Improving VET data collection, use and analysis

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Why is improving data collection, use and analysis important?

Improving the way we collect and use data will support users of the vocational education and training (VET) system, including students, training organisations, regulators and governments.

This will give them access to more timely and reliable information. The improvements will also help VET data submitters, with data collection and reporting that is more efficient and event-based.

Why is reform needed?

Currently, reporting VET activity data is complex with variations across states and territories and for different types of training.

There are large time lags between when activities occur and when information on those activities is available to data users.

The reviews Strengthening Skills: Expert Review of Australia’s Vocational Education and Training system, led by the Hon Steven Joyce, and All eyes on quality: review of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011, led by Professor Valerie Braithwaite, both called for regular provision of VET activity data by training organisations.

More efficient and frequent collection and use of VET data will provide a range of benefits including:

  • making reporting easier and quicker for Registered Training Organisations and contracted training organisations. This means they can focus on delivering skills training and assessment to students
  • improving the reliability of data and how it informs key decisions, policy development and improvements to the VET system
  • ensuring governments are better able to measure outcomes and the effectiveness of investment in the VET system
  • quicker updating of student achievements on student transcripts through the Unique Student Identifier initiative.

Under the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform, Australian, state and territory governments committed to working collaboratively to enhance transparency and accountability. This commitment included establishing clear roles and responsibilities for governments and industry. It also included increased public sharing of data collection and analysis to support regular assessment of governments’ policies and performance.

What is being done?

The Australian Government is collaborating with state and territory governments and the National Centre for Vocational Education Research to implement the VET Data Streamlining program. The program aims to change current VET data collection processes and allow system-to-system data exchange, collecting data in near real-time as well as updating the current Information Standard.

A proof of concept which will demonstrate the benefits of this new data collection system is almost complete. The new system is cloud-based and provides for a central data repository, which can be accessed by multiple users and stakeholders. Contributors to this project include the:

  • Department of Education, Skills and Employment
  • New South Wales Department of Education
  • South Australian Department for Innovation and Skills
  • Northern Territory Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade
  • National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

Once the new system is operational, data will be collected and handled in accordance with the National VET Regulator Act 2011 and the Privacy Act 1988, so that individuals’ privacy is protected throughout the reporting chain.