An overhaul of the vocational education and training (VET) delivered in Western Australian secondary schools was announced today by WA's Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery. The planned changes will help to ensure students receive quality training, from quality training providers, to ensure the best possible outcomes once they leave school. Additionally, the list of qualifications offered to students will be refocused, in consultation with industry and the education and training sector, to ensure senior secondary students graduate with a valuable qualification that meets industry needs and leads to employment opportunities.
Two wide-ranging reports into the delivery of vocational education and training in secondary schools – the Auditor General's 2016 report VET for Year 11 and 12 students in public schools and the Parliamentary Education and Health Standing Committee's 2017 report Putting VET to the Test – made a number of recommendations to strengthen the current system.
Both recommended the requirements for achieving a Western Australia Certificate of Education (WACE) be monitored closely to ensure schools are providing a sustainable future for students.
The School Curriculum and Standards Authority will begin consultation this month with key stakeholders including school leaders, training providers and parents, on broadening the scope for students to achieve a WACE to deliver the best post-school outcomes for students that are not on an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) pathway. Currently, students not pursuing an ATAR are required to complete a Certificate II or higher VET qualification, in combination with other senior secondary courses, to achieve a WACE. The consultation will explore if there is scope for other options for Year 11 and 12 students, such as completing at least five general courses.
The Department of Education and the Department of Training and Workforce Development, as well as the School Curriculum and Standards Authority, will also implement a range of changes to VET programs for secondary students to add rigour to senior secondary certification and to maintain the quality of training. A guidance tool to assist schools to find a suitable Registered Training Organisation (RTO), and assess its performance, was made available to schools earlier this year. To further ensure quality training, a preferred provider contract panel will be established to provide schools with a selection of quality-assured RTOs to choose from when making future arrangements.
The Department of Education will improve governance arrangements between schools and RTOs before training is delivered, including developing standardised contracts. This will include stipulating the timeframe for verification of student achievement for inclusion in the WACE.
Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery
"The changes I am announcing today are designed to boost the standards of the VET we deliver in our schools and ensure students receive the best outcomes possible.
It also means additional support and guidance for schools when engaging with training organisations to ensure training is high quality and delivers meaningful qualifications for students."
" We want students to be enrolled in courses that are personally challenging, that enhance their development and that provide them with the best career pathway post-school.The WACE needs to be flexible and accommodate students with diverse interests and abilities - not limited to either academic or vocational pathways.
Essentially, we are striving to make sure that after completing 13 years of schooling, students will be prepared for future study at university or training, or with the skills and knowledge to enter the workplace."