Teacher industry placement in Australia: Voices from vocational education and training managers

  • Annamarie Schüller Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Roberto Bergami University of South Bohemia in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic
Keywords: Activity Theory; communities of practice; education–industry partnership; teacher professional development; workplace learning; expansive learning


An important aspect of vocational education and training (VET) teaching is education that is strongly linked to current industry practices. While this is a desirable pursuit, there are considerable challenges in it being implemented owing to increasingly changing work environments and the notion of ‘industry currency’. One way for VET teachers to remain up to date with contemporary industrial practices is for VET to pursue teacher placement in industry (TPI) opportunities. TPI is an agreement in terms of which the VET teacher is seconded to a firm for a period of time in order to perform predefined tasks. The resulting benefits include enhanced teaching practices and the development of deeper, long-term links with industry. However, TPI opportunities are not without their challenges. This article reports on an exploratory study of the views of VET education managers of business studies on the value of TPI. Because management support is integral to creating TPI opportunities, we explored the extent to which TPI is desired and supported by education managers. We found that policies supporting TPI initiatives, if they are in place, are not well formulated, and that a lack of resources and difficulties in finding industry partners exist. Despite these problems, education managers believe that these activities are of value to teaching programmes and of benefit to their department. We conclude that TPI should be an integral part of any VET professional development for teachers, but that, in order for TPI to be successful, appropriate resourcing and the development of strong industry networks are paramount.

Author Biographies

Annamarie Schüller, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

Annamarie Schüller is completing her PhD studies, focusing on teacher professional development, at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia. She has 20 years’ teaching experience in both the public and private VET sector. She has co-authored various publications on teacher industry placement resulting from a number of international research projects.

Roberto Bergami, University of South Bohemia in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic

Dr Roberto Bergami is Assistant Professor at the University of South Bohemia in the Czech Republic. He has over 20 years’ experience in the manufacturing sector and nearly 30 years’ teaching experience at universities and with vocational education and training (VET) and private providers in several countries. His publication areas include international trade, teacher professional development, and second-language acquisition.

How to Cite
SchüllerA., & Bergami, R. (2020). Teacher industry placement in Australia: Voices from vocational education and training managers. Journal of Vocational, Adult and Continuing Education and Training, 3(1), 24. https://doi.org/10.14426/jovacet.v3i1.123