Ako Aotearoa-funded projects presented at ‘No Frills’ conference
One of Ako Aotearoa’s key activities is promoting findings and outputs from the projects that we fund - as well as New Zealand tertiary education research in general. Our dissemination work, through our strategic forums and professional development workshops, usually focuses on New Zealand. But, given the number of Ako Aotearoa-funded projects on vocational and professional education completing this year, we were able to send representatives from three teams to attend Australia’s National Centre for Vocational Education and Training’s ‘No Frills’ Conference in July.
The annual conference, the Australian equivalent of the New Zealand Vocational Education and Training Research Forum, was held at CQUniversity in Rockhampton, Queensland and focused on issues of Equity, Engagement, and Evolution.
Our teams and their projects included:
- Anne Alkema (Heathrose Research) and Adrienne Dawson (Industry Training Federation) – Non-completers in industry training
- Dr Karen Vaughan (NZ Council for Educational Research) – Knowing Practice: Vocational Thresholds in practice-based learning
- Dr Jean Parkinson (Victoria University of Wellington) – Language in the trades (James MacKay of this Project Team also attended the conference)
Our senior project and research analyst Nicholas Huntington presented on New Zealand VET policy and how Ako Aotearoa works in this area.
Beyond the opportunity for showcasing innovative work being conducted in New Zealand, attending this forum was also an opportunity for Ako Aotearoa to connect with Australian researchers and learn from their projects. Work of particular interest to New Zealand educators included:
- Women and traditionally male trades: a new approach which discussed the different ‘layers’ of factors that influence women participating in and succeeding in predominantly male workforces.
- The recently-begun In Their Words project that will empirically explore learner decision-making and the use of information sources.
- The CSIRO-TAFE Queensland exploration of technological development and its implications for education and training: The VET era: equipping Australia's workforce for the future digital economy.
- Vocations: The link between post-compulsory education and the labour market, which will be presented at this year’s NZVETRF.
Given the social, policy, economic, and labour market ties between our two countries, Ako Aotearoa sees engaging with the Australian tertiary education community as an important part of our strategic leadership role. This sponsored visit also provided an opportunity to strengthen our links with NCVER, and we are pleased to report that, as a result, their National Manager for Research & Engagement will be visiting New Zealand in October to address the VET Research Forum and meet with a range of tertiary education agencies.