Let’s start being positive about VET
August 19, 2016 3 Comments
As some of you know I have been out of commission for a couple of weeks due to an injury to my hand, and during this little break from writing, I have spent a lot of time reading commentary, writings and discussions about the sector. Something has struck me from all of this reading and it is something that really concerns me. It seems that a lot of the commentators, industry leaders, thinkers and just people in the sector generally are spending a lot of time complaining and focusing on the negative issues which seem to be surrounding us. Why does this concern me? Well mainly because we know that what it is we focus on and think about is what we see and what we get. So if we continually talk about what is wrong about this sector, what needs to be fixed, and what all of the problems are, that is what we are going to see, that is going to inform our viewpoint of the sector and more importantly it is going to infect the viewpoint of others about our sector. Don’t get me wrong here, I like everyone am guilty of being critical of the sector and sometimes we do need to verbalise criticism, but too often I think this critical view takes over, so I want to try to change that a little today and see if we can’t just be positive about the sector for a while.
First off I am really proud of the sector that I work in. I feel privileged to work in the VET sector, this is a sector that changes lives. I was at a conference recently where a lot of people (and a lot a highly placed people) shared stories about how this sector had changed peoples lives. Like the (youngish) grandfather who had improved his reading so much while undertaking a VET course that he was now able to read stories to his granddaughter and the massive change in the way he felt about himself that this seemingly small thing had created. The kids from generationally unemployed families, in deeply impoverished areas, getting apprenticeships and breaking out of the cycles that had been their lives. People with Mental illness getting qualifications and training to help them to be able to work with others with mental illness to help those people on their own roads to recovery.
What we do in the VET sector is important!
We don’t just issue pieces of paper to people, or fill their heads with knowledge, or teach them how to perform tasks. All of that stuff is well kind of the boring stuff of the sector, the nuts and bolts that sit underneath what it is that we really do. We offer people the opportunity to change their lives, to have the opportunity to do things they are passionate about, to look at the world differently and explore the opportunities that are there.
VET changes lives!
I am so grateful that I have been able to work in the learning sector, be it VET or organisational learning, or professional and personal development for so many years, because it fuels that passion and that idea that what we do is important and let’s be clear it is not just important to the people we teach. The importance of what we do if is wider than that. We have seen recently several reports about the return on investment created by the sector, the value of international education, and the range of other important things that this sector does for the country as a whole.
So I have a little challenge for you all, Whether you are from the public sector (TAFE), a private provider, a not for profit or and enterprise RTO, let’s even if only for a little while try to focus on the great things this sector does, let’s talk about and share the good stories, the life changing moments, the things that really matter, because if we do that then we will improve the sector and the image of the sector far more than we ever could by focusing on the negatives.
Anyway, that’s just my opinion.