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Commonwealth Missing the Mark on Future VET Plans

group of people sitting on chair in front of wooden table inside white painted room

If the government thought its review of the VET system was going to:

 address some of the key obstacles in lifelong learning 

it misses the mark.  

When I read “Productivity Commission” I think “cost cutting” and that is precisely what I read in this Productivity Commission review

The recommendations are for cost shifting to a user pays system which will INTRODUCE obstacles to lifelong learning. 

As well as shifting from a government pays system, they move away from supporting TAFE delivery again.

You don’t need to have a long memory to recall how this has worked in the past with cheap to deliver courses being taken up by private training providers while expensive, workshop intensive courses were starved for funds in the TAFE system. 

The long term impact on skills delivered via the VET system has resulted in a skills shortage now that we can’t import skilled tradies and technical experts from overseas.

The National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development is the framework for intergovernmental collaboration in VET. After ignoring VET for years the government thought it was time to check out what is happening. It asked the Productivity Commission to do a review.

Key pointsBev’s Comments
The National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development is overdue for replacement.– Governments have stepped back from some of its policy aspirations. Targets have not been met and the performance framework has not held governments to account.The Framework hasn’t been actively managed since the Coalition came to power in 2013 when it no longer saw VET as a priority.Little wonder the Framework overdue for replacement.  
• A new intergovernmental agreement should be principles-based, modular (to retain flexibility and currency) and reviewed every five years. – Australian Government funding should remain largely untied for base funding but subject to much greater accountability and transparency. ·        contestability in VET markets, with a provider-agnostic approach to training deliveryThis is good new for private RTOs. Check P11 for the Principles  which give lots of emphasis to measurement and reporting and not much about how to support quality VET.
• Governments should continue to support the development of a more efficient and competitive VET market through informed user choice and a focus on quality.– Students need better curated information on career opportunities, the performance of training providers, course quality and prices. – Efforts to improve quality should be ramped up through faster changes to training packages, developing an evidence-based VET workforce strategy, and a phased introduction of independent assessment. “Informed user choice” could be a great thing given the lack of information around VET in WA. “Faster changes to training packages” is good. Industry complains about skills training not keeping up with industry.“Independent assessment” should hold to account some of the shonky providers.
• There is a manifest capacity for governments to achieve a better return on the $6.4 billion spent on VET by:– using the efficient costs and loadings currently being estimated by the National Skills Commission as a common basis for setting and simplifying course subsidies– introducing modest minimum student fees for Certificate III and above courses with exemptions for disadvantaged students– applying more contestability and transparency to public funding of TAFEs and enhancing the operational autonomy of public providers   – enabling State and Territory funding to follow students enrolled with an interstate provider.More collaboration between parties that smooth the transition from school could deliver a more efficient outcome. See Cyril Jackson’s Partnership Model.–        I like WA’s course subsidy model that favors training for industries where there are skills shortages. –        No. No. No. If we want an economy that keeps up with changes in industry, we must ditch this user pays model. –        Contestability of public funding of TAFEs led to the demise of expensive, high tech, “state of the art” training. The priority became making money rather than investing in emerging technologies.  –        I don’t know how happy WA taxpayers will be with this.
• To scale up workforce skills, governments should expand VET Student Loans (VSL) to more Diploma and above courses and to most Certificate IV courses. – Loan caps should better reflect course costs, and loan fees should be paid by all students.  –        Charging people who are trying to keep up with high end and rapid changes in their industry is an interesting concept in a smart economy!! –        I think this policy is the wrong way around. To incentivize workers gaining high level skills in a changing economy, Certificate IV and Diploma courses should be heavily subsidized. 
• Reforms to the trade apprenticeship system are best focused on:– improving completion rates by better screening and matching of prospective apprentices– making pathways more flexible and providing the same subsidy for non-apprenticeship pathways as for traditional pathways– adjusting the timing of employer incentives to provide more support when the risk of cancellation is greatest See my earlier suggestion on the Cyril Jackson Partnership Model. Better informed students make better decisions.    The Role of Good Practices in Youth Employment may be a good place to start putting some responsibility on employers. 
• There should be a coordinated national strategy to improve school education, ‘second-chance’ learning in the VET sector and other adult education services to reduce the large number of Australians with low language, literacy, numeracy and digital literacy skills.  At last, something positive!
• To address some of the key obstacles to lifelong learning, this report proposes improvements in foundation skills, better credit pathways, an expansion of VSL and a trial of a new financing instrument for mature-age Australians reskilling and upskillingI don’t think this strategy will achieve this aim.

You can read the Review HERE

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Cyril Jackson’s Partnership Model

Vanessa Buemi is Program Coordinator of VET and Curriculum at Cyril Jackson Senior Campus (CJSC). Cyril Jackson is one of a growing number of schools in Western Australia that is engaging with community, government and industry to deliver collaborative learning to students.

Towards the end of last year Vanessa invited me to an industry breakfast that recognised support that had been given to their students from outside the school.

Vanessa has kindly allowed me to share her welcome speech which provides insights about their Partnership Model.

Breakfast prepared and presented by Cyril Jackson Hospitality students

Vanessa’s Speech

Good morning and thank you for attending our inaugural Industry Breakfast. I’d like to speak about Partnerships at CJSC and our Partnership Model.

In 2021, CJSC trainers will deliver the following Nationally Accredited Certificates.

  • Active volunteering
  • Automotive vocational preparation
  • Business
  • Community services
  • Creative Industries
  • Engineering pathways
  • Hospitality
  • Information digital media and technology 1+2
  • Music
  • Visual arts
  • Technical graphics/CAD
  • World of Work

CJSC has historically delivered a diverse range of certificate qualifications, across 7 training industries. In the new Covid world, it is more important than ever before to prepare our students to be successful contributors in our ever evolving new world.

New world, new skills

COVID has changed the employment landscape and whilst we were already proving quality training to students we want to make it even better.  Our models link students with authentic work and learning opportunities with employers in the same industries they are completing their training.

Teaching and training is enhanced through connections with the world of work and beyond.

Year 11 Plus Program

Our Yr 11 PLUS program has been providing such opportunities for the last 5 years, initially through a Certificate 1 in Work Preparation and later, Certificate 1 in Business. VET in schools, now called VET delivered to secondary students, has enabled students to begin their training whilst still completing their schooling. University pathways once considered the superior pathway to higher studies has not always been the preferred pathway for all students. We all learn differently, and VET and Workplace Learning opportunities have opened the doors for many, many students.

Policy Changes Delivered a Challenge to CJ Programs

In education, the 2016 new WACE requirements of requiring an ATAR or Certificate II qualification as the minimum requirement to achieve WACE, failed to recognise a substantial proportion of students learning needs; students like those who choose to come to Cyril Jackson to learn English.

Certificate I qualifications were largely overlooked as they did not meet minimum requirements for WACE. Certificate I qualifications disappeared from our auspicing choices and the education gap grew once again.

Our 11 PLUS program, often considered a second chance for students who have disengaged from school for many different reasons, including sociology economic and mental health reasons, has been affected by the disappearance of certificate one qualifications on scope for auspicing.

Innovative Solution to Tricky Problem

Finding a certificate II qualification that would be a suitable fit for the overall program and one that would provide new opportunities to thrive was difficult at first….then I found Certificate II in Active Volunteering which was only on scope for delivery in the Eastern States.

I contacted the provider and literally begged them to get it on scope in WA and told them we would be their trial school. That provider is now one of the largest vocational training providers for VET delivered to secondary Schools in WA.

This qualification fits perfectly with the other courses in the program; our Trainer, Teacher and Student Support Officer had the freedom to make academic and practical links with the content of this qualification and SCSA courses such as English, maths and career and enterprise.

This model works!

Links with Industry

It worked with a certificate I and it works with the certificate II in Active Volunteering because of the links with industry that form an essential role in their education at CJSC.

With the removal of certificate I qualifications it is not enough to simply train students and send them out into the world of work. We have to teach them how to transition from school to work or post school training.

Active Volunteering is a powerful qualification, one that allows students to work with members of the community as mentors and friends for others in need.  It has been the foundation of personal and academic growth for once disengaged students, who have applied their learning in a safe and supportive environment.

How Cyril Jackson has met Challenges

Some of our students at CJSC start their schooling in our Intensive English Centre. Some have limited schooling and our classrooms may be their first opportunities to have an education. Our dedicated staff support our students in their transition from the Intensive English Centre (IEC) into mainstream, where they begin their Year 11 and 12 studies.

When I first started at CJSC in 2016 I sought to understand more about how the IEC worked and how I could best serve the students in my role as VET Coordinator. In just three years, through working with Belinda and the student services IEC and mainstream teams, we have trialled several successful models to ensure our students next transition into employment or further training is suitably supported. We have done this through dedicated Foundation English and workplace learning classes, building links with written and spoken communication in both a school and work environment.

The health industry, specifically aged care, has always been a strong career choice for some of our IEC graduates and we have worked hard to bridge the gap for our English as Second Language or Dialect, or EAL/D students, whose written and spoken English is still developing.  Opportunities for our students to gain places in funded courses can be competitive and this has often meant these students have to wait until they complete Year 12 before can begin their vocational training.

Partnership with North Metro

In 2019 we entered into a partnership with North Metro TAFE establishing a dedicated EAL/D class of CJSC students to begin their VET delivered to secondary students training whilst also completing their courses at CJSC.

All 13 students graduated in June 2020 amidst the unpredictable early days of Covid interruptions to education and face to face classes.

These students have recently completed Yr 12 and this cohort meets again on Thursday to begin their higher studies in the health industry, through our new partnership with Amana Living.

Going Beyond the Campus

What makes both of these models work is the CJSC approach to supporting students, not only in the classroom but also through community work placements that allow our students to apply their skills through authentic learning opportunities. We aim to develop further partnerships such as these.

Every single staff member is invested in these students

Our students are supported by our team of teachers, trainers, workplace learning coordinator, IEC teachers and education assistants, our student services team, Deputy Principals and our remarkable Principal, Dr Karen Read. 

They are our future and we are incredibly proud of our programs, team approach and most importantly our students who value education as a privilege.

You will not find a more dedicated school community and students with a phenomenal work ethic and will to succeed.

Our current partnerships include;

  • Aegis Bassendean
  • Amana Living,
  • DADAA
  • Ertech,
  • Garden City Plastics,
  • Plantrite
  • Black Swan State Theatre
  • WA Youth Theatre Company
  • Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation, and
  • the Cities of Bassendean and Stirling.

We hope to work with you in 2021, building strong working relationships in support of our future workforce.

Editors Note:

Thanks Vanessa and staff at Cyril Jackson. Our hearts burst with appreciation for the wonderful work you are all doing. As one student spoke I choked up and reached for a tissue, I glanced around to see EVERYONE at our table was in the same boat!!

Vanessa Buemi

At the end of the morning there were hugs and congratulations all round.

Vanessa has already offered to support teachers at Balcatta SHS by sharing details of how CJ has generated such a great environment for its students. I am sure she would be happy to pass on her wisdom to others.

Keep up to date with the latest career news in Western Australia. Subscribe to the Infocus Careers Newsletter as your first step towards linking to a world of insanely great career ideas.

Infocus Careers is an independent organisation which is solely supported by insanely great subscribers who share information, support each other and help me to pay my bills.

EMAIL: Bev.J@infocus-careers.com.au 

I come across careers information for adults every month as I am putting together the In Focus Careers News for schools. I have collated it in this monthly supplement because so many people have no idea what is available or where to start looking.

I hope it helps you to create a better life for yourself.

Infocus Careers is an independent organisation which is solely supported by insanely great subscribers who share information with me, support each other and help me to pay my bills.

I can talk about careers under water so if you would like to chat about how I can help you to improve your career or the services you deliver, give me a ring on 0434056412 or email me at Bev.J@infocus-careers.com.au

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Year 12 – What to do Next Year

Parents are worried

Their kids are in year 12. They haven’t decided what to do next year.

Parents don’t want their kids to leave school and fall into a hole. The kids don’t want to talk about it.

Parents can suggest these steps as a path forward

STEP 1: Explore

Check out some aptitude tests to see what tends to come up. Find a range of different tests HERE. 

aptitude test 3

  • Get a piece of paper or a notebook.
  • Pick 4 different tests to do.
  • After each one write down three most important things the test indicated. For example….
    • I want to work outdoors
    • I am creative
    • I am a natural leader
  • When you have done a few tests you should start to see some common themes. These will help you as you explore your career options.
  • Some of the tests, like Job Outlook suggest career matches to match your aptitudes.

Step 2: The Shoulders of Giants

Sometimes it’s hard to see what’s around you

I once counselled a student whose mum and dad, brother and uncle were mechanics yet she hadn’t thought of being a mechanic. She ended up doing a Defence Force Gap Year where she started a mechanic apprenticeship.

It is easiest to build from what you know, yet we are often not aware of what we know. 

If you are an Eskimo you might think building igloos is for you. If everyone in your  family plays an instrument, being a musician could be for you.

What careers you know from your life experience? Check out your family, your family friends, school friends’ parents, sport coaches.

What work do they do?

It is easier when you build from what you know. 

Step 3: What is Important?

Whether it’s diamonds, world peace or having fun, your values will remain fairly stable and they will ground you throughout your life.   

This game helps you to clarify your values.

1. In a list, write the names of 8 people you like. 

They can be family or friends, famous people or fictional people like superman.

Don’t go on until you have your list.

2. Now next to each name write three or four things you like about that person.

3. Group similar values with different colour highlighters. You might group together smart, wise, clever, leader. (CLEVER)

Try to group all of the values into three or four groups. Give each group one name.

Now you have key values that are important to you.

These values guide who you are, how you act and what you do.

They anchor your decisions. 

When you are in doubt, make decisions that are consistent with your values. 

Summary

Well, that’s not a bad start. From the work you have done you now know:

1. What natural abilities you have.

2. What natural careers environment you live in.

3. What values drive your decisions.

Awareness of your natural abilities, your natural careers environment and your values can drive your decisions.

ONLINE CAREER GUIDANCE

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Bev Johnson

If you are a worried parent who would like career advice for your student contact me at Bev.J@infocus-careers.com.au or phone 0434056412.

In Focus Careers Newsletter

If you are associated with a high school in Western Australia it probably subscribes to my In Focus Careers Newsletter. Career information you receive about new courses, career events and scholarships are delivered to the school each month through the newsletter.

Contact me for a complimentary copy of the newsletter: 

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March Issue Out Now

If you have West Australian career information for the April issue of In Focus Careers please let me know by 23 March.

I have just put out the latest issue. I have new stuff on:

  • the lack of STEM jobs,
  • uni and TAFE courses,
  • links to new publications, reports and stats
  • offers to my presentations on Getting Info Medicine,
  • a link to Expo research resources made available from Mt Barker.

Lots of people are still asking for the 2020 Magic Happens Career Handbook and Teacher’s Guide.

If you would like to subscribe to this network of insanely great network of careers experts let me know:

 

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Your Insanely Great Careers News in February

The First In Focus Careers Newsletter for WA High Schools in 2020 will be out on 29th January.

See:

  • Emerging Australian industries and where the jobs are coming from.
  • Scholarship information
  • Pre apprenticeship opportunities for February
  • A comparison of West Australian university rankings
  • Unusual ATAR cut off scores for 2020
  • A special careers feature for geography teachers.

There are 45 pages of information to help high school teachers to provide insanely great careers information to their students.

Magic Happens Careers Handbook

If your school subscribes and you haven’t received your copy of the Magic Happens Careers Handbook and Teachers’ Guide yet, email me at bev.j@infocus-careers.com.au and I will send it out.

Magic Happens

Join the In Focus Careers Network

In Focus Careers Network  supports members as we create a rich  resource of careers information and advice for West Australian school students. 

Subscribe to the In Focus Careers Network to:

  • Get the latest news careers news for students, families and teachers.
  • Get teaching resources designed for West Australians.
  • Become careers experts with links to the latest research, new teaching resources and PD opportunities, and
  • Plan the school career calendar using the Monthly Calendar of Events.

 

 

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August Issue Out Now

The August Issue of my insanely great careers newsletter is out now.

For a complimentary copy please email me:

 

Fullscreen capture 210719 110238 AM.bmp-001My Commitment to West Australian Careers Education

To help West Australians to discover what is possible and achieve their dreams I will:

  • Write 10 insanely great issues of In Focus Careers newsletter each year.
  • Provide insanely great personal career counselling.
  • Deliver the best possible information via presentations to schools.
  • Build and support an insanely great network of teachers, industry experts and parents who help to deliver dazzling career information for all West Australians.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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April Issue Out Now

The big news for high schools in West Australia this month is the de-registration of VETiS Consulting Services.

VET in Schools

The demise of VETis Consulting has made me think about how clunky the whole VET in Schools machine is. In the past month I have been chasing up providers and decision makers trying to find tips to fix the mess. I have written about it in my April Newsletter. Image of newsletter

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As new courses are launched, events run and offers made, In Focus Careers will keep you ahead of the pack.