The crisis discourse of a wicked policy problem: vocational skills training in Australia
In 2007 the Rudd Labor government in Australia introduced significant changes to education policy for the nation. The Skilling Australia's Future (Rudd et al. Skilling Australia for the future. Election 2007 policy document, 2007) policy was meant to redress a perceived failure by the previous Howard federal Liberal- National Coalition governments to fund and manage vocational skills training adequately. The Skilling Australia's Future policy established a number of areas for immediate action. This paper looks at one of these areas from the policy document, namely, the Rudd government's plan for addressing skills shortages (Rudd et al. 2007, pp. 4-9) through the establishment of Trade Training Centres in schools. The policy is analysed using Critical Discourse Analysis, featuring the semiotic concept of intertextuality. Findings from the application of this method suggest that Skilling Australia's Future (2007) belongs within a history of like-minded policy and, although a new direction is provided by the allocation of Trade Training Centres to selected high schools, the policy is not clearly separable from the market-driven discourse that has pervaded education policy since the 1990s.
The Australian Educational Researcher
Vocational Education and Training Curriculum and Pedagogy