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Workplace Experience Drives Quality Outcomes

My youngest daughter is learning to drive. It will only be a few weeks before she can sit for her provisional licence and I have had a lot of time to reflect on the system that requires her to have 120 hours supervision transparently recorded and then independently tested, before she goes for her license.

She is the third of my children to have gone through the system of 120 hours supervision, which on the first occasion with my eldest son, was an absolute drag. We always felt it was so much quicker and convenient to drive everywhere ourselves and would then have to do these pointless long weekend drives to nowhere in particular, for him to get his hours logged. Short trips to school or the supermarket just seemed to be such a hassle to let him drive. However, by the third child, we leant into the process. She undertook some initial professional lessons, but after that, has basically driven whenever my husband or I are going anywhere. Admittedly, her pushiness made it impossible for us to say no, but now the 120 hours requirement has been easily met, including the mandatory night driving and as I observe what a confident, safe and sensible driver she has become, I can only say that supervision and time have contributed heavily to that.

It made me reflect on the increasing workplace supervision and assessor requirements that industry has requested in our recently endorsed training packages in the health & community service sectors and the tourism, travel & hospitality sectors in particular.

As a consequence, mandatory work placement has been included in several qualifications across training packages, ultimately leading to workplace-based assessment. For example, a student wanting to work in aged care will need to complete 120 hours of work to satisfy the requirements of the Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing). One of the key outcomes of work placement is that it allows the learner to develop practical skills and apply knowledge in the workplace. This promotes stronger embedding of learning, and it exposes learners to real workplace situations and circumstances which can’t be replicated in a simulated environment.

I shudder to think of the outcome if my daughter’s driving was based on her learner’s knowledge test and her simulated driving experience on Super Mario Cart on her Wii! The improvement in her driving and confidence to handle different challenges has come from the 120 hours she has driven with someone sitting next to her, to guide and advise her. Imagine how frightening it would be as a learner, to have none of that supervised support and then go and sit a driving test for the first time, on the road, encountering real situations.

And likewise, the fact that her driving test will be assessed by someone who has extensive practical experience, means that when she passes that test, she will truly be ready to hit the wide open road on her own.

So while I know it can be frustrating that these new requirements for work-based learning and assessment will require some adjustment to current learning and assessment practices, the outcome will be better-trained and more highly skilled workers and that can only benefit everyone.
Yasmin King