Review to look into Victorian trades teaching

The Victorian state government has announced a review of the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) and the state’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector as delivered through Victoria schools.

The review aims to establish how students can pursue a high-quality qualification while completing their senior secondary studies, and that pathways to trades skills are available.

The review hopes to smooth the transition between school, further training or education, or a career in industry, with industry identifying an increasing demand for appropriately skilled students, as Minister for Education, James Merlino, outlined.

“Nearly half a million new jobs have been created by the investments and major projects delivered by this Government. We need to make sure that school students have the training to benefit from these jobs.”

The review will also look into the pathways that students are being offered while in school, and whether further support is needed.

In 2018, the Ai Group identified that 75 per cent of employers found it difficult to recruit employees with the right qualifications into job vacancies. Most in shortage in the survey were jobs in the technical and trades fields.

Establishing a consistent framework for the teaching of vocational skills in schools will also be a focus of the review, to ensure that students graduate with the right skills and future employers can be confident that the qualifications that students have reflect the latest in industry practices.

The VCAL program, as a pathway into employment, apprenticeships, traineeships, and further study, is already popular with Victorian students, with 20,000 students enrolled in a VCAL certificate in 2018. The program combines fundamental skills such as literacy and numeracy with practical training through applied scenarios.

Leading the review will be John Firth, who was previously the CEO of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA). A reference group, with input from industry, schools and other experts will help to inform the review.