VDC continued the 15-year tradition of providing one of Australia’s leading Teaching and Learning Conferences for VET practitioners from public, private and community providers.

Running for two days, over the 18th and 19th of November, the theme for this year’s VDC conference spotlighted ‘Creativity, Connectivity, Productivity’.

In addition to the opening presentation by The Hon. Gayle Tierney, Minister for Training & Skills in Victoria, one of several high-profile keynote speakers, Dr Sean Gallagher, Director of the Centre for the New Workforce at Swinburne University of Technology presented with a focus on innovation.

Further sessions concentrated on professional learning and teaching practices. These included one by Andrew Douch looking at Teaching Outside the Box and another by Lena Cirillo, entitled Embedding Creativity in Teaching Practice.

There were other interactive virtual learning sessions too, along with a panel discussion, titled ‘Connecting and Collaborating with Industry’. You can take a quick look at an overview of the two-day program here.

Finally, there was a presentation by the Victorian Skills Commission CEO, Craig Robertson. His talk, entitled VET teacher practice for future skills, focused on a wide range of issues, including literacy and numeracy as a foundational skill along with the new kid on the block: digital skills and finally what we used to call employability skills – but now often referred to as 21st century skills.

So, he asked, is competency-based training – the foundation of much of VET at present – still fit for purpose? Maybe, he suggests, it’s not suited to the changing world we face.

He sees teaching and teacher professionalism at the heart of all that VET does, but is concerned, as Jenny Macklin was in her review, that compliance has become the mantra of VET at the expense of providing a high-quality educational experience for learners coupled with meaningful assessment.

He suggests that the new future for VET is focused on collaboration.