Review on the NSW vocational education and training sector

Terms of reference for the review on the NSW vocational education and training sector.


The VET sector in NSW needs to do better for the future:

  1. From 2001 to 2017, participation in VET declined steadily. Those students who do participate are failing to complete their course at a rate of 47.5%.
  2. NSW has a higher overall skills shortage compared to Victoria and Queensland, with 30 identified skills shortage areas in NSW.

Other challenges faced by the NSW VET system include quality and efficiency, public perception and system complexity. Many of these challenges are also faced by other Australian jurisdictions and have been the subject of a number of recent, comprehensive reviews.

Over the last five years, major reforms and initiatives have been implemented to improve the quality and efficiency of the NSW VET sector. These include the introduction of Smart and Skilled in 2015, modernising TAFE NSW, and providing 100,000 fee-free apprenticeships.

But there is much more to do.


Reform to the VET system is needed if NSW is to remain nationally and internationally competitive, and VET is to be regarded as a genuine and desirable option for school leavers.

Areas of focus

The review will submit recommendations for how the NSW Government and TAFE can:

  • Transition school leavers into in-demand skills training opportunities that equip them to secure and create the jobs of the future.
  • Provide better information to students so they can make informed decisions and improved career advice to support lifelong learning.
  • Better integrate secondary, vocational and tertiary learning opportunities, including consideration of micro-credentialing and university and VET training products.
  • Deliver opportunities for resolving current skills shortages to benefit the State's economy, with consideration given to ensuring the NSW Skills List is forward looking, the speed of design and delivery of courses, and flexibility.

The review may also consider how findings can be implemented through exemplar projects, such as the Meadowbank Precinct and the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.

Governance and reporting

Mr David Gonski AC and Professor Peter Shergold AC will lead the review.

Secretariat support will be provided by the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The final report will be provided to the NSW Government by July 2020.

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