Students need to be at the heart of the state’s skills training system, a bedrock principle that should be embedded within the developing South Australian Skills Plan. That’s the position of the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia
(ITECA), the peak body representing independent skills training, higher education, and international education providers.
“South Australia is facing acute skills shortages and the key to addressing these is to put students at the heart of the skills training system,” said Troy Williams, ITECA Chief Executive.
ITECA South Australia is urging the state government to ensure that its skills plan fully embraces the full capabilities of the state’s skills training sector. This includes leveraging the demonstrated excellence of leading independent Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).
“Currently, there is a significant push to put 'TAFE at the heart' of the skills training system, which many independent RTOs are pushing back against. Instead, ITECA South Australia firmly believes in putting students at the heart of the skills training system, where their freedom to choose their preferred training provider is backed by the state government,” Mr Williams said.
The developing South Australian Skills Plan should be underpinned by the work of leading independent RTOs. As noted in the 2023 South Australian Skills Snaphot, there are around 185 independent RTOs across South Australia that support 93.4% of the 268,580 students in skills training across the state.
“As South Australia strives to build a resilient and dynamic workforce that can thrive in the face of global challenges, the role of RTOs becomes critical as they are preferred by more than nine-in-ten students,” Mr Williams said.
ITECA South Australia urges the State Government Government to adopt student choice as the guiding principle of skills funding policy, allowing students access to government-funded places in priority skills areas with the quality provider of their choice.
“Government policy must focus on student choice, empowering them with the information to make informed decisions about the study options that will help them achieve their life and career goals. Students should have the freedom to study with either quality independent RTOs or public colleges,” Mr Williams said.