Competency Progression and Completion: How Is the Policy Being Enacted in Three Trades Research ReportReportar como inadecuado

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National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)

This paper examines how competency progression and completion is implemented in practice in three trades. In particular, it focuses on: interactions between teachers and/or assessors and workplace supervisors; the different approaches used to integrate on- and off-the job training; assessment and signoff practices; and the ways by which workplace supervisors and teachers and/or assessors ensure the outcomes meet the standards outlined in the respective training packages. In addition to a literature review and situational analysis, the research method includes interviews with 26 TAFE teacher-assessors teaching Certificate III in Commercial Cookery, Carpentry, and Engineering-Metal Fabrication. Twenty-one workplace supervisors in the cookery, engineering, and building and construction industries were also interviewed. The concepts of competency-based progression and completion are aligned with the notion that progression through training should be based on the skills attained rather than on the time served. The authors show that competency progression and completion is not a new phenomenon and was an early feature of competency-based approaches to vocational education and training (VET) in Australia. Indeed, trends in the data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) show that over the past decade there has been a gradual increase in the number of apprentices and trainees across all trades completing their qualifications in shorter periods of time. This report investigates some of the interrelated factors that affect progression and completion and shows that a gap remains between the policy construct and real practice, where the time-based approach to apprentice training is still dominant. Key Messages include: (1) Some of the barriers to competency progression include a lack of flexibility in training providers and employer attitudes to allowing apprentices to complete early; (2) Variations to training generally occur through informal negotiations and are not always recognised in the apprentice's training plan, suggesting that the training plans are not necessarily the dynamic document they are intended to be; (3) The most important enabler for competency progression and completion is good communication and information flow between teacher--assessors/and workplace supervisors, however, teacher-assessors are more likely than workplace supervisors to claim that communication between the two is adequate; and (4) While assessment and validation are generally the collective responsibility of teachers-assessors and workplace supervisors, there is now greater involvement of apprentices in their own assessment through collecting evidence and making decisions about whether they are ready to progress.

Descriptors: Vocational Education Teachers, Evaluators, Supervisors, Off the Job Training, On the Job Training, Interviews, Cooking Instruction, Woodworking, Metal Working, Competency Based Education, Skill Development, Apprenticeships, Student Evaluation, Interpersonal Communication, Adult Vocational Education, Foreign Countries

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:

Autor: Clayton, Berwyn; Guthrie, Hugh; Every, Pam; Harding, Regan


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