In this discussion paper, we explore the role of vocational education and training (VET) in preparing people for the current and future workforce.
In this discussion paper, we explore the role of vocational education and training (VET) in preparing people for the current and future workforce.
Changes in the qualification profiles of workers is one indicator of changes in the supply and demand for education and training. The emerging need for flexible reskilling and upskilling based on skill sets or micro-credentials may drive future demand for VET; the sector is already well placed to provide this efficient and cost-effective training.
The passage into work is a critical phase in young people’s lives, with long-term implications for the future labour market and for social outcomes. An evolving labour market adds to the complexity of trajectories, further confounding youth transitions and highlighting the importance of understanding transitions as a process.
The role of VET in developing entrepreneurship has experienced increasing attention internationally. This research draws together international literature on teaching and learning for entrepreneurialism with the goal of informing potential Australian developments in this area.
Progress has been made in recognizing the value of core skills for the world of work, building them into curricula and ensuring some measure of professional development for teachers and trainers.
This timeline helps understand the scale of change and the individual policies, programs or initiatives that have shaped VET at both the national and state and territory levels. The comprehensive resource also includes economic events that may have influenced enrolments and completions of VET courses, apprenticeships and traineeships.
Australia. Jobs are changing, and fast. Here’s what the VET sector (and employers) need to do to keep up
The VET sector requires increased collaboration between industry, educators and governments. It also needs responsivess and flexibility in delivering skills, from formal qualifications to micro-credentials or non-formal education to reflect the needs of rapidly changing technologies.
The aim of this research was to gain a better understanding of the role and function of small providers in the Australian vocational education and training (VET) system in meeting the needs of learners.
Australia. Work-based learning: A learning strategy in support of the Australian Qualifications Framework
The purpose of this paper is to assess the extent to which work-based learning could potentially improve education and training pathways in Australia.
The vocational education and training (VET) system in Australia is governed by both Commonwealth and State- and Territory-based legislation. There is a large volume of legislation that relate to VET.
These overviews complement the VET system chart and are aimed at providing more information about the different elements in the Australian vocational education and training (VET) system.
Australia. VET needs support to rebuild its role in getting disadvantaged groups into education and work
VET’s role in skill development and educating those who engage in the range of occupations that contribute to Australia’s economy is critical. But we also need to strongly support the role VET plays in getting disadvantaged groups into education and work.
Australia. Gendered transitions from education to work: The mysterious relationship between the fields of education and work
This article addresses the paradox that, despite achieving educational participation exceeding their male peers, young women see fewer returns for this investment in the labour market. This approach reveals the enduring power of the time structure of paid work in Australia to dominate key dimensions of life, including caring work, placing many women in a situation where they feel they must ‘choose’ career or parenthood.
Australia. Continuity and change: employers’ training practices and partnerships with training providers
This study provides a comprehensive picture of the way in which employers navigate the Australian training system and establish partnerships with registered training organisations. In terms of evolution over the last 20 years three key factors emerge:
– While the take-up of nationally recognised training by employers has not increased substantially, this type of training is being used in different ways.
– The nature of the partnerships between RTOs and employers has changed, from a relationship based on fee-for-service provision to one based on long-term mutual collaboration.
– A change in the role of the training function and training staff in organisations has been observed.
While there is little consensus about the “future of work”, one thing is certain – young people are at the coalface. Young workers experience insufficient opportunities for work experience, a mismatch between work and education, a lack of career management skills and scant entry-level jobs.
By 2030, automation, globalisation and flexibility will change what we do in every job. To prepare young people for this future we must urgently shift our understanding of what it will mean to be smart in the New Work Order.
This paper looks at firms’ motivation for training apprentices in both Australia and Germany. It explores how these countries compare when dealing with their respective institutional arrangements for apprenticeship training. It then analyses Australian employer’s commitment to training based on changes to incentive payments in Australia.
Training packages and accredited courses are the core training products of the nationally accredited vocational education and training (VET) system in Australia. This report considers the use of these training packages and the qualifications contained within them. It also examines the pattern of enrolments in qualifications to determine how extensively the qualifications in the training package system are being used and whether enrolments are evenly spread amongst qualifications or concentrated in particular qualifications and training packages.
This report examines the group of young people aged 15–24 that are not engaged in education, employment or training (NEET).
This report examines the role of vocational education and training (VET) in meeting the skills required for Australia’s growth. It addresses the following questions: What is the role of VET within the broader education strategy of Australia? What role does VET play in securing Australia’s future skills? What outcomes are required from the VET system? In examining these questions, the report seeks to assess the current outcomes of the sector and propose ways the VET system could be improved in order to meet the skills Australia will require for growth.
VET has largely been ignored as a player in the innovation system but with its ties to industry it has the ability to help translate new knowledge into the workforce. This research looks at how applied research can help VET to become more active in the innovation system. The report also explores the capabilities that are needed and how registered training organisations and practitioners can build off their existing connections and skills.
This publication presents information on VET in Schools, the vocational education and training (VET) undertaken by school students as part of their senior secondary certificate of education. The VET in Schools arrangement offers two main options: students can undertake school-based apprenticeships and traineeships; or they can take VET subjects and courses as part of their school curriculum (the latter is referred to as ‘other VET in Schools programs’).
Work-based learning and the inclusion of the world of work into tertiary students’ learning lie at the heart of the Australian vocational education and training (VET) system. Despite the strong emphasis of work-based learning in post-secondary education, both VET providers and universities faces challenges when it comes to engaging industry and employers in these educational provisions. This research synthesis draws on the literature on work-based learning and work-integrated learning to identify how engagement with industry and employers can be fostered, and what the two sectors can learn from each other.
VET has largely been ignored as a player in the innovation system but with its ties to industry it has the ability to help translate new knowledge into the workforce. Through discussions with VET institutions, applied research organisations, industry bodies and policy-makers, this research looks at how applied research can help VET to become more active in the innovation system. The report also explores the capabilities that are needed and how registered training organisations and practitioners can build off their existing connections and skills.
Australia. Using DACUM Job Analysis to Build a Skilled Workforce Capable of Meeting Industry Needs, 2017
The knowledge and insight gained from DACUM job analysis can be applied to develop strategies for conducting industry needs assessment and improving curriculum and training packages for Australian industry sectors. In addition, the industry needs assessment component of DACUM analysis can be used to (i) identify the occupational areas which have enough employment opportunities to attract students, (ii) investigate the learning gaps which can jeopardise an individual’s employment opportunity, and (iii) develop innovative instructional methods that bridge the gaps between what is offered in the classroom and what is going on in the real work of work. Finally, DACUM process can be repeated to identify future and emerging industry skills requirements and develop the required curriculum and can become a continuous improvement mechanism for the training packages.
The paper outlines the main features of competency-based vocational education (CBVE) and reviews and compares three competency-based programs in operation. The programs are offered by vocational colleges in Canada, United States of America and Australia and the review concentrates on processes and products required to implement the competency-based approach successfully. The review makes it apparent that CBVE has a good deal of potential for training in vocational education as well as in industry.
Australian VET teachers are facing significant professional challenges to engage with pedagogical issues in teaching international students. However, there has been a lack of research on how teachers are equipped to effectively cater for international students and respond to the demands of internationalization in VET through professional development. The findings suggest the need to systemically and explicitly support substantive professional learning with regard to approaches to engaging and teaching international students.
Australia’s education system is not preparing students for twenty-first century success. Young Australians are studying for longer than ever before but are disengaged and struggling to find permanent jobs. Young people entering technology-rich, global, competitive job markets need different skill sets to what our education system has traditionally valued.
The focus of investigation was on the mechanisms, strategies, and tools deployed to enable Australian VET knowledge practices to respond to the needs of systems, training institutions, and individuals in these new contexts. This process of transfer and adaptation was explored through three case studies. On the basis of the empirical data analyzed in each model, a classification of transnational activities is proposed according to six dimensions of transfer activity – mechanism, drivers, key actors, purpose, context, and outcomes.
What difference does it make when employers work with education and training providers? How can employer engagement best be delivered?
Research for Practice: Papers
Presentations and Videos
Australia. Developing and sustaining successful partnerships between employers and training providers
The nature of partnerships between public and private registered training organisations (RTOs) and employers has changed over time, from a relationship primarily based on provision of particular services to one based on longer-term mutual collaborations. This good practice guide provides insights into developing and sustaining successful partnerships and identifies the potential benefits and challenges of these partnerships. It provides valuable information for both training providers and employers seeking to establish or strengthen a partnership arrangement.
In the drive to get more women into senior management roles in business, mentoring programs have proliferated both within organisations and across sectors. But the question remains – why haven’t these mentoring relationships had a significant impact on the statistics?
Asia-Pacific. Blended learning for quality higher education: selected case studies on implementation from Asia-Pacific
This book aims to explore how leading institutions in Asia-Pacific build capacity through a holistic approach to drive, sustain and scale their blended learning practices. This resource is a compilation of case studies from a range of experienced higher education institutions in the Asia-Pacific region where they showcase promising practices and lessons learned.
This occasional paper examines two broad policy trends, the extension of the apprenticeship and traineeship system, and the opening up of the training market, as well as three specific policy case studies:
-incentive payments for employers of apprentices and trainees
The paper also examines the high-level trends in VET participation and the labour market, and in doing so, reflects on how the changing policy environment has influenced participation trends over the past 20 years. The paper concludes with some observations and reflections about the policy trends in VET, the tensions in the system created by these developments, and some thoughts about the future direction of VET policy.
The document presents information from the National Student Outcomes Survey on the outcomes of graduates who completed their vocational education and training (VET) in Australia during 2015 and were awarded a qualification. The publication reports the outcomes of all graduates — both those in receipt of government-funding and those who paid for their own training. Summary information is presented on graduates’ reasons for training, employment outcomes, satisfaction with training and further study outcomes.
The report examines the role of Vocational Education and Training (VET) in meeting the skills required for Australia’s growth.
Many recent science and information technology graduates are failing to find full-time work at a time when science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education is a priority for government and industry. The report shows that in 2015, only half of bachelor degree science graduates seeking full-time work had found it four months after completing their degrees, 17 percentage points below the average for all graduates.
Universities historically exist as institutions for the creation and dispersion of knowledge. But today, many young people enter university solely to prepare for careers. In an era of demand-driven funding – where universities have the option to recruit as many students as they wish – is it beneficial for most young people to hold a university degree? Or is the benefit of a university education overstated, setting some young people up to fail?
We investigate the labour market determinants and outcomes of adult participation in formal education (lifelong learning) in Australia, a country with high levels of adult education. Employing longitudinal data and fixed effects methods allows identification of effects on outcomes free of ability bias. Different trends in outcomes across groups are also allowed for. The impacts of adult education differ by gender and level of study, with small or zero labour market returns in many cases. Wage rates only increase for males undertaking university studies. For men, vocational education and training (VET) lead to higher job satisfaction and fewer weekly hours. For women, VET is linked to higher levels of satisfaction with employment opportunities and higher employment probabilities.
Australia. Cultural dimensions of Indigenous participation in vocational education and training: new perspectives
This study provides new evidence on the inter-relationships between Indigenous Australians’ association with their traditional culture and their engagement with vocational education and training. It builds on previous work to develop a ‘richer’ measure of the concept of cultural attachment. This report discusses the links between cultural identity and current participation in education, and the benefits Indigenous Australians derive from education and training.
The tracking of students in upper-secondary school is often criticised for narrowing the career prospects of student in the vocational education and training (VET) track, which in many countries leads to the stigmatisation of VET courses. To tackle this problem, Australia blurred the lines between the two tracks by introducing VET courses that count to both a national VET qualification and university entry. In this study, we estimate the impacts of taking these courses on academic achievement and university entry using administrative data, propensity score matching and a decomposition method developed especially. We find that among those who intend to go to university, taking a VET course is associated with 5 percent lower academic achievement, due mainly to relatively weak achievement in VET, and an 8 percentage point lower chance of receiving a university offer. These findings tell a cautionary tale on the merits of integrating VET and academic courses.
Structures within the labour market shape the educational pathways and outcomes of graduates. However, the links between qualifications and jobs in Australia are sometimes weak. Education and training in vocational streams, rather than in specific occupational tasks, could result in a more sustainable and adaptable workforce.
While Australia avoided the worst of the global financial crisis, unemployment among its youth has mirrored many countries who went into recession. Prior to the crisis, youth unemployment in Australia was 8.8%, close to the low rates of the 1970s. By 2015, it was 13.9%. While prime-age workers, those aged between 25 and 54 make up a greater proportion of the labour force, the crisis had a greater impact upon young people.
Related paper. Youth employment in Australia: A comparative analysis of labour force participation by age group
This online interactive timeline provides a history of apprenticeships and traineeships in Australia starting from 1939 when ‘dilutees’ were allowed to perform some of the duties of tradespeople to the current period of VET reform. It includes links to key documents and legislation that have shaped vocational education and training policy along the way.
In OECD countries, ‘real world’ upper-secondary vocational education and training (VET) programs are used to engage less academically oriented youth in learning, while helping to prepare them for post-school work and/or further training. In general terms, VET programs with high employer involvement, such as apprenticeship schemes, are considered to be superior to classroom-based VET programs that are typically found in many English-speaking countries. In this study, we examine outcomes from a potential ‘third way’: classroom-based VET with a short-term structured workplace learning component. Using propensity score matching and PISA data linked to information from the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Youth, we find time in workplace learning is associated with higher school completion rates and better employment transitions.
This document analyses the relationships between lifelong learning (LLL) and employment prospects in policy and practice in the Asia-Pacific region. It is guided by the headline question, “In what ways can LLL continually enhance employment prospects?” This report offers a response to this question from an Australian perspective.
This publication provides a summary of vocational education and training (VET) delivered in 2015 by Australian training providers. This picture of training activity is otherwise known as ‘total VET activity’, to reflect that the information is now collected from all types of providers and not merely the providers receiving Commonwealth and state funding. In this publication, information is provided on the number of training providers, students, enrolments in programs, enrolments in subjects, hours of delivery and program completions.