ProfessorErica Smith

Personal Chair in Vocational Education and Training

University of Ballarat

School of Education and Arts


Issue 1, Issue 5

Field of expertise/main research projects:
Field of expertise/main research projects • apprenticeships and traineeships • competency-based training • training policy • the ‘school-to-work transition’ • delivery of qualification-based training in companies • vocational education and training (VET) practitioners. • students’ part-time working • higher education practice.

Articles byErica Smith

Good practice principles in apprenticeship systems: An international study

Apprenticeships can be seen as the ultimate in co-operation between TVET providers and industry as they are based on a combination of work and study. They provide appropriate skills for companies and also all-round occupational and generic skills, as well as providing a tried and tested means of moving young people into the full-time labour market. However there are many different actual and potential models of apprenticeship, which can be confusing for countries looking to begin or re-develop an apprenticeship system. This paper uses part of the work undertaken for a project funded by the International Labour Organization and the World Bank to compare and contrast apprenticeship systems in 11 countries, for the purpose of drawing out some principles of good practice. The project was undertaken to provide suggestions for the process of reform of the Indian apprenticeship system (Planning Commission 2009).

Australian VET teacher education: What is the benefit of pedagogical studies at University for VET teachers?

In Australia, the level and nature of qualifications for vocational education and training (VET) teachers is a highly contested and political topic. VET teachers are only required to have a pre-university, certificate level, pedagogical qualification, the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. They possess substantially lower level qualifications than teachers in other education sectors. But this has not always been the case. Nowadays, some VET teachers still choose to undertake university-level pedagogical qualifications. Almost all of these students study part-time while already working as VET teachers. This paper reports on work undertaken by members of the Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group to provide an evidence base to argue for higher pedagogical qualifications for VET teachers. The paper draws on two major sources of evidence: data and arguments gathered for submission to a government inquiry on the VET teaching workforce; and a 2013 survey of VET teacher-education students and recent graduates in university VET-teaching qualifications. We conclude that university-level VET teacher education studies help practitioners develop the high level of knowledge and skills required for the complex work of VET teaching, as well as suggesting some further benefits resulting from the dialogue between practitioners and academics.

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