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Final Report: Inquiry into the Perceptions and Status of Vocational Education and Training

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education, and Training has released the report of its inquiry into the perceptions and status of vocational education and training (VET).

The Committee has made 34 recommendations in this report which aim to address negative perceptions of the VET sector and enhance the quality of and access to VET. These include:

  • Campaigns to promote VET and VET careers via a variety of channels to diverse audiences.
  • Developing a national careers education strategy for secondary schools.
  • Creating a robust framework for developing, implementing, and funding micro-credentials.
  • Improving the quality of and access to facilities and supports available to VET students and staff.
  • Defining a clear roadmap to a genuinely integrated tertiary education system.

The Committee’s report was informed by and intersects with the findings, recommendations, and measures pursued through other inquiry and reform processes, including the Employment White Paper, National Skills Agreement, and Australian Universities Accord. The Committee’s findings and recommendations should be considered alongside those processes.

ADCET's Submission

ADCET made a submission to the Inquiry into the Perceptions and Status of Vocational Education and Training.

ADCET was referred to in the Final Report (pg 153)

6.71 The Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) stated that there are several perceived and real assumptions as to the ability of VET providers to support students with disability, including:

  • Lack of disability awareness and responsiveness within the VET workforce.
  • Lack of attention to structural barriers such as physical and digital environments.
  • Lack of inclusive learning and teaching strategies that embrace inclusive practice.
  • Over-reliance on reasonable adjustments as a means of addressing the needs of individuals rather than a systemic approach.
  • Limited understanding of legislative obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) and the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (DSE), with no mechanisms to address compliance.
  • Poor cultures of inclusion which attract people with disability and foster success across the learning lifecycle. 

6.72 According to the ADCET, at least some of these issues might be addressed through the following measures:

  • Requiring organisations with more than 100 employees to report on strategies to improve access and outcomes for people with disability, using a similar model to the gender equity reporting managed by the Workplace Gender Equity Agency. Organisations could also be mandated to have a current Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) registered with the Australian Human Rights Commission’s DIAP register and report regularly on outcomes.
  • More explicit compliance on disability could be managed through ASQA, noting that at present there is little or no focus on strategies to support people with disability in VET and no reference to prioritising disability in ASQA’s priorities.
  • A review of funding arrangements in the VET sector to ensure that providers are receiving sufficient funding to support students with disability.
  • A grants scheme to assist with key accessibility and inclusion issues such as ICT procurement and the transformation of learning.

(February 2024)