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Whither rural industries? : Their influence on the education debate

Zichy-Woinarski, SR 2015 , 'Whither rural industries? : Their influence on the education debate', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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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” 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” 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
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—whether organisations or individuals—need 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.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Zichy-Woinarski, SR
Keywords: Rural Industries, Vet, influencing implementation
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2015 the author

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