Combining vocational and higher education studies to provide dual parallel qualifications – an Australian case study
McLaughlin, Patricia and Mills, Anthony 2011, Combining vocational and higher education studies to provide dual parallel qualifications – an Australian case study, Journal of vocational education & training, vol. 63, no. 1, pp. 77-86.
Developing academic relationships between vocational colleges and universities in Australia has been problematic, with exchanges between the two sectors limited to linear articulation and prescribed credit transfer. Whilst some very good examples of collaboration exist, the two sectors generally operate independently of each other. The isolation of the sectors has meant frustration for students and employers who want a flexible, collaborative model to meet changing industry needs. This paper reports upon a pilot project in construction management at a Melbourne university that attempted to address these needs. It demonstrates how over a five year period, HE students completed electives in practical units within the VET sector. The overwhelming success of the project meant that practical electives were embedded in the construction management programme in 2007 and this paper reports on the third, final phase of the project in 2009/10 which saw construction management students graduate with a dual qualification – both a vocational qualification and a university degree. Interviews conducted in this final phase reveal that students and industry want the benefits of a practical and theoretical qualification. The paper raises critical questions about educational pathways and suggests long-term implications for construction and tertiary education in Australia and internationally.
Field of Research
129999 Built Environment and Design not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design
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