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Media Release: Small Business exclusion from VET reforms a significant oversight

COSBOA today noted the lack of small business input to the development of skills organisations as part of the renewed Vocational Educational and Training agenda.

Peter Strong, CEO of COSBOA, stated “Despite small business employing just over 50% of the national workforce and being very dependent on the VET system for skilled employees, the composition of the first Skills Organisation Pilot excludes any representation of small business. This development is disappointing and it is time policy makers stop ignoring the needs of Australia’s 2.5m small and family businesses in respect of meaningful engagement with the proposed reforms of the national VET System announced last year”.

Mr Strong added “There are also a great number of employees of small businesses, some 4.5 million, who need or desire skills development to enhance employment, job satisfaction and income. These employees rely upon their employers to get skills development right. The small business community needs greater representation on the skills organisations if quality outcomes are to be achieved.”

COSBOA members consider vocational education and training to be a key ingredient to a successful business and a good economy, and VET must be supportive of and focussed on small business workplaces.

Mr Strong further added “small business associations should be strongly represented on skills organisations and other VET bodies. Representatives from the likes of general and specialist retail, the meat industry, finance, bookkeepers, the transport sector, manufacturing, technology, communications, and hairdressing, among many others, are deeply experienced and knowledgeable about their sectors, training processes, and about VET’s strengths and weaknesses. They must be given the opportunity to develop a system that meets their needs. The nominations to the Digital Technology Skills Organisation Pilot are of course worthy members but that membership will be deeply enhanced with the addition of a dedicated small business representative. There are plenty who can step up to that mark and add immense value to the outcomes.”



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