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Australian VETs increasingly prioritise digital transformation
Wed, 28th Feb 2024

Vocational education and training (VET) providers in Australia are ramping up their digital transformation efforts, reveals the fifth annual Voice of VET report released by ReadyTech on February 26, 2024. The report reveals considerable intention towards enhancing student enrolment and retention, influenced by the National Skills Agreement, a commitment from the Commonwealth and NSW Government to deliver quality education and training.

The report reveals that 61% of VET providers consider digital transformation a high priority. The top goals are improving student experience (73%), increasing employee productivity (71%), and enhancing digital service delivery (65%). There is growing interest in the transformative potential of AI, 44% view AI as an opportunity for their Registered Training Organisations (RTO), however just 20% claim to have a defined AI strategy or plan.

A considerable number of VET providers, 57%, believe AI will impact their course content, 45% see it influencing training/course management, 42% think it will enhance the student experience, 40% view it as beneficial for learning management, and 35% see it as improving student productivity.

Staff training is dominating the priorities for RTOs with 91% agreeing it is crucial for enhancing the student experience. Enhancing industry/employer engagement, student learning plans and well-being programs are other top priorities according to the report.

"For far too long, Australia has grappled with workforce shortages, hindering progress and growth across critical industries," said Trevor Fairweather, General Manager, Education at ReadyTech. "The findings of our new report highlight the commitment of the VET sector to bridge skill gaps and enhance employment opportunities. With the introduction of the National Skills Agreement, this is a huge step towards bolstering Australia's workforce,"

The report also draws attention to the challenges confronting VET providers in the last year. The average number of students enrolled slightly decreased from 896 in 2022 to 875 in 2023, indicating urgent need for more initiatives to attract fresh enrolments.

The VET sector has been wrestling with issues such as lack of staffing resources, skills and training, and rising costs. Against a stark contrast from 2022 where the transition to online learning was a significant challenge, 2024 presents a more hopeful future with 80% of RTOs expecting revenue to increase or remain stable. RTOs envisage new markets, sectoral growth, and marketing as top opportunities followed by providing new and better courses.

“A high-performing VET sector is crucial for achieving a fairer society and a stronger economy," continued Fairweather. "It's great to see the VET sector thinking deeply and long-term about how they are likely to deliver education and training into the future. It's clear digital transformation remains pivotal in enabling RTOs to keep up with the evolving landscape and drive positive outcomes for students and employers.”