Industry leads as skills councils put out to pasture

INDUSTRY will have its hand on the tiller of the Abbott government's new training programs, as the government moves to abolish skills councils this week.

The second tranche of planned government reforms to the VET, TAFE and apprenticeship were announced on Thursday.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said the changes would end the "era of training for training's sake" and reinstate the "fundamental purpose of connecting skilled workers with a job".

However, while Mr Macfarlane said the new system would remove the 12 national industrial skills councils, to be replaced by an undefined model, the announcement was scant on detail.

He said the new system was open training packages to a new, more "contestable" model, likely to involve pushing such programs out to the wider private sector.

But Mr Macfarlane said the actual details of a $200 million "apprenticeship support network", announced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott earlier this week, would not be available until early 2015.

The new programs, he said, would be based on cutting regulation for training providers and employers, with industry to control the direction of future programs,.

It would mean training providers would not have to seek approval from the Australian Skills Quality Authority to offer new courses.

But the specific details of how the scheme will operate were not released, with the government saying only that the new network would be announced after a competitive tender process later this year.


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