Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


School of Education


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Advisor

Mark Hackling

Second Advisor

Jan Gray


Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Australia has experienced an unprecedented rate of change in recent times dominated by economic discourses that point to the need for the VET system to contribute to economic development. This discourse includes increasing the competence of the present and future workforce to meet the emerging needs of the economy so Australia can compete in the global market. The VET sector in Australia operates within a National Training Framework that has been constantly changing over the past decade.

This study considered the impact of the changing nature VET policy on trainers of VET. The study explored the proposition that there is a link between VET trainer competency and a high level of non-compliance in the delivery and assessment aspects of the Australian regulatory standards.

This study includes an environmental scan, a review of key literature, interviews, a survey and findings from focus groups that relate to the VET trainer profile, impacts of sector changes and benchmarks for trainers of VET. The study draws on both quantitative and qualitative data to determine some of the impacts of policy changes on trainers operating within the system, from regulatory to operational perspectives.

This study identifies a basic profile of VET trainers in Australia. It found the pace of change of government policy, regulatory changes, expectations of industry and changes in learners had placed considerable strain on VET providers and their trainers. Some of the challenges identified by trainers included the capacity to reflect the requirements of National Training Packages and meets the needs of the diverse learner’s, and the use of new technology. They identified increased stress levels and pressure of time constraints to produce results.

The evidence indicated the disparity of content, delivery and assessment and modes of the benchmark Certificate IV in Training and Assessment was not conducive to consistency in trainer competency and ability to meet the changing needs of the VET environment.

An important conclusion was that the benchmark qualification for training and assessment within the VET sector does not provide sufficient skills and knowledge to enable trainers to confidently adjust to the speed of evolution within the VET sector. The findings led to recommendations that may help to inform government and policy makers who hold responsibility for the VET sector in Australia of possible future considerations in relation to trainers of VET.