VET needs new skill sets

The vocational education system does not do much to assist aspiring entrepreneurs, but it will have to learn how

People who want to build their own business need more than the skills that are their tools of trade, they need to know how to identify what the market wants and work out ways to deliver. Which should make entrepreneurship a natural subject for VET.

But it isn’t, as Don Scott-Kemmis demonstrates in a new report for the estimable National Centre for Vocational Education and Training. Mr Scott-Kemmis finds Australia “has no coherent national policy on entrepreneurship or education for entrepreneurship (“although there has been support for start-ups and commercialisation”). He cites a case study of Canberra, where there is a culture of entrepreneur start-ups, discovering business founders with VET qualifications said they had not helped.

The first thing VET needs to do if it is to deliver what ever-more students will want and need is to work out what teaching entrepreneurship involves.

“As entrepreneurship careers become an increasingly viable option, the development of entrepreneurship skills is also becoming an important objective for education and training organisations, although identification of the appropriate skills for development and how they are best developed remain unclear,” Scott-Kemmis writes.

And the first students for the skills will need to be the voced workforce. “An important conclusion of several major studies is that a lack of relevant experience and training among VET teachers is an impediment to the development and quality of entrepreneurship programs.”