The introduction of strict social distancing measures and mandated lockdowns necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic created new and unprecedented challenges for the vocational education and training (VET) sector. In response, approximately three-quarters (75.2%) of registered training organisations (RTOs) surveyed in early 2021 moved training to an online environment. The substantial shift to online training delivery was also identified through an analysis of total VET activity (TVA) data, with the number of subjects being delivered via an online-only mode increasing by almost 24% in 2020 compared with 2019.
This project provides a picture of how the VET system responded in 2020 to the uncertainty and challenges — to training delivery and assessment — generated by the pandemic, also detailing its influence on RTOs’ future training delivery plans. The findings from this research have been presented as a two-part series. In part 1, the incidence of online training during the first year of the pandemic is compared with the incidence pre-pandemic using administrative data, along with an investigation of training types and subject results across these periods (Hume & Griffin 2021). In this report, part 2, the authors explore the journeys of RTOs and their use of online training delivery — from pre-pandemic through to their pandemic response and future intentions. A survey of RTOs and in-depth interviews explored the barriers and opportunities of the move to online training delivery. Case studies of five different areas of training are also presented, demonstrating the variable challenges experienced across the VET sector.