Those of you who follow some of the trends in the world may be aware of the Marie Kondo method, which is about systematically ‘tidying up’ so that your life is less crowded and full of joy.

Is this something that we now need to do in VET in Australia? Could we use some joy right now?

To explain: I have an in-law who is a real hoarder. His wife, my sister in law, is not allowed to throw away anything. My late father in law was the same way. You would ask him for a piece of wire. He would rummage in the shed and return triumphantly some considerable time later with an old and rusty length of it. “There you are”, he would say. Your mother in law told me to throw this out in 1954 (It was then the late 1980s!), but you see, it’s come in useful!

I wonder if VET has become the same way. We have tended to pile policy on policy and add more regulation to regulation. Training packages tend to be the same. They are filled with detail when the competency standards for the nursing profession are eleven pages long. Those for a stage 1 engineer – the basic level – occupy six pages.

So, is VET drowning in excessive and growing detail? Are we hoarding: hanging on to some things that really are now just miscellaneous and sentimental but are not that useful anymore?

‘Marie Kondo’ is a process my daughter practices with vigour to overcome hording and not have a cluttered life, and this means that she adds new things but at the same time discards anything that is not really useful anymore.

Here’s maybe what VET needs to do now. Here’s what we might have to do:

  • Imagine the ‘ideal’ VET sector and its various components
  • Commit ourselves to tidying up the current one
  • Discard what is really no longer needed first, and
  • Before getting rid of items, sincerely thank each item for serving its purpose.
  • Tidy by category
  • Follow the right order, but think what that order should be, and finally.
  • Ask yourself whether what we are thinking about getting rid of really still sparks joy. If it doesn’t it’s gone!!

Is this a good idea or just crazy thinking by an admittedly old VETtie?

Author: Hugh Guthrie