The VET industry is tougher than we ever thought possible. Here’s why.

A lucky slice of the Australian Registered Training Organisation (RTO) market actually managed to scrape by totally unscathed during the 2020 Covid-19 crisis. However, ReadyTech’s Voice of VET RTO Industry Australia Report 2021 reveals it was a very exclusive club. Only seven per cent of RTOs.

For the other 93%, 2020 was a difficult year. As we near the 2021 half way mark, Voice of VET has revealed just how dire the impacts were on providers last year. But it also shows how strongly and creatively they are fighting these difficult times with determination, innovation, transformation.


How did the 2020 crisis impact RTOs?

A half of all RTOs lost revenue during 2020: Revenue decreases were reported by 47% of RTOs in 2020, with Sydney the hardest hit (revenue decreases were reported by 65% of RTOs). This was partially due to 45% of RTOs who reported experiencing a significant drop in enrolments.

20% had to reduce staff numbers or let staff go: A fifth of RTOs surveyed in Voice of VET had to take drastic action by reducing their staff, including letting them go. A 20% slice of the market also said they undertook emergency measures to temporarily stand down staff during the crisis period.

53% rapidly moved classroom delivery online: It would have been thought impossible a year before, but 53% of RTOs were able to move classroom delivery online rapidly. This wasn’t enough to keep everyone engaged and learning though, with 23% experiencing a significant drop in completions.

JobTrainer funding tapped by a third of RTOs: The JobTrainer targeted funding initiative for apprenticeships and the training industry was supporting 36% of the RTO training market in 2020, who said they were either using or planning to use the Federal Government package.


How have RTOs been bouncing back?

There was a high expectation of revenue recovery in 2021: Despite the revenue declines of 2020, over a half (56%) of RTOs surveyed in 2020 expected their revenue to recover in 2021, with RTOs in Brisbane (65%) and Sydney (63%) the most optimistic in their outlook.

Student acquisition expected to lead recovery for RTOs: Student acquisition and enrolments was named by 66% of RTOs as the expected main source of progress in 2021. 55% of RTOs said the number and variety of courses on offer (55%) would help them forge forward in 2021.

Online training has been embraced now reaching 72% RTOs: Following the rapid move online during the Covid-19 crisis, 72% of RTOs had embraced online learning delivery for at least some of their education and training programs, up from just 44% a year before.

Investment in IT systems and processes will be increased: Over half (55%) of RTOs were planning to leverage increased investment in IT systems to support their recovery, while digital transformation was named by 63% of the market as a ‘high priority’ during the 2020-2021 period.


VET Industry Australia: VOICE OF VET REPORT 2021

Voice of VET (VOV) is an advocacy platform supporting the health of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) industry through the publication of quality independent research and content.

Download VOICE OF VET REPORT 2021 and gain insight into the status, value and concerns of providers, predominantly Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and TAFEs.