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VET participation

Strategy: Increase participation in vocational education and training pathways at Certificate III and above, including increasing numbers of apprenticeships and traineeships

Video: Calen District State College, Radio Rocks

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The RemServ Showcase Award for Excellence in Innovation
Calen District State College, Radio Rocks

The Calen District State College is making waves with it's own on-campus radio studio. For the past three years, Years 6 to 12 students have been producing and presenting their own radio programs. Initially at Mackay's community radio station, but now on-campus thanks to a grant from the Whitsunday School Industry Links Scheme.

Through Radio Rocks, senior students gain certificates in Broadcasting and also credits towards the Queensland Certificate of Education, but the big plus is that students are more confident, better communicators and tech-savvy.

The success story is spreading and several neighbouring schools are said to share the airtime.

Calen District State College, where success rocks.

The department supports a range of programs aimed at stimulating increased participation within the state's VET sector. Programs such as User Choice support apprenticeship and traineeship training, VET Revenue General supports targeted training through the Public Provider, and the Productivity Places Program supports training in partnership with the Australian Government and industry.

In total, the DET increased the skills of around 280 000 Queenslanders in 2009-10.

VET in schools comprises a range of training options for school students in the Senior Phase of Learning, including courses delivered at school, SATs and courses offered at a TAFE institute or by another training organisation. VET in schools can count towards a Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) and is generally identified on the student's Senior Education and Training Plan.

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research data for the 2009 calendar year shows that 56 200 new apprentice and trainee commencements were recorded in Queensland. This is a decrease of 8 per cent compared to the previous 12 months.

The apprentice new commencements reached their lowest point at 13 750 for the 12 months ending November 2009. From December 2009, there has been a degree of turnaround in new commencements, with about 14 700 new commencements so far recorded for the 12 months ending June 2010 (28 per cent down from the peak of 22 250 for the year ending February 2008).

Figure 35: Number of apprentice and trainee commencements

Number of apprentice and trainee commencements

Graph of trends in nunmbers of apprentice and trainee commencements 2005-2010

Source: Department of Education and Training - Contract of Training Database (DELTA)

Figure 36: Percentage of Year 12 students from state and non-state schools with a VET qualification

Percentage of Year 12 students from state and non-state schools with a VET qualification

Graph showing percentage of all Year 12 students completing a VET qualification 2006-2009

Source: Queensland Studies Authority

The proportion of Queensland people aged 20 to 24 who completed Year 12 (or equivalent) or attained a Certificate II or above increased from 81.7 per cent in 2006 to 85.6 per cent in 2009 (see Figure 37). This was higher than the Australian figures over the same period (81.9 per cent to 84.5 per cent). These figures show that the state is well on the way to achieving the 2015 target of 92.5 per cent as set out in the Youth Attainment and Transitions National Partnership Agreement.

Figure 37: Proportion of 20- to 24-year-olds having attained Year 12 or equivalent or Certificate II (both state and nonstate schools)

Proportion of 20- to 24-year-olds having attained Year 12 or equivalent or Certificate II (both state and nonstate schools)

Graph showing trend in proportion of 20 - 24-year-olds having attained Year 12 or equivalent or Certificate II

Source: ABS Education and Work Australia May 2009 (Catalogue No. 6227.0) (Additional Datacube)

The state is making progress towards the goal of having 75 per cent of Queenslanders with Certificate III or above qualifications by 2020. The proportion measured through the ABS survey of Education and Work was 46.6 per cent in 2005 and rose to 54.4 per cent in 2009.

Figure 38: Proportion of 25- to 64-year-olds with Certificate III or higher qualifications

Proportion of 25- to 64-year-olds with Certificate III or higher qualifications

Graph showing trend in proportion of 25 - 64-year-olds with Certificate III or higher qualifications

Source: Department of Education and Training - Contract of Training Database (DELTA)

Figure 39: Number of apprentices and trainees in training

Number of apprentices and trainees in training

Graph showing number of apprentice and trainee commencements

Source: Department of Education and Training - Contract of Training Database (DELTA)

Figure 40: Number of apprentice and trainee completions

Number of apprentice and trainee completions

Graph showing number of apprentice and trainee completions

Source: Department of Education and Training - Contract of Training Database (DELTA)

Recognition of Prior Learning

Strategy: Improve completion rates, including through greater use of Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognising an individual's skills and experience using Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessment is one of the department's strategies to efficiently and effectively address Queensland's future skills needs.

The department invested $5 million during 2009-10 to support this initiative. RPL and the credit transfer process are effective ways of qualifying individuals - they save time and resources by negating the need for people to retrain in skills and knowledge they already possess.

In 2009, 8.8 per cent of all full year training equivalents in Queensland were assessed through RPL, up from 3.6 per cent in 2005.

Figure 41: Full year training equivalents in Recognition of Prior Learning - Queensland's position relative to Australia, 2005-09

Full year training equivalents in Recognition of Prior Learning - Queensland's position relative to Australia, 2005-09

Graph showing comparative data for participation in Recognition of Prior Learning - Queensland's position relative to Australia, 2005-09

Source: Department of Education and Training - Contract of Training Database (DELTA)

Note: Full time training equivalents measure the training activity undertaken by a student on a full-time basis for one year. Calculations are based on hours of delivery (720 hours = 1 FYTE)

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Adult Community Education

Adult Community Education (ACE) makes a unique contribution to education and skilling, assisting people to improve their employment opportunities, make connections and participate more fully in their communities.

In September 2009, the department launched Queensland's first ACE Statement, providing a future vision for the sector. Implementing the statement will assist ACE providers to maximise their role in helping Queenslanders access learning pathways through a wide range of formal and non-formal learning opportunities.

In June 2010 the department hosted a forum for ACE sector providers on implementing the Australian Blueprint for Career Development. Integrating career competencies into ACE will enable adult learners to develop the career management skills and attitudes they need to successfully navigate vocational education and a changing work environment.

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Satisfaction with VET services

Surveys conducted by the NCVER have revealed the majority of students and employers are satisfied with VET training services and products in Queensland.

Results of the Student Outcome Survey show that VET graduates' satisfaction with their training remains high at 89 per cent.

Table 19: Level of student satisfaction with VET training services and products, 2006-09

2006

2007

2008

2009

Queensland

89%

89%

88%

89%

Australia

88%

89%

89%

89%

Source: Student Outcome Survey - NCVER

Results of the last Survey of Employers' Use and Views, conducted in 2009, place Queensland just above the national average. 83.6 per cent of employers surveyed were satisfied with their apprentices and trainees as a way of meeting their skill needs. Trends since the 2009 survey show that Queensland employers were less satisfied than in 2007 (83.9 per cent).

Table 20: Level of employer satisfaction with apprentices and trainees

2005

2007

2009

Queensland

81%

84%

84%

Australia

79%

83%

83%

Source: Employers' Use and Views of the VET System - NCVER

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Maintaining a quality VET system

The Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) is the national set of standards that assures nationally consistent, high-quality training and assessment services for clients of the VET system.

The AQTF Essential Standards focus on quality outcomes for students and other clients of the VET sector, including employers and industry.

The concept of continuous improvement is built into every aspect of the standards. RTOs are required to evolve their operations during the course of their registration, to build on the quality of their training and assessment and their client outcomes.

The department applies a risk management approach to the registration and regulation of RTOs to ensure the most efficient application of resources and to reduce the regulatory burden on RTOs. A National Guideline for Risk Assessment supports national consistency in the application of this approach.

In 2009-10, the department conducted a total of 731 AQTF audits. Figure 42 shows the outcomes of the audits.

Figure 42: Outcomes of audits of registered training organisations

Outcomes of audits of registered training organisations

Pie graph showing outcomes of audits of registered training organisations

Source: Department of Education and Training

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VET graduate results

Queensland's VET sector continues to strive to address the needs of Queensland's economy, achieving strong results in producing job-ready graduates.

Figure 43: Number of TAFE qualifications awarded at Certificate I and above

Number of TAFE qualifications awarded at Certificate I and above

Graphs showing VET qualifications awarded at Certificate I and above

Source: Department of Education and Training

Note: Many private providers reported their non-government funded training through the department's databases in 2009-10. This private provider fee for service training activity is not within the departmental reporting scope. A nationally developed protocol for separating this out-of-scope activity has not yet been built into the department's database. In lieu of reporting total VET qualifications that are not comparable to previous years, this year a trend for TAFE only is shown. In scope, private provider certificate level qualifications are estimated at 27 000.

Table 21: Total number of VET qualifications awarded - all qualification levels

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

96 947

92 820

109 921

112 400

Source: Department of Education and Training

Figure 44: Statistical trends for Cert IV and above students

Statistical trends for Cert IV and above students

Graphs showing trends in activity of students in Cert IV and above

Source: Department of Education and Training

Figure 44 demonstrates VET system has become more effective in delivering academic programs that lead to successful student outcomes, particularly the gaining of awards.

The number of students who were successful in Certificate IV and above studies has increased by 14 663 (42 per cent) from 2004-05 to 2009-10. The number of successful students receiving an award increased by 8 619 (59 per cent) over the same period.

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User Choice reform

The end of the existing User Choice contracts and preferred supplier arrangements in 2010 presented a significant opportunity to implement a new User Choice framework and model to address the most significant challenges of:

  • prioritising funding
  • establishing consistent and appropriate pricing
  • implementing a simplified, quality-focused government purchasing strategy.

The department undertook extensive consultation with stakeholders, resulting in a new User Choice model to be implemented from 1 July 2010. Importantly, the changes ensure that funding provided for the training of apprentices and trainees is led by demand and focuses on the occupational areas of highest priority.

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Apprentice and trainee package

The Queensland Government, industry and unions have worked together through the Trade Training Taskforce to develop the Apprentice and Trainee Package to deliver on a range of strategies to support apprentices whose training was at risk during the global financial crisis.

As at 30 June 2010, funding assistance for apprentices and trainees totalling $1.2 million of User Choice program funds was expended this financial year to assist over 600 approved participants. This funding enables apprentices and trainees whose training contracts are cancelled to attend a training organisation to assist them to re-enter a training contract. For more information visit Funding available for apprentices and trainees External Link.

Another initiative developed as part of a $20 million 'safety net' program is the Out-of-Trade Register, which encourages employers to take on apprentices and trainees whose employment has been affected by the economic downturn. Employers can access the register for details of apprentices and trainees (at all levels and locations) across a range of industries, including building and construction, electrical, engineering, automotive, hairdressing and hospitality. A total of 1154 individuals were assisted in 2009-10. For more information visit Out-of-Trade Register External Link.

Group Training Australia was also contracted to provide additional case management and web-based placement services for out-of-trade apprentices and trainees to help mitigate the declining numbers of apprenticeships. For more information visit Trade Apprentices External Link.

Through the department, government took a proactive approach to assist prospective apprentices during the economic downturn by implementing the Pre apprenticeship Skilling Pathway. In partnership with industry stakeholders, the department implemented this initiative, which is currently providing customised preparatory training for young people seeking a career in the trades. The Pre-apprenticeship Skilling Pathway was approved by the Training and Employment Recognition Council on 6 October 2009, and is ensuring that prospective apprentices have improved chances of being accepted by industry and securing employment as an apprentice.

In 2009-10, $14 million of User Choice program funding was committed to support the Pre-apprenticeship Skilling Pathway. There are four customised models currently operating in the key industry areas of construction, manufacturing/engineering, electro-technology and automotive. As at 30 June 2010, 1993 individuals had enrolled in programs under the Pre-apprenticeship Skilling Pathway. For more information visit Pre-apprenticeship skilling pathway.

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Apprentice Retention and Completion Strategy

The department offers a proactive service to employers, apprentices and trainees. Officers visit workplaces to identify and address any issues that may prevent the apprentice or trainee completing their training within their expected time frame. Visits are mostly aimed at apprentices in skills shortage industries, or where referrals have been made to the department by training providers.

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Apprenticeship early completion bonus

In 2006, the Queensland Government committed to providing $7.2 million over four years for a $1000 bonus payable to eligible apprentices completing their training early. While eligibility for the bonus ceased on 30 June 2009, payments continued during 2009-10, with the department approving $882 000 in bonuses to 882 eligible apprentices.

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Apprenticeships Info Service

The Apprenticeships Info Service is an initiative of the Queensland Skills Plan to improve the attractiveness of apprenticeships and traineeships by providing support during training. The service provides free advice, referrals and support to all Queenslanders about apprenticeships and traineeships, and helps to streamline service delivery, especially in regional areas.

In 2009-10, the service provided:

  • advice, referrals and support over the phone and via email. Up to 31 May 2010, the phone service responded to over 74 500 calls and 12 500 emails
  • 24 hour public access to information through its Apprenticeships Info website. Up to 31 May 2010, the website received over 159 000 visits
  • 24 hour access to apprenticeship and traineeship information for stakeholders through its Apprenticeships Info Online Service. Up to 31 May 2010, over 72 000 searches were conducted
  • approximately $3.1 million (as at 31 May 2010) in financial incentives to assist apprentices and trainees to travel to their training providers.

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Support for trainees and apprentices

The Train to Retain initiative aims to ensure apprentices and trainees have a quality training experience. The initiative was developed to implement the recommendations of the Training Ombudsman's report - Improving workplace practices to help reduce harassment of apprentices and trainees in Queensland.

Train to Retain has encouraged the adoption of flexible and inclusive workplace cultures that:

  • provide production and efficiency-related benefits to employers
  • contribute to increased support for individuals undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • ensure the greatest likelihood of trainees and apprentices completing their training.

This has been achieved this through a number of initiatives including:

  • establishing an industry reference group to address issues regarding safe workplace practices
  • implementing a workplace education program with resources on roles, responsibilities and processes relevant to apprentices and trainees in the workplace.

For further information, visit Train to Retain.

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Coal Seam Gas/Liquefied Natural Gas Industry Training Program

In March 2010, the government announced the Coal Seam Gas/Liquefied Natural Gas Industry Training Program to support the training of existing and new workers in the industry. The government will commit $5 million over two years to be matched by industry.

Funding will be directed to nationally recognised training delivered by RTOs and is in addition to current arrangements for apprenticeships and traineeships.

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Green Building Skills Fund

The Green Building Skills Fund is a $1.4 million investment, with $500 000 each from the Department of Education and Training and the Office of Climate Change, and industry contribution through Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ).

The funding will support up to 3500 training places in green skills for workers across the building and construction industry including architects, builders, engineers, interior designers, surveyors and construction apprentices.

The department has partnered with CSQ to facilitate the brokering of skills training under the Green Building Skills Fund. This industry-led approach will maximise the training opportunities by better matching the industry's needs across the state.

This partnership combines the flexibility and drive of the industry with the resources of government to assist the industry in identifying the priority areas for green skills development.

As at 30 June 2010, CSQ has contracted five organisations to deliver training to apprentices and existing workers across the state. The first of these training courses commenced in February 2010, with 749 participants completing training this financial year.

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