Mr Neil Coulson was appointed as the first Victorian Skills Commissioner (VSC) in December 2015.

The establishment of this independent role signals a new direction in how industry will engage with the training system. The VSC will work with employers, unions and government to better align training with the needs of the Victorian industry and the economy as a whole. This will ensure that the training requirements of students and employers are met, and that skills outcomes support the Government's economic objectives for productivity and growth.

The VSC will provide advice to the Hon Gayle Tierney MP, Minister for Training and Skills on the following:

  • How the training system can better support the economy and jobs by addressing skills shortages, meeting workforce training needs and boosting productivity for employers.
  • How industry input can lead to more strategic and targeted interventions to align the training system with industry needs.
  • The training needs of existing and emerging industries.
  • Promoting training pathways that lead to jobs and skills development in the workforce.
  • Addressing the training and workforce development needs of Victoria's regions.

The VSC's initial focus will be to establish and oversee a new industry engagement framework to ensure training aligns with Victoria's labour market requirements. In order to do this, the VSC will facilitate information sharing and collaboration between government, employers, trade unions and training providers. Aligning education and training offered by local institutions with the current and future needs of the state and regional economies will be vital in the years ahead.

Just as important as delivering the right training and education is ensuring that the right pathways are available for people to transition from training into work. The VSC will support the process of establishing and growing these pathways, particularly into priority sectors.

The VSC will provide a point of integration, working closely with the Department of Education and Training and other Government agencies to support the Government's broader economic and social policy objectives.

Neil Coulson - Victorian Skills Commissioner

From 1999-2007, Neil held the role of the Chief Executive Officer at the Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI), before moving to Australian caravan manufacturer Jayco Corporation as the Chief Executive Officer from 2007 to 2012. He ran his own consulting business from 2012-2015. More recently, Neil was the Deputy Reviewer for the Governments independent VET Funding Review in 2015.

Neil was awarded the Centenary of Federation medal in 2003 for service to industry.

Neil's experience places him in an ideal position to advise government and industry on how Victoria's training system can meet Victoria's educational and economic needs.


Our new Industry Engagement Framework provides a structured way for industry, unions and employers to inform and engage with the training system in Victoria.


The Victorian Government is committed to working with industry, unions and expert bodies to ensure Victoria’s Government-funded training system best serves the needs of the economy.

The Government has also committed to reforming the training system to recognise the importance of industry, employers and students – to ensure that students gain the skills they need for real jobs, which in turn boosts industry productivity.


To ensure this alignment between industry’s skills needs and training, the Government appointed Neil Coulson in December 2015 as the first Victorian Skills Commissioner (VSC).

The VSC, who is supported by the Department of Education and Training, provides independent advice to the Minister for Training and Skills.

The VSC works with employers, unions and training providers to strengthen industry engagement in the training market and uses the best possible data to inform Government’s knowledge of future skills shortages and workforce training needs.

The VSC’s appointment signalled a new direction for how industry engages with the training system.

To support this, the VSC has recommended a new Industry Engagement Framework to Government.


The new framework will be dynamic and flexible, with regular and ongoing engagement with industry.

It will allow information to be gathered from across the breadth of Victorian industries, as well as for the capture of information about regional industry needs and specific training and system issues.

The framework is designed to be able to respond to changing priorities and emerging issues.

In addition, there will be:

Regional Taskforces which will gather information and provide advice about the unique skills needs of Victoria’s regions.

Advice will be sought on workforce development needs in geographic areas where training needs are not currently being met.

The VSC will coordinate with existing Government consultative channels, such as those under the new Regional Partnerships Initiative, to gather information.

Industry Taskforces: The VSC will also bring together Industry Taskforces at the request of the Minister or as required that will work for a time-limited period to examine a particular existing or emerging issue.

A current example is the skills and training needs of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – an issue that the Minister referred to the VSC.

Importantly, work undertaken within the Industry Engagement Framework will be co-ordinated with work underway in other areas of Government. It will be supported by rich sources of data available from industry and from within Government.


By providing a stronger and more effective industry voice and by accessing the best possible insight into industry needs, the new arrangements will:

  • Ensure the barriers to providing training to meet industry demand can be identified and overcome;
  • Enable Government to address current and future skill shortages and workforce training needs, including the training needs of emerging industries;
  • Promote training pathways that lead to qualifications, jobs and skills development in the workforce;
  • Ensure that the unique requirements of regional Victoria for quality training and skills are understood and supported.


Industry Advisory Groups (IAGs): In line with the commitment of the Andrews Government, ten new IAGs will be established covering industries ranging from construction and health, to resources and manufacturing.

They will consist of representatives of industry, unions and employers.

IAGs will provide advice to the VSC on matters including skill demand pressures and future industry skills needs.

IAGs will serve as an important reference for the VSC, providing industry intelligence around priority growth sectors as well as existing industries. They will play a formal role in informing the VSC with workforce training needs as part of the Government’s funded training system.

  • Construction including Construction Technologies and Civil Construction;
  • Resources, Forestry, Paper and Pulp;
  • Business Services, Financial Services, Professional Services, Property Services, Education (including International Education), IT, Printing and Graphic Arts, Cultural and related industries;
  • Primary industries including Agriculture and Rural Production, Food and Fibre, Horticulture, Animal Care and Management, Racing, Conservation and Land Management, and Seafood and Aquaculture;
  • Manufacturing, Engineering and Automotive (including Aerospace, Medical Technology, Pharmaceuticals, Transport Technology, Defence Technology, Furnishing, Textiles, Clothing and Footwear);
  • Electro technology, Electricity Generation and Supply, Gas Supply and New Energy Technology;
  • Transport and Logistics including Aviation, Road Transport, Rail, Maritime, Ports and Warehousing;
  • Community Services and Health Services;
  • Services (including Retail, Tourism, Travel, Personal Services, Sport, Fitness and Recreation)
  • Public Safety, Public Sector, Corrections, Water and Local Government.

Bold text represents the Government’s priority sectors.


Address Victorian Skills Commissioner
PO Box 354, Flinders Lane VIC, 8009
Level 1, 21 Degraves St
Melbourne Victoria 3000

Phone(03) 8892 1602


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