This article outlines the incorporation of vocational education and training (VET) courses into a senior secondary certificate of education, the New South Wales Higher School Certificate, in the largest state of Australia. VET courses were introduced in 2000 to broaden the offerings available in post-compulsory schooling and to cater better for the vocational needs of students not primarily focused on university study. This article reviews the progressive implementation of dual recognition of VET courses in the HSC, and the growth in participation through statistical and interview data. It argues that a major reform to curriculum and reporting of the HSC has led to a more integrated approach. To ensure parity of esteem, the opportunity to have the outcomes from VET courses count towards university entrance has been an important policy objective, but it remains unclear whether (a) structures, processes and embedded cultural practices allow students to take full advantage of this option, and (b) whether a VET option is as unproblematic as intended.
Journal of Vocational Education and Training Vol. 57, Issue 2, p. 127-148