What role do apprenticeships and traineeships play in VET?

I would like to thank the Assistant Minister Karen Andrews for her recent update.  It is reassuring to know that there is considerable contemplation of VET’s future, particularly as we are getting very close to the expiry of the National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform (202-17).

The update from the Minister did lead me to consider the role of apprenticeships (incorporating traineeships) in Australia.  Doing a little basic statistics work I determine that as of September 2015 this group made up 6% of all students in the VET system (262625 apprentices:4,500,000 total enrolments) according to NCVER data at https://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/publications/all-publications/2874.

This group is very significant to VET, and the formation of skills in Australia.  The commentary, though, sometimes lead me to think that there may be a view held that VET is largely based on an apprenticeship model.  For example, the Minister states, “As the flagship of the vocational education system, apprenticeships are my key priority and we are focused on reversing the decline that began in 2012.”

Do you share this concern that a view of VET could be described perhaps as a 1950’s view, rather than a 21st Century view?  I will be very interested to read the replies.






Building bridges with universities

I recommend reading Barney Glover’s address to the Press Club and his assertions about universities. More particularly, his point about building bridges with the world beyond the university is important. Could that include better collaborations with VET institutions when it comes to the knowledge economy and start-ups?


NCVER Releases Report Showing Comparisons of the two sectors in Post-Compulsory Education in Australia

A very interesting report by Craig Fowler, published by NCVER.  The report is described as “a brief commentary on the trends and potential trajectories of vocational education and training (VET) compared with higher education in Australia”.  It has some very interesting data regarding participation in the two sectors, governance and policy decisions effecting the two sectors, and funding arrangements – both now and projected.

The recommendations are very interesting.  As many of you are interested in this changing policy landscape (as am I) I hope this report will provide you with some insights into the possible future of post-compulsory education in Australia.



An Interesting Methodology from Victoria University

Although the initial content of this article from “The Conversation” today maybe a bit of a distraction, read further and find out about an interesting methodology used by Paul Hawking and Scott Bingley.  The Victoria University academics have used Text Analysis techniques from the University’s Business Analytics and Big Data Lab to analyse a huge amount of data.

“A technique referred to as Text Analysis is the process of analysing unstructured text to extract relevant information and then transform that information into a structured format for analysis.”

What do you think of this technique?

Australians on Twitter 

Ideas on Ways to Measure Impact of Research

Many thanks to Kevin Heys who highlighted this article on the new ways which research will be evaluated in terms of impact.

According to the article, “This move to measure the non-academic impact of research introduces many new challenges that were not previously relevant when evaluation focused solely on academic merit.”

The helpful aspect of the article is the identification of new ways research will need to be assessed in this environment.



The International Debate on Tertiary Education



This article provides some interesting insights into the growth in various parts of the tertiary sector in a number of countries.  The publisher, Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung (BIBB), argues that perhaps the growth in this educational sector is drifting in a vocationally oriented direction.

Australia’s system is reviewed, with a particular emphasis on Associate Degrees.  It discusses the purposes of dual sector institutions and TAFEs engaging in the higher education sector.  The Associate Degrees are described as ‘hybrid qualifications’.  I found it interesting that there was no reference to degrees being offered in these organisations in Australia.

Any comments on this article might begin an interesting conversation, especially in light of the applied research efforts underway in our VET sector at present.