One of the VDC’s most respected presenters, Chloe Dyson, passed away recently. We can do nothing better in this edition of VDC News than celebrate her life, much of which was devoted to improving the quality of the VET system and its practices.
Chloe passed away mid-November after a relatively short but typically brave battle with cancer. Those of us who knew her and had worked with her over many years are saddened beyond words by the loss of one of VET’s greats. Chloe was a well-known state and national auditor strongly committed to improving the quality of VET’s providers of all types: public, private, community and enterprise-based. She always undertook this role with real grace and soul, coupled with a sense of what was contextually right. She was particularly interested in competency-based assessment and the development of VET’s trainers and assessors, being regularly called on to provide professional development programs by us. The VDC programs she ran were built around her major interests and skills.
Through VDC she helped participants preparing for ASQA audits, focusing particularly on identifying and organising the necessary evidence. A second series of workshops helped support and develop the skills of internal auditors while the third addressed overcoming, or hopefully avoiding, assessment non-compliances.
Maybe less well known, but equally important, was her work as a researcher and consultant of considerable note, working at that for the past 20 years through her company CDA Consulting. Some of this work is not in the public domain, but a quick look at VOCED and then using Chloe Dyson as the search term shows an enviable, valuable and wide-ranging body of consultancy, research and evaluation. So, let’s celebrate her life in by highlighting some of this and other achievements.
In her earlier VET life, she had a range of management roles in the TAFE sector. The earliest paper I found on VOCED dates from around the mid-1990s and described the work of the Recognition & Assessment Centre at Broadmeadows College of TAFE. This centre focused on training assessors in RPL, then relatively new as a concept. It was also concerned with improving assessment in the workplace and other curly and persistent issues in assessment practice. Later work with Jack Keating took these topics more international through an ILO publication. Other work in 1999 looked at the literacy and numeracy needs of those studying in prisons. She also undertook one of the first, if not the first, strategic audit of the Certificate IV – then in its BSZ form – with long-time friend and collaborator Andrea Bateman. This was followed in 2007 by work on higher level qualifications and their importance in the training market with colleagues Sue Foster, Bernadette Delaney and Andrea Bateman. The eligibility for RTOs to receive public funding and the delivery and assessment of VET in schools were issues she also tackled. One of the pivotal pieces of work, though, looked at validation and moderation processes in diverse settings in RTOs for the National Quality Council with Shelley Gillis and Andrea Bateman. Her final research activity was with Andrea Bateman focusing on the quality assurance of higher education in ASEAN (just published).
So, how can one best summarise all this? Let me try: What a life, what a legacy, what a loss.