University of Tasmania
Whole_Zichy_Woinarski_thesis.pdf (12.83 MB)

Whither rural industries? : Their influence on the education debate

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posted on 2023-05-27, 12:50 authored by Zichy-Woinarski, SR
This work arose from 20 years' involvement with an Industry Training Advisory Board in Tasmania, Australia. The board's primary role was to provide advice to the appropriate authorities on the provision of vocational education and training to the agricultural sector and rural industries in Tasmania and Australia. The Kangan Report in 1973 was the catalyst for the development of vocational training in Australia. This research examined how state and federal governments have implemented the vocational education and training agenda and embraced the development of skills training and its delivery, particularly as it relates to rural communities and rural industries. It seeks to undertake a critical analysis of vocational education and training (VET) policy, processes and development in relation to Australian rural communities and their rural and related industries in order to ascertain how they can best influence VET policy settings and implementation for the future. This was based on an assumption that Australian rural industries and rural communities have had little influence during the past 25 years on the development on VET policy, except where policy issues have been of national significance and then policy makers have sought guidance from this constituency. Critically it seeks to establish the key criteria to enable policy, processes and implementation to occur that benefit rural communities and industries and considers potential policy settings to reflect effective input. The first part of Chapter 2 provides an overview of the development of agriculture and rural communities in Australia from 1788 to 2000. This is followed by a section which consider the development of VET policy in Australia from 1945 to 2004, with particular reference to federal and state government reports and enquiries. It reflects on how these reports influenced the implementation of VET and the skills agenda in a rural context. It also reflects on the issue of competition in education funding, the debate between academic and technical, and the ongoing issue of old versus new industries and how this then impacts on rural communities and rural industries with particular reference to their implementation in a Tasmanian context. Chapter 3 is a review of the literature which has identified a number of themes relevant to the delivery of vocational education and training. These themes discuss the importance of leadership, advocacy, boundary crossers, adult learning and social capital, together with the political context, which may provide opportunities for a community to influence educational delivery. The research was based on qualitative methodology and a case study approach. The research uses document analysis and an interview process to collect data which was analysed for themes. Three case studies were identified as the result of the document analysis. Documents analysed consisted of a set of primary documents, particularly the Tasmanian Rural Industry Training Board (TRITB) minutes, which included advice, papers and ministerial pronouncements from state and federal governments, and letters, evaluations and input from various state and federal organisations. The cases were selected to provide an opportunity to consider different contexts in which vocational education and training was delivered. The three case studies considered in this research are the introduction of a new taxation system and the goods and services tax‚ÄövÑvp in 2000; the development, implementation and introduction of the national rural traineeship in 1994, and the direction by Australia's education and training minister in 1996 that the time serving apprenticeship system‚ÄövÑvp was to be replaced by a nationally imposed vocational training regime founded on competency based outcomes. The document analysis identified key personnel who were invited to participate in a semi-structured interview. To limit bias, those selected represented all the various groups who were involved in the case studies, as identified in the document analysis. The key finding from this research relates to the issue of boundary crossers; the research finds that both organisations and individuals can act as boundary crossers. The board represented a collection of individuals who were able to influence VET policy by developing collaboration and partnerships across defined boundaries. It also indicates that effective boundary crossers‚ÄövÑvÆwhether organisations or individuals‚ÄövÑvÆneed to have influential skills, particularly in leadership and advocacy. This allowed information and ideas to be facilitated across two domains. Importantly the research shows that organisations and institutions as well as individuals had an important role to play in advancing the VET agenda. In turn this assisted in raising the social capital in rural communities and related industries. Other implications from this research for VET policy development are how this approach may be of interest to central policy makers and local agencies who interact with the centre, how delivery to thin markets should be addressed, particularly with the new technologies, and the importance of community involvement in creating community leadership to advance the cause of rural communities and industries.


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Copyright 2015 the author

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