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

(C) Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

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

For Private individual use and comment.


Design and implement a Collaborative– led VET System


Agree on a definition of“industry”

Determine and apply an agreed System-wide definition/conception of“industry”, however, consider all of the beneficiaries and stakeholders not just “industry” in development of the VET System.

Agree on a definition of VET consistent with international views

Determine and apply an agreed System-wide definition/conception of“vocational education and training” based on education principles, not industry spin-doctoring, to ensure Australian Voc. Ed. Training is well placed internationally.

Encourage and support better and all-encompassing System- wide engagement and thinking

Lift the standard of opinion, comment and debate in the Voc. Ed. and Training System by engaging with all stakeholders and beneficiaries (e.g., trainees, trainers, educationists)– not just “industry” and employers.

Decouple the business, institutional and programmatic constructions of the Voc. Ed. and Training identity. This gives Voc. Ed. and Training institutions a broader role and it would greatly improve access to higher education for people distant from a comprehensive higher education campus. It also it has the potential to improve access to senior higher education institutions.

Design and implement a Collaborative– led VET System

Change the name of the VET System. It has been damaged and associated with too many negative connotations. Drop the VET brand, it sounds like it is referring to “animal doctors” and “war veterans”). For example, change it to VTE or something else to avoid a misleading and confusing acronym.

Establish a Collaboratively-led Vocational Training and Education System (i.e., not an “industry-led system)

This should include ways to determine and predict as best as possible, what employment opportunities exist post training, not just market-demand spin and propaganda to increase enrolments in courses that lead nowhere. Unfortunately, such cherry picking is associated with many Private RTOs that enrol for their own profitability not successful student outcomes.

Expose and deconstruct online and offline vocational educational education and training echo chambers. Some of the most common traits of existing closed ideology echo chambers include lack of plurality, lack of debate, tribalism (“us and them” mentalities),censorship and the punishment of what are incorrectly labelled heretical thoughts or actions.

Appoint a Chief Voc. Training and Education Educationist (not an ombudsman) to start drawing the current VET System factions together from across all jurisdictions. Move from regulation to inspiration.

An educationist is a  specialist who is versed in the theories and practices of, or who advocates and promotes, education.

Most educationists can be called teachers too, or educators; but their job identification may be as supervisors or administrators or college professors. Yet not all who wear these titles are educationists. For there is something distinctive about the life-long student of learning and teaching – the scholar whose discipline is education. ….[I]t seems fairly obvious that much of the antagonism against [educationists] stems from a yearning for a return to privilege and from a  scarce-hidden contempt of the masses. Much that has been thrown at [educationists] is mere scapegoating, a refusal to face our country’s problems entire and a search for the cheap [narrow] panacea.

Frank T. Whilhems

For example, the role of the Chief Psychiatrist (Victoria) is explained under the Mental Health Act 2014. It exists to provide clinical leadership and promote continuous improvement in the quality and safety of mental health services. This includes promoting the rights of people receiving mental health treatment in public mental health services.

The Chief Psychiatrist provides clinical leadership through developing guidelines, undertaking clinical reviews, audits and investigations, and has statutory responsibility for monitoring restrictive practices, electroconvulsive therapy and reportable deaths.

Other examples of “Chief” roles are:

  • Chief Health Officer

The Victorian Government’s Chief Health Officer undertakes a variety of statutory functions under the Health and Food Acts, and is responsible for

  • developing and implementing strategies to promote and protect public health
  • providing advice to the Minister and the Secretary on matters relating to public health and wellbeing
  • publishing a comprehensive report on public health and wellbeing in Victoria on a biennial basis.
  • Chief Fire Officer

The Chief Fire Officer (Victoria) is responsible for fire planning, prevention, preparedness and fire operations on Victoria’s public land.

A proposal for Chief Vocational Training and Education Educationist 

The Ombudsman and ASQA consider consequences when problems have become evident and usually complicated.

The role of a Chief Vocational Training and Education (VTE) Educationist could be to ‘nip the problems in the bud’ before they develop and explained under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006

A Chief VTE Educationist might work to create a new era in communication among vocational educationists, For-Profit, Not-for-Profit and Public (Institutes of TAFE) RTO Managers, “industry” and regulators — including practitioners, researchers, and students in the field of vocational education and training ——–together with institutions, organisations, and companies actively engaged in development.

A Chief VTE Educationist could provide:

1. advocacy for education capabilities (not competencies) in VTE trainer training

2. centralised and themed online discussion forums across traditional communication boundaries – e.g., educationists and “industry”

3. leadership through developing educational and training guidelines

4. networking events across traditional boundaries, e.g., For-Profit, Not-for-Profit and Public (Institutes of TAFE) RTOS; industry, business and education.

5. fostering of partnerships, e.g.,

  • Consultative partnerships – for the purpose of receiving public input around change or to gather ideas for policies.
  • Contributory partnerships – formed to benefit an organisation or the community.
  • Operational partnerships – work-sharing arrangements in which the components of a given task are delegated to specific parties.
  • Collaborative partnerships – set up to share resources, risks and decision-making.

7. leadership in worldwide research and partnership on VTE education policy and learning methods, determining what works in VTE education, and how to demonstrate the effectiveness of different approaches, services and materials.

8. advise on and support the innovation and development of new products and services, and

9. lead strategies for VTE education including rural and remote areas


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