OECD report reinforces need for Australia to reform and invest in VET
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has published the 2020 Education at a Glance report which highlights the widespread neglect of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector.
Every year, the report is released to compare wide-ranging aspects of member countries’ education systems.
IEUA-QNT Growth Organiser Aaron Watson said the report’s findings confirmed our union’s long-held position of additional funding being necessary for the VET sector.
“This is consistent with what our union has been advocating for over the past decade, especially with regards to quality education and job security,” Aaron said.
“A proper investment in the VET sector is a proper investment in Australia’s economy and its future as we rebuild after COVID-19,” he said.
VET vital to frontline pandemic workforce
Dr John Pardy of Monash University in Melbourne is an expert on VET and said this year’s Education at a Glance report paid particular attention to the sector, highlighting the vital role VET trained workers had played during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“VET has often been disregarded in educational policy debates, neglected in favour of more prestigious academic routes,” Dr Pardy said.
“Aged care workers, security guards, retail workers, warehouse workers, agricultural workers, meatworkers, nursing care and contact tracing staff – all these occupations are significant in that the education for these roles takes place in VET and TAFE institutions,” he said.
Page 10 of the report states “evidence from countries with high-performing vocational systems is that they provide a very effective means of integrating learners into the labour market and opening pathways for further learning and personal growth.”
Further on, the report says “during the lockdown that followed the spread of COVID-19, the reliance on vital services such as manufacturing and healthcare, many of which rely on vocational education, has brought to light, more than ever, the need to look at VET with a fresh eye and implement measures to increase its attractiveness to potential learners.”
Dr Pardy said the report highlighted the importance of VET and the skills that were deemed essential in Australia during the pandemic.
VET sector overhaul necessary
Our union made a submission earlier this year to the Productivity Commission’s Review of the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development (NASWD) to ensure the professional voices of our members working in the VET sector are heard.
The submission made several recommendations and key changes needed to improve the sector, based on feedback from our members.