The following was posted by RTO Doctor on LinkedIn on May 16, 2014


"I had an interesting conversation with the interim COAG ISC representative this morning, a very capable and friendly guy but the news I received was to say the least... disappointing. As many of you would know, the new COAG ISC (established April 3, 2014) was brought in to replace the NSSC as a more industry based council, with stronger links to industry due to significant feedback received through the VET Reform Taskforce. A move tentatively supported by VET professionals with the understanding that previous bodies (such as the NSSC) hadn't connected with 'on the ground' VET professionals and were unaware of many of the issues that resulted from training packages. Well, here is the list of the new members of the COAG Industry & Skills Council shared with me this morning:

  • Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, Minister for Industry (Chair)

  • The Hon Andrew Stoner MP, Deputy Premier, Minister for Trade and Investment

  • The Hon Adrian Piccoli MP, Minister for Education

  • The Hon David Hodgett MP, Minister for Manufacturing

  • The Hon Nick Wakeling MP, Minister for Higher Education and Skills

  • The Hon Jeff Seeney MP, Deputy Premier; Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning

  • The Hon John-Paul Langbroek MP, Minister for Education, Training and Employment

  • The Hon Dr Kim Hames MLA, Minister  for Training and Workforce Development

  • The Hon Susan Close MP, Minister for Manufacturing, Innovation and Trade

  • The Hon  Gail Gago MLC, Minister for Employment, Higher  Education & Skills

  • The Hon Matthew Groom MP, Minister for State Growth

  • The Hon Jeremy Rockliff MP, Minister for Education and Training

  • The Hon Andrew Barr MLA, Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Economic Development

  • The Hon Joy Burch  MLA, Minister for Education and Training

  • The Hon David Tollner, MLA, Minister for Employment and Training 

  • The Hon Steven Joyce MP, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills & Employment

Notice anything missing? Like actual industry representation???

I followed up asking if any industry representatives would be participating in the new council. There will be an Industry & Skills Advisory Council which will have industry representatives, but here's the catch: the Department of Innovation will be deciding the members based on state feedback. 

My heart fell... This is the industry led body that is going to fix our system? Where is the innovation? Where are the ground troops? How is this going to solve the problem? For my money, this isn't good enough, if we are going to fix the system we need new blood, more consultation, more industry participation and no, industry is not a minister, it's the small RTO owner who consults with their trainers every week and attends meetings with employers to get feedback on the quality of their trainees, it's the consultants who work across jurisdictions and attend 10, 20, 30 audits a year, it's the trainers who work with students, participate in TP feedback and understand the practical on the ground issues with competency. It is the VET professionals who understand the extent to which ambiguous standards, unethical providers and consistently changing legislation are increasingly wreaking havoc on RTO's (both public and private) ability to focus on delivering high quality outcomes for those stakeholders that matter most to our system... the students. 

There is still time to appoint real industry representatives to the advisory body, Minister MacFarlane, you have an amazing opportunity to make a change, make it with those people who care most about the outcome. "