An evaluation of the impact of changes to the Metal Fabrication and Welding (Heavy) Trade Course in NSW

Year: 2008

Author: Lidbury, Ross, Gamage, David, Bourke, Sid

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Every country in the world has some form of an educational system leading to a Vocational Education and Training system. Vocational training is normally post secondary education but in some countries it is initiated during the schooling years. Other developed countries such as the United Kingdom have similarities in their competency based education system to that of Australia (Gunning, 1993). The challenges facing vocational education and training in the United States of America from the mid to the late 1990's had parallel's with those changes occurring in New Zealand at that time, these challenges are now being confronted by the Australian Vocational Education System (O'Connor, 1993).

Technical Education in New South Wales (NSW) evolved from the privately funded Sydney Mechanic's School of Arts in 1833. The NSW State Government assumed control of this institution in 1883 resulting in the expansion of the Technical Education at a rapid rate, and has developed into what is now called a Vocational Education and Training (VET) system (Goozee, 1995).

This comparative study of the MF&W trade course in 2001 and the newly introduced MF&W trade courses in 2004, focuses on the data from the exit tests. The discussions and recommendations also focus on types of benefits or deficiencies this major change has had in the knowledge base of the current apprentices from the trade course.

From 1972 to 1990 the MF&W trade course had not changed a great deal in its delivery mode or subject matter. The introduction of the Competency Based Training (CBT) format into the MF&W area of training in 1991 changed it from a lock step method of delivery. Lock step method underpinned the knowledge of the task step by step form whereas the modular based delivery contains the competency required for the task. During the decade that followed, there have been three major reviews of the MF&W (Heavy) trade, which have impacted on delivery, what is taught and how it is taught.