Vocation education sector needs more than new buildings

Its no secret that secondary schools have never been very good at supporting vocational educational pathways into jobs. New vocational education facilities are being built at Seven Hills High School and that’s an important and commendable signal in the change of emphasis by the NSW state government.

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Its no secret that secondary schools have never been very good at supporting vocational educational pathways into jobs. New vocational education facilities are being built at Seven Hills High School and that’s an important and commendable signal in the change of emphasis by the NSW state government. [1]

The German experience, long a hallmark of a dual education system, shows that there are issues to resolve. [2] Low achieving and migrant students find themselves increasingly marginalised and competing with academically bright students for vocational education places. Female students are often encouraged to undertake courses in care industries instead of higher paid and traditionally male oriented jobs. Metrics and targets for female and low achieving students will help ensure equity.

Students, parents, teachers and employers are all confused by the myriad of options available in a fragmented education sector. Many fail to understand the importance of early decisions. Many simply do not know or are too busy with the day to day to care. How do we reach them? Age appropriate communication and tools to explore pathways, implications of early decisions and future consequences are important adjuncts to providing much needed new facilities.

There’s no silver bullet but an understanding of the issues and risks will help schools navigate their way through Australia’s emerging education sector of the future.

[1] https://www.nsw.gov.au/media-releases/new-vocational-facilities-at-seven-hills-high-school

[2] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1024258919898115

The New Work Standard

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Foundation of Young Australian’s new report asks what is good work in an increasingly deregulated job market and makes policy suggestions to turn that around.

FYA looks at what part time, casual, self-employed and gig work – or flexible work – means for young people, their livelihoods and careers.

The future looks bleak for many and we cant rely on free markets alone to to create new jobs. We’ll end up with generations of young people not living up to their potential or be given the opportunities that they deserve in life. Unless good work can be created by government backed up with training pathways for skills of the future. Lets give our children a future they deserve.

#futureofwork #skillsofthefuture #NewWorkStandard

Better insights not revolution in the education sector

If 73 senior professors wrote me a letter I would listen as we simply cannot afford to get this wrong.

The governments well intentioned objective is to “...better align Commonwealth funding to emerging labour market priorities, including nursing, health occupations, teaching and IT“.

Surely providing student more data and insights on skills of the future, occupation pathways, employability and revenue potential would surely have been a less drastic starting point? Ultimately better informed students would vote with their feet and we would achieve the same outcome while remaining true to open market principles.

#educationindustry #educationreform #skillsofthefuture


The road to open badges and microcredentials

Open badges and microcredentials with their focus on competency-based recognition rather than time spent learning will become important foundations for rebuilding our economy and equipping people with the skills of the future.

Open badges and microcredentials with their focus on competency-based recognition rather than time spent learning will become important foundations for rebuilding our economy and equipping people with the skills of the future. They won’t help institutions to figure out what should be in a course but they standardise a way of displaying it with key metadata including links to evidence.

The highly visual nature of open badges, especially when designed well, gives more faith to future employers on the skills of the badge recipient.

Its still a confusing field.

The following article is a great overview for educators looking to for a practical understanding of this emerging field and ecosystem.


Kyle Clements, Western Governors University

Richard Edward West, Brigham Young University

Enoch Hunsaker, Brigham Young University

#openbadges #openeducation #skillsofthefuture #digitalbadges #educationinnovation

NSW seeks new vocational training options for school students – SMH

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Understanding why 47.5% of TAFE NSW students failed to complete their courses between 2001 and 2017 will be critical to any reform.

The increasingly intertwined pathways across secondary schools, vocational education providers, universities, government, industries and corporations will also require a different approach to complex systems thinking.

Confused students and parents will need better articulation of pathways to make the right decisions on future careers.

Lessons also need to be learnt to better support the concepts of lifelong learning and open education.

David Gonski and Professor Peter Shergold are leading a review of the NSW VET sector and its results were originally due in July though Covid paused it.



JobTrainer 2Bn investment

An additional $2Bn for training and re-skilling is certainly a welcome announcement by federal government as well the additional $500M from states. It does require states to sign up to much needed reform – but thats not such a bad thing in an overly complex vocational education sector.

A question remains on course completion rates – how will we encourage people to not just start courses but also successfully complete them. Where courses are completely digital that is less of an issue as production costs are a one off. But if they need online trainers or in location training that can become an expensive issue. So how do we equip learners with the knowledge to pick the right courses, ones they are likely to complete and also provide them viable skills of the future in in demand industries? There needs to be a carrot and not just a stick approach.

Perhaps processes such as those provided by Khan Academy for teachers to monitor progress of student classes gives us a clue on how this can be done at scale?

For professionals looking at short courses – subsidies to global providers such as Linkedin Learning, Udemy, Coursera, Edx, Pluralsight, SkillsShare and others – would be a valuable additional option to locally created short courses. A small monthly sum typically provides access to 1000’s of courses and for large cohorts of self-sufficient people, that’s probably all they really need.

An elephant remain firmly planted in the centre of the room. Training alone will never be enough as people need ultimately jobs. Waiting for industry alone to create jobs will simply take too long and a large pool of unemployed and underemployed already exists. A generation’s talent will be wasted unless more is done.

Coalition to commit $2bn for training if states agree to overhaul of vocational education – The Guardian


Time for job guarantee for our youth

31.5% (659,000) unemployed or underemployed young Australian’s nationally, writes Helen Connolly is SA Commissioner for Children and Young People in InDaily.


Clearly, something different needs to be done unless we want long term underutilisation to become the norm for our youth.

One step is to help them learn the skills of the future through educational options and a second is to guarantee them jobs and not rely on industry alone.

Brotherhood of St Laurence 2017 Report – Generation Stalled – Young, Underemployed and Living Precariously in Australia shows the worrying dual threat of unemployment and underemployment. Covid-19 would only have made this much, much worse.

The ABS 2017 source data for the report can be found here:

Centrelink debts have been collected based on income-averaging for 20 to 30 years – The Guardian

Perhaps we should get a high school kids knock something up over a weekend if its too hard for Services Australia 😉 What makes it so hard?

“Robert defended Services Australia for its plan to refund a portion of the 470,000 illegal robodebts in instalments, explaining that 7,000 will be repaid in instalments “because there is a check in the system” that prevents repayments of more than $6,999.”

#robotdebt #poverty


Australia’s first cyber collaboration centre officially open – Mirage News

Our lucky country finds itself paying increasing attention to what was far distant problems elsewhere in the world as they’ve inevitably reached our shores. If Australia is to be resilient in these uncertain times and thrive, we need more initiatives that focus on future industries. Ones that build the nations skills of the future offering services that can be exported globally as a premium resource rather than a commodity price tag subject to the whims of others.

Take note that we do have a way to go. WEF’s Global Competitiveness index rank Australia 16th overall out of 141 economies in 2019. WIPO’s Global Innovation Index places Australia 22nd out of 129 economies in 2019.

CISRO’s excellent 2019 Australian National Outlook and Future report series point to necessary shifts for a more prosperous Australia. It asks us the question – do we want to live up to our potential or face a slow decline? Will we take up that challenge?

Jobseeker should stay stronger for longer for those excluded from other payments – The Guardian

Both our major political parties need to move away from the false equivalency of household debt and the ephemeral federal deficit. Thatcher’s and Regan’s true legacy has been in delivering an ideology that bamboozled the masses and consigned generations to poverty.

As a country we will continue to fumble our way into the future, only every partially living up to our potential, failing to tackle mass unemployment, skills for the future, poor infrastructure, environmental policies that fail to address climate change and a health and well-being safety net with holes too large to catch the most disadvantaged in our nation.

Unless of course both parties change their simplistic jingo’s, a false narrative that fiscal discipline requires that we must spend only what we gained in taxes and take heed of modern monetary theory. We have a sovereign currency, there is little outlook of inflation, and we have a pressing need that requires courage and foresight. It’s time for both political parties to put the ideologies of yesteryear aside.

https://lnkd.in/ghpR_GY #economy