VET sector needs stable funding commitment
The IEUA-QNT has ongoing concerns for the stability of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector as a result of changes to state and federal legislation and cuts to funding streams.
The Australian Skills Quality Website describes the VET sector as a crucial component of the Australian economy - both for the development of the national workforce and as a major export industry in its own right. Yet Australian governments keep moving the goal posts in terms of providing support and funding to the sector.
Since its election 12 months ago, the Queensland Labor government has restored some elements of the industrial framework that supports TAFE as a benchmark of public vocational education.
IEUA-QNT Lead Organiser Nick Holliday said this was a positive step yet media reports that draw negative attention continue to compound the problem.
“Ultimately, negative reports distract from the need for structures and processes that support professionalism in the sector through cultivation of conditions for a stable, sustainable vocational education industry,” he said.
“Amid multiple inquiries, reviews and initiatives exposing faults and weaknesses in the various systems, there is something of a void in terms of proposals that will restore stability.
Mr Holliday said an important point of distinction between the VET and school sectors, however, is that in VET, secure, long-term employment and professional wages have become the exception rather than the norm.
“Under these conditions, the burden of compliance with newly imposed obligations and standards is too easily transferred to the individual, rather than the employer,” he said.
“This is particularly unfair when the ability of individual VET practitioners to engage with new quality control initiatives is limited by the extent to which their employment conditions provide a secure, professional teaching and learning environment.”
Mr Holliday said that in reality many practitioners are employed on short-term casual contracts.
“Our union is working hard to maintain and increase our presence in this area and support the transition of VET practitioners into new operational environments.”
“The IEUA-QNT is advocating for a stronger and more robust VET sector to support better working conditions for our members and will continue to participate in discussion around various state and federal initiatives.”
IEUA-QNT members working in the VET sector who would like to have input in the process are advised to read the discussion papers available at www.education.gov.au/improving-quality-assessment-vet
IEUA-QNT members working in the VET sector who would like to have input in the process are encouraged to read the Department of Education and Training discussion papers and send any comments or suggestions to IEUA-QNT Research Officer Adele Schmidt via firstname.lastname@example.org