VET review to restore TAFE to the heart of skills training

The NSW Government has announced a comprehensive review of the vocational education system.

The NSW Government logo overlaying a photo of an empty classroom. The NSW Government logo overlaying a photo of an empty classroom.

The NSW Government has announced a comprehensive review of the vocational education system that will restore TAFE to be the best it can be and re-skill NSW.

A key election commitment of the Minns Labor Government, the Review will be led by a three-person Expert Panel, which will consult broadly to develop robust recommendations to Government following a decade of cuts by the former Government which has seen:

  • A 45 per cent decrease in TAFE NSW teachers from the 2012 TAFE NSW annual report to the 2022 annual report.
  • A 15 per cent drop in permanent teachers since 2015 who were replaced by the equivalent number of casuals.
  • A 28 per cent decline in TAFE enrolment numbers since 2012.
  • A 33 per cent drop in apprenticeship and traineeship commencements since 2011.
  • A 67 per cent drop in TAFE completions since 2011.

The review will determine the full impact of the cuts made to TAFE and establish a path forward to rebuilding TAFE.

It will be led by Expert Chair Dr Michele Bruniges AM, who has worked in senior Government positions and as a board member in the education sector for the last 20 years.

Dr Bruniges is joined by eminent panel members, including Professor Verity Firth AM, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Social Justice and Inclusion at UTS and former NSW Minister for Education and Training, and Jason Ardler PSM, a Yuin man from the South Coast of NSW with two decades of experience in senior executive roles in the NSW public sector.

Review panel members were selected by a NSW Department of Education selection panel on their breadth of knowledge, with criteria that included a demonstrated deep understanding of TAFE and the NSW VET system; knowledge of different student pathways and cohorts; and relevant academic or government review experience.

The Review will be informed by extensive stakeholder engagement from education providers and experts, industry, industrial representatives, students, and professional bodies. Opportunities for input will include a Skills Summit; a series of Roundtables and broad public consultation.

This thorough stakeholder consultation and further analysis will lead to an interim report by the end of 2023 and a final report for Government by mid-2024. This will guide the development of a 2024 NSW Skills Plan.

The Skills Plan will support a vision for the future success of NSW, with a skilled and agile workforce ready for the challenges we face now and those which lie ahead, supported by a world-class public institution in our TAFE NSW.

Find out more about the VET Review, including the draft Terms of Reference, at:

Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education Tim Crakanthorp said:

“From natural disasters, to the pandemic, to sector cuts, VET and TAFE has faced many challenges over the last decade.

“This Review will go beyond the 2020 Gonski Shergold Review of Vocational Education. It will build on that work and include a focus on how to rebuild TAFE as the heart of the vocational education system, how to improve access to vocational education and training as well as support for learners to succeed and how to address the skills shortages in NSW.

“There has never been a more important time and opportunity to address skills shortages and to provide opportunities for people to gain training, education and employment.

“Now is the time to take stock of what is working and what is not, so we can ensure that VET is best serving the needs of our state now and into the future."

Dr Michele Bruniges AM said:

“As a former TAFE teacher I am looking forward to this important review.

“I have seen the incredible impact of vocational education on our learners and want to ensure that we have a system in place that supports everyone to succeed, no matter their background.”

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