Jesuit Social Services welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Productivity Commission’s Interim Report of its National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development Review.

While the formal VET system is the main focus of the Commission’s Interim Report, we believe there is scope for more nuanced discussion of the important role of foundational learning for many people experiencing disadvantage.

Our submission focuses on the key foundational learning pathways that are crucial for the people we work with, including pre-accredited training and accredited foundation skills training, as well as the important role played by the Skills First Reconnect program in Victoria, an initiative assisting the engagement into training, often for the first time, of many people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Our submission also emphasises the importance of strengthening effective employment services, such as the Jobs Victoria Employment Network (JVEN) in Victoria, which, with its focus on supporting the most disadvantaged, stands in contrast to the compliance-focused nature of the Federal employment services system, jobactive.