Insight into learning pathways within VET

What are the attributes that consider someone to be competent in the workplace?

When reflecting on this, identify what the benchmark is for skills and knowledge to be measured against. Is it that they have a certain amount of experience, or relevant qualifications acquired?

Through industry research, with 87 participants from March to May 2020, ISACNT identified that 57% of participants agreed to the statement, “When recruiting staff, I highly value people with formal nationally recognised training (certificate, diploma & advanced diploma)”.

Having formal qualifications is a bonus, but how can we be sure that everyone is work-ready without the appropriate experience and training involved.

Consider a care sector employee, who may not know how to safely lift a client on their first day in the role. This is why VET training focuses on providing learners with specific hands-on skills and learning, inclusive of practical application.

Within Australia’s vocational training system, there are two prime arrangements for completing a VET qualification:

  • Classroom-based learning - this involves completing theory components of a qualification with time for practical skills to be applied, either via a simulated work environment and/or access to a work-based practical demonstration and noting that the classroom may be virtual or online.  Learning is often self-directed with support from a skilled trainer with related industry knowledge and experience.
  • Apprenticeship/ traineeship model - this is for learners currently employed in their chosen industry, allowing for the development of both practical and theory components whilst on the job. This arrangement involves the employer and workplace as a critical part of learning outcomes.

The two approaches offer learners alternative pathways in completing qualifications as evidence of skills and knowledge to secure or sustain employment.

International education models are similar to Australia’s VET system, with learners alternating between classroom learning and on-job training. In Australia, we usually work with hours and recognise that a certain percentage of hours will apply to practical training versus in-class learning. Although how can we be sure that the hours attached to a qualification are sufficient to deem someone competent.

Since the emerge of COVID-19, we have seen a rise in online training courses to adapt to new learning ways. In this time, there has been a large amount of research conducted across Australia, with mixed views on the advantages and disadvantages of classroom and online learning methods.

The way we undertake and deliver training has progressed and we can confidently say this has only increased during 2020. The real question is, how can training providers continue to support learners during these transitions, providing them with different learning choices and contextualising training to suit every learner’s needs.