How to fix Voc. Ed. & Training comprehensively – Issue Eight

(C) Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

Intellectual Property of Dr. Bruce D. Watson, DEd Melbourne, FAIM, MACE,

For Private individual use and comment.


Agree on a New Vocationalism and a New System Model


Old Vocationalism is that which is orientated towards the expressed needs of graduate employers/’industry’. It typically involves listening to employers/industry “wants” – what they want most to see in new graduates and then making room for that in the curriculum.

At the heart of the Old Vocationalism is the development of employability skills

A New Vocationalism approach to graduate employability should be focused on the capacity and disposition of graduates to learn thereby differentiating it from the ‘old vocationalism’ of specific workforce skills.

Change the name of the VET System


The VET “brand”  (internationally the acronym alludes to “animals” and “war veterans”) is tarnished irreparably ever since it was privatised, commodified and marketised. Voc. Ed. and Training is not a business. Students are not products. Profiteering from public funds and unethical business practices is amoral.

Perhaps change the System name to VTE (Vocational Training and Education) or something else to avoid misleading and confusing acronym.

Remove and replace the open market, privatisation, marketisation and commodification model and return to the original community service model based on evidence-based vocational education and training theories and practices. (e.g., the Mechanics Institutes, Technical Schools and TAFE).

Community service model of vocational education and training


A so called “open market” puts the needs of companies above the needs of consumers. However, the lack of ideal conditions makes the open market mechanism ineffective. The perfect conditions required are possible only in theory not in practice.

A community service delivery model relates to the range of services the System might deliver to the community and how things are organised to deliver those services to the benefit of most, not a few.

The current laser focus on profits and profiteering is threatening the very underpinnings and viability of voc. ed. and training in Australia. Fortunately, not everyone ascribes to the winner takes all philosophy. Germany, for example, has taken a much more circumspect approach. Over the last 25 years, the social market economy has offered a genuine alternative to the Anglo-centric infatuation with neo-liberalisation.

Reunification provided Germany with a real-life experiment in the balancing of social and economic goals; and Enquete Commission’s study on growth, prosperity and quality of life provides a genuine desire to engage in alternative visions of social progress. See:

What is fast emerging is the alternative to neoliberalism called a commons based economy. This encompasses peer to peer, social sharing, collaborative consumption, commons, and economic democracy. These are all terms that cover economic activity that moves beyond the “market and the state”, based on co-operation and harnessing human creativity.

The commons economy moves us beyond commodification, marketisation and privatisation. Goods are produced because they are useful and beautiful, not just to generate cash for a few.

Capitalism is known  to generate artificial scarcity – through propaganda, marketing and commodification – to keep everyone insecure, working hard for dubious future gains and over-consuming to benefit a few. That is a standard technique of neoliberalism and capitalism – e.g., defund and make TAFE (public education) unworkable and hand it over to the profiteering, commodifying models of privatisation under the guise of “efficiency” and “effectiveness”, however, completely to the disadvantage of students, employers and communities.



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