Lifelong learning key to future world of work

Media release

3 July 2019

The discussion paper for the 28th National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference ‘No Frills’ has been released today by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) and explores the theme ‘The student journey: skilling for life’.

The annual national research conference, co-hosted by NCVER and TAFE SA in Adelaide next week, attracts leading researchers, industry experts and vocational education and training (VET) practitioners from across Australia and overseas each year.

“The discussion paper builds on previous ‘No Frills’ themes by exploring how workers will need to continually upskill and reskill to maintain their positions in the workforce as jobs and industries evolve along with technology,” said Simon Walker, Managing Director, NCVER.

“Workers of all kinds will need contemporary, relevant and transferable skills so they can grow and evolve with their jobs. While every student’s journey is different, VET plays a critical role in making this happen.”

The conference program will open on Thursday 11 July with an address by Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Federal Government Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business. David Pisoni MP, South Australian Minister for Innovation and Skills, will also address the conference.

“Australia has a world class VET sector where people at all stages of life are able to receive the training and skills they need that lead to sustainable jobs, many at the forefront of new technologies,” Minister Cash said.

“Conferences like No Frills showcase the best of the sector now and the ideas that will help shape the future of VET.”

David Coltman, Chief Executive of TAFE SA, said that it is critical for VET providers and industry work together in new and different ways.

“Together we have to provide a learning experience that is contemporary and inspiring. We must be confident that those coming into the workforce from VET training, and those upskilling, are job-ready and adding value from day one.

“This conference will provide some really thought-provoking discussion on these topics,” Mr Coltman said.

The comprehensive ‘No Frills’ program includes over 40 presentations, 6 pre-conference workshops, and a plenary panel on the topic ‘Lifelong learning: VET’s role now and into the future’.

Two keynote addresses will be given by speakers renowned in their fields. Prominent neuroscientist and engineer Dr Fiona Kerr will speak about the neurophysiological effects of our interaction with technology, while Ms Gabrielle Kelly will speak about 'resilience' skills for workforces in transition and building 'wellbeing'.

A student-led conference dinner at the Regency TAFE Graduates Restaurant will feature guest speaker Mr Glenn Cooper, former auto-electrician and Chairman of Coopers Brewery, along with some excellent examples of South Australian food and wine as prepared and served by the students.

To download the discussion paper The student journey: skilling for life, visit:

Registration for the 28th National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference ‘No Frills’is still open. To view the program and register, visit:

Enquiries and interviews: Helen Wildash M: 0448 043 148 E:

About NCVER: we are the main provider of research, statistics and data on Australia’s VET sector. Our services help promote better understanding of VET and assist policy-makers, practitioners, industry, training providers, and students to make informed decisions.

This work has been produced by NCVER on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments, with funding provided through the Australian Government Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.