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A Rich Tapestry - Changing Views

A Rich Tapestry - Changing Views

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Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education

Vo!. 33, No. 3, November 2005, pp. 339-351
A rich tapestry: changing views of
teaching and teaching qualifications in
the vocational education and training
sector!
Erica Smith*
Charles Sturt University, Australia .
Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) copying and .
communication prohibited except on payment of fee per Copy or Commumcalton
and otherwise inaccordance with the licence from CAl. to ACER. For more
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This paper describes and critiques changes in the nature, status and qualification requirements of
the teaching workforce over the past 15 years in the vocational education and training sector in
Australia. Changes in the settings in which VET is delivered, expansion of the VET market, and
new initiatives in qualifications for VET teachers have created a detailed tapestry. In this tapestry
are woven together threads representing pedagogy, assessment, industry requirements and
practitioner sophistication. The threads interact in complex and rich ways. The article draws on a
number of data sources which illustrate the potential dangers of any assumption that improving the
qualification levels of VET teachers might be unproblematic or even always desirable.
Introduction
A paper of mine (Smith, 1999) that was previously published in this journal
documented the changes in teaching in vocational education and training (VET)
that resulted from the implementation of competency-based training in the sector.
Since that paper was written, in the late 1990s, the VET sector has continued to
undergo considerable changes in policy and practice, and these changes have
impacted upon the role and status of teachers in the sector and upon qualifications
required of them. The early 2000s have proved to be something of a watershed in the
debates around VET teaching; they have brought changes in the perceived status of
VET teaching as well as new VET teaching qualifications that are about to be
introduced. This paper discusses the complexity of these changes and the ways in
which different agendas have contributed to the construction of an imagined ideal
VET practitioner.
"School of Education, Charles Sturt University, Locked Bag 588, Wagga Wagga, 2678, Australia.
Email:esmith@csu.edu.au
ISSN 1359-866X (print)!ISSN 1469-2945 (online)/05/030339-13
© 2005 Australian Teacher Education Association
DOl: 10.1080/13598660500286374
--------------.-
340 E. Smith
Background
Since the late 1980s, the vocational education and trammg sector has been
undergoing almost continuous change in Australia, as in other English-speaking
countries (Smith & Keating, 2003). Traditionally (and still, although to a lesser
extent) VET has been dominated by technical and further education colleges
('TAFE'), which are public providers funded by each state and territory. Now the
sector now offers equal opportunity to private training providers (known, along with
TAFE, as Registered Training Organisations) to offer nationally-recognized
qualifications. The 4000 RTOs that deliver national qualifications have needed to
meet certain requirements for course development and delivery. Since 2002 these
requirements have been included in the Australian Quality Training Framework
(AQTF) (Brennan & Smith, 2002). Courses which attract government funding have
additional accountability requirements.
Along with the expansion of the training market-to the point that 1.7 million
students are now studying publicly-funded VET at anyone time (NCVER, 2003)-
the other major change has been the move to competency-based training (CBT)
(Smith, 1999), a continuing development that has taken most of the last 15 years
and is still resisted, particularly in some sections of TAFE. CBT is now enshrined in
publicly-available National Training Packages for each of 80 industry and
occupational areas (Down, 2002). Training Packages, whose development is
overseen and endorsed by the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA),
consist of national units of competency, derived from consultations with industry,
'packaged' into qualifications, together with assessment guidelines. Training
Packages are similar to the VIZ system of National Vocational Qualifications
(NVQs) (Fletcher, 1991). As with NVQs, assessment assumes pre-eminence over
teaching because the units of competency refer to learners' competence to perform
tasks not to learning processes. There is thus increasing opportunity for workers and
students to gain qualifications through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) rather
than through learning programs. An increased focus on on-the-job rather than off-
the-job training has also contributed to the shift in focus, in VET practitioners'
work, to assessment from teaching, since on-the-job training is normally carried out
by workplace supervisors rather than teachers.
The move to CBT has been fiercely resisted by many practitioners in the TAFE
system and by many academic commentators (see Misko, 1999). There have been
concerns about perceived lower standards because of CBT's seemingly atomistic
learning style, and also about a drop in quality that seems inevitable following fierce
competition among providers. A major concern of teachers has been that CBT is
outcomes rather than input-based and therefore is not concerned with how students
learn to perform the desired outcomes but only with the Outcomes. A further
concern is the privileging of 'industry' as a stakeholder above individual learners. All
of these concerns and others have been well documented in various parliamentary
inquiries into VET (see Senate Employment, Workplace Relations, Small Business
& Education References Committee, 2000) and resulted in the implementation of
the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) in 2002 (Brennan & Smith,
Changing views of teaching 341
2002). The AQTF has set stringent new accreditation and monitoring standards for
RTOs.
Teachers in VET
It is difficult to establish the size of the VET teaching workforce but it is thought that
there are around 40,000 full time TAFE teachers and perhaps 300,000 other people
involved in VET teaching and training (Guthrie, 2003). The larger figure involves
assessors and others involved in workplace delivery of VET, for whom training might
only be a small part of their job, as well as part time TAFE teachers.
Until the early 1990s most VET teachers were employed byTAFE and comprised a
core of full time teachers with a considerable proportion ofpart time staff who generally
taught as an addition to their 'day' jobs in trades and professions. There were also some
part timers whose only work was in TAFE. This pattern persists although there has
been an extension of casualization and temporary contract staff (Forward, 2004). The
TAFE workforce is relatively old, with many teachers in their 40s and 50s. TAFE is
becoming increasingly 'feminized' with many female teachers being appointed to teach
the relatively new teaching areas such as hospitality, retail and community services
while the more traditional TAFE areas such as engineering and construction are in
relative decline (Guthrie, 2003). Part time and casual VET teachers are more likely to
be female than male, as in the workforce as a whole (Harris et aI., 2001).
With over 4000 RTOs now registered (www.ntis.gov.au), the non-TAFE VET
workforce is much larger than it used to be. Non-TAFE practitioners have some
different characteristics from TAFE teachers; for example, private RTOs often
recruit younger staff early in their careers who are willing to accept a relatively low
rate of pay (Guthrie, 2003). These practitioners are more likely to be involved in
selling training to companies, in assessment and in administrative work rather than
in teaching. Non-TAFE RTOs are heavy users of nationally-developed learning
materials in their teaching and assessment; their staff are less likely than TAFE
teachers to be involved in programming work. Many VET teachers and trainers,
however, operate across a range of providers including both TAFE and non-TAFE
settings, so such distinctions are not clear-cut. To add to the complexity of the
situation, non-educational companies and other organizations (hereafter referred to
as 'enterprises') may deliver nationally accredited VET qualifications to their
workers, either as RTOs in their own right or in partnership with RTOs (Smith et al.,
2004). Some ofAustralia's biggest organizations, such as Cole-Myer and Centrelink,
are heavy participants in this type of VET.
In addition, the rapid growth of VETin schools (Polesol et aI., 2004) has led to many
schoolteachers becoming qualified to deliver accredited VET qualifications through
curriculum based on Training Packages. VET in schools teachers are, however, outside
the scope of this paper. The paper focuses only on the VET sector itself (i.e., registered
training organizations); Qualifications for teachers of VET in schools provide in
themselves a complex arena (Green, 2004) which incorporates an added level of
regulatory requirements to do with state and territory teacher accreditation bodies.
342 E. Smith
In summary, VET teachers may be
• Full time TAFE teachers involved in teaching, for whom assessment is generally
viewed as a part of that activity.
• Full time private RTO staff, who are as likely to be involved in assessment-only
activities as in teaching.
• Part time teachers working for one RTO only, or for several.
• Full time trainers delivering nationally accredited training programs m
enterprises; or
• Enterprise personnel involved in some training delivery and on-the-job assessing.
For TAPE teachers in particular, there have been many changes in their working
environment since the early 1990s, arising directly from the changes in the VET sector
discussed earlier. Many staff have faced uncertainty about the future of their subject
areas because of competition from other providers and/or because their industry area
was contracting or changing rapidly. New teaching areas (such as beauty) have been
introduced and others (such as hospitality and IT) have been greatly expanded, thus
altering the make-up of the teacher workforce and the relative power of teaching
discipline areas within colleges. Teachers have needed to change the way in which they
taught, because of the introduction of competency-based training, becoming more
involved in team teaching and the development oflearning resources, and losing some
of their power in relationships with students because the units of competency are
transparent and accessible to students as well as to teachers (Smith, 1999). TAFE
teachers are expected to identify opportunities for commercial activity and to develop
courses to suit particular employers. Chappell and johnston (2003) note that even
those VET teachers not involved in commercial work have been affected by
commercialization because of the ways in which TAPE Institutes have changed their
management structures to meet the new competitive environment.
Because of the increased workplace focus of VET, teachers need new skills to
develop assessment tasks which integrate classroom and workplace learning. Many
teachers in TAFE and other RTOs are responsible for the training of apprentices and
trainees in 'flexible work-based delivery' contracts oftraining, i.e., who are doing their
training on the job and not attending an RTO for face-to-face training (Keevers &
Outhwaite, 2003). In such cases, visits to worksites involve difficult and sensitive
negotiations/ because employers rarely prioritize training above production.
For teachers in private RTOs, many of which did not exist before the early 1990s,
the changed landscape of VET that has been described is taken for granted, as these
teachers are relative newcomers to VET practice. In contrast, some TAFE teachers
see a landscape that has been considerably altered and, in the perceptions of many,
degraded, over the past 15 years.
Status of VET teaching
Many VET teachers feel that they were ignored in VET developments during the
1990s. ANTA documentation frequently failed to mention teachers as an important
Changing views of teaching 343
part of VET, focusing instead on employers, providers and learners as key players.
TAFE teachers were excluded and offended by this omission (Lowrie et al., 1999),
and were also distressed that the basic qualification for VET teaching, the Certificate
in Assessment and Workplace Training (hereafter referred to as 'Cert IV') has been
viewed in some quarters as a sufficient qualification to teach in VET. This contrasts,
of course, with the public school sector where all teachers must have a degree
qualification.
Partly in response to these concerns, an organization was formed in late 1999
called the Australian VET Teacher Educators' Colloquium (AVTEC). AVTEC
members comprise in approximately equal numbers university academics who
deliver VET teacher training degree and postgraduate programs, and VET sector
personnel interested in teacher status and staff development." AVTEC acts as a
lobby group to remind VET managers and policy-makers of the importance of
teachers and teaching, and has been heavily involved as a stakeholder in the review of
the Training Package in Assessment and Workplacc Training, which is discussed in
the next section.
Required qualifications for teaching and assessing in VET
The AQTF (ANTA, 2001) sets out requirements for teaching and assessing
accredited VET qualifications. Teachers are supposed to possess a Certificate IV in
Assessment and Workplace Training (the 'Cert IV'), although a 'get-out' clause
allows those without these qualifications to teach 'under the supervision' of someone
with the Cert IV (ANTA, 2001). This 'get-out' is more often invoked by TAFE than
by smaller RTOs (Brennan & Smith, 2002, p.14). Those assessing units of
competency must at least possess that unit of competency (or equivalent) and also
must hold the three assessment units of competency from the Cert IV 'plan
assessment', 'conduct assessment' and 'review assessment'. Through the AQTF the
Cert IV has thus become enshrined in VET practice and any changes to the Cert IV
have wide ramifications.
In TAFE it is still common for full time and many part time teachers to hold
degree qualifications or graduate diplomas in VET or adult education. In the case of
New South Wales, individual TAFE Institutes pay for completion of such courses
for new full time staff that do not have teaching qualifications. Private RTOs are
more likely than TAFE systems to expect teachers to join them with required
teaching qualifications rather than offer training for them (Harris et al., 2001) In
addition to teaching qualifications, TAFE teachers are also required to hold relevant
vocational qualifications (e.g., in hairdressing, hospitality or community work) and
have a minimum period of industry experience. The vocational qualification
requirements of TAFE as an employer may exceed the requirements of the AQTF
and of the Training Package being taught and/or assessed.' Private RTOs do not
always regard 'content knowledge' as essential because their teaching and
assessment staff often carry out in conjunction with indusrry-based assessors who
have vocational competencies. The AQTF makes provision for such assessment
344 E. Smith
partnerships. All of these differences reflect the difference between TAFE and
private RTOs in the relative weight placed on teaching as opposed to assessment.
Because of the industry requirement for VET practitioners to possess Cert IV,
those universities that offer VET teacher-training have generally felt the need to
embed Cert IV qualifications within their degree and graduate diploma courses in
VET. If they did not, their graduates would be unable to practice as VET teachers.
This issue is a common theme of discussion by AVTEC members. An informal
survey of universities through AVTEC in early 2004 indicated that there are over
2000 students enrolled in VET/adult education or graduate diploma courses at any
one time. The majority of these students have either received credit into their
courses because they already had a Cert IV, or are studying an embedded Cert IV.
To award the Cert IV, universities need to partner with an RTO, either an external
one or one attached to the university (Smith & Pickersgill, 2003) and are supposed
to observe AQTF-compliant assessment processes.
Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training
Because of the pivotal nature of the Cert IV qualification, this section discusses in
detail its origins and recent revision. During the early 1990s, units of competency
were developed for workplace training and assessing. The original workplace trainer
units divided workplace trainers into two categories. 'Category 1 trainers' were those
who occasionally undertook training tasks as part of their work. 'Category 2 trainers'
had training as their main activity. The units for Category 2 trainers were, therefore,
more rigorous and detailed than those for Category 1. A Certificate IV in Workplace
Training" was for Category 2 trainers (NAWT, 2001). In addition, workplace
assessor units of competency were developed in 1993. Training for workplace
assessors was aimed primarily at people who carried out assessment in the
workplace, but was sometimes undertaken also by people who taught in VET
institutions.
In the second half of the 1990s, these units of competency on training and
assessment were revised and gathered together into a Training Package, the Training
Package in Assessment and Workplace Training. This was endorsed in 1998.
Although the title of the Package suggests that it is designed for people who work in a
workplace rather than an institutional setting, the Cert IV became widely adopted in
TAFE colleges and other RTOs even before the AQTF made the Cert IV a
requirement for practice. There is also a diploma qualification which is not widely
used because of its restricted occupational applicability. The Cert IV contains eight
units of competency:
• Plan assessment.
• Conduct assessment.
• Review assessment.
• Train small groups.
• Plan and promote a training program.
• Plan a series of training sessions.
Changing views of teaching 345
Deliver training sessions.
Review training.
Some serious shortcomings have been identified with the Training Package itself,
delivery and its application (NAWT, 2001). As can be deduced from their titles,
units of competency are written in words that reflect the work of workplace
trainers and not teachers in an RTO setting. While the Cert IV may be suitable for
who perform a limited range of teaching and assessment tasks in a limited
of settings, a problem is that it has been viewed, or at least utilized, as though it
suitable for the full range of VET teaching activity. Research evidence shows that
teachers who only have a Cert IV generally have a very different approach to
teaching from those who have a degree level qualification (Lowrie et al., 1999); the
former tend to have a restricted view and to be uncritical and unreflective in their
approach to teaching. An additional concern arises from the fact that many RTOs
(including TAFE) have delivered the qualification to their own teaching staff, thus
creating a possible conflict of interest, as in the pressure to qualify their own staff
might be tempted to apply less than rigorous assessment.
As has already been mentioned, the quality of VET has been a concern among many
commentators, As the Cert IV is the qualification for VET practitioners it is essential
it is delivered and assessed well to help assure the quality of VET teachers.
However the Cert IV has become especially notorious among Training Package
qualifications for the poor quality of delivery. For example, a 'strategic audit' carried
by the Victorian State Training Authority (Bateman & Dyson, 2003) in 15 private
and one TAFE college made a number of worrying discoveries:
Despite the fact that the 'nominal hours' for the qualification are over 300, Cert
IV delivery in Victorian RTOs ranged from 5-12 days down to two days in
delivery modes where it was assumed that participants would gain a large amount
of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).
Many RTOs depended heavily on the purchasable 'support materials' for the
Training Package for delivery and assessment and did not produce their own
material.
The quality of assessment 'was poor and often did not comply with the AQTF
standards or the requirements of the Training Package' (Bateman & Dyson, 2003,
p.l).
It is ironic that the qualification that prepares people to teach is generally viewed
the worst-taught qualification in the VET system.
State TAFE systems have been worried about the drop in teaching standards
could ensue if their teaching workforce came to consist predominantly of
people with only a Cert IV. But States are also concerned about keeping costs of
teacher development down, and most States are currently examining options where
teacher-training can be delivered at least partly in-house rather than at universities.
ca'cw" unions, however, prefer teachers to get qualifications outside their own
systems." This preference is partly to contain the power which employers have over
teaching staff, and partly to ensure that teachers get a much broader view of VET
346 E. Smith
than they would gain from being taught by teachers from their own institutions, and
that they acquire skills that are transferable to other jobs. University-level
qualifications continue to be sought by some TAFE systems and certainly by many
individual VET teachers.
Criticism of the Cert IV has also come from teachers who already have university-
level teaching qualifications and resent being expected to acquire a Cert IV in order
to assist their employers comply with the AQTF. Sometimes such teachers think that
because they have more advanced qualifications they do not need a Cert IV, even
though they may have had no formal training in CBT.
7
The new training and assessment training package
A review of the Training Package in Assessment and Workplace has been carried out
over the period 1999-2004, managed by National Assessors and Workplace Trainers
(NAWT), the national body overseeing trainer qualifications, which is part of the
Industry Skills Council now known as Innovation and Business Skills Australia.
Such a review is normal for Training Packages but the length of time the review took
was exceptional. The review involved wide-ranging and successive waves of
consultation across Australia with stakeholders, The revised Training Package was
approved for delivery in 2005 (although few RTOs will offer the qualifications until
2006) and has a new name, Training and Assessment, to reflect an increased
emphasis on teaching rather than on assessment. The new qualifications are a
Certificate IV and Diploma in Training and Assessment.
Competing interest groups are common in Training Package development and
review, and this Package has been particularly problematic because of its centrality
to the VET system, and, since 2001 (when AQTF implementation was being
prepared), NAWT and the national steering committee have needed to consider its
links to the AQTF provisions about teaching and assessment requirements. Many of
the RTOs involved in consultations have been deliverers of the Training Package
rather than simply 'users' (in the sense of employing 'graduates' of the Package) and
therefore had a natural wish to ensure that the new Cert IV qualification was not too
different from the old one.
Industry representatives sometimes saw little problem with the low level and
restricted nature of the existing Cert IV; their needs were quite different from those
of the TAFE system and private RTOs. Their interest was in having a qualification
for their workplace trainers that gave them some basic training skills and enabled
them to retain their RTO status."
Major changes to the Training Package include the inclusion of more pedagogical
content, the restructuring of the diploma-level qualification (which has not previously
been widely utilized) so that there is a strand that relates to advanced teaching
practice, and the introduction of a large number of new units relating to teaching
issues such as e-learning, promoting an inclusive learning culture, and developing
learning programs. The proposed revisions are likely to go some way to meeting
shortcomings of the low level of the Package although some criticisms will remain. In
Changing views of teaching 347
particular, there is little mechanism within the Training Package framework to address
problems of 'shonky' delivery practices; Training Packages cannot specify delivery
contexts, only assessment contexts. There remains the problem that the Cert IV could
be regarded as a sufficient (rather than base-level) qualification. A futther challenge
will be transition arrangements, especially any requirements for people with the
current Cert IV (of whom there are many tens of thousands) to upgrade to the new
qualification. The following comment by an AVTEC member (Walsh), posted to the
AVTEC discussion list, highlights many people's concerns that quality problems
associated with the old qualification may be perpetuated with the new:
If RTOs are allowed to assess and issue qualifications for their own staff we're likely to
see the slow degradation of the new qualifications (Cert IV & Dip) just as happened
with the old/current ones. One solution will be the development of robust cross-
organizational assessment validation arrangements.
Pedagogy revisited
While the impact of the new Cert IV remains to be seen, some other developments in
VET teaching are already in train. As discussed above, many teachers have been
concerned about the absence of an emphasis on pedagogy, both in official discussion
about the training of VET students, and in the delivery of the Cert IV. Teaching as a
component of the VET system has often seemed to be absent from the official
'discourse' of the VET system (Lowrie et aI., 1999); for example, there are ANTA
awards for apprentices, trainees, other learners, training providers and employers,
but none for teachers. VET sector teachers have therefore been concerned about the
future of their profession. The formation of AVTEC was in part a response to the
perceived undervaluing of VET teachers, and created an 'emotional space' in which
to pour out feelings through the email discussion list as well as to try to influence the
sector towards more pedagogical emphasis.
Some recent developments in VET have been encouraging for teachers. The
recent Australian National Training Authority? (ANTA) strategy for 2004- 2010
(which can be viewed at www.anta.gov.au), produced from extensive national
consultation, signals some changes of emphasis in the VET system. There appears to
be a greater emphasis in the strategy upon individual learners and upon communities
as compared with industry; and a greater emphasis upon TAFE as the public
provider and its special role compared with non-TAFE training providers. Also in
the ANTA national strategy and in other current developments in the VET system,
there seems to be a greater emphasis upon teachers and their work.
Teachers and teaching are now being discussed more often and in all policy
forums. 'VET pedagogy' is now a phrase being used within the VET system and
senior TAFE managers have been talking since the turn of the century about
'putting learning back on the agenda' (see Shreeve, 2002). Studies have been
commissioned in several states to establish standards (sometimes described as
'capabilities') for VET teachers (see Rumsey, 2002). A current research project on
constructions of learners and learning in the delivery of the Cert IV, examining how
348 E. Smith
people who are undergoing that form of teacher-training are taught to think about
teaching and learning (Simons et al., forthcoming), was funded to provide data to
feed into the changes that will occur as a result of the revision of the Cert IV.
One result of the inclusion of more pedagogical content in the Cert IV is resistance
from many industry trainers and their representatives, and from post-training reform
CBT enthusiasts. For example, a staff member from Reframing the Future, the
major body awarding funds for VET staff development, recently said to the author
that 'assessors are concerned that too much emphasis is being placed on teaching'.
Two case studies carried out by the author for the previously-mentioned project on
constructions of learners and learning (Simons et al., forthcoming) provide further
evidence of resistance to the new qualifications. A teacher who delivered the Cert IV
at an agricultural college said:
I voiced my concerns at the very start [of the Training Package review]. I went to a
meeting about it and I was basically laughed at. [But] a couple of people came up to me
from the rural sector and said, 'I agree with you. It's going too academic'. I don't think
the rural community is going to wear it. .,. We might slip back into just giving them the
information they need rather than going for this qualification.
A part time trainer in a wool processing plant said:
My first remark was 'What's it going to do for the guys that are out on the floor?'. It's
going to make it very difficult to undertake the subject [sic] with ease. They're going to
baulk at it and say 'we don't know what to do with it'. That was the first impression I
had when I heard that everything was getting 'souped up', so to speak. Because to me it
was starting to take the training from where it should be, just out on the shop floor, and
it was bringing it out of there.
The concern of these VET practitioners that the revised Cert IV was too 'souped
up' and 'academic' clearly supports the views of industry representatives involved in
the review of the Training Package that a more pedagogically-focused Cert IV would
not necessarily be appropriate for use in enterprise settings. Interestingly, in the early
stages of the Training Package review, an additional Certificate III level qualification
was proposed. This was to be 'quarantined' for use only in industry settings and was
designed to be used by trainers working closely under the supervision of someone
with a Cert IV. However, the Cert III was rejected by stakeholders; while the reasons
for rejection were not made public, it was commonly believed that state education
departments rejected the idea for fear that a Cert III would become the new 'lowest
common denominator'. All that remains of the proposed Cert III are two 'free
floating' units of competency 'Provide training through instruction and demonstra-
tion of work skills' and 'Contribute to assessment' that are designed for shop floor
workplace trainers (a little like the old 'Category I trainers') but do not contribute
towards a qualification unless included as elective units in the Cert IV.
Conclusion
Whether because of the influence of bodies such as AVTEC, or because there is a
greater understanding that quality in VET can only be achieved by skilled and
Changing views of teaching 349
experienced teachers, the pendulum has swung somewhat away from assessment
and industry standards towards teaching. It is likely that the ascendancy of Labor
governments in states and territories has assisted this swing because a renewed
emphasis upon the public provision of VET has made the role of teachers more
visible and has also led to renewed investment in VET infrastructure including
bodies concerned with teacher quality. From a low point in the late 1990s, therefore,
the VET teaching profession has entered a period of greater optimism.
A number of threads have woven together over the past decade to create the
current rich tapestry of VET teaching in Australia. These can be summarized as
follows:
• The growth of a large number of additional providers of nationally-recognized
accredited training resulting in VET being delivered in a range of contexts and by
a great many more teachers and trainers.
• The hegemony of CBT, leading both to changes in teaching methods and to a
relative growth in importance of assessment compared to teaching.
• The introduction of a new VET-sector qualification, the original and now revised
Cert IV for VET practitioners, in addition to existing university qualifications.
• The embedding of the Cert IV within RTO compliance regulations in the AQTF.
Therefore the difficult gestation and birth of the new Training and Assessment
Training Package was only to be expected because of the increased range of settings
in which VET practitioners operate and the different needs of these settings. While
TAFE systems have begun once more to focus upon and celebrate good teaching,
this very development, particularly as exemplified in the increased pedagogical
content of the new Cert IV, can be problematic to those operating in a non-TAFE
context. Clearly a model of VET teaching and VET teacher qualifications which
assumes that VET is delivered in TAFE colleges by full time teachers would now be
inappropriate for the VET sector as it has evolved. Compared with fifteen years ago,
VET is much more likely to be delivered in the workplace and is more likely to be
focused on assessment rather than on teaching. These developments are likely to
accelerate as the take-up of Training Packages by enterprises increases.
The rich and complex tapestry that is VET teaching is constantly changing as the
sector itself changes. The threads are deeply interwoven so that, for example,
increasing the level of required qualifications for VET practitioners could lead to the
withdrawal of part of the relatively unsophisticated workplace training workforce and
hence to decreased opportunities for Australian shop floor workers to raise their
levels of qualifications. Thus any changes to the tapestry cannot involve pulling too
vigorously on anyone thread.
Notes on contributor
Erica Smith is an Associate Professor in Charles Stnrt University's teacher training
COurses for vocational education and training (VET) practitioners. She has
published widely, mainly in the area of VET practitioners' work and professional
development.
350 E. Smith
Notes
1. Parts of this paper were included in a conference paper delivered to the Australian Teacher
Education Conference in July 2004.
2. Comments made by teachers at meeting of South Australian TAPE retail teachers, 200l.
3. AVTEC's web site is at http://education.currin.edu.au/avteclavtec.html.
4. Every Training Package includes assessment guidelines which indicate the qualifications and
experience required to deliver the package's qualifications and/or individual units of
competency within it.
5. In the eight-level Australian Qualifications Framework, a Certificate IV is equivalent to the old
'Advanced Certificate' and is one step up from a trade qualification such as plumbing or
hairdressing. Within the VET sector, there are two higher-level qualifications: Diploma and
Advanced Diploma.
6. Conversation with Pat Forward, national Australian Education Union TAFE section
president, 2001.
7. Many comments on these lines have been posted to the AVTEC discussion list
avtec@edna.edu.au) and were also directed to the author when presenting a paper on VET
teaching qualifications to the South Australian branch of the Australian Education Union
TAFE section, in 2001.
8. Comment by industry representative, meeting of national steering committee for the review of
the Training &Assessment Training Package, Sept 42003. This training manager said that his
trainers only needed enough skills to train by doing 'monkey see) monkey do'.
9. At the end of 2004 it was announced that ANTA would be abolished from 1 July 2005 and it is
currently unclear which bodies will take over its functions and how much of an impact the
changes will have on attitudes towards teaching.
References
Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) (2001) Standards for registered training
organizations (Melbourne, ANTA).
Bateman, A, & Dyson, C. (2003) Strategic audit report: certificate IV in assessment and workplace
training (Melbourne, Office of Training & Tertiary Education).
Brennan, R. & Smith, E. (2002) Australian quality training framework: impact of provisions
relating to teaching and teacher qualifications, Australian Vocational Education Review, 9(2),
8-23.
Chappell, C. & johnston, R. (2003) Changing work: changing roles for VET teachers and trainers
(Adelaide, NCVER).
Down, C. (2002) Qualitative impact of training packages on vocational education and training clients
(Brisbane, ANTA).
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Forward, P. (2004) Profession and identity, Australian TAPE Teacher, 38(1),16-17.
Green, A. (2004) Bridging two worlds: an alternative pathway to teaching, paper presented at the
Forumfor the Advancement ofContinuing Education Conference, 2-4 July, University of Stirling.
Guthrie, H. (2003) VET managers' and practitioners' work: how is it changing? Kit compiled for
Australian VET ResearchAssociation (A VETRAj Conferenceworkshop, AVETRA conference)
Sydney, 9-11 April.
Harris, R., Sirnons, M.) Hill, D., Smith, E., Pearce, R.) Blakeley, J., Choy, S. & Snewin, D. (2001)
The changing roleof staffdevelopment for teachers and trainersin vocational education and training
(Adelaide, NCVER).
Holland, A. & Holland, L. (1998) Maintaining the technical currency of vocational educators,
paper presented to the European Educational Research Association Conference, Ljublana,
Slovenia, September.
Changing views of teaching 351
Keevers, L. & Outhwaite, S. (2003) A work-based pedagogy: issues for VET teachers, paper
presented at the 11th Annual International Conference on Post-Compulsory Education and
Training, Surfers Paradise, 1-3 December.
Lowrie, T.) Smith, E. & Hill, D. (1999) Evaluation of the contribution that competency-based
approaches have had on the role of instructors (Adelaide, NeVER).
Misko,1. (1999) Competency-based training: review of research (Adelaide, NeVER).
Misko, J. (2002) Online learning in the knowledge-based society: a VET perspective, Unicorn,
28(3),65-70.
National Assessors and Workplace Trainers (NAWT) (2001) Review of the training package for
assessment and workplace training, final report stage 1 (Melbourne, ANTA).
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) (2003) Pocket guide: Australian
VET statistics (Adelaide, NCVER).
Polesol, J., Helme, S., Davies, M., Teese, R., Nicholas, T. & Vickers, M. (2004) VET in
schools: a post-compulsory perspective (Adelaide, NCVER).
Robinson, P. (1993) Teachers facing change: a small-scale study of teachers working with competency-
based training (Adelaide, NCVER).
Rumsey, D. (2002) Shaping the VET practitioner for the future (Perth, Western Australian
Department of Training).
Senate Employment, Workplace Relations, Small Business and Education References Committee
(2000) Aspiring to excellence: report into the quality of VET in Austrah'a (Canberra, Senate
Printing Unit).
Shreeve, R. (2002) Putting learning back On the agenda, Training Agenda, 10(2), p. 2.
Simons, M" Smith, E, Harris, R" Rosenblatt, E. & Bush, A. (forthcoming) Constructions of
learners and learning in the Certificate IV in Assessment & Workplace Training.
Smith, E & Keating, J. (2003) From training reform to training packages (Tuggerah Lakes, Social
Science Press).
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nationally recognized training, paper presented at Doing, Thinking, Activity, Learning: 12th
Annual International Conference on Post Compulsory Education and Training, Griffith
University Centre for Learning Research, Surfers Paradise, 6-9 December.
Smith, E. & Pickersgill, R. (2003) Gaining acceptance for accredited training within a university.
The changing face of VET: Reflection, regulation and re-engineering, paper presented at the
Sixth Annual Conference of the Australian Vocational Education and Training Research
Association, 9-11 April, Sydney.
Smith, E. (1999) How competency-based training has changed the role of teachers in the
vocational education and training sector in Australia, Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher
Education, 27(1), 61-75.
Smith, E., Lowrie, T., Hill, D., Bush, A., & Lobegeier, J. (1997) Making a difference? How
competency-based training has changed teaching and learning (Wagga Wagga, Charles Sturt
University).
Smith, E" Pickersgill, R" Smith, A. & Rushbrook, P. (forthcoming) Enterprises' commitment to
nationally recognized training,

1999). 2003). since on-the-job training is normally carried out by workplace supervisors rather than teachers. a continuing development that has taken most of the last 15 years and is still resisted. 2002). Training Packages are similar to the VIZ system of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) (Fletcher. assessment assumes pre-eminence over teaching because the units of competency refer to learners' competence to perform tasks not to learning processes.340 E. There have been concerns about perceived lower standards because of CBT's seemingly atomistic learning style. to assessment from teaching. There is thus increasing opportunity for workers and students to gain qualifications through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) rather than through learning programs. consist of national units of competency. The 4000 RTOs that deliver national qualifications have needed to meet certain requirements for course development and delivery. particularly in some sections of T AFE. CBT is now enshrined in publicly-available National Training Packages for each of 80 industry and occupational areas (Down. Now the sector now offers equal opportunity to private training providers (known. Small Business & Education References Committee. 2003)the other major change has been the move to competency-based training (CBT) (Smith. A further concern is the privileging of 'industry' as a stakeholder above individual learners. Training Packages. . although to a lesser extent) VET has been dominated by technical and further education colleges ('TAFE').7 million students are now studying publicly-funded VET at anyone time (NCVER. in VET practitioners' work. 2000) and resulted in the implementation of the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) in 2002 (Brennan & Smith. 1999). as Registered Training Organisations) to offer nationally-recognized qualifications. and also about a drop in quality that seems inevitable following fierce competition among providers. All of these concerns and others have been well documented in various parliamentary inquiries into VET (see Senate Employment. 2002). the vocational education and trammg sector has been undergoing almost continuous change in Australia. Traditionally (and still. The move to CBT has been fiercely resisted by many practitioners in the T AFE system and by many academic commentators (see Misko. together with assessment guidelines. 'packaged' into qualifications. An increased focus on on-the-job rather than offthe-job training has also contributed to the shift in focus. 1991). derived from consultations with industry. along with TAFE. Courses which attract government funding have additional accountability requirements. Since 2002 these requirements have been included in the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) (Brennan & Smith. whose development is overseen and endorsed by the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA). as in other English-speaking countries (Smith & Keating. Workplace Relations. Along with the expansion of the training market-to the point that 1. which are public providers funded by each state and territory. Smith Background Since the late 1980s. A major concern of teachers has been that CBT is outcomes rather than input-based and therefore is not concerned with how students learn to perform the desired outcomes but only with the Outcomes. As with NVQs.

With over 4000 RTOs now registered (www. however. In addition..gov. The larger figure involves assessors and others involved in workplace delivery of VET. 2003). Qualifications for teachers of VET in schools provide in themselves a complex arena (Green. VET in schools teachers are. . This pattern persists although there has been an extension of casualization and temporary contract staff (Forward.au). the non-TAFE VET workforce is much larger than it used to be. There were also some part timers whose only work was in TAFE.. Teachers in VET It is difficult to establish the size of the VET teaching workforce but it is thought that there are around 40.Changing views of teaching 341 2002). TAFE is becoming increasingly 'feminized' with many female teachers being appointed to teach the relatively new teaching areas such as hospitality. as well as part time T AFE teachers. 2004) has led to many schoolteachers becoming qualified to deliver accredited VET qualifications through curriculum based on Training Packages. non-educational companies and other organizations (hereafter referred to as 'enterprises') may deliver nationally accredited VET qualifications to their workers.. To add to the complexity of the situation. for whom training might only be a small part of their job..e. Part time and casual VET teachers are more likely to be female than male. The paper focuses only on the VET sector itself (i. 2004). private RTOs often recruit younger staff early in their careers who are willing to accept a relatively low rate of pay (Guthrie. in assessment and in administrative work rather than in teaching. Until the early 1990s most VET teachers were employed byTAFE and comprised a core of full time teachers with a considerable proportion ofpart time staff who generally taught as an addition to their 'day' jobs in trades and professions. their staff are less likely than T AFE teachers to be involved in programming work. The TAFE workforce is relatively old. Non-TAFE RTOs are heavy users of nationally-developed learning materials in their teaching and assessment. registered training organizations). outside the scope of this paper. the rapid growth of VET in schools (Polesol et aI. 2003). Many VET teachers and trainers. however. for example. 2001).000 other people involved in VET teaching and training (Guthrie. 2004). Some ofAustralia's biggest organizations.000 full time TAFE teachers and perhaps 300.ntis. retail and community services while the more traditional TAFE areas such as engineering and construction are in relative decline (Guthrie. Non-TAFE practitioners have some different characteristics from TAFE teachers. either as RTOs in their own right or in partnership with RTOs (Smith et al. with many teachers in their 40s and 50s. so such distinctions are not clear-cut. such as Cole-Myer and Centrelink. 2004) which incorporates an added level of regulatory requirements to do with state and territory teacher accreditation bodies. operate across a range of providers including both TAFE and non-TAFE settings. These practitioners are more likely to be involved in selling training to companies. The AQTF has set stringent new accreditation and monitoring standards for RTOs. as in the workforce as a whole (Harris et aI. are heavy participants in this type of VET. 2003).

342 E. Status of VET teaching Many VET teachers feel that they were ignored in VET developments during the 1990s. many of which did not exist before the early 1990s. as these teachers are relative newcomers to VET practice. • Full time private RTO staff. arising directly from the changes in the VET sector discussed earlier. for whom assessment is generally viewed as a part of that activity. because of the introduction of competency-based training. Many staff have faced uncertainty about the future of their subject areas because of competition from other providers and/or because their industry area was contracting or changing rapidly. or for several. 1999). some T AFE teachers see a landscape that has been considerably altered and. and losing some of their power in relationships with students because the units of competency are transparent and accessible to students as well as to teachers (Smith. For teachers in private RTOs. Many teachers in TAFE and other RTOs are responsible for the training of apprentices and trainees in 'flexible work-based delivery' contracts oftraining.. in the perceptions of many. Chappell and johnston (2003) note that even those VET teachers not involved in commercial work have been affected by commercialization because of the ways in which TAPE Institutes have changed their management structures to meet the new competitive environment. the changed landscape of VET that has been described is taken for granted. who are as likely to be involved in assessment-only activities as in teaching. Because of the increased workplace focus of VET. • Full time trainers delivering nationally accredited training programs m enterprises. thus altering the make-up of the teacher workforce and the relative power of teaching discipline areas within colleges. In such cases. New teaching areas (such as beauty) have been introduced and others (such as hospitality and IT) have been greatly expanded. • Part time teachers working for one RTO only. i. there have been many changes in their working environment since the early 1990s. For TAPE teachers in particular. TAFE teachers are expected to identify opportunities for commercial activity and to develop courses to suit particular employers. or • Enterprise personnel involved in some training delivery and on-the-job assessing. VET teachers may be • Full time T AFE teachers involved in teaching. ANTA documentation frequently failed to mention teachers as an important . In contrast. teachers need new skills to develop assessment tasks which integrate classroom and workplace learning. becoming more involved in team teaching and the development oflearning resources. Smith In summary. 2003). who are doing their training on the job and not attending an RTO for face-to-face training (Keevers & Outhwaite. Teachers have needed to change the way in which they taught. degraded. over the past 15 years. visits to worksites involve difficult and sensitive negotiations/ because employers rarely prioritize training above production.e.

2001) In addition to teaching qualifications. 1999). the Certificate in Assessment and Workplace Training (hereafter referred to as 'Cert IV') has been viewed in some quarters as a sufficient qualification to teach in VET. providers and learners as key players. TAFE teachers are also required to hold relevant vocational qualifications (e." AVTEC acts as a lobby group to remind VET managers and policy-makers of the importance of teachers and teaching. Partly in response to these concerns. Those assessing units of competency must at least possess that unit of competency (or equivalent) and also must hold the three assessment units of competency from the Cert IV 'plan assessment'. 2002. and were also distressed that the basic qualification for VET teaching. 2001). focusing instead on employers. Private RTOs are more likely than TAFE systems to expect teachers to join them with required teaching qualifications rather than offer training for them (Harris et al. The AQTF makes provision for such assessment . p.g. and has been heavily involved as a stakeholder in the review of the Training Package in Assessment and Workplacc Training.. The vocational qualification requirements of TAFE as an employer may exceed the requirements of the AQTF and of the Training Package being taught and/or assessed. with the public school sector where all teachers must have a degree qualification. in hairdressing. which is discussed in the next section. individual TAFE Institutes pay for completion of such courses for new full time staff that do not have teaching qualifications. Required qualifications for teaching and assessing in VET The AQTF (ANTA.. AVTEC members comprise in approximately equal numbers university academics who deliver VET teacher training degree and postgraduate programs. hospitality or community work) and have a minimum period of industry experience. TAFE teachers were excluded and offended by this omission (Lowrie et al. This 'get-out' is more often invoked by TAFE than by smaller RTOs (Brennan & Smith. In the case of New South Wales. and VET sector personnel interested in teacher status and staff development. an organization was formed in late 1999 called the Australian VET Teacher Educators' Colloquium (AVTEC). 2001) sets out requirements for teaching and assessing accredited VET qualifications. 'conduct assessment' and 'review assessment'. of course. although a 'get-out' clause allows those without these qualifications to teach 'under the supervision' of someone with the Cert IV (ANTA..' Private RTOs do not always regard 'content knowledge' as essential because their teaching and assessment staff often carry out in conjunction with indusrry-based assessors who have vocational competencies.14). Through the AQTF the Cert IV has thus become enshrined in VET practice and any changes to the Cert IV have wide ramifications.Changing views of teaching 343 part of VET. This contrasts. In T AFE it is still common for full time and many part time teachers to hold degree qualifications or graduate diplomas in VET or adult education. Teachers are supposed to possess a Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training (the 'Cert IV').

The units for Category 2 trainers were. Review assessment. The Cert IV contains eight units of competency: • • • • • • Plan assessment. This issue is a common theme of discussion by AVTEC members. In the second half of the 1990s. Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training Because of the pivotal nature of the Cert IV qualification. this section discusses in detail its origins and recent revision. Although the title of the Package suggests that it is designed for people who work in a workplace rather than an institutional setting. the Cert IV became widely adopted in T AFE colleges and other RTOs even before the AQTF made the Cert IV a requirement for practice. 2003) and are supposed to observe AQTF-compliant assessment processes. Conduct assessment. or are studying an embedded Cert IV. To award the Cert IV. universities need to partner with an RTO. The original workplace trainer units divided workplace trainers into two categories. the Training Package in Assessment and Workplace Training. these units of competency on training and assessment were revised and gathered together into a Training Package. The majority of these students have either received credit into their courses because they already had a Cert IV. more rigorous and detailed than those for Category 1. Because of the industry requirement for VET practitioners to possess Cert IV. If they did not. During the early 1990s. An informal survey of universities through AVTEC in early 2004 indicated that there are over 2000 students enrolled in VET/adult education or graduate diploma courses at any one time. In addition. their graduates would be unable to practice as VET teachers. units of competency were developed for workplace training and assessing.344 E. . Train small groups. Plan and promote a training program. 'Category 1 trainers' were those who occasionally undertook training tasks as part of their work. Smith partnerships. 2001). A Certificate IV in Workplace Training" was for Category 2 trainers (NAWT. Training for workplace assessors was aimed primarily at people who carried out assessment in the workplace. 'Category 2 trainers' had training as their main activity. Plan a series of training sessions. but was sometimes undertaken also by people who taught in VET institutions. There is also a diploma qualification which is not widely used because of its restricted occupational applicability. This was endorsed in 1998. workplace assessor units of competency were developed in 1993. therefore. All of these differences reflect the difference between T AFE and private RTOs in the relative weight placed on teaching as opposed to assessment. either an external one or one attached to the university (Smith & Pickersgill. those universities that offer VET teacher-training have generally felt the need to embed Cert IV qualifications within their degree and graduate diploma courses in VET.

Changing views of teaching 345 Deliver training sessions. a 'strategic audit' carried by the Victorian State Training Authority (Bateman & Dyson. The quality of assessment 'was poor and often did not comply with the AQTF standards or the requirements of the Training Package' (Bateman & Dyson. units of competency are written in words that reflect the work of workplace trainers and not teachers in an RTO setting. thus creating a possible conflict of interest. As the Cert IV is the qualification for VET practitioners it is essential it is delivered and assessed well to help assure the quality of VET teachers. Cert IV delivery in Victorian RTOs ranged from 5-12 days down to two days in delivery modes where it was assumed that participants would gain a large amount of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). 2001). 1999). the former tend to have a restricted view and to be uncritical and unreflective in their approach to teaching. An additional concern arises from the fact that many RTOs (including TAFE) have delivered the qualification to their own teaching staff. As has already been mentioned. For example. a problem is that it has been viewed. 2003. however. Research evidence shows that teachers who only have a Cert IV generally have a very different approach to teaching from those who have a degree level qualification (Lowrie et al. and partly to ensure that teachers get a much broader view of VET . It is ironic that the qualification that prepares people to teach is generally viewed the worst-taught qualification in the VET system. Many RTOs depended heavily on the purchasable 'support materials' for the Training Package for delivery and assessment and did not produce their own material. or at least utilized. 2003) in 15 private and one TAFE college made a number of worrying discoveries: Despite the fact that the 'nominal hours' for the qualification are over 300. However the Cert IV has become especially notorious among Training Package qualifications for the poor quality of delivery. as in the pressure to qualify their own staff might be tempted to apply less than rigorous assessment. the quality of VET has been a concern among many commentators. While the Cert IV may be suitable for who perform a limited range of teaching and assessment tasks in a limited of settings. State TAFE systems have been worried about the drop in teaching standards could ensue if their teaching workforce came to consist predominantly of people with only a Cert IV.l). delivery and its application (NAWT. p. and most States are currently examining options where teacher-training can be delivered at least partly in-house rather than at universities. As can be deduced from their titles. Some serious shortcomings have been identified with the Training Package itself. But States are also concerned about keeping costs of teacher development down. Review training." This preference is partly to contain the power which employers have over teaching staff.. ca'cw" unions. as though it suitable for the full range of VET teaching activity. prefer teachers to get qualifications outside their own systems.

346 E. to reflect an increased emphasis on teaching rather than on assessment. In . promoting an inclusive learning culture. their needs were quite different from those of the TAFE system and private RTOs. which is part of the Industry Skills Council now known as Innovation and Business Skills Australia. and developing learning programs. and the introduction of a large number of new units relating to teaching issues such as e-learning. Many of the RTOs involved in consultations have been deliverers of the Training Package rather than simply 'users' (in the sense of employing 'graduates' of the Package) and therefore had a natural wish to ensure that the new Cert IV qualification was not too different from the old one. and that they acquire skills that are transferable to other jobs. Such a review is normal for Training Packages but the length of time the review took was exceptional. The proposed revisions are likely to go some way to meeting shortcomings of the low level of the Package although some criticisms will remain. NAWT and the national steering committee have needed to consider its links to the AQTF provisions about teaching and assessment requirements. even though they may have had no formal training in CBT. managed by National Assessors and Workplace Trainers (NAWT)." Major changes to the Training Package include the inclusion of more pedagogical content. Training and Assessment. the restructuring of the diploma-level qualification (which has not previously been widely utilized) so that there is a strand that relates to advanced teaching practice. The new qualifications are a Certificate IV and Diploma in Training and Assessment. Smith than they would gain from being taught by teachers from their own institutions. The revised Training Package was approved for delivery in 2005 (although few RTOs will offer the qualifications until 2006) and has a new name. Their interest was in having a qualification for their workplace trainers that gave them some basic training skills and enabled them to retain their RTO status. and this Package has been particularly problematic because of its centrality to the VET system. the national body overseeing trainer qualifications. 7 The new training and assessment training package A review of the Training Package in Assessment and Workplace has been carried out over the period 1999-2004. The review involved wide-ranging and successive waves of consultation across Australia with stakeholders. since 2001 (when AQTF implementation was being prepared). Industry representatives sometimes saw little problem with the low level and restricted nature of the existing Cert IV. University-level qualifications continue to be sought by some TAFE systems and certainly by many individual VET teachers. Sometimes such teachers think that because they have more advanced qualifications they do not need a Cert IV. and. Criticism of the Cert IV has also come from teachers who already have universitylevel teaching qualifications and resent being expected to acquire a Cert IV in order to assist their employers comply with the AQTF. Competing interest groups are common in Training Package development and review.

. 1999). there seems to be a greater emphasis upon teachers and their work. One solution will be the development of robust crossorganizational assessment validation arrangements. other learners. there is little mechanism within the Training Package framework to address problems of 'shonky' delivery practices.Changing views of teaching 347 particular. The following comment by an AVTEC member (Walsh). There remains the problem that the Cert IV could be regarded as a sufficient (rather than base-level) qualification. Also in the ANTA national strategy and in other current developments in the VET system. posted to the AVTEC discussion list. VET sector teachers have therefore been concerned about the future of their profession. 2002). A current research project on constructions of learners and learning in the delivery of the Cert IV. especially any requirements for people with the current Cert IV (of whom there are many tens of thousands) to upgrade to the new qualification. highlights many people's concerns that quality problems associated with the old qualification may be perpetuated with the new: If RTOs are allowed to assess and issue qualifications for their own staff we're likely to see the slow degradation of the new qualifications (Cert IV & Dip) just as happened with the old/current ones. but none for teachers. 2002). Teaching as a component of the VET system has often seemed to be absent from the official 'discourse' of the VET system (Lowrie et aI. Studies have been commissioned in several states to establish standards (sometimes described as 'capabilities') for VET teachers (see Rumsey.2010 (which can be viewed at www. both in official discussion about the training of VET students. 'VET pedagogy' is now a phrase being used within the VET system and senior T AFE managers have been talking since the turn of the century about 'putting learning back on the agenda' (see Shreeve. A futther challenge will be transition arrangements. The formation of AVTEC was in part a response to the perceived undervaluing of VET teachers. Teachers and teaching are now being discussed more often and in all policy forums. trainees. only assessment contexts. many teachers have been concerned about the absence of an emphasis on pedagogy.au). and in the delivery of the Cert IV. The recent Australian National Training Authority? (ANTA) strategy for 2004. There appears to be a greater emphasis in the strategy upon individual learners and upon communities as compared with industry.gov. and a greater emphasis upon T AFE as the public provider and its special role compared with non-TAFE training providers. examining how . some other developments in VET teaching are already in train. signals some changes of emphasis in the VET system. Training Packages cannot specify delivery contexts. for example. As discussed above. produced from extensive national consultation.anta. there are ANTA awards for apprentices. training providers and employers. Some recent developments in VET have been encouraging for teachers. Pedagogy revisited While the impact of the new Cert IV remains to be seen. and created an 'emotional space' in which to pour out feelings through the email discussion list as well as to try to influence the sector towards more pedagogical emphasis.

the Cert III was rejected by stakeholders. while the reasons for rejection were not made public. Because to me it was starting to take the training from where it should be. so to speak. a staff member from Reframing the Future. Conclusion Whether because of the influence of bodies such as AVTEC. A part time trainer in a wool processing plant said: My first remark was 'What's it going to do for the guys that are out on the floor?'. This was to be 'quarantined' for use only in industry settings and was designed to be used by trainers working closely under the supervision of someone with a Cert IV. [But] a couple of people came up to me from the rural sector and said. it was commonly believed that state education departments rejected the idea for fear that a Cert III would become the new 'lowest common denominator'. All that remains of the proposed Cert III are two 'free floating' units of competency 'Provide training through instruction and demonstration of work skills' and 'Contribute to assessment' that are designed for shop floor workplace trainers (a little like the old 'Category I trainers') but do not contribute towards a qualification unless included as elective units in the Cert IV. . or because there is a greater understanding that quality in VET can only be achieved by skilled and .. forthcoming) provide further evidence of resistance to the new qualifications. in the early stages of the Training Package review. It's going too academic'. A teacher who delivered the Cert IV at an agricultural college said: I voiced my concerns at the very start [of the Training Package review]. and it was bringing it out of there. just out on the shop floor.. However. 'I agree with you. and from post-training reform CBT enthusiasts. Two case studies carried out by the author for the previously-mentioned project on constructions of learners and learning (Simons et al. It's going to make it very difficult to undertake the subject [sic] with ease. The concern of these VET practitioners that the revised Cert IV was too 'souped up' and 'academic' clearly supports the views of industry representatives involved in the review of the Training Package that a more pedagogically-focused Cert IV would not necessarily be appropriate for use in enterprise settings.. One result of the inclusion of more pedagogical content in the Cert IV is resistance from many industry trainers and their representatives. was funded to provide data to feed into the changes that will occur as a result of the revision of the Cert IV. forthcoming).348 E. recently said to the author that 'assessors are concerned that too much emphasis is being placed on teaching'. We might slip back into just giving them the information they need rather than going for this qualification. an additional Certificate III level qualification was proposed.. the major body awarding funds for VET staff development. I went to a meeting about it and I was basically laughed at. They're going to baulk at it and say 'we don't know what to do with it'. Smith people who are undergoing that form of teacher-training are taught to think about teaching and learning (Simons et al. I don't think the rural community is going to wear it. Interestingly. That was the first impression I had when I heard that everything was getting 'souped up'. For example.

Notes on contributor Erica Smith is an Associate Professor in Charles Stnrt University's teacher training COurses for vocational education and training (VET) practitioners. • The embedding of the Cert IV within RTO compliance regulations in the AQTF. Therefore the difficult gestation and birth of the new Training and Assessment Training Package was only to be expected because of the increased range of settings in which VET practitioners operate and the different needs of these settings. • The hegemony of CBT. These can be summarized as follows: • The growth of a large number of additional providers of nationally-recognized accredited training resulting in VET being delivered in a range of contexts and by a great many more teachers and trainers. The threads are deeply interwoven so that. . It is likely that the ascendancy of Labor governments in states and territories has assisted this swing because a renewed emphasis upon the public provision of VET has made the role of teachers more visible and has also led to renewed investment in VET infrastructure including bodies concerned with teacher quality. These developments are likely to accelerate as the take-up of Training Packages by enterprises increases. • The introduction of a new VET-sector qualification. While T AFE systems have begun once more to focus upon and celebrate good teaching. the original and now revised Cert IV for VET practitioners. the VET teaching profession has entered a period of greater optimism.Changing views of teaching 349 experienced teachers. She has published widely. in addition to existing university qualifications. therefore. leading both to changes in teaching methods and to a relative growth in importance of assessment compared to teaching. Compared with fifteen years ago. From a low point in the late 1990s. for example. Thus any changes to the tapestry cannot involve pulling too vigorously on anyone thread. The rich and complex tapestry that is VET teaching is constantly changing as the sector itself changes. VET is much more likely to be delivered in the workplace and is more likely to be focused on assessment rather than on teaching. increasing the level of required qualifications for VET practitioners could lead to the withdrawal of part of the relatively unsophisticated workplace training workforce and hence to decreased opportunities for Australian shop floor workers to raise their levels of qualifications. the pendulum has swung somewhat away from assessment and industry standards towards teaching. can be problematic to those operating in a non-T AFE context. particularly as exemplified in the increased pedagogical content of the new Cert IV. this very development. Clearly a model of VET teaching and VET teacher qualifications which assumes that VET is delivered in T AFE colleges by full time teachers would now be inappropriate for the VET sector as it has evolved. mainly in the area of VET practitioners' work and professional development. A number of threads have woven together over the past decade to create the current rich tapestry of VET teaching in Australia.

) Blakeley. NCVER). Slovenia. 4. national Australian Education Union TAFE section president.) Hill. P. (2004) Bridging two worlds: an alternative pathway to teaching.16-17. Ljublana. S. D.edu. 5. AVETRA conference) Sydney. A. R. paper presented to the European Educational Research Association Conference. (2002) Qualitative impact of training packages on vocational education and training clients (Brisbane. Comments made by teachers at meeting of South Australian TAPE retail teachers. (2003) Strategic audit report: certificate IV in assessment and workplace training (Melbourne.html. in 2001. References Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) (2001) Standards for registered training organizations (Melbourne. AVTEC's web site is at http://education. 7. Many comments on these lines have been posted to the AVTEC discussion list avtec@edna. Bateman.currin. H. 8-23. Brennan. meeting of national steering committee for the review of the Training &Assessment Training Package.. Smith Notes 1. 2-4 July. Holland. E. Green.edu. September. (2003) Changing work: changing roles for VET teachers and trainers (Adelaide. (1991) NVQs: standards and competence (London. paper presented at the Forumfor the Advancement ofContinuing Education Conference. Guthrie. & Smith. A. At the end of 2004 it was announced that ANTA would be abolished from 1 July 2005 and it is currently unclear which bodies will take over its functions and how much of an impact the changes will have on attitudes towards teaching. Parts of this paper were included in a conference paper delivered to the Australian Teacher Education Conference in July 2004. (2004) Profession and identity.au) and were also directed to the author when presenting a paper on VET teaching qualifications to the South Australian branch of the Australian Education Union TAFE section. 3. Australian TAPE Teacher. Within the VET sector. C. S. 2. 6. This training manager said that his trainers only needed enough skills to train by doing 'monkey see) monkey do'. R. Fletcher. Conversation with Pat Forward. Forward. & Holland. a Certificate IV is equivalent to the old 'Advanced Certificate' and is one step up from a trade qualification such as plumbing or hairdressing. (2002) Australian quality training framework: impact of provisions relating to teaching and teacher qualifications. R. A. 8. R. D. Office of Training & Tertiary Education). NCVER). C. Every Training Package includes assessment guidelines which indicate the qualifications and experience required to deliver the package's qualifications and/or individual units of competency within it. 2001. & Dyson. ANTA). L.. Choy. (2003) VET managers' and practitioners' work: how is it changing? Kit compiled for Australian VET Research Association (A VETRAj Conference workshop. (2001) The changing roleof staffdevelopment for teachers and trainers in vocational education and training (Adelaide. Kogan Page). & Snewin. Harris. 200l. & johnston. Sirnons. Pearce. C. J. Chappell. Sept 42003. Australian Vocational Education Review. ANTA). E. Comment by industry representative.. University of Stirling. there are two higher-level qualifications: Diploma and Advanced Diploma. (1998) Maintaining the technical currency of vocational educators. 9-11 April. 9(2).. In the eight-level Australian Qualifications Framework. Down. . M. 9.au/avteclavtec. 38(1).350 E. Smith.

National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) (2003) Pocket guide: Australian VET statistics (Adelaide. M" Smith. (1993) Teachers facing change: a small-scale study of teachers working with competencybased training (Adelaide. NCVER). Polesol. Smith. (1999) Competency-based training: review of research (Adelaide. T.. & Rushbrook. paper presented at Doing. Activity. Surfers Paradise. Lowrie. (1997) Making a difference? How competency-based training has changed teaching and learning (Wagga Wagga. Social Science Press). Senate Printing Unit). D. J. Harris. E.. 27(1). P. E. NeVER).. 1-3 December.. (2004) VET in schools: a post-compulsory perspective (Adelaide.1. 2. Smith. J. S. A. M. Unicorn. Workplace Relations. R" Smith. Training Agenda. (1999) How competency-based training has changed the role of teachers in the vocational education and training sector in Australia. (2004) How enterprises engage with nationally recognized training. Bush. Griffith University Centre for Learning Research. (2003) Gaining acceptance for accredited training within a university. Western Australian Department of Training). final report stage 1 (Melbourne. E. Davies. (2003) From training reform to training packages (Tuggerah Lakes. Rumsey. (forthcoming) Constructions of learners and learning in the Certificate IV in Assessment & Workplace Training.. & Vickers. (2002) Online learning in the knowledge-based society: a VET perspective. & Outhwaite. M. Nicholas.Changing views of teaching 351 Keevers. NCVER). Smith. Sydney. (2002) Shaping the VET practitioner for the future (Perth. & Pickersgill. 61-75. (2002) Putting learning back On the agenda. A. R. paper presented at the 11th Annual International Conference on Post-Compulsory Education and Training.. E. Smith. & Lobegeier. Smith. & Bush. R. Misko. Helme. paper presented at the Sixth Annual Conference of the Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association. . E. 28(3). Shreeve. A. Charles Sturt University). 6-9 December. T. Smith. (forthcoming) Enterprises' commitment to nationally recognized training. Lowrie. J. E. Pickersgill. P. Simons. Surfers Paradise. (2003) A work-based pedagogy: issues for VET teachers. R" Rosenblatt. L. D. National Assessors and Workplace Trainers (NAWT) (2001) Review of the training package for assessment and workplace training. Teese. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education. D. 9-11 April. The changing face of VET: Reflection.. E. Small Business and Education References Committee (2000) Aspiring to excellence: report into the quality of VET in Austrah'a (Canberra. Thinking.65-70. E" Pickersgill. (1999) Evaluation of the contribution that competency-based approaches have had on the role of instructors (Adelaide. Hill. Robinson. ANTA). Smith. R..) Smith. NeVER). Senate Employment. p. regulation and re-engineering. Misko. & Hill. J. S. R. NCVER). E & Keating. Learning: 12th Annual International Conference on Post Compulsory Education and Training. A. 10(2). P. T. & Rushbrook.

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