The Australian vocational education and training (VET) system has established arrangements for industry to provide leadership and general policy direction.
As part of the Skills reform agenda agreed by National Cabinet and set out in Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform, new industry engagement arrangements aimed at strengthening industry leadership and engagement commenced from 1 January 2023. A review of these new arrangements 12 months after commencement will be undertaken to ensure the new industry engagement arrangements deliver for employers and learners.
To support the reforms, an independent Training Product Assurance function replaced the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC), which ceased its operations on 31 December 2022 and the Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) and Skills Service Organisations (SSOs) have been replaced by Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs).
Training Product Assurance function
The Training Package Assurance function:
- undertakes an assessment of each training product submitted by JSCs, ensuring high quality compliance of training packages against the standards set by Skills Ministers
- provides guidance and support to the newly established JSCs, building the capacity of JSCs.
An interim independent Training Product Assurance function, pending the outcomes of the post-implementation review, has been established in the Department of Employment and Workforce Relations (DEWR). An Executive Director for Training Package Assurance, appointed by DEWR, will conduct the assurance of training products, commencing from 1 January 2023, allowing time for Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs) and Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) to be established before a final decision is made on where the function will be housed long-term.
Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs)
Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs), formerly called Industry Clusters, have four broad functions: workforce planning; training product development; support collaboration between industry and training providers to meet employer needs; and to act as a source of intelligence on issues affecting their industry.
JSCs are being established through a two-stage grant opportunity. Stage one of the grant opportunity, which opened on 3 December 2021 and closed on 31 March 2022, has been finalised with the announcement of 10 successful JSC entities. Stage two of the grant opportunity involves newly established JSCs providing an operational and delivery strategy detailing how they will carry out the full range of functions.
The JSCs are expected to be progressively operational from January 2023 and will have a strong connection to the newly established Jobs and Skills Australia.
Skills Organisations Pilots
Three Skills Organisations Pilots — in the human services care, digital technologies and mining industries — were established in 2020. The pilots trialed ways to better shape the national training system to be more responsive to the skills needs for industries — from the identification of skills needs, to qualifications development, through to improving the quality of training delivery and assessment.
The Skills Organisations Pilot program was evaluated to explore strengths and weaknesses of the model with lessons learnt from the evaluation informing the industry engagement reforms.
No funding has been allocated to the pilots beyond 2022-23.
Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) provides advice on Australia's labour market, including advice on workforce needs and priorities and current, emerging and future skills and training needs and priorities (including in relation to apprenticeships). It builds on the work of the former National Skills Commission.
Other industry information
- AISC National Industry Insights Report
- IRC skills forecast and proposed schedule of work
- Industry Skills Council (ISCs) environmental scans
Industry peak bodies
Industry peak bodies and trade unions provide a voice for their members and represent the interests of industry sectors. Key national peak bodies include:
- Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI)
- Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)
- Australian Industry Group (AiGroup)
- Business Council of Australia (BCA).
There are also a number of industry bodies that advise state/territory governments on industry-specific education and training. The National Industry Insights Report website provides a comprehensive listing of industry associations and advisory bodies.