Go8 welcomes Skills Australia Roadmap
4 May 2011
The Group of Eight welcomes the release of Skills Australia’s Skills for Prosperity: a roadmap for vocational education and training.
“The roadmap is a reminder of the strong demand for skills at all levels, and of the importance of a balanced post-secondary education sector in supplying that demand,” said Go8 Chair, Professor Paul Greenfield.
“Skills for Prosperity includes several important and commendable recommendations which can support the development of a balanced and responsive tertiary sector.
“In particular, the Go8 supports the proposed national demand-driven entitlement system for funding VET places, and the introduction of income-contingent loans for higher level courses. We also welcome the recommendation that Commonwealth-supported higher education places be made more widely available to VET providers. This is something the Go8 has advocated for some time.
“These recommendations, taken together with higher education reforms following the Bradley Review, present the opportunity to widen choice for students, encourage a more varied structure of supply to meet their needs and foster the provision of a range of essential skills to the labour market.
“Skills Australia’s recommendations would maintain the distinct role of VET while further encouraging cooperation between the higher education and VET sectors. If adopted, the recommendations would make efficient use of the nation’s sunk investment in VET and would address concerns that the VET system could become little more than a feeder for an expanding, demand-driven higher education system.
“While we strongly support Skills Australia’s calls to give students a real choice between higher education and VET options, an even more effective and responsive system could evolve if providers in both sectors were permitted to compete on price, allowing students to decide how much they were prepared to pay for a wider variety of courses.
“While the Go8’s views on some matters differ from views expressed in Skills Australia’s report, Skills for Prosperity is an important statement on the importance of diversity in post-school education – for students, providers, employers and Australia as a whole. I congratulate Skills Australia on its roadmap.
“The Go8 calls on the Government to consider its recommendations closely,” Professor Greenfield concluded.
FOR INFORMATION: Kerrie Thornton, Director, Communications and International, Group of Eight Ph: 02 6239 5488