The Power of Data Linkage

Image result for data graphic

Graphic Source:  Freepik

Have you heard about data linkage?  According to NCVER, one of the major benefits of this approach to qualitative research is the power to be unlocked by correlating data from two or more data sets.  The Australian Bureau of Statistics Data Laboratory provides access to a huge array of data including unit level data, and compiled data.  There are restrictions to the use of this facility.  If anyone else is interested, it may be worthwhile AVETRA approaching ABS to determine if members who complete the required undertakings could be given access. If you have any thoughts about this, leave a reply below please.

NCVER has been active in providing us with a discussion paper, as well as best practice guidelines.  The guidelines are based on the international ‘Five Safes” to guide research.

I cannot give this topic the understanding it deserves, so I will leave it to the experts and recommend that you view the webinar held on 14 June and/or the slides.  I learned a great deal about this new and exciting approach to using data.  The advice of Cain Polidano, “just because we can use data linkage doesn’t mean we always should” seems very sage to me.  Like many other ethical and efficiency issues related to research, there are a number of limitations as well as benefits.

The recent establishment of the National Data Custodian is another development showing that research is being enabled and valued by governments and other organisations.  This body is discussed in the webinar.

The presenters, Cain Polidano from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research; Tenniel Guiver from the Australian Institute of Family Studies; and Kristen Osborne and Patrick Korbel from NCVER provided a valuable discussion of the topic, as well as information on some recent research projects which have made good use of data linkage to uncover the benefits for the VET sector.  As always, Michelle Circelli did an outstanding job as moderator.  I highly recommend this webinar to you.

As always, please leave any comments below, because a conversation on this topic would be very interesting I think.


Get Even More Value from AVETRA and the Educator Hub

AVETRA A-News is a highly informative publication released by AVETRA twice a year.  To see previous editions visit the AVETRA website.  One of the impressive things about the publication is that the contributions come directly from our industry.  AVETRA is now calling for articles for the next edition of ‘A-News’.

A-News welcomes any news of interest and relevance to the AVETRA community (including photographs, recent appointments, promotions, awards, upcoming and relevant conferences, or any other event or story you feel would be appropriate). If you or your colleagues would like to make a contribution to the magazine, then please send this to Josie Misko via Josie can also be contacted on 08 8230 8647. The due date for content will be June 15, 2018.

It has been my pleasure to engage in a number of international activities during the last few weeks.  I would like to share with you three of these activities.

  1.  The EUROPEN-PEN International group, coordinated by Svenja Zenz has shown considerable interest in how Australian VET engages in ‘learning by doing’.  Through their practice enterprises network they engage VET learners from more than 7,500 institutions with simulated real-world problems and activities.  Svenja is very keen to hear from anyone who might want to learn more about this method of learning, where learners are immersed in simulated businesses which are aligned with real-world businesses.   Svenja can be contacted at

    Svenja’s organisation reminds me of previous activity in Australian VET involving the Network of Practice Firms.  From my research it seems that the coordinating body of that group is no long operational.  If anyone has any information on similar learning by doing operations in Australia I would love to receive your response in the comments area below.

2.  The e-Discussion on Quality, Innovative Apprenticeships for the Future of Work includes contributions from countries throughout the world on how VET can input to the important area of apprenticeship.  Internationally this term has interesting definitions and understandings.  Some of the possible interpretations is one of the things I have learned by engaging in the online debate.  I recommend the e-discussion to you if you are interested in how others are trying to innovate and create greater value from apprenticeships for the future.

3.  And finally, an excellent webinar which was hosted by UNESCO’s Secretariat in Bangkok on Friday 25 May.  The question under discussion was:  “What are the solutions when schools are succeeding superficially, but the overwhelming majority of students are failing to learn?”

The webinar shared a great deal of data on enrolments and achievements.  The measures of achievement were largely against high-stakes international assessment schemes such as PISA.   As always, there was a good debate on the need to measure a variety of outcomes of education, including STEAM and workforce participation rates, rather than narrow high-stake assessments.

Of particular interest to me was the significant shift in the numbers of students enrolling in schooling; the share of funding in a variety of countries between different educational sectors; and the outcomes of countries with higher levels of student-directed learning and elaboration techniques compared with teacher-directed and memorization techniques.

EAP Memorization and Elaboration Graph.jpg


I recommend the report by the World Bank Growing Smarter: Learning and Equitable Development in East Asia and Pacific which focuses on the experiences of countries in the region that have been able to expand schooling and successfully pursue system-wide education reforms. If you are running a little short of time, a read through the list of figures will give you a very good idea of the areas covered.

I hope you have enjoyed this brief catch-up on VET in Australia and abroad.   Please share any thoughts in the Reply field below, as this forum will always work best when there is engagement from all of you – its members.









Robin Shreeve at 2018 Practitioner Research Conference

Over 60 practitioners and researchers attended the AVETRA inaugural VET Practitioner Research conference on 26/27 April in Melbourne.  Pictured is the new AVETRA President 2018-2020 Mr Robin Shreeve.

The conference provided practitioners with the opportunity to present their research in 30 minute slots, to discuss their research intentions and seek advice in 10 minute slots, and workshops on a range of topics that would add to their research expertise, including working with NCVER, developing collaborative proposals with industry for applied research, researching and understanding industry knowledge, developing e-assessments, entrepreneurship and research capability development, developing a small scale research proposal, and doing research in and on your own organisation.  The guest keynote speaker, José Luis Fernandez Maure, Head of International at TKNIKA in the Basque Country, provided some wonderful insights as to how they are developing their VET workforce and taking innovation and applied research into all areas of vocational education.

The Conference Archives on the AVETRA website contains copies of most presentations, as well as a link to a great summary of the event via Kira Clarke’s great twitter feeds.  Feedback from the conference has been most positive with support for further practitioner research conferences.  As one participant said:  For me the benefits of the conference was the opportunity to mingle and learn from others already involved in research and how you go about it, and the potential fields/topics covered… having seen the enthusiasm of those attending and the support and guidance provided by those already qualified and supervising higher degrees, it gave me a good example of how well I would be supported if I was to undertake such an endeavour.

Don’t forget, to learn more about AVETRA and how you can be supported in your research go to the website, or leave a Reply to this post and we will be in touch with you for sure.


Who Else Is Getting Excited?

logo of AVETRA

OK, so I am easily excited.  Though I have to tell you that I am looking forward to next Thursday and Friday spending time with like-minded, and I am sure like-passionate people at the Inaugural AVETRA Practitioner Research Conference.

Don’t tell me you haven’t registered yet?  Well get along now and register here at CVENT.  Remember if you are an AVETRA member it will be $25; for non-members $225.  That certainly makes taking out membership to AVETRA at $190 a very attractive offer since you get so much more throughout the year as well as this Conference.  Do it now at the AVETRA webiste (before you register for the Conference).  I learned that when claiming the membership fee it is best to contact VDC or AVETRA by phone or email for details of the code.

The Key Note address by José Luis Fernandez Maure, Head of International at TKNIKA (Institute of Innovation and Applied Research for Vocational Education and Training) in the Basque Country will be very worthwhile.  Lots of other sessions grab my interest too.  One challenge for me – Berwyn Clayton and Kira Clarke are both presenting from 3.00 pm to 4.30 pm on Friday.  I will be torn as I would like to hear from both of them on their important topics.

Have a look over the program for the two days and I am sure you will see it is very much worth your time to get to this Conference.  It is an exciting time at the moment with discussion of practitioner and scholarly research in the VET field.

Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention the AVETRA AGM will be held at the venue following the close of Day One.

Looking forward to seeing you there!




The AVETRA VET Practitioner Research Conference Program Is Nearly Here

AVETRA, the VET Development Centre and the Victorian TAFE Association are really gearing up for the Inaugural VET Practitioner Research Conference.  This is a unique opportunity for VET teachers, trainers and other professionals to present and learn about new research in VET.

The program is very nearly ready to be released on 30 March.  Among the exciting speakers the Victorian TAFE Association has secured is José Luis Fernandez Maure, Head of International at TKNIKA (Institute of Innovation and Applied Research for Vocational Education and Training) in the Basque Country and leader of the Applied Research and Innovation Affinity Group of the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP).

Practitioner research is practical, applied and impactful at the local level.  It drives innovation in VET curriculum, delivery and assessment and directly contributes to innovation in industry and community settings.

The categories for the program are:

1.       Research capability development workshops

2.       Research project ‘snapshots’

3.       Research project presentations

The cost of the conference has been kept to a minimum with the support of the VET Development Centre and the Victorian TAFE Association.   The cost of attendance will be:

•         Existing AVETRA members: $25

•         Non-AVETRA members: $225 (Please note, joining AVETRA is easy! Just go to and click the ‘Join Now’ button. You’ll save on attending this conference and enjoy the benefits of AVETRA membership.)

Please direct any questions about the conference, including how to pay and register, to Linda Simon and Steven Hodge at:

The AVETRA Annual General Meeting has also been set down for Thursday 26 April in conjunction with the Conference.  A good number of nominations have been received and if you are an AVETRA member you will have received your election form by now.  If not, I highly recommend joining AVETRA and having your say on the Executive for this very worthwhile organisation.

Please leave a comment in the Reply section below to let us know who might be coming to this exciting events, and what highlights you are hoping for.

VET Applied Research Framework


Happy Christmas and Interesting International Research


AVETRA Educator Hub would like to take this opportunity to wish all our followers and supporters the very best for this Festive Season.  May 2018 bring health, happiness and success for all.  May VET research experience a new resurgence in impact as well as in volume. 

I came across this extensive source of TVET research at the UNESCO-UNEVOC TVET Forum.  It is well worth membership to this international forum.  There is a great deal going on in our sector internationally, and the sharing in this forum is always a source of inspiration for me.  Happy reading if you are putting your feet up for a bit but wish to stay in touch with the sector in a more contemplative space when things are (I hope) not so hectic for you.


*Technical and vocational education and training*


How to facilitate the recognition of skills of migrant workers: Guide for employment services providers
Source: International Labour Organization (ILO), 9/1/2017…ts/publication/wcms_572672.pdf

Labour market impact of National Qualification Frameworks in six countries / Allais, Stephanie
Source: International Labour Organization (ILO), 10/1/2017…ts/publication/wcms_585696.pdf

People and Policy: A Comparative Study of Apprenticeship Across Eight National contexts / Maia, Chankseliani; Keep, Ewart; Wilde, Stephanie, Source: WISE, 9/1/2017

Trade union involvement in skills development: An international review / Bridgford, Jeff
Source: International Labour Organization (ILO), 10/1/2017

TVET in developing countries through the second wave of the ILO SWTSs / Pastore, Francesco
Source: Global Education Monitoring Report, 10/1/2017…ts/publication/wcms_585697.pdf

Vocational vs. General Education and Employment over the Life-Cycle: New Evidence from PIAAC / Woessmann, Ludger; Hampf, Franziska
Source: Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy. University of Warwick, 4/1/2017


Compilation of the main indicators for analysis of the relationship between education/training and employment
Source: IIEP Pôle de Dakar, 10/1/2017 Lang: FRE

Revising vocational training
Source: Pôle Mag, n°26, 9/1/2017…7-revising-vocational-training

Revue des politiques d’enseignement technique et de formation professionnelle au Togo
Source: UNESCO Abuja, 11/1/2017

/Asia and the Pacific/

Choosing VET: aspirations, intentions and choice / Jo, Hargreaves; Osborne, Kristen
Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), 10/1/2017…ions-intentions-and-choice.pdf

Developing VET applied research: steps towards enhancing VET’s role in the innovation system / Beddie, Francesca M.; Simon, Linda
Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), 9/1/2017…e-in-the-innovation-system.pdf

Employers’ use and views of the VET system 2017
Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), 10/1/2017…d-views-of-the-vet-system-2017

Explaining the VET applied research developmental Framework / Beddie, Francesca M.; Simon, Linda
Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), 9/1/2017…ch-developmental-framework.pdf

Guidelines for the Quality Assurance of TVET Qualifications in the Asia-Pacific Region
Source: UNESCO Bangkok Office, 10/1/2017

In their words: student choice in training markets – Victorian examples / Brown, Justin
Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), 10/1/2017…markets-victorian-examples.pdf

Indigenous VET to Higher Education pathways and transitions: A literature review / Frawley, Jack; Smith, James A.; Gunstone, Andrew; Pechenkina, Ekaterina; Ludwig, Wendy; Stewart, Allison
Source: International Studies in Widening Participation, vol. 4, no 1, 9/1/2017

Towards Quality Assurance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training
Source: UNESCO Bangkok Office, 10/1/2017

VET applied research: driving VET’s role in the innovation system / Beddie, Francesca M.; Simon, Linda Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), 9/1/2017…e-in-the-innovation-system.pdf

Workplace training: employer and employee perspectives
Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), 10/1/2017…-and-employee-perspectives.pdf


The effect of immigrant peers in vocational schools / Frattini, Mark; Meschi, Chrystelle de
Source: University of Venice, Department of Economics, 10/1/2017…_DSE_frattini_meschi_20_17.pdf

Cedefop European public opinion survey on vocational education and training
Source: CEDEFOP, 10/1/2017

Defining, writing and applying learning outcomes
Source: CEDEFOP, 11/1/2017

Skills development and employment: Apprenticeships, internships and volunteering / Broeki, Simon; Hogarth, Terence; Baltina, Liga; Lombardi, Amerigo
Source: European Parliament, 4/1/2017

Skillset and match: Cedefop’s magazine promoting learning for work
Source: Cedefop, Issue 11, 9/1/2017

The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe – Volume 1: conceptions of vocational education and training: an analytical framework
Source: CEDEFOP, 11/1/2017