The aim of my presentation is to open discussion regarding the urgency of partnership and collaboration between Australian Universities and TAFEs to meet the ongoing demands of economic and technological growth in the STEM domain.
As a student studying Masters of Education (specialising in STEM) at Melbourne University, I am enthusiastic regarding the opportunities for STEM study and skill innovation that can arise from the partnership of universities and TAFEs. These collaborations have been successful in Europe and could help students of STEM gain both theoretical and practical knowledge regarding their chosen, specialised fields. Furthermore, collaborative studies between universities and TAFEs could lead to STEM knowledge and skills that are relevant to the specific jobs that are increasing in Australia regarding technology. In order to endorse such a collaboration, I support the argument made by Associate Professor Ruth Schubert (2017) that “TAFEs need the flexibility of being self-accrediting for their courses, equivalent to universities.” Such flexibility would empower Universities and TAFEs to collaboratively create courses that “connect skills and industry to the applied research and innovation on which Australia’s future depends.” Universities can help TAFEs become self-accrediting. Such partnerships can transform TAFEs into Polytechnic institutions that accredit applied sciences relevant to ongoing innovation and research between universities, Polytechnic institutions and the workforce relevant to STEM.