In a move to tackle skills shortages, the Australian government has rolled out the National Skills Agreement— a $12.6 billion dollar five-year plan to boost the education and training sectors.
While there’s no doubt this investment is big news for those interested in further study, it might not be the silver bullet for everyone's career aspirations.
Here are 4 things to know about the NSA to determine if it aligns with your educational and career goals.
1. It’s Not Crystal Clear Where the Money’s Going
The initial kickstart from the federal government is $12.6 billion. This budget will be spread over various sectors, including clean energy and advanced manufacturing.
However, the emphasis appears to be on building infrastructures and systems to support the education and training sectors, rather than diversifying the range of courses available (or making them more affordable).
2. It Targets Specific Sectors
The NSA identifies specific sectors that are considered critical, like clean energy and care services.
While this targeted approach may benefit these sectors, it also means that other rapidly evolving fields may not get the attention they deserve, limiting career choices for students.
3. Lack of Flexibility
Traditional educational settings like TAFEs (where the funds are mostly being allocated) may not offer the same level of flexibility as other study pathways, which allow for easier entry and exit and the ability to "taste-test" different career paths.
Here's where online courses have a distinct advantage. They offer a broad array of subjects, more flexible timelines, and often lower entry requirements. Whether you're looking to change careers, upskill, or explore different fields, online platforms provide a versatile approach that is not clearly matched by the NSA's current focus.
4. Questionable Long-Term Viability
The NSA comes with a fixed five-year term, which raises questions about its long-term impact.
What happens when the five years are up? Will there be a sustainable plan to carry on the momentum gained, or will the focus shift, leaving certain sectors or educational paths in the lurch?
The absence of a clear long-term strategy could potentially leave students and sectors hanging after the initial investment period.
Where is the Government Skills Agreement Funding Going?
It’s not totally clear where the funding is going. All we know right now is the $12.6 billion is targeting critical sectors such as:
- Clean Energy: Transitioning to a more sustainable economy.
- Advanced Manufacturing and Security: Enhancing skills in sectors like high-tech manufacturing and national security.
- Digital Competence: Ensuring Australia stays competitive in the digital arena.
- Care & Support Services: Increasing investment in health and social care vocations.
The funding from the government also aims to bring various improvements to vocational education. This includes improving foundation skills training capacity, quality and accessibility, as well as improving VET evidence and data.
How exactly the money will be used to implement these reforms is unclear. It’s also unclear if students who want to study courses that don’t fall under the “critical and emerging industries” will benefit from the NSA. At first glance, it appears not.
Where to Find Flexible, Cost-Effective Online Study for All
The traditional classroom isn't for everyone. Whether you're looking to switch careers, upskill with a short course, or simply explore popular fields, Online Courses Australia offers flexibility and affordability that's hard to match.
One of the main advantages is the cost-friendliness of online courses. Unlike traditional educational settings that may require hefty tuition fees and additional costs for materials or commuting, online courses offer high-quality courses at a fraction of the price (with payment plans available).
Not to mention the flexibility of online courses, which allows you to choose your study hours. Night owl or early bird, you can tailor your education to fit your schedule, making it easier to balance work, family, and personal commitments. This is the opposite of the rigid structure of traditional educational timetables.
And, if you’re not sure if a particular career is right for you, at Online Courses Australia, we offer several career samplers, giving you the opportunity to dip your toes in various fields before diving in fully. This can be especially helpful for those unsure about which career pathway to follow, as it allows for a low-risk exploration of different sectors.
6 of Our Most Popular Career Samplers You Can Study Today
- Childcare Career Sampler
- Travel & Tourism Career Sampler
- Explore Vet Nursing Career Sample
- Teacher’s Aide Career Sampler
- Counselling Career Sampler
- Events and Hospitality Management Career Sampler
The Bottom Line
Online courses offer an inclusive educational landscape, serving as a great alternative to more traditional forms of learning. With options that are more cost-effective, flexible, and diverse, they are increasingly becoming the go-to choice for Australians of all backgrounds seeking to improve their skills and broaden their horizons.
Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers
If you want to find out more about our online courses that cover more than 20 different professional industries:
- Career Development