Sunday, June 29, 2008

Switching on the **lights** around Employability Skills

We held our first South Australian Employability Skills Community of Practice (SAESCoP) Forum last week and some very interesting things came to light. We discovered that as a Community of Practice our 'common knowledge' about Employability Skills was that:

- the common thinking around Employability Skills within this group, and within the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector we suspect, was that we don't have a common understanding of the current thinking of how Employability Skills are to be delivered and assessed in new and revised training package:
- we have different levels of understanding of the term "Employability Skills" in VET, and have different conceptions of how Employability Skills should be implemented in VET
- some of our trainers will need to have their own Employability Skills further 'developed'
- we agree it is very important to support our clients to develop and assess their own Employability Skills, but developing Employability Skills is a long term, lifelong experience
- there is no 'accountability' in whether Employability Skills are being implemented effectively into VET ie Employability Skills are not audited, so will trainers bother changing what they are currently doing to incorporate them?
- to be truly effective, Employability Skills need to implemented at a systemic, Program Area/Work Team level, and ideally would be driven by the Quality Assurance Group (QAG) in the TAFEs - but they will require adequate time, money, resources and authority to support their trainers in this process
- Educational Managers should be working with their QAG reps, helping them roll out new and revised training models which explicitly incorporate Employability Skills, and not wait for this process to be managed up by the trainers
- the Industry Skills Boards should be taking a collaborative role in the embedding of Employability Skills and working in unison with trainers
- there needs to be a whole of organisation strategy to communicate the importance of Employability Skills to clients (and staff), and how the organisation plans to do this - (see Swinburne TAFE's approach)

In order to effectively and explicitly embed the development and assessment of Employability Skills of our clients VET REQUIRES key stakeholders within our organisations and in industry to provide the leadership and support for a whole of organisation approach to Employability Skills, as this can not by done via a trainer by trainer roll out approach.

Does your Training Organisation have the foresight, and even more importantly, the ability, to manage this change?

The vision of SAESCoP is to switch on a few lights along the Employability Skills pathway in VET.

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