Thursday, October 26, 2017

NZ VET research forum - DAY 2

Wellington turns on the wind yesterday afternoon and a blustery night followed. This morning, a cold Southerly brings light rain, so a good day to be indoors.

Day 2 begins with welcome from Dr. Stanley Frielick, Director of Ako Aoteoroa. Greetings and update on how change of govt. in NZ poses some opportunities for VET research to meet the challenges to the future of work. 

Morning keynote is with Distinguished Professor Paul Spooney who presents on the topic immigration and diversity: preparing for the future. Summarised demographics across the next 10 years, 2 out of 5 live in Auckland but most regional NZ in decline, Asian communities outnumber Maori, more people over 65 than under 15 and major shifts in nature of employment. Work will also be very different. Due to less young people, there is a challenge on future labour and skills supply. 40 to 50% of 2016 will not exist in 2026 but new jobs will emerge. 21st century workers may expect to be in 5 careers and 17 types of work. Immigration is the key source of skills, bringing in young and educated workers. Hyper diversity is the challenge to NZ social fabric. 

Then concurrent sessions begin.

I attend the presentation by Dr. Jenny Poskitt from Massey University on Degree Apprenticeship: is this the future for employer led industry partnerships in NZ? Detailed context in NZ and overseas, benefits and what does the NZ degree apprenticeship look like. Rationale to meet skills shortages in areas like engineering, asset management, IT caused by skills mismatch, ageing workforce etc. university education takes 3-4 years but graduates still require several years to become productive. Summarised the international landscape - Germany, USA, UK. Defined degree apprenticeship as a tripartite employer, provider and learner to combine high quality degrees with on the job and professional pathways. Collated the features as flexible delivery, assessments etc. aligned to work, learning is work and work is learning plus authentic learning with workplace mentor. Benefits are many (Antcliff, Baines and Gorb, 2016; Bravenboer, 2016; Gunderson and Krashibnsky, 2015: Jones, 2011). Reported on pilot funded by e2e to address skill shortage in asset management side of engineering. Described process for deriving the knowledge skills and behaviours required in the degree qualification. Emphasised the need to build relationships, listen to employer and be responsive. Recommended alternative names, mastership, sponsored degree etc. investigating tax incentives, creating structures, aligning policies e.g. learning pathways etc. ended with potential benefits and risks and tensions. 

Then at the next session, a presentation on similar lines in engineering from Brendan Mischewski from e2e on Micro credentials in engineering. In NZ quality services meet needs for millions of kiwis but innovation is not encouraged and the evidence is weak. Reviewed findings of productivity commission which challenged the status quo. Provided rationalisation for the need to have rapid and responsive qualification systems and completions. Detailed e2e response to meet NZ current and future engineering needs. Skills shortage at 6 and 7 which will relieve stress on level 8 engineers to meet challenges requiring innovation. Alternative credentials include work based learning, boot camps. MooCs, professional exams, adult and community learning and recognition of prior learning. Approaches include packages of learning within accredited ed,, activities outside, aspects and teaching and experiences, aimed to provide a bridge. Provided examples of micro credentials as Competenz micro learning, BCITO. Hop on hop off, NZ Dip. Ag.  Self driving vehicles etc. need to work on how to ensure quality and relevance, who benefits, how to leverage, and how to optimise performance. Detailed an initial model for microcredentials for engineering. Future, to developing and expert engineer. Also discussed current NZQA    Pilots -  and e2e ideas  -  rethinking NZDE, fire engineering stream, public works, sustainability bolt on, PD, pathways for Pasifika, and simplifying RPL.
A short plenary address with Philip Walker, principal advisor from Stats NZ follows. Phil presented on data in a changing world. Overview of the impact on industries business models. 5 trends include new behaviours, technologies, millennial workforce, mobility and globalisation. Now in a world of rapid and continual change where data my assist us to better understand our challenges. Used agriculture as an example of change. Drop in number of workforce but increase in parts of industry requiring R n D activity to cope with continual market shifts. So decrease in on farm worker but increase in analysts, irrigation specialists, consultants and researchers. Provided details of NZ integrated data set- IDS - (IDI and LBD) which bring together data collected by various government agencies. Longitudinal data provides journey of individuals (generalised) and cohorts. Provided details how to access data and recommendations on skills required to make the most of the data. Also provided information on other initiatives, the data leadership hub, data stewardship and the census. provided examples. 

After lunch, two sessions. Dana Taylor from IPU NZ with Becoming agents in their Vocational learning: English language learners self reflection throughput a workplace training course. Shared an action research project to find out how international students transform their identity through work experience (70 hours). Part of a level 5 tourism program. Provides situated learning but international or ELLs face linguistic, interactional, cognitive, instructional and organisational challenges. Scaffolds required to prepare students to deal with a different work culture, symbols and behaviours and obtain sociolinguistic and sociopragmatic confidence. Confidence required to deal with culture shock and workplace expectations, tutorials on cultural awareness, fluency and self-efficacy. Used short written survey to establish students progress towards meeting graduate outcomes. A good example of using an evidence base to ensure students meet learning outcomes. 

Then, a joint session starting with Mike Styles from the Primary ITO with his ongoing work on evaluating the effectiveness of support interventions for dyslexia learners in multiple learning environments. Stressed the need for people with dyslexia to be better supported. Reported on an Ako Aoteoroa National project which is 2/3 complete. Learners with dyslexia were supported using a package adapted from one used by the Primary ITO. Consists of screening to provide quality info. About their dyslexia. Support them to own their condition and info. To their employers, tutors, training advisors etc. also human and technological support. Reported interim findings. Dyslexia tend to either excel or languish. They have usual problems with literacy, limited short term memory, limits on sequencing skills, longer cognitive and physical processing speed and slower automacity. Positives include better spatial 3D skills, empathy, problem solving and ability to read people and creative / different thinkers. Recommendations include importance in supporting, informing and empowering people who are key supporters; technologies getting cheaper and more effective but require support to use and changes to behaviour; aid learners to share their strategies with their peers; dyslexia friendly resources has value for all learners; apps like dyslexia aid; use dyslexi font. 

Wrap up concludes the conference. Looking forward to next years conference in Sydney :)

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