Page 2969 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 15 September 2015

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The ACT has a high achieving secondary school system characterised by some of the highest rates of student achievement and teaching excellence that makes us the envy of the nation in many regards. The ACT also has a quality tertiary education and training system that supports individuals in our community to gain the skills and qualifications they need to find fulfilling careers in our diversifying economy.

The ACT has a strong report card when it comes to secondary schooling outcomes. We can boast many achievements, including high levels of attainment of the year 12 certificate or equivalent, some of the best rates for post-school transitions in the nation from school to further education or employment, and high student satisfaction with the VET experience in schools. But we cannot be complacent. We must continue to strive to do better by our students and by the community.

There are challenges and opportunities that we can tackle. We can do more to build the skilled workforce our local business and industry needs. We can better identify our region’s skills needs and shortages. We can do the hard work to remedy and prevent youth unemployment in the community, and we can educate young people for future employment in industries that are constantly changing and evolving.

I initiated this review last year, seeing it as an opportunity to take a closer look at the intersection of our secondary schooling and training systems—that is, where vocational education and training is offered to students in ACT secondary schools. This review follows work all jurisdictions undertook in 2014 to modernise the national framework for VET in schools, preparing secondary students for work.

The modernised framework was developed by a working group of the Education Council. It articulates the fundamental components of a quality education system for secondary students—that is, clarity of terminology, purpose and expectations of outcomes, collaboration to meet the needs of students, schools and employers, confidence in the quality, value and long-term benefits of VET, and core systems that are efficient, streamlined and support the best interests of students and employers.

Importantly, what also comes through in the framework is the imperative for change. I quote directly from the framework:

The world that shaped current delivery models of vocational education has changed, and continues to do so. Technology, globalisation and socioeconomic demands are driving changes in schooling, vocational learning and VET.

Madam Speaker, this sentiment is quite clear in the report and the response that I present to the Assembly today. This review also builds on the many successes we have already achieved under the national partnership agreement on skills reform. Under this agenda we have been driving higher quality training that is relevant to individuals, employers and industry, a more transparent VET sector with improved cross-jurisdictional understanding, a more efficient VET sector that is responsive to the needs of students, employers and industry, more accessible training and a more equitable training system.

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