Anyone that I have met working in the vocational education and training (VET) sector for an extended period is generally a person who has great resilience, patience and determination to provide opportunities for people to learn and develop their skills and knowledge in the workforce.
If you have been involved since the start of this century you have been witness to an ever-changing environment of regulatory processes, increasing costs for providers, policy confusion and all the while there are challenges in getting any input into the training and assessment debate.
Nevertheless, we have seen a range of support options and bodies emerge to translate and better respond in developing strategies and solutions to build our VET sector capacity and outcomes for learners.
We now have a long awaited review released with further recommendations, ‘All Eyes on Quality’ to guide the next iteration of VET provision in Australia. One constant that seems to emerge at each juncture is a focus on the need to improve the quality of training and assessment offered through the Australian VET system.
From the days of the initial credential awarded through the BSZ, TAA, TAE and revised TAE qualifications combined with the ongoing premise that quality is somehow aligned with the course content and as such is panacea for whatever ailments exist in the VET system. Interestingly, no one would refute the value and importance that quality training, learning and assessment plays in achieving successful outcomes. The problem is that the most severe and negative details that are reported in the media are usually to do with other aspects of the VET system underperforming, not the quality of the training and assessment.
The concept behind AVETPA has been to establish a body that would enable people to build on their initial credentials, combined with significant ‘workplace professional practice’ in training and assessing to gain recognition of their professional standing in the industry. By building our community of professional VET practitioners we are also aiming to have a voice in future reviews and policy development as at this stage there is no organisation that can stand up for the interests of the thousands of trainers, assessors and administrators working in the VET system.
We need a voice and a capacity to engage in a professional manner, to add input and to work collaboratively to realise continuous improvement for our sector. Please consider this opportunity as the first step in gaining some input into shaping the future of VET in Australia.
Dr Shayne Baker OAM