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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 15 September 2015) . . Page.. 2970 ..

We have high aspirations for the training of secondary students, aspirations that I consider equal in importance to other areas of the secondary schooling curriculum. Training for secondary school students should be robust, of high quality, accessible and of unquestionable value. Our system should offer students breadth and depth in their choices, flexibility to take charge of their learning, and support to make well-informed choices about their future. It should prepare students to make effective transitions to the workforce and further education and training for careers in a dynamic and modern community.

Young people have an entitlement to high quality education and training. With these aspirations in mind, I directed the Education and Training Directorate to commence this review to rethink the way we support our secondary school students in vocational education and training.

A consortium of highly qualified and experienced researchers from the Centre for International Research on Education Systems at the Victoria University was commissioned to lead this review work. Throughout the first half of this year the consultants engaged in thorough research and extensive communications with stakeholders across the sector. This included teachers, parents, local employers and industry groups, the Board of Senior Secondary Studies and our large public provider, the Canberra Institute of Technology.

At the same time, the Education and Training Directorate surveyed students about their VET studies. I was very pleased to hear that more than 190 students responded. I would like to thank everyone who gave their time to be interviewed and consulted in this review.

What I present to the Assembly is an independently developed evidence base for the future reform of vocational education and training for secondary students in ACT schools. Implementing these future reform directions will take time and it will take commitment, but I am pleased to say that the Education and Training Directorate has accepted all future directions in its response. I also know that the Canberra Institute of Technology and the ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies are likewise committed to implementing these real and lasting reforms.

I will speak now about how the ACT government will drive these reforms from here. First, it is crucial that our sector is underpinned by confidence in the purpose of training delivery and the value of student outcomes. This is why we will improve clarity and confidence for key stakeholders through clear articulation of the goals, vision and purpose of VET for ACT secondary students. Some of the observations in the report I know will resonate well with all three schooling sectors and I invite our Catholic and independent school sector colleagues to work with the government to develop this vision statement for all secondary students in the ACT.

Second, I see it as imperative that students have workplace learning opportunities that bring them into direct contact with the workplace so that we can improve collaboration with business, industries and vocational and further education providers. This will build the confidence of employers, students and parents alike.

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