Victoria University is a partner in the Footscray Learning Precinct, Australia’s largest education hub, providing integrated learning across all educational levels. The Precinct connects schools, preschools and the university through the implementation of a common learning framework and shared facilities. Footscray Precinct students were involved in the design and painting of a mural as part of Maribyrnong City Council’s StreetWORKS program delivered in partnership with VU and the Precinct schools. VU also delivered the UrbanSWIRL program to teach Indigenous perspectives to Footscray High School students as part of their Community STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) project based learning.
The Mitchell Institute’s Adjunct Professor Peter Dawkins together with Professor Martin Bean has delivered the Review of University-Industry Collaboration in Teaching and Learning, commissioned by the Federal Department for Education, Skills and Training (DEST, now the Department of Education). The Review recommended seven short-term actions government, higher education providers and industry can take to promote greater collaboration across the sector:
The Mitchell Institute contributed to the Review with a report on Industry Experiences and Their Role in Education to Work Transitions which found that: while higher education is still associated with strong employment outcomes at age 25, apprentices and trainees have some of the best employment and earnings outcomes; and there are increasing levels of part-time work among young people at age 25 and falling levels of wage growth over time.
Elizabeth Knight from VU joined Steven Hodge from Griffith University to provide a report to the National Centre of Vocational Education Research on integrating VET and higher education. This project looked at more highly integrated ‘consecutive’, ‘concurrent’ or ‘embedded’ VET and HE qualifications to determine whether and how they could be implemented more broadly.
The Mitchell Institute was seeking the establishment of a National Cadet Program to Improve Labour Market outcomes for Young People. The development of the proposal was a joint effort by the Mitchell Institute and David Lloyd of the University of South Australia, with the involvement of the University of Tasmania, researchers from University of Melbourne and the Australian Industry Group. As part of the efforts to develop the program, the Mitchell Institute in 2021 conducted a roundtable to bring together researchers and government members. The roundtable purpose was to discuss labour market challenges for young people and the requirements for the design of the proposed program. The roundtable was attended by researchers, the Vice-Chancellors of Victoria University and the University of Tasmania and officials from the Australian Treasury, DEST (now the Department of Education and the Victorian Department of Education and Training.
VU in the Community engages with local councils and communities in Melbourne’s West through place-based programs aimed at increasing access to educational opportunity and skills pathways. The following education and skills development programs were provided via the regional partnerships with local Councils:
- In Hume – short courses for optimising online business visibility to supporting local business capacity in the context of COVID-19; Multiversity scholarship program for locals, new collaborations with industry and local government to develop a circular economy strategy and a new education program to bridge skills gaps for workers in early childhood services; and in collaboration with VU Polytechnic, the Skills and Careers: Your Way employability program for a group of vulnerable women.
- In Wyndham – Wynnovation, offering intensive workshops to local small business owners in to learn the tools and skills to build their businesses; the Wyndham Learning Festival; and, the Community Classroom which provided local retailers with an opportunity to establish or build on their digital presence including social media, website and online store.
VU operates the Wyndham Tech School as a centre of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics learning for area schools. Programs were delivered to 35 schools for 24,500 Year 7–12 students.