Filling the Skills Gap in Australia – VET Pathways

  • Alan Beckley
  • Clare Netherton
  • Tracy Barber


In 2008 the authoritative Bradley Report into education in Australia identified a skills gap in the overall workforce in the country which, if not addressed, would disadvantage the nation in terms of international trade and technological innovation and development. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) set targets for investment in potential students who would not traditionally enter tertiary education; that is, mainly those from low socio-economic backgrounds. The Australian federal government administered grants for states and territories to fulfil education targets through the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships (HEPPP) funds. The subject of this paper is the Bridges to Higher Education (Bridges) program, a collaborative initiative provided by five Sydney universities working in partnership to deliver widening participation projects in New South Wales. As part of the Bridges program, two universities- University of Technology Sydney and Western Sydney University- worked together on the Pathways/VET projects which developed several hundred pathways and many workshops for potential students. Two case studies are included to illustrate that significant outcomes were achieved through the project which was externally evaluated by Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG).


Widening participation VET pathways Building aspiration Transition Retention and success 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Beckley
    • 1
  • Clare Netherton
    • 2
  • Tracy Barber
    • 2
  1. 1.Office of Widening ParticipationWestern Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Equity and Diversity UnitUniversity of Technology SydneySydneyAustralia

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