Trading up to pinstripe apprenticeships  

 Future high-viz could come in suits

The Full-Service Six alliance of dual-sector universities makes the case for apprenticeships at all levels of the Australian Qualification Framework (CMM yesterday). So how would that work, you ask? – oh, go on because the estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research  addresses the issue.

The short answer is that it won’t: “Given the divergent views of stakeholders, it is unlikely that a ‘standard’ higher apprenticeship model can be developed and successfully implemented,” NCVER MD Simon Walker says.

VET people think apprenticeships in high-level fields, say advanced manufacturing, should have the same characteristics as existing ones, while HE participants thought they should be “a broader notion of integrated training and employment.”

There are also “a myriad of barriers,” in the existing education and industrial systems.

But the idea is out there: Australian Industry Group, Siemens Ltd and Swinburne U are combining to offer an Industry 4.0 apprenticeship, leading to a diploma and associate degree in applied technologies. Consultants PwC has a scheme for staff to complete VET dips as an alternative to the company’s graduate programme.

What happens next: “A more likely scenario is the development of a variety of higher apprenticeships and apprenticeship-like models of learning within the constraints of the current system,” the NCVER suggests.  Programmes that work will meet specific industry needs, in “highly technical industries, such as engineering, information technology and advanced manufacturing, as well as industries where practical experience is as valuable as technical skills, such as in human services and health.”


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