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Employ the power of positivity!

This is George.  He’s completely adorable, but I find that I spend a lot of my time saying NO to him - NO when he jumps up, NO when he chews the furniture, NO when he attacks the cat (you get the idea).  However, it was the shredding of my husband’s favourite jacket which led to me contacting Jason, known as “The Dog Whisperer”.   

Now, Jason pointed out that all the “nos” in the world were having absolutely no effect on George.  The repeated use of the word NO was just creating a sea of negativity that was having no impact at all.  For us to change his behaviour, we needed to reward him for what he did right.  Admittedly, initially that was not much. But over the last few weeks, things have improved remarkably and I now find myself praising him a lot more often. He’s become a really well-behaved and happy dog, and our family is a lot happier in a much more positive environment.

It made me reflect on how with all the negativity we’ve seen and heard regarding VET in the last few years, we’ve all focused on what is bad about the system.  Yet there are so many good things that are a result of Vocational Education. One of my son’s friends, a recent engineering graduate, recently applied (with 1,000 other applicants) for a graduate position.  When interviewed, the employer didn’t ask anything about his degree. Instead they focused on the Certificate II and Certificate III in Retail he had undertaken while working at McDonalds and what he had learnt during his time working and training there. He was the successful applicant.    

This week we celebrate 10 years of SkillsOneTV. Congratulations to Brian Wexham and the team at SkillsOneTV for their enduring focus on championing vocational skills development! They’ve proven a faithful and consistent voice in advocating all of the positive information that’s usually overlooked in the noise of all that’s not good about the VET sector.   

As a VET community we need to get better at celebrating our successes and shouting the positives about all the good operators, public and private, in the sector all of the time. We need to shout out about the really successful people we know who started their career journeys with VET qualifications, as well as those who continue to go back and retrain, or upgrade their qualifications when the timing suits their needs.

We need to be proud about the good things we do. Because, like George a few weeks back, an atmosphere full of negativity is not going to change anything. Instead, maybe a groundswell of all of us singling out the positive people, operators and accomplishments of the VET system will create a new narrative that we can be proud to stand behind. Maybe we too can enjoy a positive future, just as George is doing now.

Yasmin King