Australian vocational education and training (VET) policy makers have persistently proposed more user choice when reforming the national training system. Increasing alternatives by encouraging multiple providers to trade in regulated contestable markets remains the cornerstone of governments’ policies. However, despite policy intentions, students’ options are declining. Longitudinal quantitative jurisdiction-level statistics identify well-established trends of a reduced variety of providers, a smaller range of qualifications on offer and decreased public funding. These outcomes are occurring notwithstanding the continuous supportive policy environment for intensified competition and amplified choice. Rather than portray reduced choice as policy failure, this research makes novel use of large nationally consistent regulatory and enrolment data sets to provide evidence of successful public policy implementation that is approaching the end of the market life cycle. The results invite an exploration of issues that arise when VET markets are considered to be mature rather than unrealised aspirations. Choices provided in these fully-fledged markets that balance public and private provision are still necessary, but no longer sufficient, to meet national skills needs. It is argued that policy success is not permanent and should be revisited in light of contemporary economic alternatives to guide future VET policy making.
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||Empirical Research in Vocational Education and Training|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2022|