Researching VET and Disability. At a GlanceReport as inadecuate

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National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)

This publication is dedicated to Chris Selby Smith, who was posthumously awarded the 2009 National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) VET Researcher of the Year Award. Selby Smith's body of work displayed many aspects of the excellence for which the award is offered. His experience working in both academia and the public service gave him an appreciation of both audiences and allowed him to make a successful connection between research and decision-making in public policy. Throughout his career, Chris Selby Smith worked for many research organisations and was a driving force in the wider research effort within vocational education and training (VET). In 1992 he co-founded the Centre for the Economics of Education and Training at Monash University. One of Selby Smith's particular interests was research into VET and people with a disability. In a chapter he co-wrote for the "Elsevier International Encyclopedia of Education" (with Fran Ferrier, 2010), Selby Smith highlighted issues that are pertinent to furthering debate and action on ways to improve the lives of people with disabilities. They suggested that individuals need to know more about how the type of disability affects engagement with training; what outcomes people are achieving; and what employers think (Ferrier & Selby Smith 2010). Selby Smith and Ferrier also called for more ideas on workable funding models and services, such as career advice and staff development, and underlined the difficulties in building individuals' knowledge, given the unreliability of the data available for studying the topic. This publication addresses these issues. First, the authors present some recent statistics on VET students with a disability; they then summarise the findings of recent research published or being undertaken by NCVER. Finally, they discuss some of the challenges of undertaking research in this area. (Contains 1 figure and 4 tables.)

Descriptors: Disabilities, Vocational Education, Educational Research, Access to Education, Participation, Graduation Rate, Employment Level, Employment Potential, Research Problems, Accessibility (for Disabled), Outcomes of Education, Apprenticeships, Training, Foreign Countries, Change Agents, Professional Recognition

National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd. P.O. Box 8288, Stational Arcade, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Tel: +61-8-230-8400; Fax: +61-8-212-3436; e-mail: ncver[at]; Web site:

Author: Griffin, Tabatha; Beddie, Francesca


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