Lessons from the German VET system – could ASQA be redundant?

By | Training Packages, TVET, TVET International, Vocational Education and Training | No Comments


In Bonn, Germany this week working with UNESCO UNEVOC, Wendy Perry met with Philipp Grollman from Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung (BIBB) to learn about the German VET system, compared with Australia and others around the world.  Please watch the quick 4 minute video til the end and read all of the blog, then share your ideas.

Germany has 327 occupations available as Apprenticeships with all Vocational Education and Training (VET) provision offered through the schooling system, that is training providers are schools.

The regulation model is interesting as it is the Chambers of Commerce, Crafts and Industry Associations (usually not for profits and incorporated bodies) that manage the apprentice assessment and they must guarantee quality.  They are referred to regulation buddies.  So whilst providers are schools, they are closely connected to industry partners with quality managed by the industry sectors.

‘Dual’ system in relation to Germany is an approach that many have heard about and this means employment and training in the workplace, as well as at school.  Usually the model is 3.5 days in the workplace and 1.5 days at school or 3/2 days split.  Off the job and on the job is probably how we might describe the delivery in Australia and there isn’t the option of full on the job training for apprenticeships.

Curriculum is written broad enough so it doesn’t need to be updated too often – generally around every 5 years or so.  The Chambers and industry groups feed into curriculum development which is managed by the Federal Government.  German’s system is dependent on the economy and labour market but it would be highly unusual for any VET to be delivered without workplace based experience.  The number one option for VET is an apprenticeship.

In the past, numbers have been higher in apprenticeships, say 80/20 or 70/30 percent, compared with University degrees, but numbers are now around 50/50.  Pre-vocational programs are not in place, or perhaps even needed, as in years 8 and 9 students consider occupations with a portfolio to suit and undertake internships (2 week work placements).

Entrepreneurship doesn’t have a specific focus but is more embedded into occupations, for example building and construction, specific crafts and businesses that might be owned by family.

Apprentices have a different wage status to non-apprentice employees which is negotiated through a public bargaining process.  There are not levels in occupations but it generally starts with 3.5 year apprenticeships, with technician and master qualifications.  The German Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning, contributes to the comparability of German qualifications in Europe, and this is a key part of the work of the European Commission too.

On the quality assurance (regulation) model, the chambers and their networks regionally, are also responsible for assessing international grade certificates.  Work based learning time gives additional training which may include more general skills and knowledge where industrial enterprise run training through centres supported by employers and industry.  Pilot projects in VET are encouraged, for example companies trying out new curriculum with a process for measures over 3 – 4 years.

Research on occupational needs is undertaken by the Federal Institute of VET (BIBB) and the Institute for Employment Research which are agencies with respective departments.  The Federal Institute of VET is governed by a board which includes the Department of Education and Training as well as Economic Affairs, state level government, social partners including unions and employer representatives.  The board meets twice a year, with sub groups meeting more regularly and they provide advice to the Federal Government, as well as set the strategic direction.

BIBB is involved in research such as skills and workforce needs for industrial estates and the agency manages European Union funds for projects supporting international cooperation.

Now to the lessons and policy learning.

An agency like the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) isn’t needed as the quality assurance responsibilities are imbedded in the relationship with the ‘schools’ and regulation (assessment, industry based) buddies.  Any issues that come up would be managed between those partners and as the chambers have to ensure quality outcomes for assessment then this means ensuring the curriculum implementation and delivery meets industry needs.  How do you think this could work in an Australian VET context?

With German agencies research identifying occupational requirements and workforce needs now and into the future, feeding this into the curriculum development process, there is a strong match to what employers and industry want.  In Australia, the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) could have a stronger advisory and leadership role on informing current and future workforce requirements, together with employers and industry.

Perhaps there are also insights for the Australian Industry and Skills Committee on simplifying the relationships in VET and roles, similar to the governing board of BIBB noting we also have a board for NCVER.

Encouraging experimentation and innovation in VET must be a final lesion particularly as increasingly there is discussion locally, nationally and internationally about the relevance of VET.

So please consider, what learning from the German VET system might improve Australia’s VET system and policy, plus your products, programs and practices?

P.S. If you have some promising practices that others may be able to learn from then UNESCO might be interested in capturing your examples.  Follow this link on Promising Practices for further information.

TVET/VET and Entrepreneurship

By | TVET, TVET International, Vocational Education and Training | One Comment

Inspired by TVET/VET Leaders from across the world in Bonn, Germany this week, for the UNESCO UNEVOC Programme, this blog is written for you and colleagues working to improve TVET systems in your country.

Most people agree that Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET/VET) solves a number of problems but there are a number of problems with TVET/VET.  These include:

  1. Lack of flexibility and responsiveness in training
  2. Disadvantaged groups not supported
  3. Mismatch of training and skills required for jobs
  4. Specific skills gaps
  5. Unemployed or underemployed youth

Evidence of monitoring and evaluation is important and now there are many examples of people (students, employers, industry sectors) not choosing TVET or where there are a number of TVET trained graduates, the job opportunities are slim.

TVET’s biggest problem is relevance, getting skills and competencies into the curriculum to keep pace with employers, entrepreneurs and industry needs and this is aside from the requirements of future job roles. Read More

Greater Western Sydney, Australia’s third largest economy, creating new jobs

By | Economic Development, Workforce Development, Workforce Planning | No Comments

Sydney districts have been powering one quarter of Australia’s economic growth, for the last financial year. All eyes are on Western Sydney – home to over 21% of Greater Sydney’s population and generating 18% of its jobs. It also powers 18% of Greater Sydney’s economic activity.

In the past 20 years, the number of jobs in Western Sydney has doubled. Today, the four main industry sectors include health and education (87%), knowledge-intensive jobs (71%), population-serving (61%), and industrial (175%). Finance and insurance are also hot jobs in the district. The dominance of health and education match the areas’ accessibility to health and education institutions.

Moving forward, it’s anticipated that the new Parramatta Square development will push job growth in public administration. Because the share of industrial roles in the west is higher than Greater Sydney, there’s an opportunity to look at ways to leverage the district’s ‘economic assets and investment opportunities’ to continue the momentum of the knowledge-intensive economy. Read More

August BluePrint – Innovative Experiences & UNESCO

By | Workforce Development, Workforce Planning, Workforce Planning Tools | No Comments

Hi there

Over the past month, Sunraysia, Kangaroo Island (KI), Melbourne and home town Adelaide with visits from our Indonesian colleagues and friends, have all been innovation hot spots.  Activities included the Community Colleges Australia Conference meeting Hon Karen Andrews MP Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Sunraysia Agriculture and Horticulture Future Workforce conversations, KI’s future workforce plan, Australia-Indonesia Networking event, and the launch of the 2017 Real Day Out for the Australian Science and Maths School.

There is a building appetite for innovative experiences, providing exposure and capability development for here and now jobs, as well as future jobs, including entrepreneurial opportunities.  Speaking of which, I’ve been invited to UNESCO-UNEVOC in Bonn, Germany next month to run a workshop for the Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) Leadership Programme 2017 on Entrepreneurship, which is an absolute honour. Read More

National Skills Week and VET in 2020

By | Vocational Education and Training | No Comments

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. Read More

The future of freight, transport & logistics: technologies, trends & jobs

By | Workforce Development, Workforce Planning, Workforce Planning Tools | No Comments

Advancements in technology are re-shaping the transport and logistics industry. With the emergence of e-commerce, automation and new applications, there’s even greater importance on the supply chain.

The way freight and goods are picked, packed, tracked and shipped has changed, using digital technology – but how is this affecting the workforce? Read More

Adelaide’s island sister, Christchurch, New Zealand, rebuilding its economy… from the ground up

By | Workforce Development, Workforce Planning, Workforce Projects | No Comments

Adelaide is connected to amazing cities, from Austin (USA) to Himeji (Japan).  Closer to home, there’s Christchurch in our neighbour island, New Zealand.

Christchurch is a city, not without its challenges.  The 2011 earthquake changed the entire landscape of the city.  But it’s being rebuilt with greater resilience, along with a new way of working revolutionising the city.Cathedral,_Christchurch,_New_Zealand

Universities are providing flexible, learning environments focused around collaborative spaces and developing innovation across problem solving so students can choose when, where and how they study. Read More

Workforce BluePrint – Expressions of Interest

By | Workforce Architects, Workforce Development, Workforce Planning | No Comments

Hi there

Inspiring conversations (video from Adelaide Hills) locally and globally, learning about the work that you are doing whether it is at a conference, event, meeting or online, and the purpose of this email is to extend an Expression of Interest (EoI) to you.

STEM in Education

This EoI is three-fold with a local and global context.
Do you have experiences that could link with the 21st Century Capabilities Framework, for example, new discovery technologies like Virtual Reality, wellbeing, entrepreneurship and STEM in education?

And/or you might have workforce solutions that could be products, programs, tools, resources and services? Read More