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CEET 8th National Conference 2004

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Abstracts: Conference Convener: Papers: Program: Registration: Speaker Profiles: Venue

'The policy context for education and training'

Friday 29 October 2004
9.00am - 4.00pm

Ascot House, 50 Fenton Street, Ascot Vale, Melbourne

Following the federal election there is a need to clarify objectives for education and training and the coherence of the strategies being used to pursue them. The CEET conference aims to provide a discussion of some of the major issues and the efficient and fairest policies to achieve our aims. A summary of key objectives and strategies is listed below and they provide a background for the choice of issues for the draft program.

Objectives and strategies in the Australian policy context
A review of policy issues for education and training suggests these objectives are central:

  • making education and training more responsive to the needs of clients and the economy
  • making the education system more efficient
  • supporting choice in education and training
  • encouraging older persons to retrain and stay longer at work
  • encouraging disadvantaged communities, groups and indigenous persons in particular
  • containing public expenditure and encouraging private contributions; and
  • increasing the cooperation among levels of government and stakeholders.

The strategies in recent years can be summarised as:

  • increasing employer influence on vocational education through training packages and user choice
  • increasing market forces on education to promote efficiency
  • providing increased funds to private schools and providers to support choice
  • subsidising employers of youth, and students, to increase the outcomes for youth
  • providing tuition-free government schooling and low cost vocational education
  • increasing fees in higher education but supported by income contingent loans
  • using funds freed for increased spending on schools and for employment subsidies.

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Conference opening
Virginia Simmons (CEO Chisholm Institute & Chair CEET VET Advisory Committee)

Session 1. The next steps in policy?
After the election: the national policy context
Peter Noonan (Peter Noonan Consulting & Associate of CEET)

The current priorities: following the money trail
Gerald Burke (CEET)



Session 2. Addressing disadvantage and regional needs
Indigenous students: economic issues
Paul Briggs (Pilican Consultancy)

Improving VET in regional areas
Angela Hutson (CEO East Gippsland Institute of TAFE & member CEET VET Advisory Committee)


Session 3. Improving pathways and qualifications
How young people are faring and what to do about it
Mike Long (CEET) & John Spierings (Dusseldorp Skills Forum)

The role of qualifications in improving pathways
Dennis Gunning (Director, Victorian Qualifications Authority)

VET graduates: the match between courses and destinations
Mark Cully (General Manager, NCVER)



Session 4. Strategies for the economy
Training and employment relations: unions, employees and employers
Richard Cooney (CEET)

Statutory trade union learning representatives (ULRs) within the British VET system
Mark Stuart (Leeds University)

Improving frontline management
Chris Selby Smith (CEET) & Ian Roos (University of Melbourne)

Work organisation and training
Andy Smith (Charles Sturt University & member CEET VET Advisory Committee)



Skills shortages and the policy response
Chandra Shah (CEET)

VET, production and environmental sustainabilty
Damon Anderson (CEET)

Discussion and Conference Close.

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Speaker Profiles

Damon Anderson
Lecturer in the Faculty of Education, and member of the Centre for Work and Learning Studies (CWALS) and CEET.

Damon's research interests include the development and outcomes of training markets, choice and lifelong learning in VET, and the role of VET in relation to sustainable development.

Paul Briggs, OAM
Pilican Consultancy

Mr Paul Briggs is the Principal Consultant at Pilican Consultancy. Mr Briggs brings a wealth of experience across various sectors in aboriginal community development. He is an adviser to the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), a member of the Northern Victorian Aboriginal Partnerships Committee and a founding member of the Koori Economic Employment and Training Agency Committee. Mr Briggs is the VACCHO representative to the Victorian University Rural Health Consortium. He is founding Chairman of First Nations Advantage Credit Union, the first Indigenous credit union, the first Indigenous credit union offering national access to financial services. He is also founding president of the Rumbalara Football/Netball Club in northern Victoria.

Professor Gerald Burke
Executive Director - CEET

Professor Gerald Burke is full-time executive director and a professorial fellow in the Faculty of Education. He has written extensively on finance, participation in education and training and on education and employment. Recent work has been on costs and expenditure in education sectors and papers on financing lifelong learning. He was appointed in August 2004 by the Victorian Government as Chair of the Victorian Qualifications Authority (VQA) for the period to June 2007. The appointment includes membership of the Victorian Learning and Employment Skills Commission (VLESC) and the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA).

Dr Richard Cooney
Member of CEET & Lecturer in the Department of Management

Richard has considerable experience in human resource management and training especially in the motor vehicle industry. Recent papers include ‘Team Leader Training and Skill Development in the Australian Automotive Industry' and ‘Power assisted steering, the political dimensions of technological change in the Australian Auto industry.'

Mark Cully
General Manager, NCVER

Mark oversees the national VET statistical collections and a range of in-house analytical projects. Prior to joining NCVER in 2003, Mark was a Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute of Labour Studies at Flinders University and editor of the Australian Bulletin of Labour. Between 1995 and 1999 he was head of research and evaluation on employment relations matters for the UK Government. He has a Masters degree in Industrial Relations from Warwick University and an Honours degree in Economics from Adelaide University, and is the author of two books and several journal articles.

Dr Dennis Gunning
Director, Victorian Qualifications Authority

Dr Gunning has worked in the public education service for thirty years, first as a science teacher and then in management positions in government and in qualifications bodies in Scotland and England.
He was Director of Quality Assurance in SCOTVEC, a body which revolutionised vocational qualifications in Scotland, and then Director of Development in its successor body, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). He has advised on qualifications development in a number of countries, including Australia, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Greece and has provided consultancy to the German international agency GTZ on outcomes-based education and training systems.
Dr Gunning moved to Melbourne in September 2001 to become the first Director of the newly-established Victorian Qualifications Authority (VQA). The establishment of the VQA as a statutory body within the education and training portfolio was one of the actions of the incoming Victorian Government in response to the recommendations of an extensive review of post-compulsory education in Victoria. The VQA is responsible for the regulation and reform of Victoria 's school, vocational and adult education qualifications.
Dr Gunning is also a member of the Council of Deakin University and of the Australasian Curriculum, Assessment and Certification Authorities and is a former director of Scottish Ballet and the Scottish Further Education Unit.

Angela Hutson
Chief Executive Officer, East Gippsland Institute of TAFE

Anglea was apppointed to this role in May 2004 following her postition as General Manager – Organisational Development at Box Hill Institute. Prior to arriving at Box Hill, Angela was the Deputy Director at East Gippsland Institute of TAFE where she worked for 9 years. Angela has been in TAFE since 1987 and has a strong commitment to the community relationships inherent in the role of a public provider.

Michael Long
Senior Research Fellow, CEET

Mike is a full-time senior research fellow formerly from ACER, with CEET from 1998. He has analysed youth participation in workplace training and the education, labour force experience of young people and in 2004 a study of the education and employment experiences of youth. He has completed studies of student finances in higher education, the implications of fees and loans for VET students and the affordability of Catholic schooling.

Peter Noonan
Associate of CEET and of the Faculty of Education Monash University & Consultant, Peter Noonan Consulting P/L

Peter undertakes consultancies on a wide range of issues in education and training. Until 2002 Peter was Deputy Director of the Department of Employment and Training in Queensland. He is a former General Manager and acting CEO of the Australian National Training Authority.

Dr Ian Roos
University of Melbourne

Ian has a PhD from the University of Melbourne in inorganic chemistry, and spent nearly twenty years in medical research related to the development of anti-cancer drugs. He lectures in the area of human resource development and adult education and training. His current research interests include: human resource issues in the implementation of technology; management training in the community services and health area; health education and volunteer training.

Dr Chandra Shah
Senior Research Fellow, CEET

Chandra is a full-time senior research fellow who joined CEET in 1995. His work includes analysis of the TAFE workforce, student flows in TAFE and higher education. Chandra has made the most comprehensive analysis of job openings from job mobility in Australia. He is working on the net migration of skilled labour with vocational qualifications and the international movement of nursing workers. He manages CEET's and the Faculty of Education's seminar programs.

Professor Andy Smith
Charles Sturt University
& member CEET VET Advisory Committee

Andy Smith is Professor of Human Resource Management and Head of the School of Management at Charles Sturt University. He was formerly General Manager, Research and Evaluation at the National Centre for Vocational Education Research. From 1994 to 1998 Andy was Foundation Director of the Group for Research in Employment and Training (GREAT), an interdisciplinary research group that worked in the area of vocational education and training and human resource development. Andy has a PhD in the area of enterprise training which is his particular field of expertise. Andy is the author of numerous articles on aspects of employment and training and of the text, Training and Development in Australia . He is also Editor of the International Journal of Training Research.

Dr John Spierings
Dusseldorp Skills Forum

John Spierings is a Research Strategist with the Dusseldorp Skills Forum (DSF), a not-for-profit public interest organisation. For the past decade Dusseldorp has provided research and advocacy in the development of Australian education and skills formation policy. John has worked as a lecturer or researcher at Melbourne, Monash and Adelaide universities, and
joined DSF in 1998.

Dr Mark Stuart
Head, Industrial and Labour Studies Department, Leeds University Business School. UK

Mark has published extensively in the areas of training and development policy and practice, trade union strategy towards learning and the dynamics of social partnership. He is the joint editor of Partnership and Modernisation in Employment Relations (with Martinez Lucio) published by Routledge, and Trade Unions and Training (with Richard Cooney) published by the National Key Centre in Industrial Relations. His work has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council; the European Union; the UK government's Department for Trade and Industry; the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service; the International Labour Office and numerous trade union bodies. He is an Associate Fellow of the ESRC Centre for Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE – at Oxford and Warwick universities), and sits on the editorial boards of Work, Employment and Society and the International Journal of Training Research.

Professor Julian Teicher
Associate of CEET & Head of the Department of Management, Faculty of Business & Economics, Monash University.
Julian is a specialist in industrial relations and has undertaken studies of employer provided training and industrial agreements involving training.

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VET, production and environmental sustainability
Damon Anderson

Historically, vocational education and training (VET) has fuelled the engine of economic growth and productivity in western industrialised nations. As markets become increasingly global and competitive, governments are intensifying pressure on national VET systems to produce more productive and employable workers. ‘Jobs and growth' is now the universal mantra of policy makers and the taken-for-granted raison d'etre of VET.

This presentation argues that, in an era of manufactured risk and ecological crisis, there is need to reorient VET for sustainable development. In doing so, it examines the ethos of productivism and its constitutive effects on the institutional and policy settings for VET. The logic and assumptions that underpin contemporary constructions of VET are critiqued in the light of available evidence. The potential role and contribution of VET in the transition from productivism to sustainable development are discussed, and central dilemmas and challenges are outlined.

After the election: the national policy context
Peter Noonan

The level of policy interest in the recent Federal election in issues related to vocational education and training is unprecedented and overdue. Although narrowly framed in terms of responses to skills shortages the priority accorded VET provides a platform to re-argue the role of VET in assisting to meet the future skill needs of the economy and the labour market across industry and occupational areas and in terms of skills for employability and innovation.

The Coalition Government has clearly signalled major changes in the way in which it will fund education and training and drive initiatives in areas of national priority. However these initiatives need to be kept in perspective as the Commonwealth has historically intervened strongly in the apprenticeship system and in the creation of the traineeship system. It is also not clear whether or not the new Australian Technical Colleges will be constituted as registered schools or as RTOs (or both) and the direct implications for VET are not yet clear.

A more directly interventionist role for the Commonwealth does hold implications for the nature of the ANTA Agreement and the extent to which the agreement provides a framework through which both levels of government establish a common policy, funding and regulatory framework for VET.

The VET sector has a critical role to play in meeting future industry skills needs in areas of growing skills shortages in addition to the trades. Policy responses are needed to address both supply and demand issues including the impact of changes in the labour market, in organisational structures, in the level and pattern of industry and private investment in education and training and individual and community perceptions of and preferences for VET. The impact of demographic change also requires greater attention to the importance of workforce retraining and adult learning generally.

The ANTA Agreement and the implementation of the current national strategy must elevate these issues together with skills shortages more clearly into the national and state political agendas.

Training, learning and work organisation
Andy Smith

It has long been assumed that patterns of enterprise training are linked closely to work organisation. The work of Bill Ford and others at the OECD in the late 1980s influenced the assumptions underlying Award Restructuring in Australia that better access to training would facilitate workplace reform. Policies such as the Training Guarantee were partly based on these assumptions about the role of training. Similar reasoning also influenced the development of the high performance workplace concept in the USA in the 1990s in which training was identified as a crucial element in so-called “bundles” of human resource practices that underpinned the development of high performance work organisations.

However, little research has been carried out in Australia that has directly investigated the link between training and work organisation, as distinct from changes to the employment contract. Moreover, the work that has been done has often used a very narrow definition of training. Evidence from recent research suggests that employers are using a much broader concept of learning and development, based on US notions of human resource development, rather than older notions of skills training. This paper will present evidence from recent Australian research that illuminates the relationship of enterprise training to work organisation and the emergence of learning and development as the major thrust of modern human resource practices in Australian enterprises. The paper will also explore how traditional employer training policies have little impact on the emergence of learning and development which has benefited instead from the unforseen consequences of VET reform, particularly the development of training packages.

Statutory trade union learning representatives (ULRs) within the British VET system
Mark Stuart

The British vocational, education and training system has been described as voluntarist. Thus, decisions around VET at the workplace are typically left up to employers, employees and their representatives to decide, with very little by way of statutory intervention from the state. In this context, the statutory backing for trade union learning representatives (ULRs) in 2003 represents a significant policy innovation in the British VET system. ULRs have a statutory right to time off for promoting learning opportunities and for workplace facilities to assist their role. This paper presents an initial assessment of the ULR initiative. Drawing from a small-scale survey of ULRs and additional qualitative material, the paper examines: first, the nature of ULR activities and the extent to which they encourage workers into learning; second, the nature of ULR engagement with management and the bargaining agenda; third, how ULR activities fit within traditional trade union structures. The evidence suggests that ULRs have been successful in encouraging ‘new' entrants into learning, have been less successful in terms of developing bargaining relations with employers around learning, and face some obstacles in terms of establishing their role within broader union activities. The initiative represents an interesting policy intervention in terms of raising the demand for learning, but does not represent a fundamental challenge to the voluntarist nature of the British VET system.

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Cost for the day including morning, afternoon teas and lunch is $198.00 (including GST).

Payment options are by credit card (Bank Card, Master Card or VISA only) or cheque (payable to Monash University). Upon payment the registration form becomes your tax invoice.

To register please download the registration form and post or fax to Amanda Crichton
(contact details on the form)

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Ascot House, is an elegant Victorian mansion set in two acres of beautiful gardens, conveniently located at 50 Fenton Street, Ascot Vale.

Ascot Vale is a suburb of Melbourne and is located near the Tullamarine Freeway, about halfway between the city and the airport.

The building has been meticulously restored retaining its original homely charm whilst providing today’s modern facilities. The house features antique furnishings, open fireplaces, sweeping verandas and grand dinning rooms with stunning garden views.

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Contact CEET for further information.

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