About the skills sector

For: 

Vocational education is central to Australia's economic growth and business productivity. Australia needs a vocational education and training (VET) system that ensures qualifications are designed to provide the skills that employers and industry need now and in the years to come. A strong VET sector will boost the employment outcomes of those completing VET courses and instil confidence in users of the sector.

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A dynamic and diverse market

Australia’s VET system provides training for a wide range of workplace skills and knowledge-based competencies for a wide range of occupations, through a variety of training institutions and enterprises.

The system provides training for students of all ages and backgrounds. Students have many options for training and may study individual units or full qualifications. Training takes place in classrooms, workplaces and online, and can be either full-time or part-time.

There are almost 4 million students (including overseas students) enrolled in our training system, or one in four working age Australians.

Governance of the sector

At the national level, Australia’s VET system is led by a council made up of Australian, state and territory government ministers responsible for industry and skills. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Industry and Skills Council provides leadership and direction for the sector.

The council has agreed to streamline governance arrangements and involve industry more in policy development and the oversight of the performance of the VET sector. As a result, the Australian Industry and Skills Committee as established to provide industry with a formal role in advising the COAG Industry and Skills Council on policy directions and decision making in the national training system.

A five-member Vocational Educational and Training Advisory Board provides advice on VET to the Minister.

Both Australian and state and territory governments are integral to the governance, regulation and support of our national VET system, and work alongside various independent bodies to ensure quality outcomes are delivered. Australian state and territory governments have ministers, government departments and training authorities that administer vocational education and training.

Australian industry plays a leading role in the VET system to ensure the sector drives improvements in productivity and competitiveness across the economy.

Funding of VET delivery

VET delivery in Australia is largely funded by the Australian, state and territory governments. However, companies and individuals also contribute to the cost of training. Companies can contribute by purchasing training for their employees, while students contribute through the payment of course and administrative fees.

Training delivery

About 4600 registered training organisations deliver VET in Australia through TAFE institutes, universities, secondary schools, private training providers, enterprises, industry organisations community-based providers and other government organisations.

The training website is the official national register of VET in Australia and an authoritative source of information on training packages, qualifications, accredited courses, units of competency, skill sets and registered training organisations.

For more information visit the For training providers page.

Training packages

Training packages are a key feature of Australia's national VET system. A training package is a set of nationally endorsed standards and qualifications for recognising and assessing peoples’ skills in a specific industry, industry sector or enterprise.

Visit the national standards and training packages pages for more information.

Quality in the sector

High quality training ensures that VET graduates have the skills required by industry and employers and that consumers have confidence in nationally-recognised VET qualifications.

Australia maintains high quality VET outcomes through several regulatory frameworks.

The national VET regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority, registers training providers, monitors compliance with national standards and investigates quality concerns. In Victoria and Western Australia, the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority and the Training Accreditation Council Western Australia perform these roles.

The Australian Qualification Framework regulates qualifications nationally to ensure quality and consistency.

Visit the regulation of VET national standards and national reporting for RTOs pages for more information on standards and quality in VET. 

Reform of the sector

The Australian Government is encouraging greater industry leadership in the VET sector, to ensure our national training system produces skilled individuals who are able to contribute to economic growth and prosperity.

The government engaged in a process of VET reform to ensure our training system is delivering high quality training which is responsive to the needs of industry and not over burdened by unnecessary red tape.

The Australian Government is also working with states and territories through the National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform to transform the national training system.

Informed consumers

The Australian Government is supporting transparency in the national training system and wants consumers to have access to the information they need on training courses and providers. Initiatives to support these objectives include:

Foundation and core skills

  • The Department of Education and Training supports the development of core and foundation skills so that individuals are equipped with the language, literacy, numeracy and employability skills required by businesses.
  • More information available on the training providers page.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

  • In many industries, apprenticeships and traineeships provide the best pathway for skills development. They combine structured training for a nationally recognised qualification with employment.
  • This job pathway can begin at school with Australian School-based Apprenticeships.
  • Apprenticeships and traineeships are available in a wide range of trades and other occupations, in most sectors of business and industry.
  • Almost 100 000 employers across Australia – more than half of them small businesses – employ around 400 000 apprentices and trainees.
  • For more information visit the Australian Apprenticeships website and the apprenticeships and traineeships page.

Skills and licence recognition

  • The Australian Government is supporting the recognition of prior learning, including of qualifications gained overseas, and the recognition of some domestic licences across state and territory jurisdictions.
  • Visit the Skills and licence recognition page for more information on these initiatives.

Skills engagement

Resources

The following is a list of all the resources that are associated with About the skills sector.

Results

  1. AISC Chair's media release- Korea

    Created: 18 July 2015

    Australian Industry and Skills Commission - VET collaboration with Korea ensuring globally relevant skills

  2. Chair's media release- China

    Created: 18 July 2015

    New opportunity to support industry engagement in the training system

  3. COAG Industry and Skills Council Meeting, Skills Ministers, 18 November 2016

    Created: 21 November 2016

    The skills session of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Industry and Skills Council met in Darwin on 18 November 2016. The session was chaired by the Hon Karen...

  4. Communiqué for the COAG Industry and Skills Council Meeting, Skills Ministers, 1 April 2016

    Created: 1 April 2016

    The skills session of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Industry and Skills Council met in Sydney on 1 April 2016. The session was chaired by Senator the Hon Scott...

  5. Communiqué for the COAG Industry and Skills Council Meetings

    Created: 8 May 2015

    Communiqué for the COAG Industry and Skills Council Meetings, 8 May 2015

  6. Engaging Employers in Skills Development for the 21st Century- ABN Training

    Created: 17 August 2016

    Presentation by ABN Training

  7. Engaging Employers in Skills Development for the 21st Century- Anna Rubin

    Created: 17 August 2016

    Presentation by Anna Rubin

  8. Engaging Employers in Skills Development for the 21st Century- Dale Williams

    Created: 17 August 2016

    Presentation by Dale Williams

  9. Engaging Employers in Skills Development for the 21st Century- Erica Smith

    Created: 17 August 2016

    Presentation by Professor Erica Smith, Federation University

  10. Engaging Employers in Skills Development for the 21st Century- Jan Owen

    Created: 17 August 2016

    Presentation by Jan Owen AM

  11. Engaging Employers in Skills Development for the 21st Century- John King

    Created: 1 September 2016

    Presentation from John King Executive Director – Skills and Employment

  12. Engaging Employers in Skills Development for the 21st Century- Jonathan Barr

    Created: 17 August 2016

    Presentation by Jonathan Barr, Policy Analyst, OECD 2-3 June 2016

  13. Engaging Employers in Skills Development for the 21st Century- Myung-Sook Jun

    Created: 1 September 2016

    Presentation from Myung-Sook Jun Professor, Chonnam National University

  14. Engaging Employers in Skills Development for the 21st Century- Shane Thomas

    Created: 17 August 2016

    Presentation by Shane Thomas - Group Manager Learning and Development, Crown Resorts

  15. Engaging Employers in Skills Development for the 21st Century- Simon Whatmore

    Created: 17 August 2016

    Presentation by Simon Whatmore

  16. Engaging Employers in Skills Development for the 21st Century- Stephen Billett

    Created: 17 August 2016

    Presentation from Stephen Billett, Griffith University

  17. Engaging Employers in Skills Development for the 21st Century- Sylvain Giguère

    Created: 17 August 2016

    Presentation by Sylvain Giguère, Head of the LEED Programme Adelaide, 2 June 2016

  18. Engaging Employers in Skills Development for the 21st Century- University Technology of Sydney

    Created: 17 August 2016

    Presentation by the University Technology of Sydney

  19. Engaging Employers in Skills Development for the 21st Century: Joint Australian Government and OECD Workshop- Summary Report

    Created: 22 June 2016

    Summary report from the 'Engaging Employers in Skills Development for the 21st Century: Joint Australian Government and OECD Workshop' held in Adelaide on 2-3 June 2016. 

  20. National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform

    Created: 12 October 2016

    National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform document

  21. Review of the National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform

    Created: 1 April 2016

    A report on the National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform. The agreement set out the goals and structures of intergovernmental VET funding and reform for the period 2012...

  22. Skills service organisations- EOI Attachment D 21072015

    Created: 21 July 2015

    Industry sectors & TPs information for the Skills service organisations EoI

  23. Skills service organisations- EoI Attachments A, B, C

    Created: 18 July 2015

    Attachments for the Skills service organisations expression of interest

  24. Skills service organisations- Expression of Interest

    Created: 18 July 2015

    EoI for Skills service organisations

  25. Skills service organisations- Factsheet

    Created: 18 July 2015

    Factsheet providing information about Skills Service Organisations

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