Embracing the Unknown to Effect Change

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Challenges Facing Vet in Australia

When it comes to VET, we enter a touchy territory. Not because of VET for VET’s sake, but because of the numerous happenings in the sector right now. Change is afoot. And if there’s one thing that most humans are reluctant to embrace, that is change.

Even when we fully understand what the change is, how and when it will occur, why it will occur, what will happen when it does, and who will be affected (our own circumstances are always top of mind), we are generally reluctant. And right now, we’re in a situation where change is coming but we’ve got no idea what that exactly means. And worse, we’ve got little, to no feeling of control over the imminent unknown.

Add to this the fact that people’s livelihoods are going to be impacted and you’ve got a potentially fairly turbulent mixing bowl.

Note though, that ‘turbulence’ need not be a violent upset. It could simply mean a rigorous shake-up to the status quo. And certainly, that is the communicated intent of all reviews, redesigns and redressing currently underway.

VET is undergoing change.  Students, providers, regulators and all other stakeholders are going to be impacted. How? We don’t know yet. Why? Because right now, not everything seems to be working in harmony as one would expect of an ecosystem.  Something, somewhere along the way is causing a kink in the line. I’ve not come across one VET-involved person who doesn’t have an opinion on why or where that kink is; we all have our opinions based on our own experiences, understandings and interests.  But as an ecosystem, the expectation is that each piece – interdependent on the other – works to support the outputs of the others.  So, if one thing changes, what else is going to be dominoed?

For every person working in vocational education, my encouragement is to continue being the best you can be. Reflect often on what surrounds you and how you can positively respond. Be as informed as you can be and encourage inquisitive investigation for the facts of the matter.  Pass on these attitudes by modelling them to your students, staff and customers.  And get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Feeling uncomfortable about being “in the dark” about what change is going to bring, is a normal human response.  It’s what has secured our evolutionary existence!

For now, we need to secure the evolution of VET and hope that with change comes an opportunity to grow.

Published November 2019

What do you think?

Join the discussion of this and other Challenges at the VET PD Group – Community of Practice.

About the Author:

Michelle Charlton is the Principal of VET PD Group.  Michelle currently works with her team to offer specialised VET and RTO services, through resource development, validation services, and VET professional development opportunities.

Her earlier contributions to the Challenges in VET series include:

Expectations associated with Assessment

Keeping up by Letting go

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