‘Refocusing on teaching and training in VET’
VET teacher-education conference 2015
This conference, on 14 December 2015 in Melbourne at Karsten’s Conference Centre, was organised by the Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group (ACDEVEG).
This was a landmark occasion, marking the revival of annual national VET (vocational education and training) teacher-education conferences. The last such conference had been at Coffs Harbour in 1996, but the conference will now, once more, be an annual event in the calendar of all those interested in VET teaching and teacher-education.
There was a huge demand for the conference, with the venue filled two weeks before the conference and a waiting list of disappointed people. This indicates the interest in VET teaching quality and commitment to further development among so many teachers and trainers in the VET sector. The 133 attendees were from the following sectors: TAFE 52, Universities 37, Schools 13, Other 31.
As well as the keynote speakers, there were three panels involving key stakeholders, and two parallel streams of research-based papers on aspects of VET teaching and VET teacher-education. The best papers among those presented are being selected for development into journal articles, for a special edition of the ‘International Journal of Training Research’. This is the journal of the Australian VET Research Association (AVETRA).
The conference program is attached, together with most of the presentations.
Financial sponsorship was provided by the Victorian Department of Education and Training; the Australian College of Educators advertised the conference and managed the registrations; and Federation University Australia provided the administrative support for the conference.
Craig Robertson, Deputy Secretary, Skills and Higher Education Group, Department of Education and Training, Victoria. Mr Robertson spoke about the role of the VET workforce in improving the quality of VET and expanding the potential role of VET.
Adjunct Professor Roger Harris, School of Education, University of South Australia. His paper was ‘What do we learn from 40 years of history? Issues in VET teacher education from Kangan to today.’
Two scholarships were awarded to enable university VET teacher-education students to attend the conference. The scholarships were named after Ros Brennan Kemmis, a prominent VET teacher-educator and researcher from Charles Sturt University, who died in 2015. The inaugural winners were Jane Petersen, from TAFE Queensland, East Coast and Leanne Jessop from Kirana.
A best paper (delegates’ choice) award was given to Jill Downing, University of Tasmania: ‘Applied learning in an online teacher-education degree.’