After morning tea, short concurrent sessions begin. First up, Dr. Liz Gordon, Sandra Grey, Charles Sedgwick and Katarina Edmonds from Pukeko Research with 'is the youth guarantee fees-free scheme and effective pathway for former NEETS'. Reports on a recent large TEC funded project involving students in 30 training organisations to see is policy implementation has succeeded in moving youth not in employment, education or training (NEETs) into more productive situations. Examined the factors contributing to achievement in the fees free YG programmes. A real need to have interventions as unemployment 15-19 now up to 25% with some the children of youth unemployed in the mid 1990's! Principles in NZ are social not economic with regards to instituting free-fees at lower level courses. Level 2 NCEA seen as minimum requirement for work. Issues are to do with keeping NEETs engaged and viability of courses. Profile of YG students and courses presented. Some TEOs have to resort to 'cherry picking' by keeping on students who are able to achieve due to say funding is utilised. Burden on tutors with heavy pastoral care.
Second concurrent session with Jenny, Connnor from Service IQ, Dr. Nicky Murray from Career Force, Fiona Beardslee from Primary ITO and Matthew Vandy from Competenz presented on 'learning to learn for work: industry based foundation education'. Provided overview of how 4 ITOs have gone about supporting workplace based foundation learning at levels 1 and 2. These 4 ITOS have 85% of learners in foundation workplace based training. Each one has different learner profile. A model for foundation education in the workplace contrasted to the more school / post-school TEO delivered examples explained. Paper available on request.
The third session for the morning is with Malcolm Hardy from BoPP on 'from industry to institute: teacher in transition'. Shared his autobiography of working on site one day and then teaching at the polytechnic the next. Experiences of not enjoying school and how these meant he engaged students with project-based learning. Presented project on finding how to better help trades people become tutors. 20 tutors completing questions and interviews. Asked the questions - what was the biggest changes you had to make as a tradesperson as you transition into teaching? What support needed to make changes? what is the advice you would give to someone coming from industry to teaching? Advice to polytechnic? What keeps you going? In all, adjustment from trades to teaching needs time, support and provision of 'teaching tools', opportunities to observe other teachers. In particular, moving from teaching a few to a whole class and class management, working with your head/hands/emotions/heart not just hands as at trades work, dealing with educational jargon / organisational systems, how too motivate students, different ways of working, digital literacy requirements, learnt mainly from other staff, one on one mentor who cares - could be newbie as well. Align trade based tutors training to apprenticeship model.
After lunch longer concurrent sessions of 45 minutes. As I was presenting in the second session, I attended Angus Robertson's (Unitec) session with Sylila Monnteiro on 'assessment of prior learning: the recognition and endorsement of experiential learning'. Need for APL in carpentry due to licencing component to be a builder. APL finds a balance between the body of knowledge vs mastery of process and academic rigour vs capabilities of an occupation. A new type of structure required compared to normal institutional systems. APL evidence normally through journals and portfolios but a barrier for tradies with experience but poor literacy. Process to examine CV, interview, challenge test, design assessment to identify gaps in knowledge, observe, record evidence, seek validation from credible people, examine evidence collected by quality assessors and lastly examine student's compilation of evidence. Main challenge for assessor to ensure rigority and consistency. Recommendations to monitor assessors and moderate work, create guidelines for assessors, ensure students so have appropriate experience, when teaching, make evidence require overt. Current process has practical assessment (APL, portfolio etc.) and theory (fully online with 'branched'quizzes including revision content where required). Uses Google drive supported by Teacher Blackboard (NZ developed teaching platform).Assignments revolve around students completing powerpoint slides. Discussed advantages and disadvantages of the shift to blended / online platform. Presented future plans to improve.
Then my session on 'learning a trade' to share the literature, findings, recommendations and resources (poster and video) with participants. Feedback on the draft resources gathered to inform final version.
Last plenary / panel session on effective mentoring and peer support. With Anne Alkema on 'peer support for trainees in the health and community sector: building a sustainable learning model';
Sandra Johnson from Downer NZ on 'mentoring model for ITOs and employers'; and Dr. Lesley Petersen and Mike Styles and Marianne Farrell from the Primary ITO on 'evaluating a voluntary mentoring programme for trainees in the primary ITO. Each presented their experience / project and questions followed.
All in a varied programme with emphasis on support /pastoral care structures for learners in a range of learning contexts. Not as many people this year, an outcome of the continual restructures in the ITO sector, now mostly complete. As outcomes of TRoQ are worked through with new programmes of study, the VET sector is now perhaps now looking forward to a more settled few years, working through various challenges of assisting vocational learners.