Faculty of Education and Arts

RAVE current research

Erica Smith is leading a new Australian Research Council Linkage project to investigate the question:
"Would more highly-qualified teachers and trainers help to address quality problems in the Australian vocational education and training system?" This two year project brings together researchers from Federation University Australia, the University of Technology, Sydney and the University of South Australia to work with partners from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, the VET Development Centre, the Australian Council for Private Education and Training, TAFE Queensland and Federation Training.

This project examines whether and how higher-level qualifications for vocational education and training (VET) teachers would improve quality in the VET system. Government documents and public commentary indicate that the VET sector suffers from some fairly serious quality problems. This is significant because VET provides training that underpins all Australian industries. Most VET teachers are qualified only to a Certificate IV level, at least in VET teaching. A more highly qualified VET teaching workforce may lead to improvements in quality; however there is currently no firm evidence to establish this link. The project set out to provide much-needed evidence to guide policy.

Federation University Australia, together with the Callan Consulting Group, has obtained funding from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research for a project entitled: "Employer training in a changed environment". This project, led by Erica Smith, examines why and how employers train their workers and employers' choice about whether to engage with the formal VET sector or not. The project addresses the lack of comprehensive research relating to the current state of employer training; much major work in this area is between 10 and 20 years old. Since the mid-2000s there have been substantial changes to the economy, including the effects of the Global Financial Crisis, industry restructuring, and increasing globalisation and competition. Recently, there have also been major changes in the training system relating to government funding, the reorganisation of State TAFE systems, and financial incentives for training providers to work more closely with employers. In these changed environments, the relationship between providers and employers needs to be re-examined. The project will conclude in early 2016.

Annette Foley's most recent work involves a project funded by Federation University Australia looking at out-of-school VET and ACE programs in the Ballarat and Daylesford region.