15 SES 02, Partnership with Working Life I
Parallel Paper Session
In most of the advanced economies, students are losing interest in careers especially in engineering and related industries. Hence, western economies are confronting a critical skilled labour shortage in areas of technology, science and engineering. New knowledge including the processes that creatively transform and adapt knowledge for deployment in economic activity needs to connect with schools and teachers in new and efficient ways. Formalised partnerships between schools and industry are a strategy for optimising and sharing this knowledge. The aim of this paper is to document how the organisational and institutional elements of one industry-school partnerships initiative – The Gateway Schools Program - contribute to productive knowledge sharing and networking. In particular this paper focuses on an initiative of the Queensland government in response to a perceived crisis around the skills shortage in an economy transitioning from a localised to a global knowledge production economy. The Gateway Schools initiative signals the first sustained attempt in Australia to incorporate schools into production networks through strategic partnerships linking them to partner organisations at the industry level. Gateway partnerships comprise 1) a system-wide approach, 2) multi-sector (i.e., state, Catholic and Independent schools) and global industry partners, and 3) an inclusive focus on student learning including for those transitioning into higher education or directly to employment. We report how partnerships between a key industry sector and schools facilitate a range of mutually beneficial learning outcomes. Consistent with government calls for relevance in education, we conceptualise this facilitation process as ‘knowledge sharing’ or ‘knowledge networking’. Although there are six major industry sectors along with some 80 participating schools, this paper focuses on partnerships with the Minerals and Energy industry. The peak industry association related to mining and energy production in partnership with government and significant global resources companies has established a virtual academy (The Minerals and Energy Academy) to coordinate relationships between approximately 30 schools and a range of industries. The mission of the Academy is to support career development for students across four different pathways – operator, trade, technical and professional. We provide case examples of how four schools operationalise the partnerships with the mining and energy industries and how these partnerships as knowledge assets impact the delivery of curriculum and capacity building among teachers. Analysis was informed by theoretical perspectives of Bailey (1994), Bagnall (2007) and Walsh (2004). Each of these theorists provides a related but different perspective on the establishment, purpose, and effectiveness respectively of partnerships. Understanding the development, structure and processes of partnerships in this fashion enables us to bring a systems perspective to explore knowledge transfer (Parent et al, 2007). Central to this analysis is the identification of the capacities of the partnerships to generate, disseminate, absorb and adapt new knowledge. Thus in this presentation we document the processes and mechanisms that contribute to or constrain the development of each capacity. Our ultimate goal is to define those characteristics of successful partnerships that do contribute to enhanced interest and engagement by students in those careers which are currently experiencing critical shortages.
Bagnall, R. G. (2007). Some conditions for creative partnerships in education. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia. Paper retrieved 8/12/2010 from http://www.pesa.org.au/papers/2007-papers/Bagnall, Richard.pdf Bailey, N. (1994). Towards a research agenda for public-private partnerships in the 1990s. Local Economy, 8(4), 292-306. Castells, M., & Cardoso, G. (2006). The network society: From knowledge to policy. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University. Kapitzke, C., & Hay, S. (2011). School education as social and economic governance: Responsibilising communities through industry-school engagement. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 43(10), 1103-1118. Parent, R., Roy, M., & St-Jacques, D. (2007). A systems-based dynamic knowledge transfer capacity model. Journal of Knowledge Management, 11(6), 81-93. doi: 10.1108/13673270710832181 Walsh, J. (2004). Partnership theory and practice. In J. Walsh & J. Meldon (Eds.), Partnerships for effective local development (pp. 7-28). Charleroi: Universite Libre de Bruxelles. Warren, M. (2005). Communities and Schools: A new view of urban education reform. Harvard Educational Review, 75(2), 133-173. Waschak, M. R. (2009). Evaluating the impacts of partnership: An electronic panel study of partnering and the potential for adaptive management. Thesis submitted for the degree of PhD at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning and identity. New York: Cambridge University Press.
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