Media release: New research centre tackling VET quality and transitions

In the wake of growing youth unemployment, stressed vocational training systems, and skills shortages and mismatches, the University of Melbourne is leading the way forward with the launch of a new Vocational Education and Training (VET) research centre.

Led by Professor John Polesel, the new Centre for Vocational and Educational Policy within the Melbourne Graduate School of Education brings together leading researchers to tackle critical VET reform issues.

"Collaboration and knowledge growth are critical now that regulatory and funding reform of the VET sector are clearly on federal and state government agendas," Professor Polesel said.

"Our new centre is one of the few research hubs in the world producing evidence-based analysis and policy advice in the field of education pathways and VET quality.

"We know that people are at greatest risk when they move from one education or employment phase in their life to the next, for example when they leave school to enter training or re-train for a new job.

"But Australia's stressed vocational training systems are buckling under growing pressure to solve problems spanning the entire labour market." he said.

The Centre for Vocational and Educational Policy is already working with industry and governments across Australia to address the issues of poor transitions, especially for the most disadvantaged young people.

"We're currently working with the Victorian Department of Education and Training and the LH Martin Institute to identify the critical capabilities VET teachers need to help students reach their full potential," Professor Polesel explained.

"Likewise, in New South Wales we are working with the NSW Department of Education to identify potential policy interventions to increase the number of young people completing higher level VET qualifications, such as diplomas and advanced diplomas."

Victorian Minister for Training and Skills, Steve Herbert, welcomed the Centre's establishment, saying, "I am excited to launch this new research centre which should provide valuable new insights about school and transitions to higher education, training and employment."

"Strong research to underpin Government programs and decision making is vital in our promise to address youth unemployment and disengagement in Victoria," Minister Herbert said.