Universities are well placed to provide input into the National Training Framework, with many universities operating in the dual-sector environment, and many more having established formal relationships with technical, vocational and private training providers as well as strong and established links with industry and business.
Universities Australia firmly believes that the alignment of graduates with industry skills needs is vital to the competitiveness and productivity of every organisation.
Reform in Australia's higher education system, moving to a student demand-driven funding mechanism will mean that the preferences of enrolling students, rather than government or business planning decisions, will largely determine the emerging skills profile of graduates. While overall this move is a positive one, it places even greater importance on collaborative links between Industry Skills Councils and training and education providers to deliver sufficient numbers of appropriately qualified graduates to meet industry needs.
Universities Australia believes that broadening the remit of Industry Skills Councils to include input from the university sector would assist in providing high quality and appropriate skills for industry as well as strengthen the nexus between the training environment and the workplace.
Universities Australia would be encouraged by Senate recommendations that:
- improve consultative mechanisms between Industry Skills Councils and training and education providers;
- establish a transparent process for electing members to Industry Skills Council Boards, with the possible inclusion of at least one member of the training and education sector on appropriate Councils;
- provide a national mechanism for strategic input into the National Training Framework that has equal input from industry professionals and training providers (possibly through Skills Australia); and,
- introduce or convene co-operative arrangements (in the form of national skills advisory forums for example) between relevant Councils and between Councils and appropriate education and training providers.
Australia's universities are keen to work with government and industry to ensure that sufficient numbers of appropriately qualified graduates are available to meet the future employment needs of this country.
To read Universities Australia's full submission, please download the PDF below.