This paper will report on a three year Australian Research Council (ARC)-funded project into vocational education and equity in senior secondary schooling in New South Wales, which was completed in 2003 (Crump & Connell, 2003). The research explored the relationship between VET and young people’s futures, by investigating the reforms to the NSW external Year 12 exam, (the Higher School Certificate [HSC] assessment process) in which VET courses gained a new and more challenging profile. The intent of the "Securing Their Future" reforms was to make secondary curriculum more socially inclusive and thus set up young people with broader options for lifelong learning and employment, also articulated in the NSW "Charter for Equity in Education and Training" NSW Department of Education and Training (1996). This was to be achieved by reducing distinctions between programs of study that tended to separate privileged students from others, mainly through matriculation status.
Lifelong Learning: Whose Responsibility and What is Your Contribution?. 3rd International Lifelong Learning Conference (Yeppoon, Qld 13-16 June, 2004)