Saturday, July 16, 2011

NCVER no frills conference day 2

A good showing considering the late finish last night, after a convivial conference dinner at the Bonville Golf course last night. Dr. Peter Coolbear presented the New Zealand perspective with 'Vocational education research in NZ: old issues and emerging opportunities from a funder's perspective. Presented background on Ako Aotearoa and focus and rationale of research funding. of interest is the future direction: publicly defined thresholds of acceptability of provision, more providers forming partnerships with employers and learners, genuine pathways for learners, differentiation of providers by teaching and learning not 'marketing' and increased professionalism in tertiary ed. in NZ through evidence-based improvement of practice.

Flip and I had our presentation in the next group of concurrent sessions. We provided an overview of 'learning welding: the role of peer feedback' which is available in appendix 1 of the 'using video to study workshop and workplace learning' report.

After morning  tea, attended session with Hiekle Buddelmeyer and Nicolas Herault from the University of Melbourne on 'the role of VET in preventing the scarring effect of youth joblessness. Finds VET engagement in the early stages of a career, may increase scarring effects but over time post-school qualifications does buffer individuals from scarring. Scarring defined as effects on individual through a period of un or under-employment. Full report on never.

Then a session with Darcy Fitzpatrick, NILS Flinders University who presented on 'from education to employment: how long does it take? A large study studying differences between different levels on education and length of time to obtain employment. Found higher education level does assist labour market entrants to obtain a job faster and leads to better wage gains.

After lunch, attended session on 'beyond boom and bust: apparent employment in the construction industry with Alex Maroya, Master Builders Australia and Jacqueline Homel from Australian National University. Presented on what factors influence changes in proportion of apprentices over time. A quantitative study of building apprentices from 1995 to 2010. Construction apprentices include plumbers, block layers/masons, builders etc. but not electricians and metal workers. Currently, number of apprentices who do not complete out numbers apprentices who have completed. There is poor correlation between growth rates in industry output/ employment and the proportion of apprentices and labourers. After a poor year of industry growth, proportion of labourers likely to fall. interesting data shown on effect of 2009 downturn on apprenticeships with government 'kickstart' seeming to have some effect in bringing apprentice numbers back up. More data on Australian Master Builders site.

Last session of the day with Berwyn Clayton, veteran and prolific VET researcher on 'starting from scratch: teacher to researcher and back again.Used the story of her Researh journey to provide some recommendations for doing research. Write it up, research used to inform outomes,see things from other people's perspectives, use invaluable advice from experienced others, share findings with others, establish a ripple effect and mind the political element.