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Industry, TAFE back COAG skills agreement

States and territories sign up to the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development. Jennifer Bennett reports.

Industry bodies and TAFE have praised the results of last week’s Council of Australian Governments meeting, saying it is a good step towards solving the country’s skills shortage.

“[The meeting] reached an important agreement that ramps up the effort in tackling endemic skill shortages and forges overdue reforms to our national to our national training system,” said Australian Industry Group chief executive designate Innes Wilcox in a statement.

The National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development was signed by the prime minister, along with the premiers and chief ministers of the states and territories, on Friday in Canberra. It builds on the existing National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development, which called for the halving of the number of Australians aged 20 to 64 who do not have qualifications at a certificate III level and above, and doubling the number of higher level qualification completions by 2020. There will be an additional $1.75 billion in Federal funding allocated to the states over the next four years.

The meeting agreed to the implementation of a national training entitlement for qualifications up to Certificate III, and access to income contingent loans for diploma and advanced diplomas, in an effort to add 375,000 extra course completions over the next five years.

There is a promise of more transparency in assessment and training practices, and greater involvement of industry in the development of training outcomes to ensure that graduates possess relevant skills. “Industry will need to be involved with all levels of government to advance and shape these reforms, ensuring the required quality improvement measures deliver the outcomes sought by both industry and individuals,” said Willox.

TAFE Directors Australia chief executive officer Martin Riordan said the new agreement made TAFE a key driver in the reform agenda. He said it gave greater priority to course quality and delivery than before, and that the new entitlement system and loans would provide greater access to education and training.

COAG also agreed to speed up the implementation of new rules for low immigration risk providers, allowing them to have access to streamlined student visa assessments in the second half of 2012. “The extra Federal funding of $1.75 billion over four years is the centrepiece of a reform program that will seek to place industry at the centre of the nation’s training needs, with a TAFE system that delivers quality and value-for-money in a competitive environment,” said Riordan in a statement.

To read the full National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform, click

Reinvent Your Career would like to thank Education Review where this article first appeared.

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