About the skills sector


Vocational education is central to Australia's economic growth and business productivity. Australia needs a vocational education and training (VET) system that ensures qualifications are designed to provide the skills that employers and industry need now and in the years to come. A strong VET sector will boost the employment outcomes of those completing VET courses and instill confidence in users of the sector.

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A dynamic and diverse market

Australia's VET system provides training for a wide range of workplace skills and knowledge-based competencies for a wide range of occupations, through a variety of training institutions and enterprises.

The system provides training for students of all ages and backgrounds. Students have many options for training and may study individual units or full qualifications. Training takes place in classrooms, workplaces and online, and can be either full-time or part-time.

There are around 4 million students (including overseas students) enrolled in our training system, or one in four working age Australians.

Australian Government Priorities for VET

The Australian Government has implemented substantial reforms since 2014. Ongoing evolution is required to ensure VET continues to deliver the skills required by industry, and meets the needs of the economy.

Governance of the sector

At the national level, Australia's VET system is led by a council made up of Australian, state and territory government ministers responsible for skills development and national training arrangements. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Skills Council provides leadership and direction for the skills sector.

The council has streamlined governance arrangements, policy development and the oversight of the performance of the VET sector. As a result, the Australian Industry and Skills Committee was established to provide industry with a formal role in advising the COAG Skills Council on policy directions and decision making in the national training system.

Both Australian and state and territory governments have roles in the governance, regulation and support of our national VET system, and work alongside various independent bodies to ensure quality outcomes are delivered. Australian state and territory governments have ministers, government departments and training authorities that administer vocational education and training.

Australian industry plays a leading role in the VET system to ensure the sector drives improvements in productivity and competitiveness across the economy.

Funding of VET delivery

VET delivery in Australia is largely funded by the Australian, state and territory governments. However, companies and individuals also contribute to the cost of training. Companies contribute by purchasing training for their employees, while students contribute through the payment of course and administrative fees.

Training delivery

About 4600 registered training organisations deliver VET in Australia through TAFE institutes, universities, secondary schools, private training providers, enterprises, industry organisations, community-based providers and other government organisations.

The training website is the official national register of VET in Australia and an authoritative source of information on training packages, qualifications, accredited courses, units of competency, skill sets and registered training organisations.

For more information visit the For training providers page.

Training packages

Training packages are a key feature of Australia's national VET system. A training package is a set of nationally endorsed standards and qualifications for recognising and assessing peoples' skills in a specific industry, industry sector or enterprise.

Visit the national standards and training packages pages for more information.

Quality in the sector

High quality training ensures that VET graduates have the skills required by industry and employers and that consumers have confidence in nationally-recognised VET qualifications.

Australia maintains high quality VET outcomes through several regulatory frameworks.

The national VET regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority, registers training providers, monitors compliance with national standards and investigates quality concerns. In Victoria and Western Australia, the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority and the Training Accreditation Council Western Australia perform these roles.

The Australian Qualification Framework regulates qualifications nationally to ensure quality and consistency.

Visit the regulation of VET national standards and national reporting for RTOs pages for more information on standards and quality in VET

Informed consumers

The Australian Government is supporting transparency in the national training system and wants consumers to have access to the information they need on training courses and providers. Initiatives to support these objectives include:

VET surveys

VET surveys are designed to bring together information from students, training providers, employers and other VET consumers to ensure the national VET system evolves to meet the needs of VET users and industry. Results can determine both positive and negative outcomes from training and track the effectiveness of the VET system.

  • The Student Outcomes Survey is an annual, online survey conducted by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). It gathers information on VET students who successfully completed some training during the previous calendar year. The information collected assists in administering, planning, and evaluating the VET system, and to ensure vocational training is of high quality and relevant to Australian workplaces.
  • The Survey of Employer Use and Views of the VET System collects information about employers' engagement and satisfaction with the VET system and the various ways employers use the VET system to meet their skill needs. NCVER surveys employers on their engagement with, and experience of, the VET system. This survey aims to determine how VET can best support business and meet their skill needs.
  • The National Employer Skills and Training Survey collects information from a broad sample of Australian employers, training users, and businesses with apprentices or trainees to find out how employers meet their skill needs, particularly through their interaction with the education and training system. The survey is conducted by Wallis Consulting group on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

Foundation and core skills

  • The department supports the development of core and foundation skills so that individuals are equipped with the language, literacy, numeracy and employability skills required by businesses.
  • More information available on the training providers page.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

  • In many industries, apprenticeships and traineeships provide the best pathway for skills development. They combine structured training for a nationally recognised qualification with employment.
  • This job pathway can begin at school with Australian School-based Apprenticeships.
  • Apprenticeships and traineeships are available in a wide range of trades and other occupations, in most sectors of business and industry.
  • For more information visit the Australian Apprenticeships website and the apprenticeships and traineeships page.

Skills and licence recognition

  • The Australian Government is supporting the recognition of prior learning, including of qualifications gained overseas, and the recognition of some domestic licences across state and territory jurisdictions.
  • Visit the Skills and licence recognition page for more information on these initiatives.

Skills engagement


The following is a list of all the news items that are associated with About the skills sector.

Subsidised infection control training fast-tracked for re-opening businesses

News | 6 October 2020

The Australian Government together with state and territory governments have established an $80 million Infection Control Training Fund to fast‑track fee free (or low fee) infection control training to support the re-opening of customer‑facing businesses nationwide.