Another recent happening was a celebration hosted by Victoria University of Berwyn Clayton’s career as a VET researcher. Berwyn is retiring from the Work-based Education Research Centre (http://www.vu.edu.au/work-based-education-research-centre-werc) at Victoria University next week. Last week she was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Australian Training Awards.
Roger Harris (University of South Australia) did an analysis of Berwyn’s research output, tracing the development of her interest in two particular areas, assessment and the VET professional. Erica Smith (Federation University) highlighted Berwyn’s contribution to AVETRA’s hallmark as an organisation at the nexus of the practitioner and academic VET research. Megan Lilly (Australian Industry Group) eloquently summed up the principle underlying Berwyn’s overall approach to her work: championing the value of learning. In a panel discussion facilitated by the ebullient Hugh Guthrie (Victoria University), Chris Robinson (Australian Skills Quality Agency) underlined the importance of the second half of the research process, getting the message out – something Berwyn mastered, thanks, as Ann Goleby (ACT government) reminded us, to her grasp of the English language and dedication to hard work. Bob Paton (Manufacturing Skills Australia) reiterated another theme of the day, Berwyn’s ability to weave together the world of policy, VET practice and the workplace. Helen Sonnleitner (former Masters student) and Anne Bowden (former new researcher in the NCVER-VU-AVETRA Community of Practice researcher) spoke of Berwyn’s tremendous commitment to nurturing new researchers by getting them to ask the right questions and helping then tackle manageable answers. Someone commented during the day that we need ten Berwyn Claytons to keep the sector on track. She’s done everything she can to ensure a future for VET research; still she will be sorely missed…if she really does retire.