The Commonwealth Government, through the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, is currently exploring options to enable the implementation of higher and degree-level apprenticeships through TAFE Centres for Excellence. Centres for Excellence were announced in the Employment White Paper and are currently being established, with the first announced in Western Australia on 10 June, specialising in clean energy skills.

One option being examined for TAFE Centres of Excellence is to establish a new VET qualification at the AQF 7 level. AQF 7 qualifications are Bachelor qualifications, currently delivered by universities. A VET AQF 7 qualification (not necessarily called a Bachelor degree) would enable apprenticeships at that level to be developed by Jobs and Skills Councils and simplify delivery by the TAFE sector.

Ai Group Centre for Education and Training has written to the Department outlining our views. While CET supports the idea of AQF 7 qualifications being delivered through the VET system, this should not be at the cost of universities also offering degree level apprenticeships. The concept of higher and degree-level apprenticeships is new to Australia, and various options should be explored to encourage the developments of different models for different situations and different occupations.

CET is also mindful that there remain existing barriers to implementing degree apprenticeships across the country which need to be addressed, including state government legislation, coverage by industrial awards, and the application of Fringe Benefits Tax.

Read the Ai Group Centre for Education & Training's submission