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What is VET delivered to secondary students?
Australian secondary school students can undertake a vocational education and training (VET) program at school. VET delivered to secondary students enables them to get workplace skills through nationally recognised training while still at school.
This gives them an opportunity to gain nationally recognised VET qualifications. The qualifications also provide credits towards their Senior Secondary Certificate of Education.
Students can also begin part-time school-based apprenticeships and traineeships in secondary school.
The qualifications offered in these VET programs vary across states and territories.
Why is it important to deliver VET to secondary students?
VET provides students with opportunities to develop work relevant skills. An enriched senior secondary curriculum provides pathways to further education and work.
VET delivered to secondary students enables them to develop workplace skills through nationally recognised training. This can come from an industry developed training package, or an accredited course. Secondary students can do this training while they complete their senior secondary certificate.
High quality and industry relevant VET is important in supporting students to continue onto further education, training or employment.
Why is reform needed?
Recent reviews, including the Review of Senior Secondary Pathways into work, further education and training and the Strengthening Skills: Expert Review of Australia’s Vocational Education and Training System led by the Hon Steven Joyce, recognised the importance of VET in providing alternative vocational pathways to secondary students. VET also supplies the labour market with graduates who have skills and experiences employers value.
However, the reviews have also raised concerns with VET delivered to secondary students, including:
- inconsistent quality of delivery of courses and outcomes for students
- industry concerns with the value of VET qualifications delivered to secondary students
- limitations of current data collections. These make it difficult to measure investment, quality and outcomes and to develop evidence-based policy to achieve the best outcomes.
What is being done?
Under the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform Australian, state and territory governments committed to strengthening VET Pathways for Secondary Students. Governments also committed to improving its quality and vocational relevance.
In February 2021, Skills Ministers considered initial options to support improvements to VET delivered to secondary students. They requested officials undertake work to further scope the options.
A working group of education and skills government officials will further explore reform options. These include considering the development of a National VET in Schools Strategy in line with Recommendation 10 of the Review of Senior Secondary Pathways into work, further education and training.