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Lessons South Africa can Learn from the Australians

Lessons South Africa can Learn from the Australians

Posted By: Irene James on May 06, 2014

In the May 2014 edition of the Australian publication “Skills@work”, I was particularly impressed with some of the many initiatives that Australia is embarking upon, to enhance skills development amongst their people.  With this in mind, I have taken the liberty of quoting some of the VET (Vocational Education and Training) initiatives that Australia is doing, some of which may jolt South African leaders into following suit.

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Here a just four of my favourites:

“The Australian Government is focused on building a more effective and efficient vocational education and training (VET) system delivering job-ready skills that employers want. To meet this goal, the VET Reform Taskforce in the Department of Industry has been actively working with stakeholders over the last few months via state and territory-based workshops and webinars to hear the views of industry, employers, students, training providers and VET service providers on the strengths and weaknesses of the VET system, and ideas for reform. In total, its face-to-face workshops and webinars in March and April reached over 3000 people. Summaries of each state/territory workshop are to be posted on the official website shortly.

The Minister for Industry, the Hon. Ian Macfarlane MP, and his state and territory government colleagues held the inaugural Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Industry and Skills Council meeting on 3 April 2014. At the meeting, ministers agreed on six objectives for national VET reform and identified the following three key priorities for action:

  • Ensuring that industry is involved in policy development and oversight of the performance of the VET sector, and streamlining governance arrangements and committees
  • Examining the standards for providers and regulators to ensure they better recognise the different levels of risk posed by different providers, enable the regulators to deal more effectively with poor quality in the sector to improve confidence, and meet the Government’s deregulation objectives
  • Reducing the burden on the VET sector arising from the constant updates to training packages.”

IJ Comment:  How do you think South Africa shapes up in these three areas?

“Applications are open for the 2015 round of the Department of Education’s student mobility programmes. These programmes provide grants to Australian students to undertake a study experience overseas as part of their course.
Grants are available for higher education and vocational education and training students to undertake short-term study or semester-long experiences around the world.
Around 5400 students are being supported through these programmes in 2014, including around 1000 VET students.  Australian higher education and public and private RTOs can apply for funding for their students.
The following programmes are currently open for applications:

  • AsiaBound Grants Programme (AsiaBound). Asia focussed.  Includes AsiaBound VET which provides grants for short-term projects for VET students studying at Certificate IV and above.
  • Vocational Education and Training Outbound Mobility Programme (VET Outbound). Provides grants for short-term projects for VET students studying at Certificate IV and above.
  • International Student Exchange Programme (ISEP)
  • Endeavour Cheung Kong Student Exchange Programme (ECKSEP)
  • Study Overseas Short-term Mobility Programme (STMP).”

 I.J Comment:  How many South African students do you know who are being supported by the Government to undertake foreign studies?


The Australian Training Awards are the peak, national awards for the vocational education and training (VET) sector, recognising individuals, businesses and registered training organisations for their contribution to skilling Australia.
Applicants may have the opportunity to reach the national stage in November this year and gain Australia-wide recognition for their work.

There are 18 awards, including seven ‘direct-entry’ awards:

National Leadership Award
Lifetime Achievement Award
Excellence in language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award


Disability Training Initiative Award
Australian Apprenticeships – Employer Award

Registered training organisation
School Pathways to VET award
International Training Provider of the Year Award

I.J Comment: Wouldn’t it be nice to recognise excellence instead of rewarding incompetence in South Africa,  for a change?


“Produced by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), and funded by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments,  VOCEDplus is a free online resource offering international coverage of issues as well as an Australian focus. It currently holds over 57 000 entries, many providing instant access to full text via your desktop, with around 400 new titles added each month. Where possible, NCVER will supply items as requested according to its Conditions of Use.

You can search VOCEDplus using basic or advanced search or browse options. Topics covered include:

  • teaching and learning in the tertiary sector
  •   assessment
  • professional development for practitioners
  • labour market trends
  • the relationships between education and work
  • skills and workforce development needs
  • pathways between VET and higher education
  • education industry partnerships in education and training
  • social inclusion.”

IJ Comment: Wouldn’t it be a bonus if our learned  Ministers could also offer a service like this?

Read more about these initiatives that truly inspire people to improve themselves and their lot.

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