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Discuss two interests that Australian Government have in the provision of Vocational Education Training (VET). Discuss two challenges that Australian Government face when engaging with the VET sector.

What is Vocational Education and Training?

Vocational Education and Training can be defined as education and training that focuses on providing vocational skills for work to people. It helps students to be qualified for all types of employment and gives them the requisite skills to help them when they actually start working. This paper will try to show how Australia is investing in Vocational Education and Training. It will also try to show the challenges that the government of Australia faces when engaging with Vocational Education and Training sector.

Vocational Education and Training provides skills to help people join the workplace for the first time, rejoin after taking a sabbatical, help them to improve their skills in the field of their choice and pursue a different career. Registered Training Organizations provide courses in Vocational Education and Training. These include Technical and Further Education institutes, universities and colleges. The courses that are covered by Vocational Education and Training cover literacy and numeracy training such as foundation studies or pre-vocational training, vocational skills for occupations like floristry and automotive, vocational training that is semi-professional such as occupational health and safety measures and business advertising, study areas that are practical such as hospitality, viticulture and music (Jones 2018). Eight state and territory governments, the government of Australia and industry and private and public training providers, provide vocational Education and Training. These organizations work in unison to provide good and consistent vocational training across Australia.

Vocational Education and Training is truly popular in Australia’s education sector. Supervised by the government of Australia in accordance with the trainers and the industry norms, the systematic vocational training imparted in Australia is truly effective and helps people in pursuing their vocational courses. Australia’s standardized system of providing certification makes sure that professionally trained personnel are always available to students and to working professionals in Australia’s private business sector, thereby ensuring that the level of vocational training that is imparted is good and consistent across Australia.

The two interests that Australian government have in the provision of Vocational Educational Training Program include foundation and core skills and recognition of license and skills (Jones 2018). The Department of Education and Training encourages and supports the development of core and foundation skills so that people are equipped with the language, numeracy, literacy and employability skills as required by various organizations. The government of Australia encourages, supports and acknowledges and recognizes prior learning, including knowledge and degrees obtained abroad and the recognition of a few domestic licenses across state jurisdiction and territory jurisdictions. The government of Australia is undertaking skills engagement work nationally and internationally. The Australian government is exchanging Vocational Educational Training experience and expertise, primarily in South Asia, South East Asia and North Asia to ensure that Australia remains a leader always when it comes to international skills policy and system design and development (McVicar & Polidano 2015). The Australian government is supporting and promoting the value of Vocational Educational Training for the betterment of both individual as well as the Australian economy through the Australian Apprenticeships Ambassadors Program, Australian Training Awards, National Skills Week and WorldSkills Australia.

Vocational Education and Training in Australia

The government of Australia is supporting mobility and recognition of skills through various initiatives that includes Trade Recognition Australia among other initiatives. The Trade Recognition Australia is a service provider that accesses various skills and specializes in assessing people with trade skills gained in Australia or overseas for the purpose of migration and skill recognition (McVicar & Polidano 2015). The government of Australia is exchanging and sharing expertise and experiences in Vocational Educational Training at the international level.

The government of Australia provides an environment that ensures education and vocational and training of Vocational Educational Training practitioners so that they are able to teach students the skills and knowledge required at the workplace. LiteracyNet offers a gamut of of skills pertaining to professional development in individuals. The Skills for Education and Employment program offers literacy, numeracy and language training to potential people looking for jobs so that they are able to participate in training or labour force. The National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults focuses on the various ways by which one can improve the language, numeracy, literacy and employability skills of Australian adults. The Australian Council for Private Education and Training offers completely subsidized opportunities in professional development on foundation skills.

The two challenges that the Australian government faces when engaging with the Vocational Education and Training sector are a lack of resources and curriculum design and development (McVicar & Polidano 2015). Vocational Education and Training require much more financial resources than the academic education that is imparted in schools, colleges and universities. The difference in trainer/learner ratio as compared to schools and colleges, the cost of equipment and the cost of materials to practice makes Vocational Education and Training a much more expensive educational process. Funding Vocational Educational and Training thus is an expensive proposition and is a constant challenge for everybody associated with Vocational Educational and Training, including the government of Australia. The majority of the funds towards Vocational Education and Training is given by the government of Australia who provides the majority of financial resources. It is funded either by the State or territory or federal level. The funding provided by the government of Australia unfortunately does not meet the complete needs. This causes problems regarding which learners require the funds most, distribution of resources so that there is no discrepancy, and ensuring that financial resources is allocated equally for everybody and determining the money that should be given to Registered Training Organizations for their services. While allotting financial resources to Vocational Educational Training is an investment in the future of the country, there are several challenges in finding the requisite funding.

Australian Government Initiatives

The second challenge that the Australian government faces when engaging with the Vocational Education and Training sector is related to the design of the curriculum and the development of the curriculum (Bowman & McKenna 2016). While Registered Training Organizations have a curriculum which they are following, development of new curriculum, or changes made to the existing curriculum is an expensive process that also requires a lot of time. With the advent of new technology ever so often, the curriculum that is considered effective, can quickly become obsolete. In addition, only a few companies produce this curriculum, leaving the responsibility of framing a curriculum to the registered training organizations. A solution to this problem is to develop a national curriculum that would be followed by all organizations and every individual. However, this too shall face the same problems of a lack of time, funding, and the challenge of constantly revising the curriculum to keep it current and relevant (Bowman & McKenna 2016). Since Australian Vocational Education and Training was formed to meet the needs of this industry, trainers are given a free hand to devise a curriculum so that their learners may be well-prepared to meet the needs of the specific industry in which they will be working. If one were to standardize the entire curriculum then trainers will not be able to customize their training programs to meet the needs of their specific companies thus posing a problem.

Conclusion: 

Thus to conclude, one can say that the government of Australia invests a lot of time, energy and financial resources on Vocational Educational Training in order to ensure that individuals  are benefitted as well as the country. Even though, the government of Australia encounters numerous challenges in terms of lack of financial resources, designing and developing the curriculum among other factors, it ensures that the education and knowledge of Vocational Education and Training sector in Australia imparts the best possible vocational training.

Reference: 

Billett, S., Choy, S., Dymock, D., Smith, R., Henderson, A., Tyler, M. and Kelly, A., 2015. Towards More Effective Continuing Education and Training for Australian Workers. National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

Bowman, K. and McKenna, S., 2016. The Development of Australia's National Training System: A Dynamic Tension between Consistency and Flexibility. Occasional Paper. National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd. PO Box 8288, Stational Arcade, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.

Guenther, J. and McRae-Williams, E., 2015. The training and employment challenge of remote communities: Is collaboration the solution?. In 18th AVETRA International Conference Proceedings: Walking the Tightrope: The implication of markets for VET research, policy and practice. Melbourne 8-10 April.. Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association.

Jones, A., 2018. Vocational education for the twenty first century. Melbourne: LH Martin Institute, University of Melbourne.

McGrail, M.R., Russell, D.J. and Campbell, D.G., 2016. Vocational training of general practitioners in rural locations is critical for the Australian rural medical workforce. Med J Aust, 205(5), pp.216-21.

McVicar, D. and Polidano, C., 2015. If you get what you want, do you get what you need? Course choice and achievement effects of a vocational education and training voucher scheme.

O’Connell, M. and Torii, K., 2016. Expenditure on education and training in Australia: Update and analysis.

Webb, S., Black, R., Plowright, S., Morton, R. and Roy, R., 2014, January. Geographical dimensions of imagined futures: post school participation in education and work in peri-urban and regional Australia. In Refereed proceedings, annual meeting of the Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association (pp. 1-20). Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association.

Wheelahan, L., Buchanan, J. and Yu, S., 2015. Linking Qualifications and the Labour Market through Capabilities and Vocational Streams. Synthesis Report. National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

Woods, R., Artist, S. and O'Connor, G., 2015. Learning in Australian local government: A roadmap for improving education and training. Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance.

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