Education and training providers had optimistic feelings about the impact of the Joyce Review at the beginning of 2020, a mood that is likely to have been enhanced by extended Government support during the COVID-19 period.
The Joyce Review’s six-point plan for VET was largely welcomed by education and training provider respondents in Voice of VET, marking a shift in mood that may have been accelerated by positive Government sentiment during COVID-19.
Rating the Review
The Voice of VET: RTO Industry Report 2020 found that, of the six action points announced by the Review, four were viewed positively by more than 50% of the RTOs surveyed in late 2019.
Most welcomed by providers was the prospect of a simplified funding regime and enhanced skills matching, with 63% of providers saying this should have a positive impact on their business.
The Review last year recommended the Government adopt simplified and nationally consistent funding in VET and that a National Skills Commission be created to link funding to skills needs.
Providers were also positive about recommendations to speed up of VET qualifications development (53%), strengthen quality assurance (51%) and provide better careers information (50%).
The Review in context
There was less obvious satisfaction with Government when it came to prevailing regulatory regimes at the time the survey was conducted late last year.
In one example, 46% of RTOs surveyed said they are ‘quite’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ with Federal Government support at the time, while 32% are dissatisfied with their state or territory government. Providers were split when it came to rating their satisfaction with ASQA; as many were ‘satisfied’ with ASQA (35%) as were dissatisfied (33%), while 32% remained neutral on the point.
However Government support through COVID-19 (including the recently announced JobTrainer package, which is worth a total of $2.5 billion in wage subsidies for apprentices and new courses in VET) are likely to have buoyed positive RTO feelings around the Joyce Review over the last six months.
Compliance and opportunity
ReadyTech General Manager of Student Management Systems, Trevor Fairweather, said that regulation and compliance had been in the past a consistent area of challenge for providers in the RTO sector.
“Voice of VET 2020 shows that the biggest administrative of business challenge faced by RTOs is ‘compliance’, with 43% of providers naming it as their top challenge at the end of 2019. This is consistent with Voice of VET’s 2019 findings, when 36% named it their biggest challenge. It follows that regulatory regimes, any changes to regulation and the resultant efforts to comply with that regulation garner significant attention among the provider community.”
However, the response to the Joyce Review is notable in that it indicates a level of optimism for these future changes, he said. “The added financial support and focus during COVID-19 is likely to shift many RTO attitudes on Government regulation further into optimistic territory over the coming 12 months.”