More than 110,000 students in secondary schools across Australia are undertaking special vocational education and training courses this year and enrolments in this programme are increasing faster than in any other.
Some schools have up to half their senior students taking part in the VET programme: this is a huge increase since 1995 when only 7 per cent of senior students were involved. Today, an estimated 2,000 schools offer VET courses, and thousands of Year 11 and 12 students are participating in school-industry work experience and training schemes.
However, a recent investigation found that the growth of the VET programme is occurring only at the margins as far as arrangements such as timetabling and allocation of financial and human resources are concerned. A report of the study says: "The academic curriculum has remained central and vocational options are offered only in a piecemeal manner."