Dissecting the growth of vocational education and training in Victoria

Parliament house flag post

Dissecting the growth of vocational education and training in Victoria

Posted 15/06/2012 by Leonie Doyle

The announcement of an Enterprise Migration Agreement providing for the recruitment of temporary overseas workers for the Roy Hill project in the Pilbara has fuelled debate about the supply of skilled workers for industry, and to what extent Australia needs to import skills rather than ‘grow our own’.

Amid this debate, the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) has released preliminary Students and Courses data for 2011. The full publication (due in July) provides data on the numbers of students, subject enrolments, hours of delivery and qualifications in Australia’s public vocational education and training (VET) system.

The preliminary data reveals some interesting results for one state in particular: Victoria.

Victoria’s training system and training budget
The training system in Victoria is an experiment in market-driven resource allocation. This is set to continue with the Victorian state budget (released on 1 May 2012) announcing $290 million worth of cuts to TAFE over three years, and the loss to TAFE of ‘full service provider’ funding from 2013. (Full service provider funding is paid to TAFE institutes in recognition of the broader support services they provide to their communities.) The Victorian Budget Overview states that funding rates for some courses will increase while others will decrease ‘reflecting the need to achieve more sustainable outcomes’.

The budget measures extend the Victorian government’s fully-contestable funding system for vocational education and training that has created a boom in private provision since 2009. Between 2009 and 2010 there was 2 per cent growth in students at ‘TAFE and other government providers’ compared with 76 per cent growth in students of ‘other registered providers’.

In April 2012 the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development released Refocusing Vocational Training in Victoria, which stated that ‘The growth in government-funded VET activity has reached unsustainable levels’.

What is ‘unsustainable’ growth?
Between 2009 and 2011 the total number of VET students in Australia grew by 176,000, from 1.70 million students to 1.88 million. But Victoria accounted for well over half of that growth (58 per cent), with an additional 103,000 students joining the state system.

In the past year all other states and territories recorded close to zero growth in student numbers (in Tasmania they fell by 4 per cent), while Victoria experienced a 15 per cent increase.

Amid zero-growth states and territories, Victoria stands out

This picture is echoed in new Apprentices and Trainees data that shows that in the twelve months to December 2011 commencements in Victoria rose by 13 per cent. Excluding Victoria’s result, Australian apprentice and trainee commencements fell by 3 per cent overall. Of perhaps greater concern, all of the growth in commencements - both in Victoria and nationally - is occurring in ‘non-trades’ rather than ‘trades’.

Victoria’s growth stands out when you compare it to states like Western Australia and Queensland that are reportedly experiencing high demand for skills but recording minimal growth.

The opening up of the training market in Victoria combined with the rapid rise in student numbers has raised questions about the level and quality of courses being taken up. Preliminary Students and Courses data provides a first glimpse at the answers to these questions.

Are the new students earning recognised qualifications?
Yes. The growth in Victoria over the past two years has all occurred in Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualifications. Between 2008 and 2011 the number of students enrolled in AQF qualifications has consistently risen while the number in courses that do not lead to a recognised qualification has consistently fallen.

Is all the growth occurring in low level courses?
No. The vast majority of new students are studying at Certificate III, Certificate IV or Diploma level – the middle level qualifications of vocational education and training. As noted above, however, all of the growth is occurring outside of the traditional trades.

128,000 new AQF students from 2009 to 2011: at what level? (Pie chart showing Certificate III, Followed by Certificate IV and then Diploma with smaller amounts for Certifcate I and II)

Are enrolments in certain courses out of control?
Alarming growth in the number of people studying fitness instructor courses in Victoria since 2008 (report here) contributed to debate about whether public funding is being wasted on qualifications that are not needed. New data on subject and field of education enrolments won’t be available until later this year.

What do we know about quality?
Student satisfaction, employer satisfaction and graduate employment rates are some of the outcomes measures used to evaluate the quality of vocational education and training. Unfortunately, we will have to wait a bit longer to see what clues these measures provide about Victoria’s open-market, high-growth strategy for VET.

Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice




refugees asylum immigration Australian foreign policy Parliament elections climate change social security women welfare reform taxation Indigenous Australians Australian Defence Force welfare policy school education higher education private health insurance health financing emissions trading Middle East Senate Australian Bureau of Statistics employment people trafficking Asia statistics illicit drugs gambling health reform federal election 2010 Australian Public Service income management Medicare disability Sport United Nations environment industrial relations constitution transport politics criminal law Afghanistan health forced labour food public service reform aged care aid Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget Carbon Pricing Mechanism dental health international relations governance regulation Fair Work Act voting law enforcement electoral reform OECD Australian Electoral Commission WADA child protection poker machines Australia in the Asian Century steroids National Disability Insurance Scheme detention 43rd Parliament slavery health system leadership domestic violence parliamentary procedure International Women's Day accountability defence capability multiculturalism ASADA Australian Federal Police labour force people smuggling debt New Zealand Australian Crime Commission pharmaceutical benefits scheme political parties coal seam gas Human rights crime China Census election results UK Parliament Papua New Guinea banking corruption pensions children's health Aviation federal election 2013 foreign debt gross debt net debt Senators and Members ALP Newstart Parenting Payment Youth Allowance sea farers United Kingdom energy food labelling Australian economy violence against women vocational education and training military history by-election High Court skilled migration mental health Federal Court terrorist groups science social media Higher Education Loan Program HECS federal state relations youth paid parental leave same sex relationships customs planning doping health risks Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery Special Rapporteur Northern Territory Emergency Response social policy ANZUS Rural and regional trade unions Foreign affairs election timetable Indigenous royal commission Productivity firearms public policy Population ADRV terrorism transparency research and development welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation carbon tax mining employer employee renewable energy regional unemployment fishing European Union family assistance United Nations Security Council forestry Drugs welfare systems Indonesia children Constitutional reform local government codes of conduct terrorist financing homelessness Parliamentary remuneration money laundering Trafficking in Persons Report social inclusion paternalism environmental law US presidential election nutrition ODA Defence sitting days electoral divisions Southeast Asia administrative law universities TAFE Ireland citizenship asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Financial sector national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity standards NATO Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse World Trade Organization Australia public health housing affordability bulk billing water health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation public housing expertise climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets animal health middle class welfare constitutional recognition of local government referendum consumer laws PISA competition policy US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition citizen engagement policymaking Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol forced marriage alcohol entitlements ministries Hung Parliament social citizenship maritime Iran regional students school chaplains federal budget 2011-12 salary Medicare Locals primary care Building the Education Revolution Turkey Syria marine pollution sustainability prisons police deaths in custody electoral margins electoral pendulum electoral redistribution redistribution NSW redistribution WA redistribution ACT electoral boundaries ASEAN Sustainable Development Goals Double dissolution Senators safety vehicles MYEFO Pathology tertiary education Taiwan Xi Ma meeting family violence government financial advisers financial planners Financial System Inquiry Murray Inquiry China; Economic policy; Southeast Asia; Africa housing Speaker; House of Representatives; Parliament High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Israel Palestine asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders prime ministers First speech defence budget submarines workers Somalia GDP world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission limitation period cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders live exports infant mortality honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC anti-dumping Rent Assistance obesity evidence law sacrament of confession international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements small business Breaker Morant regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Members suspension workplace health and safety marine reserves hearing Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing political education Social Inclusion Board early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin sanctions Norway hospitals republic President Barack Obama Presidential visits qantas counselling Korean peninsula Work Choices biosecurity hendra federalism federation preselection therapeutic goods Therapeutic Goods Administration plebiscites computer games pests suicide nuclear COAG Ministerial Councils floods ADHD stimulant medication advertising electricity extradition conscience votes poverty preventative health rural health coastal erosion Parliamentary Budget Office work-life balance

Show all
Show less
Back to top