Adapting to Adversity: The Impact of COVID-19 on the VET Industry

impact of covid-19 on VET industry

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) has released its latest research on the Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the vocational education and training (VET) sector. This research sheds light on the resilience and adaptability shown by training providers in the face of unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic. As RTOs, it’s crucial to understand the implications of the impact of COVID-19 on the VET industry and learn from the sector’s response to navigate future disruptions effectively.

What was the Impact of COVID-19 on the VET Industry Research All About?

NCVER’s research highlights that training providers swiftly adjusted their operations to prioritise student safety, well-being, and engagement during the pandemic. The VET sector experienced significant disruptions, particularly impacting work placements, student enrolments, completions, and staff well-being. Disadvantaged students and those in high-infection regions were disproportionately affected.

In response to these challenges, training providers adopted a range of strategies. They customised approaches to meet individual student needs, incorporating a blend of online and in-person teaching methods. Enhanced hygiene protocols, flexible work options, and mental health and well-being programs were also implemented, reflecting a fundamental shift towards blended learning, which is expected to have long-lasting effects.

Key Takeaways for RTOs

What should your RTO keep in mind now that you know more about the impact of COVID-19 on the VET industry?

  1. Prioritising Student Well-Being: The research highlights the importance of considering the individual needs of students during challenging times. RTOs should adopt a student-centred approach, offering support and flexibility to ensure engagement and success.
  2. Embracing Blended Learning: The pandemic accelerated the adoption of blended learning approaches. RTOs should continue exploring effective strategies for combining online and face-to-face instruction to enhance learning outcomes and meet changing demands.
  3. Resilience and Adaptation: The VET sector proved resilience in the face of financial challenges. RTOs should focus on building adaptability into their business processes to effectively respond to future disruptions and ensure long-term viability.
  4. Collaboration and Communication: Engaging in partnerships and keeping open lines of communication with stakeholders, industry bodies, and peak bodies will help the exchange of knowledge, resources, and best practices in navigating uncertain times.


NCVER’s Impact of COVID-19 on the VET Industry research highlights the resilience and adaptability proven by the VET sector throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. By embracing innovative approaches, prioritising student well-being, and staying adaptable, RTOs can effectively navigate future challenges. The lessons learned from this research will inform strategies for building a robust VET sector that can thrive amidst uncertainty.

Read the full report from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

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