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VET system needs to support Victoria’s most vulnerable learners

Any overhaul of Victoria’s Vocational Education and Training sector should support students with higher needs and disadvantaged learners, and invest in communities where TAFE and VET are significant economic contributors, says the Victorian Council of Social Service.

“Vocational Education and Training (VET) plays an important role in providing disadvantaged learners with educational opportunities and the skills they need to gain and sustain meaningful employment and to participate more fully in society,” said Emma King, CEO of VCOSS.

‘The Andrews’ government’s independent review of the VET sector, released today, shows there is significant work to be done to ensure the system is offering Victorians the high-quality skills and training scheme our community needs.”

“In its response to the independent review, the Andrew’s government said the objective is to promote equity and address disadvantage in the VET system, a move VCOSS welcomes and is long needed in the face of declining enrolments for vulnerable learners and increasing unemployment.”

“The review offers a detailed – analysis of what has gone wrong in the VET system over recent years and what needs to be done to improve equity and address disadvantage. VCOSS looks forward to working with the state government to adopt the recommendations of the review that put the needs of vulnerable learners and communities first and improve pathways to sustainable employment.”

“The review makes several recommendations aimed at maximizing economic and social participation of high needs learners and people disengaged from the labour force.”

“These include proposals to remove barriers to eligibility for further training or “upskilling” for vulnerable groups of people; removing the restriction on eligibility that means a person can only commence two courses at the same level in their lifetime; and the recommendation to create community service grants (CSGs) aimed at supporting vulnerable and higher needs learners to complete training and transition to employment.”

“VCOSS particularly welcomes commitments made including reviewing the subsidy loadings for disadvantaged learners. While the government has not yet detailed how it will implement all of the recommendations to improve equity and address disadvantage, we look forward to working with the Andrews government to as it progresses working towards the recommendations from the review.”

“The VET Funding Review is an important opportunity to repair the vocational education and training sector in Victoria to be able to provide quality lifelong learning to all Victorians, particularly people who are vulnerable or disadvantaged.”