Putting a big T in TAFE

“TAFE is well-equipped to produce the “T-shaped” graduates, who have “who have both broad capabilities and in-depth higher technical vocational skills”

Leo Goedegebuure and Ruth Schubert from the L H Martin Institute make the case for TAFE being a key catalyst for industry innovation in a new report for TAFE Directors Australia. They suggest that examples from Europe and Canada demonstrate how institutes with applied research and training roles can foster innovation ecologies in the economy, especially engaging small and medium enterprises. They point to TAFE involvement with industry in the Geelong and Hunter innovation ecosystems as demonstrating what is possible across the country.

A key part of the challenge is for industry to buy into TAFE’s skills and training capital. “This generates a knowledge flow from the tertiary institutions into local industry as well as from industry back into the institutions as a result of the project outcomes being fed back into the education and training programs.”

To accomplish this, Goedegebuure and Schubert suggest, “structures such as supported and funded pure and applied research groups, large and smaller scale student projects, incubators, including student incubators, and mentored start-up hubs.”