The role of VET in workforce development: a story of conflicting expectations

13 Oct 2011

A recent research report by Dr Tanya Bretherton from the Workplace Research Centre is now available online at the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research (NCVER) website. This final report is from a three-year research program that examined the dynamics of workforce development and explored the challenges in maintaining viable labour flows in the child care and meat processing industries. Four research reports were completed as part of the three year research program and are also available on the NCVER website.

 

Bretherton's final paper highlights the lack of receptiveness for workers in the meat processing and childcare sectors to train beyond mandatory levels due to the nature of casualised working arrangements and little reward for upgrading qualifications. Entrenched  cultural factors in the meat industry also undermine the desire of employees to undertake further training, as highlighted by Rafferty and Norton (2010). According to Bretherton, the notion of a vocation, with a supporting 'continuum of skill', is a possible alternative structure. She argues that, a 'vocation' houses or nestles groups of skills in a way that offers the opportunity to develop offshoots of specialisation, but it does not promote skill development as a means for upward mobility in the conventional sense. This notion of a vocation may present both meat processing and child care with a more viable framework on which to structure and understand skill development. Adopting new paradigms of skill development, however, would require significant collective change at the societal, workplace and systemic level, and most certainly at the level of individual'.

 

To read this report and the other reports that were published as part of this project, please access the NCVER website:
http://www.ncver.edu.au/

 

Bretherton, T. (2011) ???The role of VET in workforce development: a story of conflicting expectations???, National Centre for Vocational Education and Research. Accessible at: http://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/2406.html

 

Rafferty, M. and Norton, K. (2010) ???Work skills and training in the Australian red meat processing sector???, National Centre for Vocational Education and Research. Accessible at: http://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/2301.html