4th Industrial Revolution and VET: the relevance of Entrepreneurship Education in Australia

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The 28th National Vocational Educational and Training Research Conference ‘No Frills’ was presented by NCVER & co-hosted by TAFE SA in Adelaide on 10-12 July 2019. The Student Journey: Skilling for Life was the key theme of the 2019 conference.

VET (Vocational Education Training) plays a critical role in helping students to achieve skilled training & allow them to progress with their jobs. ‘No Frills’ is a well- known annual national conference where researchers, practitioners, providers, government & industry representatives came together  & enlighten students about knowledge, insights, ideas & solutions surrounding Australia’s VET sector.

The innovative program included hands-on, interactive pre-conference workshops with activities on data, and research analytics, and research practice providing valuable insights.  Pre-conference workshops were held on 10th July covering topics like Australian VET returns on investment, exploring data from LSAY, the importance of digital literacy, understanding and using VET data products & tools, and much more. The conference highlights include dynamic opening keynote speaker Dr. Fiona Kerr, a prominent thought leader who consults worldwide in the field of cognitive neuroscience, complex systems dynamics, human connectivity and impacts of evolution of technology.

Delivered by Wendy Perry, Managing Director of Workforce BluePrint was a standing room only session titled ‘Entrepreneurship through TVET in the 4th Industrial Revolution’.  She described how Australia has been a huge source of innovation & advanced technology. Therefore, entrepreneurship education through VET in Australia can support the implementation of national policies and programs across culture & capital, collaboration, talent & skills, and Government as an exemplar.  Wendy described how the Industry 4.0, often referred to as the fourth industrial revolution will be worth U.S $152 billion & industrial robots will hold the largest size of the industry 4.0 market. The revolution includes advanced technology & systems, cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things (IOT), and cloud computing.

Current examples of entrepreneurial education experiences were shared, which sit mostly outside of accredited training, and the relationship of entrepreneurship to Australia’s National Training Packages (VET curriculum) was discussed.  Innovation and entrepreneurship tours for educators and events like Startup Weekend, identifying entrepreneurial ambassadors, applying lean startup methodology, and growth hacking approaches, were part of the presentation.

At the Panel discussion, dinner speaker Glenn Cooper AM, Chairman Coopers Brewery delivered an entertaining speech inspired by the Cooper family’s ability to compete within their industry by using their family name to their advantage.

Understanding the change in the working approach of the world & technological evolution, means it is certain that the skills students acquire today won’t be sufficient to sustain & compete effectively in the workplace tomorrow.  An entrepreneurial mindset and capabilities is essential for you, whether you are starting up or running a business, you are an employee, and /or you have a passion that you are following.

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