Time to reform training and apprenticeships

Federal Government body Skills Australia has released a discussion paper on vocational education and training (VET) which asks the questions that need answering if we are to get a VET system that avoids wacky results like this one (p. 42 of the discussion paper):

There also is considerable variety in the way apprenticeships and traineeships are offered and provided, and in their nominal durations, between different jurisdictions. This may be due to state and territory training authorities responding to the needs of local industry.

For example, a Certificate IV in Electrical – Air-conditioning Split Systems – UEE40507 can be taken as an apprenticeship in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, but not in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia or the ACT. Furthermore, nominal durations vary significantly (from 12 months to 48 months) between the states and territory that do offer it as an apprenticeship.

This inconsistency provides difficulties in movement between jurisdictions for individuals, as well as complexities for national employers wishing to put apprentices through the same program in different jurisdictions.

It’s 2010, nearly 11 decades since federation, and we still have inconsistent VET systems across States (not to mention inconsistent schooling, OH&S and workers’ compensation systems).  The time for reform is now, and the public can help encourage it through a strong response to the Skills Australia discussion paper (submissions due to Skills Australia by 26 November).  Let’s hope the pace of reform picks up from glacial.

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