Trust and the informal communication of training need and demand between VET providers and users

Peter Rushbrook, Richard Pickersgill

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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The paper focuses on the processes, and in particular non-market mechanisms, through which training needs are communicated or signalled to VET providers in rural settings. Qualitative data were gathered through interviewing a range of VET providers, employers, community groups and VET clients. Descriptive statistical data were also gathered to illustrate the relationship between supply and demand in a number of sub-regions. A key outcome of the research suggests that 'trust' and the particularities of 'place', when contextualised within the interactions occurring in rural settings, often lead to the communication of client needs to VET providers. Unlike urban settings that through geographic size and greater demographic distribution tend to separate professional and social networks, 'the bush' conflates social and professional networking through regular formal and informal meetings in a variety of workplace, community and social settings, thus creating opportunities for the communication of a range of commercially utilisable knowledges, including VET issues of supply and demand. The glue binding these 'intellectual spillovers', 'non-market mechanisms' or 'non-price signals' is trust. Information gleaned from focus groups, key informants, sites visits and desktop research consistently demonstrated 'trust', defined as the micro-observable and mutually accountable reciprocity of needs, as the basis of informal and most formal communications of VET need and demand. The researchers conclude that the dilemma with informal, trust-based communication is its randomness, which mitigates its potential for enhancing VET provider-client relationships and partnerships. A proposed solution to capture the inherent value of informal communication while recognising the realities of the rural and regional VET marketplace is to bring together VET providers and clients in a 'neutral space' auspiced by a non-VET body such as a purpose constructlocal government body; for example the range of bodies created through the Victorian 'learning towns' network.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVET in context, 11th Annual AVETRA Conference
EditorsCathy Down
Place of PublicationAustralia
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780980527506
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventAustralian Vocational Education and Training Research Association Annual Conference - University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 03 Apr 200804 Apr 2008


ConferenceAustralian Vocational Education and Training Research Association Annual Conference


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