Release type: Media Release


Simplifying VET qualifications


The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training

The Albanese Government will focus on making the VET system fit for purpose – efficient, effective and easy to navigate so that students don’t have to study the same thing over and over again which is wasteful and costly.

Currently the VET system has a high number of VET qualifications and micro-credentials with significant duplication, with 56 nationally endorsed training packages, over 1,200 qualifications, 1,500 skill sets, and 15,400 Units of Competency. 5,000 units have more than 70 per cent overlap with at least one other unit.

Due to transferable skills being poorly recognised, students may need to undertake duplicate additional training that delivers similar skills to those they already have in order to move into a new job. In fact, to move from their first occupation, into a new specialisation, then into management role and into a new industry they could need to undertake 4 qualifications which would take 10 years.

The Albanese Government will work with states and territories, unions, and industry to make the qualifications system easier to understand, and focused on giving Australians transferable and relevant skills they need now and the future. 

Any reform in this important area will have regard to industry standards and their specific needs. 

Focusing on the skills that people need will be good for students whose skills will be more transferable as they move through their working life, better for employers who consistently tell me how confusing the system is, and better for TAFEs and training organisations who struggle with over-prescriptive and detailed requirements. 

Australia’s qualifications system has been largely unchanged since the 1990s and is no longer fit for purpose.

Australia requires a flexible and adaptive training system that includes industry-specific skills and maximises transferable skills across sectors, one that recognises an individual’s prior learning and experience.

Our Government wants to support a VET system that not only gets people into jobs, but also supports their lifelong learning, enabling workers to upskill and reskill throughout their career.


Pest Control – example of duplication 

  • There are currently 5 pest controller qualifications in the current training system – from Certificate 3 to Diploma level - with 114 units of competency mapped to them.
  • Many of these units are task based and industry specific, which can be a barrier to recognition across industries and pathways to new occupations.  
  • While some of these skills are specific to the pest control industry, others could be shared across industries, opening up opportunities for learners and increasing the pool of available talent for employers.  
  • There are differences in how the skills are applied or contextualised, for instance in a rural or an urban setting. However, there is no need to develop duplicative training products for transferable skills.  

  Cookery – example of hyper-prescriptive training products 

  • Units of competency, the building block of the current system, are often lengthy, highly prescriptive documents containing very specific industry context and delivery and assessment requirements.
  • For example, the requirements for a certificate IV cookery qualification produces a 100-page document with over 700 requirements. 
  • The units specify extensive lists of equipment including multiple types of knives (chef’s, filleting, palette, utility, vegetable), tools and machines (from food processor, to a peeler, corer or slicer, to cleaning equipment).
  • There is limited evidence that a highly prescriptive approach results in improved training outcomes for learners and employers.
  • Instead, it stifles innovation and flexibility in training delivery by RTOs, limits recognition of transferable skills and learner mobility. It drives a compliance driven approach to training delivery and assessment with RTOs focused meeting audit requirements.