Australian vocational education and training (VET) industry predicts sharp rebound in 2021

Australia’s VET sector expects to rebound strongly from the impacts of COVID-19 in 2021, with ReadyTech’s latest Voice of VET Report 2020/21 finding opportunities for growth as the key focus areas for many organisations.


  • Most VET providers (66%) see new student acquisition as the key to progress in 2021
  • 63% of VET providers describe digital transformation as a ‘high priority’ for this year
  • 72% now deliver some education and training online (up from 44% in 2019)
  • 19% see online or blended learning as their primary 2021 business opportunity.


ReadyTech’s latest Voice of VET Report 2020/21 has revealed that Australian VET providers expect to rapidly bounce back from the business impacts of COVID-19, focusing on new growth opportunities and digital transformation for 2021.


After a challenging year where nearly half of Australia’s VET providers (47%) suffered revenue declines, many have identified new student acquisition and enrolments, digital transformation, growth in online and blended learning, and course variety as key planks in their 2021 rebound strategy.


The majority of providers (56%) now predict a revenue increase in 2021, with post-COVID recovery set to be led by new student acquisition for 66% of providers. This will be supported by 55% of providers with plans to grow the number and variety of courses on offer, an increase on the 46% who were prioritising courses in 2019.


Digital transformation has also been named a ‘high priority’ for 63% of RTOs in 2021, with an emphasis on enhancing student experiences with technology (74%), as well as digitising areas like compliance (55%), training management, learning management and student management.


Online and blended learning has been identified as the main business opportunity on offer by 19% of the VET sector, with a much larger slice of the market (55%) expecting investment in IT systems and processes to give them a competitive edge this year.


ReadyTech’s General Manager, Student Management Systems, Trevor Fairweather, said vocational education and training was showing strong resilience in 2021. 


“The global pandemic placed severe pressure on the Australian VET sector; it’s clear providers are planning on putting this chapter well and truly  behind them, by proactively tackling new opportunities and focussing on digitisation and curriculum diversity as a key mechanisms for growth,” he said.


“It’s not surprising areas like digital transformation are taking centre stage. After the emergency experimentation of 2020, the VET sector has seen the powerful contribution technology can make to their business agility and success. It’s great to see that the sector’s not slowing down any time soon and providers are laser-focused on building an even stronger business and student experience this year.”


Other key findings from the ReadyTech Voice of VET 2020/21 Report include:


  • Only 7% of VET providers were unscathed by the COVID-19 crisis, with 45% experiencing a significant drop in enrolments, 23% seeing a drop in completions and 20% having to reduce staff.
  • 60% of VET providers agree the Federal Government supported them well during COVID-19, though only one third (36%) have actually benefitted from the 2020 JobTrainer package.
  • Non-accredited courses are now offered by over 50% of Australian VET providers, while many providers also expect to engineer growth through a 5% increase in accredited short courses.
  • Attracting new enrolments will be a key pressure point throughout 2021, while managing these enrolments is the most critical function of their Student Management System.
  • Compliance and regulation remain the key challenge for 23% of VET providers, with many wanting compliance, regulation and funding to remain the same or consistent. 


To download a copy of the Voice of VET 2020/21 Report, visit

For further information or an interview with Trevor Fairweather, General Manager of Student Management Systems at ReadyTech, please contact


For more information, please contact:

Natalie Miller
Head of Marketing & Communications
p. +61 422 436 787