Developments in Policy Systems and Delivery: United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand

Conducted from 2010 - 2011


Dr Gary Willmott, Visiting Research Fellow
Institute for Adult Learning


What is the question?

How have other competency-based training systems developed since the Singapore WSQ system was established?


Why is it important?

Understanding changes that have taken place in the three key systems that informed the development of the Singapore WSQ (Australia, United Kingdom and New Zealand) can help us to adapt and develop our own system to meet prevailing and emerging circumstances.


How did we do the research?

Systematic search and analysis of key documents and resources from Australia, United Kingdom and New Zealand, drawing on the IAL network of and partnership with key agencies in these countries. This report focuses on labour market and systemic challenges. A second report will focus on learning, pedagogy, changes to competency-based training and the development of the training workforce.


What did we learn? 

  • There is a shift to target higher value-add skills formation and the relationship with increasing productivity. Each country sets “Skills Targets” in these areas.
  • There is consequently a push towards closer links between higher education and vocational education systems in all three countries, and to integrate qualifications frameworks.
  • A common challenge is the marrying of demand-based training through entitlement and other student–based systems with a planning model for skills formation. Pressures are on institutional providers to be more responsive and for new mechanisms to ensure employer needs are addressed and market failure avoided while freeing up choice for individuals.
  • Employer engagement needs to be enhanced for increased skills training to produce greater workplace effectiveness and productivity.
  • Attempts are being made to strengthen the reporting of training performance outcomes in the drive for greater accountability and transparency (e.g. Australia through the My Skills website will publish the performance outcomes of training providers). 


What are the implications? 

  • It is essential to keep the WSQ system under review in the light of developments in other systems, particularly the extent to which competency-based training can meet the need for higher value skills formation and the shifting relationship between education and training qualifications systems.
  • We need to consider the extent to which our monitoring and evaluation processes enable us to establish the impact of training on performance, measure the value to individuals and employers and gauge the future skills requirements of the economy. (This is the first of two CET update reports; the second will be in July 2011)

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