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Insight issue #58 22 August 2016

‘No Frills’ looking at new ways forward for VET

Encompassing key community issues in the VET sector, the 25th National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’ took place in July and saw 140 delegates come together at CQUniversity (CQU) in Rockhampton to discuss and present under themes of equity, engagement and evolution. This set the tone for innovative presentations and debate looking to propel the vocational education and training (VET) sector forward.

It was a pleasure to have Helen Huntly, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of CQUniversity open the conference with her address at the welcome reception. A strong sense of community and place was felt throughout the conference, which was also illustrated by Wade Mann of the Darumbal people welcoming delegates into his community and giving an evocative description of the landscape. This was reinforced by Professor Scott Bowman, Vice Chancellor and President of CQU explaining their commitment to sustainability and community needs in their ongoing growth and development.

The current challenges of the sector were addressed, as keynote speaker Linda Brown, Chief Executive Officer of Laureate Australia & New Zealand, stressed the importance of ‘not wasting a good crisis’ and using our opportunities to change the sector for the better. In a similar vein, fellow keynote speaker Jodi Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer of TAFE Queensland, suggested that in order to tackle the ongoing disruption of skills and the labour market, there must be a focus on upskilling, lifelong learning and reconceptualising training delivery. The need for students to be better prepared and equipped to ‘handle uncertainty’ in the labour market was also addressed by John Buchanan, Chair, Discipline of Business Analytics at the University of Sydney Business School.

Fittingly, as it was also NAIDOC Week (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee), there was a strong focus on Indigenous opportunities from a range of Indigenous speakers. Bronwyn Fredericks of Indigenous Engagement at CQU, challenged delegates to consider what success looked like for Indigenous students, and how that could apply across the sector. The theme of inclusiveness also continued in presentations about the opportunities for migrant women, deaf people and young people in VET.

Once again the interactive pre-conference workshops run by NCVER created opportunities to build the research capacity of the sector; two of the workshops helped improve skills in accessing data and information through VOCSTATS and VOCEDplus, whereas the other two looked at strengthening research and evaluation methods.

Keynote presentations are available to watch online on NCVER’s YouTube Channel and copies of the conference program and presentations are available from VOCEDplus.

We hope that you will join us at the 2017 ‘No Frills’ conference co-hosted with TasTAFE in Hobart, to keep building our VET community and sharing our places with each other.

Thanks again to this year’s co-host CQU, all of their staff and of course our valued sponsors. Without their ongoing and generous support this event would not be possible. Thank you to:

  • AAIR
  • Allen & Unwin
  • AVETRA
  • Velg Training
  • VET Development Centre
  • VETnetwork Australia