Here, we will summarise this plan and explain the role NCVER plays in using data to inform decisions that will be used for good reform within the VET sector.
NCVER: A Brief History
The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) is an independent not-for-profit company that is responsible for the collection, management, analysis and communication of research and statistics on the Australian VET sector. It was established in 1981 and is owned by Australia’s state and territory VET ministers.
Their Memorandum and articles of association outline their objective to ‘carry out programs that satisfy the needs of Members in discharging their responsibilities for VET’. In short: they collect the evidence and information that policy makers need in order to make the best decisions for the VET industry.
Their Memorandum of association details their responsibility to participate in activities that will benefit the additional participants in the VET sector, including training providers, industry and union peak bodies, employers, regulators, and students.
NCVER’s areas of activity include:
- Undertaking strategic education and training research, including collecting and analysing national VET statistics and survey data and the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth.
- Collecting and publishing research findings on VET through the VOCEDplus database.
- Distributing research results and data analysis.
- Comparing data with other similar international organisations to better inform Australian practices.
- Provide professional research, analysis and evaluation across Australia and other countries.
How is NCVER’s success measured?
Essentially, through the use and implementation of their research. They aim to provide government with information that is customised and relevant, so they can make informed decisions and policies that best supports the quality and delivery of vocational education.
The Coronavirus pandemic has greatly impacted the VET sector, the economy and the labour market. This meant that there was an immediate need for research and analysis of the impacts the pandemic had on the VET sector, including different cohorts, industries and methods of delivery.
Frequent, timely data and ‘responsive integrated analysis’ is required to help NCVER’s stakeholders gauge the effectiveness of the programs and interventions put in place to form and maintain the workforce. Furthermore, this information is required for long term policy development and managing the different VET systems.
In November 2019, SSON (Skills Senior Officials Network) endorsed the creation of the VET Data Streamlining – Data and Governance program, whose purpose is to support developing and implementing a superior VET data system, enabling the simple, flexible collection and sharing of data (that is consistent with Australian privacy legislation). This new digital strategy and increased focus on research aligned to the VET Reform Roadmap and will drive NCVER’s business for the next 3 years, and after.
Notable progress has been made in meeting these goals by investing in the right skills and beginning foundational work around information standard design. In addition to the quest for ‘better, faster data’, NCVER’s national research program is developing the capacity to harness the power of ‘big data and advanced data analytics’, coupled with the traditional methods of research to provide the relevant, evidence based, quality information required to inform policy and practice in the VET sector.
However, NCVER admits that while much has been done, far more needs to be achieved in the next three years for them to be a true leader in advanced data systems and infrastructure, big data analytics, and research.
To create the future products and services that their stakeholders desire, NCVER will rely on close engagement with governments and officials as well as the broader community, while considering and involving these stakeholders at every opportunity.
The current strategic plan sets out to build on the important achievements of the previous plan, but will take it further to achieve closer policy connection and greater system relevance while maintaining their trusted role as the national VET data custodian.
To read NCVER’s 2021-2023 strategic plan in full, click here.