Thursday, October 20, 2016

NZ Vocational And Training research forum 2016 day 1

At the annual NZ Vocational Education and Training Conference on Tuesday 18/10 and Wednesday 19/10. 

Conference opens with mihi and welcome / haere mia from Ako Aoteoroa Kaihautu Matauranga Maori (Deputy Director Maori), Dr. Joe Te Rito and Josh Williams, Industry Training Federation - joint sponsors / conveners of the conference. Minister Louise Upton, Associate Minister for tertiary education, skills and employment, provides opening presentation to reiterate government's emphasis on supporting skill based learning. Challenge of keeping up with accelerating change in workforce composition due to technology. Summarised NZ context relevant challenges, engaging NEETs, encouraging women into trades, upskilling the older workforce, assist learners to make knowledgable career choices. 

Professors Ewart Keep from the SkOPE at Oxford university sets the scene with the first keynote on 'the role of employers, employer ownership of skills, be collective organisation and representation in vocational education and training'. Shared UK government's initiative with the Employer Ownership of Skill scheme, evaluating different models of collective employer action in skills. An action research project. 3 players in skills market, state, employers and employees. Employers are critical as they determine type, number and some direction on skills. Education and training sector tend to concentrate on supply no delivery rather than skill type. Roles of employers include forecasting, specification and design of qualifications, involvement in assessment and provision of work integrated learning. Not all roles leveraged. Discussed pros and cons of employer participation with caveat that various sectors come in with different motivations and perspectives. Shared UK responses via various projects to engage employers. Evaluate of these reveal a mixed picture. Prevented further decline in training volumes. No impact on employer investment, recruitment patterns, productivity or profitability. Slightly reduced apprenticeship take up and employee turnover. Short time frame of 2-3 years too short especially for scheme which is to provide long term impact. Covered why these findings occurred, providing examples of 'what not to do' to NZ.

My presentation comes up after morning tea when concurrent sessions begin I discuss the ramifications of 'capturing the invisible: the role of graduate profile outcomes in assessing the 'becoming' process'. In summary, I built on previous work connecting graduate profiles to occupational identity formation. Concrete examples and clarification are presented along with options for ways forward. Graduate profiles provide a tool for visualising occupational identity but there are nuances as individuals are graduates. Different organisations emphasis different skill needs to meet the demands of their market. Therefore challenges with ensuring aspects of craftsmanship maintained and how it can be recognised. The presentation focused on application of principles argued in two articles on graduate profiles published recently - the first setting the scene and linking graduate profiles to occupational identity formation and the second providing an example on how graduate profiles may be linked to occupational identity being conferred by others before self-inference.

Next up, catch up in David Earle's work on 'school to work: what matters? Education no employment of young people born in 1991'. From statistics of NZ Integrated Data Infrastructure. Shared the work undertaken which contributes to definition of NEET as no employment or training for 6 months, might be on benefit. 
Presented a series of snapshots on what happens to young people after school. Data of people born 1991 between 2006 to 2014. Gauged if they had gone overseas, continued on to tertiary, in work and NEET. Tried to find out what disengagement at school may lead to. Around 13% of the 60,000 have gone overseas by age 23 with some correlation between disengagement at school and going overseas. Disengaged students with low performance have very few going on to complete bachelor qualifications. Higher likelihood of those who are disengaged at school and who did not complete any school qualifications to be NEET although about 20% of NEETs have level 3 NCEA. 

After lunch, an introduction from Scarletti, one of the major sponsors of the conference. Specialising in return on investment, market research etc.

Then Jodieann Dawe National manager for research and engagement, from the Australian National Centre for Vocational Education Research. She provided a well-received overview of the various NCVER objectives and how NCVER supports VET research. Also introduction to politics, funding and federalism and responsibilities at federal and state levels. Covered the change to workforce through technology and the growing skills for  flexible future. VET needs to work in digital platforms, changing learner and employer needs, increased demand from mature aged reskillers. 2016 paper future VET. 

Attend session with Perrin Rowland and Dr. Helen Anderson from the Intueri Education Group on ' learning and technology: using technology to build the evidence base in Vocational Education and Training'. They presented on a project in the hospitality context on using mobile technology to support the feedback process on teaching and learning. Narrated the evolution of a e-feedback process for teachers and how this feeds into continuous improvement of students' learning. The result will inform learning design, create more effective learning experiences and gather and apply the feedback. My checkin101 developed to be a quick check in solution.
The thing explainer used to select appropriate words to use as site provides most common 100 words in each language. Checkin100 would email once a week for feedback but in first interaction, poor completion. Second round, tutor also reminded and tutor was able to obtain results and work on feedback after each round. Currently used across institute with all classes and students, tutors encouraged to work on feedback to improve learning experiences for student.

Then a presentation with Massey University's Jennifer Green with 'online learning professional development of registered nurses'. Based on action research project over 16 months to support professional development via on-line for nurses working in busy hospitals. Heutogogical and adult learning principles frame the work. Recommended the need to rework entirely, the learning design, when moving delivery to on-line. A one size fits all is also not the way to go either. What would then work? Need for quiet learning space at work; to fit into a busy workplace and home responsibilities ; transformation of content to suit adult learner with greater learner choice; help desk and video tutorials to assist with digital competence and confidence; 24/7 access; matched to learners' needs and awareness of organisational system, challenges and realities. 

Following afternoon tea, another session with David Earle  and Paul Satherley on Skills and Education, and work: insights from the survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), a shared output between Ministry of Education (Matt) and Ministry of Business, innovation and Employment (Kelsey Whyte) Covered data of relevance to NZ vocational education research community. Firstly provided an overview of what PIAAC measures, how it measures along a continuum and sorted into levels 1 - 5 or 6, participant countries and NZ contexts. Results from Literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology rich environments. Historically NZ does well on Literacy (4th) and problem solving but less so in numeracy (13/33). Between 1996 and 2006, large increase in Literacy at lower level and a bit less between 2006 and 2014.  Comparative data fro Maori and Pacifica show increased Literacy, small improvement in numeracy and lower in problem solving. Relationships to skills and work also presented. Qualifications mismatch was high. People with higher quals have access or undertake more learning activities.  

Last plenary session with Murray Sherwin, chair of the Productivity Commission summarising the relevant draft recommendations from the inquiry into new models of tertiary education. The report was commissioned by government to explore new models for tertiary education. Covered the overall rationale for report and parameters of the recommendations. There is a need to meet challenges wrought by technology, demographical changes, international competition and changing job market. Submissions now sought for the draft which has 71 findings and 33 recommendations with 10 questions seeking more input. Emphasised the concept of education as being 'co-produced' with students and others - institutions, teachers, employers etc. important need to shift present system is than there is still poor match between qualifications and work and does not cater to all the population, especially those with limited capital to begin with. Focus on finding ways to untangle present system to allow for innovation in pedagogy rather than present efforts on working around the current rigid system. Encouraged submissions by end of November. 
Busy but productive day ends with usual opportunity to network with the traditional project launches and drinks with nibbles. Three Ako Aoteoroa projects launched. Good practice in assessment for on-job assessment, understanding non-completion of industry qualifications and a mentoring model for ITOs and employers

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