Policy, Practice, and the Construction Of Paraprofessional or "Middle-Level" Vocational Education Curriculum In Victoria, Australia, 1957-1975


  • Peter Rushbrook Charles Sturt University


Peter Rushbrook, 2007, HIC, History


The paper considers policy and practice issues associated with the construction of Australian paraprofessional or middle-level vocational education curriculum in the 1950s and 1960s. It argues for an organic interpretation of post-compulsory vocational education and training, and policy-making as a series of loosely-contested outcomes produced through the machinations and interactions of industry and institutional stakeholders. Detailed policy at this time was rarely decreed by the government, a familiar twenty-first century practice. Rather, it grew incrementally, particularly in response to the influence of groups involved in curriculum-making. Utilizing the tools of the historian and insights gained from the field of policy analysis, the paper narrates and analyses the process of policy construction through the disproportional involvement of professional engineers on the development of technician programs. Historical links are made with contemporary vocational education practice.

Author Biography

Peter Rushbrook, Charles Sturt University

Peter Rushbrook PRushbrook@csu.edu.au is Senior Lecturer in Vocational Education and Training (VET) in the School of Education at Charles Sturt University (CSU), Wagga Wagga Campus, New South Wales, Australia. His research interests include the history of Australian adult and vocational education and training, historiography, biography, workplace learning, and professional practice. Peter is a member of CSU's Research Institute of Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE), and Honorary Secretary of the Australian and New Zealand History of Education Society (ANZHES). Before beginning a second career as a university academic, Peter worked for twenty-five years in Victorian junior technical schools, Technical and Further Education (TAFE) colleges, and adult and community education centres.