Have VET reforms resulted in improvements in quality?

August 2015
Roche, A., Kostadinov, V., & White , M. (2015). Have VET reforms resulted in improvements in quality? Illustrations from the alcohol and other drugs sector. International Journal of Training Research, 12(3), 170-181.

Australian vocational education and training (VET) has undergone major reforms since the 1990s. To increase training quality, competency based training (CBT) and ‘streamlined’ qualifications have been introduced. Using the alcohol and other drugs sector as a case illustration, NCETA investigated whether the reforms have been off benefit and whether any further changes were required. 

Alcohol and other drugs training providers were surveyed to explore their views on course quality, content and delivery. Trainers reported that although there were some benefits of CBT and streamlining qualifications, the reforms introduced had contributed to inconsistent course quality, content, delivery and assessment, and resulted in generic qualifications which were not necessarily industry relevant, particularly in those industries that relied on specialist workers and skillsets. 

This paper highlights the impact of VET reforms on industry specific training, and indicates that recent reforms have not succeeded in increasing training quality. The study suggests that the delivery of VET courses may be improved further by:

  • Developing clear guidelines to shape the content and delivery of courses, and assessment and recognised prior learning processes
  • Incorporating generic and specialist units
  • Ensuring training providers have access to adequate funding, appropriately skilled trainers with relevant experience and knowledge, and evidence-based resources
  • Providing ongoing professional development for trainers, as well as opportunities to consult and collaborate with industry providers.