Vocational education leader honoured

Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane, represented by Rowan Ramsey MP, presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Berwyn Clayton at a gala ceremony in Adelaide last week.

Berwyn Clayton, outgoing director of VU’s Work-based Education Research Centre (WERC), was recognised for nearly 30 years of distinguished service to workplace learning, teaching and assessment, and for improving professional practice in the VET sector.

During that time, Berwyn worked as a teacher, curriculum development manager, professional developer, evaluator and researcher. She is widely acknowledged as a pioneer in promoting the value of research in vocational education and for serving as a research leader.

Berwyn’s contribution to the sector crosses geographic and institutional boundaries, reflected in the way she has generously shared her expertise, common sense and considerable wisdom with individuals, organisations and governments across Australia.

In 2001 Berwyn was made a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators, and appointed president of the Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association from 2000 to 2004, an organisation she helped found. The biennial Berwyn Clayton Award was established in her name in 2006 for distinguished service to the Association.

The National Centre for Vocational Educational Research named Berwyn its VET researcher of the year in 2011, and in 2012, she received Victoria University’s first Chancellor’s medal for her valuable research and admired standing in the profession.

Berwyn drove the establishment of a Master of Education (VET) at VU, a program that produced its first graduates in 2011. She also helped the University attract other leading VET researchers as VU staff or associates.

Prior to joining VU, Berwyn spent 24 years at the Canberra Institute of Technology during a formative period of Australia’s national training system. In her last ten years there, Berwyn was founding director of the Institute’s Centre Undertaking Research in Vocational Education, the only research centre in Australia within a TAFE institute at the time.   

Berwyn remains a sought after speaker and participant at conferences, and her advice is keenly sought by other VET leaders, policy-makers and practitioners. She has acted as a mentor to many of the sector’s current and emerging leaders, in particular those negotiating new paths into research.

2015 update

VU hosted a farewell symposium in November 2014 to honour Berwyn and her work on before she relocated to Canberra.

Department of Industry and Science YouTube video of the announcement of the award, with Berwyn speaking about her work in the VET sector over 33 years.

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