Markets, competition and "reform" in VET: Views from public and private registered training organisations in Western Australia
Australian Vocational Education and Training Association
Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
School of International, Cultural and Community Studies
For more than a decade the vocational education and training (VET) sector has been subject to a number of reforms as a consequence of National Competition Policy, but more specifically due to the introduction of the National Training Framework (NTF). While market advocates extol the gains these changes have made to efficiency and effectiveness in VET, critics have pointed to actual and potential damage to traditional VET clients and providers. This paper reviews these developments and reports on research among four Western Australian registered training organisations (RTOs) - two public and two private - and explores managers’ and teachers’ views of the market, competition and ‘reform’ in their organisations. Our results suggest that competitors in the new marketised, corporatised VET sector cannot be distinguished in terms of a public-private divide. Orientation to education as product rather than service characterises those who feel they are travelling well in the current climate. Determining the impact of market reform on outcomes, rather than process, will require further research.