Constructing the good worker: policies, practices and assumptions informing Victorian Technical Schools Division reform, 1967-1973

Peter Rushbrook, Lesley Preston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the late 1960s the Victorian vocational education sector was in crisis. The federal Martin Report into tertiary education excised many of the sector's university-level courses and relocated them into new Colleges of Advanced Education (CAEs), leaving many 'middle-level' and technician vocational courses in limbo. Junior technical schools also offered apprenticeship and middle-level courses, further confusing where courses were to be or should be situated, suggesting an overall institutional 'gap' in program provision. This challenge came at a time when the Technical Schools Division (TSD), the smallest of Victoria's three division structure (primary, secondary and technical) continued its struggle to maintain sectoral identity through courting acceptance from private industry and the public sector for its credentialled programs. TSD Director Jack Kepert, followed by Director Ted Jackson, creatively addressed these challenges through radical policy shifts designed to reshape the TSD's structure and functions and its reporting relationships within a new technical college and junior technical school system and with the Director-General of the Education Department, the Minister for Education and a range of public service and private industry policy and curriculum bodies. Nearly a decade of reflection and experience came together in Ted Jackson's radical policy statement, The future role of technical schools and colleges (1970), which facilitated these changes. The paper critically narrates the events constituting this period of policy innovation and evaluates their contribution to the creation of a more seamless and 'closed' relationship between junior technical schools, technical colleges and the world of work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-81
Number of pages13
JournalHistory of Education Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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