Issue 7
Monday, 09 May 2016
Charles Darwin University
Dr Don Zoellner: “Different solutions to similar problems”
Dr Don Zoellner: “Different solutions to similar problems”

Zoellner paper top of the class

By Patrick Nelson

Alice Springs academic Dr Don Zoellner has received high praise for a paper he presented to Australia’s leading vocational education and training research conference recently.

Dr Zoellner’s paper “Fixing problematic apprentice systems: there is never a clean slate” was judged conference paper of the year at the Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association annual conference in Sydney.

“It was one of about 65 presentations made at a conference that brings together researchers from industry, government and tertiary education sectors,” Dr Zoellner said.

“My paper compared apprentice systems in the UK and Australia, with a focus on the ‘who-benefits-who-pays’ equation.

“The answer to ‘who pays’ generally reflects the prevailing view about the role of the state, private enterprise and the individual system.

“Employer levies have been introduced in the UK to pay for their system, whereas in Australia we have government-sponsored loans that are shifting the cost towards the student.

“They are very different solutions to two remarkably similar sets of problems.”

Dr Zoellner, a University Fellow with CDU’s Northern Institute, said he was delighted to have been acknowledged by his peers at AVETRA, Australia’s premiere research organisation for vocational education and training.

“The size and economic importance of the national apprentice system in Australia makes it a site for a never-ending contest for control between various interest groups.

“This is likely to be heightened as the election cycle intensifies in the next few weeks,” Dr Zoellner said.