VETnetwork Australia - Our History

VETnetwork Australia was established in 1995 by an initiative of a group of senior secondary teachers in the ACT. This group was successful in attracting funding for a project titled "The Establishment of a National Network of Associations of Teachers of Vocational Education" - and a major part of this funding involved the hosting of a national conference in July 1995. This was one of the first occasions when VET teachers, coordinators and VET stakeholders from all Australian states came together. One of the significant outcomes of this conference was the full endorsement of a recommendation that a national vocational education support network be established.

By September 1995 VETnetwork Australia's 16 member National Steering Committee, consisting of two delegates from every state, was established and met for the first time. At this meeting it undertook to incorporate VETnetwork Australia, drafted a constitution, and set in process a further proposal for funding under the then National Professional Development Program. This aimed to appoint a full-time Executive Officer and establish a central national office.

In March 1996 VETnetwork Australia's national office was established in Tasmania, and a subsequent meeting of the National Steering Committee in April 1996 set the strategic directions of the new network and established operational parameters. The new national newsletter, "The VETnetworker" was first published in May 1996 and the first VETnetwork Australia website was commissioned in late 1996. An active promotional campaign to publicise the network and to recruit members was undertaken, and by September, 320 new members had joined. In September 1996 VETnetwork Australia was officially launched at a national conference jointly hosted with the Australian Post Compulsory Education and Training Association and the Australian National University.

During 1997 VETnetwork Australia continued to flourish despite the withdrawal of its government funding support. By the end of the year 668 VET professionals had joined and VETnetwork Australia was now well established as a professional body. “The VETnetworker” publication was used to promote best practice and to highlight events and achievements.

In 1998 VETnetwork Australia hosted the inaugural VETnetwork Australia National Conference in association with the Post Compulsory Education and Training Association of South Australia. This was widely hailed as a major event for the emerging schools-based vocational education and training community, attracting 600 delegates to Adelaide in August 1998. It was also the occasion for the launch of "VOCAL", The Australian Journal of Vocational Education and Training in Schools. VOCAL sought to bring together in the one publication contributions from leading edge writers and researchers in the VET area.

During the period to 2000, VETnetwork Australia matured as a professional association, winning substantial contracts with the GST Start Office and the Department of Education, Science and Training for the delivery of a wide range of services involving the promotion of major policy initiatives such as school based apprenticeships / traineeships, and promotion of VET in schools programs as agents for improving retention in indigenous communities.  Following a brief relocation to Canberra, the National Office has operated from South Australia since 2009.

VETnetwork Australia has continued to host exceedingly successful biennial conferences which are always highly attended. VETnetwork Australia is proud to continue the quarterly publication of (The) ‘VETnetworker’, as well as biennial publications of VOCAL and has introduced the ‘peer reviewed’ Monograph Collection. Membership has continued to prosper and diversify, with membership including vocational educators and administrators, teachers, industry, employers and other individuals engaged in vocational education. VETnetwork Australia continues to win substantial contracts to provide a diverse range of programs and services that provide support to individuals working in and across vocational education and training in Australia. With membership and professional learning events still at its core, VETnetwork has also continued to diversify and has delivered highly successful programs such as the Mentoring Australia’s Apprentices Project[MAAP] and AuSkills (a collaboration with WorldSkills Australia) nationally, and more recently, offers Training Services to schools across South Australia – with a view of expanding services in the near future.

The archive video  below was published in February 2015, people shown and their related positions were correct at the time of publication.

Please refer to ‘About Us’ and  VETnetwork Australia Board and VETnetwork Australia Staff for current details.