Public perceptions of vocational education and training as a "lower value" choice than university are contributing to skills shortages, the state government says.
"The Tasmanian government believes that, on balance, Australia's VET system is a positive national asset that should continue to be refined and developed for the benefit of individual learners, employers and industry, to drive local and national economic development," the government said in a submission to the Productivity Commission.
"However, there are some elements of the VET system that have been long-standing and often recurring impediments to the effective achievement of the system's outcomes and goals.
"Both industry and training providers agree that work needs to be done to improve the overall perception of VET in comparison to higher education."
The government submission said scandals over some private sector training providers ripping off students and associated difficulties with student debt had "compounded the pre-existing perception of VET as a lower value choice".
It said that continued to affect career choices of school leavers and existing workers and contributed to skills shortages in various sectors and occupations.
The commission is reviewing the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development at the request of the federal government.
It is expected to review the agreement's effectiveness and, in the words of federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, "will assess options for coordinated government support for VET, opportunities to increase VET participation and the potential to achieve further targeted reforms".
He said the federal government was committed to strengthening VET so all Australians "have the skills they need in a changing workplace and businesses have a pipeline of qualified workers to grow and prosper".
The Australian Education Union sees a strong TAFE and VET sector as crucial for jobs in the rapidly changing economy.
"Australia's transition into the fourth industrial revolution is disrupting a growing number of traditional industries and leaving Australia to face an increasingly uncertain labour market with contradictory reports about the potential scale and effect of automation and artificial intelligence," the union's submission said.
"Our rapidly changing 21st century is reconfiguring our patterns of production, of trade, knowledge transfer and cultural development, which makes vocational education more important to our national development and the employment prospects of Australians than ever before."