On par internationally: Australia's development of vocational qualifications

Media release

20 May 2021

Analysis of vocational qualification development processes in other countries shows no international process is more efficient or effective than Australia’s, but there are elements that could be adapted to improve Australia’s approach.

As with the process here in Australia, other countries have similar committee membership (although with greater input from educators), take a similar time to develop qualifications (one to two years) and use similar documentation.

In Australia, current perception is that educators and educational institutions have little involvement in developing vocational qualifications. Yet, at least on paper, their roles are similar to those in other countries suggesting greater transparency is needed on their influence.

Further, in many of the countries examined, the regulator is involved in the qualification development process, mainly through final approval of qualifications. In Australia, the task of training package development and approval is the responsibility of an industry body, and the VET regulators have little to no involvement, although they do accredit courses.

Australia’s federated system is a factor in the duration of the qualification approval process. The literature did not reveal details about the time taken and potential efficiencies within each development stage so further research that examines the collaboration practices and conflict resolution processes that may be contributing to the overall length of the process would be informative.


Streamlining the vocational qualification development process in Australia is a current priority of the skills ministers of Australian, state and territory governments. The aim of this work is to identify any areas where efficiencies can be made.

This research summary explores the development processes associated with vocational qualifications in Canada, Finland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom, and United States and compares them with current process in Australia.

This research is the second stage of a research project. The first stage explored approaches taken to rationalise VET qualifications, such as occupational clustering and how they might be applied in the Australian context.

Report: Vocational qualification development: lessons from overseas
Related resource:
Rationalising VET qualifications: selected international approaches

Media enquiries: Deanne Loan M: 0413 523 691 E: deanneloan@ncver.edu.au

About NCVER: we are the main provider of research, statistics and data on Australia’s VET sector. Our services help promote better understanding of VET and assist policymakers, practitioners, industry, training providers, and students to make informed decisions. This work has been produced by NCVER on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments, with funding provided through the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.