report 1998, vol.3, p. 119

7.144 The Committee finds it frustrating that there is no quantitative data available that provides both an indication of total industry investment in training and a breakdown by areas of expenditure. Nor is there quantitative data available that allows historical comparisons on the level of industry investment in training. Thus, although research referred to below suggests that a large majority of employers value and intend to provide training, there is no evidence of the level of that commitment in financial terms. The Committee is mindful of the Australian Industry Group’s study

90 Submission 109, Department of Industry, Science and Resources, vol.5, p. 1513

91 Submission 137, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, vol.8, p.2271

92 Mr R Manns (DETYA), Hansard, Canberra, 21 February 2000, p52

I l l

that concludes that even where there are good intentions and strong motivation to train, many employers do not proceed with training plans.

7.145 The Committee urges ANT A and DETYA to continue to pursue as a matter of urgency options for collecting data on industry training activity.

The Committee recommends that:

ANTA and DETYA continue to pursue options for collecting data on employer training activity and expenditure and for establishing a benchmark that can be used to assess changes in employer investment over time.

Impediments to the development o f a training culture

7.146 The Employment and Skills Formation Council identified a broad range of factors that create negative employer attitudes toward training.93 These include:

• lack of awareness, understanding or acceptance of changes in the training system, or confusion created by the pace of change;

• lack of awareness, understanding or acceptance of arguments promoting training or suspicion of motives behind training promotion;

• cost;

• both real and perceived lack of relevance of available training to the individual enterprise;

• unsatisfactory experience with the Commonwealth Employment Service or previous trainee, or alienation caused by training provider marketing strategies; and

• too much paper work and bureaucratic complexity.

7.147 The National. Marketing Strategy referred to earlier is based on research that categorises employers according to their attitudes towards training: the High Valuers are those strongly committed to all forms of training; the Here and Now are employers are more concerned with immediate training needs; the Not Interested are employers who do not engage in any formal structured training.

The Not Interested segment of employers contains an over-representation of small employers, male respondents, firms operating fewer than 10 years and turnover less than $5m. This segment does not value training as much as other employers, sees problems associated with training (casual, part-time

staff and costs of implementing the learning), feels that too many training

93 Employment and Skills Formation Council, The Good, the Bad and Everything in Between. National Board of Employment, Education and Training. AGPS, Canberra, 1996

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dollars are spent on meeting government requirements, has concerns about the quality of private provider training, and at an individual enterprise level is least likely to offer training to their employees in the next 12 months. The Not Interested employers represented 19 per cent of respondents to a survey of employers undertaken as part of the research based for the National Marketing Strategy.

The Here and Now segment of employers contains an over-representation of large employers, female respondents, rural/regional firms, firms operating 5­ 10 years and turnover of $10 million or more. This segment values training, sees few problems associated with training, prefers on the job training, is less likely than other segments to value employees' learning on their own time (86% vs 98% of the other segments), does not feel that too many training dollars are spent on meeting government requirements, has no

concerns about training provided by private firms and is likely to offer training in the next 12 months. The Here and Now employers represented 37 per cent of respondents to the National Marketing Strategy employer survey.

The High Valuers segment of employers contains an over-representation of medium size employers, metropolitan firms, firms operating 10 or more years and turnover of $5m or more. This segment is likely to value training, see few problems associated with training but does not have a bias toward on the job training value non-work employee learning, feel that too many training dollars are spent on meeting government requirements, have concerns about private provider training and offer training in the next 12 months. The High Valuers represented 44 per cent of the respondents to the National Marketing Strategy employer survey.94

What should be industry’s share o f training investment?

7.148 There seems to be no consensus on the respective obligations of industry and government in the VET system. For example, the Australian Industry Group commented:

Ai Group believes that there is a responsibility for both industry and government as well as individuals in the development of skill enhancement and career opportunities. The respective funding obligations of each party have never been clearly identified.95

7.149 The Victorian TAPE Association argued that since the labour market is moving in favour of higher skills, industry ought to take greater responsibility for developing those skills. However -- Australia’s training culture is not yet sufficiently developed to warrant an

expectation that industry will accept this responsibility on its own. In the face of continued economic caution being exercised by the private sector, it

Australian National Training Authority, National Marketing Strategy fo r Skills and Learning

Submission 64, Australian Industry Group, vol.3, p.717

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remains for the Government to invest a greater proportion of public spending in education.96

7.150 The Australian Council of Trade Unions also believes that:

‘the primary responsibility for the funding of structured training leading to a recognised qualification lies with government...’

... The public policy objective of improving the nation’s skills base to achieve greater competitiveness is the advantage of Australia as a whole and should be met essentially through equitable contributions via the tax

system.97

Increasing industry’ investment in training

7.151 A range of suggestions was made in submissions on possible approaches to increasing industry investment in training.

7.152 The New South Wales Government was concerned that the relative decline of traditional apprenticeships and the growth of VET in schools, represent a shift of responsibility to the public sector.98 It argued that declining employer expenditure on training places higher demands on government and individuals, and a future approach to resourcing must explore the potential to encourage industry to develop a ‘whole business’ focus on training investment which extends beyond a reliance on

government subsidies.99

7.153 The Tasmanian Government suggested that industry should fund the training of existing employees while government gives priority to new entrants.100 The Australian Council for Adult Literacy suggested some form of ‘training obligation’ on larger enterprises.101 1 0 2 1 0 3 The Construction Industry Training Board was favourably

disposed to sectoral industry levies (there are several in the building industry).1" The Housing Industry Association opposed this, arguing that if training delivered by a provider is any good, that training will be supported by people willing to pay for it.10' The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) said that the history of

the former Training Guarantee legislation makes it clear that prescribing involvement

96 Submission 128. Victorian TAPE Association Inc., vol.7, p.2083

97 Submission 140, Australian Council of Trade Unions, vol.9, p.2497

98 Dr J McMorrow (NSW Department of Education and Training), Hansard, Canberra, 5 July 2000, p.810

99 Submission 140, New South Wales Department of Education and Training, vol.9, p.2440

100 Submission 83, Government of Tasmania, vol.4, p. 1078

101 Submission 134, Australian Council for Adult Literacy, vol.8, p. 1725

102 Mr D Strain (Construction Industry Training Board), Hansard, Adelaide, 16 May 2000, p.530

103 Submission 93, Housing Industry Association, vol.5, p.1266

114

can actually be counter-productive. ACCI did not object to levy schemes originating within certain industries, providing contribution is voluntary.104

7.154 The Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations argued that in the absence of a compulsory training levy, the only way to increase employers’ contributions is to make the services of the VET system attractive enough for employers to want to invest in it.105

7.155 The Committee notes the agreement of ANTA MINCO to a National Marketing Strategy for Skills and Learning but considers there are other measures that need to be taken in regard to industry investment in training. It is apparent to the Committee that industry investment in training, and the returns to industry by way of

incentives and subsidies and other measures, are regarded as two separate policy areas. The Committee’s view is that they are, in fact, two sides of the one coin and need to be considered as a whole.

7.156 The Committee considers a fundamental review is needed that examines both employer contributions, in all forms, to training, and the returns or benefits received by employers through the combination of all incentives (both state and Commonwealth) such as grants, tax concessions, subsidies for the employment of apprentices etc. When a sounder understanding of the level and areas of industry

investment in training is obtained, more strategic and effective targeting of incentives and subsidies will be possible.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) an independent review of employer investment in training be undertaken. The review should take account of both employer contributions, in all forms, to training, and returns or benefits received by employers through the combination of all incentives (both state and Commonwealth) such as grants, tax concessions, subsidies for the employment of apprentices and trainees, workers’ compensation arrangements etcetera. The review should investigate measures which could be introduced to lift the level of enterprise investment in vocational education and training which leads to national qualifications, including:

(i) options to encourage and support cooperative schemes at the industry level which work toward this objective;

(ii) incentives which could be introduced to encourage firms to make additional investment,

104 Submission 137, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, vol.8, p.2271

105 Mr P Noonan (Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations), Hansard, Canberra, 5 July 2000, p.791

115

(iii) the establishment of a target of a minimum investment by each enterprise equivalent to (say) 3 per cent of payroll to be spent on training (exclusive of the wages of those being trained) and the marketing and monitoring of this target;

(iv) measures to ensure that minimum levels of investment in training leading to national qualifications by individual enterprises are a condition of the letting of government tenders, infrastructure projects and contracts;

(v) the benefits which would flow from, and the costs of, extending the research and development tax concession arrangements to include investment in vocational education and training which leads to national qualifications where the employer spends more than (say) 3 per cent of payroll on training; and

(vi) changes to the Commonwealth New Apprenticeships Financial Incentives Program including the feasibility and likely effectiveness of varying the rate in different industry sectors to encourage training in industries that suffer skill shortages.

(b) ANTA MINCO approve the terms of reference for the review following advice from the Commonwealth and ANTA CEOs.

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C

HAPTER 8

ASSURING QUALITY IN VET PROCESSES AND OUTCOMES

The National Training Framework

8.1 The importance of the National Training Framework (NTF) to the quality of VET processes and outcomes is underscored by ANTA’s description of the Framework as ‘the backbone of the national vocational education and training

system’.1 Its two key elements, the Australian Recognition Framework and National Training Packages, incorporate principles, national standards, and protocols intended to provide comprehensive quality assurance across the national VET system. DETYA comments that:

...the National Training Framework provides the basis for states and Territories to implement consistent arrangements for quality assurance and ongoing quality improvement in the VET sector. It also provides a basis for national monitoring of quality assurance.2

8.2 ANTA also advises that the National Training Framework provides two of the three particular quality assurance mechanisms underpinning New Apprenticeships: the registration of the training provider under the ARF arrangements and the endorsement

of the Training Package. The third quality assurance process is the registration of the training agreement.3

8.3 Under the National Training Framework, states and territories are responsible for the registration and quality assurance of registered training organisations (including monitoring performance and outcomes across all providers within their jurisdiction). The National Training Quality Council (NTQC), formerly the National Training Framework Committee, is responsible for processes associated with the

development, endorsement and quality assurance of National Training Packages. In addition, the NTQC has a responsibility for providing information and advice to the ANTA Board on the operation of the Australian Recognition Framework in each state and territory for inclusion in reports to the ANTA Ministerial Council.

The Australian Recognition Framework

8.4 The fundamental purpose of the Australian Training Framework (ARF) is to ensure quality in both VET processes and outcomes. The ARF is also a key strategy to enhance labour mobility by ensuring national consistency in, and national recognition

1 Submission 107, Australian National Training Authority, vol.5, p.1454

2 Submission 68, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, vol.3, p.769

3 Submission 107, Australian National Training Authority, vol.5. p.1466

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of, VET qualifications; and to facilitate the development of a training market through streamlined processes for national registration and recognition of VET providers.

8.5 The concept and the objectives of the Australian Recognition Framework received strong support in submissions from most stakeholders. Joining DETYA and ANTA, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and its members expressed their strong support for the National Training Framework and all

underpinning frameworks and strategies, listing the Australian Recognition Framework and mutual recognition arrangements among elements particularly supported.

8.6 However, implementation problems with the Australian Recognition Framework are undoubtedly some of the more serious issues emerging from the Committee’s inquiry. Submissions and other evidence identify three aspects of the Framework that limit its effectiveness in ensuring quality in VET, in providing for

labour mobility, and in developing a national training market. These are the adequacy of the content of the Framework documentation, particularly the standards contained therein; the rigour with which states and territories have applied standards in VET provider registration, carried out audits and applied available sanctions; and the capacity of the Framework to achieve national consistency.

8.7 The Committee is very concerned that ANTA and DETYA, both of which have been aware for some time of the inconsistencies and legal difficulties impeding mutual recognition, did not draw these problems to the Committee’s attention. DETYA, describing the Australian Recognition Framework in its submission, claimed that ‘A provider registered in any state or territory in accordance with the standards receives recognition by all states and territories and the qualifications that it awards are nationally recognised. ’4 This is clearly not the case.

8.8 Both DETYA and ANTA in their submissions present an overly positive picture of VET in Australia, and are less than forthright about problems in the VET system, something the Committee regards as a serious matter. In particular, both organisations failed to inform the Committee of legal opinion that had been received advising of significant legal impediments to the effective operation of the Australian

Recognition Framework. Acknowledgment of this was made only after the matter had been raised in Senate Estimates hearings. This issue is discussed in more detail later in this chapter.

8.9 Both organisations need to be aware in providing submissions and evidence to the Committee that the Committee will act if it believes attempts are being made to mislead it.

8.10 Recent (30 June 2000) ANTA MINCO decisions aimed at achieving a fully integrated national VET system confirm the problems with the VET system which the

4 Submission 68, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, vol.3, p.767

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Committee’s inquiry has uncovered and which are detailed below and in other parts of this report. The ANTA MINCO resolutions cover a range of national consistency and quality assurance issues including regulatory arrangements underpinning mutual recognition. While action resulting from these resolutions may go some way to

alleviating some of the problems in the system, the Committee believes much more proactive and strategic action is needed.

Adequacy o f Standards in the Australian Recognition Framework

8.11 A view put to the Committee in several submissions and in oral evidence is that the Australian Recognition Framework (ARF) standards with which VET providers are required to comply in order to become registered, and to maintain

registration, are inadequate. They are described as being more concerned with management of training rather than the quality of training delivery, and as systems or process oriented.

8.12 Schofield, in her recent reports, raises two issues in relation to the adequacy of ARF standards. The first is the adequacy of the specification of training delivery and assessment standards in the ARF. The second is whether the outcomes are actually being achieved.

8.13 Commenting on the first issue, Schofield identifies as a problem the assumption in the ARF that teaching and learning standards are subsumed within and determined by each Training Package.5 This in turn assumes that each Training Package makes explicit the standards of ‘teaching and learning’ and that collectively they do so consistently. Schofield’s view is that this is patently not the case and that this circularity in the way training delivery standards are dealt with in the VET system

means that there are, in effect, no national training delivery standards.

8.14 The ARF standards are, according to Schofield, the result of a series of compromises about which national registration standards all Australian governments were willing at the time to support. She assesses the Standards as being low minimum

standards, and, in the light of the experience gained from their implementation for more than two years, not adequate.

8.15 Schofield concludes that neither the National Product/Service Standards for Training Delivery under the ARF, nor their associated evidence requirements, are adequate to ensure quality training delivery and quality learning outcomes.

8.16 Schofield recommends that the ARF should be amended to distinguish more clearly between quality of management processes and quality of training, and to lift

5 Schofield uses the terms ‘teaching’ and ‘learning’ standards. The Committee has adopted the term ‘delivery’ standards when referring to the need for an organisation to be skilled in teaching, learning, interpreting curriculum or National Training Packages and devising teaching strategies and teaching programs to deliver the training products within the scope of its registration.

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and broaden the scope of standards and evidence requirements for training and assessment.6 *

8.17 A NSW Government representative similarly comments on the weakness of service delivery standards:

Some years ago, when we were devising the basic assessment standards, New South Wales made a very strong push for a strong teaching and learning compliance standard in the ARF; that was, that an organisation needed to be skilled in teaching, learning, interpreting curriculum or training packages and devising teaching programs to deliver the training products that it was being registered for. In my view, the compliance standard in relation to teaching and learning in the ARF is still relatively weak. If there is one particular thing that the ARF needs to be revisited for, it is that particular standard....'

8.18 Commenting on the second issue, Schofield observes that the ARF depends heavily on a complex front-end regulatory process, with an over-reliance on checking the quality of paperwork and processes with little attention to evaluating the quality of training outcomes.8

8.19 In her Victorian report she further observes that National Product/Service Standards for Training Delivery Nos. TD1, TD2 and TD39 are more concerned with systems and potential than demonstrated capability in practice, and that both the Standards for Registration and the Training Delivery Standards fail to distinguish between evidence that a provider has the systems in place to perform against the standard and is therefore ready to provide training, and evidence that the provider does actually perform against the standard. Schofield also argues that TD5 is more about the management of Paining than training delivery. TD3, on assessment, appears, according to Schofield, to be the only standard against which a provider’s actual practice may be tested (see Table 8.1 below).

K Schofield, Report o f the Independent Review o f the Quality o f Training in Victoria’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, May 2000, pp.x, 11-14

Dr G Wilmott (NSW Department of Education and Training), Hansard, Canberra, 5 July 2000, p.812

K Schofield, Report o f the Independent Review o f the Quality o f Training in Victoria’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, May 2000, p.v

TD1: Resources for delivery and assessment; TD2: Identifying learning needs and designing training products; TD3: Assessment

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Table 8.1: National Product/Service Standards for Training Delivery

TD1

Resources for delivery and assessment

Resources for the delivery, assessment and issuance of qualifications, in the area(s) of recognition sought, meet the requirements of the relevant endorsed Training Package(s) and/or accredited course.

TD2

Identifying learning needs and designing training products

The organisation can demonstrate its ability to identify the learning needs of diverse clients and to plan/implement appropriate learning strategies. This includes the capacity

to design and adapt training products in the area(s) of recognition sought, enabling the endorsed components of the Training Package(s) and/or the accredited course(s) to be achieved.

TD3

Assessment

The organisation can demonstrate its capacity to conduct or facilitate assessment which meets the endorsed components of relevant Training Package(s) and/or the accredited course(s) in the are(s) of recognition sought.

TD4

Client services

The organisation provides timely and appropriate information, advice and support services which assist leamers/clients in achieving their desired outcomes.

TD5

Issuance of Qualifications and Statements of Attainment

Qualifications and Statements of Attainment are issued in accordance with the requirements of the AQF

Implementation handbook, the Guidelines for Training Package Developers and specific qualification requirements of the relevant endorsed Training Package(s) and/or the accredited course(s).

8.20 The WRAPS Industry Training Council also takes up the issue, arguing that the ARE cannot ensure the quality of the qualifications being issued when it fails to monitor any of the outputs of the system. The WRAPS ITC view is that the ‘quality’ of a training organisation’s management processes is not automatic assurance that it can produce quality outcomes. In effect, this means that there is no effective check to

ensure that the provision of service is adequate and the issuance of qualifications is valid.10

8.21 The Committee agrees that the test as to whether the provider actually performs against the standards is not simply a question of having delivery and assessment skills and using them. It is also about whether persons who are assessed as

10 Submission 44, Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services Industry Training Council Inc, vol.2, p.395

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competent against the standards are actually competent. In other words, whether the training outcomes as set out in the training package are really being achieved. The importance of this issue should not be underestimated. It goes to issues about public confidence in the value of skills achieved through national training packages, about the portability of skills and qualifications, and about the value being gained for the substantial, yet inadequate, investment by governments, employers and individuals in vocational education and training.

Australian Recognition Framework implementation by states and territories

8.22 There are a range of views on whether the state training authorities are adequately carrying out their responsibilities of registering, monitoring and auditing Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). The state training authorities themselves are positive about their achievements. In Western Australia, for example, a survey

found ‘a high level of overall satisfaction with the new quality assurance system.’11 South Australia admits that the new arrangements were ‘a significant challenge’, but adds that ‘overall the conduct of RTOs and New Apprenticeship Centres did not lead to serious doubts about the quality of training or the policy directions...’12 Victoria also admits that the growth of RTOs and New Apprenticeships since 1998 created a

‘particular challenge for monitoring and quality assurance’.13

8.23 Other submissions indicate that there is a widespread view that state and territory authorities are less than thorough in administering the Australian Recognition Framework. Concerns and criticisms relate to the lack of consistency, rigour and integrity of processes for registration, performance monitoring and auditing of providers.

8.24 The Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry, for example, considers that ‘inadequacies in the current administration, assessment and audit arrangements... must be addressed to ensure employer confidence in the National Training system.’14 Schofield’s recent review of Victoria’s apprenticeship and traineeship system found that the confidence of stakeholders in the registration

standards is ‘shaky’.15 The Australian Retailers Association maintains that the state training authorities have been ‘tardy in coming up with an effective quality assurance mechanism.’16 Construction Training Australia said that ‘state/territory Training

11 Submission 114, Ministry o f the Premier and Cabinet [WA], vol.6, p. 1820

12 Submission 129, Government o f South Australia, vol.7, p.2100

13 Submission 119, Government of Victoria, vol.7, p. 1897

14 Submission 125, Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry, vol.7, p.2026

15 K Schofield, Report o f the Independent Review o f the Quality o f Training in Victoria’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, May 2000, p. 11

16 Submission 124, Australian Retailers Association, vol.7, p. 1995

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Authorities have to be more rigorous and meticulous in conducting assessments for registration of providers and their subsequent compliance audits.’17

8.25 TAPE Directors Australia has significant concerns with Australian Recognition Framework processes:

Accreditation of RTOs does not appear to be based on their ability to deliver a training program. In many cases RTOs have no staff expertise, no training resources, no equipment or facilities and lack credibility in the industry. Evidence from the Schofield Queensland review found that 19 percent of trainees had received no training at all.

Audits of RTOs in their states and territories are not rigorous. Sanctions exist only in theory. Too much reliance is placed on front-end regulation processes which failed in Queensland.

Greater attention must be paid to evaluating the quality of training outcomes.18

8.26 Wodonga Institute of TAPE maintains the audit and inspection process is further compromised because each state has different processes and standards:

As an organisation operating in a regional area, in thin markets and on a state border, we have experienced first hand the inconvenience and inconsistencies imposed by these differences.19

8.27 Other comments from a range of stakeholders indicate the extent of concern about registration, monitoring and auditing arrangements under the Australian Recognition Framework:

• some arrangements such as the outsourcing of compliance auditing has led to conflicts of interest and unethical behaviour;

• no industry expertise sought, or involvement in, the registration of training providers, leading to RTOs being able to deliver outside their area of expertise and diminishing the value of training in the eyes of the industry;20

• staff of the regulatory authorities may not be well qualified or experienced in education and training and concentrate more on administrative matters than the quality of learning outcomes;21

17 Submission 60, Construction Training Australia, vol.3, p.667

18 Submission 136, TAPE Directors Australia, vol.8, p.2255

19 Submission 43, Wodonga Institute of TAPE, vol.2, p.380

Submission 35, NSW Retail, Wholesale and Associated Services Industry Training Council Ltd, vol.2, p.314 20

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• the current system of validation is based on a paper trail... The Department of Training has neither the expertise nor the staff to adequately monitor RTOs;"2

• the audit process for RTOs relies largely on a mechanistic check of process (such as record keeping) rather than also including a review, or spot check, of the quality of the training process;2 1 2 2 23

• the main concern with the registration and auditing of training providers is that it is process oriented and not outcome based. There seems to be an over emphasis on an orderly paper trail, which while it is important that appropriate processes and records are documented, should not be at the expense of ensuring that there is adequate delivery of the training.24

• RTOs are able to add Training Package qualifications to their scope of registration on the strength of ‘proof of purchase’ of the Package without in any way having to demonstrate their capacity to deliver, to industry requirements, those qualifications.25

• ....providers have been observed not meeting safety precautions (e.g soft footwear; cleanliness; no overalls) for particular programs. Comprehensive, systematic audit processes should address these matters ... such processes do not appear to be in place.26

• not only are governmental and regulatory bodies ill-equipped for the task of monitoring, (proactively) interrogating and enforcing standards and actions of ‘providers,’ they seem disinclined to play this role.27

8.28 Schofield’s report corroborates many of these concerns. She describes how employer bodies are seeking to set up their own endorsement schemes:

An increasing number of industry (employer) bodies are arguing for their own industry-specific standards and are seeking to become approving bodies for registration or looking to establish systems for provider endorsement following registration. While some of this activity may be motivated by the wish to develop a commercial product or extend their

21 Submission 22, Mr R Seidel, vol.l, p. 171. Similarly Submission 44, Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services Industry Training Council Inc, vol.2, p.396. Submission 122, New South Wales Teachers Federation, vol.7, p.1940

22 Submission 86, Western Australian Hospitality and Tourism Industry Training Council Inc., vol.5, p.1157

23 Submission 28, Business Skills Victoria, vol.l, p.229

24 Submission 46, Agriculture and Horticulture Training Council of SA Inc., vol.2, p.428. Similarly Submission 59, Australian Council for Private Education and Training, vol.3, p.617

25 Submission 35, NSW Retail, Wholesale and Associated Services Industry Training Council Ltd, vol.2, p.314

26 Submission 103, Australian Education Union (Tasmanian Branch), vol.5, p.1407

27 Submission 80, Victorian TAPE Students and Apprentices Network Inc., vol.4, p. 1023

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power and influence, much is the result of industry frustration with current provider registration and a genuine desire to lift the quality of providers operating within their industry.28

8.29 Many submissions argue that employers and industries should be more officially involved in quality assurance, not least because of the limited resources and expertise (as they see it) of the state training authorities. Some speak generally of ‘industry’; others mention a possible role for ITABs.29 For example, the Forest and Forest Products Employment Skills Company Ltd recommend that national and state

ITABs have input into RTO registration criteria, and that state ITABs have input into the consideration of applications for registration.30 The Rural Training Council of Australia points out that in some states the Rural ITAB is already involved in registration, in others not.31 3 2 3 3

8.30 On the other hand, the Australian Retailers Association comments that:

...attempts to rectify this situation by placing greater onus for quality assurance on under-resourced ITABs is not the answer...

...Nor is the introduction of generic quality assurance processes underpinning accreditation which requires significant investment and time. Greater commitment by state training agencies to actively involve industry

in the accreditation of RTOs and the development and implementation of audit processes is required.3"

8.31 Some argue that ANTA should have a more central role in quality assurance."” The Housing Industry Association believes auditing should be outsourced to organisations such as the Australian Quality Council that can work alongside a successful non-public training provider.34 The Australian Council of Trade Unions argues that the industry parties of trade unions and employers should have a role in auditing RTOs,35 while the Australian Education Union calls for an enhanced role in registration and auditing to be given to a national body such as the former National

28 K Schofield, Report o f the Independent Review o f the Quality o f Training in Victoria's Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, May 2000, pp.10-11. Also for example Submission 86, Western Australian Hospitality and Tourism Industry Training Council Inc., vol.5, p.l 157: ‘The Industry Training Council would like to see the wider application and enforcement of the industry recognition systems...’

29 Submission 38, National Mining ITAB, vol.2, p.334

30 Submission 117, Forest and Forest Products Employment Skills Company Ltd, vol.6, p. 1869

31 Submission 75, Rural Training Council of Australia Inc., vol.4, p.930

32 Submission 124, Australian Retailers Association, vol.7, p. 1991

33 For example, Mr T Ranford (Agriculture and Horticulture Training Council of SA Inc.), Hansard, Adelaide, 16 May 2000, p.576

34 Submission 93, Housing Industry Association, vol.5, p. 1263

35 Submission 140, Australian Council of Trade Unions, vol.9, p.2504

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Training Framework Committee.36 The National Tertiary Education Industry Union advocates a national accreditation system for all VET provision.37

8.32 The South Australian Government comments on variations in the quality of audit processes and audit criteria operating in various states/territories.38 * The Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations believes a key issue is the lack of effective exchange of information between the states and territories about the outcomes of registration and audit of specific providers.36 The

CFMEU’s experience is that none of the states are complying with the agreement reached at the ministerial level.40

8.33 Most of these claims are supported by the ANTA CEOs in their recent report to ANTA MINCO on national consistency.41

8.34 The CEOs report observes that although ministers had agreed to national principles and standards to underpin the Australian Recognition Framework, there was no agreement to consistent processes to support its implementation, particularly in relation to monitoring and auditing. The inconsistencies identified in the report

include differences in the processes for up-front registration, on-going monitoring including compliance audits, and in auditing the quality of outcomes. The CEOs observe that differences exist in the rigour, approach, and scope of assessment and monitoring at each of these stages and that from the perspective of the end user, this situation can result in a lack of confidence in the system. They further observe that to improve confidence in the quality of VET it would be desirable to have consistent

processes of auditing, more detailed national audit standards and consistent auditor criteria.

8.35 There is no doubt in the Committee’s mind that a major flaw in the Australian Recognition Framework is its lack of legal enforceability across all state boundaries. Furthermore, its Standards and Evidence requirements are not consistently and diligently enforced by states and territories within their respective jurisdictions and thus currently operate almost as a voluntary code of practice.

8.36 The Committee also considers that some of the implementation problems can be attributed to the transition arrangements for the Framework’s introduction in January 1998. Under these arrangements, all existing registered providers were deemed as Registered Training Organisations under the Framework, based on their existing registration scope. This included a deemed capacity to deliver and/or assess

Submission 110, Australian Education Union, vol.6, p.1547,1567

Submission 120, National Tertiary Education Industry Union, vol.7, p.1907

Submission 129, Government of South Australia, vol.7, p.2095

Submission 131, Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations, vol.7, p.2132

Submission 63, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, vol.3, p.704

ANTA CEOs, Report on National Consistency, report to ANTA Ministerial Council, June 2000

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equivalent qualifications within relevant National Training Packages. Deemed registration was to operate for a period of eighteen months, following which all deemed RTOs had to be able to demonstrate that they were operating in accordance with the requirements of the ART. All deemed RTOs were to be audited within three years of 1 January 1998.

8.37 These arrangements meant that the states and territories were playing ‘catch­ up’ from the time the ART was introduced. Their progress in auditing deemed RTOs varies and is subject to the level of resources they have made available for this and other ARF processes, including new RTO registrations.

8.38 The Committee is convinced that the system includes some providers of uncertain quality and that not all state processes for approving providers are entirely satisfactory. Some providers clearly focus on deriving profit from the supply (or non­

supply) of VET, rather than providing quality education services.

8.39 There are suggestions in some submissions that the resources the states and territories are applying to provider registration, performance monitoring and auditing are insufficient for the task. The Committee notes that a number of states have moved to redress some of the problems arising from inadequate ARF implementation

processes. In three states this action has been prompted by independent reports detailing problems and difficulties consistent with those identified above.

Australian Recognition Framework capacity to achieve national consistency

8.40 The strategy embodied in the Australian Recognition Framework to achieve national consistency is the Mutual Recognition of Registered Training Organisations and qualifications across state and territoiy borders. The ARF mutual recognition principles and standards were intended to ensure that a provider registered in any state

or serritory in accordance with the standards would receive recognition by all other states and territories, and that the qualifications issued by a Registered Training Provider in one jurisdiction would be similarly recognised by RTOs in all other jurisdictions.

8.41 Evidence from the states and territories indicates they have not all embraced mutual recognition fully. South Australia refers to perceptions that administrative arrangements in some states and territories may be preventing mutual recognition operating effectively.42 The Queensland Department of Employment, Training and

Industrial Relations observes that an assumption underlying the ARF mutual recognition principles is that an organisation recognised by one jurisdiction as capable of delivering a product to the required standard is equally capable of doing so across Australia. The Department explained that the Queensland experience has been that a training provider that is delivering competently in one jurisdiction will not necessarily

do so in another, and a provider that has a successful fee-for-service business will not necessarily be equally successful in meeting government expectations under User

42 Submission 129, Government of South Australia, vol.7, p.2095

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Choice arrangements. According to the Department, some of the worst examples of abuse of the traineeship system occurred where interstate providers were simply given User Choice contracts without any checking of their capacity to deliver, as occurred with the transitional arrangements discussed earlier in this chapter.43

8.42 Based on its experience, Queensland now requires all contract holders to have been audited under the ARF in Queensland, but is concerned that this practice, if applied in all states, does not become a substitute for a separate registration process in each state.44

8.43 New South Wales said that it is a strong advocate for mutual recognition of RTOs, but this puts increased pressure on state quality management systems.45

8.44 Evidence from other VET stakeholders strongly supports the contention that Mutual Recognition arrangements are not working effectively. Property Services Training, for example, observes that it is possible for almost anyone to set up as a training provider:

The current process simply requires approval in one state and then mutual recognition mles apply in other states. There needs to be a far more rigorous process put in place at both state and National level to gain approval for RTO status.46

8.45 The NSW WRAPS Industry Training Council believes that mutual recognition of RTOs, as currently administered, has facilitated arrangements which undermine the quality of delivery and assessment:

When rigour varies between various states and territories, certain RTOs will inevitably apply for registration under the less rigorous system. This has obvious consequences for the quality of outcomes and the confidence felt by both individuals and industry in the system.47

8.46 Sport and Recreation Training Australia, on the other hand, maintains that enterprises that operate on a national basis are currently frustrated with the lack of consistency in implementation across states and territories of agreed mutual recognition principles and that it is apparent that state and territory systems and processes are out of kilter with the agreed policy positions.48

43 Submission 131, Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations, vol.7, p.2133

44 ibid

45 Submission 139, New South Wales Department of Education and Training, vol.9, p.2425

46 Submission 77, Property Services Training, vol.4, p.976

47 Submission 44, Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services Industry Training Council Inc, vol.2, p.397

48 Submission 115, Sport & Recreation Training Australia, vol.6, p. 1847

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8.47 Throughout 1998 and 1999 numerous examples of the failure of the VET system to adequately deal with the maintenance of quality assurance were canvassed in Senate Estimates hearings, and were the subject of considerable media debate. The ANTA CEOs presented a paper, prepared by the NSW Department and ANT A itself,

to the April 1999 meeting of the Ministerial Council. This followed a discussion at the ANTA CEOs meeting on 2 March 1999 concerning the inadequacies of the National Training Framework’s approach to the monitoring of, and quality assurance in, the national training system. As it said:

For this paper the core question...is the quality of outcomes. How do we know whether the new arrangements are delivering high or higher quality and consistency of training outcomes, which are effectively targeted to meet the training needs and priorities? Put another way, how can states and territories, ANTA, the Commonwealth and industry be assured that resources are being used effectively under these new arrangements to

maximise training quality and the efficacy of training outcomes? (Original emphasis)41'

8.48 The paper dealt with the question of accountability for the operations of the National Training Framework. It argued for a clear, nationally agreed approach to quality assurance. The CEOs Committee concluded that there was a need to identify potential risk of fraud and unethical practice with regard to the National Training

Framework.

8.49 The ANTA CEOs Committee has continued to present reports to MINCO on the issue of national consistency. The CEOs June 2000 report on national consistency confirms that mutual recognition of providers is a particular problem area in ARF

implementation, citing inconsistencies in automatic recognition between states and the requirement by some states for providers to go through additional registration and recognition processes. The report comments that these processes appear not to meet the spirit of the mutual recognition principles.4 9 50

8.50 In October 1999 ANTA presented a report to the Ministerial Council on the implementation of the National Training Framework and New Apprenticeships. The ANTA CEOs Committee had met on 25 August 1999 to consider key aspects of quality assurance in the VET sector. It met again on 28 September 1999, and considered possible legal issues related to the sharing of financial and other audit

information across jurisdictions. The ANTA CEOs agreed to develop appropriate sets of protocols to deal with:

• the application of the Australian Recognition Framework in cases where a Registered Training Organisation litigates with another jurisdiction over contractual or related matters;

49 Quality assurance and the national training system, ANTA CEOs Committee paper, 30 April 1999, p.6

50 ANTA CEOs, Report on National Consistency, report to ANTA Ministerial Council, June 2000, pp. 1-2

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• assuring that jurisdictions exchange promptly information concerning cancellations (or suspensions) or registrations;

• the feasibility of mutual recognition applying in reverse; and

• the possibility that deregistration in one jurisdiction might affect registration in another.

8.51 It further resolved that these matters should be further investigated by a specialist national law firm, to obtain advice on the relationship between these protocols and the legislative arrangements currently in place across Australia.

8.52 ANTA’s submission to the Senate Inquiry claimed that the policy settings for the current national frameworks were satisfactory. It stated:

The regulatory arrangements for New Apprenticeships are grounded in three particular quality assurance mechanisms: the registration of the training provider (under the ART arrangements), the registration of the training agreement (a state/territory responsibility) and the endorsement of the Training Packages (under the endorsement processes of the NTFC).M

8.53 Further, the submission claimed that this was a comprehensive approach.

8.54 The ANT A and DETYA submissions to the Committee’s inquiry were received on 10 December 1999 and 26 November 1999 respectively. However, neither submission drew attention to the serious legal problems that had already been identified by the ANTA CEOs, and in subsequent evidence to the Senate Committee, on 5 July 2000, it was revealed that an ANTA working group had been operating since May 1999, considering the legal problems identified with the implementation of the Australian Recognition Framework.* 52

8.55 Notwithstanding the work of the ANTA CEOs group, ANTA’s submission to the Senate Inquiry stated that:

The Australian Recognition Framework is a comprehensive approach to national recognition of vocational education and training (Committee’s emphasis)53

8.56 On 5 July 2000, a former Acting CEO of ANTA, Mr Peter Noonan, appearing before the Committee for the Queensland Department, advised that as early as 1998, and before the Minter Ellison advice had been sought, he had been concerned about the legislative position underpinning the quality assurance framework.54

Submission 107 (Australian National Training Authority, vol.5, p. 1466

Ms Moira Scollay (Australian National Training Authority), Hansard, Canberra, 5 July 2000, p.823

Submission 107, Australian National Training Authority, vol.5, p. 1455

Mr P Noonan (Qld Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations), Hansard, 5 July 2000, p.786

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8.57 The DETYA and ANT A were questioned on the implementation of the National Training Framework and New Apprenticeships at the Estimates Committee of February 2000, and attention was drawn by Opposition senators to the existence of the legal advice that had been received by ANTA. The evidence suggests that, from at

least 1998, at the most senior levels of the Australian National Training Authority, serious concerns were being expressed about the legal foundations of the Australian National Recognition Framework and the consequent quality assurance measures.

8.58 Ms Scollay, CEO of ANTA, chairs the ANTA CEOs Committee. ANTA’s National Training Framework Committee, as described in the ANTA Annual Report, is responsible for ‘the implementation of the National Training Framework in all its

facets’. The two committees work closely together. Given the amount of time that these committees have spent discussing the issues associated with the legal impediments to the development of national consistency of regulation in the VET sector, it is surprising that neither DETYA’s nor ANTA’s submission chose to canvas

these difficulties.

8.59 There is also evidence of the failure of some states and territories to mutually recognise qualifications. The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association argued:

...a person may become a qualified hairdresser in Victoria through successfully completing an AQF Level III course at a registered private provider yet be denied the right to carry on their trade in New South Wales

because that state does not recognise the qualification as it rejects recognition of the full time training mode of delivery. ... The issue here is not which state government is right or wrong but the breakdown in national consistency between states.55

8.60 The Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET), on the other hand, believes the quality of training is diminished when an employer or ‘solid’ RTO is forced to recognise the inadequate skills base of a trainee trained by a less than

competent RTO. ACPET argues that the current system fails to provide reliable equivalence of qualifications, even though to do so is one of its major aims.56

8.61 The CEOs report referred to above states that ‘enhancing mobility in the labour market is one of the agreed objectives of the national strategy for vocational education and training yet this cannot be achieved until there is full mutual recognition of qualifications’. Such inconsistencies, according to the CEOs report,

impede the business of implementing a national system across state and territory

55 Submission 50, Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, vol.,. p.516. Similarly Submission 84, Victorian Wholesale, Retails and Personal Services Industry Training Board, vol.4, p.l 114

56 Submission 59, Australian Council for Private Education and Training, vol.3, p.623

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borders and serve to complicate what ministers intended to be streamlined and flexible recognition arrangements.57

8.62 More significant than the CEOs report is the legal advice ANTA received from Minter Ellison in relation to the operation of the ARE Mutual Recognition provisions. The legal advice is that current legislative frameworks do not allow for the full implementation of the national mutual recognition principles (that is those relating to the registration of training organisations, accreditation of courses and issuing of nationally recognised qualifications and Statements of Attainment), or for the recognition of National Training Packages in their own right.

8.63 The specific difficulties identified in the legal advice include:

• Where a training organisation has been registered by a registering authority (the primary recognition authority) in another jurisdiction, registration decisions are recognised automatically outside the primary recognition authority in only two jurisdictions; in the other jurisdictions, the legislative frameworks either

empower the registering authorities to replicate a registration without independently reconsidering the RTO’s suitability for registration (ie through an administrative process) or in two jurisdictions require an independent examination of an application for registration based on specified statutory criteria.

• All registering authorities have express powers to suspend or cancel the registration of training organisations registered within their jurisdictions, including where this is based on their conduct or operations interstate or overseas, so long as the conduct or operations are relevant to the authority’s exercise of its statutory powers and functions; however de-registration in one state or territory would not generally automatically flow to an RTO’s registration status in another state or territory (ie mutual de-registration would not generally apply).

• Not all states and territories require training organisations to be registered to deliver an accredited course.

• Only two jurisdictions provide for automatic recognition of courses accredited by another jurisdiction; most other jurisdictions rely on replication of the decision, although these powers are limited in one jurisdiction and apparently not present in another.

• Only one jurisdiction provides for specific recognition of National Training Packages, but in most others, National Training Packages fall within the ambit of ‘accredited courses’ under their legislative frameworks.

• Training Package qualifications are only formally recognised in two jurisdictions, although there is potential for this in three other jurisdictions; in

ANTA CEOs, Report on National Consistency, report to ANTA Ministerial Council, June 2000, pp. 1-2

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one jurisdiction the recognition of qualifications conferred in other jurisdictions may be replicated; two jurisdictions make no provision for the recognition of qualifications, Statements of Attainment or other competencies.

8.64 Minter Ellison further advises ANT A that it is unlikely that any jurisdiction currently has the power under legislation to share ‘confidential’ information about an RTO’s business and operations with other jurisdictions, excluding information already in the public domain.58

8.65 The Committee believes that many of the problems with the ARE arise because it attempts to achieve national consistency through what now emerge as inadequate and unenforceable mutual recognition provisions, states and territories have responsibility for administering the ARE within their own jurisdictions and for

any legislation necessary to implement the ARE. The Principles and Standards in the ARE provide broad guidance only, and as discussed above, are deficient in their scope and detail. Each state and territory interprets the requirements of the ARE in its own way, according to the relevant legislation prevailing in its jurisdiction. The legal

advice to ANT A is that neither the current legislative framework nor any of its constituent Acts fully implement the national mutual recognition principles of the ARE. Further advice is that the current legislative framework does not in any sense give effect to any of the objectives of ‘national consistency’, that is, registration,

course accreditation and Training Package endorsement are not accorded national effect.

8.66 Evidence before the Committee indicates that there is a general perception, if not agreement, by many stakeholders and clients, and also among some state and territory agencies, that there are serious deficiencies in the Australian Recognition Framework (ARE) in the scope and effectiveness of Standards, the application of Principles and Standards for registration and auditing of RTOs by states and

territories, and in the capacity of the ARE to contribute to national consistency and quality in the VET system. There is a very strong case for changing the ARE. The Committee cannot accept the argument that the system is suffering from ‘reform fatigue’ and that this therefore constitutes a justification for not remedying system deficiencies simply because this would constitute further change.

8.67 The Committee believes it is imperative that the regulatory framework promotes stability and integrity in the VET system. As stated in Chapter 6, the Committee considers that a stronger hand is needed in the management of quality in order to ensure the integrity of the system. The principles and standards of the

Australian Recognition Framework are not enforceable in law across state boundaries, state and territory management of quality assurance processes for VET are not consistent and in some states not sufficiently robust, and procedures for registration of

new providers under the ARE across the states are not always satisfactory. Neither ANTA nor the Commonwealth has the power to compel VET providers to observe the

58 Australian National Training Authority, further information 27 July 2000, p.237ff

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principles and standards of the ARE, nor states and territories to enforce them. The ultimate sanction provided by the ART, deregistration, is fraught with legal difficulties and appears little used and thus even less of a deterrent.

8.68 Leaving sole regulatory authority in the hands of the states and territories has not worked. It is no longer a viable option, particularly in the light of identified inconsistencies in legal and administrative processes.

8.69 The Committee strongly believes that a new national quality framework is needed for VET: a framework within which a tmly national, tmly integrated system can become a reality. Vocational education and training policy and the system that supports it is vital to both Australia’s economic prosperity and that of significant numbers of its people. Australia’s continued trade and financial integration into the global economy depends on increasing the knowledge, skills, flexibility and adaptability of its labour force.

8.70 In an environment of profound and rapid change, the ability to adapt, to leam and to apply new skills and knowledge becomes crucial for all: individuals, organisations, corporations, nations, including Australia. Central to the adaptive process is education, both learning for life and learning which aims to equip individuals for the world of work. Now, more than ever before, the VET system must be able to provide the world’s young people with a foundation of skills, information and concepts that are soundly based, rigorous, practical and capable of application to new and unforeseen circumstances and contexts. Those already in the workforce and those who are not, regardless of age, must also be provided with the capacity to change and to thrive in new environments. Australia cannot be allowed to continue to

languish at the lower end of the table of OECD countries in terms of skills acquisition.

8.71 In the twelve months to Febmary 2000, 698,000 workers or 8 per cent of all workers, lost their jobs involuntarily, while another 1.13 million, or 13 per cent quit voluntarily. This increasing trend for Australian workers to seek to change jobs, either voluntarily or involuntarily, emphasises the importance of broad-based, transferable knowledge and skills and the need for nationally consistent VET arrangements, particularly mutual recognition of training and qualifications.

8.72 In this context, in which Australia’s economic future is at stake, it is no longer feasible or acceptable for VET policy and the VET system to operate as disparate entities paying lip service to national goals and objectives. At a time when thinking globally has become imperative, arrangements which restrict VET to state borders can no longer be justified.

8.73 More and more of Australia’s businesses and industries are becoming national and are demanding the services of an efficient, effective, quality national VET system to increase their competitiveness. The Australian Industry Group points out that Australia currently ranks fourteenth in the World Economic Forum composite competitiveness rankings, and behind the best in terms of adults with at least upper secondary education; and in knowledge-developing activity, including spending on

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R&D. The Australian Industry Group stresses that Australia must continue to strive for world best practice. Achieving world’s best practice in VET is being seriously hindered by the failure of current arrangements in developing a national system.’9

8.74 The importance of a robust, quality driven, national vocational education and training system is evidenced in the statements from the Australian Defence Forces representatives:

The national vocational education and training system is a significant national strategic asset. It contributes significantly to the development of defence capability in peace. It will be a major source of qualified people in times of mobilisation. If the quality of the national vocational education and

training system degrades so too does defence capability. This is because the level and sustainability of our defence capability is largely determined by the means we have for growing and developing our people. Vocational education and training is the main means by which our people acquire the skills and knowledge they need.5 9 60

The Committee recommends that:

(a) the Commonwealth Parliament and the Government recognise their responsibilities to develop a truly national vocational education system to meet the challenges of achieving high levels of international competitiveness that have emerged from economic restructuring and globalisation; and

(b) the Government acknowledge that for Australia to be competitive, it must ensure that skills acquisition is given high priority, and that further structural change is accompanied by national skills redevelopment programs for those disadvantaged in employment so that labour mobility and an even spread

throughout Australian society of the benefits of economic change can be assured.

National Code fo r Quality in VET

8.75 The Committee considered several options for recreating the regulatory and quality framework for VET to provide a more effective foundation of quality on which to build the national VET system.

8.76 The Committee is attracted to a number of the arrangements for quality control set out in the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Bill 2000, particularly the establishment of a national code of practice. The ESOS national code of practice will set out legally enforceable standards and procedures for authorities

59 The Allen Consulting Group, Training to Compete - the training needs o f industry - report to the Australian Industry Group, n.d., p.2

60 Submission 87, Australian Defence Headquarters, vol.5, p. 1180

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registering providers and legally enforceable standards and procedures for providers in delivering education services.

8.77 The Committee believes that national consistency cannot be achieved without agreed, legally enforceable national standards that are consistently applied by all states and territories.

8.78 The Committee considers the Australian Recognition Framework should be replaced by a National Code for Quality in VET based on the ESOS model, and that, as foreshadowed in Chapter 6, the National Code should be made legally enforceable through Commonwealth legislation.

8.79 The National Code for Quality in VET should detail the rights, responsibilities and obligations of all relevant parties, and standards and procedures to regulate and ensure quality in all aspects of VET.

8.80 The National Code should incorporate principles, standards and procedures for the accreditation of courses and the endorsement of National Training Packages (including standards to ensure consistency and parity of qualifications).

8.81 To ensure greater consistency, diligence and integrity on the part of all states and territories in the performance of their quality assurance responsibilities, the National Code should set out requirements with which they would be expected to comply. These requirements should include a statement of mutual recognition obligations and provisions to ensure proper protection of the rights of students and apprentices and trainees. The National Code should also contain legally enforceable national standards, procedures and evidence requirements for registration, performance monitoring and auditing of training providers to be applied by states and territories.

8.82 The Committee considers a significant weakness in the ARE is the lack of explicit and comprehensive standards, procedures and evidence requirements with which registered training providers must comply in the provision of VET services. Therefore the National Code should include standards, procedures and evidence requirements covering teaching and learning, recognition of prior learning, recognition of current competency and assessment of vocational education and training, whether on the job, in the workplace or in an institutional setting. Standards, procedures and evidence requirements should also be included that relate to an RTOs VET dealings with employers, students including apprentices or trainees, and other providers in relation to the provision of VET services by that provider, and standards

and procedures required in the preparation, monitoring and implementation of Training Plans for apprentices and trainees.

8.83 The Committee would expect all standards and evidence requirements in the new National Code to be considerably higher than those currently contained in the Australian Recognition Framework and that they would include standards and evidence that relates to both the capacity of a provider to provide quality VET

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services, and to a provider’s actual performance against the standard. Much more emphasis needs to be placed on the quality of outcomes.

8.84 The Committee also considers that nationally agreed sanctions must be applied in all cases where there is a breach of the registration standards in order to safeguard quality and restore public confidence in the VET system. Accordingly the National Code should clearly set out sanctions, including fines and suspension or

cancellation of registration, to be applied to RTOs failing to comply with the Code.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) the Australian Recognition Framework be replaced with a National Code for Quality in VET. The National Code should be made legally enforceable through Commonwealth legislation. The National Code should contain a statement of the rights, responsibilities and obligations of all relevant parties, and

standards, procedures and evidence requirements to regulate and ensure quality in all aspects of VET, including consistency of implementation. Specifically, the National Code should incorporate:

• principles, standards and procedures for the endorsement of National Training Packages and, where these do not exist, for the accreditation of courses, and for the consistent national implementation of Training Packages and courses (including standards to ensure consistency and parity of qualifications, and requirements relating to the inclusion of the Mayer Key Competencies);

• requirements with which all states and territories would be expected to comply in the performance of their quality assurance responsibilities. These requirements should include a statement of mutual recognition obligations and provisions to ensure proper protection of the rights of students and

apprentices and trainees;

• legally enforceable national standards, procedures and evidence requirements for registration to provide VET services, and for performance monitoring and auditing of training providers to be applied by states and territories;

• consistent national standards for the audit process including qualifications and other requirements to be met by auditors; •

• explicit and comprehensive standards, procedures and evidence requirements with which registered training providers must comply in the provision of VET services. These should cover teaching and learning, recognition of prior learning, recognition of current competency and assessment of vocational

education and training, whether on the job, in the workplace or in an institutional setting and the preparation, monitoring and implementation of Training Plans for apprentices and trainees. The standards and evidence

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should relate to both the capacity of a provider to provide quality VET services, and to a provider’s actual performance against the standard;

• sanctions, including fines and suspension or cancellation of registration, to be applied to RTOs failing to comply with the Code;

• arrangements for a national register of VET providers, with providers being entered on the register only where the state or territory authority has certified that the provider has been visited and that compliance with the National Code has been established.

(b) ANTA commence work on establishing the National Code for Quality in VET pending the establishment of the National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority proposed in Recommendation 6.

National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority

8.85 The Committee believes primary responsibility for the National Code for Quality in VET should rest with an independent National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority (NQQAA). The NQQAA should be established as an independent statutory body by the Commonwealth under new legislation separate from but modelled on the ANTA legislation and the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Bill 2000 legislation, underpinned by an Agreement similar to the ANTA Agreement.

8.86 The Commonwealth legislation should provide for legal enforceability of the National Code for Quality in VET.

8.87 The NQQAA should subsume ANTA’s National Training Quality Council but have a broader, clearer and more independent statutory basis. The NQQAA should have responsibility for the development and endorsement of standards and National Training Packages, and in addition powers to ensure that qualifications are actually

implemented in a nationally consistent and quality manner with effective national portability and mutual recognition, and that registered training organisations actually meet standards of consistency, quality and mutual recognition.

8.88 The Commonwealth legislation should also empower the NQQAA to establish the National Code for Quality in VET, to apply and administer the National Code and the standards and other requirements therein, including the registration of VET providers, the exercise of compliance and audit powers, and the application of sanctions. In line with the ESOS model, there should be provision for the NQQAA to delegate its registration, compliance, audit and sanction powers to the states and territories.

8.89 Under these arrangements the states and territories chould continue to have first-line responsibility for quality assurance of VET delivery, including responsibility for registration of providers and for undertaking investigations into providers whose

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integrity or quality has been called into question. Where providers are found not to meet the National Code requirements, the states and territories would have delegated powers to apply sanctions that include fines and suspension or cancellation of registration. If a state or territory fails to investigate in a timely or adequate manner, the NQQAA would retain powers to initiate its own investigation and apply sanctions.

8.90 The NQQAA should establish a national register of VET providers, with providers being entered on the register only where the state or territory authority has certified that the provider has been visited and that compliance with the National Code has been established.

8.91 The membership of the NQQAA should provide a balance between national and state and territory governments, employers, unions and VET provider interests. The NQQAA should have deliberative and compliance powers as outlined above as well as a role in advising ANT A MINCO on the operation of the National Code for

Quality in VET and all aspects relating to it.

Legislative basis fo r regulating quality in VET

8.92 The Committee notes that as a result of the June 2000 ANT A CEOs report on national consistency, and a proposal put forward in that report,61 6 2 ANT A MINCO requested the ANTA CEOs to investigate and report to the November 2000 MINCO meeting on the need for nationally consistent legislation to regulate a fully integrated

national VET system, the essential elements of nationally consistent legislation and options for implementing nationally consistent legislation, including but not necessarily limited to, model national legislation.6" The Committee considers this

move is long overdue.

8.93 The Committee seriously questions why the CEOs group was not asked to investigate the feasibility of Commonwealth legislation, as well as other legislative models, and, further, why ANTA’s legal advisers were instructed that Commonwealth

legislation was not to be considered as an option to achieve national consistency in the VET system.

8.94 The Committee strongly believes that Commonwealth legislation is likely to be the only effective legislation in the long run. The Committee is aware of a number of legislative models that could be used to provide the basis for greater national consistency but considers there are significant disadvantages associated with each of

them.

8.95 The option of legislation that gives effect to national standards being framed independently by each state and territory approximates the current situation where each state and territory has its own legislative arrangements that govern mutual

61 ANTA CEOs, Report on National Consistency, report to ANTA Ministerial Council, June 2000

62 Described as legislation enacted in full in one jurisdiction and adopted through ‘application legislation in all other jurisdictions, with an agreed process for ongoing modification of the ‘model” .

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recognition. As indicated above, this model has been found not to be achieving its purpose because of the considerable discrepancies in legislation between jurisdictions and in the administrative processes for implementing that legislation. Consequently there is no national consistency.

8.96 A second model is that described as ‘model national legislation’ in the ANTA CEOs report. The Committee understands that this legislative model is also known as codified legislation and involves one jurisdiction enacting a codified form of law, with all other states and territories then enacting a law to adopt the codified form of legislation. This model would appear to provide some uniformity in the content of the legislation providing that states and territories can agree on the content and which jurisdiction should be the lead jurisdiction. There is nevertheless considerable

potential for inconsistencies in the application of standards and legislation if states and territories retain responsibility for administering them.

8.97 Uniform state and territory legislation that involves states and territories enacting legislation that is identical or substantially similar is another possible option, as is a model whereby states and territories enact legislation consistent with or incorporating model clauses which are developed through a process agreed to by all states and territories. With both these models there is great potential for inconsistent legislation to result, particularly in the content and timing of amendments to the legislation, which would need to be independently effected in each jurisdiction.

8.98 The greatest disadvantage in adopting any of the last three options is the fundamental need for each of them to be underpinned by an intergovernmental agreement which sets out an agreed process for the prescription and on-going modification of the model. There is no legislative compulsion for states and territories to comply with the intergovernmental agreement. The ANTA Agreement, for example, is an intergovernmental agreement underpinning the ANTA Act but there are many disparities between the decisions of ANTA MINCO, which the agreement supports, and the implementation by some states and territories of those decisions.

8.99 Commonwealth legislation would remove the need for provision for mutual recognition of determinations made by Authorities in another state or territory. This would also resolve issues of whether the original registering state or the away state should investigate complaints against RTOs and, as necessary, apply sanctions and remove the need for each state and territory to legislate to mutually recognise deregistration or sanctions imposed.

8.100 The Committee is aware that some concern exists about the Commonwealth’s legislative competence under the Australian Constitution to enact relevant legislation to ensure national consistency but does not accept that this argument has validity. The ESOS legislation referred to above would appear to demonstrate that such legislation is feasible. It is also likely that the corporations power in section 51(xx) and the territories power in section 122 of the Constitution are sufficient to regulate the provision of VET services. Furthermore, in view of the considerable amount of funding provided to VET by the Commonwealth, it is not unreasonable to expect the

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states and territories to facilitate arrangements that lead to achieving better value and greater quality from the Commonwealth’s investment. Similarly, employers and industries that benefit from Commonwealth funding, could be expected to support arrangements that will provide them with a greater assurance of quality in both processes and outcomes.

The Committee recommends that

(a) a National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority (NQQAA) be established as an independent statutory body by the Commonwealth under new legislation separate from but modelled on the ANTA legislation and the Education Services for Overseas Students Bill 2000, underpinned by an Agreement similar to the ANTA Agreement. The Commonwealth legislation

should empower the NQQAA to :

(i) establish the National Code for Quality in VET;

(ii) apply and administer the National Code and the standards and other requirements therein, including those relating to national consistency;

(iii) register VET providers in accordance with National Code standards and procedures;

(iv) exercise compliance and audit powers, including the application of sanctions;

(v) report and make recommendations to ANTA M1NCO on the states and territories Annual Quality Assurance Plans (see

Recommendation 8)

(vi) develop or assume responsibility for further developing and administering the system or arrangements for tracking, recording and reporting on reasons for and circumstances surrounding withdrawals, cancellations, recommencements or other event which involves an apprentice or trainee leaving an employer prior to

completion (see also Recommendation 18)

(vii) develop or assume responsibility for further developing and administering national implementation plans for National Training Packages, with particular attention paid to achieving national consistency in regard to nominal hours, sample training programs,

and identification of current and new resources to deliver training;

(viii) develop or assume responsibility for further developing and administering the national register of VET providers recommended in Recommendation 5;

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(ix) take on the role of the national professional teaching standards and registration body recommended in Recommendation 27; and

(x) report annually to the Commonwealth Parliament on the operation of the National Code for Quality in VET and all aspects relating to it.

(b) the Commonwealth legislation provide for legal enforceability of the National Code, and provisions for safeguarding the independence of the auditors (including from state training authorities);

(c) the Commonwealth legislation enable the National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority’s registration, compliance, audit and sanction powers to be delegated to the states and territories. Under these arrangements the states and territories should continue to have first-line responsibility for quality assurance of VET delivery, including responsibility for provider registration and audit and for undertaking investigations into providers whose integrity or quality has been called into question. Where providers are found not to meet the National Code requirements, the states and territories would have delegated powers to apply sanctions that include fines and suspension or cancellation of registration. If a state or territory fails to investigate in a timely or adequate manner, the NQQAA would retain powers to initiate its own investigation and apply sanctions.

(d) the membership of the NQQAA provide a balance between national and state and territory governments, employers, unions and VET provider interests. The NQQAA should have deliberative and compliance powers as set out in other parts of this Recommendation, as well as a role in advising ANT A MINCO and, as set out in (a)x. above an obligation to report annually to the Commonwealth

Parliament on the operation of the National Code for Quality in VET and all aspects relating to it.

(e) the NQQAA have all the powers and functions of the present National Training Quality Council.

(f) the National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority be funded by the Commonwealth.

Maintenance of strong role for ANT A

8.101 The Committee reiterates its strong support for ANTA and the Authority’s central role in managing key strategic aspects of the VET system and in participating in lurther reform needed to build a quality national VET system that has the capacity to provide for the diverse needs of individuals, employers, industries and the Australian community. The Committee supports a continuation of ANTA’s role in giving effect to arrangements with a strategic focus to develop and recommend on national policies and strategies. Specifically, the Committee supports the continuation

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for ANT A of core roles similar to those set out in the current ANTA Agreement. An exception is the role in the development, management, enforcement and promotion of the National Code for Quality in VET which the Committee has recommended replace the current Australian Recognition Framework and for which the National

Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority should have responsibility.

The Committee recommends that:

ANTA continue to have the following core roles:

• progressive development of the National Strategy for VET as necessary;

• provision of advice to MINCO on annual VET Plans;

• provision of advice to MINCO, in the context of the National Strategy, of the principles to be applied in the allocation of funding between states and territories and the release of Commonwealth funds;

• provision of information and advice to MINCO to assist MINCO to identify and plan for future growth requirements, including social, labour market and demographic growth, and requirements arising from major changes in factors affecting demand;

• policy review, evaluation and research on national policies agreed by Ministers from time to time;

• advising MINCO on the development of key performance measures and reporting objectives;

• ensuring agreed national data are generated;

• coordinating major national initiatives agreed by Ministers from time to time;

• administration of arrangements for payment of Commonwealth funds to the states and territories; and

• annual reports to ANTA MINCO.

National Training Packages

8.102 National Training Packages are a relatively new but critically important development in vocational education and training. They represent the final stage of the implementation of competency-based training and assessment in Australia. Under current policy arrangements they will become the basis of all nationally recognised vocational education and training provided throughout Australia. Where National Training Packages exist, Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are required to use them. All previously accredited courses covering the same vocational outcomes

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are to be superseded by Training Packages. NCVER statistics show that in 1999 approximately 9.0 per cent of all VET students are enrolled in programs based on National Training Packages.63

8.103 National Training Packages require RTOs to formally assess students against competencies, record and report competencies achieved and use the achievement of competencies as the basis for awarding qualifications.

8.104 The Committee supports the concept of National Training Packages. Among the benefits they can provide are greater flexibility, increased learning pathways, increased delivery options and increased facilitation of recognition of prior learning. Evidence before the Committee suggests, however, that their quality, in terms of content and implementation is so variable that their effectiveness overall is at risk.

8.105 Evidence was presented to the Committee that problems or deficiencies exist to some extent in a number of areas. These are discussed below.

Support fo r National Training Packages

8.106 National Training Packages are both supported and criticised in submissions. Strong support comes from national (and some state) ITABs, as might be expected given their central role in developing National Training Packages, and employers and employer associations, particularly the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Retailers Association.

8.107 Most positive submissions tend to comment on the potential of National Training Packages to deliver quality training rather than on actual experience in using National Training Packages. In many cases this is due to their relatively recent

introduction. The Manufacturing Learning Australia ITAB, for example, advises that it is only over the past few weeks or months that the new National Training Packages for their industries have been developed and/or implemented at the state/territory level:

Therefore, although we recognise that serious questions have been raised regarding the capacity [of the new structure] to deliver quality training, the substance of our submission is that, at least so far as our industries are concerned, it is far too early to say whether or not the new structure is working effectively to deliver quality training and relevant outcomes.64

8.108 Several submissions, however, did provide positive comments based on experience in using particular National Training Packages. Several ITABs stresses the positive change in employer and employee attitudes towards training as a result of

National Centre for Vocational Education Research, Statistics 1999 In Detail: Vocational Education and Training, NCVER, Adelaide, 2000

Submission 26, Manufacturing Learning Australia, vol.l, p.206

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greater flexibility, increased learning pathways, increased delivery options and increased facilitation of recognition of prior learning that they see National Training Packages providing.65

8.109 The Australian Retailers Association claims:

Training packages recognize that people leam in a myriad of ways and provide RTOs with the flexibility to tailor learning and assessment arrangements to the particular needs of individuals or enterprises while

maintaining a nationally consistent quality framework based on the effective validation of competence.66

8.110 The Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services Industry Training Council Ltd similarly maintains that:

The strength of the system lies in the involvement of industry in developing National Training Packages. This ensures that National Training Packages are representative of the cmrent and future skill needs of industry, and enables both employers and employees to have confidence in the relevant of

the qualifications issued under the system.67

8.111 State Government submissions also strongly support the concept of National Training Packages. The South Australian Government submission contends that National Training Packages have led to a significant uptake of New Apprenticeships; new industry sectors are now covered by National Training Packages and in most

cases all qualifications up to Certificate IV and some to Diploma and Advanced Diploma are provided. Queensland, NSW, Tasmania and Victoria, while generally supporting National Training Packages, raise a range of issues relating to implementation, particularly quality control in the development process.

Training Package Development

Consultative Processes

8.112 The discussion in Chapter 6 on consultative processes for national policy development touched on the issue of the consultative processes followed in the development of National Training Packages, with several submissions expressing

dissatisfaction with the extent and genuineness of those processes.

8.113 Typical comments are that the Training Package development process does not allow the time or opportunity for strong functional work analysis, broad consultation and field testing prior to endorsement, and that timeframes driven by

65 Submission 5. Tasmanian Transport & Distribution Industry Training Board Inc., vol.l, p.36ff; Submission 18, Rural Industries Training Advisory Board, vol.l, p,122ff; Submission 54, Community Services & Health Training Australia, vol.2, p.559ff

66 Submission 124, Australian Retailers Association, vol.7, p. 1990

67 Submission 44, Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services Industry Training Council Ltd, vol.2, p.387

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ANTA’s contracts with developers do not allow for longer or better consultation and adequate analysis.

8.114 It was put to the Committee that the major tool used by developers to describe the range of functions and competencies performed by workers is the holding of a limited range of focus groups and paper-based comment to draft products. Several submissions argued that the quality of the products and ownership by wider sectors of industry would be improved with changes to the development process, and that it is timely to consider the enhancement and refinement of National Training Packages.

8.115 Several submissions also argue that deficiencies in National Training Packages in regard to their broader educational content are the result of the exclusion of teachers/educators from VET policy-making and the development of National Training Packages:

Educationalists have been excluded from the planning and development of the ‘new’ VET system, which has led to a narrowly focussed system which will not provide Australia with the skilled workforce that is required for a ‘smart’, knowledge-rich economy.68

National ITABs have dominated the development of training packages. Educationalists are not involved in the process and when they are consulted it is often too late for change of any significance. Some competencies are written in such a way that a sequential learning program is not possible. The skills required by educators to bridge the gap between a Training Package and delivery are not acknowledged.69

8.116 The NSW Government suggests that concerns about the quality of National Training Packages may be a reflection of the lack of expertise and stakeholder involvement in their development and mentions, in particular, the minimal involvement of education and training providers in the past.70 The Northern Territory Education and Training Authority believes there is a fundamental need for active participation in all aspects of the development of packages by teachers who will

deliver and assess the packages.71

8.117 ANTA detailed for the Committee the principles and quality requirements for consultation and validation of National Training Packages and the advice, including methodologies and survey tools, also made available to Training Package developers, to make clear ANTA’s full expectations for comprehensive and reliable consultation practice. ANTA also provided the Committee with several examples of actual documentation dealing with the consultative processes undertaken for a cross section of National Training Packages. In responding to criticism of consultative processes,

68 Submission 47, Holmesglen Institute of TAPE, vol.2, p.440

69 Submission 136, TAPE Directors Australia, vol.8, p.2256

70 Submission 139, New South Wales Department of Education and Training, vol.9, p.2454

71 Submission 126, Northern Territory Education and Training Authority, vol.7, p.2036

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ANT A observes that all processes can be improved and irrespective of the depth of consultation undertaken, some stakeholders or clients will believe a Package does not reflect their input.72

8.118 The Committee notes the concerns expressed about the adequacy of consultation during Training Package development, and considers that in relation to some National Training Packages there is no doubt the consultative processes have

been less comprehensive than desirable, and there is room for improvement. The Committee acknowledges that there may be a tendency by some parties to believe that being consulted guarantees that their view will prevail, and if it does not, to then claim some deficiency in the consultative process.

8.119 The Committee considers it is probable that some of the problems that have emerged in regard to National Training Packages may be due to a lack of appropriate educational expertise, particularly in early National Training Package development, but believes this situation has largely been resolved.

8.120 The Committee found the Protocols and Good Practice Advice provided by ANTA could be strengthened by the inclusion of representatives of RTOs and people with teaching or professional educational expertise as groups that need to be consulted.

Inconsistencies in implementation

8.121 Claims made to the Committee about inconsistencies in the implementation of National Training Packages are confirmed by the ANTA CEOs report on national consistency. The CEOs Report comments that jurisdictional differences in the availability and funding of National Training Packages can impede consistent

implementation of New Apprenticeships and can make it difficult for organisations to implement national training strategies.73

8.122 The CEOs report points to differences in the availability of endorsed National Training Packages in different jurisdictions. In one jurisdiction, for example, Training Package qualifications are made available through the reasonably streamlined process of publication on a state register of qualifications. In others, procedures involve a

legislative requirement for the pathways to be approved, involving advice and support from industry and budgetary scrutiny. In jurisdictions where a declaration of calling and/or approval of vocational training orders are still in place, Ministerial approval may be required which can considerably delay the availability of National Training Packages in some states.

8.123 There are also inconsistencies in how nominal hours (and therefore funds) are allocated to qualifications in National Training Packages. Some states such as Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia have developed state based

72 Australian National Training Authority, further information 9 August 2000, p.284

73 ANTA CEOs, Report on National Consistency, report to ANTA Ministerial Council, June 2000, p.8

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implementation guides which attribute nominal hours to units of competency and qualifications to be used for funding purposes. In NSW, VETAB has taken a less prescriptive approach and TAPE NSW has undertaken a mapping exercise and continues to utilise a curriculum based model to deliver training package qualifications. In the ACT it is the responsibility of the RTO to develop its own

implementation process within a specified timeframe.

8.124 The result is that not all qualifications attract the same nominal hours in every jurisdiction. For example, a Certificate II from a Training Package in one jurisdiction has a ceiling for funding purposes of 400 hours. The same qualification in another jurisdiction has unlimited nominal hours. The CEOs comment that significant

variations in nominal hours have the potential to drive different educational outcomes for a given Training Package. This makes it difficult to assume equivalent educational quality between two identical programs, delivered in different jurisdictions.

8.125 Some inconsistencies appear to have arisen because state training authorities (STAs) have adopted individual approaches to the implementation of Training Packages. Some states such as Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia have developed state based implementation guides which attribute nominal hours to units of

competency and qualifications to be used for funding purposes. They also refer to the replacement of state accredited courses and other specific arrangements. In NSW, VETAB has taken a less prescriptive approach and TAPE NSW has undertaken a mapping exercise and continues to utilise a curriculum based model to deliver training package qualifications. In the ACT it is the responsibility of the RTO to develop its own implementation process within a specified timeframe.

8.126 Implementation Guides generally are designed to assist Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to deliver Training Packages. In Victoria, for example, each Guide outlines new arrangements for the delivery of the relevant Training Package. These arrangements include:

• the relationship between the current courses and the new qualifications;

• the relationship between existing modules and the new units;

• advice to RTOs about the qualifications they are authorised to issue (Scope of Registration);

• identification of regulations or required licences;

• nominal duration of units and qualifications;

• sample training programs;

• identification of current and new resources that can be used to deliver the training; and •

• identification of Approved Training Schemes for apprenticeships.

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8.127 The Committee considers that many of these arrangements could and should be determined on a nationally consistent basis, particularly those relating to nominal hours, sample training programs, and identification of current and new resources to deliver training. The Committee believes that in order to improve consistency between

states and territories in the implementation of National Training Packages, national implementation plans should be developed.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) National implementation plans for National Training Packages be developed, with particular attention paid to achieving national consistency in regard to nominal hours, sample training programs, and identification of current and new resources to deliver training.

(b) ANTA commence work on establishing the national implementation plans for National Training Packages pending the establishment of the National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority proposed in Recommendation 6.

Strengthening Support Materials to provide implementation options

8.128 Prior to the introduction of the National Training Framework, the delivery of VET was subject to two processes - the registration of providers, and the accreditation of courses under the National Framework for the Recognition of Training, the latter process essentially involving the development and accreditation of curriculum.

Curriculum consisted of what was to be learnt, how it was to be learnt and how that learning was to be assessed.

8.129 The Agricultural & Florticultural Training Council of South Australia believes that providers’ concerns about National Training Packages arise because they are still learning to understand that the competency standards which underpin the National Training Packages are statements of outcome and do not provide guidance on how the

outcomes are to be achieved. The Council also contends that some providers mistakenly believe that competency standards focus only on skill and not on knowledge.74 7 5 Manufacturing Learning Australia sees the problem as ‘the extent to which TAFE colleges remain wedded to traditional modes of training delivery’.77

8.130 The Admin Training Company also contends there is a misunderstanding across the training system that competency standards encompass everything that a worker in a particular business or industry will need to know and do whereas they should be seen as a benchmark to be added to, enriched, and customised.76

74 Submission 46, Agricultural & Horticultural Training Council of South Australia, vol.2, p.429

75 Submission 26, Manufacturing Learning Australia, vol.l, p.207

76 Submission 123, Admin Training Company, vol.7, p. 1963

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8.131 The Committee notes that National Training Packages are designed as a ‘framework’ which guides teachers/trainers in the delivery and assessment of training and that considerable further input is required from teachers/trainers to turn them into effective VET programs. Training Package implementation requires teachers/trainers

to identify and document which qualifications they intend to offer, what learning strategies, teaching programs and assessment approaches they will use, what resources will be needed for delivery and assessment and how/where these will be obtained. To do this effectively, the teacher/trainer needs skills in such things as curriculum design, instructional design, identifying and developing learning strategies, and an understanding of how people learn.

8.132 It was put to the Committee many teachers/trainers without higher level professional teaching qualifications may need more assistance than is currently provided in National Training Packages in order to carry out these tasks effectively, particularly in relation to identifying and/or developing learning strategies and teaching programs.

8.133 The Committee also notes that Training Package Support Materials are meant to include learning strategies and other support materials to provide teachers/trainers with the guidance and materials they need to implement Training Packages. The problem with Training Package Support Materials, according to evidence provided to the Committee, is that they have not yet been developed for all Training Packages, they are variable in quality, many are considered inadequate by teachers/trainers, and they have been developed to be used in an on-the-job training and workplace assessment context and are therefore not necessarily suitable for students who are not

in employment related to their training.

8.134 The non-availability of support materials for many National Training Packages is attributed to the haste with which they have been developed and implemented. The Tasmanian Government comments that:

The pressure for availability of training packages and their subsequent implementation often means that there is a significant time lag between availability of the package and publication of resources such as professional development materials and delivery kits.77

8.135 Community Services & Health Training Australia comments that ‘the absence of non-endorsed (support) materials to support the implementation of the Community Services Training Package is a major impediment to the uptake of New Apprenticeships.’78 * *

Submission 83, Tasmanian Government, vol.4, p. 1095

Submission 54, Community Services & Health Training Australia, vol.2, p.564

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8.136 The South Australian Government sees an ongoing challenge in the implementation of National Training Packages where non-endorsed materials are not yet available.79

8.137 Several other submissions including the Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations, TAPE Directors Australia, the New South Wales Government, Torrens Valley Institute of TAPE, the Australian Education Union and Open Learning Australia comment on either the inadequacy of funding for the development of support materials, or the need to ensure that there are adequate funds available for this purpose.80

8.138 It is worth noting in this regard that there are no compulsory requirements as to what support materials should include.

8.139 The Committee considers that, in addition to the national implementation plans recommended in the previous section, the support materials for Training Packages should be considerably strengthened so that they provide more specific

guidance on implementation, particularly appropriate learning strategies, teaching programs and courses and resource materials. These should be developed with both workbased and institutional delivery in mind. The Committee also considers that

further National Training Packages should not be released until the support materials are available.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) ANTA takes steps to strengthen National Training Package Support Materials so that they provide specific guidance on implementation, particularly in regard to appropriate learning strategies, teaching programs and courses and resource materials. These should be developed with both workbased and

institutional delivery in mind.

(b) Support Materials be available when National Training Packages are released.

(c) Responsibility for the development of National Training Package Support Materials pass to National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority when established.

79 Submission 129, South Australian Government, vol.7, p.2096

80 Submission 136, TAPE Directors Australia, vol.8, p.2256. Similarly Submission 61, Open Learning Australia, vol. 3, p.676. Submission 90, TAPE NSW Managers Association, vol.5, p.1219. Submission 115, Sport and Recreation Training Australia, vol.6, p. 1850

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Narrow job-readiness versus underpinning knowledge and skills

8.140 A common criticism of National Training Packages is that they have a narrow, task-based focus and lack provision for underpinning knowledge and skills. It is important for undeipinning knowledge in National Training Packages to be clearly and concisely expressed; to be complete and not rely on the underpinning knowledge being specified in national modules, and to be covered in a logically sequenced and non repetitious way.

8.141 The Committee notes that it has been a requirement since 1990 for standards to not be simply task based and to include underpinning knowledge and skills. The basis of some criticism is that in some National Training Packages the specification in Evidence Requirements of underpinning knowledge and skills are not well expressed and lack a appropriate degree of detail. It is claimed that the specification is often so broad or general that a teacher/trainer cannot make a judgement about what is required. This is more likely to be the case with earlier National Training Packages.

The lack of specificity can become a greater problem when the teacher/trainer may not have sufficient expertise or experience to unpack the specifications.

8.142 TAPE Directors Australia, for example, commented that TAPE staff who use National Training Packages argue that underpinning knowledge and skills are often poorly stated and the considerable ambiguity in the presentation of the competencies

leads to inconsistent interpretations by providers.81

8.143 The Laboratory Operations Training Package provides an example of well specified underpinning knowledge while the Asset Security Training Package is an example or less adequate specification. The underpinning knowledge requirements for a unit in each are set out below.

Laboratory Operations Training Package PML SAMP 301 A: Receive and prepare a range o f samples fo r pathology testing

Essential Knowledge Competency includes the ability to apply and explain workplace procedures relating to the: • importance of maintaining effective customer relations • potentially infective nature of all biological materials • nature of unstable solutions such as anticoagulated whole blood • paramount importance of labelling and the unacceptability of poorly labelled or

unlabelled specimens • non-conformance of clotted samples for procedures such as routine haematologocal tests • requirement of specified sample types for specific tests ■ sample storage and transport requirements________________________________

Submission 136, TAPE Directors Australia, vol.8, p.2256

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Security and Investigative Services Training Package PRSAS07A: Coordinate installation

Underpinning Knowledge • Job types

• Standard industry time allocations for installations • Contingency factors • Local conditions and travel routes • Scheduling methods

• Building construction methods and types • Technical terminology • Skill requirements for installation, testing and commissioning of security equipment/systems

• Company requirements • Company and client confidentiality requirements • Duty of care

• Communications connection • Requirements • OHS requirements for installation

8.144 The problem is then further compounded by enrolment practices that are being driven by new reporting requirements. ANTA’s Key Performance Measure 1 requires reporting of units of competency achieved. This has led to some RTOs enrolling students into units of competency. As underpinning knowledge is covered

within each unit of competency in the Evidence Guide in National Training Packages, this can lead to either superficial treatment or duplication of training, unless the underpinning knowledge is drawn from individual units of competency or groups of competencies within the Training Package and taught as a ‘subject’ or ‘subjects’. For

example, in the Beauty Training Package, ‘anatomy and physiology of the skin’, ‘skin analysis and skin disorders’ and ‘the body system’ are specified as underlying knowledge in many units such as ‘provide facial treatments’, ‘advanced facial treatments’, ‘provide body treatments’ and ‘assess client’s needs’. Similarly, in the Horticultural Training Package, knowledge of soils, weeds, pest and diseases is mentioned in many of the Level III and IV units.8"

8.145 It has been suggested that the concept of cognitive competency should be considered as a means of overcoming this problem.8 2 83

82 van Leeuwen, Trixie, Underpinning knowledge in National Training Packages (work in progress)

83 ibid

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The Committee recommends that:

(a) ANTA’s National Training Quality Council raise the standards for the specification of underlying knowledge and skills in National Training Packages and ensure these are applied consistently;

(b) National Training Packages not receive endorsement until underpinning knowledge and skills are specified in accordance with the strengthened requirements; and

(c) responsibility for this task and all other powers and functions associated with National Training Packages that currently rest with the National Training Quality Council pass to the National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority (Recommendation 6) when established.

Provision fo r the achievement o f the Key’ Competencies

8.146 Many stakeholders claim the design of National Training Packages has flaws because it does not provide adequately for the achievement of the Key Competencies.

8.147 There seems to be some confusion or different interpretations in submissions about what Key Competencies are. There are a variety of meanings which can be conveyed by the term ‘key competencies' and these are explained by Down in her paper, Key Competencies in Training Packages:

... some referred to the set of Key Competencies defined by the Mayer Committee in their 1992 report Putting Education to Work. Others identified another set of generic competencies which is especially valued within an mdustry/enterprise context. This set may overlap with the set of Key Competencies defined by the Mayer Committee but the language in which they are expressed and their nature are specific to and characteristic of the industry or enteiprise context in which they are used. A third group referred to some enterprises and industries having specific technical and generic competencies which they consider to be ‘key’ to their productivity and efficiency. These competencies might include OH & S, waste minimisation, customer/client relations, housekeeping, quality and workplace

communication.s4

8.148 The Committee, in referring to the Key Competencies, is referring to the broader generic skills known as the Mayer Key Competencies.84 8 5 These are a set of

84 Down, Catherine M., Key Competencies in Training Packages, Paper delivered at the Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association (AVETRA) Conference, Future Research, Research Futures, March 2000, Canberra

85 Also known as the Mayer Key Competencies after Eric Mayer, who chaired the 1992 committee which recommended them. E Mayer, Putting General Education to Work - The Key Competencies Report, n.d. [1992]

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generic competencies that people need for effective participation in the workforce. They provide the structure for the development of life-long, generic and transferable skills and a foundation for the development of more specific industry and enterprise competencies.

8.149 The Mayer Key Competencies are:

Collecting, analysing and organising information: the capacity to locate information, sift and sort information in order to select what is required and present it in a useful way, and evaluate both the information itself and the sources and methods used to obtain it.

Communicating ideas and information: the capacity to communicate effectively with others using a range of spoken, written, graphic and other non-verbal means of expression.

Planning and organising activities: the capacity to plan and organise one’s own work activities, including making good use of time and resources, sorting out priorities and monitoring one’s own performance.

Working with others and in teams: the capacity to interact effectively with other people both on a one to one basis and in groups, including understanding and responding to the needs of a client and working effectively as a member of a team to achieve a shared goal.

Using mathematical ideas and techniques: the capacity to use mathematical ideas, such s number and space, and techniques, such as estimation and approximation, for practical purposes.

Solving problems: the capacity to apply problem-solving strategies in purposeful ways, both in situations where the problem and the desired solution are clearly evident and in situations requiring critical thinking and a creative approach to achieve an

outcome

Using technology: the capacity to apply technology, combining the physical and sensory skills needed to operate equipment with the understanding of scientific and technological principles needed to explore and adapt systems.1

8.150 The importance of underpinning knowledge and skills, and doubts about individual employers’ capacity and/or willingness to ensure these are achieved by employees, is argued strongly in many submissions:

A well developed vocational education and training system is cmcial to the broader micro-economic reform agenda.8 6 87

86 Mayer, E„ Putting General Education to Work - The Key Competencies Report, n.d. [ 1992], p.3

87 Submission 137, Australian Chamber o f Commerce and Industry, vol.8, p.2268

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We need more people at work and in society as a whole who can think, analyse, synthesise and create knowledge rather than merely know things.88

Just enough, just in time and just for me’ are admirable organisational and motivational objectives for the individual at a given point in time but they are too narrow to define lifetime learning needs and to play too large a role in a national vocational agenda.89

The need to address the longer term development of human resources is generally not considered by industry.90

The House of Representatives Committee noted that while it was in the long-term interests of industry to have well-educated employees who possess appropriate general and interpersonal skills as well as industry specific skills, industry itself has been reluctant to make this longer term investment.91 9 2 9 3

This skewing of goals is likely to be at the expense of Australia’s long-term skills base and its capacity to meet the growing demands of a global 92 economy.

Short training courses can readily be taken if and when a specific skill-need arises, but there are diminishing opportunities to enter learning environments where educational advancement can occur.9 ’

8.151 The study commissioned by the Australian Industry Group, Training to Compete, found that the knowledge and skills most valued by employers as a foundation for all others are the generic, core skills needed for work, a mix of specific competencies, personal attributes and interpersonal skills. This is not to downplay the continued importance of technical skills, particularly in light of the substantial

influence played by technology on skill requirements. The study confirms that Australian industry expects that in the future, employees at all levels will need to be more highly skilled and qualified.

8.152 The concern that National Training Packages do not provide for the achievement of the Key Competencies, was equally strongly argued:

88 Submission 17, Securities Institute, vol. 1, p. 120

89 Submission 61, Open Learning Australia, vol.3, p.677

90 Submission 22, Mr R Seidel, vol. 1, p. 171

91 Submission 110, Australian Education Union, vol.6, p. 1589. House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training, Today's Training: Tomorrow’s Skills, July 1998

92 Submission 56, Victoria University of Technology, vol.2, p.580

93 Submission 67, Mr H Joyce, vol.3. p.738. Similarly Submission 18. Rural Industries Training Advisory Board (NT), vol.l, p. 129. Submission 88, Torrens Valley Institute Council, vol.5, p.1191,1193

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The main concern with the training package system is the packages identify competencies but appear to give very little consideration to the development of skills within a broader educational context.94

Concerns are being raised that the focus in Training Packages on industry specific skills has distracted attention from generic competencies such as communication and problem solving skills and other like competencies identified by the Mayer report into Key Competencies.95

8.153 The Committee strongly agrees that in the rapidly changing, knowledge-based economy in which Australia now operates, an innovative, adaptable and highly skilled labour force is of utmost importance. In this economy the Key Competencies are critical. The Committee notes that there has been a requirement for key competencies to be clearly identified in all training packages at the level of each unit of competency.

The evidence before the Committee suggests that this requirement may not always have been met. A further problem appears to be that National Training Packages do not always adequately identify how the Mayer competencies are to be achieved.

8.154 Down’s research indicates that there is widespread confusion about the levels used in conjunction with the Key Competencies especially among the end-users of Training Packages. Down concludes that the cause for much of this confusion lies with the way Training Packages are being published and in some undesirable past

practices with respect to curriculum documentation which are persisting through the transition to Training Packages. These include: the publication of the explanation about how the Key Competencies have been included within the units of competency in a separate volume from the actual units of competency. This has wider implications

on the possible misuse of Training Packages.96

8.155 This misuse, according to Down, arises from assumptions made by teachers and trainers who only have access to part of the package; the use of a table showing the Key Competencies and the level at which they are included within a unit of competency with no reference to a key as to what is meant by the table or how it is to be interpreted and used; and the common practice within RTOs to give teachers and

assessors only copies of those units of competence for which they have responsibility.

8.156 ANTA acknowledges that there is a view that the Mayer competencies are not being sufficiently emphasised in National Training Packages. ANTA advises that this is being addressed by revisiting the intent and rigour in embedding the Mayer Key

94 Submission 47, Holmesglen Institute of TAPE, vol.2, p.447

95 Submission 129, Government of South Australia, vol.7, p.2096. Similarly Submission 126, Northern Territory Employment and Training Authority, vol.7, p.2036.

96 Down, Catherine M , Key Competencies in Training Packages, Paper delivered at the Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association (AVETRA) Conference, Future Research, Research Futures, March 2000, Canberra

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Competencies in Training Package standards and through investigation of the type of industry valued generic competencies that could appropriately be included in future.97

The Committee recommends that

(a) ANTA’s National Training Quality Council pursue initiatives to clarify and improve the specification of Key Competencies in National Training Packages, including the development of standards to be met in relation to their specification; and

(b) in accordance with Recommendation 15, responsibility for further development and enforcement of standards relating to the specification of Key Competencies in Training Packages pass to the National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority when established.

Implementation timetable

8.157 There is a view also that National Training Packages have been developed and put into use in too much haste with consequent problems regarding quality, consistency and availability of support materials. The Tasmanian Government, for example, sees this as a particular problem, commenting that:

This tight timeline appears to have also resulted in the repetition of mistakes identified early in early packages. There has not been a sufficient process of continuous improvement. By the time the problems with implementation are raised it may be too late to amend a package.98

8.158 Open Learning Australia also believes that the introduction of a number of packages has been ‘precipitous, without adequate consultation on their structure, content and parameters’.99

8.159 The Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations acknowledges that the implementation of National Training Packages has been inadequate at the state level particularly in the transition between existing courses and package qualifications and in areas where entirely new qualifications are available.100

8.160 Consultation by national Industry Training Advisory Bodies with industry and providers in relation to some packages is perceived to be seriously inadequate in the

97 Submission 107, Australian National Training Authority, vol.5, p.1475

98 Submission 83, Tasmanian Government, vol.4, p. 1095

99 Submission 61, Open Learning Australia, vol.3, p.676

100 Submission 131, Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations, vol.7, p.2120

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initial phase of package development, leading to a lack of ownership and understanding of the package. This issue is raised in several submissions.

Customisation vs labour· market mobility

8.161 Fundamental questions about VET, such as the purpose of VET, and whose interests it should be serving, are also central issues inherent in the development and implementation of National Training Packages. Because the needs of the clients do not necessarily coincide, intense debate revolves around the appropriate balance between the competing interests of these clients, and about whether that balance is being achieved.

8.162 An issue raised in relation to National Training Packages is that the choice of competencies and customisation of training enabled by National Training Packages, combined with User Choice, is placing decisions about training almost totally in the

hands of individual employers, thus potentially limiting the career aspirations and job mobility of individuals, the strength of Australia’s skills base and its relevance to the broader needs of Australian industry for flexible, innovative workers with life long

learning skills. This issue was raised most often in relation to apprenticeship and traineeship training, but as National Training Packages are to become the basis for all VET, the issues raised have wider applicability.

8.163 As discussed in Chapter 7, there is a danger that the particular options an employer chooses from a Training Package as best suiting his/her business may be quite narrow and may not take into account the longer term needs of the apprentice or trainee. This can be exacerbated in some instances where there is too much flexibility provided by particular Training Packages in terms of how units can be packaged together to provide a qualification, resulting in qualifications that do not have enough commonality of outcome to be truly portable. The Torrens Valley Institute of TAPE comments:

This emphasis on choice by the employer (and theoretically the student), risks the student choosing a training program which suits the needs of the employer and enterprise, but locks them into a very specific set of industry

skills and competencies.101 1 0 2

8.164 On the other hand, some industry submissions describe ‘customised’ training in a much more positive light, explicitly or implicitly contrasting it with the inflexibility or irrelevance of previous training:

The old system of Training Providers loading up students with great quantities of theory, because this is a Provider’s only chance to equip a person for the future, has been replaced by the opportunity for them to tailor learning to the immediate needs of students...

101 Submission 88, Torrens Valley Institute Council, vol.5, p. 1193

102 Submission 75, Rural Training Council of Australia Inc., vol.4, p.928

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8.165 The Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry comments that ‘the fundamental changes being implemented... will also place competitive pressures on training providers to deliver the quality customised training required by industry...’103 1 0 4

8.166 Similarly, the Admin Training Company stressed the need for ‘relevant’ skills:

Employers recognise the value gained from employees/trainees achieving competency in skills that are relevant to the workplace and can be practised there... the learning program can be tailored and relevant to the business or particular industry.1114

8.167 ANTA has previously acknowledged the potentially conflicting wishes of different stakeholders: ‘...balances will need to be achieved between individual employers (who may prefer enterprise specific training), individual students (who may prefer more general and transferable skills) and industry bodies (who may prefer national consistency in training).’105

8.168 As stated in Chapter 7, the Committee considers that there must be a balance between industry-wide and enterprise-specific training and the portability of skills must be paramount. The Committee considers that Training Packages should not provide so much flexibility in the selection of units for a particular qualification that the qualification has insufficient commonality of outcome to provide the industry and the employee with a truly consistent and portable qualification. While the Committee would not wish to curtail flexibility or reasonable choice, nor the inclusion of enterprise specific elements in training programs, it believes that guidelines on customisation should be strengthened and monitored more closely to ensure greater compliance in order to protect the integrity and portability of the qualification.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) Training Packages not provide so much flexibility in the selection of units for a particular qualification that the qualification has insufficient commonality of outcome to provide the industry and the employee with a truly consistent and portable qualification. Customisation policies must clearly protect the integrity and portability of the qualification;

(b) in implementing the recommendations for the National Code for Quality in VET (Recommendation 5 and 6), particular attention be paid to ensuring that Registered Training Organisations actually deliver and assess the broad skills and competencies specified in the training package qualifications; and

103 Submission 125, Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry, vol.7, p.2023

104 Submission 123, Admin Training Company, vol.7, p. 1963

105 Australian National T raining Authority, Developing the Training Market o f the Future, 1996

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(c) endorsed Enterprise Training Package qualifications which do not achieve at least 85 per cent commonality with portable industry qualifications not be eligible for User Choice or other public funding.

Assessment Issues

Adequacy of assessment principles and guidelines

8.169 Despite the requirements of the Australian Recognition Framework and the associated National Assessment Principles, concerns have been expressed in submissions and other forums about the consistency and credibility of assessment. The former National Training Framework Committee is known to have raised these concerns in various ANTA forums.

8.170 The NSW Government believes there is some inconsistency in National Training Packages in the adequacy of assessment guidelines and evidence guides to meet the requirements of the agreed national training system, and a threat to consistent outcomes and skill levels through unsatisfactory delivery and assessment practices.106

8.171 The CEOs Report refers to a recent national strategic evaluation which found that components of National Training Packages assessment guidelines could be enhanced to ensure greater consistency in assessment of competency. The report also raises the issue of needing to balance current front-end quality assurance measures to

achieve consistency with end-on processes such as moderation and verification of assessment decisions.107

8.172 The Victorian Government raises concerns, in relation to apprenticeships and traineeships, that qualifications are being issued to trainees who may not have the competencies specified in the training package or course, and inadequate assessment, poor records of assessment and inappropriate assessment instruments.108

8.173 Of equal concern are the reports in submissions and other evidence that suggest widespread lack of diligence, unethical or improper practices on the part of RTOs in assessment processes.

8.174 Schofield notes that very poor ‘tick and flick’ training and assessment practices have arisen in some places. Such practices, she argues, if unchecked, will

106 Submission 139, NSW Department of Education and Training, vol.9, p.2453

107 ANTA CEOs, Report on National Consistency, report to ANTA Ministerial Council, June 2000, pp.8-10. Victorian Education and Training Assessment Services (VETASSESS), Consistency in competency based assessment

108 Submission 119, Victorian Government, vol.7, p. 1898

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inevitably lead to a system where credentials not skills are seen as the required outcome.109

8.175 Assessment is a critical aspect of the VET system. If there are questions concerning the reliability and credibility of assessment processes, the value of qualifications and skills attained is undermined and public confidence in the system is diminished. The Committee considers that improvements to assessment standards in the Australian Recognition Framework are needed, as are improvements in the rigour with which states and territories enforce standards for registration, and carry out their obligations in relation to monitoring and auditing RTOs.

8.176 There is a question about whether there is a design fault in National Training Packages that causes attention to be focussed on assessment.

8.177 The Smith report observes a view emerging among trainers that National Training Packages are, in fact, ‘Assessment Packages’ in that their focus generally is not on how to structure and deliver training but rather on what, how and where to assess. As a result these ‘Assessment Packages’ are then used by many providers as

‘the syllabus’ such that they teach nothing more or less than what is needed to meet the assessment requirements. He also comments that there is evidence to suggest that many providers have significantly moved the emphasis ..... away from delivering quality training and onto assessment in the belief that this will somehow improve the quality of the training outcome.110

8.178 Queensland’s Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations comments that:

Unless providers are able to develop appropriate learning pathways supported by quality resources, infrastructure and staff, there are dangers that undue emphasis will be placed on assessment requirements alone with insufficient attention to the development of underpinning skills and

knowledge. This problem has been most evident through the rapid increase in fully on-the-job traineeships.111

8.179 Earlier in this Chapter the Committee recommends substantial reform of national VET system regulatory and quality processes, particularly the Australian Recognition Framework. These recommendations address the problems identified above.

109 Schofield, K, Delivering Quality, report o f the Independent Review o f the Quality o f Training in Victoria's Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, Office of Post-compulsory Education, Training and Employment, Melbourne, 2000, p.vi

110 Smith, Larry R., Issues impacting on the quality o f assessment in vocational education and training in Queensland, Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations, Brisbane, 2000, p.vi-vii

111 Submission 131, Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations, vol.7, p.2120

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8.180 Additionally, as most of the assessment issues identified above relate primarily to assessment of on the job training undertaken by apprentices and trainees, they are addressed further in Chapter 9. In that Chapter the Committee discusses the possible use of revitalised and strengthened Training Plans as a mechanism for

monitoring and auditing training to be provided to apprentices and trainees and for refocussing the attention of both employers and RTOs on quality training delivery.

New demands on assessors

8.181 A focus group of participants from RTOs was conducted in 1999 as part of the national research project Maximising confidence in assessment decision making. The new demands placed on assessors and assessment with the implementation of National Training Packages were identified as a key issue. Concerns focussed on:

• how and what underpinning knowledge is to be assessed;

• interpretation of the standards to ensure benchmarks are achieved;

• determining competence in an off-job environment;

• given the stress on workbased assessment, the role and extent of simulation as a method of assessment;

• accessing relevant workplaces and appropriate work tasks for assessment of learners completing training in off-job environments; and

• provider and industry roles and responsibilities in assessment and verification of assessment decisions.

8.182 Ongoing professional development in relation to National Training Packages, networking with other assessors to gain access to quality assessment tools and good examples of how others are undertaking assessment in partnerships in workplaces were identified by focus group participants as ways of solving some of the issues.

8.183 The Committee believes many of the problems with assessment are due to assessors not being adequately equipped to meet the new demands placed upon them, particularly in regard to workplace assessment. This is in turn due, at least in part, to

the haste with which National Training Packages have been introduced, which has not allowed for many of those undertaking workplace assessments to come to grips with the requirements of their new responsibilities.

8.184 Another problem drawn to the Committee’s attention is that many assessors, while having appropriate assessment qualifications, do not have relevant industrial experience. The Committee believes that the inclusion of more explicit and comprehensive qualification requirements for assessors in the National Code for

Quality in VET recommended earlier in this Chapter will help alleviate this problem.

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Consistency and parity o f qualifications

8.185 The NSW Government raises the consistency and parity of qualifications across National Training Packages, particularly in terms of the off-the-job training component, as an issue needing attention. Training Package developers determine the qualification level which achievement of particular competencies will provide.112

While there are guidelines for developers, there is a large element of subjective judgement in setting qualification levels and differences in judgement are exacerbated by National Training Packages being developed separately by different ITABS. In the Arts & Entertainment Training Package, for example, a Certificate III traineeship in

Entertainment (Costume) requires a notional 309 hours off-the-job training but a Certificate III apprenticeship in Automotive Engineering (Autobody Repair) requires a notional 864 hours. Moreover the Certificate III in Entertainment (Costume) can be achieved in 12 months (notional time) while the Certificate III in Automotive Engineering (Autobody Repair) requires a notional 3-4 years.

8.186 The Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) argues that qualifications often provide insufficient information for employers regarding the skills levels of employees because of the ‘ competent/not-competent’ model of assessment.113

8.187 As mentioned above, inconsistencies in the way in which nominal hours are apportioned against National Training Packages also results in differences in the educational quality of identical programs and the qualifications awarded, and inconsistencies in assessment produces similar results.

8.188 The Committee considers that ensuring equivalency or parity of qualifications should be a priority for ANTA. Doubt about equivalency or parity of qualifications is one of the most serious outcomes from the changes introduced to the VET system in recent years. Flaws and deficiencies in the Australian Recognition Framework, implementation problems with National Training Packages, the increased emphasis on on the job training, the growth through efficiencies policy and problems associated with User Choice are combining to undermine the integrity and parity of qualifications and skills being attained through the use of National Training Packages. Qualifications are the visible manifestation of VET outcomes, the tangible acknowledgment and evidence of personal achievement, and the ‘negotiable currency’ on which labour mobility depends. If public confidence in the integrity and parity of qualifications is diminished, so too are the raison d ’etre and the effectiveness of VET.

8.189 The Committee’s recommendations in this report are aimed at addressing each of the points where system weaknesses are impacting on the equivalency or parity of qualifications.

112 Submission 139, NSW Department of Education and Training, vol 9, p.2455

113 Submission 59, Australian Council for Private Education and Training, vol.3, p.623

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Entry to higher education

8.190 A related issue also raised by the NSW Government, is the extent to which qualifications and learning obtained through the use of National Training Packages will be recognised for entry to, or the awarding of credit in higher education. The NSW Government submission refers to the findings of the Preliminary Report of the AVCC-ANTA Articulation and Credit Transfer project (June 1999) which indicates that factors impeding wider university recognition of VET provision derive from

weaknesses inherent in the national training package system. These factors include underpinning knowledge, measurement of student effort and achievement, and variation between National Training Packages.114

8.191 While the Committee considers that there may be some substance to the claim that weaknesses inherent in National Training Packages are impeding wider university recognition of VET, it also considers that many of the impediments arise from

inflexibility on the part of universities. Resolving problems in this area should be elevated in priority.

Licensing and trades recognition

8.192 Considerable inconsistencies in licensing and trades recognition are also identified in the recent ANT A CEOs report on national consistency.115 In some jurisdictions a Training Package qualification may entitle a person to a licence whereas in another jurisdiction that qualification may not be considered adequate for

the granting of a licence. In some cases licensing issues can cause a delay or the withholding of a jurisdiction’s recognition of particular Training Package qualifications.

8.193 The CEOs report that jurisdictions also have different methods for the recognition of trade skill developed through alternative pathways, and these differences need to be reviewed.

8.194 The Committee finds it disappointing that inconsistencies in relation to licensing and trades recognition, an area where national consistency has been sought for a considerable number of years, still exist. The Committee considers that to the extent that deficiencies in the ARE and problems with implementation of National Training Packages are contributing to theses inconsistencies, they should be resolved through the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations earlier in this

Chapter.

Resourcing Implementation

8.195 From an RTO’s perspective National Training Packages do not provide a comprehensive package which can be used ‘off the shelf to deliver and assess

114 Submission 139, NSW Department of Education and Training, vol.9, p.2453

115 ANT A CEOs, Report on National Consistency, report to ANT A Ministerial Council, June 2000

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training. Training Package implementation requires RTOs to identify and document which qualifications they intend to offer, what learning strategies and assessment approaches they will use, what resources will be needed for delivery and assessment and how/where these will be obtained, whether their staff require professional development to deliver and assess training in accordance with the Training Package and how that professional development will be provided.

8.196 Because National Training Packages are focussed on workplace delivery and assessment, RTOs with students not in employment or in unrelated employment are required to organise work placements or create simulated environments for assessment purposes.

8.197 The transition from the use of accredited curriculum structured around modules to National Training Packages based on assessing students against competencies presents a number of problems. Different approaches to these problems have been adopted by different RTOs.

8.198 As indicated above, RTOs are faced with substantial resource implications involved in implementing National Training Packages. The lack of adequate funding for implementation was of particular concern in many submissions.

8.199 The price lists developed by state training authorities for training delivery through User Choice are raised in several submissions as a point of concern. The Admin Training Company argues that where there has been difficulty implementing qualifications based on standards it is because a state’s funding formula supports the minimum units of competency and no more.1"1 Pricing issues are discussed in further detail in Chapter 7.

8.200 The Committee notes the substantial funding applied to development and implementation of National Training Packages but also recognises that RTOs are faced with substantial costs between acquiring a Training Package and delivering training and providing assessment. A detailed investigation of prices paid for training was beyond the scope of the Committee’s inquiry, but the Committee considers there

is some substance to claims, particularly from TAPE providers, that prices paid for training through User Choice are not sufficient to cover the provider-based cost of implementing National Training Packages. It is likely that most providers are cutting comers and that quality is suffering.

Restoring the skills and qualifications of VET teachers/trainers

8.201 An issue which is of concern to all stakeholders is the level of skills and qualifications of VET teachers/trainers. The Committee gained the impression that in recent years there has been a lowering of the standards required by employing authorities.

116 Submission 123, Admin Training Company, vol.7, p. 1963

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8.202 The Australian Education Union (AEU) describes the developments in VET teacher/trainer qualifications and employment in some detail. According to the AEU, there may be a wide variety of qualifications and types of experience necessary; however, there are two matters which are common to all:

• the necessity for professional teacher education qualifications which equip teachers with the pedagogical and methodological skills required to develop appropriate learning materials and learning strategies needed to deliver and assess vocational education and training; and

• the necessity for full industry qualifications and experience in the relevant industry area.

8.203 The previous practice with regard to qualifications in TAPE has been that industry personnel were recruited into TAPE teaching and the employer (the system) provided time and resources for those teachers to undertake teacher education training, usually in work time. Some states had registration boards which determined the

criteria for levels of qualifications and experience required for registration as a TAPE teacher in that state. Some did not have registration boards, but similar criteria were incorporated into industrial awards and agreements. These criteria were used to determine starting salary, incremental progression and promotion. Most had barriers to

incremental progression beyond a certain level for TAPE teachers who did not undertake a teacher education qualification.

8.204 The AEU advises that the criteria are still current in many awards and agreements. However, the rapidly increasing casualisation of teaching staff in TAPE over the past ten years has altered the situation because there may not be requirements for hourly-paid teachers to be qualified in teacher education, though in most cases they hold the relevant industry qualifications and experience."7

8.205 The AEU’s perspective is shared by others. Ms Erica Smith observes that most state systems no longer require TAPE teachers to have qualifications in education, and that the Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment is rapidly becoming the maximum as well as minimum qualification for VET teachers.

Smith argues that the competency standards in the Certificate IV are inadequate to describe either what TAPE teachers do and even what training officers do:

They describe a very narrow area of practice, ie the delivery of accredited training in enterprises. They badly need major revision. ... Teachers who only have a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment have a

naive approach to education and to the use of CBT.

8.206 Smith also argues that the motivation of VET teachers is very low because of the de-skilling of their profession and the lack of attention paid to teaching by

117 Submission 110, Australian Education Union, vol.6T p.1578

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ANTA:.for example, the annual training awards provide awards to every category of VET stakeholder except teachers and trainers.118

8.207 Wodonga Institute of TAPE is similarly concerned that the increasing casualisation of the TAPE workforce has also led to changes in how organisations operate: corporate knowledge is undermined, and skilled professionals have become increasingly disenchanted as competitive practices have overtaken the main considerations of education development and delivery.119 1 2 0

8.208 The depth of concern about the status of teacher/trainer qualifications and the increasing casualisation of TAPE teachers/trainers is graphically described by the Victorian TAPE Students & Apprentices Network:

At its limits, the structural tendency of the funding regime “to allow any person or organisation with three or four days of training to take industry competency standards and assess a person against them (the minimum

compulsory in the training packages) is not merely intellectually bankrupt but has the potential to destroy the VET system completely.” (Gonczi 1998, p. 142) This is on top of the fact that the level of funding in the system is designed to encourage this sort of destructive “just-in-time” arrangement to the employment, commitment, morale and development of staff. It is a fundamental point of grievance for students and for student organizations in the sector that this critical state of staffing has such a detrimental impact on the pedagogical relationship.1-"

8.209 The Committee is aware of ANTA’s national professional development initiatives such as Framing the Future and Learnscope, which are designed to promote the quality of teaching and develop awareness of the national training

framework. In this context the Committee notes the NSW Government’s comments:

Framing the Future and Learnscope ...have been helpful and contributed significantly to culture change ... Yet they do not provide the resources needed for system change nor do they adequately support the ongoing sharing of innovation, good practice and learning within organisations and systems that are required if teacher quality is to be assured.121 1 2 2

8.210 The issues surrounding VET teacher/trainer qualifications are not new to the Committee, having been canvassed in some detail during its inquiry into the status of the teaching profession in 1997-98, which resulted in the report, A Class Act, Inquiry into the Status o f the Teaching Profession}22 The Committee made a number of

118 Submission 23, Ms E Smith, vol. 1, p. 181 -2

119 Submission 43, Wodonga Institute of TAPE, vol.2, p.375

120 Submission 80, Victorian TAPE Students & Apprentices Network, vol.4, p.1034

121 Submission 139, NSW Department of Education and Training, vol.9, p.2443

122 Senate Employment, Education and Training References Committee, A Class Act: inquiry into the status o f the teaching profession, Canberra, 1998

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recommendations in that report and, in the light of evidence put to it about the status and qualifications of VET teachers and trainers in the current inquiry, believes those recommendations are equally relevant and applicable in the VET context. The Committee considers that it would be appropriate for the National Qualifications and

Quality Assurance Authority recommended earlier in this report to take on the role of the national professional teaching standards and registration body.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) a national professional teaching standards and registration body be established with responsibility, authority and resources to develop and maintain standards of professional practice for VET teachers and trainers. The national body should work closely with state governments, industry and peak teaching organisations. The national body should:

• establish national standards of professional practice which take into account what teachers should be expected to know and be able to do in order to facilitate student learning;

• certify levels of entry into the profession, criteria for re-registration and recognition of advanced standing in the profession for full-time, part-time and casual teachers;

• accredit programs of initial teacher training and establish the professional development framework for the maintenance of the professional expertise of all teachers;

• make recommendations to ANT A MINCO on priorities for national professional development programs;

• assist teachers and trainers to improve their skills; and

• manage a register of teachers and trainers who meet and maintain professional standards and are thereby eligible for employment by public and private training providers.

(b) the national professional teaching standards and registration body be empowered to delegate aspects of its authority, and such tasks as it sees fit, to appropriate agencies or teacher associations.

(c) teachers’ and trainers’ registration fees be levied as an offset to costs.

(d) the National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority recommended in this report (Recommendation 6) take on the role of the national professional teaching standards and registration body.

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Investigative studies and research relating to National Training Packages

8.211 The Committee notes the considerable amount of investigative and research activity surrounding National Training Packages that has been initiated during the course of the Committee’s inquiry. ANTA has sought tenders or let contracts for:

• a project to examine the extent of variations in the requirements to complete Certificates III and IV across a range of National Training Packages;

• a project examining the concept of consistency in competency based assessments leading to nationally recognised qualifications under the National Training Framework;

• a project to examine the adequacy of incorporation of underpinning knowledge in competencies in National Training Packages;

• a project to examine the impact of National Training Packages on overseas training markets;

• a project to examine the impact of the National Training Framework on private providers; •

• a scoping study for the national Assessment Initiative designed to identify and develop products to support assessment; and

• a project to examine the resourcing implications of National Training Packages.

8.212 The Committee welcomes these studies and is pleased that ANTA has recognised that there are aspects of National Training Packages that need to be improved.

C

HAPTER 9

NEW APPRENTICESHIPS

9.1 The terms of reference require the Committee, in evaluating the quality of vocational education and training in Australia, to give particular consideration to New Apprenticeship outcomes and to a range of matters that have a direct bearing on those

outcomes. These matters include the relative priority accorded to New Apprenticeships within the VET system, the extent to which the key objectives of the original New Apprenticeships system are being met, the quality of New

Apprenticeships training delivery and assessment, and the impact of Commonwealth and state employer incentives schemes.

Quality of apprenticeship and traineeship training delivery and outcomes

9.2 Claims about the questionable quality of a number of aspects of New Apprenticeships arrangements are at the heart of the Committee’s inquiry. The Committee agrees with ANTA that any dissatisfaction of employers, students and

other clients with training provision, whether that is in relation to the content or processes of training and assessment, has the capacity to erode public confidence in vocational education and training.1

9.3 The Committee notes that the National Training Framework and New Apprenticeships arrangements have been designed with the intent of responding to demands from users of the vocational education and training system for increased

flexibility, choice, responsiveness and reduced regulation. The Committee also notes that the regulatory arrangements for New Apprenticeships are grounded in three particular quality assurance mechanisms: the registration of the training provider

(under the Australian Recognition Framework arrangements), the registration of the training agreement (a state and territory responsibility) and the endorsement of the Training Package (under the endorsement processes of the National Training Framework Committee).

9.4 Schofield, in her Victorian report, found that in the majority of instances, training and assessment in the apprenticeship and traineeship system is effective:

Training and assessment services are meeting the expectations of the majority of Victorian employers, apprentices and trainees to a high degree. This implies that the majority of Registered Training Organisations have been staffed with capable and committed teachers and trainers with the required industry and teaching/training experience and most assessments have been carried out in accordance with agreed standards, where they exist.

It also suggests that most employers and workplace supervisors are fulfilling

1 Submission 107, Australian National Training Authority, vol.5, p.1466

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their training obligations and working with the Registered Training Organisation of their choice in appropriate ways.2

9.5 These findings were similar to Schofield’s findings in Tasmania but rather more positive than those emerging from her Queensland study.

9.6 Schofield further observed that there are also some excellent examples of innovative and high quality training within the system although these are rarely highlighted and even more rarely celebrated.

9.7 During the Committee’s inquiry, most stakeholders indicated strong support in principle for the New Apprenticeships scheme. Support is especially strong from industry sectors with little history of formal training. They welcome what they see as the greater flexibility and responsiveness of the new system and the choice now offered to employers and their apprentices and trainees. They particularly approved the extension of training opportunities into new areas, a key objective of the New Apprenticeships system and its predecessors. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and its members, for example, have expressed their strong support for the National Training Framework and all underpinning frameworks and strategies. The Australian Retailers Association describe the National Training Framework as ‘a key component in the creation of a less complex and more responsive arrangement that better meets the needs of employers and employees by providing a nationally consistent, flexible, industry driven learning system’. The Housing Industry Association believes the policies and processes of the New Apprenticeship system are desirable.3

9.8 However, few submissions provide unconditional support, with most referring to a number of perceived weaknesses in policy, in the design of quality assurance measures or with implementation. Paradoxically, the source of these concerns are the features of the system which are perceived as its greatest strengths: the flexibility, choice, the quality assurance and less regulation provided by User Choice, National Training Packages, the Australian Recognition Framework and New Apprenticeship Centres.

9.9 The Committee identified five main areas that are the source of claims about poor quality training services and lack of confidence in the value and integrity of qualifications and skills being achieved through New Apprenticeships. These are the performance of some Registered Training Providers, the customisation or tailoring of training to meet enterprise specific needs, workplace training and assessment, the

Schofield, K, Delivering Quality, report o f the Independent Review o f the Quality o f Training in Victoria’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, Office of Post-compulsory Education, Training and Employment, Melbourne, 2000, p.v

3 Submission 137, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, vol.8, p.2268. Submission 124, Australian Retailers Association, vol.7, p.1990. Submission 93, Housing Industry Association, vol.5, p. 1265

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implementation of Training Plans, and the performance of New Apprenticeship Centres.

9.10 The Committee also identified the Commonwealth’s New Apprenticeships employer incentives program as having a major impact on VET and the implementation of New Apprenticeships, particularly in relation to the availability of growth funding and access to training.

9.11 A further area of concern in relation to apprenticeships and traineeships is the apparent increase in non-completion rates.

Outcomes

Participation in New Apprenticeships

Growth

9.12 There has been significant growth in total numbers of New Apprentices. The concern put to the Committee was that this growth has been mainly at the shorter term, lower skill level. This is contrary to NCVER national statistics which show that there has been significant growth in total numbers of New Apprentices participating at higher skill levels, that is AQF III and above.

9.13 However, a disaggregation of national data by AQF level and expected duration does support the contention that the growth has been in traineeships and that participation in traditional apprenticeships is relatively declining. Table 9.1 shows that the number undertaking an AQF level III on a three year contract, the level and duration of training most closely approximating traditional apprenticeships, has

declined from 53.1 per cent (estimated) of the total number in training as at 31 March 1998 to 42.8 per cent (estimated) at 31 March 2000, despite the total number in this category increasing from 103,033 to 113,038 in the same period. This trend is reflected in the expanding skill shortages being experienced in many trades areas.

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Table 9.1: Apprentices and trainees in training, Australia Based on March 2000 estimates

31/3/98 estimate 31/3/99 estimate

31/3/00 estimate

%

change 1998 to 1999

%

change 1999 to 2000

total in training 193,880 235,315 264,210 +12.3 +21.4

at AQF 3 in training 143,719 174,891 202,804 +16.0 +21.7

at AQF 3 as % of total in training 74.1 74.3 76.8

in training, contracts 1 year or less 54,321 73,917 60,993 -17.5 +36.1 contracts 1 year or less, as % of total 28.0 31.4 23.1

at AQF 3, contracts 1 year or less 16,861 32,887 26,894 -18.2 +95.0

at AQF 3, 1 year or less, as % of total, 1 year or less 31.0 44.5 44.1

at AQF 3, 1 year or less, as % of total in training 8.7 14.0 10.2

in training with contracts 1-3 yrs* 34,387 53,815 86,585 +60.9 +56.5 contracts 1-3 yrs, as % of total 17.7 22.9 32.8

at AQF 3, contracts 1-3 yrs 23,825 37,254 62,872 +68.8 +56.4

AQF 3, 1-3 yrs, as % of total, 1-3 yrs* 69.3 69.2 72.6

at AQF 3, 1-3 yrs, as % of total in training 12.3 15.8 23.8

in training with contracts 3 yrs + 105,172 107.583 116,632 +8.4 +2.3 contracts 3 yrs +, as % of total 54.2 45.7 44.1

at AQF 3, contracts 3 yrs + 103,033 104,749 113,038 +7.9 +1.7

AQF 3, 3 yrs +, as % of total, 3 yrs 4- 98.0 97.4 96.9

AQF 3, 3 yrs +, as % of total in

training

53.1 44.5 42.8

Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research, further information 7 August 2000, p.264 * Includes part time training of 1 year equivalent full time, which contributes to the apparent higher growth. The NCVER discourages use of this breakdown.

9.14 ANTA’s National Project report on alternative pathways to AQF III in traditional trade occupations also observes that participation in traditional apprenticeships have declined. The report comments that

Notwithstanding considerable variations in apprenticeship trends between states and territories (in line with their differing labour market performance over time) and concerns about the reliability of apprenticeship and traineeship data, the total numbers in training compiled by National Centre

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for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) for the period 1985-1997 suggests decline.4 5

9.15 The report compared the latest published figures with the relatively high point of 1990, and found a more than 25 per cent reduction in the majority of trade categories. While many of these declines are consistent with reductions in employment between 1987 and 1997 in mining, manufacturing and the utilities sectors

of electricity, gas and water, and lower than average growth in agriculture, in the case of the building and construction industry higher than average employment growth coincided with a 25 per cent reduction in training positions.

9.16 The report argues a national decline in apprenticeships and traineeships for the period 1990-1997 is evidenced in:

• Metal Fitting and Machining of 4,500 or 27.8% • Other Metal of 3,700 or 27.6% • Electrical of 6,500 or 27.9% • Building of 8,400 or 25.7%

• Printing of 1,300 or 28.9% . Vehicle of 6,500 or 23.5% • Horticulture of 300 or 8.6% • Hairdressing 3,500 or 26.5%

9.17 The food industry alone, according to the report, shows a significant increase of 2,800 or 14 per cent, but the report commented that rather than underlying growth in demand, this perhaps reflects the industry’s relatively recent focus on introducing more structured training arrangements through traineeships, as involvement in

apprenticeships tends to follow a cyclical pattern that reflects economic cycles.

9.18 More recent data released by the NCVER in 1999 covering Australian Apprentice and Trainee Statistics for the period 1995 to 1998 also reflect the changing nature of apprenticeships and traineeships in response to the changes in Australia’s economy. This NCVER research indicates that there was a sustained uptake in

training arrangements across all sectors of industry in the late 1990s. In 1998 there were over 200,000 apprentices and trainees for the first time and by June 1999 this number had grown to 244,800/

9.19 According to ANTA’s National Project report, a closer examination of the figures showing substantial increases in New Apprenticeships indicates that this

4 Australian National Training Authority, Alternative Pathways to AQF Certificate III Qualifications in Trade Occupations, ANTA, 1999, p.6

5 National Centre for Vocational Education and Training, Australian Apprentice and Trainee Statistics 1995-1998, NCVER, Adelaide, 2000

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growth is generally not occurring in the traditional trade areas to the same extent as it is happening in other areas.1 '

9.20 The NCVER figures relating specifically to tradespersons and related workers contained in its report Australian Apprentice and Trainee Statistics for the period 1995 to 1998 shows an actual increase of those in training from 124,020 to 126,530. However, it also points out that there is a decline in the overall proportion of numbers

in training in trade and related areas. The NCVER concludes that this is a reflection of a decreasing number of commencements in traditional trade and related areas.

9.21 The Committee considers these findings are a cause for great concern and a significant factor in the emergence of skill shortages in a number of trades occupations.

9.22 A disaggregation by age also shows a change in participation by younger and older age groups over the past several years. This change partly reflects the take-up of New Apprenticeships by existing employees, most of whom could be presumed to be older workers, in response to changes in the Commonwealth New Apprenticeships employer incentives eligibility criteria. The change in age participation and the impact of changes to employer incentives are discussed later in this chapter.

Client Satisfaction

9.23 There has been no national satisfaction survey of apprentices and trainees, or of their employers. Some states and territories, however, have conducted surveys within their own jurisdictions. Schofield also reports on surveys conducted in Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria.

9.24 In Queensland, Schofield reports that about 80 per cent or more of employers and trainees were satisfied with the training arrangements and the assessment delivered by the Registered Training Organisation. Schofield expresses surprise at this outcome given the problems and the incidence of service failure that her review of the traineeship system in Queensland had uncovered.6 7

9.25 In Tasmania, Schofield reports that ‘to the extent that it can be determined from available customer satisfaction data, training quality in Tasmania does not appear to have been traded off for traineeship quantity. The majority of customers - both employers and trainees - are reasonably satisfied with most aspects of traineeship training. ... However, for some aspects of training, employer and traineeship

dissatisfaction levels are a cause for concern. Areas of particular concern include the level of employer dissatisfaction with the method of training delivery (17.4 per cent); that trainees are slightly less satisfied than apprentices with the ability of their trainers;

6 Australian National Training Authority, Alternative Pathways to AQF Certificate III Qualifications in Trade Occupations, ANT A, 1999, p.7

K Schofield, In d e p e n d e n t In v e s tig a tio n into th e Q u a lity o f T r a in in g in Q u e e n s la n d ’s T r a in e e s h ip S y s te m , VETEC, Brisbane, 1999, p.34

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that, although the numbers are small, 6 per cent of trainees in non-TAFE RTOs expressed dissatisfaction with the relevance of the training program to their career choice as compared with 3.6 per cent of trainees in TAPE; and that only 60.2 per cent of employers indicate satisfaction with the relevance of the training to their

organisation.’8

9.26 In Victoria, the survey of apprentices and trainees reported by Schofield generally found a high degree of satisfaction with most of the training delivery aspects which were explored. Employers, apprentices and trainees surveyed have strongly positive feelings towards and experiences of the Victorian apprenticeship and traineeship system. Their satisfaction was ‘high on most important measures including

satisfaction with the services provided by TAPE Institutes, private providers, GTCs, NACs and AFOs and also with training delivery and assessment. ...The vast majority of apprentices, trainees and employers value their experience and strongly endorse the system. 96 per cent of apprentices, 93 per cent of trainees and 96 per cent of

employers (regardless of location or size or type of employee) would recommend apprenticeships/traineeships to others. 97 per cent of employers would also employ apprentices/trainees again.’9

Performance of Registered Training Organisations

9.27 The quality of the outcomes from any apprenticeship or traineeship training depends largely on the capability and commitment of the registered training organisation to provide high quality training.

9.28 This section explores claims that the failure of some RTOs to meet their obligations in regard to delivering and assessing training is threatening the integrity and value of qualifications and skills being achieved through New Apprenticeships. The problems identified have much to do with weaknesses and deficiencies in the Australian Recognition Framework as a key quality assurance instrument and the performance of the states and territories in implementing the quality assurance

measures contained within the Framework, both of which are discussed in Chapter 7.

9.29 The Committee received considerable evidence that supported Schofield’s positive findings, referred to above, in relation to the delivery and assessment of apprenticeship and traineeship training.

9.30 Concerns about quality were central to almost all of the submissions presented to the senate inquiry. Mr Ian Blandthom, National Assistant Secretary of the SDA, told the Committee that while there was a commitment to quality within the system,

there was also a growing concern among employers th a t, quite often, the system was

8 K Schofield, A Risky Business: review o f the quality o f Tasmania’s traineeship system, December 1999, p.iv-v

9 K Schofield, Delivering Quality, report o f the Independent Review o f the Quality o f Training in Victoria’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, Office of Post-compulsory Education, Training and Employment, Melbourne, 2000, p.10

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failing to produce quality outcomes.10 These concerns went to the registration of thraining organisations, the delivery of training and its assessment, and the continuing monitoring of registred Training Organisations. Similar concerns have been expressed

in state reviews in Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia.

9.31 Reports of less than adequate performance by Registered Training Organisations were sufficiently numerous to persuade the Committee that there is a small but significant minority of RTOs not meeting their obligations. This is also consistent with Schofield’s conclusion that

At the same time there are many weaknesses which undermine quality and confidence in the system. There are too many instances where, in an effort to cut comers for financial reasons, the quality of training received by apprentices and trainees has been compromised.1 1

9.32 Criticism is directed at the performance of both public and private RTOs. Inadequate performance is attributed variously to unethical or improper motives, a lack of commitment to training, a lack of awareness or misunderstanding of training obligations, a lack of capability or resources to deliver to acceptable standards, inflexibility, and lack of responsiveness to industry needs.

9.33 There were several claims of fraudulent behaviour on the part of RTOs put to the Committee, and many more which have been raised in Parliament and in the context of Senate Estimates hearings. The advice from DETYA is that few of these can be sustained as constituting fraud against the Commonwealth. Nevertheless, it seems likely that many of the cases so identified reflect unscmpulous or unethical practice by the RTOs concerned.

9.34 The cases drawn to the Committee’s attention ranged across industry, from information technology to abattoirs. For instance, a statutory declaration cites an information technology company, Iridium International, which took on a trainee in desktop publishing and design and failed either to provide any training or to pay the trainee according to the terms of the contract. Exploitation of trainees in the printing industry has been described in a submission from the Victorian Trades Hall Council. Several cases of failure to provide training were cited in statutory declarations involving trainees who were employed in abattoirs, namely; Essex Oaks’ Garfield Abattoirs, Oakdale Meats, Ralph Meats and Wagstaff Cranboume Pty Ltd.12

9.35 A disturbing element in some of the meatwork cases was the lax attitude of public TAPE colleges involved in monitoring and accrediting the training. TAPE

Mr Ian Blandthom, (Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association of Australia), Hansard, Melbourne, 28 March 2000, p.249

K Schofield, Delivering Quality, report o f the Independent Review o f the Quality o f Training in Victoria’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, Office o f Post-compulsory Education, Training and Employment, Melbourne, 2000, p.v

Tabled Documents, Senate EWRSBE Legislation Committee, consideration of Budget Estimates 1999

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certificates listed competencies which had not been achieved. Barton TAPE and William Angliss TAPE appear to have been less than diligent in the care they took with certificates, a situation where lax standards begin to border on unethical

management.

9.36 Another instance of unethical behaviour, raised both in the Estimates and in the South Australian parliament was the failure of Villiers Vinyard Management Services to carry out the terms and conditions of a training contract entered into by a group training company. The issue in this instance was the primitive living conditions

endured by trainees, which demoralised many of them to the point where they were dismissed as being unsuitable for the job.13

9.37 In its submission to the Committee, the Northern Territory Rural Industries Training Advisory Board refers to Aboriginal communities being exploited by unscrupulous operators. The Rural ITAB claimed to know of no group training company which passed on the benefits of Commonwealth financial incentives to host

employers.14 1 5 The Victorian TAPE Students and Apprentices Network referred the Committee to a number of cases where employers have engaged in such practices as workplace harassment, failure to provide training and using the training scheme as a means of subsidising labour.13

9.38 The Committee also noted information coming to light during the 1999 Senate EWRSBE Legislation Committee consideration of Budget Estimates, received from the Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations. A project report gave 44 case examples from 1999 of User Choice contractual

compliance audits. Included were cases of inappropriate training; attempts to make casual employees trainees; inadequate supervision of trainees; registration of managers and experienced staff as ‘trainees’; pre-vocational students designated as ‘trainees’; a church pastor registering himself and his family as ‘trainees’; and a

number of other irregularities which could only have been identified by site visits and interviews. Most of the cases cited in the Queensland report resulted in RTOs losing their contracts.16

9.39 As already noted, the attitude of DETYA, when presented with specific cases of malpractice, was to deny any Commonwealth interest in these issues. These were said to be matters for state and territory governments to address. The convenience of this stance contrasts with the Commonwealth’s assertion of powers in other areas,

such as the forcing of New Apprenticeship funding obligation on the states without adequate funds to support it. The Committee would have been far more reassured of the C om m o n w e a lth ’s commitment to the national VET system had both the Minister

13 op.cit.

14 Submission 18. Rural Industries Training Advisory Board (NT).vol. 1, p. 126

15 Submission 80, Victorian TAPE Students and Apprentices Network, vol.4, pp. 1014ff

Tabled Document, 9 June 2000, User Choice Contractual Compliance Audits: Case Examples, Queensland DETIR 16

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and DETYA acknowledged Australian Recognition Framework compliance problems frankly and provided assurances that these would be addressed, in co-operation with the states. The Minister’s record on this issue is remarkably similar to that which the Committee notes in relation to educational institutions that come within the ambit of the Educational Services for Overseas Students legislation.

9.40 There also are to be found institutions engaging in unethical behaviour in the provision of educational services to overseas students: a problem whose existence the Minister appeared to ignore for some time. A number of institutions set up to attract foreign students were also Registered Training Organisations, thus subjecting many of their students to double jeopardy as they often had no redress to protection under any legislation. More than a score of institutions have been named in the Senate as a result of information received about unethical practices, including NSW International College, suspended by CRICOS but permitted to operate as an RTO; Skywell College, Burwood and Hurstville Business College, Excelsior College and the Australian IT Careers Institute.

9.41 The New South Wales WRAPS Industry Training Council claims that there is no doubt that the provision of funding has meant that the system has been exploited by unscrupulous providers and employers:

.... particularly where unscrupulous RTOs persuade businesses that nothing more needs to take place other than the occasional visit by that RTO for the purposes of assessment. Clearly this is inappropriate and relates to the quality and ethics of the RTO concerned. ... The NRF has allowed RTOs great power which goes with accompanying accountability and this is not always evident nor is it subjected to external scrutiny by state training authorities.17

9.42 The Australian Education Union (Tasmanian Branch), believes the notion of a ‘bona fide’ RTO is an important qualification because there is a view that not all RTO’s are primarily motivated by skills formation, with business objectives being the prime motivation.18

9.43 Other submissions similarly argue that the profit motive of private providers has caused declining quality of training delivery:

...The emphasis of New Apprenticeships Centres and Registered Training Organisations is clearly on the sign up of new clients because they get paid by the numbers in training. Often employers are not fully briefed on their

17 Submission 35, NSW Retail, Wholesale and Associated Services Industry Training Council Ltd, vol.2, p.316

18 Submission 103, Australian Education Union (Tasmanian Branch), vol.5, p.1404

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responsibilities and, in some cases, actively resist any attempt to do so resulting in many cases of unsatisfactory experiences by the trainee...19

It is hard to conceive how a profit-making organisation can deliver the highest quality outcome for the Public dollar.... Aboriginal Communities in particular have fallen victim to some very unscrupulous operators who effectively deliver no training at all.-0

9.44 It is suggested that TAPE, on the other hand, failed to meet its training obligations due to its inflexibility and lack of responsiveness to industry needs:

TAPE is inflexible and bureaucratically driven. ‘While there has been some change, TAPE as a whole has continued to work from its own internal needs and ignore the interests of industry. ... TAPE has been inflexible in its response to Training Packages.21

9.45 The Queensland Government points to a problem where an RTO in effect subcontracts training delivery to an employer (which is common), and contends that in this situation ‘the obligations of the training provider under the ARP are unlikely to be met.’ ~2

9.46 The Victorian TAPE Students and Apprentices Network also believes RTOs are not meeting their obligations:

The shift away from course accreditation and towards registration of providers has meant that course standards have dropped. It is not simply a question of making RTOs provide the training they promised, or ensuring employers train their workers, it is also a question of what they are taught. It

is a question of quality teaching staff and supervision, which the current RTO accreditation process takes no account of.-9

9.47 Other submissions describe various unsatisfactory situations:

Many students who undertake a Beauty course are unemployable because their training is inferior....an English recruiting company for beauty therapists, Steiners Limited, are extremely disappointed at the low standards o f ‘qualified’ applicants...- 1 9 2 0 2 1 2 2 2 3 2 4

19 Submission 41, Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services Industry Training Advisory Board Inc. (Qld Branch), vol.2, p.354-5

20 Submission 18, Rural Industries Training Advisory Board (NT), vol.l, p.126

21 Submission 35, New South Wales Retail, Wholesale and Associated Services Industry Training Council, vol.2, p.314. Mrs L Boschen (Wine Industry National Education and Training Advisory Council Inc.), Hansard, Adelaide, 16 May 2000, p.547.

22 Submission 131, Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations, vol.7, p.2125

23 Submission 80, Victorian TAPE Students and Apprentices Network Inc., vol.4, p.1018

24 Submission 15, The Strand College ofBeauty Therapy, vol.l, p.104

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Many of the private providers openly lack the resources, facilities and capacity to deliver quality training programs.25

There is no evidence that overall training outcomes are of a diminishing quality in the retail sector. The ARA recognises that in some cases, particularly were training is delivered “on job” selected RTOs may not have provided the appropriate support and guidance to ensure effective outcomes. However, this is primarily the result of limitations in the accreditation and monitoring process of registered training organisations by state training authorities.26

In a number of cases RTOs lack staff with adequate qualifications, have inadequate resources to deliver training and assessment, minimise their obligations in respect of training, supervision and assessment and/or do not comply with requirements of the relevant training package. Most states have no effective process in place to address these concerns27.

9.48 TAPE Directors Australia stated that TAPE often has to pick up the pieces after students have been inadequately trained by private providers.28

9.49 A lack of employer confidence in RTOs is demonstrated by some industry groups who have their own endorsement schemes, whether official or unofficial, because they do not trust the quality of unknown RTOs:

In an attempt to put some quality into the process, some industry bodies are ‘endorsing’ selected providers but unfortunately this only occurs where industry associations are strongly involved in training and education issues and where membership is ‘tight’.29

Anecdotal evidence suggests that some employers have so little faith in the ARP to deliver quality outcomes - an employee who is competent as stated by their completed qualification - that they will not recognise qualifications

25 Submission 132, Network of TAPE Councils (SA), vol.8, p.21255

26 Submission 124, Australian Retailers Association, vol.7, p.1994. Similarly Submission 137, Australian Chamber o f Commerce and Industry, vol.8, p.2275: ‘...it is often where states and territories have not put in place adequate mechanisms to address these implementation issues where problems have occurred...’ Submission 40, ASCET Flexible Training, vol.2, p.347: ‘We believe that the standards estasblished in the ARP if applied correctly are more than adequate to address the quality provision issues. ’

27 Submission 50, Shop Distributive & Allied Employees Association, vol.2, p.528

28 Submission 136, TAPE Directors Australia, vol.8, p.2253. Similarly Submission 132, Network of TAPE Councils (SA), vol.8, p.2155

29 Submission 72, New South Wales Primary Industry Training Advisory Body Ltd, vol.3, p.854. See also Ms A Kilminster (Western Australian Hospitality and Tourism Industry Training Council), Hansard, Perth, 17 May 2000, p.655. Submission 88, Torrens Valley Institute Council, vol.5, p.l 198. Submission 44, Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services Industry Training Council Inc, vol.2, p.397. Submission

104, Nursery Industry Association of Australia, vol.5, p. 1418.

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issued by an RTO that is not known to, and approved by, their organisation.30

9.50 The performance by RTOs in regard to assessment is an issue that drew many adverse comments. Among the claims are that there are financial pressures to tick off trainees whether or not they are competent so that training organisations can collect their fees.31 3 2 3 3 ; ‘the reliability and validity of assessments performed by RTOs in the workplace’ are questionable; ‘on the job assessment can still mean a “tick in the box’”

and that qualifications have been issued that do not meet the requirements of the Training Package. The Committee’s views on assessment are provided earlier in this report in Chapter 8 in the discussion on National Training Packages.

9.51 Countering these expressions of concern were numerous submissions that strongly defended the performance of both public and private RTOs. ASCET Flexible Training, for example, argues:

Private providers usually specialise in particular industries or sectors and are very ethical and efficient. In fact a recent ANTA survey revealed that 80 % of all industry prefers to use private RTOs over Government TAPE.3"

9.52 The Australian Industry Group also defends the quality of training outcomes:

‘...industry surveys actually demonstrate employer satisfaction with the quality of training delivered, such as the Employer Satisfaction survey. While there is some level of dissatisfaction registered with the choice of training content provided by Registered Training Organisations (p.64,

Training to Compete) this was not levelled at the quality outcomes of training. Training to Compete identifies the Australian education and training system as a competitive advantage according to industry (p.55 & 84, Training to Compete). 3

9.53 The Australian Industry Group was concerned, however, that ‘New Apprenticeship Centres are selling traineeships which are easiest to sell rather than those that may be of most benefit to industry. ... RTOs are also being driven by the imperative to deliver low cost training.’

[This] is disadvantaging sectors of industry where more resource intensive training is required.... growth through efficiencies is achieved through delivery of lower cost training, the result being that more resource intensive training is declining. Many of the more resource intensive programs are delivering higher level skills... Ai Group argues that this becomes a strategic investment decision. Australia must decide if it wants to have a high skill

30 Submission 44, Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services Industry Training Council Inc, vol.2. p.395

31 Submission 46, Agriculture and Horticulture Training Council of SA Inc., vol.2, p.426, Similarly for example Submission 43, Wodonga Institute of TAPE, vol.2, p.379

32 Submission 40, ASCET Flexible Training, vol.2, p.347

33 Submission 64, Australian Industry Group, vol.3, p.719

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workforce. If it does, then intervention will be required to achieve this outcome.34

9.54 RTOs, for their part, claim that a range of policies and implementation practices are restricting and hindering their capacity to provide high quality training services. Unreasonable or unfair requirements within the Australian Recognition Framework is one area of complaint. The Australian Council for Private Education and Training, for example, is particularly forceful in its claims that the Framework disadvantaged private RTOs relative to TAFE.35

9.55 Some blame inadequate funding, or they blame the state training authorities for focussing exclusively on lowest cost tenders:

There is evidence that the level and quality of VET provision in both TAFE and private providers is compromised through the continuous pressure by state training authorities to drive down delivery costs and to award contracts for training delivery with the sole criterion being price.36

...there are inherent difficulties in assuring this priority [New Apprenticeships] including... low government funding for training delivery (coupled with a high attrition rate of new apprentices) resulting in a diminishing quality of vocational education and training.37

9.56 TAFE interests, in particular, defend their performance. They do not necessarily accept that TAFE is ‘inflexible’; or they say it is improving.38 They do not accept that TAFE teaching is inferior. They stress the detrimental effects of government budget cuts that are leading to greater casualisation of TAFE teachers

under pressure of budget cuts. They regret the trend to employ as TAFE teachers people without teacher qualifications. They stress the need for professional development for TAFE teachers.

9.57 Despite the generally high levels of client satisfaction indicated by the various surveys that have been undertaken, the Committee is persuaded by the weight of contrary evidence referred to earlier in the Chapter, and in the discussion of assessment issues in Chapter 8, that a small but significant minority of RTOs are not adequately meeting their obligations in regard to training and assessment. A smaller

34 Submission 64, Australian Industry Group, vol.3, p.720,723. Similarly Submission 42, Australian Centre for Industial Relations Research and Training, vol.2, p.368: ‘The training market initiatives are encouraging employers, training providers and trainees to favour the use of the most convenient, most easily administered and most easily accessible courses of training. Unfortunately these courses of training often fail to provide high quality training, training that is well suited to industry or training that

results in transferable skills that enable trainees to access key labour markets. ’

35 Submission 59, Australian Council for Private Education and Training, vol.2, p.622

36 Submission 117, Forest and Forest Products Employment Skills Company Ltd, vol.6, p. 1870. Similarly Submission 50, Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, vol.2, p.528

37 Submission 59, Australian Council for Private Education and Training, vol.3, p.612

38 Submission 136, TAFE Directors Australia, vol.8, p.2246

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but also significant proportion of these RTOs are engaged in unethical or improper, if not fraudulent behaviour.

9.58 The Committee believes that unsatisfactory performance on the part of any RTO can have serious effects on the public credibility of the VET system, and can create a perception in the community and among clients and stakeholders that poor performance by RTOs is fairly widespread.

Our experience is that some providers deliver high quality training to the satisfaction of industry and others very poor quality training which damages the credibility not only of that provider but also of the training system in general.39

While all RTOs, even those against whom complaints have been made, continue to operate in an environment of acceptance of the mediocre, or even the dishonest, the level of acceptance of training and the NTF specifically will rapidly diminish.40

9.59 More importantly, the Committee believes the incidence of failure to adequately and competently provide training and carry out assessments, particularly in the workplace, is seriously undermining the value and integrity of the skills and qualifications being attained.

9.60 The Committee makes a number of recommendations in Chapter 7 and 8 aimed at providing a better system of regulation and quality control. These measures include a requirement for state and territory authorities to provide annual Quality Assurance Plans for consideration by ANTA MINCO, and the establishment of a National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority (NQQAA). The NQQAA

will have legislative powers to monitor, investigate and report on state and territory performance in registering, monitoring and auditing VET providers, and also the performance of registered VET providers in delivering services, including delivery and assessment, whether on the job, in the workplace or in an institutional setting.

9.61 The Committee also recommends in Chapter 8 that the Australian Recognition Framework be replaced with a National Code for Quality in VET that includes legally enforceable standards and procedures for authorities registering providers and legally

enforceable standards and procedures for providers in delivering VET services. Responsibility for establishing, administering and enforcing the National Code would rest with the NQQAA.

Customisation or tailoring of training to meet enterprise-specific needs

9.62 A key objective and feature of New Apprenticeships is the flexibility and choice it provides for training to be customised or tailored to meet industry needs.

39 Submission 117. Forest and Forest Products Employment Skills Co. Ltd. vol.6, p.1870

40 Submission 35, NSW Retail, Wholesale and Associated Services Industry Training Council Ltd. vel.2, p.314

186

This flexibility and choice is provided through User Choice arrangements and National Training Packages. The issue that arises is whether training is now becoming so enterprise-specific that it limits individual’s work choices, impedes labour mobility and shortens the currency of skills and qualifications.

9.63 As discussed in Chapter 7 and Chapter 8, where this issue is also addressed, the Committee considers that there must be a balance between industry-wide and enterprise-specific training and the portability of skills must be paramount. The Committee reiterates its view that apprenticeship and traineeship Training Plans should become the key means for monitoring the nature of training to be provided under the Training Agreement, and for assessing progress for User Choice and

Commonwealth employer incentive payments.

9.64 The Committee also recommends in Chapter 7 that guidelines and advice on customisation or tailoring of training to meet enterprise-specific needs should be underpinned by a clear policy statement that enterprise-specific training is the responsibility of the enterprise and that training that is largely enterprise-specific is not eligible for User Choice or other public funding. Training may be tailored to meet enterprise-specific needs, but there must be a balance between industry-wide and enterprise-specific training and the portability of skills must be paramount.

On the job and workplace training and assessment

9.65 On the job and workplace training is one of the more contentious issues addressed by the Committee.

9.66 The Committee notes that the term ‘on the job training’ is often confused by employers and apprentices/trainees with ‘workplace training’. The Admin Training Company comments on this confusion:

There has been much confusion over the temi on the job training. For some it has a negative connotation of never being removed from routine work practice to be trained. It means learning by default by being left alone in a work situation. This is not what on the job training means and it is the reason that so many practitioners have begun to use the term ‘structured workplace learning.’ Training in the workplace can take place in a variety of ways: instmction by a supervisor away from the work station, followed by practice at the work station; instmction sessions mn by an RTO on site; self- paced learning using flexible learning materials, illustrating assignments etc. with real work situations.41

9.67 Schofield makes a distinction between facilitated workplace learning and on the job training. The former relates to learning that is essentially off the job but delivered in the workplace, what was previously called ‘in-house’ training. The latter ‘refers to structured training arrangements whereby competence is acquired ... through the performance of normal work duties.’ This may include:

Submission 123, Admin Training Company, vol.7, p. 1962

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• the structuring of experience-led learning opportunities in the workplace through such means as job rotation, sequencing of the learner’s activities, increasing the variety and complexity of work tasks; and

• training on the job through coaching, mentoring, work shadowing, supervision and job instruction.

9.68 ‘Fully on the job’ training, according to Schofield, is something different again. This refers to structured training arrangements whereby competence is acquired solely through the performance of normal work duties and for which the apprentice or trainee is given no release from their work duties to participate in either self-managed

or facilitated training with the support of a teacher or trainer.42

9.69 The Committee has adopted the terms ‘workplace training’ and ‘on the job training’ to distinguish between training that is delivered primarily off the job at the workplace and that which is experienced by an apprentice or trainee through the performance of normal work duties.

9.70 Under the National Training Framework renewed emphasis has been placed on structured or facilitated workplace training and, at the same time, there has been a notable increase in fully on the job traineeships. Fully on the job traineeships were first introduced under the Working Nation initiatives. Their introduction was intended to make training arrangements more attractive to employers and was driven by

employer demands for more flexible and relevant training. The rationale also included the empowerment of employers and the breaking of provider domination of training by extending the training market to include employers as providers.

9.71 In their initial conception, fully on the job traineeships required no involvement by a Registered Training Organisation. The support provided to employers for fully on the job training consisted of a How to Train manual and a trainee log book. It was then left to employers to decide how best to provide the training. Later the Commonwealth, through the Traineeship Employer Assistance Program, provided some funding support for training if an employer elected to involve an external provider.43

9.72 Under new arrangements, employers wishing to utilise a fully on the job training option must become a Registered Training Organisation or engage a Registered Training Organisation to monitor training, to assess trainees and to award

qualifications, or enter into an ‘auspicing’ arrangement whereby an RTO must sign off on training ands assessment undertaken by non RTO workplace trainers.44

42 K Schofield, Independent Investigation into the Quality o f Training in Queensland’s Traineeship System, July 1999, p. 17. K Schofield, Delivering Quality - report o f the independent review o f the quality’ o f training in Victoria’s apprenticeship and traineeship system, May 2000, p.61.

43 K Schofield, Independent Investigation into the Quality o f Training in Queensland’s Traineeship System, July 1999, p.15

44 Submission 107, Australian National Training Authority, vol.5, p.1473

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9.73 In many of the submissions received by the Committee it is not always clear whether the views expressed related to workplace training, to on the job training or to fully on the job training. It appears, however, that support for the concept of structured workplace training is strong. There are some misgivings on the part of providers, mainly TAPE, about the additional, non funded costs that accompany this option, and some complaints about providers’, mainly TAPE, inability to adjust to the change in training environment. Although some of the issues raised appear to apply equally to workplace training, on the job training and fully on the job training, it is the last that has drawn specific criticism.

9.74 Employers in an Australian Industry Group study expressed a strong preference for training to be delivered in the enterprise and they expect this to increase in the future.45 The employer research undertaken as part of the National Marketing Strategy Project indicates that a significant number of employers prefer to train people

on the job rather than recruit people already trained, believing that on the job skills are more useful than what people leam in fonnal education.

9.75 Among the reasons given for support of both structured workplace training and on the job training is that it facilitates training because of the ‘real’ work environment, there is better access to relevant equipment, assessment can be made of competencies as they are demonstrated in the workplace and employers can observe the learning process. Furthermore, it is less disruptive, time is not lost with trainees having to travel to an off the job site, it costs less, and the training can be more easily tailored to the needs of the enterprise both in terms of the competencies to be achieved and the timing of training.

Employer obligations

9.76 One of the challenges to the efficacy of both on the job and workplace training is the capability of employers to provide genuine structured training. The Australian Education Union (Tasmanian Branch) argues that the current system of on the job and (the Committee assumes) workplace training is a response to key industry sectors dominated by large employers with a genuine training capacity. According to the AEU (Tasmania), these drivers of the new apprenticeship scheme are not typical or representative of the Australian profile of small to medium size enterprises who do not have, nor do they aspire to have training as a core activity.46

9.77 This view of the training capacity of small to medium enterprises is not new. Fooks, in discussing the employment and training potential of small businesses, argued that:

Unlike large enterprises, small businesses do not maintain human resource departments or have human resource managers, and usually do not have a

45 The Allen Consulting Group, Training to Compete. The Training Needs o f Industry, The Australian Industry Group, Sydney, 1999, p.v

46 Submission 103, Australian Education Union (Tasmanian Branch), vol.5, p. 1405

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training plan. They do not have dedicated trainers and may not even have a well formulated idea of what training each of their workers requires. They are even less able to identify the need for, and to deliver the more subtle skill requirements of the modem workplace: communications skills,

working as a member of a team, problem solving. In short, they need a lot of help.47

9.78 The Agricultural & Horticultural Training Council of South Australia agrees that the quality of employers and their capacity to meet their obligations to deliver training on the job varies vary widely. However, according to the Council, this situation is improving as employers become more familiar with the new system and

understand their responsibilities and opportunities to influence the training system to their advantage.48

9.79 Manufacturing Learning Australia also strongly supports the trend toward greater on the job delivery, arguing that it is often the appropriate delivery mode for many of its enterprises (particularly smaller companies) and learners. It qualifies this support, stating that proper support for on the job learners, which involves initial

counselling on the rights and responsibilities of both parties, evaluation of the suitability of workplaces for on the job training, effective monitoring of the training, and rigorous evaluation of the outcomes, is critical.49

9.80 The Torrens Valley Institute Council suggests that for many on the job training programs, employers do not have an adequate level of learning resources appropriate for the student to complete the requirements of the training package or

curriculum, particularly in regard to underpinning knowledge and skills.50 5 1

9.81 The TAFE NSW Managers Association suggests it is likely that small companies may not have the ability to meet their obligations to deliver the on the job component and meet the competency outcomes because there is still great confusion in industry about National Training Packages and the responsibilities of employers.

Furthermore, it contended that training and assessment is not normally part of the culture of small employers.7'

9.82 The Queensland Government comments that it is difficult to see how the obligations of training providers can be met without trainees having the opportunity for some withdrawal time from everyday work, especially at Australian Qualification Framework level 3 and above.52

47 D Fooks, Canberra Times, 28 February 1996

48 Submission 46, Agricultural & Horticultural Training Council of South Australia, vol.2, p.429

49 Submission 26, Manufacturing Learning Australia, vol.l, p.210

50 Submission 88, Torrens Valley Institute Council, vol.5, p.1204

51 Submission 90, TAFE NSW Managers Association, vol.5, p.1219

52 Submission 131, Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations [Qld], vol.7. P-2125

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9.83 Views were also expressed to the Committee that poor quality on the job training has less to do with lack of expertise and capability to provide training and more to do with employers trying to avoid their obligations. The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association maintains that there are fundamental problems across the board with training programs that are delivered solely on the job. The Association contends that abuse of on the job training by employers is widespread and too often neither providers nor governments make sufficient efforts to try and ensure quality outcomes.53

9.84 The New South Wales WRAPS Industry Training Council recognises that there are incidents of poor quality on the job training and blames such deficiencies on unscrupulous RTOs who persuade businesses that nothing more needs to take place other than the occasional visit by that RTO for the purposes of assessment.54

9.85 In a survey by the Australian Council for Private Education and Training, 45 per cent of respondents disagreed that employers meet their obligations for on the job training and 55 per cent disagreed that on the job training is practical and effective.55

9.86 The South Australian Government, however, reported a review which found that most trainees were positive about their experiences in fully on the job traineeships, and employers found that on the job traineeships ‘were value for money and enabled customised training for their enterprise.’56

Content o f training and the learning experience offully on the job training

9.87 Disquiet was expressed to the Committee that skills provided to trainees through fully on the job training are narrow and enterprise specific, and that there is no provision for the acquisition of broader underpinning knowledge and skills, particularly the Mayer key competencies. The Federation of Wall and Ceiling

Industries reports that:

Concerns have been expressed by employers that apprentices who only access on the job training lack the background knowledge and the range of work competencies of those who have been part of structured training. 57

9.88 Concern was also expressed about the learning experience that fully on the job training provides. The Australian Education Union (Tasmanian Branch) sees fully on the job training as limiting the learning experience for trainees:

53 Submission 50, Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees’ Association, vol.2, p.527

54 Submission 35, NSW Retail, Wholesale and Associated Services Industry Training Council Ltd, vol.2, p.316

55 Submission 59, Australian Council for Private Education and Training, vol.3, p.624-5

56 Submission 129, Government of South Australia, vol.7, p.2098

57 Submissions 52, Federation of Wall & Ceiling Industries Australia and New Zealand, vol.2, p.549

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Learning as a shared experience is an education tenet - interaction with other people is important to learning. With the trend to workplace based training (imagine a single trainee in a small, narrowly focussed enterprise), an individual could complete a program and have no exposure to alternative

thinking through other trainees/apprentices and a narrow, particular exposure to workplace procedures and practices. Off the job training provided a mechanism which genuinely complements the notion of transferability of competency, which will be an ever increasing requirement

given the mobility of Australia’s workforce.58

Support for integrated on and off the job training

9.89 While there was strong support for on the job training, there was equally strong agreement that on the job training should be complemented by off the job training. The Queensland Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services Industry Training Advisory Board argues that fully on the job training has resulted in widely varying training experiences by trainees and that industry is of the view that the best training

experience is where both on and off the job training are used in tandem.59

9.90 Schofield reported that submissions to her Victorian review from the overwhelming majority of employers and industry bodies were strongly opposed to ‘fully on the job’ training for apprentices, even when they were dissatisfied with the quality of training being provided off the job. While they wished to negotiate with

RTOs on a range of matters including the quality, location, duration, relevance and mix of on the job and off the job training, they felt a need for some specialist off the job training either in the workplace or externally to complement on the job training and learning. Similarly, the majority of employers and industry bodies working with

trainees believes that some off the job training was necessary.

9.91 Ms Erica Smith, addressing the necessity of an off the job training component for apprentices and trainees, argues that:

At least where on the job training is absent or employers’ Human Resource policies are less than perfect, with an off the job component the trainee will receive a qualification and some training.60 6 1

9.92 The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) was one of the few that maintains it is critical for fully on the job options to remain, particularly for lower levels within the Australian Qualifications Framework. In taking this position ACCI stresses that there needs to be appropriate support arrangements for employers

so that quality training can be conducted in a small business working environment.

58 Submission 103, Australian Education Union (Tasmanian Branch), vol.5, p.1405

59 Submission 41, Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services Industry Training Advisory Board Inc (Queensland Branch), vol.2, p.356

60 Submission 23, Ms E Smith, vol. 1, p. 180

61 Submission 137, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, vol.8, p.2273

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Schofield’s findings

9.93 In addition to submissions and oral evidence the Committee reviewed Schofield’s findings about on the job training in her three recent reports. Schofield is critical of fully on the job training in Queensland. She concludes:

Doubts must be raised about whether skills are being properly assessed and qualifications are being validly issued at Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) for some elements of level 2, and levels 3 and above when the training is provided ‘fully on the job.’62

9.94 In Tasmania, Schofield found that training in fully on the job traineeships seems to depend on the commitment of the employer and the trainees’ awareness of and willingness to claim their rights, with some RTOs reporting difficulties in trying to get some employers to meet their training obligations to their trainee.63

9.95 In Victoria, Schofield found that workplace training arrangements were not adequately monitored, weak arrangements for auditing and reviewing workplace training were in place, and there was insufficient emphasis on the suitability of the workplace environment for work-based training. Schofield also noted that over 90 per cent of the complaints investigated through the Victorian Office of Post-compulsory Education, Training and Employment’s (PETE) audit program lie in this area. Furthermore, risk analysis by PETE and research by DETYA suggest that fully on the job training is a high risk factor.64

9.96 Schofield reported that the majority of submissions from industry bodies, employers and public providers did not believe that ‘fully on the job’ training supported quality delivery. Support for and opposition to ‘fully on the job’ training was evenly balanced amongst those private providers who submitted to the Schofield review.

9.97 Schofield also observed in her Queensland study that the challenge for RTOs to provide successful workplace delivery is more demanding than is the case for more traditional, classroom-based delivery. Schofield observed that it is difficult to see how

the obligations of training providers can be met without trainees having the opportunity for some withdrawal time from everyday work, especially at Australian Qualification Framework level III and above.65

62 K Schofield, Independent Investigation into the Quality o f Training in Queensland’s Traineeship System, July 1999, p.iii

63 K Schofield, A Risky Business: review o f the quality o f Tasmania’s traineeship system, December 1999, p.8

64 K Schofield, Report o f the Independent Review o f the Quality o f Training in Victoria’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, May 2000, pp. 19,44. K Grey & others, Traineeship Non-completion, Department o f Education, Training and Youth Affairs, February 1999, p.2

65 K Schofield, Independent Investigation into the Quality o f Training in Queensland’s Traineeship System, July 1999, p.51

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9.98 Schofield’s findings in regard to the quality of workplace training were such that she recommended that no Victorian government funding be allocated to apprenticeships or traineeships that are delivered in fully on the job mode.66

Employment and Skills Formation Council’s findings

9.99 The Committee found it interesting to compare the concerns and criticisms of on the job training presented to it during its inquiry with the findings of the 1995-96 inquiry by the Employment and Skills Formation Council’s (ESFC) into the quality of training provided under Working Nation initiatives.67 6 8

9.100 The ESFC described fully on the job traineeships as ‘one of the more conspicuous examples of rhetoric and good intentions running well ahead of the capacity of employers and the system to deliver’. The Council expressed serious concerns at that time about the consistency of the quality of training being provided through some fully on the job traineeships and had doubts about whether, in a large number of cases, any training at all was being provided.

9.101 The Council found that many small businesses were not meeting their obligations to provide on the job training as required by the traineeship agreement they had with their trainees. Where on the job training was provided, it was often delivered, not by a registered training provider, as required by the (then) National

Framework for the Recognition of Training, but by employers or supervisors who had no trainer training. The Council also found that on the job training tended to focus on technical or manual skills without any theoretical underpinning, it did not include the key competencies, it was spasmodic, and it did not follow or comprehensively cover

course requirements.6i<

9.102 The Committee noted that problems with on the job training identified by the ESFC in 1995-96 mirrored those being raised with the Committee in its current inquiry.

9.103 The Committee believes that when genuine training is competently provided in a real work context, that is, either on the job or in the workplace, the value of that training is indisputable, and the Committee strongly supports it as a cornerstone of apprentice and trainee training.

66 Schofield, K, Delivering Quality, report o f the Independent Review o f the Quality o f Training in Victoria’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, Office of Post-compulsory Education, Training and Employment, Melbourne, 2000, p.xii

67 Employment and Skills Formation Council, The Good, the Bad and Everything in Between, National Board of Employment, Education and Training, AGPS, Canberra, 1996

68 The Council’s views were based on evidence gathered in consultations with over 360 employers, labour market program and training providers, CES officers, case managers, local government representatives, community groups and labour market participants in Ipswich and Cairns in Queensland, Wagga Wagga and Fairfield in New South Wales, Cheltenham in Victoria, Elizabeth in South Australia and Fremantle in Western Australia; 98 written submissions, and telephone surveys conducted by AGB McNair of 290 employers and 148 trainees.

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9.104 However, the evidence considered by the Committee has convinced it that there are serious deficiencies in much of the on the job training being provided in Australia. The deficiencies include inadequate content, poor training delivery and, on occasion, the absence of any training at all. Fully on the job training in particular is open to abuse, both intentional and unintentional. It was of great concern to the Committee that the problems identified by the ESFC in 1995-96 are still prevalent.

9.105 The Committee believes that much of the poor quality training is attributable to employers’ lack of capability to fulfil their training obligations, a tendency to regard training as secondary to business considerations, or a lack of understanding of their training obligations. Authorities cannot accurately quantify the extent of deliberately unethical or fraudulent behaviour but it is clear that it is sufficiently

widespread to seriously affect public trust in the VET system.

9.106 As discussed in Chapter 8, the Committee has found that state training authorities, which have responsibility for quality assurance of apprenticeship and traineeship training through their control of training agreements and the registration, monitoring and auditing of RTOs, are not adequately meeting that responsibility. This is particularly so in relation to on the job and fully on the job training and workplace assessment. The Committee recommends in Chapter 6 and Chapter 8 a number of measures designed to improve the performance of states and territories in carrying out their quality assurance responsibilities.

9.107 There was convincing evidence that fully on the job training is particularly at risk of poor outcomes. Almost all submissions from all sides agreed that a mixture of on and off the job training is desirable. The Committee believes it is essential.

The Committee recommends that:

no Commonwealth funds be made available for fully on the job apprenticeships or traineeships, and that, as provided for in the following recommendation, Training Plans must stipulate the proportion of training to be delivered off the job.

Implementation of Training Agreements and Training Plans

9.108 Along with the registration of training providers and the use of endorsed National Training Packages, the registration of Training Agreements is said by ANTA to be a particular regulatory mechanism ensuring quality in apprenticeships and traineeships.69

9.109 DETYA advises that New Apprentices are required under state and territory legislation to have a Training Agreement signed by themselves and their employer

69 Submission 107, Australian National Training Authority, vol.5, p. 1466

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which lays out their roles and responsibilities under the Agreement. Under the new arrangements, the Training Agreement includes a training plan, the outcomes of which are to be assessed by a Registered Training Organisation. 0

9.110 ANTA MINCO agreed to the national application of a ‘model’ Training Agreement in May 1997. The administration of the Training Agreement, that is, the processes for validation, registration, appeals, termination, time periods and delegations, is the responsibility of the states and territories. The Registered Training

Organisation responsible for issuing the qualification or Statement of attainment is responsible for ensuring that training and assessment is conducted to the required standards.

9.111 The evidence presented above in relation to the performance of RTOs and on the job training and assessment suggests that there is widespread lack of diligence, lack of commitment to and failure to monitor and ensure compliance with Training

Agreements. Even where monitoring takes place some employers try to circumvent and indeed succeed in subverting their training obligations. The WA Hospitality & Tourism Industry Training Council, for example, comments that there are reports received of trainees and apprentices not receiving adequate on the job training or not

being released to attend training.7 0 71

9.112 The Committee notes that Ministers, at their MINCO meeting on 30 June 2000, agreed to review the form of the model Training Agreement. The Committee believes this provides an excellent opportunity to also review the role and use of

Training Plans. The Training Plan, which is supposed to be an integral part of the Training Agreement, appears, until recently, to have been similarly neglected or disregarded by employers, RTOs and state administrators.

9.113 Schofield found that in Victoria, the absence of Training Plans for more than 40 per cent of all apprentices and trainees suggests that training is not always effectively planned and documented and that apprentices and trainees are not always regarded as active participants in the training process. Many trainees are not regularly

receiving feedback and advice to aid their progress.72

9.114 A Queensland study by Professor Victor Callen indicated that 27 per cent of employers and 36.7 per cent of trainees indicate that they had no involvement in developing the Training Plan and 39 per cent of both groups indicate that the Training Plan has never been referred to in order to check progress.73

70 Submission 68, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, vol.3, p.776

71 Submission 86, WA Hospitality & Tourism Industry Training Council, vol.5, p.l 161

72 K Schofield, Report o f the Independent Review o f the Quality o f Training in Victoria’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, May 2000, p.68

73 Callan, V., Report on Apprenticeship and Traineeship Non-Completions. University of Queensland, Brisbane, 2000

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9.115 Schofield in her Victorian study also noted that the 1999 Performance Agreement between the Office of Post-compulsory Education, Training and Employment (PETE) and RTOs introduced a requirement for an RTO to negotiate and prepare a Training Plan prior to the commencement of training when the RTO is

supplying workplace-based training. The Agreement specifies what this Plan should contain. This requirement continues in the 2000 Performance Agreement. The Training Plan is an auditable document under the Performance Agreement and was audited in both 1999 and 2000. Schofield notes also that an RTO which is not supplying workplace training does not have the same contractual obligation to prepare a Training Plan although PETE’s information booklet strongly encourages the development and use of training plans in all contexts, not just workplace-based training74

9.116 In at least two other states, renewed attention has been given to the role of Training Plans. In NSW, a Training Plan which has been agreed to by the apprentice or trainee and the employer needs to be lodged for each apprentice or trainee along with the initial claim for payment. The training plan must describe the structured training which is to be delivered, include a description of assessment milestones and a

schedule of monitoring visits.

9.117 Guidelines for Developing a Training Plan for Supporting Flexible Workbased Training have been developed. The guidelines contain minimum standards for flexible workbased training. The training plan is to be based on these minimum standards and include other information that readily identifies the trainees or apprentice, who will be providing the training, exactly what training is going to occur and when the training will take place.

9.118 A copy of the flexible-workbased training plan, as well as being submitted with the RTO’s initial claim for payment, is to be provided to the employer to be kept at the workplace and made available to the Department of Education and Training’s Field Officers on request. A copy is also to be given to the trainee or apprentice and another copy be retained by the RTO. If the training is for more than one year a training plan needs to be developed for each year of the training and regularly reviewed.

9.119 In Queensland, an improved training plan is part of a range of measures introduced from 1 July 2000 to enhance apprenticeship and traineeship training. A declaration of parties, signed by the employer, the apprentice or trainee and the RTO,

must accompany the Training Agreement when it is lodged for approval and registration. The declaration must declare that a Training Plan that meets the needs of the employer and the apprentice or trainee has been developed.

74 K Schofield, Report o f the Independent Review o f the Quality o f Training in Victoria's Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, May 2000, p.53

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9.120 The Committee considers that Training Plans could play a more strategic and effective role in planning and delivering training for individual apprentices and trainees, and in providing a means of more closely monitoring progress towards the outcomes defined by the Training Agreement. Such a role is of increased importance where training is delivered entirely or largely on the job. The Committee believes that

an auditable Training Plan, linked to the registration of Training Agreements and the payment of government incentives and payments to RTOs, could provide a mechanism for refocusing the attention of employers, RTOs and apprentices/trainees on quality training delivery and assessment.

9.121 Some of the features of the revitalised Training Plan should include the following.

• In the Training Plan, the Units of Competence to be delivered should be listed at the finest level of detail (typically at the three-digit code level), specifying which of the ‘variables’ identified in the package will apply. Codes should be set out in full together with the associated point values. Training Plans prepared at this

level of detail would provide a comprehensive Statement of the training to be delivered and a genuine Plan for delivery, monitoring and assessment. It will ensure also that trainees are collecting the total points required for a qualification.

• Training Plans should record whether or not Recognition of Prior Learning has been considered and details of credits granted.

• Training Plans should specify the amount of training to be provided on the job and off the job, whether at the workplace or off site, in a form that can be verified.

• The Training Plan should be maintained by the RTO and updated continuously, not periodically, with provision on the Plan itself or by way of attachments to record:

• when a worker has been assessed and found competent;

• dates of RTO visits or other contacts with the trainee and the purpose of the visits or contacts (eg training; assessment; monitoring etc); and training hours completed since the previous visit or contact, including all workplace based training; and

• dates of attendance at a training session or the dates of assessment in the case of training delivered entirely on the job. •

• The trainee should be provided with a signed copy of the original Training Plan. The updated Training Plan should be used as the basis of periodic discussion between the trainer and the trainee to review progress and prepare for the training to come.

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The Committee recommends that:

(a) the Commonwealth and ANT A work together to revitalise and strengthen the role of Training Plans so that they play a more strategic and effective role in planning and delivering training for individual apprentices and trainees, and in providing a means of more closely monitoring progress towards the outcomes defined by the Training Agreement. Training Plans should become auditable documents linked to the registration of Training Agreements and the payment of government incentives and payments. As a minimum, Training Plans should contain the following:

• details of the RTO, employer and apprentice or trainee;

• the Training Package being used and the qualification(s) to be awarded;

• the competencies to be achieved (in the most detailed form available) and the courses, modules, units or other training to be successfully completed in order to acquire the qualification;

• whether recognition of current competencies and/or credit transfer has been requested or provided and a list of competencies for which recognition of current competencies or credit transfer has been granted;

• a statement of the proportion of structured training to be provided off the job;

• a statement of the proportion of training which is enterprise-specific;

• the need for any additional literacy, numeracy or other support and how this will be provided;

• indicative monitoring dates;

• details of arrangements for assessments including indicative assessment milestones; and

• negotiated arrangements for reporting back to the employer and their trainee or apprentice.

(b) fully completed Training Plans, signed by the employer, the apprentice or trainee and the Registered Training Provider providing or supervising the training be included with Training Agreements when they are submitted for approval and registration. Training Agreements should not be approved or

registered by state or territory authorities unless accompanied by an acceptable Training Plan.

(c) Commonwealth financial incentives not be paid to employers unless an approved Training Plan is in place and evidence of progress or compliance with the Training Plan is provided.

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Protection o f apprentices and trainees

9.122 Provisions, regulations and processes relating to the termination of apprenticeship and traineeship contracts of training vary between states, and the unsatisfactory nature of this has been brought to the Committee’s attention. The issue has been addressed in Schofield’s report on VET in Victoria and in the recent inquiry

into the Victorian industrial relations system. In the original proposals to establish New Apprenticeships, the need for terminations to be approved by the State Training Authorities, and access to independent appeals was included in the blueprint endorsed by the industry reference groups.

9.123 The ease with which contracts can be terminated, particularly as apprentices and trainees do not have access to unfair dismissal arrangements, and the anecdotal evidence of employers taking advantage of apprentices and trainees, is of great concern to the Committee. Much more attention needs to be given to measures to protect apprentices and trainees against abuse by employers. The Committee considers

that requirements for terminating contracts should be tightened and more effectively enforced.

The Committee recommends that:

(a) as apprentices and trainees do not have access to unfair dismissal arrangements, the Commonwealth, through ANT A MINCO, prevail upon the states and territories to provide greater protection through regulations and other arrangements that prevent employers terminating apprenticeship and traineeship contracts without the approval of the state training authority; and

(b) that access by apprentices and trainees to an independent state appeals tribunal or process be established on a tripartite basis.

Performance of New Apprenticeship Centres

9.124 New Apprenticeship Centres (NACs) are contracted directly by the Commonwealth to promote and service New Apprenticeships. They are paid a fee for each placement, by instalments. There are 35 New Apprenticeship Centres operating at over 300 sites around Australia.75

9.125 Critics claimed, in sum, that New Apprenticeship Centres, being profit-driven, are too inclined to place trainees without regard to the suitability of the placements and the quality of the training. In particular it was claimed th a t:

75 Submission 68, Department of Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, vol.6, p.777

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• NACs tend to promote apprenticeships and traineeships at the expense of other options which in some cases might be more suitable.76

• Some NACs market primarily of the basis of promoting the employer incentives to employers, ‘with little emphasis on the obligations placed on the employer to provide opportunities for structured learning, and minimal assurance that the New Apprenticeship contract is appropriate.’77 ‘...the NACs are largely

motivated to make placements regardless of the quality of the fit between the trainee, the employer and the program of training. The NACs also appear to be poorly equipped to provide the advice and assistance needed by workers and job­ seekers....’78

• NACs receive the same funding per apprentice regardless of the occupation or the industry and that ‘this creates incentives for NACs to concentrate on ‘easy’ commencements, with funding implications for states and territories, who find themselves funding a large number of apprenticeships and traineeships which do not necessarily match state and national economic priorities.’79 Similarly, ‘New Apprenticeship Centres and Group Training Companies are more likely to pursue New Apprenticeships with support materials that are easy to implement than to negotiate with RTOs to develop their own.’80 ‘The anecdotal evidence available to the Australian Industry Group suggests that the NACs are selling traineeships which are easiest to sell, rather than those that may be of most benefit to industry.’81

• NACs sometime give inaccurate or out of date information.82

• NACs are unmotivated to service rural or remote areas. For example, ‘This [fulfilment of a NAC contract] could be gained from one or two mines alone and there is no reason for a profit motivated body to ‘waste’ resources servicing other rural and remote clients.’83

• there is insufficient incentive to promote completion. ‘Indeed, if the trainee poses any difficulties it is often in the interests of RTO and employer for the

76 Submission 43, Wodonga Institute of TAPE, vol.2, p.380

77 Submission 44, Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services Industry Training Advisory Board, vol.2, p.392­ 3

78 Submission 42, Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research and Training, vol.2, p.369

79 Submission 119, Government o f Victoria, vol.7, p. 1901

80 Submission 54, Community Services and Health Training Australia, vol.2, p.564

81 Submission 64, Australian Industry Group, vol.3, p.719

82 Ms A Kilminster (WA Hospitality and Tourism Industry Training Council), Hansard, Perth, 17 May 2000, p.661

83 Submission 18, Rural Industries Training Advisory Board (NT), vol.l, p.127. Similarly Submission 65, Recreation Industry Training Company Ltd, vol.3, p.730; Submission 46, Agriculture and Horticulture Training Council of SA Inc., vol.2, p.431

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trainee to be encouraged to not complete the traineeship and for a replacement to be found.’84

• ‘Private brokers are also of concern as they often prioritise economic considerations over educational ones and thus fail to undertake proper selection and recruitment procedures.’85

9.126 According to Schofield in her 1999 report on traineeships in Queensland, NACs appear to have had minimal accountability for ensuring quality in the system, which has resulted in many people being inappropriately signed up as trainees.86

9.127 A particular concern was that in a system where everyone has a commercial interest, there is no ‘honest broker’ who can give disinterested advice:

...there is, within the apprenticeship and traineeship system overall, a lack of honest brokers, a lack of any people in the system who can provide individual employers or individual apprentices or trainees, or a potential of either, with disinterested advice.87

9.128 The Tasmanian government suggested that lack of mediators is one reason for non-completion.88

9.129 DETYA argued that a survey of employers in 1999, during the first New Apprenticeship Centre contract, showed a high level of satisfaction with New Apprenticeship Centre services. The survey also identified areas where there was scope for improvement: follow up with employers; responsiveness; the attitude of

some staff. The Committee notes that the government has never released the survey publicly and in response to the Committee’s request DETYA refused to provide it.89

84 Submission 72, NSW Primary Industry Training Advisory Body Ltd, vol.3, p.855

85 Submission 128, Victorian TAPE Association Inc., vol.7, p.2060

86 K Schofield, Independent Investigation into the Quality o f Training in Queensland’s Traineeship System, July 1999, p.iv

87 Ms M Sussex (Office of Post compulsory Education, Training and Employment [Vic]), Hansard, Canberra, 4 July 2000, p.743. Similarly for example Submission 48, Adelaide Hills Employment Education and Training Network, vol.2, p.485; Submission 72, NSW Primary Industry Training Advisory Board Ltd, vol.3, p.855

88 Submission 83, Government of Tasmania, vol.4, p.1090. Similarly Submission 135, Far North Queensland Employment, vol.8, p.2178

89 Submission 68, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, vol.3, p.776-7. Wallis Consulting Group, New Apprenticeship Centres Employer Satisfaction Survey, August 1999. Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, further information 28 July 2000, p.233: T he Employer Satisfaction Survey... has not been made available as a public document. The Minister, Dr Kemp, has

made a number of media releases relating to the overall findings of satisfaction levels and it is not intended to provide further details.’ A search of the Minister’s website reveals two relevant press releases, of which the main one is: Kemp the Hon. D, New Apprenticeship Centres a Nationwide Hit, 10 November 1999.

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9.130 The level of satisfaction indicated by employers in the DETYA survey is at odds with the criticism of New Apprenticeship Centres in submissions.

9.131 DETYA maintains that ‘with this information and feedback from the state training authorities’ the second NAC contract is more explicit about the services to be provided. A key aspect of it is to ensure effective services in rural and remote areas. The contract includes detailed Key Performance Indicators. ‘A rigorous contract management strategy has been put in place.’90

9.132 The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry comments that tender documentation developed by the Commonwealth for the second round New Apprenticeship Centres substantially meets the concerns of employers in the operation of this important service.91

9.133 The evidence before it is sufficient to convince the Committee that at least in the first contract period the performance of a number of NACs was less than acceptable.

9.134 The Committee has had cause during its inquiry to question the role of NACs and the rationale for their existence. It seems that their primary purpose is to facilitate the payment of Commonwealth incentives to employers. Their role is purely to advise and facilitate. They appear to have no formal monitoring, mediation or scrutiny role or responsibilities, no ‘policing’ role and no regulatory authority to protect the rights and enforce the obligations of either trainees or employers. Evidence of their failure to date in achieving their objectives can be seen in the Commonwealth Minister’s proposal to ANTA MINCO to develop a Code of Good Practice in New Apprenticeships. It is envisaged that the Code will ensure that employers and New Apprentices understand their respective responsibilities and obligations; a task that is purportedly one of the main reasons for the establishment of NACs.

9.135 It is too soon to say whether the tightened up contract will succeed in solving the problems. The Committee hopes that the key performance indicator ‘increase in retention rates’ will counterbalance the pressure to make inappropriate placements and

that the key performance indicator ‘commencements within contract industry profile’ will counterbalance the pressure to concentrate on the easiest sales. The Committee expects that DETYA will keep the matter under review.

Conflicts o f interest

9.136 There were particular concerns where one organisation, or closely related organisations, have several roles. For example, where a New Apprenticeship Centre

90 Submission 68, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, voi.3, p.776-8. The Key Performance Indicators: Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, New Apprenticeships Support Services Contract 1999-2002, schedule 1

91 Submission 137, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, vol.9, p.2274. Similarly K Schofield, Independent Investigation into the Quality o f Training in Queensland’s Traineeship System, July 1999, p.76: ‘The second tender documents appear to have attempted to resolve a range o f earlier problems.’

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(NAC) is associated with a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), the NAC might be tempted to guide employers and apprentices to that RTO for training, regardless of suitability. Where an NAC is also a Group Training Company (GTC), the NAC might be tempted to guide trainees to that GTC as employer, regardless of suitability.92 DETYA advised that of the 35 contracted New Apprenticeships Centre organisations,

10 are Registered Training Organisations, 2 are Group Training Companies, and 18 are Registered Training Organisations and Group Training Companies.93 9 4

9.137 For example:

A particular area of concern is where an NAC is also both a Group Training Company (GTC) and a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Anecdotal evidence suggests that in some cases such organisations are unable to separate the respective roles and, drawn by financial incentives, ensure that the person being signed up is placed with the GTC and trained by the RTO

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arms.

A group training company that is an employer and a private provider will now be responsible for approving its own workplace arrangements, assessing its won quality and issuing its own qualifications whilst administering all of the financial benefits to itself.95

9.138 A 1999 study for the Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations found ‘substantial evidence of conflicts of interest being played out in the market by some NACs who also have other roles in the system such as RTOs or Group Training Schemes.’96

9.139 On the other hand, some submissions argued the benefits of an employer also becoming an RTO so as to give training well tailored to their particular needs, free of the ‘inflexibility’ of TAPE:

RTO status has unquestionably provided significant benefits and advantages for GTCs in that · they are much less exposed to the unresponsiveness and inflexibility of the TAPE system, and are able to dictate the type of training they require, and its timing · they can better co-ordinate their on the job and

92 Submission 5, Tasmanian Transport and Distribution Industry Training Board Inc., vol.l, p.39

93 Department o f Education, Training and Youth Affairs, further information 28 July 2000, p.236

94 Submission 75, Rural Training Council of Australia Inc., vol.4, p.929. Similarly Submission 119, Government of Victoria, vol.7, p. 1901

95 Submission 18, Rural Industries Training Advisory Board (NT), vol.l, p. 126

96 Applied Consulting Pty Ltd, Report - NAC Reviw, April 1999, Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations, noted in K Schofield, Independent Investigation into the Quality oj Training in Queensland's Traineeship System, July 1999, p.37

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off the job training needs, and · provide front-end or top-up training as required.97

9.140 Australian Business Ltd, an employer organisation, operates both a New Apprenticeship Centre (Australian Business Employment Network) and an RIO (Small Business Training Company). Australian Business Ltd explained how it manages the potential conflict of interest:

Firstly, the operations are physically separate. The SBTC has its own manager and its own operational administrative structure. Secondly, all records, both physical and electronic, are kept separately, with controlled access to both. Thirdly, all ABEN staff are well briefed on our support for and requirement that purchasers of training be given the right to choose the RTO they wish. Similarly, SBTC staff are required to ensure their clients are given the opportunity to choose whichever NAC they believe meets their needs.

Our indications are that this has worked well for us, and I just offer a couple of pieces of evidence in support of that. Firstly, there are a range of RTOs which provide services to ABEN NAC clients whose employees are undertaking traineeships which could otherwise be serviced by the SBTC ... Secondly, the SBTC is providing RTO services to a number of employers being serviced by NACs other than ABEN... I have absolutely no doubt that

if people outside our organisation regarded that we were not successfully managing any question of conflict of interest we would not be getting the work that we are getting.98

9.141 However, Australian Business Ltd could not vouch for its competitors being equally diligent, but did not have ‘any hard evidence’ it could give the Committee.99

9.142 Some submissions from private providers pointed out the potential conflict of interest where a state training authority is both the purchaser and the regulator of training. The claim is that the state training authorities, as purchasers, favour TAPE as provider:

It is felt that officers making purchasing decisions are too close to their public sector [TAFE] colleagues and (a) are unable to evaluate tenders except in public provider terms, and (b) lack sufficient independence to be able to make unbiased decisions.100

97 Submission 94, Group Training Australia Ltd, vol.5, p. 1297. Similarly Submission 31, Silver Circle, vol.l, p.253

98 Mr G Pattison (Australian Business Ltd), Hansard, Canberra, 4 July 2000, p.695

99 Mr G Pattison (Australian Business Ltd), Hansard, Canberra, 4 July 2000, p.699

100 Submission 59, Australian Council for Private Education and Training, vol.3, p.614. Similarly Submission 57, Angus Knight Group, vol.2, p.591

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9.143 The most serious and general potential conflict of interest lies where the RTO is also the assessor. There is obvious potential for an unscrupulous RTO to deliver inadequate training and then sign off the trainee in any case:

We are also concerned where the roles of employer, trainer and assessor of competence are combined or overlap... Add to this the financial pressures on organisations to have trainees/ apprentices ‘successfully achieve competence’ and the compromises are obvious and inevitable.1 1 1 1

9.144 The Committee considers that the potential conflicts of interest in these situations are obvious - particularly in the situation where 30 of the 35 New Apprenticeship Centres are also either Registered Training Organisations or Group Training Companies or both. There is reasonable evidence that there is a certain

amount of unethical practice which, although it cannot be quantified, is still of concern.

9.145 The Committee believes that requirements for ensuring that conflicts of interest are ethically resolved are not adequate and the requirements that do exist are not adequately scrutinised to ensure they are being adhered to. A minimum requirement where potential conflicts of interest exist is that the same staff within an

organisation do not carry out multiple roles. Staff performing NAC functions, for example, should not be the same as those acting on behalf of a Group Training Company or a training provider.

The Committee recommends that:

the Commonwealth strengthen and more rigorously monitor and enforce measures to avoid real or potential conflicts of interests between organisations operating as New Apprenticeship Centres and/or Group Training Companies and/or VET providers. As a minimum, where real or potential conflicts of interest exist, the same staff within an organisation should not be allowed to carry out multiple roles.

Impact of Commonwealth’s New Apprenticeships employer incentives program

Effectiveness o f incentives in influencing employers

9.146 Commonwealth subsidies and incentives are provided to encourage employers to offer training opportunities under New Apprenticeships. They are also a recognition of the costs that employers bear in the provision of training but it has never been

intended that they should cover the total cost of training. Commonwealth subsidies and incentives to employers, in various forms, have been a feature of Commonwealth labour market and VET policies for more than 20 years. 1 0 1

101 Submission 43, Wodonga Institute of TAPE, vol.2, p.379

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9.147 The Commonwealth program is demand driven - subject to the New Apprentice and employer meeting the eligibility criteria, the subsidy will be paid. In 1999-2000, the Commonwealth has allocated $354 million for incentives which includes support for 134,000 New Apprenticeship commencements and personal benefits for New Apprentices such as Living Away From Home Allowance. This represents a 20 per cent increase over 1998-99 funding.102

9.148 The Committee heard differing views on the general issue of whether financial incentives influenced employers decisions in relation to the employment of apprentices and trainees. Within industry groups there are contrasting views. Those who claim incentives are unimportant generally maintain that the level of subsidies is not substantial enough to be a real consideration in employer or business employment and training decisions. For example, Robe River Iron Associates argued that the incentives are insignificant in the context of its costs:

We would argue that financial considerations would tend to discourage employing trainees... [our] trainee programs reflect community commitments, reinforces the organisational values and most importantly Robe realises that young people need to be trained in order to provide a skilled workforce for the future.103 1 0 4 1 0 5

9.149 On the other hand, for example, Group Training Australia Ltd (GTA), speaking on behalf of a number of Group Training Companies, felt that ‘properly focussed’ government incentives are essential to increase employers’ participation in apprenticeships and traineeships. GTA quoted 1997 DETYA research:

...the most striking finding from the survey is the large proportion of firms who indicated that they would reduce the number of apprentices if the CRAFT subsidy was abolished."14

9.150 In a survey by the Australian Council for Private Education and Training, 75 per cent of respondents agreed that financial incentives and targets drive the system.103

9.151 Evidence of the ability of incentives to influence employers in particular circumstances is provided in the Tasmanian Government submission:

In late 1998, the Commonwealth Government changed the funding conditions to allow employers to claim subsidies for the registration of a

102 Submission 68, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, vol.3, p.778

103 Submission 11, Robe River Iron Associates, vol.l, p.86. Similarly Submission 24, Technical Australia Pty Ltd, vol.l, p. 190: ‘This level o f subsidy is hardly an incentive to employ an apprentice. The management and administrative problems are seen more often by employers a a reason not to employ apprentices.’

104 Submission 94, Group Training Australia Ltd, vol.5, p. 1277 & 1298, quoting Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Evaluation o f the Impact o f Financial Incentives on the Recruitment o f Entry Level Trainees, October 1997, p.96

105 Submission 59, Australian Council for Private Education and Training, vol.3, p.619

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current employee in a contract of training. Before this change in rules, there were minimal numbers of current employees being registered. When the rules were again changed in May 1999, the level of current employees commencing a contract of training declined. This rule change confined the

subsidy for current employees to contracts of more than one year in duration.106

9.152 It was claimed that the rate of incentive should vary across industries to acknowledge that apprentices are more costly in terms of lost productivity in some industries than others. There should be higher incentives for small business and for employers remote from RTOs.107 There should be a special subsidy for all rural

trainees, reflecting the fact that in regional Australia ‘there are more potential trainees than there are employers willing to take them on.’108

9.153 While some incentives are equity based, such as those available for New Apprentices with a disability, there is no targeting of incentives, for example, to particular occupations or industries experiencing skill shortages. This tends to suggest an underlying employment rather than a VET needs focus. The Victorian Government

has called for better targeting to more effectively meet national training needs.109

9.154 The Victorian Government and Business Skills Victoria have pointed out what they believe is an anomaly in the Commonwealth’s eligibility criteria which is acting as a disincentive to employers in recruiting or retaining New Apprentices. The current Commonwealth policy does not allow a ‘commencement’ incentive payment

to employers who take on a New Apprentice who has a prior qualification in the same industry. This means an employer taking on a ‘new employee’ New Apprentice who has gained a Level II qualification is not entitled to a commencement incentive. However, a ‘progression’ payment is allowed for an employer who progresses a New Apprentice from Level II to Level III. This places young people who obtain a

Certificate II through VET in Schools or a pre-apprenticeship course at a disadvantage when they attempt to gain apprenticeship or traineeship employment positions.

9.155 The policy is also said to disadvantage people who find that their qualifications are effectively useless due to the passage of time or the closure of major employers in an industry or region.110

9.156 The Committee accepts the predominant evidence to this inquiry that employer incentives are a factor in employers’ recruitment and training decision

106 Submission 83, Tasmanian Government, vol.4, p.1079

107 Submission 70, Construction Industry Training Board, vol.3, p.833

108 Submission 72, NSW Primary Industry Training Advisory Board Ltd, vol.3, p.860

109 Submission 119, Victorian Government, vol.7, p.l 896

110 Submission 28, Business Skills Victoria, vol.l, p.228. Submission 119, Victorian Government, vol.7, p. 1896

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making. The Committee notes the evidence that incentives seem to be more important to employers in some industry sectors than in others.

9.157 The Committee also noted the arguments in submissions about the lack of targeting of Commonwealth employer incentives to areas of skill shortages. This is a feature of some state incentive programs such as that operating in Queensland.

9.158 A number of issues relating specifically to Group Training Companies are raised in Group Training Australia’s submission. These relate to the ‘substantial and negative’ impact of changes to Commonwealth incentive payments on Group Training Companies. It was claimed that the different treatment of Group Training Companies is unfair, ‘...completion payments are not paid to not for profit companies... I am at a loss to explain why the Government discriminates against companies working for the good of the Australian public.’ This disadvantage flows through to the small businesses who rely on Group Training Company Apprentices.111

9.159 Group Training Australia (GTA) has stressed in its submission that it believes the exclusion of ‘not for profit’ Group Training Companies from the completion payments is a significant disincentive to enter into longer term contracts of training. GTA points out that there is also a significant body of evidence to suggest that there is a direct relationship between the level of incentive and the number of apprentices employed. Consultations conducted by The Allen Consulting Group identified a high level of concern among Group Training Companies about the overall reduction in the incentive payments. The Allen report concluded that this concern was brought about because Group Training Companies ‘operate in labour markets that are highly sensitive to price’.112

9.160 The Committee notes that DETYA is currently reviewing a number of incentive eligibility requirements in consultation with states and territories and industry and considers that pending the review, recommended in Chapter 7, of both industry investment in training and benefits derived by industry from the range of incentives and subsidies, DETYA should reexamine the withdrawal of completion payments from ‘not for profit’ Group Training Companies.

The Committee recommends that:

pending the independent review, recommended in Recommendation 23, of both industry investment in training and benefits derived by industry from the range of incentives and subsidies, DETYA re-examine the withdrawal of completion payments from ‘not for profit’ Group Training Companies.

111 Submission 94, Group Training Australia Ltd, vol.5, p,1276ff. Submission 72, NSW Primary Industry Training Advisory Board Ltd, vol.3, p.860

112 Submission 94, Group Training Australia Ltd, vol.5, p. 1276-7

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Employer incentives for existing employees

9.161 A particular point of debate was incentives for existing employees. In May 1997, the ANT A Ministerial Council agreed that a state or territory may provide funding for training delivery for a New Apprentice who was employed in an enterprise prior to becoming a New Apprentice where such funding is consistent with the priorities set by that state or territory. At the time of that decision, the Ministerial

Council rioted that ‘existing workers’ would not attract Commonwealth incentives and subsidies. Some states had policies which allowed for payment of incentives and payment for training to be made for existing employees but moved to tighten eligibility criteria to restrict access by existing employees.

9.162 In August 1998 the Commonwealth extended its incentives to existing employees. This resulted in a rapid increase in existing employee New Apprentices, raising concerns that some employers were abusing the system by signing up their employees as New Apprenticeships to get the incentive, without regard to real training

needs. For example:

Between the months of July and December 1998... Queensland had alleged commencements - 1 do not believe that many of these people were actually legitimate trainees - of 27,865, Victoria had 23,792 and New South Wales had 11,445. Those figures would surely give you an indication that, in fact, there was a very large level of inappropriate activity going on, and it was happening for two reasons. One was the effect of both the previous state

government and the Commonwealth government opening up their subsidy and payment arrangements to cover existing workers, which ANT A certainly cautioned against at the time...113

9.163 Torrens Valley Institute reported that:

In some cases, whole workplaces have been signed up as ‘trainees’ with little regard to creating new employment opportunities. In these situations, there are concerns as to the level, standard and quantity of training provided, and the maintenance of standards.114 1 1 5

9.164 As a result of these concerns, Commonwealth employer incentives for existing employees were tightened up again in May 1999. DETYA describes the reason as: ‘...the rapid increase in numbers of New Apprentices who were existing workers was putting pressure on a newly developing national training system

originally designed to focus largely on new entrants to the workforce.’114

113 Mr Peter Noonan (Qld Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations), Hansard, Canberra, 5 July 2000, p.793

114 Submission 88, Torrens Valley Institute Council, vol.5, p.l 194-5. Similarly for example Submission 91, Victorian Trades Hall Council, vol.5, p .l226

115 Submission 68, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, vol.3, p.776-7

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9.165 While national (NCVER) figures are available on the distribution of New Apprenticeships across age groups, no national data on the split between ‘new’ and ‘existing’ workers is collected at this time, although the NCVER is looking at this issue. Three states, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania, have provided some data and graphs which show the substantial uptake of New Apprentices by existing workers in those states, particularly in traineeships. In Queensland in 1999, existing employees made up 10.2 per cent of apprenticeship commencements and 14.5 per cent of traineeship commencements.116 In Victoria in 1999, existing workers make up 5.3 per

cent of apprenticeship commencements and 25.7 per cent of traineeship commencements.117 In Tasmania in 1999, existing employees varied from month to month between 44 and 70 per cent of commencements.118 1 1 9 The Committee does not necessarily accept that the level of uptake by existing workers is, of itself, evidence of either misuse of incentives or the extent of any misuse.

9.166 The Committee believes that the Commonwealth’s extension of subsidies to ‘existing workers’ (without consulting the states and territories), has artificially in Hated New Apprenticeship growth, has diverted training provision away from

younger and new entrants to the workforce and has seriously tested the states’ capacity to meet the additional training costs associated with the growth in New Apprenticeships. The effect of the latter is compounded by the Commonwealth initiated ‘growth through efficiencies’ policy which is discussed in Chapter 7.

9.167 As the likely consequences of the Commonwealth’s extension of subsidies to existing workers were so obvious, and as ANTA cautioned against the move at the time1 l9, the Committee has to question the Commonwealth’s motivation, and why the

states and territories were not consulted. There is no doubt that the Queensland, Victorian, NSW and Tasmanian Governments are unhappy about the Commonwealth’s action. In their submissions they have reacted not only in terms of the additional financial burden it created for them, but also in terms of its lack of adherence to the ‘partnership’ and ‘consultative’ model of national policy and planning for VET. The Committee agrees that this action by the Commonwealth is a

repudiation of the spirit and the terms of the ANTA Agreement.

9.168 The Committee believes that in a national VET system based on partnership, it should not be possible for one party to unilaterally make decisions that directly

116 Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations, further information 9 August 2000. p.318-19

117 Schofield, K, Delivering Quality, report o f the Independent Review o f the Quality o f Training in Victoria’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship System, Office of Post-compulsory Education, Training and Employment, Melbourne, 2000, p.A-42

118 Submission 83, Tasmanian Government, vol.4, p. 1079. Existing employees as percentage of contract of training commencements, 1999: Jan 66.2, Feb 67.3, March 70.2, April 67.3, May 56.2, June 52,7, July 38.3, August 44.6.

119 Mr Peter Noonan (Qld Department o f Employment, Training and Industrial Relations), Hansard, Canberra, 5 July 2000, p.793

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impinge on areas for which other parties have responsibility, in this case the responsibility for the quality of training outcomes.

The Committee recommends that:

the Commonwealth not implement changed eligibility criteria for its New Apprenticeships Financial Incentives Program without formally advising and receiving the views of ANTA MINCO on the intended changes.

Possible misuse o f incentives

9.169 A number of claims were made to the Committee about the adverse impact of Commonwealth employer incentives on the quality of apprenticeship and traineeship training. One of the more serious claims is that growth in New Apprenticeships is being driven by the desire to gain financial advantage rather than commitment to training, the latter manifesting itself in a failure to meet training obligations under apprenticeship and traineeship Training Agreements.

9.170 Victoria University of Technology, for example, thinks that the current system skews outcomes away from quality and meeting industry needs, and towards cutting costs and making a profit.120

9.171 The Victorian Government acknowledged that many of the problems with the quality of traineeships, in particular, come when employers’ primary motivation for involvement is to access incentive payments:

This was most evident during the period when Commonwealth incentives were available for existing employees. Where access to financial incentives was the primary motivation, there was little incentive for employers to ensure that training was of a high quality, genuinely delivering new skills, or

even taking place at all.121

9.172 Countering these claims a significant number of submissions argue that subsidies and incentives are used by employers or businesses to provide genuine employment and training opportunities, and are thus addressing industry and national training needs.

9.173 However, even submissions arguing that incentives are being accessed legitimately by employers also acknowledge at least some degree of misuse by employers or businesses whose motivation is to obtain cheap labour with no intention of providing proper training, or to shift the cost of enterprise-specific training onto government. Misuse of the system is most often claimed to occur in relation to the

120 Submission 56, Victoria University of Technology, vol.2, p.580

121 Submission 119, Victorian Government, vol.7, p. 1898

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converting of ‘existing workers’ to New Apprentices but is by no means limited to this area.

9.174 The Victorian government was concerned that there are opportunities for ‘inappropriate practices...’

...especially in occupations such as Cleaning and Security Operations where Certificate II and III qualifications are nested and can be completed within twelve months. In this situation, large amounts of money can be accessed in

short time period with very little training taking place, especially if employees are already largely competent. This is not illegal under current arrangements, but incentives to behave in this way need to be reviewed.122

9.175 The South Australian Government claims it has not found evidence of widespread systemic fraud or ‘rorting’ as has been reported elsewhere but acknowledges the need to examine the current balance between new entrants and existing workers.123 The NSW Government claims that ‘existing worker’ registrations are being carefully monitored to ensure agreement is given only to bone fide training agreements consistent with Commonwealth policy on existing workers.124

9.176 There are claims that New Apprenticeship Centres (NACs), because their income is directly related to the number of New Apprentice commencements or recommencements, are engaging in questionable practices to keep the numbers up.

Such practices are said to include promoting short term lower level traineeships, and down-playing to employers their training responsibilities. Submissions that claim misuse of incentives on the part on employers and businesses attribute much of the cause to the way subsidies and financial incentives are used to market New Apprenticeships, particularly by NACs, Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and Group Training Companies.

9.177 There are also reports of RTOs engaging in similar unethical behaviour.

9.178 The Committee is persuaded by the evidence presented to it which is reviewed above and in the earlier discussion of on the job and workplace training, that many employers who are in receipt of Commonwealth financial incentives for New Apprentices are not meeting their obligation to provide adequate and relevant training, particularly on the job training. The failure to provide training may be deliberate and stem from unethical or improper motives, or it may be as a result of the lack of

122 Submission 119, Government of Victoria, vol.7, p. 1898. Similarly Submission 77, Property Services Training, vol.4, p.974: ‘I am particularly concerned about Office Administration and Small Business Traineeships. These types of non-specialist New Apprenticeships promote the “cannon fodder” or “churning” syndrome where employers take on people for subsidies rather than to obtain a quality employee.’ See also K Schofield, Independent Investigation into the Quality o f Training in Queensland's

Traineeship System, July 1999, attachment 10, for the widely differing amounts of incentive that may be paid for similar traineeships depending on individual circumstances.

123 Submission 129, South Australian Government, vol.7, p.2093

124 Submission 139, New South Wales Department of Education and Training, vol.9, p.2456

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expertise or capability of the employer. Regardless of the cause, it represents a serious misuse of Commonwealth incentive payments.

9.179 The Committee makes recommendations in earlier Chapters aimed at ensuring better monitoring and control of RTOs, on the job training and apprenticeship and traineeship training more generally. The Committee reiterates its views expressed in the earlier chapters.

The Committee recommends that:

Commonwealth financial incentives not be available to employers who have a persistent pattern or a high incidence of withdrawal, cancellation, transfer or other event which involves an apprentice or trainee leaving the employer prior to completion, unless the reasons for leaving can be demonstrated to be attributable

to genuine voluntary choice on the part of the apprentice or trainee. Provision should be made for employers to requalify for Commonwealth financial incentives after demonstrating satisfactory training performance over a period of twelve months.

Should existing employees attract New Apprenticeship employer subsidies

9.180 There is support for subsidies to be made available for existing employees, from many quarters, on equity grounds, and on the basis that the national interest is being served by raising the skills of the workforce. NSW WRAPS for example, argues:

It is not appropriate that in moving to a new training based system that existing workers be left behind or be forced to expend their own funds to "catch up’ when they have never had a share of the training dollar. In such circumstances it is not appropriate to argue that the primary emphasis of the VET system should be on young people’s needs to the exclusion of the needs of older workers.1"5

9.181 In so far as government assistance for the retraining of existing workers is supported in submissions, most favoured the use of financial incentives, providing abuses can be prevented. For example, the ACTU:

The ACTU considers that existing employees should have an entitlement to access Commonwealth incentives for VET studies in the same way as these are offered to school leavers and new employees... a large number of low

paid, low skilled workers who have had no prior opportunity to undertake

125 Submission 35, NSW Retail, Wholesale and Associated Services Industry Training Council Ltd, vol.2, p.318

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VET studies should not be denied Commonwealth financial assistance due to the misuse of incentives by some irresponsible employers.121'

9.182 At least two submissions protest at the tightening of eligibility criteria as a way of overcoming misuse, rather than action being taken to put in place and ensure adequate implementation of quality assurance measures. Construction Training Australia believes lack of system management should not be used to judge the quality of outcomes.1 2 6 127 New South Wales WRAPS Industry Training Council argues that:

Arbitrary restrictions on incentive payments penalise those seeking to operate within the system in the appropriate manner as well as those abusing the system. The real solution to this is not to impose-more restrictions but to ensure accountability from those who receive the training subsidies and incentives.128

9.183 Objections to subsidies for existing employees are based on the argument that financial resources (Commonwealth and state and territory) are limited and cannot stretch to cover the funding of New Apprenticeships ‘on demand’ and therefore must be applied to areas of most need; that is, the employment and training of younger Australians.

9.184 The Committee’s attention was also drawn to the argument that public funding should be directed to training that meets national needs and enhances labour mobility, and that employers should be responsible for the costs of enterprise-specific training. It was argued that employers are likely to require training for ‘existing employee’ New Apprentices to be largely enterprise-specific and that the cost of such enterprise specific training should be met by the employers. The Committee strongly supports this argument.

9.185 The Committee notes that the tightening of the eligibility criteria in relation to existing employees that is now in operation, ie, the exclusion of existing workers who have been employed full time for less than three months or part-time for less than twelve months for AQF Levels II, III and IV, appears to have steadied the growth in existing employee take up of New Apprenticeships and deterred most of the more blatant abuse of the system. The eligibility criteria still allows access to existing employees.

Target audience for New Apprenticeships

9.186 The Committee considered two questions in relation to this issue: is there an appropriate balance between the needs of younger (15-19 and 20-24 year olds) and

126 Submission 140, Australian Council of Trade Unions, vol.9, p.2493

127 Submission 60, Construction Training Australia, vol.3, p.666

128 Submission 35, NSW Retail, Wholesale and Associated Services Industry Training Council Ltd, vol.2, p.318

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older (25+) people in New Apprenticeships; and is access by older people limiting access by members of younger age groups to New Apprenticeships?

9.187 Younger rather than older people have been the main participants in traditional apprenticeships. Adults were at one time restricted in taking up apprenticeships by industrial legislation and industrial Award conditions. Even when legislation and Awards were changed to allow adult apprenticeships, the take-up was

not great.

9.188 New Apprenticeships are both a vehicle for increasing the skills base of the workforce and a labour-market strategy to deal with youth unemployment. The Commonwealth and states and territories have agreed that priority in New Apprenticeships should be given to young people. Older people are not excluded and

there is no difference in User Choice payments or Commonwealth incentive payments based on age.

9.189 The NCVER reports that although apprentice and trainee opportunities for young people may appear to be declining because the share or proportion of younger people in commencements and numbers in-training decreased over the period 1995 to 1998, this is not the case. The share held by young people declined proportionally

only because the growth rates in the numbers of older apprentices and trainees outstripped the growth that occurred in the numbers of younger apprentices and trainees. The reality is that participation rates (that is, the number in apprenticeships or traineeships as a proportion of their population age cohort) for 15 to 19 and 20 to 24

year olds steadily increased over the period 1995 to 1999. However, participation rates for 25 to 29 and 30 to 64 year olds more than doubled over the same period.

9.190 Table 9.2 shows that from 1995 to 1999 the participation rate for 15-19 year olds increased from 5.7 per cent to 7.1 per cent. The participation rate for 20-24 year olds increased by from 3.8 per cent to 6.0 per cent. In the same period 15-19 year olds as a proportion of the total population fell slightly from 10.6 per cent to 10.4 per cent,

and 20-24 year olds as a proportion of total population also fell from 11.1 per cent to 10.7 per cent.

9.191 The participation rates for 15-19 and 20-24 year olds are greater than the participation rates for both 25-29 year olds and 30-64 year olds, even though these have increased significantly: the participation rates for 25-29 year olds and for 30-64 year olds increased from 0.4 per cent to 1.6 per cent and 0.1 per cent to 0.7 per cent respectively.

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Table 9.2: Participation rates by age group* Age group 30/6/95 30/6/96 30/6/97 30/6/98 30/6/99 change 19995-99 percentage points 15 to 19 5.7 5.9 6 6.2 7.1 +1.4

20 to 24 3.8 4.7 5.2 5.4 6.0 +2.2

25 to 29 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.6 +1.2

30 to 64 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.7 +0.6

15 to 64 1.1 1.3 1.4 1.6 2.0 +0.9

* : No. in training as proportion of the age group. Derived from National Centre for Vocational Education Research June apprentice and trainee statistics and ABS Australian Demographic Statistics, June quarter 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 & 1999, cat. no. 3101.0

9.192 The increase in the proportion of older age groups in New Apprenticeships however remains significant. In 1997, 0.4 per cent of 25+ year olds in the labour force were apprentices or trainees. This represented approximately 15 per cent of apprentices/trainees in training. In 1999, 0.8 per cent of 25+ year olds in the labour

force were apprentices or trainees which represented 31.3 per cent of apprentices/trainees in training. In 1997, 25+ year olds made up approximately 78.8 per cent of the total population, approximately 79.8 per cent of the total labour force. In 1999, the population share for 25+ year olds has increased only slightly and participation in the labour force has remained static.

9.193 In terms of participation in apprenticeships as a proportion of age cohort in the labour force, 15-19 year olds and 20-24 year olds fare well. In 1997, 10.9 per cent of 15-19 year olds in the labour force were apprentices or trainees. This proportion increased to 12.6 per cent in 1999. For 20-24 year olds, 6.3 per cent of the labour force were apprentices or trainees in 1997 rising to 7.4 per cent in 1999. For 25-64 year olds the proportion of the labour force who were apprentices or trainees increased from 0.4 per cent in 1997 to 1.1 per cent in 1999. Again, although the proportion of 25-64 year olds in the labour market who were apprentices or trainees increased by nearly four times, the figures also show that a greater proportion of 15-19 and 20-24 year olds in the labour market are taking up apprenticeships and traineeships.

Table 9.3: Labour force participation rates by age group* Age group 30/6/97 30/6/98 30/6/99 change 19997-99

percentage points

15 to 19 10.9 11.5 12.6 +1.7

20 to 24 6.3 6.6 7.4 + 1.1

25 to 64 0.4 0.5 1.1 +0.7

* No. in training as proportion of age group in labour force Source: Compiled from NCVER and ABS statistics

9.194 The comparative participation of older people and younger people in New apprenticeships should not be confused with the ‘new entrants’ versus ‘existing

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employees’ issue. NCVER statistics suggest that the proportion of older New Apprentices was increasing steadily before the extension of Commonwealth subsidies to existing employees and NCVER suggests that the stronger growth rates for the

older age cohorts may have been a consequence of the lifting of the age barrier to traineeships in 1993/94 as one of the Working Nation initiatives.’129 However the sharp increase in the number and proportions of older New Apprentices between 1998 and 1999 was undoubtedly due to the availability of the Commonwealth subsidy for

existing workers as the bulk of existing employees could be assumed to be older workers.

9.195 Most state and territories do not fund New Apprenticeship training for existing workers. So the growing participation of older people implies a growth in unfunded training. In Queensland (for example) this has been so. From 1 January 1999 existing employees of more than 3 months standing full time or 12 months part

time were not funded for training. By 1 July 1999 nine industry areas had 10 per cent or more of their trainees unfunded by the state, and three industry areas (intermediate sales and related workers; cleaners; food tradespersons) had more than 25 per cent of

their trainees unfunded. ‘This provides strong evidence to support the [Queensland] government’s contention that a significant proportion of available training funds prior to 1 January 1999 were going to support existing workers rather than those seeking skills for employment.’130

9.196 On the broader issue of whether the VET system favours younger people or older people not enough or too much, submissions had opposing views. Some thought that the VET system is too biased towards new entrants, and that existing workers need more opportunities for skills recognition or upskilling. This view was strongest

in industries with relatively unqualified, insecure or ageing workforces. For example:

There is - and has been for some years- a misallocation of VET resources in favour of new entrants to the workforce at the expense of longstanding existing workers. In our industries [manufacturing, utilities, transport] this latter group are doubly disadvantaged - not only but their past lack of access to public VET funding, but also by the threat to their job security posed by technological change and the spread of casual employment arrangements... there is a compelling case on the grounds of equity for extending, rather than curtailing, their stake in the national VET system.131

9.197 Many stressed the need for reskilling the existing workforce for the needs of the changing economy. Some felt that existing rules impede this:

129 Submission 74, National Centre for Vocational Education Research, vol.4, p.894

130 L R Smith, Apprenticeships and Traineeships: Queensland Trends - 1998-99 update, Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations [Qld], February 2000, pp.33-34,37

131 Submission 26, Manufacturing Learning Australia, vol.l, p.208. Similarly Submission 60, Construction Training Australia, vol.3, p.663; Submission 117, Forest and Forest Products Employment Skills Company Ltd, vol.6, p. 1868

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A major weakness of present arrangements... is that having been employed in a trade for three months or more disqualifies the individual from becoming an apprentice in that trade. This policy works directly against government’s policy of reskilling the Australian workforce. This restriction,

which was introduced to prevent abuses of the system, is working against genuine new apprenticeship requirements for industry.132

9.198 A typical suggestion was:

State and Territory Training Authorities should be in a position to fund every apprentice and trainee under a contract of training, regardless of age.133

9.199 Most submissions acknowledged the need for ‘balance’ between young and old:

Given that industry is reporting higher level skill requirements at all occupational levels, a balance should be found between the competing objectives of employment based initiatives applying to the entry level workforce (representing 4 per cent of the labour force in any one year) and the need to develop a training culture and skill acquisition across the remaining and future workforce.134

9.200 The New South Wales WRAPS Industry Training Council argues that

If we in Australia are to have a “smart workforce” then consideration must be given to funding provision for people already working in industries where little public funding has been directed in the past. This does not need to be at the expense of new entrants but simply a more balanced approach to the availability of public funding. This, in one way, is reflected in the low level of completion of New Apprenticeships where people are employed for the wrong reasons, and leave. By the same token there is some evidence to

suggest that people leave to move into full time employment which is a more than satisfactory outcome.135

9.201 The contrary view is that the VET system should be clearly focussed on the needs of young people, particularly young unemployed or those otherwise at risk of becoming marginalised.

I think the traineeship area is an area in which you need to look at who is actually getting the traineeships. Most of the people are people who are already in employment. They are not young people. I do not see why we would spend our time focusing on people in employment, spending our

132 Submission 56, Victoria University of Technology, vol.2, p.579

133 Submission 60, Construction Training Australia, vol.3, p.663

134 Submission 64, Australian Industry Group, vol.3, p.716

135 Submission 35, NSW Retail, Wholesale and Associated Services Industry Training Council Ltd, vol.2, p.315

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money that way, to be honest. I do not think it is going to help Australia and it is certainly not going to help young people.136

9.202 The Committee considers that young people are still the major beneficiaries of apprenticeships and traineeships, and that the increased participation by older age groups is largely due to the Commonwealth’s changes to eligibility criteria for the New Apprenticeships employer incentive program. The Committee would expect the figures in the next year or so to show a reversal of the 1998-99 situation.

9.203 The South Australian Government argued that while it is desirable for the existing workforce to be upskilled and for workers to have their skills recognised and receive formal qualifications, this should not be achieved at the expense of the public purse alone, nor should it be achieved through the opportunistic use of New Apprenticeships and User Choice funding arrangements.137 The Committee does not

oppose the use of New Apprenticeships or User Choice funding arrangements to provide genuine training opportunities for existing workers, but believes this must be carefully controlled so that the rotting that was evident in late 1998 and early 1999

cannot occur again.

Recognition o f Prior Learning

9.204 An issue that is particularly relevant to existing employees is the recognition of prior learning (RPL) - also known as as recognition of current competencies (RCC). Recognition of prior learning was to be a key means of enabling individuals to gain recognition for the skills and competencies they already hold, thus facilitating the

achievement of nationally recognised qualifications. Recognition of prior learning was a cornerstone of the short-lived Australian Vocational Training System but appears to have receded from prominence in the current VET system. While there are warm words of encouragement for the concept there are no actual incentives to progress its application.

9.205 The New South Wales WRAPS Industry Training Council observes that recognition of prior learning has been promoted as a feature of the National Training Framework but in practice it has had limited application, primarily due to the funding

systems operative in the states. According to the New South Wales WRAPS, under current funding arrangements most states and providers find that RPL is a costly exercise. Consequently it has been applied only on a limited basis but many existing workers, through extensive on the job work experience, could complete all or a substantial portion of an AQF qualification through recognition of current competencies.138

136 Mr B Mackenzie (TAPE Directors Australia), Hansard, Canberra, 4 July 2000, p.735

137 Submission 129, Government of South Australia, vol.7, p.2097

138 Submission 35, NSW Retail, Wholesale and Associated Services Industry Training Council Ltd, vol.2, p.319

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9.206 The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Assocation points out that this would be a cheaper exercise than applying the costs of a full course, and that it is not unreasonable that existing employees should have the costs of RPL for an AQFII qualification met by government.139

9.207 The Agricultural and Horticultural Training Council of South Australia is similarly concerned about RPL:

A major shortcoming of the present system is the reluctance of training providers to recognise peoples’ existing skills and experience. ... Students should not be required to participate in training processes where they

already have the required skills and knowledge, but some, mainly public providers will not acknowledge this and provide a RCC assessment. This is a disservice to their clients as well as being contrary to the concept of competency based training.140

9.208 The Agricultural and Horticultural Training Council points out that in South Australia, under User Choice arrangements, training providers are not recompensed for the cost of providing a RCC service. Hence there is no incentive to provide it and an incentive not to if, by including an additional student, more income will be generated.141

9.209 Construction Training Australia argues that if the governments, at Commonwealth and state and territory levels, want to increase skill levels within the existing workforce, they should seriously consider providing public funds for skills assessments to recognise the skills gained outside the formal training system.142

9.210 The Committee concurs with the sentiments expressed in these and similar submissions and is disturbed that access to RPL or RCC is impeded by the associated costs.

The Committee recommends that

(a) the Commonwealth investigate how Commonwealth and state and territory funding for Registered Training Organisations could be used to encourage effective and accessible mutual recognition of prior learning or current competencies; and

(b) where employers demonstrate a preparedness to fund training for existing employees to gain nationally recognised qualifications, the

139 Submission 50, Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Assocation, vol.2, p.526

140 Submission 46, Agriculture and Horticulture Training Council of SA Inc., vol.2, p.432

141 Submission 46, Agriculture and Horticulture Training Council of SA Inc., vol.2, p.432

142 Submission 60, Construction Training Australia, vol.3, p.664

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ommonwealth contribute to the cost of recognition of prior learning recognition of current competencies for those employees.

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HAPTER 10

VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN SCHOOLS

10.1 Paragraph (f) of the inquiry’s terms of reference direct the Committee to evaluate VET in schools in terms of its overall quality; its implementation of training packages; the effectiveness of teaching and curriculum; accountability provisions; and school-to-work transitional arrangements. The Committee received relatively few

submissions on this term of reference, although these were supplemented by descriptions of broad policy implementation by officials at public hearings, and by representatives of some interest groups.

10.2 For the purposes of this chapter, vocational education in schools is taken to include VET courses funded by ANTA, VET subjects taken for the final year certificates like the VCE and the HSC, and any other school-based activity which involves either structured workplace learning (SWL), including New Apprenticeships, part-time traineeships or work experience. It includes courses which are formally part

of a school course but which may be taken, in whole or in part, at a post-school institution, usually a TAPE institute.

10.3 The Committee has observed a gap between the policy rhetoric on VET in schools and the reality of its implementation. It acknowledges the sentiments of support given to VET in schools by MINCO and in the Adelaide Declaration. It believes, however, that this support is compromised as a result of insufficient funding

and by uncertainty about the quality and value of educational programs and credentials. The increasing popularity of school VET courses, as evidenced by the dramatic increases in enrolments, is creating a funding crisis, with the need to divert a substantial proportion of school running costs to support these new courses. Funding

is an issue which has yet to be properly resolved between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments.

10.4 While it is generally accepted that some form of vocational education should be part of the mainstream school experience, what is less clear is how this can best be achieved within the school program, so that it improves student readiness for the world of work.1 The Committee appreciates the importance of VET in the school

curriculum. It recognises the energy and commitment of its proponents at the school level. It notes the surveys of student and employer satisfaction. It notes also the efforts of systems to keep up with local implementation of programs, the success of which has inspired a much wider interest at system level. Vocational education appears to have the distinction, rare in centrally administered education systems, of being inspired by local initiative and self-confident school leadership. Critical comments by

1 Josie Misko, School Students in Workplaces: What are the benefits? National Centre for Vocational Education Research, 1998, p.2

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the Committee relate mainly to the formation of school VET policy in isolation from VET in other institutions.

National policy and the role of the Commonwealth

10.5 Commonwealth and state education ministers agreed in April 1999 that VET in schools programs should be a legitimate expectation of all school students ‘who wish to undertake this pathway to future participation in Australian society’2 3 . Ministers agreed to improve the range and depth of provision of VET in schools as one of the national goals for schooling included in the Adelaide Declaration on National Goals for Schooling in the Twenty First Century. The Commonwealth considers that the

states and territories have the responsibility for funding VET in schools, in line with the constitutional responsibilities of state governments, but the Commonwealth has supported the furtherance of this goal with targeted financial assistance and national policy development. ’

10.6 The ANTA VET in Schools program has the purpose of aligning the content of school-based programs with the National Training Framework and the skill needs of industry as embodied in nationally endorsed Training Packages. Earlier developed models of VET which have operated in schools since the 1980s have been integrated

into the Program. The new national VET system is intended to open up pathways between schools, other VET providers, and the workplace; a process intended to expose most school students eventually to experiential learning, the workplace environment and to potential employers.4

10.7 The ANTA Ministerial Council (MINCO) agreed in 1996 that $20 million of VET funds be provided to state and territory schools authorities for each of the four calendar years 1997 to 2000. These amounts would fund both delivery costs for apprenticeships and traineeships and developmental work on teaching materials and professional development.

10.8 In addition to this $80 million over four years, the Commonwealth has allocated another $200 million to associated programs: $27 million for the School-to Work program 1999-2000; $45 million for the Jobs Pathway Program up to 2001; and $88 million for the Australian Student Traineeship Foundation, also to June 2001. The ANTA Ministerial Council which met in July 2000 agreed that ANTA prepare, in

collaboration with state and territory training agencies, revised Principles and Guidelines for VET in Schools to underpin expenditure of $20 million in 2001, with a view to the ANTA Board receiving ministerial endorsement by September 2000.

10.9 The result has been a substantial increase in the number of senior secondary students enrolled in VET courses as part of their studies. In 1996 there were

- Submission 68, Department o f Education, Training and Youth Affairs, vol.3, p.786

3 ibid.

4 The Allen Consulting Group, R e v ie w o f th e A N T A V E T in S c h o o ls P r o g r a m , final report, June 2000, p. 12

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approximately 60 000 students in VET courses and by 1999 the estimate was 139 000, and an estimated 167 000 in 2000. Approximately 90 per cent of schools offer some VET programs in their curriculum.

10.10 School students can now undertake industry-recognised VET courses while undertaking other courses leading to the final school certificate. These articulate into AQF qualifications under the New Apprenticeship arrangements, and there are opportunities for students to commence part-time New Apprenticeships when they are

still at school.

The role of states and territories in providing VET in schools

10.11 The variation in state attitudes to VET is a complication in the formulation of a national VET policy. The ANT A Review noted that, on the whole, school systems seem to lack common standards and mutually agreed expectations, state and regional planning approaches are generally lacking. In New South Wales attempts are being

made to coordinate school and industry planning, but other states are opposed to central planning in this area.

10.12 A survey carried out for ANT A by the Allen Consulting Group, as part of its review, found the following divergent views on the vision for VET in Schools:

• NSW takes the view that all students should do some vocational courses in school which are aligned with training packages, irrespective of where students are ultimately heading;

• Victoria sees there is capacity to increase VET in Schools enrolments but as indicated in the current review of post-compulsory pathways, the emphasis will be on opening up training and job pathways for individuals, and that may involve VET in Schools or it may not; and

• in Western Australia the scope for vocational education will not be developed at the expense of the well-established dimensions of schooling that are so highly valued, but will see integration of vocational education into broader courses of study which in turn integrate with the curriculum framework.5

10.13 The interest of the Committee in its consideration of state policies is the extent to which state commitment to VET in schools is influenced by the offer of Commonwealth funding. It is also interested in the extent to which the states and territories are prepared to increase their own levels of expenditure to match their

stated enthusiasm for an expanded VET program in schools. Another issue in state funding is whether state and territory enthusiasm for school based VET is founded on the basis that it offers a less costly alternative to TAPE for many students, particularly those engaged in lower level courses. The Committee notes the claims from advocates of expanded school programs that they can offer the same courses for less than TAPE

5 The Allen Consulting Group, R e v ie w o f th e A N T A V E T in S c h o o ls P r o g r a m , final report, June 2000, p.30

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can, and would not be surprised if this view was shared by state education managers and auditors.

10.14 Commonwealth leadership in the formation of national policy for VET in schools has been urged by the Dusseldorp Skills Forum. In its 1997 report this body was highly critical of the practices of state education authorities establishing workplace models to suit their own circumstances and traditions, rather than the needs of students and employers. The Dusseldorp Skills Forum stated:

Despite present opportunities for reform within individual states, a common vision, an agreed approach to minimum standards and a common commitment to quality are unlikely to emerge if the states are left to their own devices. Both vocational education in schools and school-industry programs are matters in which the Commonwealth has a clear interest and

clear responsibilities by virtue of its national role in economic and labour market policy formulation and implementation. It has the opportunity through direct leadership, through policy development, and through direct financial leverage to assist in bringing about a reduction in those forms of diversity that adversely affect quality and outcomes.6

10.15 While acknowledging that some of the Dusseldorp comment has been overtaken by events, such as recent MINCO decisions, and by recent and current developments at the state level, the Committee has some regard for these sentiments. The Committee is also aware, however, of state wariness of Commonwealth pressure exerted through financial leverage. No state or territory ever rejects Commonwealth funding, even for projects which a particular state may not see as a priority; the result being that Commonwealth funding may not be used effectively. Agreements between the states and the Commonwealth are essentially political agreements that preserve

state administrative practices. Standardisation of procedures, course characteristics and outcomes are issues for collective agreement. The Commonwealth’s trump card, as the Dusseldorp report recognises, is the funding purse string. When this is loosened, agreements quickly follow.

Schools and industry

10.16 The Report of the Review of the ANTA VET in Schools Program identifies as one of the greatest challenges to VET in schools the sourcing of adequate numbers of quality structured workplace learning placements for students.7 This will become a problem as the numbers of participating students increase at the anticipated rate. Industry has indicated two components still lacking under current arrangements: the absence of a comprehensive data base of employers and potential employers, resulting

in schools having to rely on the same businesses year after year; when these

6 Dusseldorp Skills Forum, School-Industry Programs: Some Comparisons Between the states and Territories, 1997, p.46

The Allen Consulting Group, R e v ie w o f th e A N T A V E T in S c h o o ls P r o g r a m , final report, June 2000, p.35

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businesses often need a break from the task; and, the absence of detailed information for employers on their obligations as trainers.8

10.17 The quality of relationship between schools and industry is claimed to be central to the sustainability of VET in schools, yet there is currently little evidence of the direct involvement of industry in course design and liaison with schools specifically to fit the needs of a local market in skilled employees. Research for ANT A suggests evidence that VET offerings are determined by student choice rather than the needs of local industry, the consequences being that some schools believe

they are ‘overtraining’ for the local market, and claim that they find no easy way to seek guidance in this matter.9 The ANTA Review report points to the possibility that the lack of effective careers counselling may be one reason for students being denied local work placement opportunities.10

10.18 The ANTA Review report also makes the point that while there are many local school-industry partnerships, the confidence of employers in school VET courses varies across industries and jurisdictions. The more established trades appear to have a lower level of trust. ANTA gives no explanation for this lack of trust, but the

Committee ventures to suggest that the experience of traditional industries with trainees over recent years has not been entirely happy, particularly those which have had no practical workplace experience during their training at TAPE institutes. Many

employers appear confused about the purpose of school-based VET and its relationship to work experience conducted lower down the secondary school, even though they are willing to assist schools. The overwhelming problem, however, remains the limited capacity of industry to absorb more workplace learning in the way that it is currently conducted.11 1 2 Many businesses lack the flexibility to offer work placements as a routine commitment, and in all cases, there is a cost to business for

which a return is not always apparent.

10.19 Employer’s perceptions and expectations of the role of VET in Schools vary. According to a survey done for ANTA, employers support skills development and also seem to value the programs as ‘tasters’ for young people: as programs that give them a first hand experience of the workplace where they are accountable for their

time and performance. Employers do not necessarily expect students to learn specific workplace skills while they are at school but rather to develop an understanding of workplaces in general and have the opportunity to sample what a particular industry has to offer. This view might appear to support the long-standing practice of ‘work

experience’, which is now, in the view of some, an obsolete arrangement, having been subsumed into VET in Schools. ^Nonetheless, responses of employers represented in a

8 ibid., p.32

9 The Allen Consulting Group, Review o f the ANTA VET in Schools Program, final report, June 2000, p.68

10 ibid.

11 ibid., p.69

12 The Allen Consulting Group, Review o f the ANTA VET in Schools Program, final report, June 2000, p.31

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1996-97 survey commissioned by the Australian Student Traineeship Foundation and the Dusseldorp Skills Forum, among other organisations, found strong support for work placements on the basis of bringing young future employees face to face with industry. As one manufacturer stated:

Workplace learning provides an opportunity for employers to get an understanding of what they can expect from a young employee, without risk. Given the economic situation of the past few years, a lot of employers have lost track of what is, and what is not, achievable. From the students I’ve seen, I have been very pleasantly surprised by the extent of their capabilities.1'

10.20 Nonetheless, industry does have some basic concerns that schools are not preparing students adequately for the workforce. Concerns reflect the knowledge and skills requirements which companies have when recruiting. There is a perception that a significant proportion of young people have particular deficiencies which limit their readiness for employment: inadequate skills in literacy and numeracy; insufficient grounding in generic interpersonal skills; and, poor development of positive attitudes required for work in industry. The Australian Industry Group singled out for special mention the particular unwillingness of young people to work in the manufacturing

industry.1 3 14 The AiGroup survey indicated that a significant sector of employers had yet to be convinced of the value of school-based structured learning programs, although an ‘important minority’ was prepared to give it a try. Nearly half would resist participation.15 This suggests to the Committee that MINCO and ANTA will need to consider what incentives can be offered to industry if its wider participation is required to meet the training demands of schools.

10.21 The Committee notes that while industry supports enhanced VET in schools, and supports its implementation at a practical level, it has not made known its views on the details of school programs or entered into debate on matters that relate to school organisation and the award of certificates. Industry, no doubt, considers that these are matters best left to schools and education agencies. Yet it is also noteworthy that industry sees VET in schools as having a broader interpretation than simply

structured workplace learning and a few technical skills. The view from AiGroup suggests that the work of the Finn and Mayer Reviews of 1991-92 has not been forgotten; in particular the identification of key competencies deemed to be essential for young people engaged in post-compulsory education. These are: language and communication; mathematics; scientific and technological understanding; cultural understanding; problem solving; and, personal and interpersonal competencies. The

13 Jim Gumming and Bob Carbines, Reforming schools through workplace learning, National Schools Network, 1997, p.30

14 The Allen Consulting Group and Australian Industry Group, Training to Compete: the training needs o f industry, n.d., p.66

15 ibid., p.66

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ittee suggests that any re-thinking about VET in schools should take the Mayer competencies into account.16

The view from the schools

10.22 VET programs are now running in most schools, their stage of development dependent on the support of principals (which usually determines internal funding support as well), the quality and enthusiasm of VET staff, and support from local employers. As VET builds community support and contributes to student self-esteem,

it is obviously regarded as a worthwhile development. In a study undertaken by Cumming and Carbines in 1996-97, a survey was done which confirmed the value of VET in schools. The Committee notes, however, that the benefits of the program are most evident in the personal development of young people in their introduction to

work culture. While there is a degree of skills development, and while students are given worthwhile marketable tasks to perform, the most obvious advantage is in social development and work orientation. Employers also appear to have benefited from the experience. The experience of Junee High School in its implementation of a structured workplace learning program during 1993-96 provides some pointers to issues that will arise once the program is underway across most schools.

10.23 The Junee High School program appears to be rather modest. Its purpose has been to keep students ‘at risk’ in school, providing them with the incentive and support necessary to gain later employment. The program depends on the cooperation of local business, and the size and nature of the local community has been a factor in

the success of the program. The program appears to have been highly successful as a community-building and social development exercise. It also led to students finding jobs more easily upon leaving school.

10.24 This said, many interesting issues have arisen from the Junee experience. These include, from the perspective of teacher and employer participants:

• the lack of a clear focus in VET policy for schools;

• an initial lack of interest shown by departmental officials (presumably this is no longer the case);

• concern that outcome statements and employment related competencies are hindering rather than helping the assessment process because of their complexity;

• lack of sufficient resources to staff the program, and the burdens (and resultant stress) placed on coordinators; and

16 B Finn, Y o u n g P e o p l e ’s P a r tic ip a tio n in P o s t- c o m p u ls o r y E d u c a tio n a n d T r a in in g - R e p o r t o f th e

A u s tr a lia n E d u c a tio n C o u n c il R e v ie w C o m m itte e , July 19991. E Mayer, P u ttin g G e n e r a l E d u c a tio n to

W o rk - th e K e y C o m p e te n c ie s R e p o r t, n.d. [1992]

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• maintaining the school’s capacity to balance the education program between VET and the general curriculum, a particular problem in country schools where traditional academic subjects are under threat in the likely event of a strong swing to a VET oriented subject choice.

10.25 The Committee notes in particular the final point made above from the Gumming and Carbines report, and notes also teacher comment that they felt under constant pressure to ‘sugar coat’ much of their classroom teaching in order to keep students engaged. Students often complain that their assigned work is ‘boring’, and the task of teachers to motivate students to take the long view and to persist with a task is difficult. Employers also commented on the unrealistic expectations of

students, and the tendency for them to become disillusioned.17 The Committee regards this as a salutary reminder that vocational education in schools needs to take into account the maturity levels even of late adolescent students.

10.26 It is fair to note, however, that the experience of programs in senior secondary colleges in larger centres like Rosny College in Hobart and Illawarra Senior College in Port Kembla was associated with fewer problems and potential problems than those faced by smaller rural comprehensive secondary schools. Rosny’s enrolment is large enough to run both a traditional and a VET program; Illawarra has structured its program to concentrate on VET, including articulation with TAPE institutes and

embracing a special training course worked out with BHP.18 Such specialisation works well in an area with several schools offering a choice of programs to local students.

10.27 The Committee heard from school education representatives in Western Australia and at its final Canberra hearings. There was a great deal of enthusiasm expressed by school authorities about the value of VET in the curriculum. The Committee interprets this enthusiasm as indicating the desire of schools to escape from the restrictive regime of the academic curriculum in the final years of secondary school. Although the problem of catering for a non-academic stream of students in years 11 and 12 has been recognised for many years, as retention rates have increased,

education authorities have yet to come forward with credible programs for non­ academic students: courses that are recognised as valuable indicators of knowledge and skills, providing for both personal growth and skills applicable in the workforce. It was explained to the Committee thus:

...the post-compulsory was an extremely narrow proviso in the last few years—it was tertiary bound. The number of students, as a result of social changes, were keeping on in schools. The consequence of their enrolment was that in the end they usually failed to attain a tertiary place. Schools provided school based subjects in order to cater for those students and the

significant fault of those programs was that they provided little meaning for the kids. They were called mickey mouse courses. The vocational offerings

17 Jim Gumming and Bob Carbines, Reforming schools through workplace learning, National Schools Network, 1997, pp.61-63

18 ibid., p.45

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provided direction, they provided open doors for kids where they could succeed and they were, I suppose, the thing that was missing. There was almost an appetite and a starvation for a meaningful alternative to a tertiary- bound education.10

10.28 Another element of school culture affected by the challenge of VET is the place of the school in the wider community and in its relations with administrative hierarchies. The Committee gained some sense of the importance of this element of development from evidence that it took in Perth.

We are a very centralised system; we cover a massive area, as you know... I think the reason for the success of the VET program, its implementation, the funding and the decision making has been substantially based around the concept of local clusters. The local clusters are made up of the school

principals, the VET coordinators in the school and local industry people and chambers of commerce as well. The decision making has been at that level; the ownership of the program has been at that level. The decisions that are made at that level are not being made from a distance of thousands of

kilometres away. Unlike a lot of programs that we have had in the past where the decision making was essentially being made in central office—the actually doing of it has been devolved out—this process has ensured that the

programs which have been put in place meet the needs of local industry. ...This aspect provides a very important focus in the tailoring to local needs and also, I have to say, the bringing of local interests and local industry into an understanding of what VET in schools is attempting to do."0

10.29 The value of the VET program in Goldfields District schools in Western Australia was also reported to be a greatly increased participation rate among mainly indigenous students in remote areas. More of these students are staying on at school. Large claims were not made about the prospects of these student, for whom there is little or no local employment available, but the new arrangements do increase the possibility that remote area students can move to the city to find jobs. The Committee was told that a whole range of students, previously beyond reach, had, as a result of this program, the newfound ability to make decisions about their lives."1

10.30 A number of submissions referred to problems arising from rapid growth in the number of school students undertaking VET courses. Western Sydney region schools have over 15 per cent of New South Wales enrolments in VET which means 5000 students will require the mandatory ten day work placement. The Western Sydney

Schools Industry Partnership has written of its concern about the shortage of industry placements.22 1 9 2 0 2 1 2 2

19 Mr N Milligan (Education Department o f Western Australia), Hansard, Perth, 17 May 2000, p.629

20 M rN Milligan (Education Department of Western Australia), Hansard, Perth, 17 May 2000, p.619

21 ibid.

22 Submission 39, Western Sydney Schools Partnership, vol.2, p.342

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10.31 Strong support for enhanced VET in Schools programs came also from the Australian Secondary Principals’ Association. In its evidence to the Committee, the Association noted the disparate and uncoordinated national approach to VET, presumably in its schools element. It urged the need for clearer pathways from school to further education, but also showed how schools could deliver, at less cost, training customarily provided by TAPE institutes.

10.32 The Australian Secondary Principals’ Association made reference to one of the foundation planks of VET in schools: the need to cater for non-academic stream students. Schools were still not performing well in this area, according to the Association:

What we do badly is making a tight safety net for students or for those kids who fall through the cracks. We need to have a focus on the prevention of educational disadvantage. We also need to increase our remediation, because unless a kid can read and write then they are not going to get to the

starting gate of vocational training. Employers will not have them and employers have every right to expect individuals with those basic skills upon which they can build. Basically, that means that we need to focus more and more on what the students need and to get them into an educational experience which suits their needs.23

10.33 The Committee has heard evidence of the importance of adequate career guidance. In its submission the Australian Principals’ Association referred to an earlier submissions it had made on this point to the 1998 House of Representatives’ inquiry into the role of TAPE. A recent House of Representatives’ inquiry has pointed out to the Government the inadequate state of career guidance. Counsellors were said to be badly equipped for the role, lacking up-to-date information needed by students who did not intend to proceed to university.24 The Committee recommended Commonwealth funding for a ‘universal careers guidance service’. The response from the Government was that the Commonwealth provides a comprehensive database of employment information through DETYA, DEWRSB and though Centrelink’s Career Information Centres.

10.34 This Committee believes that such information as the Commonwealth provides can be most effectively used only in a school-based service, provided by a trained career adviser on the staff of each secondary school and that this is the responsibility of state education authorities. The Committee believes that the provision of such a service is an essential element in VET in schools and a position in each secondary school should be funded for this purpose.

10.35 Interestingly, the Committee received the most varied snapshots of VET in action in schools in Western Australia. The report of the survey conducted by the

23 Mr E Brierley (Australian Secondary Principals Association), Hansard, Canberra, 4 July 2000, p.761

24 House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training, Today’s Training: Tomorrow’s Skills, July 1998, p.58

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South East Metropolitan Area Consultative Committee [Perth] is to be found elsewhere in this chapter. A quite different perspective was offered by the Midland Districts Schools Industry Training Association. It has over 1200 active employers on

its database, providing structured workplace learning for students from government and non-govemment schools. Two points arising from its submission were, first, the information that local businesses were no longer advertising apprenticeship positions but were recruiting from the pool of Structured Workplace Learning students who have been placed in their workplaces. The submission notes this employer recognition

of a ‘cost effective and efficient way of attracting and maintaining reliable junior employees.’25

10.36 The second point of interest was information that not all schools in Western Australia allocate state VET funding for the purpose for which it was intended. The Committee was advised that any EdWest comment on this would be unlikely. The Committee merely notes that audit and accountability procedures in state education

departments in other areas of educational activity have been indirectly responsible for much of the activity of this Committee.

Award certification

10.37 The ANTA Review makes it clear that the successful integration of VET into senior secondary school will require adjustment to a number of aspects of award certification.26The aim is to ensure that certificates awarded for VET courses opens pathways to higher education as well as ensure the currency of a qualification which will have value in the job market, and be recognised on a school graduation certificate,

states and territories are advancing at different stages in their consideration of these matters, which are both complicated and potentially controversial. The first issue is that of having VET course components of a final year certificate or course of study recognised for the purpose of matriculation, known in its latest terminology as University Admissions Index (UAI).

Matriculation status fo r VET courses

10.38 It is generally recognised that the inclusion of VET course matriculation status is essential if the nation wants to achieve a 70 per cent VET in Schools participation rate. Students will need to be assured that their inclusion of VET courses in their TE package will not jeopardise their chances of attending university. All states, except for

Western Australia, provide for varying acceptance of VET courses as part of matriculation requirements.

10.39 ANTA and the New South Wales Department of Education and Training have jointly researched and reported on possibilities for university recognition of VET

25 Submission 92, Midland Districts Schools Industry Training Association Inc., vol.5, p. 1255

26 The Allen Consulting Group, Review o f the ANTA VET in Schools Program, final report, June 2000, p.72

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courses.27 Transition from school to university via the VET pathway varies considerably between states, and the interest shown by universities in recognising these pathways also varies considerably. As universities are autonomous bodies, able to apply their own entrance criteria, the Committee was not surprised to learn that of the fourteen universities which have indicated their willingness to move toward implementing entrance mechanisms for students with achievement in VET courses, none are in the Group of Eight’ universities which have higher entry standards resulting from high levels of enrolment applications.

10.40 The joint report acknowledged several potential problems in working toward a more liberal acceptance of VET experience as suitable preparation for university level work. For school authorities these include:

• prescribing minimum hours of study and reviewing current qualification descriptors;

• finding ways of scoring competency-based assessments, possibly through optional testing;

• anticipating and dealing with the problem of unviable traditional subjects in schools should VET courses attract heavy enrolments; and

• ensuring that VET courses do not develop an over-emphasis on the issues of tertiary entry and graded assessment so as to retain the interest and value of these courses for students at risk, and those not bound for further study.

10.41 For universities, the report anticipates other concerns:

• bonus points, which are intended to encourage VET stream students to universities, are likely to jeopardise university entry standards and may result in the entry of students who have unrealistic expectations of success; and

• universities are likely to review entry requirements at any time, making it necessary for students to plan their courses carefully.

Training Packages and matriculation

10.42 The most difficult issue facing education agencies and universities is how to assess the value of study based on Training Packages so that this may count for matriculation. Training Packages are not based on a curriculum: they comprise a detailed set of competencies to be met. The Committee notes that ANT A Review reports that some in the VET sector and employer groups remain concerned about adapting the assessment of VET in Schools to accommodate matriculation requirements, presumably because this would not be compatible with competency- based skills assessment practices which are contained in Training Packages.

27 Australian National Training Authority and New South Wales Department of Education and training, A Report on Establishing New Approaches to Recognising Achievement in VET Courses, Project 1, June 2000

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10.43 The Committee notes that the draft joint ANTA-NSWDET report anticipates some yet-to-be-determined arrangements for aligning competency-based assessment with a matriculation score, and expresses doubts as to how well thought through is the goal of achieving a ‘seamless’ transition from school to university of VET students.2X

Final year certificates and the Australian Qualifications Framework

10.44 The inclusion of VET courses in final year certificates is widely considered desirable and is proving to be increasingly popular. There remains, however, a difficulty in relation to achieving an alignment between an AQF qualification issued by an RTO, and a higher school certificate. The Committee shares the concerns, raised

in the ANTA-NSWDET report, of the effect on the broader senior curriculum of any significant move into VET in school courses. The most enthusiastic advocacy of the ‘seamless’ approach to the achievement of VET credentials was presented by the Australian Secondary Teachers’ Association who informed the Committee of the reasons why schools were appropriate agencies for delivering vocational courses, and how schools were able to handle the preliminary coursework for which they could

obtain university credits:

Why would schools not take advantage of the Australian qualifications framework in its capacity to focus student learning, to give them meaning and direction and to make them better able to be critical of their life aspirations? Many of the kids who go through the hospitality operations choose to go into management and then move on to Charles Sturt University—where they get credit for their first year, by the way, through having done the certificate IV. Why should I deny kids that opportunity? Why should I deny parents, who find it expensive to send their kids to Charles Sturt, the opportunity to have their first-year costs taken away from them by their children being able to do a certificate IV at Wangaratta High

School and then going into the second year at Charles Sturt, either in journalism or in hospitality.”1 ’

Schools and TAFE

10.45 As noted elsewhere, some TAFE institute representatives were mildly disparaging of the attempts by the school sector to poach on their traditional territory. The Committee heard evidence that schools were less suitable for vocational training because the ‘culture’ of the school was too far removed from the workplace. TAFE

institutes were described as ‘adult’ places of learning, where many young people, tired of school, find a more congenial learning environment. The Committee put this view to the Australian Principals’ Association, whose view was, predictably, different.

It depends on the student. I have not seen any studies on this, but a lot of claims have been made about an adult environment being much more appropriate, and that may well be tme. From my experience as principal of 2 8 2 9

28 ibid., pp. 15-18

29 Mr E Brierley (Australian Secondary Principals Association), Hansard, Canberra, 4 July 2000. p.770

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two schools over 15 years, I think that the students are there for the course. They do not seem to have any difficulty with the environment which they are in. They stand aside, anyway, because of the nature of the course that they are in and they tend to operate as a cohesive group, but there does not seem to be any tension and there does not seem to be any great hassle about operating in a school.30

10.46 The view from the Association was that school-leavers would not be as comfortable after they settle into a TAPE institution because their peer group has been left behind; they have to form new friendship groups.

10.47 A great deal of what some witnesses have described as flexible and ‘seamless’ articulation arrangements between school and post-school institutions, each producing graduates with credentials at identical levels across a great range of courses, gives the Committee an impression of free-for-all confusion rather than efficiency driven arrangements aimed at maintaining quality training. This has arisen as a consequence of the promotion of freedom of choice in educational program delivery. The basic aim of this policy was to provide industry with more flexible delivery of training and to provide some healthy competition for the TAPE institutes. The unexpected consequence was the blurring of rational demarcation between school and TAPE sectors as schools gained RTO status.

10.48 Some recognition is made of this in evidence given to a 1998 House of Representatives Committee inquiry into TAPE institutes, by the NSW Director- General of Education and Training, Dr Ken Boston. He advised the Committee that the amalgamation of schools and TAPE in NSW was driven essentially by curriculum: on the need for a new notion of comprehensive secondary education. Dr Boston stated:

We believe that VET in schools to the present stage has failed. Although 38,000 young people have been taking VET in schools, it has not been a curriculum that has been driven essentially by industry or contributed to by industry. The great number of young people taking that course have not

counted it towards an HSC. The drop-out rate has been very high. It has been taught in facilities which do not have an industry standard and it has often been taught by teachers from say, an industrial arts area, or some area

of over-supply who have been retrained to take VET. It has been unsatisfactory from that point of view.

...We have the capacity, through amalgamating the two departments -and setting aside for the moment the big industrial issues we know we are going to have to face- to have industry trained people from TAPE working in schools, taking VET programs. We have the capacity to have general secondary education-humanities, science teachers and so on-working in TAPE, taking adult education programs. We have the capacity now to use schools and TAPE facilities interchangeably so that the workshops, the

30 ibid., p.767

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kitchens and so on of industrial standard, in a nearby TAPE, often side by side to a high school, can be used by the high school for those programs.

What we are reaching for is that sort of change: essentially a curriculum view where comprehensive secondary education means that you can go into a comprehensive high school and you can take both vocational education programs and general secondary education programs. They will all be

accredited towards your HSC. They will all articulate with the Australian qualifications framework. They will not be dead-end programs, they will use industry training packages where they are available and they will articulate

with employment and with further and higher education. That is, if you like, the vision/1

10.49 The Committee recognises that the two most populous states are enthusiastic about introducing VET into schools at an accelerated pace, and other states are not far behind. It urges, even at this late stage, that state education authorities, and collectively MINCO, consider carefully the consequences to the whole system of

vocational training of turning over up to half the senior secondary school curriculum to fit the AQF. The Committee urges caution in allowing workplace specific training to upset the balance provided by comprehensive education. If an incentive to lifelong education is the proper objective of school education, the most important credentials

to be gained in school are those upon which further certificates, diplomas and degrees can be attained.

10.50 Evidence from the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) pointed to the damaging inflexibility of the Australian Qualification Framework, particularly in relation to VET in schools. Students were locked into a competency standards-based approach using training packages. The Committee doubts the suitability of these packages for use in schools because they are aimed specifically at developing skills in

the workplace environment. The Ai Group’s view of the appropriate vocational training for school students was rather similar to the views expressed by the CFMEU: that is, support for general vocational awareness, described by AiG as the acquisition o f ‘soft skills’.

Locking kids in schools into those AQF arrangements really limits the capacity to deal with the soft skill areas—and the things that I have written down here in terms of soft skills are love of learning, a sense of curiosity,

the inclination to question, having a capable self-concept, information literate and having a range of skills. You can call those other things but essentially they are the skills that people take away, which allow them to function in society, transfer skills to new jobs, develop career opportunities and so on. There are limited ways in which those things can be dealt with once you are locked into an AQF qualification, and I think that the schools

really should look closely at different ways of dealing with VET preparation 3 1

31 House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training, Todays Training: Tomorrow's Skills, July 1998, p.43. Dr K Boston (NSW Dept of Education and Training, Hansard (House of Representatives EET Committee), Canberra, 28 May 1998, p.714-15

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to allow those soft skill areas to be developed fully before people are locked into whatever occupationally specific training program they are in. I think the current focus on using AQF framework programs, whether they are in or out of an apprenticeship or traineeship in a school, limits those opportunities. I would probably suggest that it would be worth while looking at those areas as well within our current training package arrangements because while they might be implicit they are certainly not explicit.32

Impediments to school-based VET programs

Funding

10.51 Chief among the impediments to school-based VET programs is the lack of resources. Funding for VET in schools has been described as ‘insufficient, irregular and unpredictable.’33 .

10.52 States vary in the extent to which they provide funding to VET from within their total school education appropriations. Funding in most states is restricted to grants from the Commonwealth through the agency of the Australian Student Traineeship Foundation. These grants cover the cost of coordination of local school- industry work-links, although some schools are able to meet these costs from their own funds. A minority of states provide funding for this purpose. As to the others:

...States have refused to provide such support on the basis that the Commonwealth is responsible - ‘it’s a Commonwealth initiative, let them fund it’ - a position which sidesteps the substantive issue of the value of workplace learning partnerships to mainstream schooling and the coordination input such partnerships require. From the point of view of program quality and sheer continuity the issue of recurrent funding for work placement coordination need to be resolved urgently.34 3 5

10.53 Noting that states have demonstrated varying degrees of commitment to VET in schools, and noting also the frustration occasionally shown by communities disappointed by lack of departmental officials in some states, the Australian Student Traineeship Foundation has recommended that the Commonwealth deal directly with individual states, on a bilateral basis, rather than attempt a national policy initiative arising from the Adelaide agreement.33 While sympathetic to the sentiments behind this recommendation, the Committee believes this proposal to be fraught with political and administrative difficulties.

32 Mr S Ghost (Australian Industry Group), Hansard, Sydney. 17 April 2000, p.337

33 Mr E Brierley (Australian Secondary Principals Association), Hansard, Canberra, 4 July 2000, p.673

34 Australian Student Traineeship Foundation, Bright Futures fo r Young Australians, Canberra 1999, p.59

35 ibid., p.60

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10.54 The Committee’s attention was drawn to the funding of VET programs in non­ government schools. The National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) pointed to the difficulty of addressing, at the local level, the multiple accountability requirements of the various funding agencies: DETYA, ASTF and ANTA; as well as the specificity of targets and funding protocols. The NCEC has proposed an integrated Commonwealth program for the purposes of broadbanding and global budgeting, all of this to be administered through DETYA.36

New Apprenticeships

10.55 Another source of funding is New Apprenticeship grants, but these are criticised on the grounds that they allow only one chance at training. Trainees cannot change courses halfway through an apprenticeship. Participation in school-based programs can disqualify a trainee who wants to undertake another course of training

upon leaving school. It also makes trainees who have AQF qualifications unattractive to employers because they no longer attract a wage subsidy. Evidence given by the Chairman of WRAPS Queensland highlighted this strong disincentive to participation in school VET programs.

Those children who in year 10 make a decision about what traineeship they will do in years 11 and 12 have then effectively cut themselves off for future entry into the publicly funded training market. If they come out at the end of year 12 with a certificate 2 in retail, if they then decide, ‘School’s been wonderful, but now I really want to be a hairdresser,’ they are not able to

access public funding to a get a certificate in hairdressing because they already have a certificate 2. This is going to be an emerging problem. We are really only going to see it in Queensland in this current year because the first real cohort of year 11 and 12 traineeships graduated at the end of last

year. That is some of the things we are referring to when we are saying you are actually going to deny access to a whole group of entry level people who perhaps did a Certificate 2 in years 11 and 12 just because they had to stay at school, not because it was a career choice for them in a real sense.37

10.56 Interestingly, this is not an issue which has been identified as a problem by school VET proponents, probably because it does not effect the operation of New Apprenticeships in schools. Its effects are felt further up the educational system, and would probably have more effect on TAPE institutes, where most of the re-skilling is done. .

10.57 The National Council of Independent Schools’ Associations’ views New Apprenticeships with favour; their usefulness stimulated by ANTA funding, school- industry partnerships and the energy of VET coordinators in schools. The submission argues that New Apprenticeships in schools will be limited by the inadequate number

36 Submission 112, National Catholic Education Commission, vol.6, p.1798-99

37 Ms J Himstedt (Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services Industry Training Advisory Board, Queensland Branch), Hansard, Brisbane, 17 March 2000, p.73

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of local businesses willing to participate, certain industrial relations issues relating to state awards, and the difficulty of both schools and employers meeting their mutual obligations.38

Weaknesses in school-based VET

10.58 A number of submissions, and a number of witnesses, expressed a degree of scepticism about the value of VET in schools. The ambivalent views of industry have been noted in a previous section. The Committee received little evidence from those who might be opposed to school-based VET programs in principle. The point was more often made that the program rationale was not properly thought through; that programs were too ambitious and did not inspire confidence among employers; that courses were introduced for the wrong reasons and conducted by unqualified teachers.

10.59 The attitude of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) to VET in schools is obviously influenced by the nature of the industries in which it is involved. Construction, mining, forestry and other similar industries that are characterised by manual labour and heavy mechanisation requires an experienced workforce. Age and maturity are matters of real concern. Even so, the union’s view was not based on practical considerations alone.

Our general understanding is that VET in schools applies to people in years 11 and 12, but we would have a concern about people extending it into school years below that. I suppose it comes down to the philosophical question of what you believe the education system is there for, and what schools are there for. We have a viewpoint that the school system is there to provide young people with a general education and not necessarily to prepare people for the workplace. In years 11 and 12 there can be a greater focus on the workplace but, in terms of our industry, they can only go up to a certain level because, once you get past a Certificate I, the occupational health and safety considerations come in. And that is where our major concern is.39

10.60 The submission from the CFMEU put the issues even more plainly. The union opposed plans by the Victorian Office of Technical and Further Education to push for the introduction of Certificate II level courses into schools on the grounds that Certificate did not meet the points requirements for the VCE. The CFMEU argued that schools should build up the other academic requirements as they could not provide students with on-the-job training and work experience levels required by Certificate II. The submission was critical of a move in Tasmania to give school students a Certificate I at the end of Year 11 and a Certificate II at the end of Year 12, with a statement of attainment for additional Certificate III units. The Committee accepts the implication in this submission that such practices lead to a debasement of post-school vocational training qualifications. It notes also the view of the CFMEU:

38 Submission 85, National Council of Independent Schools Associations, vol.5, p.l 128

39 Mr S Maxwell (CFMEU), Hansard, Sydney, 17 April 2000, p.305

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...that it appears as though the push for greater vocational training in schools has more to do with empire building in terms of attracting limited government funding, rather than the demands of industry. (It is interesting to note that one of the biggest complaints concerning new entrants by

employers is the lack of numeracy and literacy skills, which begs the question of what are the priorities of our secondary school system?) 40

10.61 Another witness alluded to a policy vacuum in the running of VET courses in schools. This resulted in an ad hoc approach to school programs, many of them dependent on the energy and initiative of individual teachers.

It seems to me that strategically is where lots of these issues have to start. If you look carefully at what activity in VET in schools is about, it tends to be pretty much around the flavour of the month industry, it tends to be around

what particular relationships exist between school teachers and local industry people, and there appears to be very little strategic analysis of what preparation needs to happen with kids in schools for the future in the world of work that this country will have to face in the next few years. With

respect to that strategic approach, it is not a funding issue necessarily but an issue of how we best prepare people for the future. I would have to suggest that there is not much of that happening, certainly in the local schools. There might be a bit of rhetoric around from education departments, but there is a

fair old gap between the rhetoric and the reality.41

10.62 The Committee suggests that the gap between rhetoric and reality has much to do with the question of resources. Rhetoric requires few resources, but the strategic planning which has not been evident is of little point without a national commitment to VET in schools, with the assurance of significant Commonwealth funding support.

TAFE sector criticisms o f VET in schools

10.63 The Committee noted a distinct lack of enthusiasm in the TAFE sector for school-based VET programs. It gained a strong impression of TAFE resentment of schools entering their traditional territory and competing with TAFE colleges to the detriment of their ability to offer higher level courses. This comes as a result of TAFE’s policy of cross-subsidies: of charging fees on scales which keep lower level qualification fees higher than they might be in order to minimise fees for higher level courses which are expensive to run. This practice has already been referred to in relation to the TAFE system’s competition with private providers. The problem was explained to the Committee at its Adelaide hearings:

If the VET in schools undertakes the first component of the training, which is all of the introductory modules, the actual cost of the delivery of that ranges from $3.50 to $4.50 an hour for the modules. The cost of delivery of

40 Submission 63, Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, Construction and General Division, vol.3, p.712

41 Mr S Ghost (Australian Industry Group), Hansard, Sydney, 17 April 2000, p.331

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the certificate level 2 and 3, which TAPE usually completes, then rises from the $8.60 to between $10 and $13 per module. The same thing happens from private providers, so we are limited in terms of being able to take the higher levels to certificate 3 and 4 because the same price is paid by the government whether they do certificate level 1 or a diploma. If the public system is being increasingly required to deliver the higher levels of training from both VET in schools and private providers, which we are, then the cost of delivery to the TAPE institutes increases. This decreases our ability to provide the number of hours that we normally would.42

10.64 The funding issue is central to decisions about school-based VET programs, state and territory governments will always look at the lowest cost options, and these are increasingly found in schools which train at Certificate I and II levels. The most desirable option which this Committee recommends for VET in schools, that of having a significant component delivered away from school, would require a more substantial level of funding than is currently acceptable. The attitude of the Western Australian Department of Education, as described below, is typical of policy in all

states:

At the moment you have a handful of schools that have recently become registered training organisations. The education department in WA has actively encouraged most schools to actually look at becoming RTOs. The primary reason for that, ...has been as a cost saving measure because they have not got the funds to purchase off-the-job training with a TAPE or another private RTO. One way of schools saving some resources is if they become an RTO and do it themselves. So you had a whole number of schools sitting down spending lord knows how much time, effort, and dollars in-house or be it recruiting consultants to assist them, developing RTO applications so that they can look at saving some moneys. In the main, however, those dollars have actually come out of their VET in schools and have been wasted on submission writing. In fact, you still have the schools around the same table screaming that they cannot afford to go buy some training from the local TAPE college.43

Teacher qualifications

10.65 The Report of the ANTA VET in Schools Program Review identified the professional development of teachers as representing a significant cultural challenge for VET in schools. It reported anecdotal evidence as indicating reluctance on the part of many teachers to be ‘turned into trainers’.44 The report suggested that this attitude would disappear once VET courses counted toward university entrance requirements and were placed on the same level as general education courses, but the Committee

42 Ms S Sachs (Network of TAPE Councils, South Australia), Hansard, Adelaide, 16 May 2000, p.517

43 Mr W Hill (North Metropolitan Perth Area Consultative Committee), Hansard, Perth, 17 May 2000, p.667

44 The Allen Consulting Group, Review o f the ANTA VET in Schools Program, final report, June 2000, p.34

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has seen no evidence that teachers appear ready to embrace wholeheartedly training packages that have been designed for post-school RTOs.

10.66 The Committee has some difficulty in accepting the full bona tides of school- based VET programs which are conducted by teachers who have no practical experience in the industry whose skills they are trying to teach. It accepts that teachers may have undergone VET orientation courses and, in the case of Western Australia

obtained training is awarding competency assessments. The Australian Education Union has stated that the Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment, the de facto entry-level for VET teachers, is inadequate to meet the needs of the sector.42' This course provides generic knowledge rather than training in specific skills. Even if

it did, teachers would, more likely than not, be without workplace experience in the use of these skills. As one industry representative told the Committee:

The concern was that they were using teachers to do the training and assessment of the youngsters but the teachers had teaching qualifications, not competency based training qualifications. There is a difference, as I am sure you appreciate. Teachers do not always appreciate that. That is one area

that I believe could be strengthened and that is that we should be clear about what qualifications the teachers should have. Basically it should be the same as for any RTO delivering under a training package.4 5 46

Western Australian case study

10.67 The Committee was presented with some very useful evidence reported in a survey conducted by the South East Metropolitan Area Consultative Committee in Perth into VET in 24 schools of the area. The South East Metro ACC undertook this task in its capacity as a link between business and the community, and to establish whether the reality of the VET program matched the rhetoric of its proponents. The findings of the report are summarised thus:

• programs tend to be concentrated in clerical and hospitality businesses, while industries with high labour demand, like communications, manufacturing, science and technology are almost totally neglected;

• school organisational priorities are often an impediment to the development of comprehensive VET programs because of their relatively low priority, a factor which also militates against discrete programs for small numbers of students;

• there are few formal links between schools and industry and little evidence in this region that industry influences the shape and structure of VET programs, such influence being less important than student demand, the subjects on offer and the skills of teachers;

45 Submission 110, Australian Education Union, vol.6, p. 1608

46 Mrs L Boschen (Wine Industry National Education and Training Advisory Council), Hansard, Adelaide, 16 May 2000, p.533

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• government sector schools are not promoting inter-school arrangements to maximise the use of scarce resources or to develop specialist training niches, and nor are students enrolling in a particular school to pursue their career aspirations;

• programs in non-govemment schools do adopt a cluster approach to promote rational resource use, but their programs are less comprehensive and less directed toward vocational training than government schools;

• it is expected that encouragement of all students to take up a minimum Structured Workplace-based Learning (SWL) program will create competitive pressures which are potentially disadvantageous to non-academic students for whom these courses were originally intended; and

• uncertainty over funding is inhibiting enthusiasm and commitment from schools, as is inadequate support from EdWest management, particularly in regard to SWL placements, and there appears to be a problem of how best schools can take advantage of their cluster system.47

10.68 The survey reported success or satisfaction in some areas. Student response has been very favourable, and students notably reluctant to attend mainstream classes have been conscientious about attending their off-the job training with their providers and going to their work placements. Parental attitudes are also becoming more positive.

10.69 In giving evidence to the Committee, representatives of the South East Metropolitan Area Consultative Committee expanded on some of the problems identified in making VET programs in schools meet their broad objectives. The Kwinana Industry Council’s link with the Midland and Districts Schools Industry Training Association was cited as one of the most successful industry-led models of school-industry partnerships in Australia. The Committee’s 1998-9 inquiry into regional unemployment made particular reference to this partnership.48 4 9 The problem it had overcome was the ever-potential demarcation dispute between schools and

industry as to which side controls the program. Schools attempting to forge productive relationships with industry cannot afford to see themselves as having the controlling interest, and viewing industry as ‘fodder...to place the students in work experience’.41'

10.70 Opinion was expressed that schools are inward-looking institutions, and that industry was also responsible for some of the failure and policy inertia, being reluctant to take an assertive role in shaping school VET policy.50The Committee was told that because industry was very desegregated, it did not know how to develop partnerships

47 Submission 138, South East Metropolitan Area Consultative Committee, vol. 8, p.2344-2349

48 Senate EWRSBE References Committee, Jobs fo r the Regions-A report on the inquiry into regional employment and unemployment, September 1999, p. 100

49 Mr W Hill (North Metropolitan Perth Area Consultative Committee), Hansard, Perth, 17 May 2000, p.664

50 Mr M Thorne (South East Metropolitan Area Consultative Committee, Hansard, Perth, 17 May 2000, p.664

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with schools. While it cried out for people skilled in IT in south east Perth, local students were not encouraged to enter this VET workstream. An example was given of a large company willing to provide IT equipment to schools in the region in order to encourage vocations in this field, but which withdrew its offer when local cluster government schools could not make the appropriate arrangements.31

An equity issue

10.71 Another question raised by the South East Metro ACC survey is the issue of which students are the main beneficiaries of VET in school programs. While VET is now ‘mainstream’ in that courses are taken by students from the whole spectrum of interests and ability, there is a presumption that such courses involving school-to-work

transition will have most impact on non-academically inclined students in need of encouragement and skills in preparing to enter the workforce: students of the kind that school systems so often fail to deal with, or have done so in the past. The evidence from this region in Perth does not bear this out:

...It is actually competitive to get on to a VET in schools program, and it is the best and brightest kids that get on to those programs. It is not the kids who are at risk that have not finished year 10, it is not the kids who are educationally at risk in year 11; with most of the kids it is selective, it is competitive, especially in the non-govemment sector. The schools do not want to sully the relationship and reputation with the private sector by

sending kids out who are not good enough, who are not job ready, who are not high achievers-that is, the school’s reputation on the line. It is not about which kids we need to help the most, but making sure the disadvantaged and less well-to-do kids get access to a program that might help them get

employment at the end of the day.5"

10.72 The Committee has not established whether this experience is common across all states. If that is the case, the mainstreaming of VET in schools is as likely to result in the same degree of marginalisation as currently exists for non-academic students in schools following a predominantly academic program. As some form of structured workplace learning is required in all states to fulfil VET requirements, the

complications would be considerable, with able and socially mature students (many of them with part-time jobs) out-performing less able students in a school program designed to benefit less able and less mature students. The Committee believes that

this would represent very poor value for each dollar spent on the program.

10.73 The issue of how to deal with students lacking sufficient maturity for VET programs was raised in the Gumming and Carbines report in its case study on St James Practical Education, a 8-12 Catholic school in inner Brisbane. About 10 per cent of students at the school were considered unready for structured workplace 5 1 5 2

51 ibid., p.671

52 Mr W Hill (North Metropolitan Perth Area Consultative Committee), Hansard, Perth, 17 May 2000, p.667

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learning at any particular time. To exclude these students would effectively segregate them from the rest of the students in the program: to include them might put the program at risk. Some form of safety net was needed for these students. Employer representatives were reported to have regarded workplace readiness in terms of an

individual’s general disposition or attitude to the work ethic rather than the level of employment-related knowledge or skills.53

10.74 The Committee is aware that limited research data on this problem does not allow any firm conclusions to be drawn. There will always be an underachieving minority of students in a school, for a host of reasons, not all of these being easily addressed by schools. What is significant is the size of this group. While acknowledging that evaluations of the effectiveness of VET in schools has yet to be carried out, the Committee believes it to be highly likely that VET programs will assist most students who undertake them, in some way. That is, the proportion of students in a school at risk of dropping out should fall, and any percentage fall is to be welcomed.

10.75 Another equity issue, raised in the submission from the Midlands Districts Schools Industry Training Association, concerned the lesser opportunities for structured w'orkplace learning suffered by students outside metropolitan areas. Industry is limited away from large centres. There is no equity funding to allow students to travel to, or live in, areas close to their chosen work placement. The Midlands submission refers to the alarming social problems in rural towns which VET courses and structured workplace learning experience would be likely to alleviate if access to them was made affordable.54

Industrial issues

10.76 Industrial relations problems have emerged in emerged in the area of VET in schools because the need to obtain agreement from industrial parties to vary state and Federal awards and to recognise part-time traineeships is proceeding only slowly. The National Training Award has been varied in some occupations to accommodate school-based part-time traineeships. In some occupations a difficulty arises when a school student is intermittently a student and a worker, which affects workers’ compensation and responsibilities relating to duty of care.55

Teacher union concerns

10.77 Finally, the submission from the Australian Education Union is instructive on the issue. While the AEU supports VET in schools, and points to the success of many programs, including those run in the Torres Strait Islands and the Northern Territory

53 Jim Gumming and Bob Carbines, Reforming schools through workplace learning, National Schools Network, 1997, p.83

54 Submission 92, Midland Districts Schools Industry Training Association, vol.5, p. 1255

55 Des Fooks, Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Schools: Two Perspectives, Canberra, 1998, p.3

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to encourage increased school retention rates, it refers to several issues of concern. These are:

• the ad hoc nature of current credit transfer arrangements for VET students wanting to take up university studies, particularly in regard to competency-based assessment and the depth of underpinning knowledge in VET courses;

• the use of skilled workers, having no teacher training, to assist with VET courses in Schools has the potential to undermine the profession of teaching and lower standards of pay and conditions of service;

• the use of teachers without full industry qualifications and experience to translate theory into practice, has the potential to undermine the status of a trade and may affect the level of industry recognition.56 5 7

10.78 The AEU submission takes a broad view of VET in its impact upon schools, doubtless a reflection of the varying views of its membership which includes teachers from both the school and TAPE sectors. It sees VET as ‘merely one option provided to students in the context of their general education.’ For this reason the AEU opposes

students being ‘streamed’ into specific VET programs, while at the same time supporting the introduction in Years 11 and 12 of VET courses linked to accredited Training Packages and leading to an award under the AQF.

10.79 A similar view is taken by the National Council of Independent Schools Association (NCISA) which argues that VET should not be promoted as a panacea for all the difficulties faced by young people; that they are only one type of program in which basic educational and general living skills are integral."7

10.80 The Committee regards the Australian Education Union position as an endorsement of current practice, with the expected reservations noted above. It also notes the importance attached to vocational education in schools by those who see it as a catalyst for broader educational change. The Committee has received the distinct impression that some education policy makers in the states and territories view VET

in schools as much more than a curriculum element required to satisfy the needs of students in the non-academic stream, although that may have been the first response to the higher school retention rates and to the consequences of economic restructuring.

10.81 The most radical advocacy of vocational education in schools presented to the Committee came from Australian Student Traineeship Foundation, a Commonwealth- funded body established in 1994 to bring about far-reaching changes to schooling in Australia, notably bridging the gap between school and work. The Committee notes the success with which the Foundation is promoting school-industry partnerships, benefiting around 60 000 students and involving around 30 000 businesses.

56 Submission 110, Australian Education Union, vol.6, p.1601-07

57 Submission 85, National Council of Independent Schools Association, vol.5, p.l 127

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10.82 The Foundation’s conclusions in its report, Bright futures fo r young Australians, owes something to the Gumming and Carbines report, referred to earlier in this chapter, in its emphasis on VET as a catalyst for building links with communities in a way which has not hitherto been part of the Australian education tradition. The community has looked to central authority for leadership and for decisions on education. School principals have been traditionally regarded as agents of a state bureaucracy rather than as local community leaders. While the Committee has reservations about the radical scope of the Foundation’s ideas for change, it accepts that one of the Foundation’s planks: the need for a reorganisation of institutional arrangements and resourcing, is an issue which needs to be addressed. The Committee

is more doubtful about the Foundation’s ambitions for a cultural evolution toward community partnerships because it does not see this as compatible with the way social and educational cultures and administrative practices have developed in Australia. However desirable these changes may be in theory (though some members doubt even this), the proposals require a degree of political and administrative abnegation on the part of state governments, government departmental officials, and probably also teacher unions, that they would be highly unlikely to accept. The Commonwealth would have very little influence in pursuing such a policy so closely affecting the operations of the states.

The need for fundamental policy review

10.83 The Committee sees evidence of policy confusion in the approach currently taken to VET in schools: a confusion stemming mainly from moves to broaden the role of school education. This comes in response to a particular interpretation of the requirements of the job market by both employers and job-seekers. Employers are believed to require a highly flexible workforce, and the appropriate response from educationists has been a call for the widest possible articulation between the various levels of education. It is by no means clear to the Committee that these responses address the real concerns of employers, or meet the labour requirements of industry which is experiencing continued technological change. School students may be enthusiastic about VET in schools, but this enthusiasm alone cannot provide the basis for VET policy. Witnesses to this inquiry, as well as commentators on broader issues, have referred to the desirability of ‘seamless links’ between universities and TAFE

institutes; between schools and TAFE and between schools and universities, but few of these witnesses have represented industry or employers. Industry, on the whole, has stood aside from the debate about how school-based VET should be incorporated in the overall training arrangements for the nation. The Committee, in reading between the lines of industry submissions, suggests that the Mayer key competencies have not

lost their appeal for employers, whose ‘bottom line’ remains unchanged, even while educationists, as is their tendency, pass on to fresh emphases and new schemes, together with a whole set of new acronyms.

10.84 The Committee is sceptical about the value of time and resources devoted to the reconstruction of secondary education to meet the perceived needs of industry and its future workforce. It raises the question of how important specialisation is in education; whether some institutions of learning are more appropriate for some

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courses than are others; and the costs of duplicating educational capacity in competing sectors.

10.85 The Committee understands the concern of education authorities and schools to provide satisfying and credible courses for students who are not interested in proceeding to university. It also recognises the importance of preparing students for the world of work, but believes this need not necessarily require training in the

specific technical skills that relate to a particular industry. In this it has the support of most employers who gave evidence to this inquiry. Apart from literacy and numeracy skills, VET could be so defined as to embrace - in the school curriculum - enhanced

careers advice, career motivation, personal development skills and civic knowledge and responsibility enhancement. These aspects of VET can be handled very well in schools and would complement more practical workplace instruction and skills development that was placed in the hands of RTOs from outside the school.

10.86 The first concern is the awarding of AQF Certificates for completion of VET courses in schools, and indeed the very notion of a school gaining RTO status. On the information available to the Committee it appears doubtful that the quality of the training and experience gained by students in school-based courses is equal to that

gained by trainees in full workplace training or a combination of TAPE and workplace training. If senior secondary school students are attempting to gain qualifications equal to TAFE-based trainees and apprentices they would be better off enrolling in a (TAPE or TAPE equivalent) post-school institution course linked to on-the-job

training.

10.87 The Committee takes note of evidence received of the ineligibility of students for Certificate I and II training funding upon their leaving school if these qualifications have been gained as part of a school-based VET program. It considers this to be arbitrary discrimination, disadvantaging those who want to change career paths on leaving school, which may be regarded as a normal expectation. Nonetheless, this restriction emphasises the need to consider whether certification of school-based qualifications is desirable when identical qualifications can be gained at TAPE institutes, arguably in a more appropriate learning environment, and undertaken at a time when a young person has had more time to reflect on one of life’s big decisions.

10.88 The Committee sees no particular advantage in provoking a demarcation dispute between schools and TAPE institutes when an alternative model of cooperation between schools and TAPE institutes is a proven possibility. If schools are serious about facilitating VET programs, the establishment of a link with TAPE is essential. This would entail subordinating the school’s timetabling arrangements (so far as its VET stream is concerned) to the TAPE institute timetable. It would allow

school teachers to concentrate on the important generic components of a VET program for which they can be trained. As it is, school teachers, even with training in the generic subject of vocational education are rarely qualified in trades and skills related to VET courses, and few have any direct industry experience.

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10.89 The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training, in looking at the links between school and TAPE in its 1998 inquiry into the role of TAPE, cited a number of successful working arrangements whereby TAPE institutes provided courses for schools. The House Committee commended these collaborative arrangements, considering them to be preferable to having inadequately qualified school teachers taking VET courses in schools.38 This Committee supports that view.

10.90 From a view of school-based VET as a worthwhile expedient that has evolved into a socially and educationally valuable mainstream component of the school curriculum, there has developed a philosophy of education that blurs the distinct and differing needs which education must serve. This has arisen from economic and technological changes which have revolutionised the workplace, rendering many jobs obsolete and creating many new jobs. Employment in the ‘new economy’ requires either new higher order technical skills, or higher order interpersonal and communications skills. The Committee sees value in the emphasis given in school- based VET on the latter area of skills development. It remains sceptical of the appropriateness of schools undertaking training in vocational skills unsupported by post-school training institutions.

10.91 The Committee therefore believes that MINCO should look more closely at the fundamentals of this issue: that it looks beyond the well-expressed enthusiasm of sectional players, and considers how each sector can be funded to deliver the most appropriate level of training and obtain the best value for the training dollar.

58 House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training, Today’s Training: Tomorrow's Skills, July 1998, p. 47-58

GOVERNMENT SENATORS' REPORT

1.1 The Committee’s work over the past twelve months has served as a most useful review of current government policy on vocational education and training since the advent of significant reforms to the VET sector from 1997 on. The report evaluates the success of these reforms in detail: in particular the emphasis on a

market-driven approach to training and the advent of New Apprenticeships. The analysis of progress which is detailed in the majority report presents a complex picture of a reform process at varying stages and levels of development. The overwhelming response of participants in the reform process was encouraging, as is evident from the submissions received by the Committee. Most submissions anticipated continued progress and reform, and expressed expectations of the eventual removal of anomalous and superfluous elements in the current process: the inevitable consequence of any large-scale policy and administrative change.

1.2 Significantly, the majority report makes no recommendations which question the broad framework of current VET policy. It is not logical to claim, as the majority report claims in the one sentence, that VET is at once the ‘overlooked Cinderella of the education system’ (para. 1.16) which has at the same time seen ‘immense and

sweeping change’ in the way it is delivered and in the philosophy that drives it. There is a general flavour of disapproval of these changes evident in the majority report, but in the face of evidence that such radical changes as the introduction of New Apprenticeships have received wide acceptance, recommendations have been

confined to details of implementation. To the extent that the Government and its agencies see practical merit in these recommendations, Government senators would have no objection to them.

Quality and the Australian Recognition Framework

1.3 The principal concern of the report has been the issue of quality as it has related to the Australian Recognition Framework. It should be noted that the Committee’s investigations of quality issues have been largely overtaken by events: if not yet at the level of implementation, then at least at the policy level. MINCO’s

determination to address the quality issue will see many of the structural weaknesses and attitudinal deficiencies overcome.

1.4 This inquiry was conceived in circumstances of early difficulties faced by state regulatory bodies in carrying out their functions, and in the light of revelations of unethical practices by a small handful of registered training organisations. The Committee had a role in drawing public attention to this state of affairs, although it

cannot be established that the remedial action which followed was due solely to the Committee’s work. State agencies and ANTA have sufficient motive, power and resources, for the most part, to deal with such problems. The work done by Ms Kaye Schofield in three states warrants particular recognition here, as being indicative of the

commitment of states to implement reform within the wide latitude allowed by the current structure.

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1.5 An important task to be tackled is that of ensuring that appropriate legislation across all states underpins the national VET system. The Minister, Hon David Kemp MP, wrote to all state and territory ministers in April, calling on them to agree to nationally consistent model industrial training legislation so that existing legislative barriers to the implementation of training reforms across the country will be removed. A ‘rail gauge’ approach still makes it difficult for companies to operate and access training across state borders, because of differing rules.

1.6 This issue was canvassed by the Committee at its final Canberra hearings in the context of mutual recognition of courses, which had implications for uniform quality assurance measures. The weight of opinion suggested that the solution would come through complementary legislation rather than through uniform legislation, and it appears that states were aware of the necessity for such legislation. Government senators note the contrived alarm of Opposition senators on the Committee about what they see as a grave threat to current arrangements as a result of some sort of constitutional crisis. In the view of Government senators, the introduction by the states and territories of complementary legislation, as agreed to by MINCO, will be routinely addressed by governments.

1.7 Almost as fundamental as the legislative basis for national VET is the government’s proposal to develop a National Code of Good Practice in New Apprenticeships, and to establish a new National Training Quality Council. It is proposed that the NTQC be based on the former National Training Framework Committee and takes over that Committee’s functions, but with strengthened roles in relation to quality assurance arrangements. Specifically, the NTQC will:

• provide advice on the operation of, and any necessary change to, the Australian Recognition Framework;

• provide information and advice to State recognition authorities on the implementation of the ARF; and

• provide to the ANTA Board, for incorporation in the Board's reports to the MINCO (including the Annual National Report), information and advice on the operation of the ARF in each state and territory, including by providing such independent advice on state and territory registration, audit and related processes and related Commonwealth processes as deemed necessary by the NTQC.

1.8 The NTQC is a Committee under the ANTA Board with industry leadership and state representation. It does not require separate legislation and builds on the spirit of partnership between industry, states and territories and the Commonwealth embodied in the ANTA Agreement. Government senators support this arrangement for strengthening the Australian Recognition Framework. It will ‘raise the bar’ on quality assurance (as Victorian government officials expressed the wish for), and maintain the symmetry of current administrative structures in a way which preserves state responsibilities and functions.

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Dealing with the issue of ‘quality’ - a states response

1.9 The Committee heard quite detailed evidence of steps that were being taken to deal with quality assurance, both at state and Commonwealth level. By the time the Committee heard final evidence from ANTA in July 2000, the CEO of that agency was able to advise the Committee that MINCO had reached agreement on achieving a

fully-integrated national VET system, particularly in relation to fundamental regulatory issues underpinning mutual recognition; risk management strategies and quality and consistency of training.1 There was well-documented evidence that the VET system was fundamentally sound. The states also reported progress, as in the

case of Queensland, whose officials informed the Committee at its final hearing of recent progress:

We believe that the work we have done in raising the quality issue from early last year has led to the quality issue now being addressed much more vigorously on a national basis. We are continuing with the implementation and roll- out of training packages, while continuing to focus on the need to

ensure that there is a range of courses available for students who are not able to access training package qualifications, particularly those in institutional pathways who may not be able to gain access to a workplace for workplace assessment.2

1.10 The Queensland official proceeded to explain that progress thus far would require for its continuation an urgent review of the Australian Recognition Framework and some new standards developed, and this could only be done on a bilateral basis between the states, ANTA and DETYA. The Committee heard later from ANTA that this process would be followed through.3

1.11 Officials from New South Wales described the task of maintaining quality assurance in that state: a description which confirms the view of Opposition senators on the Committee that this is a task which must remain the responsibility of the states:

We are working through a most comprehensive compliance audit of registered training organisations to bring them within the Australian Recognition Framework. I am advised that, to date, we have audited 435 registered training organisations. I should say that each of those audits in New South Wales involves a detailed process of submission from the

training organisation itself. That is then followed up by a visit from an audit team usually of two or three people who may visit the organisation for up to two days to do a full compliance visit.

Senator CARR—How many RTOs are there in New South Wales?

1 Ms Moira Scollay, Hansard, Canberra, 5 July 2000, p. 815

2 Mr Peter Noonan, Hansard, Canberra,5 July 2000, p.784

3 Ms Moira Scollay, op.cit., p.827

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Dr Wilmott—In the order of 900, and we expect to have completely compliance audited of all those training organisations that wish to be assessed for the Australian Recognition Framework by the end of this year. In the order of 100 of the previously registered training organisations—and I believe the exact figure was reported to the last hearing—chose not to seek registration under the Australian Recognition Framework because of the

level of compliance they would have needed to have met, and they chose to move out of the sector.

So we have been undertaking a substantial compliance audit. I have not got a precise figure for the number of those organisations that have been found wanting and either have been not successfully compliance audited or have been given a reserve judgment where they had to resubmit for further visits. But in the process of that compliance audit system, indeed, there have been a number of circumstances where the more stringent compliance audit processes that we have applied have resulted in organisations either not choosing to continue as registered training organisations or being not successfully audited and having to be reassessed.4

1.12 Officers from the Victorian Office of Post-Compulsory Education and Training, quoting Schofield’s research, advised that the Australian Recognition Framework was insufficiently rigorous. It allowed for accreditation of poor quality training. Specific weaknesses included inadequate monitoring of workplace training

arrangements, patchy auditing of training plans, heavy reliance on desk-audits and inconsistent audits and perceptions of inadequate penalties for breaches by providers.5Schofield recommended that Victoria seek amendments to the Australian Recognition Framework through ANT A. There will most likely to be a proposal to strengthen the ARF at the MINCO meeting scheduled for November 2000.

1.13 Government senators commend the work undertaken by states to investigate the extent of deficiencies in the current VET system (though it is no more than would be expected) and accept the validity of most of the informed judgements made of the current system by state officials and their consultants. Given the pace of reforms at the Commonwealth level, and the continuing ‘shake-down’ which has followed, such deficiencies as have been found should not surprise anyone with any knowledge or experience in public policy implementation. For, as many witnesses and submissions affirmed, the essence of VET policy is soundly based.

Recommendation 17-National Code of Standards

1.14 In their quest for changes which improve quality, Opposition senators have made a number of recommendations aimed at structural changes to regulatory and compliance agencies. The Opposition’s core belief - which is only implied in its report - is that the states and territories are not entirely to be trusted with the administration

4 Dr Gary Willmot, op.cit., p.810

5 Kaye Schofield, Delivering Quality: report of the independent review o f the quality of training in Victoria’s apprenticeship and traineeship system, May 2000, pp. 19-23

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of the Australian Recognition Framework in a way that ensures consistent standards of training delivery across the country. This is based on evidence given to the Committee in the early stage of the inquiry by some ITABs and employers complaining about inconsistent regulations across jurisdictions. There were perceptions that some states

enforced a less rigid compliance with quality assurance processes than did others. It is noteworthy that the Committee had no evidence which would enable it to assess the relative success of states and territories in achieving desired quality outcomes.

1.15 The Opposition has proposed a National Code of Standards for VET to replace the Australian Recognition Framework. Recommendation 6 proposes the establishment of a National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority as a Commonwealth statutory body to apply and administer compliance with the National

Code of Standards. Government senators consider this recommendation superfluous on the grounds that MINCO has already approved in principle the establishment of the National Training Quality Council, a body with enhanced powers to replace the current National Training Framework Council.

1.16 In the view of Government senators, there are two objections to this recommendation. First, the establishment of a new Commonwealth statutory body would create potential problems for its relationship with ANTA and create potential difficulties for a minister in dealing with two bodies of equal status. In practice, the National Qualifications Authority would work in a subordinate capacity to ANTA, although in legislative terms they would be equal bodies. Second, it is unlikely that the states would agree to an arrangement that might further diminish their

administrative role in vocational education and training.

1.17 Opposition Recommendation 6 provides for the NQQAA to be given powers to administer the National Code in all its multifarious aspects, such as registration and auditing of RTOs, and all matters to do with trainee management and Training Package administration. This power would then be delegated to the states, whose

STAs would continue to operate as they currently do under state powers. The purpose of giving the NQQAA the principal head of power is to ensure that the NQQAA will act on these in the absence of sufficiently determined action by any state. The appropriation of state powers to the Commonwealth by legislation always raises questions about constitutional validity, although it is sufficient at this time for Government senators to state that it is highly unlikely that such a proposal would receive the support of MINCO. Nor would it attract support from any Commonwealth

government (of whatever party persuasion) if it entailed potentially onerous Commonwealth financial obligations to assume direct responsibility for maintaining a moribund or recalcitrant STA.

1.18 The states and territories are major stakeholders in training delivery. While there may have been earlier doubts about the capacity of state agencies to enforce compliance standards on registered training organisations, this is now longer the case.

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The realities of federalism

1.19 Government senators are prepared to accept the assurances of state government officials of all mainland states who appeared before the Committee to explain their quality assurance procedures. Government senators note that three states have demonstrated their concern for improved procedures by having eminent VET consultant Kaye Schofield identify changes and reforms that are necessary. It is clearly apparent that states and territories have a commitment to improving the quality of VET, something which has been demonstrated during the Committee’s inquiry and has been made apparent in recent decisions of MINCO.

1.20 While it is not stated explicitly in the majority report, the sentiment behind the recommendation by Opposition senators of a National Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority assumes that Commonwealth agencies, presumably much better resourced, could be easily established to undertake the current responsibilities of state

and territory agencies. State ministers may well see in this recommendation the long­ term aim of removing state agencies from any significant area of responsibility beyond that of maintaining state TAPE networks. The concept of ‘federalism’ in the area of post-compulsory education would disappear to the point where the continuation of state and territory participation in ANTA would be called into question. MINCO would become irrelevant.

1.21 The Committee received a great deal of advice from state agencies which appeared before it, and none of it pointed to any willingness to abdicate from state responsibilities. On the contrary, the evidence pointed to states’ frustration about deficiencies in administration and quality assurance, and their impatience with delays in having them fixed. Some of the blame was laid at the feet of the Commonwealth: some was attributable to the pace of change and the defective processes of state administration which they had themselves uncovered. Some of the flavour of state attitudes to VET reform was conveyed to the Committee by witnesses from the New South Wales Department of Education and Training at the final Canberra hearing. A draft statement was circulated by New South Wales with the claimed endorsement of four other states. While the statement was a call for increased Commonwealth funding for VET, it can also be regarded as a statement by the states affirming their own determination to accelerate the pace of reform:

That statement represents the efforts and the contribution of most states and territories in looking at the submissions that have been made to this inquiry to see if we could extract from them the key issues. We have tried to come

up with a statement, the rhetoric of which at least presents a basis for a new partnership between government, industiy and the community. We think it is a process which could lead to some renewal. We particularly need a renewal of interest and enthusiasm within industry, but we also think it is timely to get some clear statements of commitment from governments as well. We do not just want to cut and paste the current agreement; we want something that is fundamentally different. We do not want a system that is

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about just promoting rivalry between states and territories and providers. We want to work constructively towards improving quality.6

1.22 Opposition senators appear to have difficulty in concealing their disdain for state governments and their role in education. Whereas Coalition education policy has aimed at ensuring that states fulfil their constitutional responsibilities, Opposition policy would appear to favour an incremental reduction of state responsibility. This is

a recommendation that can be safely made from the shelter of the Opposition benches.

Funding

1.23 The Committee heard a great deal about the funding needs of the states and territories in evidence given by state officials. There was general agreement that the Commonwealth’s policy of promoting ‘growth through efficiencies’ had resulted in improved productivity in the training sector, but that there was little further scope for

efficiencies through this policy.

1.24 No targets were set by the Commonwealth for the level of efficiency improvements required: the states and territories determined these for themselves using their own judgements of what was feasible and responsible. States and territories originally estimated they could deliver an extra 70,000 student places through efficiency improvements , but latest estimates place this more at 160,000

extra places being made possible through efficiency improvements over the life of the ANTA Agreement.

1.25 The majority report calls for a reinstatement of growth funding in the next ANTA Agreement. The offer by the Commonwealth for the next ANTA Agreement does not include a ‘growth through efficiency’ component: rather it seeks agreement from the states and territories to strive for continuing efficiency improvements.

Government senators believe that this represents a reasonable requirement to ensure that value for money is achieved for taxpayer funded government services and is an objective that would be shared across many areas of state and territory government activity.

1.26 The Commonwealth contributes funds to states and territories through ANTA, but states and territories are responsible for any allocation decisions within their own jurisdictions. Funding to states and territories from the Commonwealth has been maintained in real terms over the life of the current ANTA Agreement, as set out in

legislation. Funding allocations to individual states and territories within this envelope is the decision of MINCO. In addition, the Commonwealth provides continuing funding for ANTA operational costs and ANTA national programs. The Commonwealth also provides considerable funding for employer incentives for New

Apprenticeships, operation of New Apprenticeships Centres, VET in Schools and a range of other programs related to workforce skills development.

6 Dr Jim McMorrow, op.cit., p.798

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1.27 Consistent with Government senators views on the partnership between the Commonwealth and the states in administering VET, is the view they hold that state contributions to the funding of VET needs to be maintained at a high level. As noted in the majority report, ABS figures appear to show that in real terms, states and territories have reduced their expenditure on VET for some years after 1992, and current expenditure is only now returning to those earlier levels.7 New South Wales and Queensland argued before the Committee that their expenditure over that period had been maintained in real terms. Yet, when the Commonwealth maintains its expenditure in real terms this is regarded as a failure to face up to its responsibilities. The capacity of the states to respond to the increased demand for VET is not in doubt. The Committee was advised of an additional $180 million allocated by the Victorian government to VET over the current quadrennium. Commonwealth funding is

supplementary to state funding.

Conclusion

1.28 This report can be most accurately be described as a description of a training system in the process of transition. Any policy implementation as radical as this inevitably shows the marks of a break-through. What has been revealed in evidence has in many cases been the rough edges of implementation. Many of these do relate to quality issues. Government senators do not dispute evidence that weaknesses in the Australian Recognition Framework have resulted in lower standards of training in a small number of registered training organisations. It is clear that relevant agencies in some states have not, at least in recent past, always adopted adequate quality assurance processes. There are reservations about how states and territories have implemented User Choice. While New Apprenticeships have been, by most accounts, a striking success, there are residual problems which need to be addressed in the implementation of this scheme.

1.29 Ultimately, the success or otherwise of the new national VET system will be determined by the employment market. The ultimate test is whether industry has the capacity to grow as a result of having a good supply of skilled employees. Submissions from employers have indicated strong support for the broad direction of training reform, and there is every indication that MINCO and ANTA are addressing those implementation problems which have been identified both in this report and in others cited by the Committee.

Senator John Tierney Senator George Brandis

Deputy Chair

7 Submission No. 110, Australian Education Union, vol.6, p. 1743

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USTRALIAN DEMOCRATS SENATORS’ ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

The Australian Democrats welcome and endorse the Chair’s Report on the Inquiry into the Quality of Vocational Education and Training in Australia. However, the Democrats would like to note additional concerns relating to access to vocational education and training by young people in particular.

1 Needs of young people

Young Australians today are more exposed to job insecurity, casual and part-time work, and low wage levels than older workers. They spend more time in education and training than previous generations, enter a labour market of declining entry-level opportunities and face a lifetime of job change and re-skilling.

The capacity of young Australians to take advantage of the flexibility these changes in the Australian labour market may offer is largely dependent on their access to quality education and training.

McClelland and MacDonald have identified up to 350,000 young Australian adults as being ‘at risk’ of continuing labour market disadvantage as a consequence of their non-participation in education, training, work or full-time work.1

While the Democrats welcome evidence of increased uptake of apprenticeships and traineeships by young people, institutional training, such as that provided by TAPE, is still a key means by which young people may enhance their labour market competitiveness. Workplace training may also be a valuable source of VET, however,

the retention of junior rates of pay without accompanying training provisions in many awards has meant many young people are trading off wage levels for little return.

The Democrats believe three constraints on young people’s access to quality VET must be addressed:

• Inadequate resourcing of the VET sector to meet demand;

• Barriers to participation in the form of fees and charges; and

• Poor quality and inappropriateness of training

Decline in young people’s participation in VET

Evidence presented to the Committee, and contained in the Chair’s Report, that access to VET for 20-24 year-olds is in decline, at an average annual rate of 1.61 percent between 1995 and 1998 for 20 to 24 year-olds, is of particular concern to the Australian Democrats.

1 McClelland, A and MacDonald, F “Young adults and labour market disadvantage?”, in Dusseldorp Skills Forum, A u s t r a l i a 's y o u n g a d u l t s : T h e d e e p e n in g d iv id e , DSF, Sydney, April 1999.

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The Australian Democrats are also concerned at evidence presented to the Committee that on present trends, the Finn targets for the 19- and 22- year-old cohorts will not be met.

1.1 Inadequate resourcing of the VET sector to meet demand

The Australian Democrats strongly support the findings of the Committee contained in Chapter 7 of the Chair’s Report relating to the VET sector’s capacity to reduce unmet demand under the Commonwealth’s ‘growth through efficiency’ policy, and

the recommendation that this policy should be reconsidered and further funding provided to address the shortfall.

As mentioned in a number of submissions to the Committee, Australia has relatively low expenditure on education and training compared to other OECD members, particularly European countries, which tend to have higher levels of public expenditure.

Modelling conducted by Gerald Burke of the Monash University-ACER Centre for the Economics of Education and Training, has shown that an increase in the proportion of 20-24 year-olds in education or training from 61 percent to 70 percent would involve additional public expenditure of approximately $1 billion. This figure

does not including additional income support costs from the transfer of young people from Newstart to the Youth Allowance.2

It is the view of the Democrats that increasing access to VET is crucial in assisting young people manage the transition from education to work. While the costs of increasing access for young people to VET may be high, the alternative is continued high costs of providing income support to young people unable to manage that transition in an increasingly competitive labour market.

1.2 Barriers to participation in the form of fees and charges

The Democrats believe the imposition of fees and charges on the provision of training has compromised equity of access to training, particularly for many of those who are most in need. The Democrats are also concerned by anecdotal evidence from employment service providers in the Job Network, that these fees and charges have greatly compromised their capacity to facilitate the participation of Intensive Assistance job search candidates in VET.

The Australian Democrats have long opposed the imposition of fees and charges for the provision of education and training. As the experience of Intensive Assistance clearly demonstrates, the costs associated with providing accessible education and training to those needing to improve their employment prospects, are far less than the costs of providing long-term income support.

Burke, G “Expenditure on education and training: data and issues’, in Dusseldorp Skills Forum Australia’s young adults: The deepening divide, DSF, Sydney, April 1999.

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The Australian Democrats recommend the immediate review of fees and charges levied by publicly-funded training providers with a view to their abolition, reduction or subsidisation.

1.3 Insufficiency and inappropriateness of training

While recognising the findings and recommendations of the Chair’s Report relating to the experiences of participants in VET, and the inadequacy of many existing training arrangements and quality-assurance schemes, the Australian Democrats also wish to note their concerns with the training providing through Commonwealth schemes such

as Work for the Dole and the consequences for young people of the retention of junior rates of pay in Federal awards.

1.3.1 Work for the Dole (WFD)

Although never intended to be a labour market or training program, Work for the Dole received almost $360 million funding in the 2000-2001 Federal Budget. At most, it provides limited work experience to participants, but Work for the Dole does not provide the structured and accredited training offered by other VET providers.

The Australian Democrats view the high level of funding of Work for the Dole as an unacceptable diversion of much-needed resources away from appropriate training, such as that provided by the VET sector, and recommend that the funding for Work for the Dole be immediately reviewed in this context.

1.3.2 Junior Rates of Pay

It is the contention of the Australian Democrats that the retention of junior rates of pay has undermined efforts to increase sustainable employment opportunities for young people, precluding more effective policies and programs from being implemented. Moreover, they have substantially increased the hardship many young people face in

their transition from school to work by reducing access to appropriate training and liveable incomes.

The causes of youth unemployment are varied and complex, and there is little reliable evidence available to suggest that junior rates of pay address these. Based on available research into the causes of youth unemployment, the Democrats believe an approach emphasising education and training, rather than wage discounting, would be more

successful in delivering permanent, full-time work opportunities to young people.

The Govemment/Opposition program of junior rates of pay and mutual obligation schemes such as WFD addresses only one of these causes, that relating to previous labour market experience. In doing so, it assumes a pathway from work experience to further education and training, or secure, full-time work. There is little evidence that this pathway exists.

Youth labour market experience appears to be concentrated in low-skilled, casual or part-time employment. The value of this work in leading to future full-time employment is uncertain.

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The evidence that junior rates of pay increase young people’s labour market competitiveness is particularly scant. Despite their introduction, the youth unemployment rate has undergone a more rapid rate of increase over the past two decades 1968 than that of any other group in the community/

Much of the blame for the failure to expand wage based contractual training arrangements in Australia lies with inadequate wage structures. Current junior rate arrangements do not contain structured training or skill development components. There is no provision in the Workplace Relations Act 1996 for training to be

incorporated into junior rate arrangements in future awards.

The Australian Democrats unsuccessfully sought to have such provisions inserted into the Act. These amendments would have given the AIRC the power to insert training and skill development arrangements into awards, with or without accompanying junior rates of pay.

The Australian Democrats support the replacement of the discriminatory, age- based junior rates of pay with a competency-based wage structure. This envisages payment of differential rates of pay according to skill level and acquisition. Young people must be offered training to develop skills and receive appropriate remuneration through wage increases as their competence increases.

Conclusion

The capacity of VET to serve Australia’s future social and economic needs is largely reliant on its ability to meet demand for training across the community and ensure equity of access. It is the ability of the VET sector to accommodate the needs of young people, who are at the ‘coalface’ of many of the changes in the Australian labour market, and at the most risk of suffering continuing labour market disadvantage as a consequence of those changes, which the Australian Democrats believe must be secured as a matter of priority.

Senator Natasha Stott Despoja

3 ABS Labour Force and Wage and Salaiy Earners, cited in Kryger, T Research Note, Australian Parliamentary Library, 1998.

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APPENDIX 1

LIST OF SUBMISSIONS

SUBMISSION FROM

Mr Neil Rogers, LIVERPOOL, NSW

G & C O’Neal, CHINCHILLA, QLD

Mr Ian Broinowski, BATTERY POINT, TAS

Mr John Gademski

Tasmanian Transport and Distribution Industry Training Board Inc., ROSNY PARK, TAS

Mr George J. Bonakey, BANGOR, NSW

Professor Jan Johansson, SYDNEY, NSW

Mr Graham Brophy, WAHROONGA, NSW

Metals Manufacturers & Services Industry Training Council (North West), WICKHAM, WA

Access Employment

Robe River Iron Associates, WICKHAM, WA

Mr Herman Odijk, CABOOLTURE, QLD

Master Cleaners Guild of Western Australia (Inc), WILLETTON, WA

Mr Robert Burt, BUNDAMBA, QLD

The Strand College of Beauty Therapy, SYDNEY, NSW

Dr Ross M. Woods, RIVERTON, WA

Securities Institute, SYDNEY, NSW

Rural Industries Training Advisory Board, DARWIN, NT

Dr Paul Blomme, OCEAN REEF, WA

Mr John Meehan, SANDY BAY, TAS

The Apprentice and Traineeship Company, Mid West, GERALDTON, WA

Mr Ron Seidel, KLEMZIG, SA

Ms Erica Smith, University of South Australia, UNDERDALE, SA

Technical Australia Pty Ltd, CANNING VALE, WA

Mr Robert Steadman, PASCOE VALE, VIC

Joint submission from Australian Drilling Industry Training Committee, Australian Light Manufacturing ITAB, Manufacturing Learning

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28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

41

41A

42

43

44

45

46

47

48

49

50

Australia, National Utilities and Electrotechnology ITAB, Transport Distribution Training Australia, SYDNEY, NSW

RMIT University, MELBOURNE, VIC

Business Skills Victoria the Business Services, Finance and Property Industry Training Board Inc., HAWTHORN, VIC

Mr Ron North, ALGESTER, QLD

ACT Secondary College Principals' Association, WANNIASSA, ACT

Silver Circle, ORMOND, VIC

Mr Michael J Mclnemey, MARION, SA

MW Training Consultants, SCARBOROUGH, QLD

Betaray Training Academy, BOOVAL, QLD

NSW Retail Wholesale and Associated Services Industry Training Council Ltd, SYDNEY, NSW

Victorian Association of TAPE Institute Librarians, BOX HILL, VIC

WA Primary Industries Training Council, BOUGAINVILLEA AVENUE, WA

National Mining ITAB, SYDNEY SOUTH, NSW

Western Sydney Schools - Industry Partnership Inc., QUAKERS HILL, NSW

ASCET Flexible Training, MELBOURNE, VIC

Wholesale, Retail & Personal Services Industry Training Advisory Board Inc., Queensland Branch, COORPAROO DC, QLD

Wholesale, Retail & Personal Services Industry Training Advisory Board Inc., Queensland Branch, COORPAROO DC, QLD

Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research and Training, SYDNEY, NSW

Wodonga Institute of TAPE, WODONGA, VIC

Wholesale, Retail & Personal Services Industry Training Council Inc., National Office, BURWOOD NORTH, NSW

Enterprise Skills Pty Ltd, EAST MELBOURNE, VIC

Agriculture & Horticulture Training Council of SA Inc., ADELAIDE, SA

Holmesglen Institute of TAPE, CHADSTONE, VIC

Adelaide Hills Employment Education and Training Network

The Association of Independent Schools of Queensland Inc., SPRING HILL, QLD

Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees’Association, MELBOURNE, VIC

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53

54

55

56

57

58

59

60

61

62

63

64

65

66

67

68

69

70

71

72

73

74

74.

75

265

Douglas Mawson Institute, Student Association

Federation of Wall and Ceiling Industries - Australia and New Zealand, EL WOOD, VIC

Association of Wall and Ceiling Industries Victoria, ELWOOD, VIC

Community Services and Health Training Australia Ltd, SYDNEY, NSW

National Network of Community Services and Health Industry Training Advisory Boards, DARWIN, NT

Victoria University of Technology, MELBOURNE CITY MC, VIC

Angus Knight Group, SYDNEY, NSW

Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, NT

Australian Council for Private Education and Training, NSW

Construction Training Australia, HAWTHORN, VIC

Open Learning Australia, MELBOURNE, VIC

Chubb Australia, NORTH MELBOURNE, VIC

CFMEU (Construction and General Division), SYDNEY, NSW

Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), NORTH SYDNEY, NSW

Recreation Industry Training Company Ltd, CANBERRA, ACT

Brisbane Business Links (BBL) Cluster, SOUTH BRISBANE, QLD

Mr Harry Joyce, DULWICH, SA

Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, CANBERRA, ACT

Goulbum Murray Vocational Education Cluster, SHEPPARTON, VIC

Construction Industry Training Board, WAYVILLE, SA

Northern Territory University Students' Union (NTUSU), DARWIN, NT

NSW Primary Industry Training Advisory Body Ltd, COOGEE, NSW

Wine Industry National Education and Training Advisory Council Inc., EASTWOOD, SA

National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), KENSINGTON PARK, SA

National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), KENSINGTON PARK, SA

Rural Training Council of Australia Inc., KINGSTON, ACT

Australian Secondary Principals' Association, NORTH MELBOURNE, VIC

Property Services Training, HAYMARKET, NSW

Cidesco Schools Australia Limited, CLAREMONT, VIC

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81

82

83

84

85

86

87

88

89

90

91

92

93

94

95

96

97

98

99

100

101

102

103

104

Australia Council of Universities of the Third Age Inc., SOUTH CAULFIELD, VIC

Victorian Tafe Students & Apprentices Network Inc., CARLTON, VIC

NSW Adult Literacy & Numeracy Council Inc., ASHFIELD, NSW

Education & Employment Action for Community Living, NORTHCOTE, VIC

Tasmanian Government (Department of Education), HOBART, TAS

Victorian Wholesale Retail and Personal Services Industry Training Board, KEW, VIC

National Council of Independent Schools' Associations, DEAKIN WEST, ACT

Western Australian Hospitality and Tourism Industry Training Council Inc., WEST PERTH, WA

Australian Defence Headquarters, CANBERRA, ACT

Torrens Valley Institute Council, MODBURY, SA

Coles Myer Ltd., GLEN IRIS, VIC

TAFE NSW Managers Association, SYDNEY, NSW

Victorian Trades Hall Council, CARLTON SOUTH, VIC

Midland Districts Schools Industry Training Association Inc., MIDLAND, WA

Housing Industry Association, HINDMARSH, SA

Group Training Australia Ltd, SYDNEY, NSW

Australian Federation of Modem Language Teachers Association Inc., NORTH ADELAIDE, SA

Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association and Tasmanian Rural Industry Training Board Inc., LAUNCESTON, TAS

Education Department of Western Australia, EAST PERTH, WA

Council of Australian State Libraries (CASL) Secreatariat, SYDNEY, NSW

Australian Parents Council Inc., NORTH SYDNEY, NSW

Mr Andrew Lockwood - Penney, ROMSEY, VIC

National Meat Industry Training Advisory Council Limited (MINTRAC), FIVE DOCK, NSW '

Canberra Institute of Technology, CANBERRA, ACT

Australian Education Union, NORTH HOBART, TAS

Nursery Industry Association of Australia, EPPING, NSW

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121

122

123

124

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127

128

129

130

131

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133

267

Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce, MELBOURNE, VIC

Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ltd, BRISBANE, QLD

Australian National Training Authority (ANTA), BRISBANE, QLD

Catholic Education Commission of Victoria, EAST MELBOURNE, VIC

Department of Industry, Science and Resources, CANBERRA, ACT

Australian Education Union, SOUTH MELBOURNE, VIC

Fire Protection Association Australia, BOX HILL, VIC

National Catholic Education Commission, CANBERRA CITY, ACT

Australian Library and Information Association, KINGSTON, ACT

Ministry of the Premier and Cabinet, PERTH, WA

Sport and Recreation Training Australia, NORTH SYDNEY, NSW

Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations Inc. (CAPA), SOUTH MELBOURNE, VIC

Forest and Forest Products Employment Skills Company Ltd, NUNAWADING, VIC

Dr Ian Cornford, BROADWAY, NSW

Victorian Government, MELBOURNE, VIC

National Tertiary Education Industry Union, National Office, SOUTH MELBOURNE, VIC

Business Services Training, SOUTH YARRA, VIC

NSW Teachers Federation, DARLINGHURST, NSW

Admin Training Company, MELBOURNE, VIC

Australian Retailers Association, SYDNEY, NSW

Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry, HAWTHORN, VIC

Northern Territory Employment and Training Authority, DARWIN, NT

Disability Employment Action Centre (DE AC), MELBOURNE, VIC

Victorian TAFE Association Inc., EAST MELBOURNE, VIC

South Australian Government, ADELAIDE, SA

Northern Territory Community Services and Health Industry Training Advisory Board Inc., DARWIN, NT

Queensland Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations, BRISBANE, QLD

Network of TAFE Councils (SA), ADELAIDE, SA

Mr Paul Hilbig, HAWTHORNDENE, SA

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135

136

137

137A

138

139

140

141

142

143

144

Australian Council for Adult Literacy, WEST MELBOURNE, VIC

Far North Queensland Employment, CAIRNS, QLD

TAFE Directors Australia (TDA), DEAKIN WEST, ACT

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), KINGSTON, ACT

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), KINGSTON, ACT

South East Metropolitan Area Consultative Committee Inc., CANNINGTON, WA

New South Wales Department of Education and Training, SYDNEY , NSW

Australian Council of Trade Unions, CARLTON SOUTH, VIC

Australian Student Traineeship Foundation Inc., SYDNEY, NSW

Master Painters' Association of Victoria, WEST MELBOURNE, VIC

Global Education Enterprises, CROYDON, VIC

Outer Eastern Planning Council, CROYDON, VIC

A

PPENDIX 2

WITNESSES WHO APPEARED BEFORE THE COMMITTEE AT THE PUBLIC HEARINGS

21 February, 2000 - CANBERRA

ARMITAGE, Ms Joan Irene, Acting Assistant Secretary, Industry Training Branch, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs

BALZARY, Mr Stephen, Director, Employment and Training, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

BENNETT, Mr Robert Bruce, Manager, Economic Analysis Section, Industry Analysis Branch, Department of Industry, Science and Resources

BENNETT, Ms Barbara, Assistant Secretary, New Apprenticeships Branch, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs

GRAHAM, Mr Clive, Chair, Australian Council for Private Education and Training

JORGENSEN, Mr Kenneth Alan, Director, Training Systems Policy, Department of Defence

LEYNE, Mrs Glennyss Lillian, Business Manager, Rural Training Council of Australia

LOWNDES, Mr Terrance Anthony, Head, Industry Policy, Department of Industry, Science and Resources

MANNS, Mr Roderick Glen, Assistant Secretary, Vocational Education and Training Reform Branch, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs

PATERSON, Mr Mark Ian, Chief Executive, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

PAYNTER, Mr Graham Gordon, Chairman of Council, Rural Training Council of Austalia

ROBINSON, Mr Christopher James, Managing Director, National Centre for Vocational Education Research

SUMMERVILLE, Mr Robin Thompson, Manager, Heavy Engineering and Infrastructure Action Agenda, Department of Industry, Science and Resources

THOMPSON, Ms Carmel Therese, Deputy Chair, Australian Council for Private Education and Training

THORN, Mr William, Assistant Secretary, Research and Evaluation Branch, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs

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70

WALTERS, Mr Colin John, First Assistant Secretary, Training and Youth Division, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs

WHITE, Ms Lorraine Susan, Assistant Secretary, Pathways Programmes Branch, Training and Youth Division, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs

WILLIS, Major-General Simon Vincent Laidley, Head, Joint Education and Training, Department of Defence

17 March, 2000 - BRISBANE

BOWMAN, Dr Kaye Lynette, Director, Australian National Training Authority

BYRNE, Mr Paul Geoffrey, General Manager, Australian National Training Authority

ECCLES, Mr Chris, General Manager, Australian National Training Authority

HIMSTEDT, Ms Judith Alice, Chairman, Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services Industry Training Advisory Board

MARSHMAN, Mr Robert Lionel, Director General, Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations

NOONAN, Mr Peter John, Deputy Director General, Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations

SCOLLAY, Ms Moira Jean, Chief Executive Officer, Australian National Training Authority

SMITH, Dr Larry Robert, Director, Strategic Research, Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations

WARD, Mr Ashley John Matthew, Executive Officer, Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services Training Advisory Board

27 March, 2000 - MELBOURNE

CONROY, Mr Brian Francis, Manager, VECCI ATWORK, Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry

DUGGAN, Mr David Ian, Deputy Director, Operations, and Manager, Furnishing Industry Training Centre, Holmesglen Institute of TAFE

ENDEAN, Mr David Francis, Director, International Centre, Holmesglen Institute of TAFE

ENDERS, Ms Marilyn, Member, Australian Education Union

FARAONE, Ms Mary Carmel, Executive Director, Business Skills Victoria

FORWARD, Ms Patricia, Federal President-TAFE, Australian Education Union

2

71

GOLDFINCH, Ms Penny Jane, Training and Employment Policy Adviser, Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry

HARBOUR, Mr Peter David, Corporate Services Manager, Holmesglen Institute of TAPE

HEWETT, Mr Rex, Federal Secretary-TAFE, Australian Education Union

JOLIC, Ms Angela, Director, Business Skills Victoria

JONAS, Ms Pamela Ann, Senior Policy Adviser, Education and Training, Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry

KING, Mr Richard, Executive Director, Victorian TAPE Association Inc.

KRONEMANN, Ms Michaela, Acting Federal Women’s Officer, Australian Education Union

MAKSIMOVIC, Ms Andrea, Student Resource Officer, Victorian TAPE Students and Apprentices Network

McAULIFFE, Mr Jeremy, Labour Market Programs Manager, Coles Myer Ltd

McMULLEN, Mr Antony, Chairperson, Victorian TAPE Students and Apprentices Network

NAYLOR, Ms Susan, Director, Business Skills Victoria

SIBELLE, Mr Maurice, Coordinator, Victorian TAPE Students and Apprentices Network

THOMAS, Ms Janelle Maree, Policy and Project Coordinator, Victorian TAPE Association Inc.

28 March, 2000 - MELBOURNE

BALLAGH, Mr Allan Robert, Projects Director, Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Teaching and Learning, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University

BEANLAND, Professor David George, Vice-Chancellor, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University

BLANDTHORN, Mr Ian John, National Assistant Secretary, Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association

CROZIER, Mr Alistair, Deputy Director of TAPE, Victoria University of Technology

GWILYM, Mr Geoffrey, Manager, Employment, Education and Training, Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce

HAMERSTON, Professor Michael Thomas, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Director of TAPE, Victoria University of Technology

2

72

KARAGIANNIS, Mrs Janita, Manager, Employment, Education and Training, Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce

NEDEN, Ms Patricia Anne, General Manager, Quality Assurance, Office of Post Compulsory Education, Training and Employment

PRAETZ, Professor Helen Margaret, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Teaching and Learning, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, and Director, Technical and Further Education

REDFERN, Mr Kevin Maxwell, Director, Industrial Relations and Training, Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce

STEADMAN, Dr Robert George (Private capacity)

SULLIVAN, Mr John Francis, General Manager, Policy and Planning, Office of Post Compulsory Education, Training and Employment

SUSSEX, Ms Meredith, Director, Office of Post Compulsory Education, Training and Employment

17 April, 2000 - SYDNEY

BRADLEY, Mr Phillip John, Assistant General Secretary (Post School Education), NSW Teachers Federation

BUKARICA, Mr Alex, Assistant National Secretary, Construction and General Division, Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union

DUGGAN, Ms Anne, Education and Training Officer, Victorian Divisional Office, Construction and General Division, Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union

FENNELLY, Mr Paul Damien, Director-Victoria, Australian Industry Group, Melbourne

GHOST, Mr Stephen, Senior Adviser-Training, Australian Industry Group, Queensland

GILLING, Mr Jeremy, Executive Officer, Manufacturing Learning Australia

GLYNN, Mr Peter James, Chief Executive Officer, National Electrical and Communications Association

HEALEY, Mr William John, Director, Employment Education and Training, Australian Retailers Association

MAXWELL, Mr Stuart Glyn Robeson, National Industrial Officer, Construction and General Division, Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union

O’BRIEN, Mr Paul David, Project Officer, National Utilities and Electrotechnology Industry Training Advisory Body Ltd.

2

73

PICKERSGILL, Mr Richard Edmonds, Senior Researcher, Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research and Training, University of Sydney

RIDOUT, Ms Heather May, Executive Director, Public Policy and Communications, Australian Industry Group, North Sydney

ROBINSON, Mr Darren Paul, Manager, Learning and Development, Caltex Refineries

SIMON, Ms Linda Joy, Secretary, TAPE Teachers Association, NSW Teachers Federation

TAYAR, Ms Margaret Elizabeth, Executive Officer, National Meat Industry Training Advisory Council (MINTRAC)

WOOLGAR, Mr Tony, Director, Australian Light Manufacturing Industry Training Advisory Body

18 April, 2000 - SYDNEY

BUCHANAN, Mr Andrew, Managing Director, Group Training Australia

CAMPBELL, Ms Rosemary, Relieving Assistant Director-General, Technical and Further Education, New South Wales Department of Education and Training

CAULFIELD, Mr Desmond, Executive Officer, National Mining Industry Training Advisory Body Ltd

COMYN, Mr Paul John, Executive Officer, New South Wales Primary Industry Training Advisory Body Ltd

CORNFORD, Dr lan Robert (Private capacity)

CRAWFORD, Miss Heather, Past President and Executive Member, TAPE New South Wales Managers Association

GIENTZOTIS, Ms Jill, Relieving Assistant Director-General, Industry Services, New South Wales Department of Education and Training

GLOVER, Mr John, Executive Director, Group Training Australia Victoria

HARRIS, Mrs Ardyce Marianne, President, TAPE New South Wales Managers Association

KILNER, Mr Mark Douglas, Chair, Community Services and Health Training Australia

LOBLE, Ms Leslie, Director, Vocational Education and Training Policy, New South Wales Department of Education and Training

McMORROW, Dr James, Deputy Director-General, Policy and Planning, New South Wales Department of Education and Training

FRIDAY, Mr Jeffrey Wallace, National Development Officer, Group Training Australia

2

74

ROSS, Mr Alan Clarence, Chief Executive Officer, Property Services Training

SKEHAN, Mr John Joseph, Executive Member representing country institutes, TAPE New South Wales Managers Association

SOBSKI, Ms Jozefa Bronislawa, Deputy Director-General, Development and Support, New South Wales Department of Education and Training

UREN, Mr David, Manager, Recruitment and Training Services, Property Services Training

WHEELER, Ms Amy Lorraine, Chief Executive Officer, Community Services and Health Training Australia

16 May, 2000 - ADELAIDE

BATTYE, Ms Virginia Margaret, Director, Torrens Valley Institute of TAPE Council

BOSCHEN, Mrs Libby, Executive Officer, Wine Industry National Education and Training Advisory Council

CASEY, Mr Derrick, Associate Director, Regency Institute, Network of TAPE Councils

d’ASSUMPCAO, Mr Marcus Eugenio, Manager, Training Development, Construction Industry Training Board

EAGLES, Mr Graham, Deputy Chair, Network of TAPE Councils

FRAZER, Ms Susan Ainslee, Deputy Chair, Accreditation and Registration Council

MANSFIELD, Mr Peter, Project Manager, Wine Industry National Education and Training Advisory Council

McKAY, Mr Richard Joseph, Presiding Member, Construction Industry Training Board

RANFORD, Mr Trevor Munro, Deputy Chair, Agriculture and Horticulture Training Council of SA Inc.

SACHS, Ms Suzanne Gwendolyn, Director, Spencer Institute of TAPE, Network of TAPE Councils

SANDERSON, Mr Allan Henry, Assistant Director, Torrens Valley Institute of TAPE Council

SKULL, Mr Adrian John, President, Torrens Valley Institute of TAPE Council

SMITH, Ms Erica (Private capacity)

SPAGNOLETTI, Mr Novri, Manager, Quality and Planning, Torrens Valley Institute of TAPE Council

STRAIN, Mr Douglas Donald, Chief Executive Officer, Construction Industry Training Board

275

TURNER, Mr Peter Michael, Director, Enterprise and Vocational Education, Department of Education, Training and Employment

WOOD, Dr Geoffrey Walter, Executive Director, Office of Vocational Education and Training, Department of Education, Training and Employment

WOOLLEY, Ms Madeleine, Director, Adelaide Institute of TAPE, Network of TAPE Councils

17 May, 2000 - PERTH

DAVIES, Mr Lawrence Bryan, Executive Director, Employment Initiatives, Western Australian Department of Training and Employment

GOFF, Mr Malcolm Hayden, Managing Director, South Metropolitan College of TAPE

HILL, Mr Ian Clarence, Chief Executive, Western Australian Department of Training and Employment

HILL, Mr Warren Peter, Executive Officer, North Metropolitan Perth Area Consultative Committee

KILMINSTER, Ms Anthea, Executive Officer, Western Australian Hospitality and Tourism Industry Training Council

KING, Dr Susan Elizabeth, Executive Director, Strategic Resources Management, Western Australian Department of Training and Employment

MASON, Ms Patricia, VET Coordinator, Kent Street Senior High School

MILLIGAN, Mr Neil Robert, Acting Director, Learning and Teaching, Education Department of Western Australia

MORRISON, Mrs Louise, Coordinator, VET in Schools Branch, Education Department of Western Australia

MULVEY, Mr Andrew James, Acting Director, Strategic Development, Western Australian Department of Training and Employment

RANDELL, Mr Robert Maxwell, Director of Training, Technical Australia Pty Ltd

STEWART, Mrs Heather Joy, Chairperson, Western Australian Hospitality and Tourism Industry Training Council

STRICKLAND, Mr Richard Jonathan, Director, Training Purchasing, Western Australian Department of Training and Employment

TAYLOR, Ms Gail Arrol, Principal, Kent Street Senior High School

THORN, Mr Michael Thomas, Executive Director, South East Metropolitan Area Consultative Committee

2

7 6

4 July, 2000 - CANBERRA

BATTYE, Ms Virginia Margaret, Member, TAPE Directors Australia

BORTHWICK, Ms Jessie, General Manager, National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd

BRIERLEY, Mr Edward John, Deputy President, Australian Secondary Principals Association

COCKS, Mr Darren James, Regional Manager, Southern New South Wales, Australian Business Ltd

FANNING, Ms Margaret Patricia, Executive Director, TAPE Directors Australia

HODGKINSON, Mr Griffith John, Secretary-Treasurer, Australian Secondary Principals Association

LE CORNU, Mr Peter Michael, Dean, Faculty of Business and Information Technology, and Chair of Faculties, Canberra Institute of Technology

MACKENZIE, Mr Bruce, Deputy Chair, TAPE Directors Australia

NEDEN, Ms Patricia Anne, General Manager, Quality Assurance, Office of Post Compulsory Education, Training and Employment, Victoria

PATTISON, Mr Gregory Baliol, General Manager, Labour Market Services, Australian Business Ltd

ROBINSON, Mr Christopher James, Managing Director, National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd

SULLIVAN, Mr John Francis, General Manager, Policy and Planning, Office of Post Compulsory Education, Training and Employment, Victoria

SUSSEX, Ms Meredith Marjory, Director, Office of Post Compulsory Education, Training and Employment, Victoria

VAN BEEK, Mr Harris, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Student Traineeship Foundation

VAN LEEUWEN, Ms Beatrix Mathilde Jacoba, Acting Associate Director, Canberra Institute of Technology

VEENKER, Mr Peter, Chair, TAPE Directors Australia

VEENKER, Mr Peter, Chief Executive Officer, Canberra Institute of Technology

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5 July, 2000 - CANBERRA

ARBON, Ms Veronica May, Director, Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education

BENNETT, Ms Barbara, Assistant Secretary, New Apprenticeships Branch, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs

BERTRAM, Ms Judith Carolyn, General Manager, Policy and Research, Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations

BOWMAN, Dr Kaye, Director, Planning and Performance Review, Australian National Training Authority

BYRNE, Mr Paul Geoffrey, General Manager, Australian National Training Authority

COLES, Ms Patricia Midori, Senior Policy Analyst, Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education

MANNS, Mr Roderick Glen, Assistant Secretary, Vocational Education and Training Reform Branch, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs

McMORROW, Dr James, Deputy Director-General, Policy and Planning, New South Wales Department of Education and Training

NOONAN, Mr Peter John, Deputy Director General, Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations

SCOLLAY, Ms Moira Jean, Chief Executive Officer, Australian National Training Authority

SOBSKI, Ms Jozefa Bronislawa, Deputy Director-General, Development and Support, New South Wales Department of Education and Training

THORN, Mr William, Assistant Secretary, Research and Evaluation Branch, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs

WALTERS, Mr Colin John, First Assistant Secretary, Training and Youth Division, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs

WHITE, Ms Lorraine Susan, Assistant Secretary, Pathways Programs Branch, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs

WILMOTT, Dr Gary Maurice, Assistant Director-General, Industry Services, New South Wales Department of Education and Training

2

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A

PPENDIX 3

DOCUMENTS TABLED AT PUBLIC HEARINGS

D a te o f

h e a r i n g

F r o m : D e s c r i p t i o n [ p a g e r e f e r e n c e in c o m m i t t e e ’s e v id e n c e ]

21/2/00 National Centre for Vocational Education Research: supplementary submission 74a, 4pp [p23] NCVER, Statistics 1998 a t a G lance, 6pp; S ta tistics 1999 - S u rv ey o f e m p lo yer view s on vo ca tio n a l e ducation a n d training a t a g la n c e , 8pp; S ta tistics 1999 - S tu d e n t o u tcom es su rvey in su m m a ry, 16pp [p23]

21/2/00 Senator Carr: WA Chamber of Commerce & Industry, C om m u n ity Setw ices Indu stry Training P lan: 2000-2002, 42pp, appendices. WA Chamber of Commerce & Industry, P riva te H ealth In d u stry Training Plan, 25pp, appendices. D Palmer, In d ep en d en t R e v ie w o f ‘C om m unity S ervices In d u stry Training P lan: 2 0 0 0 -2 0 0 2 ’, 9pp [p38]

27/3/00 Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry: O n-the-job T raineeships - E m p lo y e r G uide. O n-the-job Traineeships - T rainee G uide [pi88]

27/3/00 Holmesglen Institute of TAPE: Sheridan Bill, Eaton M & Bird L, Stu d en ts a t R isk - an investigative report. April 1998. 40pp [pi 96]

16/5/00 Network of TAPE Councils [SA] student records [p510]

16/5/00 Construction Industry Training Board information package [p531]

16/5/00 Ms Erica Smith publications list [p571]

17/5/00 Technical Australia Pty Ltd apprentice employment application form [p606]

17/5/00 WA Dept of Training & Employment updated appendix C to submission 114 [p632]

4/7/00 National Centre for Vocational Education Research A u stra lia n A p p re n tic e a n d T rainee S tatistics J a n u a ry to M arch 2000 [p675]

4/7/00 Office of Post Compulsory Education, Training and Employment [Victoria] K Schofield, R e p o rt o f the Indep en d en t R eview o f th e Q ua lity o fT tr a in in g in V ic to ria ’s A pp ren ticesh ip a n d Traineeship System , 2 vols, May 2000 [p743]

4/7/00 Office of Post Compulsory Education. Training and Employment [Victoria] graph: A p p ren tice & T rainee C om m encem ents a n d S ta te a n d C om m onw ealth C urrent F unding f o r V ocational E ducation a n d Training, Victoria, 1993/94-1999/2000 [incorporated. p746]

5/7/00 NSW Dept of Education and Training draft paper: A N e w A g re e m e n t betw een States, T erritories a n d the C om m onw ealth to B u ild a N a tio n a l V ocational E d u ca tio n a n d Training System fo r th e 21st C entury, [p798]

2

8 0

5/7/00 Australian National Training Authority R ep o rt o n N a tio n a l C o n sisten cy, report by ANT A CEOs to ANT A Ministers Council, June 2000. R ep o rt on R isk M an a g em en t a n d Q uality in the N a tio n a l System , report by ANT A CEOs to ANT A Ministers Council, June 2000. [p815] meeting papers and resolutions of ANTA Ministerial Council meeting 30/6/00 [p816]

A

PPENDIX 4

FURTHER INFORMATION

Additional information accepted as public evidence of the inquiry. Excludes material logged as submissions (see Appendix 1) or tabled at public hearings (see Appendix 3). Excludes information which the Committee resolved to accept as confidential evidence. All such resolutions were at the submitter’s request and all such requests were accepted.

Type:

A. answers to questions put by the committee B. replies to adverse comment C. miscellaneous further comment D. miscellaneous documents

Some of these documents are answers to questions put in writing by the Committee at or following hearings. The Committee’s questions are referenced at the bottom of the numbered series in the table below.

PAGE DATED TYPE FROM TOPIC

1 2 /3 /0 0 A ,C A u s tr a lia n C o u n c il f o r P riv a te

E d u c a tio n a n d T ra in in g

P r iv a te p r o v is io n o f c a p ita l

in te n s iv e tr a in in g . Q u e s tio n s a t

h r g 2 1 /2 p l 4

4 1 4 /3 /0 0 A R u r a l T ra in in g C o u n c il o f

A u s tr a lia In c .

R e c o g n itio n o f p r io r le a rn in g .

R u r a l tr a in e e s . Q u e s tio n s a t

h e a r in g 2 1 /2 p 4 8

4 0 2 0 /3 /0 0 A A u s tr a lia n C o u n c il f o r P riv a te

E d u c a tio n a n d T ra in in g

V a r io u s q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g

2 1 /2 /0 0

5 0 2 2 /3 /0 0 A N a tio n a l C e n tr e f o r V o c a tio n a l

E d u c a tio n R e s e a r c h L td

V a r io u s q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g

2 1 /2 /0 0

6 9 2 4 /3 /0 0 A A u s tr a lia n D e f e n c e

H e a d q u a r te r s

V a r io u s q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g

2 1 /2 /0 0

72 2 4 /3 /0 0 A D e p a r tm e n t o f E d u c a tio n ,

T r a in in g a n d Y o u th A f fa ir s

V a r io u s q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g

2 1 /2 /0 0

114 1 9 /4 /0 0 C C o a litio n o f P r iv a te H ig h e r

E d u c a tio n P ro v id e rs

F in a n c in g h ig h e r e d u c a tio n

136 2 5 /4 /0 0 A D r R S te a d m a n I n d u s tr y ’s o b lig a tio n to fu n d

tr a in in g . Q u e s tio n a t h e a r in g 2 8 /3

p 2 8 8

138 2 /5 /0 0 C D e p t o f E d u c a tio n , T r a in in g &

Y o u th A f fa ir s [C th l

N a tio n a l m o d e l le g is la tio n fo r

V E T r e g u la tio n

1 44 3 /5 /0 0 A B u s in e s s S k ills V ic to r ia T a k e -u p o f A W A s in b u s in e s s

s e c to r. Q u e s tio n a t h e a r in g 2 8 /3

p 153

146 5 /5 /0 0 A O f fic e O f P o s t C o m p u ls o r y

E d u c a tio n , T r a in in g &

E m p lo y m e n t [V ic ]

V a r io u s q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g 2 8 /3

p p 2 2 1 ,2 2 7 ,2 3 3

282

151 3 /5 /0 0 A S h o p , D is tr ib u tiv e & A llie d

E m p lo y e e s A s s o c ia tio n

C o m p a n y - s p e c ific tr a in in g

p a c k a g e s . C o le s I n s titu te .

Q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g 2 8 /3 p 2 5 9

153 3 /5 /0 0 A N a tio n a l M e a t I n d u s tr y T ra in in g

A d v is o r y C o u n c il L td

C o m p la in ts a b o u t tr a in in g in th e

m e a t in d u s tr y . Q u e s tio n a t h e a r in g

1 7 /4 p 3 7 7 "

154 1 0 /5 /0 0 A A u s tr a lia n N a tio n a l T ra in in g

A u th o r ity

V a r io u s q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g 17/3.

A tta c h m e n ts

164 3 /4 /0 0 A ,C D e p t o f I n d u s tr y , S c ie n c e a n d

R e s o u r c e s

Q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g 2 1 /2 p 7 ,4 3

171 1 9 /5 /0 0 A C o n s tru c tio n F o re s tr y M in in g

E n e rg y U n io n

Q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g 17/4,

p 2 9 7 ,3 0 2

172 1 /6 /0 0 A T o rr e n s V a lle y In s titu te C o u n c il S a la r ie s a n d fe e s: q u e s tio n s a t

h e a r in g 1 6 /5 p 5 4 0

175 1 /6 /0 0 B C ity I n s titu te o f T e c h n o lo g y R e p ly to a d v e r s e c o m m e n t

180 6 /6 /0 0 A M s E ric a S m ith Q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g 1 6 /5 , p 5 6 7

188 6 /6 /0 0 A W A S ta te T ra in in g B o a rd Q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g 1 7 /5 , p 6 5 2 -3

195 6 /6 /0 0 A ,D Q ld D e p t o f E m p lo y m e n t,

T r a in in g a n d I n d u s tr ia l

R e la tio n s

Q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g 1 7 /3 , p 8 8 ,9 3 .

A tta c h m e n ts

201 9 /6 /0 0 A ,C C o n s tru c tio n I n d u s tr y T ra in in g

B o a r d

Q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g 1 6 /5 , p 2 2 7 -8 .

I n d u s tr y b a s e d tr a in in g fu n d s .

A tta c h m e n ts

2 0 9 6 /0 0 A ,D D e p t o f E d u c a tio n , T ra in in g &

E m p lo y m e n t [S A ]

Q u e s tio n a t h e a r in g 1 6 /5 , p 5 8 7 :

r e p o r t o n r e v ie w o f o n -jo b

tr a in e e s h ip s . A tta c h m e n t

2 1 3 1 3 /6 /0 0 A D e p t o f T ra in in g & E m p lo y m e n t

[W A ]

Q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g 1 7 /5 ,

v a r io u s . A tta c h m e n t

2 2 0 1 6 /6 /0 0 B C h a lm e r s In s titu te r e p ly to a d v e r s e c o m m e n t

221 2 6 /5 /0 0 A T A P E N S W M a n a g e r s

A s s o c ia tio n In c .

Q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g 1 8 /4 , p 4 1 8 :

q u a lity a s s u r a n c e in T A P E

2 2 3 2 6 /5 /0 0 A V ic to r ia U n iv e r s ity o f

T e c h n o lo g y

Q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g 2 8 /3 p 2 6 3 :

J o b P lu s E m p lo y m e n t S e rv ic e

2 2 4 3 /7 /0 0 C D e p t o f E d u c a tio n , T ra in in g a n d

Y o u th A f fa ir s [ C th ]

C o m m e n t o n 3 0 /6 m e e tin g o f

A N T A M in is te ria l C o u n c il

2 2 6 2 9 /6 /0 0 C C o n s tr u c tio n T r a in in g Q ld C o m m e n t o n s u b m is s io n o f

H o u s in g I n d u s tr y A s s o c ia tio n .

A tta c h m e n ts

2 3 0 2 8 /7 /0 0 A D e p a r tm e n t o f E d u c a tio n ,

T ra in in g a n d Y o u th A ffa irs

V a r io u s q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g

5 /7 /0 0

2 3 7 2 7 /7 /0 0 C A u s tr a lia n N a tio n a l T ra in in g

A u th o r ity

le g a l a d v ic e o n m u tu a l

r e c o g n itio n u n d e r A u s tr a lia n

R e c o g n itio n f ra m e w o rk

2 4 0 4 /7 /0 0 C A u s tr a lia n S e c o n d a r y P rin c ip a ls

A s s o c ia tio n

B S c h m id t, E le m e n ts o f a n

A d v o c a c y A p p r o a c h to

I m p le m e n tin g a 'R e la tio n s h ip

M a n a g e m e n t ’ P r o c e s s f o r 1 5 -1 9 -

y e a r - o l d L e a r n e r s , 8 p p

2 4 8 7 /8 /0 0 A N a tio n a l C e n tr e f o r V o c a tio n a l

E d u c a tio n R e s e a r c h

V a r io u s q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g

4 /7 /0 0 . A tta c h m e n t

2 7 5 9 /8 /0 0 A A u s tr a lia n N a tio n a l T ra in in g

A u th o r ity

V a r io u s q u e s tio n s a t h e a r in g

5 /7 /0 0 .

A tta c h m e n ts

3 1 3 9 /8 /0 0 A D e p a r tm e n t o f E m p lo y m e n t, V a r io u s q u e s tio n s 3/7 .

283

T r a in in g & I n d u s tr ia l R e la tio n s

(Q ld )

A tta c h m e n t

3 2 4 2 8 /7 /0 0 C N a tio n a l C e n tr e f o r V o c a tio n a l

E d u c a tio n R e s e a r c h

f ig u re s u s e d to c o n s tr u c t g ra p h s in

s u b m is s io n 7 4 , N C V E R

3 2 9 1 3 /7 /0 0 c T o r r e n s V a lle y I n s titu te C o u n c il o r g a n is a tio n s e n g a g in g m u ltip le

tra in e e s

3 3 0 1 6 /8 /0 0 B J e n n y C r a ig W e ig h t L o s s

C e n tr e s P ty L td

r e p ly to a d v e r s e c o m m e n t

3 3 2 1 8 /8 /0 0 C D e p a r tm e n t o f E d u c a tio n ,

T r a in in g a n d Y o u th A f fa ir s

c la r ific a tio n o f s ta tis tic s in

s u b m is s io n 6 8 , D E T Y A

3 3 5 2 2 /8 /0 0 A ,D A u s tr a lia n N a tio n a l T ra in in g

A u th o r ity

d r a ft r e p o r t F u tu r e D e m a n d f o r

V o c a tio n a l E d u c a tio n a n d

T r a in in g

3 7 7 7 /9 /0 0 A N S W D e p t o f E d u c a tio n a n d

T r a in in g

V a r io u s q u e s tio n s 13/7

3 9 0 1 5 /9 /0 0 C N a tio n a l C e n tr e f o r V o c a tio n a l

E d u c a tio n R e s e a r c h

u p d a te o f v a r io u s V E T s ta tis tic s

3 9 9 n /a q u e s tio n s p u t b y th e C o m m itte e

2 /9 9 D D e p a r tm e n t o f E d u c a tio n , T r a in in g a n d Y o u th A f f a ir s [C th ] , A ttr itio n

in A p p r e n tic e s h ip s - a n a n a ly s is o f a p p r e n tic e s c o m m e n c in g b e tw e e n

J u l y 1 9 9 4 a n d J u n e 1 9 9 6 , F e b . 2 0 0 0

8 /9 9 D P ric e W a te r h o u s e , R e v ie w o f th e N a t io n a l In d u s tr y ’ A d v is o r y

A r r a n g e m e n ts , re p o rt f o r A N T A , r o u n d 1 1

1 1 /9 9 D P ric e W a te r h o u s e , R e v ie w o f th e N a tio n a l I n d u s tr y A d v is o r y

A r r a n g e m e n ts , re p o rt fo r A N T A , r o u n d 2 f in a l r e p o r t 1

6 /2 0 0 0 D L S m ith / Q ld D e p t o f E m p lo y m e n t, T ra in in g & I n d u s tr ia l R e la tio n s ,

I s s u e s I m p a c tin g o n th e Q u a lity o f A s s e s s m e n t in V o c a tio n a l

E d u c a tio n a n d T r a in in g in Q u e e n s la n d , 2 0 0 0 "

7 /2 0 0 0 D D e p a r tm e n t o f E m p lo y m e n t, T r a in in g & I n d u s tr ia l R e la tio n s [Q ld ], A

M o d e l f o r a n E ffe c tiv e A p p r e n tic e s h ip a n d T r a in e e s h ip

A d m in is tr a tio n S y s te m , J u ly 2 0 0 0 "

D C o n s tr u c tio n In d u s tr y T r a in in g B o a rd , 1 9 9 8 - 9 9 A n n u a l R e p o r t

D B u ild in g a n d C o n s tm c tio n I n d u s tr y T ra in in g F u n d ( Q ld ), A n n u a l

R e p o r t 1 9 9 8 - 9 9 3

D B u ild in g a n d C o n s tru c tio n I n d u s tr y T r a in in g F u n d [ W A ], A n n u a l

R e p o r t 1 9 9 9 s

D T a s m a n ia n B u ild in g a n d C o n s tru c tio n In d u s tr y T r a in in g B o a rd ,

A n n u a l R e p o r t 1 9 9 8 - 9 9 3

D D e p t o f E d u c a tio n , T r a in in g a n d E m p lo y m e n t [S A ], R e v ie w o f

A r r a n g e m e n ts f o r O n J o b T r a in e e s h ip s in S o u th A u s tr a lia , S e p te m b e r

1 9 9 9 4

D D e p t o f T r a in in g a n d E m p lo y m e n t [W A ], W h y S ta y o r L e a v e ?

A ttr itio n f r o m T r a in e e s h ip P r o g r a m s in W e s te r n A u s tr a lia , O c to b e r

1 9 9 9 s

D B u ild in g a n d C o n s tr u c tio n I n d u s tr y T r a in in g F u n d ( Q ld ), T r a in in g

P la n 2 0 0 0 - 2 0 0 f

1. a tta c h m e n t to A u s tr a lia n N a tio n a l T r a in in g A u th o r ity , f u rth e r in f o rm a tio n p l 5 4

2 . a tta c h m e n t to Q ld D e p t o f E m p lo y m e n t, T ra in in g & I n d u s tr ia l R e la tio n s , f u rth e r in f o rm a tio n p i 95

3. a tta c h m e n t to C o n s tr u c tio n In d u s tr y T ra in in g B o a rd , f u rth e r in f o rm a tio n p 2 0 1

4 . a tta c h m e n t to D e p t o f E d u c a tio n , T r a in in g & E m p lo y m e n t [S A ], f u rth e r in f o rm a tio n p 2 0 9

5. a tta c h m e n t to D e p t o f T r a in in g a n d E m p lo y m e n t [W A ], f u r th e r in f o rm a tio n p 2 1 3

6 . a tta c h m e n t to C o n s tr u c tio n T r a in in g Q u e e n s la n d , f u r th e r in f o rm a tio n p 2 2 6

284

APPENDIX 5

SUMMARY OF KEY VET MINISTERIAL COUNCIL AGREEMENTS ON NATIONAL TRAINING FRAMEWORK *

DATE KEY AGREEMENTS

May 1996 • Endorsed the key principles and objectives of the Modem Australian Apprenticeship and Traineeship System (MAATS) and the broad mechanisms for implementing MAATS

• Endorsed the process for developing and agreeing on the implementation of the system

• Established a reference group involving industry representatives, Government and ANITA officials to consider implementation

July 1996 • Agreed that ANTA develop a statement of User Choice policy and administrative arrangements to support the policy

• Agreed to the progressive implementation of User Choice during 1997 and to full implementation of User Choice for off-the-job training for apprentices and trainees from 1 January 1998

• Agreed to the abolition of the Standards and Curriculum Council and to its replacement by a business led committee - the National Training Framework Committee (NTFC)

• Agreed that NTFC develop a policy framework for the development of competency standards and training packages; endorse national competency standards; maintain the national register; coordinate the operation of the NFROT; and develop policy and guidelines at the national

level for assessment

September 1996 MAATS

• Requested report from the ANTA Board to the November meeting on:

- policy and guidelines for Training Packages and the Australian Recognition Framework; - quality assurance arrangements;

-

transitional and ongoing resourcing issues; - any necessary legislative and associated administrative arrangements; - a timetable for User Choice implementation in January 1998

• Endorsed the formation of a marketing for apprenticeships and traineeships

User Choice

• Agreed States and Territories would implement User Choice for apprenticeships and traineeships from 1 January 1998

• Agreed each State and Territory would design and implement the administrative arrangements to give effect to the User Choice Policy statement

• Established a User Choice Taskforce

• Requested Terms of Reference for a Unit Cost Working Party to provide a resolution of costing and pricing, cost shifting, and national benchmarks issues.

• MCEETYA Taskforce on MAATS in schools to consider the VET in Schools issue

• Requested ANT A provide advice on how KPMs will measure the effectiveness of User Choice

VET in Schools

• Agreed to the allocation of $20m of VET funds in each of the next four calendar years for VET in Schools •

• Agreed to funds being provided to State Training Authorities, through State Training Profile arrangements to allocate to school authorities to cover program development, particularly apprenticeships; and traineeships, course advice

and support materials; and integration of VET courses with senior secondary certificates

One Stop Shops

• Noted the Commonwealth's intention to establish "one stop shop" arrangements through Contracted Entry Level Training Agencies (CELTAs) for entry level training service delivery for businesses and trainees/apprentices

2

87

November 1996

May 1997

• Agreed to DEETYA and each State and Territory Training Authority conducting negotiations to establish integrated entry level training support services on a regional or sectoral basis during 1996-97

• Endorsed in-principle an outcomes-based approach, with guaranteed additionality, particularly in relation to school based apprenticeships and traineeships

• Endorsed that the objective of the National Training Framework is to make training simpler and more flexible within an agreed partnership between the States, Territories, the Commonwealth and industry

• Endorsed in principle the three major features of these approaches, namely the Australian Recognition Framework, Training Packages and assessment

• Requested ANT A to produce a simple and concise document incorporating the Training Packages and the recognition and assessment frameworks for consultation

User Choice

• Endorsed common costing principles for User Choice

• Agreed that all registered training organisations registered to provide appropriate training would be available for selection by clients

• Endorsed the "Guidelines for Managing Interstate Training Activity under User Choice"

• Agreed that third party access is a desirable element of User Choice

• Agreed that User Choice will apply to all commencing apprentices and trainees on 1 January 1998

• Agreed that the Commonwealth, States and Territories develop marketing strategies and products to promote User Choice under the New Apprenticeships system

• Agreed that a Training Program Outline must be attached to all Training Agreements

• Agreed that States and Territories will determine the content of the Training Program Outline within the nationally agreed

f r a m e w o r k

• Agreed to reconsider User Choice in 1999 on the basis of a report on the Evaluation of User Choice

• Agreed to endorse the addendum for User Choice in New Apprenticeships and its inclusion in State and Territory 1997 Profiles

NTF

• Noting the opposition of NSW, WA and the ACT to the resolution, agreed that the separation of roles between purchaser and provider is desirable under User Choice and that this issue will be pursued at the State/Territory level

• Noting the NSW position on legislative change, agreed to expedite required legislative change within their respective States/Territories in relation to the implementation of the National Training Framework

• Agreed to take all necessary measures to facilitate the implementation of the National Training Framework under existing legislative arrangements pending legislative change

New Apprenticeships

• Agreed that through bilateral negotiations, the

Commonwealth, States and Territories formally negotiate implementation of the national policy framework for New Apprenticeships

• Noting NSW will continue to recognise under statute, agreed that apprenticeships and traineeships under new Apprenticeships should be defined in terms of a pathway to a qualification as identified in a Training Package and not by

legislation

• Agreed to the following points of regulation for New Apprenticeships

- Endorsement of the Training Package

- Registration of the Training Provider

- Signing of the Training Agreement between the employer and apprentice or trainee

2

89

• Agreed to the national application of the national

characteristics and outcomes of the 'model' training agreement

• Agreed that States and Territories will develop their own mechanisms and procedures to deal with validation, registration, appeals, termination, time periods and delegations having regard to the statement of good practice

Resourcing New Apprenticeships

• Agreed that to be a New Apprentice, an individual must meet the following characteristics:

- be a signatory to a training agreement (registered with and validated by a State/Territory Training Authority) which will facilitate the objectives of the training program and which protects the interests of both parties, and is

employed under an award, registered agreement or other contract of employment

- be involved in paid work and structured training which may be on and off the job

- be undertaking a negotiated training program responsive to client choice that involves obtaining a nationally recognised qualification

• Agreed to discontinue use of the term "entry level training" in the context of New Apprenticeships

• Agreed that New Apprenticeships are a high priority to be accommodated within the VET sector

• Agreed that access to a publicly funded training place as a New Apprentice be based on an individual falling within the definition of a New Apprenticeship, not currently or previously having continuing full time employment in the enterprise in relation to which the training will take place or being an out-of-trade apprentice/trainee

• Agreed that for an individual meeting the definition of New Apprentice and currently employed, the State/Territory may negotiate to fund at their discretion, the off the job training for that individual

• Agreed to further costing work on the issue of "who pays"

Gr

oup Training

• Adopted the National Principles for Group Training

• Agreed that allocation of Joint Policy funds be based on the employment of apprentices and trainees in group training

• Agreed that the expansion of apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities be pursued through purchasing 'outcomes'

• Agreed that group training outcomes be purchased with a 'per capita' payment for each apprentice or trainee

• Agreed to move to a nationally consistent approach for per capita payments and that further work be done to establish the appropriate per capita payment

• Agreed that States/Territories consider purchasing outcomes from bodies outside the existing network of Joint Policy funded group training schemes, including bodies which are not group training schemes and can meet established performance standards

• Agreed that overall expansion of the number of

apprenticeships and traineeships and the equitable access to and outcomes from group training be monitored at State/Territory and national levels

• Agreed to develop an implementation plan and timelines for the new arrangements

New Apprenticeships for School Students

• Agreed that the regulatory and administrative arrangements relating to New Apprenticeships should apply to New Apprenticeships in schools

ARE

• Agreed to the National Principles for Registration of Training Organisations and Mutual Recognition

• Supported further work on the draft standards for

registration, performance measures and operational protocols

• Supported further work on draft standards, performance measures and operational protocols for:

291

- audit and monitoring;

- fees for registration;

- advertising and marketing policy; and

- procedures for non-compliance

November 1997 • Endorsed the adoption of a national funding model for group training

• Endorsed revised Principles and Guidelines containing proposals for the use of the $20 million ANT A funds for VET in Schools from 1998- 2000

• Agreed to endorse the document Draft ART Arrangements including the amendment to Principle 3 of the previously agreed Principles of Registration

• Agreed to change in wording in the Draft ARF

Arrangements from 'performance measures' to 'evidence requirements'

• Agreed to the transition arrangements in the preface of the ARF document and the date of effect from 1 January 1998

April 1998 • Requested enhanced reporting arrangements on the

placement and training of New Apprentices with host employers by Group Training Companies

May 1998 • Agreed that the issue of employer incentives and subsidies should be monitored by MINCO

• Agreed that a group comprising senior State, Territory and Commonwealth officials meet to report on the

implementation of New Apprenticeship Centres to the next Ministerial Council meeting

• Endorsed the revised National Accreditation Principles and National Assessment Principles and agreed to their incorporation as attachments to the ARF Arrangements document

• Agreed to strengthen the ARF Arrangements document to reflect the NTFC decision that relevant Training Packages are to be used where they exist and that self-accreditation of courses only applies where no relevant Training Package

2 9 2

exists

- to remove references to 'customised qualifications' from the document, to reflect developments in policy in relation to such qualifications (ie. qualifications defined by combining competency standards drawn from different Training Packages and/or endorsed competency standards)

- to strengthen Principle 2 of the National Principles for Mutual Recognition to incorporate the mutual recognition of accreditation decisions by State Training

Authorities/State Recognition Authorities

November 1998 • Agreed that National Training Framework implementation issues be addressed through bi-lateral and multi-lateral discussions with assistance through ANT A National Project funding

• Noted that the Commonwealth will provide $8 million, on an outcomes basis, to meet one-off transition costs associated with implementing up to thirty Training Packages by 30 June 1999 and up to a further thirty Training Packages by 30 June 2000

• Agreed that issues of resourcing, transition costs and on­ going costs of implementation of Training Packages and the costs of maintenance of nationally commissioned resources be examined by the ANT A Board assisted by a report prepared by a State, Territory, Commonwealth and ANT A working party

• Agreed to a process to complete the implementation of New Apprenticeships including

- ANT A working with National ITABs to facilitate the development and endorsement of Training Packages

- ANTA strengthening protocols for consultation with State /Territory ITABs

- Marketing campaign support for products and services as they become available and for New Apprenticeship Centres and training providers

- Legislative change

- Implementation of the model Training Agreement

293

June 1999

- Development of industrial relations arrangements for apprenticeships and traineeships

- Dealing with resourcing issues

- Commonwealth convening multilateral discussions with State/Territories and ANTA to discuss the potential for the consistent application of employer incentives and rebates and direct links to policies on funding training

delivery

- Allocation of 1998 unspent National Projects funds to assist States/Territories in dealing with New

Apprenticeships and other NTF implementation issues.

• Approved the revised approach to training culture issues which emphasises changing industry and general community attitudes towards training through effective marketing

• Requested the ANTA Board to develop a marketing strategy designed to change attitudes towards training

• Confirming the success of the common efforts of the Commonwealth, States and Territories to deliver a quality training system for Australian industry -- Agreed to continue to work individually and together to

deliver quality training

- Agreed that Commonwealth, States and Territories will consult to ensure the greatest possible consistency and uniformity, where appropriate, in arrangements to deliver the agreed national framework

• Agreed to a national data collection and cost monitoring project on specific aspects of resourcing implications arising from the implementation of Training Packages

• Agreed to the importance of maintaining the commitment to the stock of nationally commissioned VET resources

• Agreed that any extension of transitional funding to the States/Territories be assessed on the basis of State/Territory delivery against the agreed performance requirements in the implementation plans and where the need for further funding is clearly demonstrated

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• Agreed that modelling and other analyses in conjunction with the Commonwealth, States and Territories be undertaken to determine the scope of future demand for VET with a view to informing the re- negotiation of the ANT A Agreement

November 1999 • Noted the ANTA Board Report on the Implementation of the National Training Framework and New Apprenticeships and:

• Noted the proposed review of the legislative issue identified in the Report by May 2000;

• Agreed to State and Territory level discussions with a view to adjusting industrial relations arrangements (including alternatives to time served) in their jurisdiction to support the implementation of new apprenticeships;

• Endorsed the resolutions at Attachmend B of the Report from Chief Executive Officers on key aspects of quality assurance in vocational education and training;

• Noted the results of the national evaluation of User Choice and the summary of key findings attached to the paper and

• Noted that ANTA, States, Territories and the

Commonwealth will determine and progress appropriate action on recommendations in the User Choice evaluation report, including as an initial step, a workshop to consider the evaluation and the apparent lack of national consistency in the implementation of User Choice.

March 2000 Reaffirmed the responsibility accepted for implementation of a fully integrated national system of vocational education and training, having regard to State and Territory priorities, and instructed their CEOs to take the steps required to complete this process, including proposals for legislative change where necessary.

Consistent with this reaffirmation, the CEOs' Committee, with support from ANTA, is to produce an urgent report which:

• Identifies real or perceived inconsistencies across States and Territories which are impeding the implementation of the national vocational education and training system;

• In relation to each inconsistency, identifies its impact on the

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implementation of the national vocational education and training system; and

• Provides an action plan and timetable for addressing each of the identified inconsistencies.

June 2000 4A

• Agreed to work cooperatively to achieve a fully integrated National VET System, particularly in relation to fundamental regulatory issues underpinning mutual recognition;

• Noted, however, that achievement of a fully integrated National VET System will have significant resourcing impacts that must be addressed in the context of negotiations on the future of the ANTA Agreement;

• Noted the paper and the reports on:

- National Consistency

- Risk Management and Quality in the national system

• Endorsed the resolutions contained in the report on National Consistency as the basis for further urgent work to improve consistency noting reservations by individual jurisdictions in relation to certain aspects of the report;

• Agreed that the ANTA Board Advisory Committee on New Apprenticeships be combined with the CEOs'

Implementation Issues Group, under Chairmanship of an ANTA Board member, to:

(a) do the detailed work to progress resolutions 4 to 8 in the report on National Consistency; (b) assist the NTQC with detailed work on resolutions 1

and 3; (c) develop a draft National Code of Good Practice in New Apprenticeships; and (d) provide advice to assist the ANTA Board in reporting

to the next meeting of Ministers.

• Endorsed the resolution contained in the report on Risk Management and Quality in the National System;

• Requested ANTA CEOs to ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, the benefits to clients of the work to address

inconsistency and implement a fully integrated national VET system be realised by the end of this year. Further, ANTA is requested to report on achievements, from the industry client perspective, by November 2000;

• Whilst acknowledging that all the work detailed in the agreed resolutions on national consistency is necessary, Ministers requested that priority be given to achievement of the following elements by the end of this year:

- clearer, higher national standards for RTOs

- a single level of registration for all purposes

- consistent RTO auditing practices and standards

- Training Package qualifications immediately available for all pathways upon national endorsement of the Training Package

- address substantial variations between jurisdictions in "nominal delivery hours" assigned to the same Training Package qualification

- substantially provide for training wage arrangements in all jurisdictions for qualifications that have significant actual or potential demand for New Apprenticeship pathways

- prioritise issues of national consistency in the

implementation of User Choice and propose any necessary amendments to current principles and policies which will ensure common, regulatory arrangements and retain State and Territory decision making on resource issues

- provide an information service, nationally, on User Choice access arrangements

- review and agree changes to Model Training Agreement

- rationalise State/Territory and national AVETMISS reporting requirements fur RTOs

- provide information service, nationally, on incentive arrangements in place under all jurisdictions, and

■ ensure all States and Territories have necessary legislative provisions to effectively secure a consistent

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national framework.

4(B)

• Agreed that the National Training Framework Committee (NTFC) be replaced by a National Training Quality Council (NTQC) as a committee under the ANTA Board, with industry leadership and with representation of two members

of the large States and two members from the smaller States and Territories;

• Agreed to Principles and Management Guidelines for the NTQC by adopting the Principles and Management Guidelines currently in place for the NTFC with all references to the NTFC being replaced by references to the

NTQC and by replacing the following item in paragraph 20 (Functions):

(g) coordinate, and provide advice to State

recognition authorities, on the operation of NFROT at a national level to ensure its effective operation and develop the policy framework for reforms to national recognition arrangements;

with

(g) in relation to quality assurance arrangements in the national vocational education and training system:

(i) provide advice on the operation of, and any necessary change to, the Australian Recognition Framework (ARF);

(ii)provide information and advice to State recognition authorities on the implementation of the ARF; and

(iii) provide to the ANTA Board, for incorporation in the Board's reports to the ANTA Ministerial Council (including the Annual National Report), information and advice on the operation of the ARF in each State

and Territory, including by providing such independent advice on State/Territory registration, audit and related processes and related

Commonwealth processes as deemed necessary by the NTQC;

• Agreed that the NTQC, and in the interim the NTFC, be responsible for monitoring action on Resolutions 1 and 3 in the report on National Consistency and providing advice to assist the ANT A Board in reporting to Ministers, and be consulted in the work on necessary legislative provisions to effectively secure a consistent national framework.

4(C)

• Agreed that modem business solutions to navigation and transaction difficulties between clients and the national training system should also be investigated and applied as a priority in achieving a fully integrated national VET system. ANTA, in consultation with industry clients and the Commonwealth and States and Territories is requested to progress investigation and application of appropriate

approaches including technological solutions such as call centres, e-business, and linked web sites, along with improvements to client service standards more generally.

*Source: Australian National Training Authority

T

HE PARLIAMENT O F THE COMMONWEALTH O F AUSTRALIA

PARLIAMENTARY PAPER No. 346 of 2000 ORDERED TO BE PRINTED

ISSN 0727-4181