ERG SES D 10, Workplaces and Education
Both nationally and internationally, calls for stronger linkages between HE and industry continue to rise (Communiqué of the Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education, 2009; Guthrie, 2010; Skills Australia, 2010, 2011). Additionally, the increasing complexities of the world of work in the 21st century have created imperatives for building social and human capital to sustain knowledge-based economies (Farrell & Fenwick, 2007; Schmied, 2010), with associated educational challenges in supporting current and future labour market requirements (Guthrie & Clayton, 2010; R Harris et al., 2001).
A central issue in these debates is the role of post-secondary education in equipping learners with requisite knowledge and skills to meet industry’s constantly changing demands, and the broad educational reforms needed to achieve this (Farrell & Fenwick, 2007; Schmied, 2010). To maintain industry relevance, business educators within the higher education (HE) and vocational education and training (VET) sectors require a strong repertoire of knowledge applicable to the disciplines they teach (Misko,1999). Globalisation, competition and rapidly changing work environments continue the demand for developing workforce knowledge and skills to support the growth of new technologies, industry processes and systems.These issues bring a renewed focus upon PD in the tertiary education sector (Billett, 2009; COAG Reform Council, 2010; Guthrie, 2010; Guthrie & Clayton, 2010; Skills Australia, 2011; Wheelahan & Moodie, 2010). Industry’s requirements are complex and constantly changing, with growing concern both locally and internationally about capacities of the HE and VET sectors to meet current and future labour market demands (Grollman, 2008; Guthrie, 2010; Guthrie & Clayton, 2010; Roger Harris, Clayton, & Chappell, 2007).
Whilst much of the literature on educational reforms and teacher PD focuses upon the VET sector, it equally applies to the HE sector (Wheelahan & Moodie, 2010). There is a dearth of research on TPI within the HE sector in Australia, with only one scoping study reported (Bergami & Schüller, 2009) which was limited to an investigation of academics’ perceptual value of a TPI in one university. Similar scoping studies were replicated in the Czech Republic, Malaysia and Pakistan (Bergami, Schuller, & Cheok, 2011; Bergami, Schuller, & Vojtko, 2011; Bergami, Schuller, & Zafar, 2013). Academics appear interested in opportunities to spend time in situ with commercial enterprises, and this seems to converge with the principles of the Bologna process that argue for greater connection between classroom theories and the world of work (Schmied, 2010).
The current Australian study I am undertaking explores the issues that problematize TPI initiatives. It also investiages ways in which TPI initiatives may be modelled to better support workplace learning needs of HE/VET education and industry stakeholders.This submission is based on research data gathered to date from semi-structured interviews conducted as part of a larger mixed-methodology (quan-QUAL) study exploring business discipline HE and VET managers’ views of the value of teacher placerments in industry (TPI) as a form of professional development (PD). For the purpose of this study, HE and VET managers are defined as holding positions of Head of School or equivalent, responsible for the management of course delivery, with direct teaching staff responsibility. Also included are first-line, middle or senior management level individuals from private enterprises.
The key research question underpinning this study asks:
In what ways may TPI enhance individual and organisational capacity building?
Three subsidiary questions were developed to support the research:
a) What are the challenges of implementing, evaluating and supporting TPI arrangements?
b) How might TPI arrangements be enhanced to facilitate knowledge transfer of current business practices to participants and their organisations?
c) How might we know that TPI translates to meeting individual and organisational goals?
Billett, S. (2001). Learning through work: Workplace affordances and individual engagement. Journal of Workplace Learning, 13(5), 209-214. Charmaz, K. (2011). Grounded theory methods in social justice research. In N. K. Denzin & Y. Lincoln, S (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp. 359-380). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. COAG Reform Council. (2010). National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development: Performance report for 2009. Retrieved from Canberra, ACT: http://www.federalfinancialrelations.gov.au/content/npa/skills/skills-reform/national_agreement.pdf Communiqué of the Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education. (2009). The Bologna Process 2020 - the European higher education area in the new decade Paper presented at the Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education, Leuven-Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. Farrell, L., & Fenwick, T. (2007). Educating a global workforce? In L. Farrell & T. Fenwick (Eds.), Educating the global workforce: knowledge, knowledge work and knowledge workers (pp. 13-26). Abingdon, UK: Routledge. Fuller, A., & Unwin, L. (2004). Expansive learning environments: Integrating personal and organizational development. In H. Rainbird, A. Fuller, & A. Munro (Eds.), Workplace learning in context (pp. 126-144). London, UK: Routledge. Grollman, P. (2008). Professional competence as a benchmark for a European space of vocational education and training. Journal of European Industrial Training, 32(2/3), 138-156. Harris, R., Clayton, B., & Chappell, C. (2007). Supporting vocational education and training providers in building capacity for the future (pp. 1-4). Canberra, ACT: NCVER. Harris, R., Simons, M., Hill, D., Smith, E., Pearce, R., Blakeley, J., . . . Snewin, D. (2001). The changing role of staff development for teachers and trainers in vocational education and training. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press. Schmied, C. (2010). OECD education ministerial meeting: Investing in human and social capital - new challenges. Paris, France: O.E.C.D. Skills Australia. (2011). Skills for prosperity: A roadmap for vocational education and training. Retrieved from Canberra, ACT: Unwin, L., Felstead, A., Fuller, A., Bishop, D., Lee, T., Jewson, N., & Butler, P. (2007). Looking inside the Russian doll: the interconnections between context, learning and pedagogy in the workplace. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 15(3), 333 - 348. Retrieved from http://www.informaworld.com/10.1080/14681360701602232 Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning and identity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Wheelahan, L., & Moodie, G. (2010). The quality of teaching in VET: Options paper. Retrieved from Parkville, VIC:
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