Vet students are learning for it themselves

The VET slump stabilised, at best, last year, with one expansive exception.

According to the estimable National Centre for Vocational Education and Research, 4.2m students enrolled in VET last year, up 0.7 per cent on 2016 but overall subject enrolments fell by 3.5 per cent to 29 million. Publicly funded subject enrolments were down even more, by 6.3 per cent to 13.m.

But what is interesting is that subject-only enrolments increased by 19.3% to 5.2 million, representing 17.8% of all subject enrolments (14.4% in 2016). It seems people have worked out that they can study to pick up the specific skill they need rather than do a whole-RTO packaged programme.

This sort of independence shows in an NCVER report by Margaret Johnston and Victor Callan. They found VET students are not waiting to be taught. Instead people in teamwork-focused courses are organising themselves via Facebook and Twitter. And when apprentices get to difficult bits of a subject they learn from YouTube. “They are not the passive consumers of VET training of the past,” Johnston and Callan wrote last year.


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