Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Job seekers, traps, and Mickey-Mouse training
    Davis, Sarah Margaret ( 2012)
    Students have become commodities in a new market-driven Australian training system and according to the literature, increasingly subject to poor quality training. Some courses have not been adequate or appropriate for the learning needs of the students, nor industry requirements, and therefore flout the policy goal of a skilled workforce. This thesis aims to explore pathways to employment for African migrant women who undertook a Certificate III course in aged care, but remained unemployed in an area of apparent ‘skills shortage’. Utilising an ethnographic methodology, a small sample of migrant women graduates of aged care Certificate III courses participated in the study – some had been successful and others unsuccessful in obtaining employment in the field. A small sample of aged care team leaders were also interviewed. Sub-standard training qualifications were identified by participants as the biggest barrier to employment. Research findings suggest that fast-tracked, private for-profit training provision is likely to be of poor quality in comparison to public not-for-profit training provision. Findings also indicate that agents of various guises, often with conflicts of interest, have been recruiting students with apparent insufficient and even misleading information about courses. For the long-term benefit of society and the economy, a recognition of the role of well-resourced and funded public training institutions is recommended. If government continues to enable competition for funding between private and public training providers, adequate measures need to be in place to ensure more responsible disbursement of government funds in the training sector. Training providers need to be adequately checked before funds are allocated to them; including for their capabilities such as student support services, partnerships and track record of employment outcomes, but not overly audited and monitored so that professional accountability innovation and quality are stifled. Consumers need to be informed, protected and have bargaining power to be able to compete with the demands of large corporations and international markets. A Labour Market Entry Model (LMEM) is proposed that is a three pronged approach, managed and informed by an ethical local governance structure, of i) policies for quality training ii) career pathway information and iii) work creation for target labour, such as the migrant women, to overcome some of the barriers that they may face and to strategically reduce poverty and related issues in localities where there are concentrations of disadvantage. Until policies and resources are better directed towards a LMEM, partnerships of local agencies should enable residents and employer brokers to clarify career interests and aptitudes along with labour market entry requirements of local employers. They should also raise awareness on how to select a quality training course and determine which training providers and courses should be accepted into community spaces.