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Leaders Forum 2006


Date: Sunday 7 May 2006
Time: 09:00am – 12:30pm
Venue: Melbourne Exhibition and Conference Centre - Suites 1 & 2
The Leaders Forum was followed by a luncheon from 12:30pm - 01:30pm in the Clarendon Room

 WSLF2006 Flyer 01 V2

 WSLF2006 Flyer 02 V2


  1. Introduction by Patron - Hon Bob Hawke AC, former Prime Minister of Australia
  2. Ministry of Education – Mr Timo Lankinen - Finland
  3. Confederation of Indian Industry – Lt Gen (Retd) S S Mehta - India 
  4. Institute of Technical Education – Dr Law Song Seng - Singapore 
  5. Holmesglen Institute of TAFE – Mr Bruce Mackenzie - Australia 

Details of presentations:

1. Hon Bob Hawke AC, former Prime Minister of Australia

The Hon Bob Hawke was the Patron of the WorldSkills Leaders Forum 2006 and provided an introductory speech to the Leader Forum. Mr Hawke's speech centred around what he ". . . regards as just about the most important job in this world – that is training and equipping our young people to become economically competent and sufficient and also to make them feel what they should be and that is valued members of a society that looks to them and soon depends upon them."

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2. Ministry of Education – Finland

A presentation by Timo Lankinen - " Attractiveness, Working-Life Approach And Quality – Solutions And Results In Finnish Vocational Education And Training" 

Finland's success in the two most recent PISA surveys of learning results indicates that the Finnish education system is very effective.

Finland also has the envious success of attracting and increasing the enrolment of young people in VET - something that all nations would like to achieve.

After the recession in the beginning of the 1990's, Finland has again attained strong economic growth.  We believe that the considerable investments in education and training have promoted the development. Vocational education and training, both upper secondary and higher education, have been reformed to answer future challenges. Upper secondary VET offers young people and adults pathways to working-life and a competitive educational channel alongside the upper secondary general school. In higher education the new vocationally oriented sector (called polytechnics in Finland) provides high-quality professionals and supports innovations and quality of industries and services. 

How did we come to this? What measures have been taken towards the strengthening of VET attractiveness and how is it going?

We have needed national decisions in educational policy and commitment to put the decisions to work, and investing funds to raise the quality of vocational education and training. We guarantee study places on the upper secondary level, either in vocational or in general upper secondary education, for all basic school leavers. There are no dead ends in the education system: all the study programmes give possibities to further study at the next level.  We have intensified marketing VET as equal pathway to higher education with upper secondary general school. VET channel is becoming highly competitive.

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3. Confederation of Indian Industry – India

A presentation by Lt Gen (Retd) S S Mehta - "Skilling a million Indians – Galvanising skills formation across India" 

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the growth of industry in India, partnering industry and government alike through advisory and consultative processes. It is India’s premier business association, with a direct membership of over 5800 companies from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs and MNCs and indirect membership of over 95,000 organisations from around 325 national and regional sectoral associations.

"Skilling a Million Indians" is a catalytic project of the CII, validated by international City and Guild standards, to give needed recognition and "add on" skills to the many who are informally trained on the job as well as to help galvanise skills formation across industry in India. Our speaker will share the strategy, implementation and results of this ambitious and important project.

In India's drive towards inclusiveness and sustainable growth, it is seeking to provide livelihood opportunities by skilling its workforce. It also seeks to integrate world standards and share a growing platform with nations committed to developing a skilled manpower base to improve the quality of life of their citizens.

Skills are now seen as a global currency for a globalising world. ‘Innovation' and ‘Productivity' the key drivers of growth and competitiveness. Skills as a resource seem to be increasingly in deficit. For the next three decades India enjoys a demographic advantage and will have the potential to bridge the deficit gap.

The sheer size and logistics of this project let alone the diversity of existing education levels across India ensures some challenges along the way. The speaker will share the strategy, implementation and results of this ambitious and important project.

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4. Institute of Technical Education – Singapore

A presentation by Dr Law Song Seng - "A World-Class Vocational Technical Education System In Time For The Future –  The Singapore Experience"

Over the last decade ITE has undergone a major transformation focusing on its mission “to create opportunities for school leavers and adult learners to acquire skills, knowledge and values for lifelong learning in a global economy”. This transformation has led it to be a recognized global leader in technical education.

ITE has just coveted the prestigious Singapore Quality Award (SQA) for attaining world-class standards of business excellence. ITE is the first Educational Institution to win the SQA which symbolises a milestone in ITE's journey towards excellence.

Dr Law discussed the major changes and key elements that ITE has implemented to aid their transformation into a world-class post secondary institution. ITE now provides a high quality vocational education to the 25% of young people who don't proceed to tertiary education.

Vocational Technical Education (VTE) Systems play a crucial social and economic role in the development and progress of a nation.  By nature dynamic, they are subjected to the forces driving change in schools, industry, society and the larger global economy.  They face unique challenges, as the dynamics are more complex.  The target student groups are diverse, and the image, standards and values often elusive. 

Against these challenges, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) in Singapore has succeeded in transforming itself into a world-class institution focusing on its mission “to create opportunities for school leavers and adult learners to acquire skills, knowledge and values for lifelong learning in a global economy”.  

The First Education Institution in Singapore to win the prestigious Singapore Quality Award for organisational excellence in 2005, it has created a unique brand of a “Hands-on, Minds-on and Hearts-on” ITE College Education.  In this respect, Dr Law shared ITE's unique challenges, key initiatives and experiences in its journey of transformation.  It is hoped that the presentation provides some useful insights on the underlying philosophy, policies, best practices and rationale for those who are involved in the development of vocational technical education systems.

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5. Holmesglen Institute of TAFE – Australia

A presentation by Bruce Mackenzie - "How Young People Acquire Technical, Social And Learning Skills"

Holmesglen Institute of TAFE (Technical And Further Education) provide a practical approach to teaching with state-of-the-art facilities and diverse course options. Promoting the learning of real skills for the real world, Holmesglen focuses on the needs of growth industries including, among others, hospitality, tourism, small business, social and community services, and information technology.

Holmesglen is building a vocational college within the Institute that is being designed on global best practice that squarely aligns with the Leaders Forum theme of "Transforming the way young people acquire technical, social and learning skills needed in the 21st Century." Our speaker will share the research, strategy and planning for this innovative and beneficial college.

The presentation:

  • Explains why Holmesglen is attempting to create a secondary school inside a TAFE Institution
  • Outlines features which seem common to successful vocational education systems in Scandinavia
  • Contrasts these features with the Australian vocational system
  • Outlines the principles upon which Holmesglen Institute of TAFE's Vocational College is premised
  • Identifies some of the issues that have to be addressed for the Vocational College to succeed at both a national and local level

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