Intellectual Property of Dr. Bruce D. Watson, DEd Melbourne and attributed authors as noted.
For Private individual use. All rights reserved.
The current stereotyping of vocational education and training as a product for the workforce (rather than a process linked to community) does not take into account the diversity of students or its responsibility for young and mature age people in a community.
It also does not take into account the diversity of vocational education and training purposes, which goes well beyond training for specific jobs.
Research conducted by the OECD demonstrates social capital and access to such capital results in several factors being beneficial to the community. These include citizens enjoying improved health and wellbeing; better care of children as the social connectedness of mothers shows that the risk of child abuse and social problems within families are reduced; trust within the community results in lower crime rates; and the outcome of higher levels of trust and engagement within regions or states results in better quality government according to the OECD report. The consequential effect in the community is linked to economic activity, as the social networks result in several benefits, which include: assisting people to find jobs; trust influences confidence in the economy and use of credit; cohesiveness within organisations is linked to output and hence profitability;
and at a regional level, clusters of innovative industries depend on local social networks that circulate implied knowledge (OECD 2001).
Kathleen Davey (source: http://tinyurl.com/p66nk33) provides a case study of CareerLink, a local community partnership that incorporates Vocational Education and Training (VET), provides a successful working model that benefits both the individual and the community. A collaborative partnership involving a group of schools and industry in a region located in Sorrento, Perth, Western Australia, incorporates nationally accredited training delivered by registered training organisations, which enable students to be well prepared for active citizenship.
The social justice aspect in promoting active citizenship through VET skills development is explored. Studies conducted by the Australian National Centre for Vocational Education Research have identified that community partnerships are generally formed to address local issues. Enacted social partnerships support the function within the community. VET has been characterised by both community and enacted social partnerships, which are constructed in a way to support
vocational learning through a range of diverse initiatives. Social partnerships contribute to broader objectives aimed at strengthening communities by building relationships, working productively with a diversity of partners and enhancing capacity for local governance.
A study conducted by Seddon et al. (2004) identified community partnerships, which develop from community concerns and commitments and are derived to address the local issues or problems. Enacted social partnerships are generally initiated by agencies external to local communities with a view to supporting particular functions within the community. According to the study, it is evident that a blend of community and enacted social partnerships are constructed in a number of ways to support vocational learning, through a range of diverse local initiatives. As a result, social partnerships involving a range of partners are found to contribute to the broader objectives aimed at strengthening communities by building relationships resulting in enhanced capacity for local governance.
Consideration of the role of VET in social partnerships has proven to be helpful in addressing the needs of young people and communities in developing a culture of lifelong learning, which fosters sustainability in the long term. Learning has been viewed as a productive means of dealing with rapid change in the social and economic context by actively pursing initiatives including securing employment, developing new skills and creating viable enterprises that provides greater security and potential for independence.