From the CEO

The acquired skills shortage is the discussion staple for our industry nowadays. It’s what everyone is talking and thinking about – and constantly. Because that’s the case, I thought it would be wise to offer up an ‘Australian education sector 101’ explanation for the uninitiated as we collectively work towards mitigating it by reskilling or upskilling the sector’s future workforce.

I know this might be a bit of a dry topic, but information brings knowledge and knowledge underwrites better decision making. If nothing more, reading on will lay a point of reference at the back of your mind that you may not need right now but need to draw on some time in the future.

What you might not know is that there’s an Australian Qualifications Framework which governs tertiary education (with some exception, but that’s too granular for this article). Those who have a penchant for detail and in-depth understanding can explore that in full here. But the essence is that there are 10 levels of qualification in Australia:

1.      Certificate I

2.      Certificate II

3.      Certificate III

4.      Certificate IV

5.      Diploma

6.      Advanced Diploma or Associate Degree

7.      Bachelor Degree

8.      Bachelor Honours Degree, Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma

9.      Masters Degree

10.   Doctoral Degree

Levels 7 to 10 aggregate as ‘higher education’. Levels 1 to 6 constitute what’s known as vocational education and training, or more simply VET. While higher education teaches a broad range of theories, VET focuses on specific skills for a particular workplace. Within each of these sub-sectors of the tertiary system there are both publicly (government) operated and independently (formerly recognised as privately) operated providers. The higher education sector is regulated by TEQSA (Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency), and the VET sector by ASQA (Australian Skills Quality Authority).

LESSON #1: Irrespective of operator nature, the same two regulators oversee the entire system, so a qualification issued by any provider they accredit is identical in validity. For example, a qualification awarded by one university is no more legitimate than one awarded by any other university or independent provider.

Providers will seek to differentiate themselves in the market on a value proposition basis and build a reputation that they will trade off the back of. But make no mistake, fundamentally an accredited Bachelor of Business = an accredited Bachelor of Business. End of story.

One common misunderstanding in the marketplace is that TAFE = VET. It does not. VET is delivered by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). Each TAFE Institute is a government operated RTO, subject to accreditation and quality control by ASQA.

LESSON #2: TAFE is a provider, not the system. VET is the system.

MEA operates an RTO, and by default competes in the same market as TAFE and other providers delivering the qualification Diploma of Event Management SIT50316 for students seeking that education.

LESSON #3: A Diploma awarded by MEA is as bona fide as one issued by other accredited providers – including TAFE.


It therefore gets down to choice. As with every product and service, buying education is not only about the outcome, but about the experience too. We all know that there are multiple brands of cola drink, but buyers will consider taste, cost, availability and other factors when buying a can or bottle. What potential students or employers wishing to develop staff need to do is assess what the best learning environment for their circumstances is.

Where MEA differentiates is that our education content is developed and delivered by industry practitioners. Our educators are not career academics who talk the talk but are people who literally walk the talk. They manage events as well as instruct how to manage events. Our program is conducive to people in fulltime employment. It’s delivered out of business hours and entirely online – in both teaching and assessment contexts. This enables immediate application of learning in the workplace, or application of workplace knowledge to demonstrate grasp in assessment tasks. Constant support is available as opposed to needing to await a weekly face to face workshop. Students can progress at their own pace as opposed to within set semester date boundaries, but typically the course is completed over 18-24 months.

So what’s my point? My point is that I encourage people to think and look laterally at their study options as they look to invest in themselves or their business with education to address the acquired skills shortage. Urban myths can avoidably unduly influence decisions that a fuller knowledge could circumvent. Don’t be caught out by misperception. Challenge yourself to critically explore your options. When it comes to VET, you have a choice.

If you’re interested in learning more about the applied learning offered by MEA’s Diploma of Event Management SIT50316 to improve your personal market value or skill level within your business, please visit our website.

If you’ve made it to here, consider yourself better informed.

I’m afraid no song this week. Nothing came to mind as appropriate. For those who enjoy my musical tie ins fear not, it’s a hiatus not a change of tack.

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