VET Teachers’ Perceptions on the Value of Industry Placement: Scoping Study in Australia

By Roberto Bergami and Annamarie Schuller.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Current trends in teaching in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) area favour an approach that aims to produce industry ready graduates who possess the requisite latest information, so they can ‘hit the ground running’ upon entering the workforce. This goal presumes that educators themselves, in this environment, equally possess the latest knowledge and are up-to-date with industry practices and approaches to contemporary challenges, but this may not always be possible, due to a variety of factors, including the fast pace of change in certain industries. Therefore to keep up to date, teachers, like other workers, need a program of professional development that enables them to engage with industry - one of the key stakeholders whose requirements they are trying to satisfy through classroom instruction. An industry placement opportunity provides such engagement with industry, as the teacher is seconded to a host industry organisation for a predetermined period of time to undertake agreed upon tasks. The benefits provided by an industry placement include: The up-skilling of the teacher, leading to a greater understanding of contemporary industry processes and practices that may be incorporated into classroom teaching; Showcasing the educational institution capabilities to the host organisation; and The teacher becoming a broker in the development of a community of practice with students, industry and the educational institution. This paper reports on the results of a scoping study undertaken at two public VET institutions in the State of Victoria Australia. The study, limited to the business education area, aims to capture teachers’ perceptions on the value of industry placements, and the results will be considered in the context of the development of communities of practice and tested against a theoretical model.

Keywords: Teacher Industry Placement, Communities of Practice, Teacher Professional Development

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 8, Issue 11, pp.9-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 681.801KB).

Dr. Roberto Bergami

Senior Lecturer, School of Applied Economics, Faculty of Business and Law, Victoria University, Footscray, Victoria, Australia

Roberto has over twenty years experience in the manufacturing industry, primarily within the pharmaceutical sector. He has held a number of roles in finance, sales, marketing, customer service and logistics, all with an international focus. Roberto’s teaching spans over 20 years with experience in Higher Education, TAFE and private education providers. A full time member of staff at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia, since 1998, Roberto has a Master in Education and Master of Business by Research (Applied Economics) and is currently undertaking his Ph. D. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Applied Economics and Associate Researcher of the Institute for Community, Ethnicity and Policy Alternatives. Roberto has maintained his involvement with industry through a number of peak associations where he enjoys various grades of senior level membership. In 2002 Roberto received the State of Victoria Quarantine Award for his efforts in educating students in quarantine matters. Roberto’s main areas of research interests in international trade focus on government regulations, delivery terms (Incoterms), international payment terms and market entry barriers. His other research interests include the development of communities of practice, online teaching and online communities, migration from Emilia-Romagna (Italy) to Australia and teenage/youth dialect.

Annamarie Schuller

Teacher, Department of Management and Leadership, School of Business, Victoria University, Dandenong, Victoria, Australia

Annamarie has been teaching business subjects in the VET sector since 1994. Her main areas of teaching specialisation include: Law, Management, Marketing, HR Management, OH&S. She has a Bachelor of Education from Melbourne University and is currently pursuing a Master of Education by Research at Monash University. Annamarie’s prior industry experience spans approximately 17 years within the transport, education, pharmaceutical and food industries. She held a number of roles including customer service, marketing, and management roles. Annamarie’s main area of academic research interest centers around teaching and learning practices, communities of practice, and teacher placement in industry. Annamarie is an Associate Researcher of the Institute for Community, Ethnicity and Policy Alternatives at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.


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