The Australian Educational Researcher

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 217–236 | Cite as

Emerging partnership practices in VET provision in the senior years of schooling in Australia

  • Gosia KlattEmail author
  • Teresa Angelico
  • John Polesel


School partnerships support the effective provision of Vocational Education and Training (VET) in the senior years of secondary schooling, to a varying degree, in most OECD nations. However, the nature and quality of these partnerships vary considerably from school to school and, indeed, from nation to nation (see Murray and Polesel, Eur J Educ 48(2):233–246, 2013). Given the role of these partnerships in VET provision in the senior years of schooling, it might be argued that there has been limited discussion about the role and nature of these relationships and the challenges associated with their establishment and long-term sustainability, especially in the Australian context (Allison et al. Building learning communities: partnerships, social capital and VET performance. NCVER, Adelaide, 2006). This paper explores the emergence of partnerships in a variety of educational and training contexts in Australia and describes the types of partnerships that have been established to respond to the specific needs of students. It also identifies the benefits and challenges associated with the delivery of VET programs through partnerships and the ways in which these partnerships can be developed and sustained to improve VET provision.


  1. Allison, J., Gorringe, S., & Lacey, J. (2006). Building learning communities: Partnerships, social capital and VET performance. Adelaide: NCVER.Google Scholar
  2. Anlezark, A., Karmel, T., & Ong, K. (2006). Have school vocational education and training programs been successful?. Adelaide: NCVER.Google Scholar
  3. Atweh, B., Taylor, S. & Singh, P. (2005). School curriculum as cultural commodity in the construction of young people’s post-school aspirations. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education annual conference, University of Western Sydney, Parramatta.Google Scholar
  4. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2010). Measures of Australia’s Progress (No. 1370.0).
  5. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2016). Schools, Australia 2016 (No. 4221.0).
  6. Australian Council of Educational Research. (2011). Final Report: The benefits of school-business relationships. Melbourne: Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations.Google Scholar
  7. Australian Government. (2010). Social inclusion principles for Australia. Canberra: Australian Government.Google Scholar
  8. Australian Government. (2014). Trade Training Centres in Schools Program: 2014 progress Report. Canberra: Department of Education and Training.Google Scholar
  9. Ball, S. J. (2007). Education plc: Understanding private sector participation in public sector education. Oxon: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ball, S. J. (2012). Global Education Inc.: New policy networks and the neoliberal imaginary. Oxon: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.Google Scholar
  11. Ball, S. J., & Junemann, C. (2012). Networks, new governance and education. Bristol: The Policy Press.Google Scholar
  12. Billett, S., Ovens, C., Clemans, A., & Seddon, T. (2007). Collaborative working and contested practices: Forming, developing and sustaining social partnerships in education. Journal of Education Policy, 22(6), 637–656. doi: 10.1080/02680930701625288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Black, S., Balatti, J. O., & Falk, I. A. N. (2010). Reconnecting young people with learning: A social capital approach in VET. International Journal of Training Research, 8(2), 103–115.Google Scholar
  14. Black, D., Polidano, C., & Tabasso, D. (2011). The role of VET-in-schools in school completion and post-school outcomes. Melbourne: Melbourne Institute of Apllied Economic and Social Research.Google Scholar
  15. Boccacin, L., Rossi, G., & Bramanti, D. (2011). Partnership, social capital and good practices among public, private and the third sector. Journal of US-China Public Administration, 8(3), 241–260.Google Scholar
  16. Broadbent, R., & Cacciattolo, M. (2013). The role of school community partnerships in building successful transition pathways for young people: One school’s approach. Australian Educational Researcher, 40(1), 109–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Clarke, K. (2013). Entry to the vocations: Strengthening VET in Schools. Adelaide: NCVER.Google Scholar
  18. Clemans, A., Billett, S., & Seddon, T. (2005). Initiating, developing and sustaining social partnerships through partnership work. In J. Searle, F. Beven, & D. Roebuck (Eds.), Vocational learning: Transitions, interrelationships. partnerships and sustainable futures (pp. 148–155). Brisbane: Australian Academic Press.Google Scholar
  19. Connor, J. (2006). What’s mainstream? Conventional and unconditional learning in Logan. Sydney: Dusseldorp Skills Forum.Google Scholar
  20. Council of Australian Governments. (2009). National partnership agreement on youth attainment and transitions. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.Google Scholar
  21. Davies, M. (2012). School partnerships: Connecting schools, workplaces, and communities. Paper presented at the COAG Reform Council’s Good Practice in Youth Transitions National Conference, Adelaide, South Australia, August 16–17, 2012.Google Scholar
  22. De Jong, T., & Griffiths, C. (2006). The role of alternative education programs in meeting the needs of adolescent students with challenging behaviour: Characteristics of best practice. Austalian Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 16(1), 29–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations. (2011). The compact with young Australians. Canberra: DEEWR.Google Scholar
  24. Economics, Access. (2005). The economic benefit of increased participation in education and training. Sydney: Dusseldorp Skills Forum.Google Scholar
  25. Eggers, W. D. (2008). The changing nature of government: network governance. In J. O’Flynn, & J. Wanna (Eds.), Collaborative governance. A new era of public policy in Australia? Canberra: ANU E Press.Google Scholar
  26. Hall, P., & Soskice, D. (2001). An introduction to varieties of capitalism. In P. Hall & D. Soskice (Eds.), Varieties of capitalism: The Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage (pp. 1–70). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hay, S. (2009). Transforming Social and Educational Governance: Trade training centres and the transition to social investment politics in Australia. British Journal of Educational Studies, 57(3), 285–304. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8527.2009.00441.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hay, S., & Kapitzke, C. (2009). School industry partnerships: Constituting spaces of global governance. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 7(2), 203–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Henderson, A. (2011). Family-school-community partnerships 2.0 Collaborative strategies to advance student learning. Washington: National Education Association.Google Scholar
  30. Iannelli, C., & Raffe, D. (2007). Vocational upper-secondary education and the transition from school. European Sociological Review, 23(1), 49–63. doi: 10.1093/esr/jcl019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kreisman, K., & Stange K. (2015). Vocational and career tech education in american high schools: Curriculum choice and labor market outcomes. Working Paper. [cited with authors’ permission].:
  32. Lamb, S., & Rice, S. (2008). Effective strategies to increase school completion: Report to the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Melbourne: Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.Google Scholar
  33. Lonsdale, M., Deery, A., Clerke, S., Anderson, M., Curtin, E., Knight, P., et al. (2011). Final report: The benefits of school–business relationships. Camberwell: ACER.Google Scholar
  34. MCEETYA. (2008). National Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. In MCEETYA (Ed.). Canberra: the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs.Google Scholar
  35. McNeil, L. M., Coppola, E., Radigan, J., & Vasquez Heilig, J. (2008). Avoidable losses: High-stakes accountability and the drop out crisis. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 16(3), 1–48.Google Scholar
  36. Mifsud, D. (2016). The policy discourse of networking and its effect on school autonomy: A Foucauldian interpretation. Journal of Educational Administration and History, 48(1), 89–112. doi: 10.1080/00220620.2016.1092427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mills, M., & McGregor, G. (2010). Re-engaging students in education. Brisbane: Youth Affairs Network Queensland.Google Scholar
  38. Murray, P., & Polesel, J. (2013). A comparative exploration of learning pathways and transition systems in Denmark and Australia. European Journal of Education, 48(2), 233–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. National Centre for Vocational Education Research. (2011). Young people in education and training 2009. Adelaide: NCVER.Google Scholar
  40. O’Flynn, J., & Wanna, J. (2008). Preface. In J. O’Flynn, & J. Wanna (Eds.), Collaborative Governance. A new era of public policy in Australia? Canberra: ANU E Press.Google Scholar
  41. Ogawa, R. T., & Kim, R. H. (2005). The business-education relationship. Journal of Educational Administration, 43(1), 72–85. doi: 10.1108/09578230510577308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Owen, C. (2004). Have we got what it takes?: The skills, rewards and recognition needed for teachers, youth workers and others in Learning Alternatives. Sydney: Dusseldorp Skills Forum.Google Scholar
  43. Perkins, Carl D. (2006). Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006. Washington: US Congress.Google Scholar
  44. Phillips, K. P. A. (2010). Unfolding opportunities: A baseline study of school business relationships in Australia. Canberra: Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.Google Scholar
  45. Polesel, J. (2008). Democratising the curriculum or training the children of the poor: School-based vocational training in Australia. Journal of Education Policy, 23(6), 615–632. doi: 10.1080/02680930802054420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Polesel, J., Helm, S., Davies, M., Teese, R., Nicholas, T., & Vickers, M. (2004). VET in Schools: A post-compulsory education perspective. Adelaide: NCVER.Google Scholar
  47. Polesel, J., Klatt, M., Blake, D., & Starr, K. (2016). Understanding the nature of school partnerships with business in delivery of vocational programs in schools in Australia. Journal of Education and Work. doi: 10.1080/13639080.2016.1165344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Salamon, L. M. (2000). New governance and the tools of public action: An introduction. Fordham Urban Law Journal, 28(5), 1611–1674.Google Scholar
  49. Seddon, T., & Billett, S. (2004). Social partnerships in vocational education: Building community capacity. Adelaide: NCVER.Google Scholar
  50. Sorensen, E., & Torfing, J. (2007). Theories of democratic network governance. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Stevens, P. A., & Van Houte, M. (2010). Adapting to the system of the student: Exploring Teacher adaptations to disadvantaged students in an English and a Belgian secondary school. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 33(1), 59–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Stokes, H., Stacey, K., & Lake, M. (2006). Schools, vocational education and training and partnerships: Capacity-building in rural and regional communities. Adelaide: NCVER.Google Scholar
  53. Suggett, D. (2014). Networking as system policy. Balancing vertical and horizontal dimensions. Victoria: Centre for Educational Research and Innovation.Google Scholar
  54. Taylor, A. (2006). The challenges of partnership in school to work transition. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 58(3), 319–336. doi: 10.1080/13636820600955716.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Te Riele, K. (2012). Learning choices: A map for the future. Sydney: Dusseldorp Skills Forum.Google Scholar
  56. Te Riele, K., & Crump, S. (2002). Young people, education and hope: Bringing VET in from the margins. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 6(3), 251–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Turner, L. (1994). Social partnerships: An organising concept for industrial relations reform (Electronic version). Workplace Topics, 4(1), 83–97.Google Scholar
  58. Wanna, J. (2008). Collaborative government: meanings, dimensions, drivers and outcomes. In J. O’Flynn, & J. Wanna (Eds.), Collaborative governance. A new era of public policy in Australia? (pp. 3–12). Canberra: ANU E Press.Google Scholar
  59. Whitty, G., & Wisby, E. (2016). Education in England—A testbed for network governance? Oxford Review of Education, 42(3), 316–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Woolcock, M. (2001). The place of social capital in understanding social and economic outcomes. ISUMA Canadian Journal of Policy Research, 2(1), 11–17.Google Scholar
  61. YacVic (2011). Innovative learning options and the rural youth sector. Melbourne: Youth Affairs Council of Victoria and Victorian Rural Youth Services.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Vocational and Educational PolicyThe University of MelbourneCarltonAustralia
  2. 2.Melbourne Graduate School of EducationThe University of MelbourneCarltonAustralia

Personalised recommendations