Graduate employability in Australia: Time for a VET and HE overhaul?

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Transitions from Education to Work: Workforce Ready Challenges in the Asia Pacific, 2017, pp. 166 - 187
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© 2018 selection and editorial matter, Roslyn Cameron, Subas Dhakal and John Burgess; individual chapters, the contributors. This chapter explores the complexities Australia faces in sustaining its international influence and position as a competitive nation in numerous areas, such as exports and trade, as well as its stable political system and the overall wellbeing of its citizens. In common with other nations, the challenges relate to the need for improved educational policies in both vocational and higher education in order to support a nation that depends on the skilling and reskilling of it citizens. In addition, Australia has an ageing population alongside a low birth rate. Given Australia’s goal is to provide “high quality skills training that will meet student needs, be valued by employers, and contribute skilled human capital to an economy in transition” (Braithwaite 2016, p. 1), the quality of education (acquired skills and job prospects) must be relevant for students and their families. Braithwaite (2016) maintains that the VET sector once held a proud place in Australia’s education system, providing opportunities along a less academically and more practically oriented path. However, the VET sector is now under threat with “plummeting enrolments and a few rogue operators tarnishing the reputation of the sector” (CEDA 2016, p. 4).
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