Working with government to improve the VET market reforms

Working with government to improve the VET market reforms


The New South Wales (NSW) Skills Board advises the NSW government on how best to meet the states skills and training needs.

The review examined a major reform to vocational education and training (VET) in NSW

Nous undertook a first-year review of Smart and Skilled, which provides contestable funding for courses on the NSW Skills List – a list of the VET qualifications most needed in the NSW economy. The NSW Skills Board sought advice on the achievement of the NSW Government’s VET reform objectives and recommendations on potential changes.

We helped ensure Smart and Skilled is equipped for the future

Through extensive stakeholder interviews, focus groups and surveys we assessed the effectiveness, adequacy and impact of the application and assessment process used to approve providers to deliver Smart and Skilled training. We also examined how broad policy settings of the reforms have impacted outcomes, through the analysis of complex data sets of observed market behaviour.

We consequently made recommendations relating to arrangements for:

  • prices, fees and subsidiaries
  • ongoing monitoring of provider performance and quality
  • the contestable budget’s structure.

The recommendations sought to ensure that Smart and Skilled can deliver on the objectives set by the NSW government. Recognising that reforms need to be carefully managed, we recommended staging implementation over three phases, with provision for pilots and reviews to ensure effective market stewardship.

We offered a series of interrelated and multifaceted recommendations

Nous provided recommendations to the NSW Skills Board which are already having a positive impact on the VET market in NSW.

What other organisations can learn

  • Conduct data analysis and testing throughout the whole review, to test issues raised by stakeholders and continue to delve deeply into issues.
  • When using large and complex data sets, select the right tools for different pieces of analysis.
  • Provide recommendations early and on an ongoing basis so government can implement changes in a timely manner.