Steve Hatch is the CEO and major shareholder in National Skills Academy a group of Australian Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) (Private Vocational Education and Training Providers); a Director and largest shareholder of Rubicor Group Limited an Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) Listed Recruitment and Training (RTOs) Company; and a vendor of Avana Group part of recently ASX listed Vocational and Higher Education provider Vocation Limited. Steve has over 20 years’ experience in the Training and Education market across TAFE (Government owned and funded Vocational Education and Training Providers), Private RTOs and Universities.
Steve holds a Master of Education (Adult Education), and a Master of Online Education.
1. What are the unmet needs of students in schools and colleges today?
In Australia our unmet needs are in the Vocational Trades areas (Builders, Plumbers, Electricians, Mechanics…) in city areas as the vast majority of school leavers are moved into universities, we are seeing large shortages of trade based students.
For country students we still have network infrastructure issues with broadband suitable to interactive learning, but this should be rectified over the next 5 years through the rollout of the National Broadband Network a A$34b government initiative.
A broader issue across the pacific islands is availability of means of completing university studies without needing to leave home and moving to Australia or New Zealand. Little technology exists in these markets. We need to equip the students to free them from the classroom.
2. How important are corporate training and lifelong learning going to be in the future?
In Australia we are expecting the retirement age to be raised from 65 to 70 as the government grapples with funding a growing aging population. This will only increase the need for lifelong learning, vocational and corporate training as people stay in the workforce longer and move into new jobs.
3. What is the role of vocational education in the 21st century?
The role of vocational education will play a greater role in supplementing university education as skills needs evolve over time. It is also playing a greater role in the lives of professional people as industry and governments demand that these people undertake regular professional development. Also with many industries undergoing structural change the need for vocational training will only increase as more people need to be reskilled. 20 years ago it was accounts people and other office workers that needed reskilling to handle computers, today it is warehousing staff and other low skilled occupations that are being transformed by technology.
4. What are the questions about the future of education and education technology that need to be answered by further research?
One of the most important questions that needs to be addressed is how technology delivered education is driven in both design and levels of interactivity. The research should be based on the student’s experience and then this should influence how we design the learning and learning experience. If we can improve the experience then we should improve the completion rates of people undertaking technology based education.