Adult Learning Australia, with support from Neighbourhood Houses Victoria, submitted a response.
Our response highlighted the role ACE in fostering skill development and providing through vocationally focussed education and training programs and paths. We also also highlighted ACE’s role in building community capacity, enhancing social cohesion and promote health and wellbeing.
In our response, we expressed some concerns at policy failures that have lead to a diminishing number of ACE RTOs and also we made the following recommendation to the Review.
In order for the VET system to remain relevant and sustainable into the future ACE RTOs must be maintained to a minimum of 10–15% of the total VET market to ensure the VET system is viable and works for everyone seeking vocational education and training.
To achieve this, the review should consider:
- the contribution of non-accredited pathway and bridging programs such as ACE adult basic education programs, language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) programs and digital literacy programs to VET
- the needs of disadvantaged cohorts, including those with low LLN, low formal education attainment, older learners, learners with disabilities and people from Indigenous or other cultural backgrounds
- specific and complementary roles for ACE providers, the public TAFE system and for profit providers
- a systematic approach and partnerships between ACE and TAFE in order to reduce barriers to education and training, and promote a culture of lifelong and lifewide learning
- the role of ACE organisations as significant community assets that have the potential to be optimised to play a much greater role in supporting disadvantaged adults across Australia into VET programs; particularly in rural and regional locations
- the complex interactions between all post-secondary education contexts and environments rather than viewing learning as a simple linear process from school to TAFE or university then work
- the capacity of ACE providers to deliver intensive adult learning programs or micro-credentials that better meet the needs of the workforce and the competing demands of people’s lifestyles
- the option of a fundamental shift away from a limited competency-based training model to broader more efficient vocational streams in line with recommendations from the Productivity Commission and the UK’s plans for technical/vocational education
- a process that incorporates its findings into a broader lifelong learning policy that promotes the economic value and wider contribution of learning to a civilised society
- increased flexibility in the VET landscape to better accommodate non-linear learning and employment pathways and careers
- resourcing to support disadvantaged learners to address or mitigate those things that threaten to or undermine their vocational outcomes based on successful existing models used by ACE providers
- strengthening local planning and community level responses to local learning needs
- ways to better support ACE providers with VET compliance and subsidise high quality professional development designed by the sector for ACE educators that focusses on teaching and learning practice to improve outcomes for high needs cohorts
- solutions that enable greater coordination and collaboration between TAFE, ACE and industry
- the role played by ACE providers in attracting and supporting key equity groups through the provision of community service obligation funding
- providing pathways and foundation skills funding primarily to ACE and TAFE providers
- re-introducing a workplace LLN program
- funding a community learning centre in every regional, rural and remote Australian town without access to a TAFE or University campus
- funding youth learning programs that encourage aspiration and agency
- strategies that link people with community-based, flexible and high quality education, training and pathways to employment
- infrastructure funding for local sites of adult learning practice in Indigenous communities such as youth media centres, neighbourhood houses or community learning centres
- funding ACE formal and non-formal education and training programs for offenders on community based orders.
Read our response here: ALA VET Review Response 2019