National training packages: a new curriculum framework for vocational education and training in Australia
National training packages have become the mandated framework for course delivery in Australia's vocational education and training sector. Each training package contains: qualifications that can be issued, industry-derived competencies, and assessment guidelines but do not contain an endorsed curriculum component or learning outcomes. All public and private vocational education and training providers must use training packages, or industry-endorsed competencies in cases where they do not exist, if they are to receive public funding for their programs. This article describes the operation of Australia's national training packages and considers some of their strengths and weaknesses, many of which may be shared by similar systems elsewhere. Argues that training packages may result in poorer student learning outcomes, and that they may threaten the end of effective credit transfer between the vocational education and training and higher education sectors. Suggests that national training packages are not a good model for other countries and that Australia's current vocational education and training policy needs to be reviewed.