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Nearly a quarter of Australians undertaking vocational training

Nearly a quarter of Australians aged 15 to 64 undertook some form of vocational education and training in 2014, according to new data.

The report, published by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), gathered data from 4601 Australian training providers. This is the first time such comprehensive data has been collected and follows the introduction of mandatory reporting of training activity.

Previously, training providers were only required to report data on government-funded training activity to NCVER.

 “Today marks a turning point. Prior releases of data by NCVER reported only government-funded training activity which showed, in the last annual release, that 1.8 million students were in training. With this wider collection of training under ‘total VET activity’, we now know there are significantly more people in training – 3.9 million students,” said Dr Craig Fowler, Managing Director, NCVER.

He added – “This first release of ‘total VET activity’ data is the crucial start in getting a better picture of training activity. Consumers, employers, training providers, regulators and governments will benefit from the rich information it provides.”

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) welcomed the report .

“The scale and impact of the VET sector is revealed for all to see,” said ACCI’s Director of Employment, Education and Training, Jenny Lambert.

“It makes it even more important that we deal with the issues of quality, and take a serious look at how, through the Federation White Paper process, the opportunity can be taken to remove the inefficiencies and inconsistencies in the system and settle on who should be responsible for funding and managing VET."

However, the vocational education and training sector does have its share of problems.

As the Australian reports, recent deregulation has resulted in an increase in training loans being accessed by vulnerable students who do not go on to finish their studies and gain qualifications. And state governments are investing less in vocational training.

“The mess governments have created is trashing what was once a strong public system. We need to stop and think about the type of system we need, and how to get it,” Leesa Wheelahan an Australian researcher now working at the University of Toronto told the Australian.

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