In a significant development for the Australian vocational education sector, the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) has successfully lobbied the government for the establishment of a Technical Reference Group (TRG) to support registered training organisations (RTOs) in adopting the TAE – Training and Education, as well as the FSK – Foundation Skills, training packages. This initiative comes in response to the concerns raised by RTOs regarding the need for more guidance and technical support for these training packages.
Addressing a Gap in Support
The absence of a dedicated point of contact for RTOs seeking guidance on technical issues related to the TAE and FSK training packages prompted ITECA to advocate for a solution. Given the ongoing reviews and reforms in training delivery, the responsibility for these packages was not initially assigned to a Jobs and Skills Council (JSC), leaving RTOs without the necessary infrastructure for technical advice. Recognising the importance of supporting foundation skills training and the skills training sector, the inter-governmental Skills and Workforce Ministerial Council entrusted temporary oversight of the training packages to the Australian Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR). However, this decision sparked concerns among RTOs regarding the availability of technical guidance.
Lobbying for Change
Through strategic advocacy and collaborative partnerships with stakeholders like TAFE Directors Australia, ITECA played a pivotal role in convincing the government to establish the Technical Reference Group. This interim measure aims to bridge the gap in technical support for RTOs delivering the TAE training package. The Chair of the TRG, Andrew Shae, has been appointed by the Australian Government, further reinforcing the significance of this initiative.
Collaboration for Quality Delivery
The TRG, comprising a small time-limited group, has assisted DEWR in developing effective strategies for the TAE and FSK training packages. This temporary arrangement creates an opportunity for RTOs, states, territories, and industry stakeholders to collaborate and contribute their expertise to ensure the quality of these training programs. Regular ITECA Training & Assessment Interest Group meetings will provide RTOs with updates on the latest developments, enabling them to stay informed.
Beyond the Technical Reference Group
While establishing the TRG marks a significant milestone, ITECA recognises the need for longer-term arrangements within the VET sector. To this end, ITECA remains committed to working closely with DEWR, state and territory governments, and other stakeholders to ensure that the interests of independent RTOs are adequately represented in broader skills reforms and new industry engagement arrangements. This ongoing collaboration will empower independent RTOs to actively shape the future of vocational education in Australia.
ITECA’s member-driven policy leadership has been instrumental in advocating for positive change in the VET sector. Members have actively contributed to the work of the ITECA Skills Training National Policy Committee, which has played a crucial role in achieving the establishment of the TRG. For those interested in participating and making a difference, becoming an ITECA member offers an excellent opportunity to engage in shaping the future of vocational education.
Establishing the Technical Reference Group for the TAE – Training and Education and FSK – Foundation Skills training packages represents a significant step forward for independent RTOs in Australia. Thanks to the lobbying efforts of ITECA, RTOs now have access to the necessary guidance and technical support for these training programs. This collaborative initiative empowers RTOs, states, territories, and industry stakeholders to work together towards delivering high-quality vocational education. As ITECA continues to advocate for the interests of independent RTOs, the future of vocational education in Australia looks promising, with meaningful engagement and collaboration opportunities.
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