International Vocational Education and Training Association

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  • 26 Jan 2017 8:03 AM
    Message # 4569576
    IVETA (Administrator)

    Use this forum to discuss items of general interest to TVET.

    This forum is open to members only.

    Moved from Discussion Forum: 24 Mar 2017 1:00 PM
  • 06 Feb 2017 2:03 PM
    Reply # 4594365 on 4569576

    Interesting idea.  In the U.S., it's illegal to discriminate against anyone due to age if they are over 40, so the idea that only 25 and younger could apply for an apprenticeship wouldn't fly here.  However, I'm not sure how many older individuals are taking advantage of apprenticeships.  I'll dig into that a little here in Ohio and see if I come up with anything.  My wife completely changed careers at age 48 and became an apprentice Operating Engineer (heavy equipment operator).  I'd venture to say that on average, the work ethic of the older workers is stronger than that of the younger set.

  • 08 Feb 2017 5:24 AM
    Reply # 4597356 on 4569576

    Following-up, I found that 17% of all current registered apprentices in the US are 40 years of age or older.  This seems likely to be on par with the UK, where in the article it's indicated that 11.3 percent are between 45 and 59 years of age.  Regardless, this number is higher than I thought it would be, and it's encouraging to know that apprenticeships are available and accessible to older adults as well as those just entering the workforce.  Still, I'm sure we can do more to raise awareness of this as an option, especially as technology phases-out some of the more traditional options for our workforce.

  • 24 Feb 2017 7:17 AM
    Reply # 4630457 on 4569576

    Do Schools Kill Creativity?

    Ken Robinson (Author/Educator)

    Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we're educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

    Why don't we get the best out of people? Sir Ken Robinson argues that it's because we've been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies -- far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity -- are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. "We are educating people out of their creativity," Robinson says. It's a message with deep resonance. Robinson's TED Talk has been distributed widely around the Web since its release in June 2006. The most popular words framing blog posts on his talk? "Everyone should watch this."

    A visionary cultural leader, Sir Ken led the British government's 1998 advisory committee on creative and cultural education, a massive inquiry into the significance of creativity in the educational system and the economy, and was knighted in 2003 for his achievements. His 2009 book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, is a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into 21 languages. A 10th anniversary edition of his classic work on creativity and innovation, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, was published in 2011. His 2013 book, Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life, is a practical guide that answers questions about finding your personal Element. In his latest book, Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education, he argues for an end to our outmoded industrial educational system and proposes a highly personalized, organic approach that draws on today’s unprecedented technological and professional resources to engage all students.

  • 24 Feb 2017 8:43 AM
    Reply # 4630586 on 4569576



    I attend many meetings, conferences, workshops, exhibitions, etc. and it is amazing how many people do not have a business card, forget to bring them, they are at the printers, run out, etc. All lame excuses. Then there are those who give out business cards with such small printing no one can read them without a magnifying glass! Business cards are MARKETING tools. It is selling YOU and YOUR product/services. Therefore, have your business card with YOUR photo on it – so people remember who you are when they collect dozens of cards, use LARGE print, and don’t be modest. Put on the back of the card the product/services you offer. You can even add a QR Code. If you wish to network, establish partnerships, find 'new business', even make new friends - be prepared. Everyone is busy these days, it is all rush-rush , so come to Queenstown well prepared, well stocked with your cards and be ready to 'sell' yourself and your offerings. IVETA events are ideal for everyone to 'shine'. 

  • 24 Feb 2017 9:53 AM
    Reply # 4632251 on 4569576
    The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) acts as a translation device to make national qualifications more readable across Europe, promoting workers' and learners' mobility between countries and thus facilitating their skills and lifelong learning. The EQF relates different countries' national qualifications systems to a common European reference framework. Individuals and employers will be able to use the EQF to better understand and compare the qualifications and training - vocational and technical of different countries and different education and training system.

    The EQF applies to all types of education, training and qualifications, from school education to academic, professional and vocational. The EQF qualifications framework has 8 descriptors: levels 5-8 correspond to higher education. Level 5 is further education, level 6 (Bachelor), level 7 (Masters ), level 8 (PhD). EQF also ecompasses vocational education and training (VET), and work contexts for the highest level.

    EQF does not award qualifications. It describes levels of qualifications in terms of learning outcomes. Awards/degrees are a matter for national qualifications bodies.

    European countries are emphasing the need to take account of the full range of an individual's knowledge, skills and competencies. Recognising all forms of learning is a priority of EU action in education and skills training. EQF clearly encourages lifelong learning by promoting the validation of non-formal learning. My expertise is competency-based education and 'portfolio assessments' using the EQF model, and more can be gleaned from

  • 25 Feb 2017 2:32 PM
    Reply # 4634497 on 4569576

    (The Times, London,  24th February 2017)

    “A new generation of fast-track degrees are to be offered to students under plans outlined by the UK government. Universities will be encouraged to provide two-year degrees in return for the right to raise tuition fees to more than £13,000 a year.”

    Students would be expected to study more intensively, with holidays significantly cut.  Students would save on accommodation and living costs, and be able to join the work force earlier. However, with fees as high as £13,500 a year, students are paying the same fees they would for a three-year degree! Is this fair? Sounds very commercial? Ministers are seeking more flexible study modes. The bill before Parliament will introduce new and flexible ways of learning.  “Students are crying out for more flexible courses, modes of study which they can fit around work and life, shorter courses that enable them to get into and back into work more quickly, and courses that equip them with the skills that the modern workplace needs.”

    The first two-year degree programme was offered by the University of Buckingham in 1976. At that time, there was considerable controversy. The University of Buckingham has been successful despite its critics. They were pioneers.

    Now after 41 years the UK government is waking up to changes in the market place, and to new challenges to traditional educational models. The Times article states “A shorter degree option will appeal chiefly to mature students taking a career break to enhance their qualifications.” But evidence suggests that increasing numbers of mature students are enrolling in online degree programmes that gives them even greater flexibility, where they do not have to take two or more years off from their job. Also, competency-based education (CBE) is gaining more popularity as 'competencies', recognised prior learning (RPL), and career achievements allow advanced placement (AP) saving more fees and time.

    Education is changing drastically. Will universities in the USA cut their 4 year degrees to two-years?  Will other countries follow like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, European universities, etc.? What impact will this have on colleges focusing on vocational and technical training?Will more students study overseas where fees are much less, and where paid work experience is more attractive?

    Accelerated courses and qualifications, online learning, competency-based education, and flexible modes of study, will all be attractive to a new generation of savvy students and for mature students all looking for the best options to fit their financial needs, time-frame and lifestyle.

  • 05 Mar 2017 6:40 AM
    Reply # 4648773 on 4569576

    Conscription? Yes, Please.

    by Janet Street-Porter (i Newspaper, London, 4th March 2017)

    An interesting article that highlights the move in Europe to bring back compulsory military service given the arrival of millions of refugees, terrorists attacks by radical Islamists, and increasingly aggressive Russia. Strains are being felt by security services, and European countries have come under criticism for not contributing more to NATO (Trump). Also, there is high youth unemployment, so compulsory military service has been proposed as a solution. Sweden has followed Norway to introduce military conscription. Switzerland has it, and France and Germany are ‘looking at it’. According to Janet Street-Porter, the UK might consider a different form of ‘youth service’ – not military – which relies on volunteers. What is interesting are her comments:

    At the moment, too many working-class boys are under-performing, lacking in motivation, technical and social skills. In short, many are unemployable. It’s all very well to create apprenticeships, but there aren’t enough, and some of the jobs sound pretty grim. These young men need to learn confidence and the realities of life before we start urging them to become plumbers and electricians. In the meantime, they collect (welfare) benefits and fester.

    A ‘youth force’ might tackle jobs that councils are finding tough to finance, such as litter clearance, helping with basic tasks in the production and delivery of Meals on Wheels, cleaning in old people’s homes, and maintaining parks and open spaces. This work needn’t be demeaning. A careful targeted ‘youth force’ paid the living wage could inspire leadership, provide education and create the leaders of tomorrow. Otherwise, where will the next generation of politicians come from? “

  • 08 Mar 2017 5:24 AM
    Reply # 4654497 on 4569576

    Competency-based VET 'a disaster': Leesa Wheelahan

    JOHN ROSS, Higher Education Reporter, THE AUSTRALIAN  8th March 2017

    Competency-based training needs to be discarded, along with the training packages it is based around, vocational education ­researcher Leesa Wheelahan has declared.

    In a rare visit to her homeland, the Toronto-based researcher said CBT — the bedrock approach to Australian vocational education for two decades — had demon­strably failed in its three objectives of making qualifi­cations more mobile, aligning training with occupations and overcoming a 1980s mistrust of public institutions.

    Dr Wheelahan has also called for a comprehensive inquiry into vocational education and training, saying a dozen or so “bitsy” reviews over the past three years have failed to resolve a crisis in VET.

    She said the crisis was epitomised by rorts and regulatory crackdowns, plummeting TAFE market share and a collapse in VET resourcing — with the ­system losing almost one-third of its per-hour funding within a decade. Ever since the first training package’s introduction in 1997, she said, problems in VET had been blamed on implementation.

    “If we’re still saying there are problems with implementation, maybe there’s a problem with the model,” she said. “They’ve been trying to get it right for 20 years.”

    CBT places the emphasis on what students can do, rather than what they have learnt.

    Students are assessed on their mastery of the skills and knowledge required to perform effectively in the workplace, with those “competencies” specified in training packages and grouped into discrete qualifications.

    Dr Wheelahan said all this was based on a questionable assumption that it was feasible to break down tasks into elementary ­components.

    She said the approach led to the fragmentation of knowledge and the “atomisation” of skill, producing graduates with no idea of the wider context of their work and suited only to supervised positions. The result was “routinised job descriptions in which the proactive and reflective worker was left out”, she told a seminar at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education.

    Dr Wheelahan told the HES that CBT should be replaced by broader vocational streams ­oriented to general “fields of practice” rather than occupational chunks.

    “Instead of preparing people for mental healthcare, aged care, disability care, drug and alcohol care, we focus on preparing care workers. The curriculum would seek to develop the capacity of the person, rather than focusing on particular skills.”

    She said CBT had facilitated a race to the bottom in open training markets, because colleges could buy training packages “off the shelf” rather than invest in course design.

    If universities gained access to commonwealth subsidies for delivering sub-degree programs — a change proposed in 2014, which is still provided for in the budget — it would be the killer blow for TAFEs. She said appetite for fundamental change to VET was emerging in state education bureaucracies, but resisted at the federal level and by industry peak bodies.

    Dr Wheelahan’s presentation built on a paper she published late last year in the International Journal of Training Research, as well as work by fellow researchers at the universities of Sydney and Melbourne.

    She said the reliance on CBT to ensure that qualifications were recognised nationally had spawned a “huge edifice of qualifications which don’t pass the economies of scale test”.

    “In the hunt for the holy grail of national portability, we’ve constructed a system in which there’s got to be a training package qualification for every occupation — even the smallest — which is incredibly expensive.”

    She said the goal of aligning training and occupations had also proven a “disaster”, with just 33 per cent of VET graduates working in jobs related to their qualifications.

  • 08 Mar 2017 5:28 AM
    Reply # 4654503 on 4569576
    Competency-Based Degrees: European Compliant

    Competency-based degrees are on the rise as more mature adults seek to obtain a graduate degree that will enhance their career and status. It is an ideal pathway for those who have recognised prior learning (RPL), career achievements, and skills. The mature learner is not going to go ‘back to school’ given family, work and time restraints. So ‘competencies assessment’ is a recognised option in Europe.

     The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) provides 8 levels where ‘competencies’ can be equated. Assessment focuses on criteria that is outcome-based (evidence of ability), and process-based (evidence of learning).

     Competencies assessment follows procedures prescribed by European vocational and professional bodies, governments, training centres, colleges and universities. Commerce, trade and industry also recognise competency-based assessments, and competency-based degrees.

     In Europe, assessment procedures are usually straight forward, where the candidate submits a formal application (at any time), a detailed resume, certified copies of all qualifications and transcripts, references, and any other supporting documents. The level of attainment of the candidate is mapped out by the assessor(s) for advanced placement.  Where evidence of ability and learning is lacking extra study, modules, projects or research will be required by the awarding body to ‘top-up’ (usually online) the required credits for the appropriate degree. Most institutions welcome foreign candidates, as assessment can be done in any language.

     In Europe, there is an increasing focus  on competency-based degrees for mature adults. Although there is flexibility in the methodology, assessors and institutions must adhere to European Qualification Standards (EQS).


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