Challenges facing VET: Effective adult class size

Challenges facing VET


The number of students in an adult classroom has been the center of attention for the researchers for a few years. There have been various manifolds in perspectives of research regarding this subject. Some of the researchers suggest smaller class sizes are better whereas others deny the productivity of small classroom sizes and recommend larger classrooms Read more…

Who needs to write Training Packages?

Challenges facing VET

If VET is to meet the needs of our workforce – present and future – then what needs to be trained must be communicated clearly to the people doing the training and assessment.

A workplace supervisor or colleague cannot be expected to hold TAE and is therefore not trained to read and interpret units of competency.  This is the reason I have always been taught – and continue to teach my students – that Third-Party Verification forms should not be a direct copy and paste of the Performance Criteria of a Unit of Competency.  Instead, we must use wording that has meaning for the third party. Read more…

Challenges facing VET: The drop in traineeships and apprenticeships. Why is it happening?

Challenges facing VET

A recent figure revealed that the federal government over the last five years has underspent close to $1 billion of its budget on TAFE, training and apprenticeships. This is on top of previous cuts.

At the same time, that these budgets cuts are happening, Australia is still experiencing critical skills shortages in several industries.  A number of experts have warned of serious effects on the Australian economy. Read more…

Marking assessments – do we need to change our mind-set?

Challenges facing VET

Over the years, many of my colleagues have had a whinge about marking.  They enjoy the training but they see marking as an unpleasant chore.

I’m wondering if this is because it’s just seen as “compliance paperwork”, whereas I view marking as one of the best opportunities we can have to deliver training. Read more…

Challenges facing VET – Do learning resources motivate learning?

Challenges facing VET


I was talking to a client yesterday about learning resources.  He is happy to write his own assessment resources (and prefers to do so because he can tailor them to the learner groups).  On the other hand, he says he doesn’t have time to write the learning material.  He has tried several approaches, and the last approach was to provide a textbook.  That didn’t work either.  It was a good textbook but the learners were resistant to reading so much information.

Then there is the dilemma Read more…

Challenges facing VET – Is it too radical to require a workplace?

Challenges facing VET

I ‘joined’ the VET sector back in 1999 in a local not-for-profit VET provider (remember Skillshares?).

We were running primarily ‘jobseeker’ style courses.

We had three key focus – get people skills; get people a job; get a contract in the next tender round. I’m pleased to say that they were almost always in that order.

I didn’t have much experience in VET at the time. My only exposure had been a wholly poor previous experience as a student at my local TAFE (Don’t fret – I have had many wonderful experiences with TAFE over the years since as both student and teacher – I am reliably informed that in my teenage years [at least] I was not a great student to teach). Read more…

Challenges facing VET – Just turning up is not enough.

Challenges facing VET


I train First Aid  specifically. I find that there is an expectation that students will be deemed competent just by attending a course. We train a one day course with E-Learning and whilst not mandatory many students consider it an imposition on their time. Workplaces often say their employees won’t do it. Read more…

Challenges Facing VET – What is it and where did it come from?

Challenges facing VET

Challenges facing VET is a response to what has become a difficult landscape for all training professionals.   There is much to discuss, digest and directions to determine.

As an industry, it is critical that we do this together.  Our strength lies in our ability to take the best ideas from each other and nurture from those ideas greater ideas. Read more…

Challenges facing VET – Expectations associated with Assessment

Challenges facing VET

There’s probably no surprise that sooner or later someone would bring up assessment as a challenge in VET.

Audit results show it as a number one issue, anecdotal evidence shows it as a number one issue, and the number of forums, webinars and other PD offerings available and dedicated to explaining assessment-related concepts, show it as a number one issue.

Why is this the case? A number of reasons, I’m sure. However, I’m not entirely sure that I agree assessment per se is the issue. Read more…

Challenges facing VET – Do we need to re-think the role of trainers and assessors?

Challenges facing VET

Over the years the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment has been revised several times:

The purpose (or justification) of each change was to improve the overall quality and reliability of training and assessment by improving the competencies of trainer/assessors. Read more…

Challenges facing VET – is there a place for Training Products in a Service Sector?

Challenges facing VET


A common complaint among TAE Cert IV students is that it has far too much jargon and terminology.  Many of those students find the qualification somewhat impenetrable because of that language, and this reduced the qualification’s effectiveness.

That is not new to anyone.

But what if the language used more broadly in VET was also reducing the effectiveness of qualifications?

I am referring here to one term in particular: Training ProductRead more…

The Effectiveness of Upgrading Certificate IV in Training & Assessment. Insights from a Survey of Candidates.

The following Abstract is based on research conducted by Fortress Learning’s Nik Bogduk and Bryan West.  It has been accepted for presentation at the Australian Deans of Education Vocational Education Group (ACDEVEG), 2019, Conference, to be held at Charles Sturt University in December.  The Conference website is here. 

Access to “quality and capable VET teachers” is a global concern (Rasmusssen, 2016) Recent changes in Vocational Education and Training have required Trainers to upgrade their Certificate IV.  While the intention was an effort to improve standards (Australian Skills Quality Authority, 2015), relying on upgrading the Certificate IV is dissonant with the recommendations of earlier (Simons & Smith, 2008; Smith & Grace, 2011; Smith & Yasukawa, 2017) and subsequent researchers (Rasmussen, 2016; Smith & Yasukawa, 2017). Read more…

What can I research in TAERES501?

TAERES501 IdeasOf all the things that can freak people out, having too many choices has to be up there.

It is no different when we start to think about what sort of research we can undertake as part of TAERES501.  It is not surprising that many of the people who are thinking about this unit ask:  what can I research?   Read more…

Who was Boyer and what has he got to do with me?

Boyer TAERES501

The name Boyer (and, no, that is not him above!) is probably unfamiliar to most professional trainers and assessors in Australia, but his model of scholarship is bound to be affecting the work that they do.  This article will explore that a little more, and share just why research among VET professionals is so important. Read more…

Why is research – and TAERES501 – so important for VET Professionals?

TAERES501 for Trainers


We will talk about research and TAERES501 in a moment.

First, let’s look at how things happen in most places on most days:

  1. Person sees something silly. Wonders why that happened.
  2. Person sees something silly again. Wonders why it still happens.
  3. Person sees something silly again. Doesn’t notice it because it is what always happens.

This or something like it is pretty close the reality of what happens in the VET sector.  Read more…

In defense of TAEASS502 – the single unit that might help the VET industry regain its confidence.

regOn the surface, it would seem that the majority opinion is that TAEASS502 does not belong in the TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training & Assessment.  We do not need to look far to find some very assertive – and often very aggressive – comments that lambast the decision to include it as a Core in the new Cert IV TAE.

We disagree.  And it is not because of the effect on people doing the whole TAE40116 qualification, who are starting from scratch.  Rather, it is because it of the effect on people who have done the old one.  It is quite possible that this effect will help the VET sector as a whole regain some confidence. Read more…