The creation of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, brought about by today’s Australian
Government departmental restructure, has been welcomed by the Independent Tertiary Education
Council Australia (ITECA), the peak body representing independent providers in the higher education.
vocational educat ion, training and skills sectors.
ITECA believes that the consolidation of employment and skills within the one portfolio presents the best
opportunity to secure the reforms that will allow students and their employers to obtain the quality
outcomes they are looking for.
“ITECA is a strong proponent for one tertiary education system in which the higher education and the
vocational education and training system operate as one yet retain their separate identities. It’s in this
context that ITECA supports the return of skills within the education portfolio,” said Troy Williams, ITECA
It’s a period of major change for Australia’s tertiary education system where the qualifications
framework, funding models and the work of the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) are all under
review. According to ITECA, aligning responsibilities for education and skills within the one portfolio
provides the best opportunity to strengthen the system.
“The reforms underway require careful plannin g and implementation – it’s challenging work for the
public servants responsible for progressing reforms and key stakeholders such as ITECA. The hope is that
with the education and skills portfolios operating as one, we’ll see a considered and coordinated
approach to development and implementation of these important reforms,” Mr Williams said.
According to ITECA, the creation of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment will directly
benefit, over the long -term, tertiary education students.
“Once a person leaves secondary school it’s likely they will transit in and out of higher education and
vocational education throughout their working lives in order to ensure that their knowledge and skills
remains current. To create a tertiary educati on system that permits this to happen, we need a wholistic
approach to reform, something best achieved with the amalgam of the education and skills portfolios,”
Mr Williams said.
The structural change of departmental responsibilities within the Australian G overnment are of profound
importance to the independent tertiary education sector. Independent providers support more than 70%
of the 4.1 million students undertaking VET program, including 58% of students undertaking a VET
Diploma, 64% of students undert aking a Certificate IV and 58% of students undertaking a Certificate III.
Independent providers also support around 10% if the students in higher education.