FETRC Associate Faculty Dr Annelies Kamp presents her work at JVET, June 2019
Former DCU academic Annelies Kamp presented a paper at this year’s 2019 Journal of Vocational Education and Training biennial conference in Keble College, Oxford, UK. Dr. Kamp is part of FETRC’s Associate faculty and is part of FETRC’s advisory panel. Kamp’s world-renowned work on vocational education and training took the form of a paper examining Apprenticeships in Aotearoa with a focus on skills formation. Her paper suggests that Apprenticeship in NZ has social and economic potential as a cost-effective and efficient approach to skills formation for the apprentice, employer and government. A fully optimized model of apprenticeship could move Aotearoa New Zealand towards a high skill equilibrium system, linking skill formation to increased productivity and citizen employability (Piercy & Cochrane, 2015). The paper went on to state that, despite a range of policy initiatives, the link between skill formation and productivity has, however, not been realised. Research suggests this policy failure rests in too great a focus on supply issues - stocks of qualifications and completion rates of them-rather than being equally attentive to issues of demand, development and deployment of skills (Anderson & Walhurst, 2012). In a globalised knowledge economy (Castells, 1996), tertiary education has moved towards a market-based model that aims to function collaboratively in pursuit of a comprehensive and seamless tertiary system that can improve Aotearoa’s lagging productivity in the OECD (McCann, 2009). This system has a diverse range of organisations, industries, cost structures, and operating models (Industry Training Federation, 2016). Jackson & Jordan (2000) note that policy makers, apprentices and other stakeholders find themselves in contested territory; ‘coordination issues have plagued the system’ (Piercy & Cochrane, 2015, p. 64). For the system to move towards achieving ‘optimal conditions for skill development’, partnerships need to be strengthened (Dalziel, 2014). However, other factors such as technology, qualification structures, institutional norms, stakeholder governance regimes, school qualifications, standard operating procedures, legislation, health and safety legislation, funding, timetables and so on all have an impact and require analysis. Furthermore, the paper explored the potential of using Actor-Network Theory to contribute to an enhanced understanding of the policy context and its challenges. ANT is an approach that is amendable to contexts where change is frequent, when innovations are prolific, where multiple threads of relationship form and reform between human and non-human actors. Its use is burgeoning in international research in a range of disciplines given its focus on tracing and making explicit how a particular configuration has come together, how and by what it is held together, and how it might be alternatively put together. This alternative approach can refer to different ideas, different priorities, different architecture, different values, different curriculum, different resources, different ‘standards’, different staff, different notions of time and place. The paper introduced and presented the first phase of a multi-level research project and includes documentary analysis to frame its argument.