Toward Better Learning

By ACS Distance Education on December 10, 2014 in Education | comments

A NCVER report shows "just 13.6% of graduates from government funded private providers reported they had moved into higher skilled employment" after their training.

Less than 50% of graduates from TAFE or private providers, who were unemployed before training; were able to find employment after training.

38% of TAFE graduates are now going on to further training, commonly because continuing study is more feasible than finding work.

Clearly, doing an "accredited" course is not making the career difference that people assume.

There are a number of reasons:

1.  There is little control over the numbers of people doing courses. Governments fund people to do courses without looking at how many graduates are needed. Colleges accept people into courses, without considering if there will be a job for them at the end.
This means that we are seeing far too many graduates from some courses; where there are simply not the jobs. I was told by a colleague recently how his industry has five times more graduates than there are jobs, each year in his industry.

2.  Accredited vocational courses are not teaching what is needed.

3.  The world is changing faster than the system can cope with. Accreditation is a process that takes years. Courses that are accredited, have to be conceived, approved, funded, developed, then funded again for delivery. Courses that are not accredited simply need to be conceived and developed. Funding comes from the student fees. A non accredited course has the potential to be teaching things that were identified a few months ago; but an accredited course often needs to be teaching what was identified as a need a few years ago. This clearly doesn't work in today's fast moving world.

4.  There is too little diversity in "accredited" courses. An old saying states that "success comes from being a little bit different to your competition". Too many people are graduating from the same "National" qualifications; having learnt using the same things with the same learning ideology. When a hundred people go for the same job or compete for the same client; and 99 have the same training, the one who doesn't will be the one who stands out in the crowd.

5.   Employment today is driven by business. Even employment in the public sector is driven by business (government jobs need to be cost efficient; when commercial activity drops -taxes drop -and government employees are laid off). Employers are increasingly employing people because they can make them money; and decreasingly because of qualifications. Education is more important than ever -when it teaches you things that will make money. 

6.   The employment market is now "global". When you compete for jobs, you are competing internationally, in more ways than you might imagine. Employers will outsource work to other countries without a second thought, if that is more prudent than employing you at home.

7.  Both private businesses and public employers are doing more and more, with fewer people. This has been made possible by information technology, mechanisation, globalisation and other technologies. As a result; future employment has been trending toward "self employment" and "entrepreneurship". 

What Can You Do?

1.  Change your mindset. Think about where the world is going; not where it has been.

2.  Prepare for uncertainty and change. Recognise that any business or job you get into will keep changing; and you can either be part of that change; or be left behind.

3.  Learn, and keep learning -both formally and informally. Study programs can be valuable if they give you a very broad foundation; particularly if the mix of things you are studying, is different to what others in a chosen discipline are studying. Choose courses for what they will teach you, rather than for the "accreditations" they give you

4.  Cultivate skills in "entrepreneurship", business and management. Recognise reality: that your best chance for a good career may be working for yourself. Even if it isn't your preferred option; it may become your only option in the future. This doesn't mean running a business with employees, but it may mean being a one man band, operating as a contractor or consultant; moving from job to job.

5. Get experience -don't expect a course to be all you need. Do volunteer work if need be, to get started.

6. Avoid courses that are over subscribed. When enquiring, ask questions like: How many are currently enrolled in this course, across all colleges that offer it? and  How many graduates got jobs on graduating last year?

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