Viewed from the margins: navigating disadvantage and VET

George Myconos, Eric Dommers and Kira Clarke

How can Australia’s vocational education and training sector meet the needs of disadvantaged young students?

At a glance

A large number of Australians are choosing to study through vocational education and training (VET). Focusing on trades-based rather than academic courses at university, the sector is a huge support for disadvantaged Australians looking for qualifications to help them enter the workforce.

Ideally VET provides skill-based training, networks and overall support for students. However, unless the sector deliberately pays attention to the needs of students who lack more all-around supports, they will struggle to respond in effective ways.

In this report, the authors explore the VET experiences of young students who left school before the end of Year 12 and ask how the sector can meet the needs of disadvantaged learners.

Dive deeper

The authors explore the experiences of young early school leavers undertaking vocational education to illuminate broader issues.

They argue that policymakers and provider communities must first affirm equity and access as central to the sector’s core business. They point to changes that might enable the VET sector to better meet the needs of early school leavers, and indeed all disadvantaged learners.

Access other papers by visiting Vocational education for the 21st century: a series of policy discussion papers produced by the LH Martin Institute at the University of Melbourne.

Last updated on 15 April 2020