ReadyTech’s pre-lockdown Voice of VET Survey is a time capsule of vocational education and training views prior to COVID-19 that shows just how far we’ve come – and also what’s possible in the future.
Late 2019 was an interesting time for Australia’s vocational education and training industry. With the Joyce Review having been handed down earlier in the year, VET providers were still digesting what these new measures could mean for them and how they would fare in a brand new decade.
They were asking: What will 2020 hold? What will I need to change? How will I be able to adapt?
Now we know the answers to some of those questions. With the impacts of COVID-19 having swept through the economy and the VET sector alike, providers have needed to change their definitions of what was possible and are contemplating an entirely new landscape than they were late last year.
This is what makes ReadyTech’s Voice of VET: RTO Industry Australia Report 2020 such a treasure trove of insight. With a range of pre-crisis findings and views from 379 surveyed VET providers, we’re now able to look back at where we were to get a better perspective on where we might be going.
Previewing the past
There is one preview finding from Voice of VET that is worth singling out first. As part of the survey, providers were asked the question: What type of training delivery methods do you currently offer?
Only 44 per cent – or less than half – of VET providers offered any form of online learning.
At the same time, Registered Training Organisations in Australia were heavily invested in conducting learning in traditional face-to-face formats: 85 per cent of providers delivered classroom training.
Given where we are today, these statistics are either amusing fossils – or paradigm shifting.
As a result of COVID-19, providers large and small have needed to shift the way they deliver learning overnight. With crash courses in everything from delivering effective online sessions via Zoom, to the ‘contactless’ management of admin and compliance, providers have been required to change fast.
And change they have.
Now, it would not be far wrong to say 100 per cent of providers are delivering online in some form.
While most underlying business models have not undergone total digital transformation – and much work would need to be done to achieve that – the environment called for adaptation, and providers have been up to the very significant challenge of making this happen – even in very difficult times.
Envisioning the future
The evolutionary leap we’ve undertaken in the last few months calls for a reset in what we think is possible.
Though the challenges of COVID-19 are by no means dealt with – and we will all need to be mindful of how they may continue to challenge our students, our teams and our businesses into the future – there is also great hope that if we want to get something done – step into the future – we can.
This is not change just for the sake of it. And of course, when talking about VET learning, face-to-face can often be critical component of demonstration, of understanding and of learning. But as we’ve seen in 2020, thinking ahead can ensure we’re prepared for whatever for the future brings.
While this has been in the form of COVID-19 this year, it could just as easily be the slower yet no less real changes in Gen Z student expectations, new technology, employer skills needs and other trends.
If we can collectively shift the dial from 44 to 100 per cent – what else might be possible? It turns out that, we are more than capable of adapting when we need to. The magic is making it happen when we want to.