2020 Gonski-Shergold in the same sentence: Bringing higher and vocational education together

In 2020, Professor Peter Shergold AC and Mr David Gonski AC were commissioned to lead a Review on the NSW vocational education and training sector. They were asked to identify opportunities to ensure NSW remains nationally and internationally competitive, and that VET is regarded as a genuine and desirable option for school leavers.

In developing their recommendations, Professor Shergold and Mr Gonski conducted extensive research and targeted consultation with educational experts and industry leaders.

View a copy of the final report of the Review, In the same sentence: Bringing higher and vocational education together".

The NSW Government thanks Professor Shergold and Mr Gonski, and has accepted all five recommendations which identify exciting proposals to strengthen the NSW economy through ensuring we have the skills we need to grow and prosper.

The NSW Government has committed to:

  1. Establishing Careers NSW
  2. Establishing a new form of tertiary education known as NSW Institute of Applied Technology (IAT).
  3. Advocating for VET student loans, similar to the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS), to be expanded to include Certificates III and IV.
  4. Improving the quality of vocational education made available in high schools
  5. Consulting with industry experts on VET course curriculums.

Some immediate steps being taken on implementation are:

  • The Institute of Applied Technology (IAT) model will be piloted at the proposed TAFE Centres of Excellence at Meadowbank and Kingswood. These centres will be delivered in partnership between TAFE, universities and industry.
  • Careers NSW is being established to provide career guidance to NSW residents at any stage of their career. Students and people looking to change careers or further develop their skills will have access to tailored career advice wherever they live in NSW.
  • The NSW Government will continue to work with the Commonwealth Government and advocate for an income-contingent loan scheme for Certificate III and IV to be introduced via the new National Skills Agreement, due later in 2021. It is an important step towards parity between the University and VET sectors to increase student access and remove a financial barrier to people studying VET qualifications.

The Report’s five recommendations are as follows:

  1. Establish an NSW Institute of Applied Technology as an entirely new form of Australian tertiary institution. It will deliver fully integrated theoretical and practical employability skills, provided through a number of constituent colleges, with curriculums designed in collaboration with industry and focused on the state’s emerging labour market needs.
  2. Establish Careers NSW to make lifelong careers information, advice and professional career guidance accessible to students, trainees and employees seeking to enter the labour market, upgrade skills or change careers.
  3. Improve the breadth and quality of vocational education made available in NSW high schools by:
    • ensuring practical course offerings, vocational learning, work exploration and career education are available to all students
    • increasing the number of selected vocational courses that can be incorporated in the calculation of the ATAR
    • strengthening the opportunity for students to gain Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) certification for the VET delivered to Secondary Students courses they undertake
    • providing more opportunities for externally delivered VET where that is in the best interests of the student e) enhancing the number of school-based apprentices and trainees.
  4. Improve strategic and purposeful industry engagement in VET by ensuring that employers can have a more influential role in planning and designing relevant educational and training courses and have greater involvement in providing on-the-job training and career advice.
  5. Establish an income-contingent loan scheme for students studying Certificate III and IV qualifications that have been identified as addressing priority skill areas in NSW.
The NSW Government will be consulting with stakeholders on implementation of the recommendations. Stakeholders who were engaged by the Reviewers are being contacted and any other stakeholder may wish to contact the NSW Department of Education via email on skills.policy@det.nsw.edu.au

View the NSW Government media release published on 18 March 2021.


  • Education support operations

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