How VET coped with COVID

Voced is hands-on which meant providers were hard hit by pandemic conditions. A major report for the estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research sets out the impact and how institutions, staff and students responded*

Authors find that on top of the pandemic-specific changes (social distancing, remote delivery) Covid exacerbated problems already in-place, including, inflexible work placements, access, including digital barriers for learners, slow response to market needs and “difficulties in engaging young people.”

what worked: Governments got support right, particularly wage subsidies for apprentices and trainees. And the sector stepped up to digital delivery, subjects on-line increased 24 per cent in 2019-20.

and what it might mean: The report acknowledges the debate over whether the system innovated or just adapted to Covid, but the take-away ought to be, “the capacity of the VET sector to quickly tailor training to meet the needs of students and to adapt to local needs.”

“The collaborative problem-solving approaches described by training providers highlight the level of interconnectivity the VET system has at its disposal and flag a useful resource for the future.”

This should be in the policy response kit for the next disaster

* Daniella Trimboli, Melinda Lees, Zhihui Zhang, Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on VETHERE.