By Ron Maxwell - CEO

There's no question in my mind that the VET sector needs an overhaul, and the recent announcement of a wholesale government review has been welcomed by many. But for me, one question looms large: Will they get it right? 

During my time in the sector, I've seen smaller reviews come and go without making the large-scale change that will make the difference to not only students, but industries and the economy as a whole. Now with skills shortages upon us or looming in many of our trades and key sectors, and disruption impacting every industry, the stakes are high.

For me, there are some key areas that will need to be addressed if the review is to achieve the outcomes the sector needs to succeed, and one of these is increasing engagement with industry. The whole purpose of the VET sector is to provide students with the competencies Australian industries need to thrive, so hearing from those at the coalface is vital.

Microbusinesses need a voice

We are experiencing immense disruption across all industries and undertaking a VET sector review now creates the opportunity to develop a sector that is responsive – if the right voices are given airtime.  Often, in these reviews, industry engagement involves reaching out to peak bodies but, while there is validity in their opinions, this approach is missing a key audience.  

Microbusinesses are key employers of VET graduates; small business tradespeople or family-run businesses, for example. They are at the frontline, and if the review is to be successful, in my opinion, they need a seat at the table too. 

Once there is clarity around what is needed at the coalface, there is also an opportunity to increase sector agility and streamline process to respond appropriately. 

Innovation must be encouraged

 I've talked before about the challenges presented by lengthy course review processes and rigid regulations and addressing this is an important piece of the puzzle.

Current regulations are often black and white and checklist-based, with compliance at the centre of decision-making.  And while compliance is important, it's often too focused on the journey, rather than the destination. When dealing with a competency-based system, like VET, the question should be as simple as "does the student possess the competency" instead of getting caught up in how they got there.  This is only exacerbated by regulators being chronically underfunded and understaffed, leaving little space for new ideas to be considered.

The regulatory environment is, in my opinion, stifling innovation, as providers are afraid to try anything outside the box, lest it be deemed non-compliant.  But in a time of such great disruption, innovation is necessary to keep Australian industry competitive in a global and fast-paced market. In fact, according to research by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, around 50 per cent of all economic growth is driven by it

Technology has to be at the centre 

Today, every industry is impacted by technology, and the VET sector needs to better incorporate existing and emerging technologies into course delivery.

The rise of robotics and artificial intelligence across every industry is only set to grow.  What was once limited to technology companies is rapidly becoming part of everyday life in a broad spectrum of industries, just look, for example, at how virtual reality is set to transform the retail experience

In fact, all our industries are impacted by technology in so many different ways.  In our heavy trades, machinery is advancing so rapidly, and VET students need access to these technologies if they are going to become competent users of them in the workplace. 

Much of this comes down to one of the other key issues for me: Funding.  In many cases, students are learning their trades on dated equipment as providers don’t have access to the funds required to upgrade them. 

Funding disparities a challenge 

Education is widely thought to be the key to navigating our digital future and keeping Australia competitive in a global marketplace, so it's no surprise that universities and schools have seen increases in funding over recent years.  What is surprising, however, is that the VET sector overall has seen a decrease. 

Spending is largely ad hoc and funding models are decided at a state level, meaning that there are disparities across the country, creating an uneven playing field.  Rural and regional areas are often the victims, not getting adequate funding to deliver local education options – only accelerating the decline of local populations as people migrate to metropolitan areas in search of employment and training opportunities, and exacerbating a raft of social issues in the community.

It's not just in funding – the VET sector faces an uneven playing field when it comes to attracting school leavers too. 

School systems need to support VET 

Our current high school system is geared towards one outcome:  the ATAR, a ranking that only applies to university admission.  Add to this that school ranking measures university entrants as a key metric, it's easier to see why the system is actively encouraging students toward university options, thus painting VET courses as a poor cousin. 

Contrary to this mindset, more than half a million new jobs in the next five years won't require a degree, and VET offers school leavers such a variety of opportunities, it is key that students are encouraged to consider these options.

There are many opportunities to be realised 

Holding such a large-scale review at a time when disruption is changing every facet of our workforce is a good thing.  There are many areas to examine, but also many opportunities.   

The key to success lies in having the foresight and fortitude to do things a little differently, not just rolling out the same old playbook.  If the review can put innovation and future-proofing at the forefront, the outcome just might have the impact required to strengthen the VET sector and drive economic growth into the future.  

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships

VERTO is a provider of the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Program across all parts of New South Wales.
Training

Training

Whether you are unemployed and wanting to secure a job or looking to formalise your skills through study, VERTO has a course for you.
Employment Services

Employment Services

At VERTO, we offer a range of employment services designed to help both individuals and businesses find the right opportunities.
Community Services

Community Services

VERTO’s Community Services programs provide free, practical assistance on a range of services for selected regional communities.

 

 

VERTO Celebrates 40 Years

This October, VERTO is celebrating 40 years of supporting people in NSW through quality education, employment, apprenticeship, and community services.

According to VERTO CEO, Ron Maxwell, VERTO has grown from humble beginnings as a small evening college in Bathurst to a national organisation employing more than 500 staff and servicing thousands of clients every year.

Founded in 1983 as the Central West Regional Evening College and in 2012, rebranded as VERTO Limited – with VERTO being Latin for ‘transform’.

Read more

Why choose Verto

VERTO is a not-for-profit organisation assisting businesses and individuals with all their apprenticeship, employment and training needs.

Our expertise covers a range of areas including Aboriginal services, Australian apprenticeships services, disability services, employment services and vocational training to help businesses, individuals and local industry to thrive.

You'll find the team in over 65 locations New South Wales.

Read more

CareerGate

CareerGate is the perfect tool for anyone looking at an apprenticeship

Whether you’re a school leaver or someone looking for a career change, CareerGate is the perfect tool to find the right apprenticeship for you.

CareerGate is an online tool designed to help you find the right apprenticeship option based on a series of assessments around your skills and future career plans.

The assessments take around 30-45 minutes and once complete, it provides you with a starting point for your apprenticeship journey, identifying your ideal career path and the steps you can take to get there.

Start your apprenticeship journey

Popular Short Courses & Qualifications

    VERTO proudly supports Women in Non-Traditional Trades

    Trade careers are rewarding and positively impact the economic security of women.

    At VERTO, we see many female tradies who have forged successful and fulfilling careers in trade industries. We’re passionate about continual growth in this area – not only through ongoing promotion of women in non-traditional trades, but also by providing the best support possible to current tradies.

    Learn more

    Latest News & Blogs

      Training Services

      At VERTO, our goal is to provide the training and skills development that will prepare you for the future. We offer a range of training courses that cover numerous skills and qualifications.

      Join our Team

      At VERTO, our goal is to provide the training and skills development that will prepare you for the future. We offer a range of training courses that cover numerous skills and qualifications.

      Coonabarabran Colour Run

      Our VERTO (Australia) team had an amazing time organizing the 'Family Fun Day' in collaboration with the Coonabarabran Local Aboriginal Land Council! It was a day filled with non-stop excitement – from the vibrant colour run to fantastic face painting. Plus, the delicious barbecue added the perfect flavour to the day!

      What our customers say

      • T

        Tina Baker

        Nathaniel from VERTO Wagga Wagga was very helpful and supportive in helping make my dream a reality. He is very knowledgeable and has so much patience. I cannot thank him enough for his help and guidance. Terima Kasih 🙏🏻

        Tina Baker
      • B

        Brian Edwards

        I attended the Employment Program for Persons with Disabilities session in Bathurst today, and it was incredible. This program has truly changed my life. I had low expectations, but I received so much more. I can’t wait to go home and share the news with my kids.

        Brian Edwards
      • B

        Brittany Edwards

        I have never had a job, I went to VERTO and Kirstie referred me to Anthony who set up an interview. They took me to the interview and got me the job. They helped me get a tax file number and a Super account, they helped me fill out all the forms. My family is so proud of me and VERTO have been amazing. Thank you everyone at the Orange team.

        Brittany Edwards
      • G

        Gemma McGowan

        My consultants have been incredibly helpful and supportive, and it was such a relief being with VERTO compared to other employment providers. I felt so much acceptance and compassion towards my personal situation, which made me feel a lot better and less anxious. Thank you Rai and Shaylene at VERTO Murwillumbah, you guys rock!!

        Gemma McGowan
      • S

        Sharon Wilson-Webster

        Kerrie has been an incredible and constructive support, personally and practically. She has offered me opportunities to develop my skills and knowledge and guided me towards the right job opportunities which best suit to my strengths and interests. She is very knowledgeable and friendly, always willing to go above and beyond to help.

        Sharon Wilson-Webster
      • B

        Brad Stuart

        Lauren Waite is my job placement representative in Nelson Bay. She has always listened to my work-related circumstances without any judgment. I find her very accommodating with personal concerns regarding my work situation. My experience so far working with Lauren has been very open and honest, and I value her assistance.

        Brad Stuart
      • F

        Frank Oates

        My name is Frank and from the first day I walked into VERTO's office in Broken Hill, my experience has been nothing short of amazing. My consultant Merridy has been incredibly supportive and understanding in meeting my cultural needs, and I see her as a true living angel. The assistance she provided me was of the utmost professionalism.

        Frank Oates
      • N

        Nadine McEwan

        I have had the pleasure of dealing with Abraham Ghossain for the past 3 years now and have to say he is the best at VERTO. Super responsive and always goes above and beyond the get the job done. He is extremely knowledgeable within his field and very professional. Looking forward to continuing to work with you in the future.

        Nadine McEwan
      • T

        Troy McVerry

        Outstanding! VERTO has distinguished itself with their assistance in getting me employment. I have only been with VERTO about a month and now I have a very lucrative job. VERTO’s consultant Honeylyn has willingly assisted me every time I have sought assistance.

        Troy McVerry

        Subscribe to our Newsletter

        Stay up to date with the latest news in apprenticeship, employment
        and training services by subscribing to VERTO’s Newsletter!

        Want to find out more?

        We'd love to hear from you. Call us today on 1300 4 VERTO (1300 483 786)
        OR
        Email us at: info@verto.org.au

        Find your local VERTO office