Australian vocational education is beset by several big problems that have accumulated and enlarged over decades.
Growing up in the foster care system led Brendan Murray down a rocky education and employment path for many years. He knows first-hand the value of being a second chance learner and strongly advocates TAFE as a place of opportunity for all ages.
At the recent Women in Adult and Vocational Education (WAVE) Conference, Professor Erica Smith posed the question: Do women have to be Rosie the Riveter to get access to training? Rosie the Riveter appeared in an iconic 1940’s propaganda poster, representing women who worked in US factories and shipyards, while the male workforce served in World War II. Rosie has since become a feminist icon, denoting women’s strength, independence and capacity to break down barriers.
New voices are emerging in the national debate about the direction of VET and the future of TAFE, and these voices provide some hope for those people who have been concerned over the last four to five years about the simplistic arguments used by the supporters of “market design”.
Australia, like many Western education systems, places a strong emphasis on completing school and gaining skills for the workplace.