Victoria’s diversity is one of its greatest strengths, making it a great place to live and work.
For Victoria to get the most out of its skills and training sector, vocational education and training (VET) needs to be inclusive and accessible to all Victorians. Strong starts have been made through initiatives encouraging women’s participation in trades and construction, but there is always more to do. All learners have the right for their unique circumstances and aspirations to be accepted.
Learners engaged in education and training acquire knowledge and skills far beyond competency. Success generates success – skilled and knowledgeable graduates power workplaces and productivity.
Victoria has well-established mechanisms for listening to its learners that can be enhanced. Through an annual survey, the Victorian Skills Authority listens to learners sharing their experiences at the end of their study.
There is a compelling case for stronger student engagement that goes beyond surveys to gather the views of prospective and current learners to ascertain their needs and aspirations. The resulting data can inform course design, delivery and assessment to ensure learner perspectives are accommodated, thereby improving attraction and retention. Scotland, for example, balances learner and industry needs by ensuring students’ voice is an input to curriculum, services and policy for school and post-secondary education.
The Australian Universities Accord interim report also highlighted that students require a stronger voice in governance and decision-making to hold institutions to account and to generate improvement.