National Skills Week and VET in 2020

Starting 28 August 2017, Australia’s National Skills Week 2017, “will communicate the emerging trends and new growth drivers connecting skills training with job outcomes.”

It is fair to say there has been a general trend of decline in Vocational Education Training (VET) enrolments, especially Australian Apprenticeships, and the main problem is out of date Training Packages, running the risk of becoming more irrelevant and even redundant.   This is because they can be boring, old fashioned, too long, with students working on ‘fake’ case studies (aka Acme Pty Ltd), lacking hands on experiences and input into implementation by industry.

For National Skills Week in 2020, imagine if Australian VET products and systems, delivery and assessment strategies, experiences that are considered second to none were on display, attracting interest from all around the world.

Related to this:

  1. Learning is happening everywhere but it is not captured.
  2. Formal education is mostly only catching up to current learning let alone covering future capabilities required. People need capabilities that are not yet outlined in education systems.
  3. Informal and formal learning, structured/designed and unstructured learning, from current and future work could inform education systems and initiatives.
  4. We can’t yet imagine all the learning opportunities required to develop individual and workforce capabilities.

There have been some great skill outcomes for many people, including my immediate family having all undertaken Australian Apprenticeships and our team, but VET now needs to leapfrog ahead 3 years.

What this week provides, is an opportunity for Governments, Ministers and VET stakeholders, to develop a vision for VET from now to 2020 with practical goals and a cutting edge approach.

Australia’s Vision for VET to 2020

21st Century Workforce and a World-class VET system

A national approach underpinned by:

  • Facilitating effective regulation and encouraging innovation
  • Matching talent to current and future employer, entrepreneur and industry needs
  • Next Generation Training Packages based upon xAPI, recording and tracking all types of learning experiences
  • Supporting critical job roles, industry sectors, learners, organisations and regions to develop 21st Century Capabilities

With short, mid and long term goals:

Short term – Exploration of innovative experiences (see WTIF from Victoria) for accredited and non-accredited product development; Growth hacking Training Packages to meet current and future skills requirements by VET experts and stakeholders across Australia; Modern Apprenticeships for current and future job roles that are attractive.

Mid term – Evidence of industry and regional workforce issues, gaps and needs, critical job roles and capabilities in priority communities and sectors; Workforce solutions designed to match evidence based needs (current and future); Globalisation of training products using xAPI and demonstration of real use cases to inform 21st Century Skills Framework.

Long term – World leader in the application of xAPI underpinning Next Generation Training Packages where the experience (not the accreditation or the qualification) comes first; Capturing of capability in the here and now, as well as towards future jobs and skills; Unlimited immersive learning experiences that are recognised formally and informally for whatever purpose you wish in Australia and internationally.

Next Gen Training Packages

Experience (x) API or Tin Can API be tricky to get your head around at first because it is a big concept so imagine for a minute that you are having a conversation with a couple of people on a topic and you are clearing learning a number of new things.  Alongside this experience, perhaps you are involved in events or projects where you are also learning all the way through.  Applying what you have learnt, you are generating evidence and outcomes from your experiences.

These experiences can be turned into xAPI statements that follow a particular format, using a limited number of verbs, which can then be matched with anything formal or informal, at any level, for any reason and across any country or system.  Statements can by auto or self-generated as you go (imaging crowd sourcing competency standards), mapped before and/or after the experience.

The best way to see how this might work, especially to capture capabilities that aren’t yet described in any education system yet, is to support use cases in areas where this would really make a difference.

For example, carers, people with disabilities, organisations building future capabilities, founders scaling up their businesses, sectors like defence planning out numerous years, sister city ambassadors, Small and Medium Enterprises that are booming, social innovations, 21st Century STEM in Education and Training, volunteers and youth.

Challenge for you

The challenge is who is brave enough to put their VET system ahead of any other in the world?  Is it the Australian Government, the South Australian Government, another jurisdiction or country, or perhaps those within the VET sector itself as we’ll be able to put together all the pieces for a World-class VET system?

If you would like to discuss what might be possible for VET/TVET to 2020, please contact

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