Hundreds of educators and researchers from across the globe converged on the Gold Coast to share their work on the intersection of social and industrial change, vocational education policy and practice and the role of research, in April this year.

The 17th Annual Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association (AVETRA) Conference, was sponsored by the School of Education and Professional Studies (EPS) and organised by the Adult and Vocational Education (AVE) Team.

The conference was opened by Queensland Minister of Education, Training and Employment, the Honourable John-Paul Langbroek, MP.

In his speech, the Minister emphasised that the government viewed education as a continuum of schooling, vocational education and higher education and embraced the notion of lifelong learning as a way to address opportunities and challenges faced by the State. Minister Langbroek was introduced and thanked by Arts Education and Law Group Pro Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Mazerolle, who endorsed the Minister’s message about taking a broad view of education.

Dr Stephen Billett, of the AVE team, said the program of international presenters provided some challenges to delegates.

“Presenters challenged delegates to focus their important research and contributions in ways that illuminate and clarify the needs of the many stakeholders engaged in workforce development and adult learning, through education provision and practice,” Dr Stephen Billett said.

Key note speakers included:

  • Professor Tom Bailey from Columbia University, New York;
  • Dr Soon Joo Gog from the Institute for Adult Learning, Singapore;
  • Professor Erica Smith from Federation University, Victoria; and
  • Managing Director of Australia’s National Centre for Vocational Education Research, Rod Camm.

The keynote speakers were complemented by an international program of paper presentations by researchers from Denmark to New Zealand and almost everywhere in between.
Conference convenors included EPS Professor Stephen Billett and Dr Sarojni Choy, with support from the AVE team, as well as colleagues from the Gold Coast Institute of TAFE, the Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment, and TAFE Queensland.

“The conference organising committee worked on behalf of AVETRA to ensure the significant research contributions of adult and vocational educators are highlighted in these times of significant change,” Dr Sarojni Choy said.