The Importance of Education and Training in Australia


An investment in knowledge pays the best interest – Benjamin Franklin

COAG – the Council of Australian Government has affirmed the importance of greater education and training participation to ensure that more Australians contribute to, and benefit from, the prosperity of the nation.

Increasing the skills and qualifications of individual workers is critical to support Australian businesses and drive improvements in the productivity of the economy while fostering greater levels of workforce participation. COAG has developed 4 main objectives that will ensure the effective delivery of education and training in Australia;

  • Strengthening the Vocational Education and Training Sector
  • Further Reform to the Vocational Education and Training Sector
  • Investing in new Training Centres for School Students
  • Strengthening the International Education Sector

According to United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), a sustainable development of a country can be achieved through learning: learning to be, learning to live, learning to do and learning to know. The path of learning only can be possible with education.

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) declared that many countries face significant skills gaps across a range of industries, particularly in technical and specialized fields. According to BCG, these gaps persist despite high unemployment rates even in developed economies. Thus, jobs remain unfilled due to the lack of skills and specialize training that industries require. Increasing the skills and qualifications of people is critical to support Australian businesses and drive improvements in the productivity of the economy, while fostering greater levels of workforce participation.

Educating Australian society is a priority to fulfil these gaps with prepared people, but somehow good education is synonymous of expensive education. For the Government is expensive in terms of funding, economic support and infrastructure to ensure that education is being given at the highest level. For people, education is expensive because they have to engage in loans and debts to have the best education. This scenario is not sustainable in the long term.

In Australia, formal education has taken place with three major sectors: schools, technical and vocational and training (VET) and high school education. Technical and vocational education and training has the potential to address the country level challenges: closing skills gaps and reducing unemployment.  However, due to VET is a more accessible education offer, suffers from the perception that it is inferior to the general academic education provided by traditional universities. In most countries, students, parents, and career advisors still hold a strong bias in favour of degrees from traditional universities and see VET programs as a “second tier” option that is suited for students with lower aspirations or lesser academic abilities. Here are some statistics that show the opposite:

– 78.2% of graduates were employed after training with VET certificates
– Of those employed after training, 80.7% found that the training was relevant to their jobs
– 60.6% of graduates had an improved employment status after training
– Of those employed before training, 16.3% of graduates were employed at a higher skill level after training
– 32.9% of graduates were employed in the same occupation as their training course
– 83.5% of graduates had fully or partly achieved their main reason for training
– 80.7% of graduates employed after training found the training was relevant to their current job

Queensland will experience a robust rate of employment growth over the next five years. Deloitte Access Economics expects employment growth over the five years from 2013-14 to average 2.5% per annum. The number of VET qualifications held by those employed is expected to increase by 327,000 over the next five years. The Certificate III/IV level qualifications is expected to see the strongest rate of increase over this time. Certificate III/IV qualifications are expected to account for 59% of additional VET qualifications required over the five years to 2018-19.

Deloitte’s forecast suggest that the stronger employment growth, the stronger will be the demand for Vocational skills. VET education programmes are helping to have a better and most prepared workforce in Australia. VET offering is growing in number of institutions and in relevance on content. Universities start to offer programmes under VET education, and some Bachelor programmes and secondary schools are offered by mainly VET institutions. As Benjamin Franklin once said “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” and we will see this growth with more employment and better prepared people held by VET students.