CEO Update – February 2020

Welcome to the first AIS Newsletter for 2020.

During the summer break many of our stakeholders have made outstanding contributions to the massive efforts in fighting the catastrophic fires that have raged across the country as well as supporting communities affected. In particular, the fires have brought into sharp focus the skill and courage of firefighters and emergency services personnel.

Our thoughts remain with all those impacted by these fires as the challenging work of recovery and rebuilding continues.

2020 shapes as a pivotal year for the national VET system with government policy and structural reforms well underway.

The National Skills Commission, which will oversee the Australian Government’s investment in VET and drive long-term improvements to the sector, is due to formally commence its work in July under the leadership of Adam Boyton as the interim National Skills Commissioner.

State and Federal Skills Ministers are currently working together through the new COAG Skills Council, in consultation with Education Ministers, to deliver a reform roadmap to COAG early this year. This process should assist with clarifying short, medium, and long-term areas for action.

AIS continues to participate constructively in these processes, offering our deep in-house experience and insight to help build a better VET system, and one that is responsive to industry needs and delivers a highly skilled and globally competitive workforce.

In December, I was pleased to be invited to meet with the Productivity Commission to discuss its current review of the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development. Our discussions focused on the performance of the current system, VET reform directions, funding arrangements and options for government to coordinate and streamline their support for vocational education in the future. The Commission is scheduled to release an interim report at the end of March.

As you would likely be aware, in December the Prime Minister announced the consolidation of departments across the Australian Public Service with effect from 1 February 2020. The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business merged with the Department of Education, to form the new Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE). We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Department in this new configuration.

Here at AIS, we have had a very busy start to the year. Over the next month all 11 IRC committees will hold their first meetings for 2020 with a strong focus on developing annual skills forecasts, proposed schedules of work and industry outlooks, all due for finalisation on 30 April.

With best wishes to all for a successful year ahead.

Robert Adams