The purpose of this report is to provide insight into the needs of a variety of equity groups at Northern Beaches TAFE Sydney NSW compared with those of the state. It also looks at teachers understanding of their rights and responsibilities in order to provide necessary professional development.
From my findings, it has been noted that there is a diverse learning community in vocational education and training in NSW for the hairdressing and beauty therapy. Facilitators in this field need to be aware of the diversity of the student population to ensure their students’ needs and goals are met. It is important that facilitators have an understanding of their rights and responsibilities in the VET practice. Consequently, professional development has become an important tool to further enable the guidance of teachers to help meet the needs of our students. This report also analyses teachers understanding of current legislation in order to provide accurate information for further professional development planning. This will help support the communities learning needs. Teachers and students alike will be questioned and the findings discussed to give an accurate insight into the student populations. This will provide further assistance at ensuring the students special needs are met in their course.
Equity group: Females
In 2002 a study showed that women accounted for 48.1% of VET students within Australia (Dumbrell, 2004). Within the Hairdressing and Beauty therapy department at Northern Beaches TAFE, the semester one enrollments showed that 95.3% of student enrolling were female. This is very similar to the TAFE NSW state average in this vocation of 94.3% (apprendix 1). This percentage has been stable since 2008. Both vocations are a female dominated industry, which explains why these figures are higher than the average for VET students.
Equity group: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
While Aboriginal and Torres Strait, islander students make up 4.1% of the state average of VET students (Dumbrell, 2004). In the hair and beauty field, they make up 2.1%, which is half less than the state, average. However there has been a steady increase in the numbers of Indigenous enrolments since 2008 (appendix 2 and 3).
Equity group: Non English Speaking backgrounds
9.3% of the student base in Northern Beaches TAFE Hair and Beauty section is from non-English speaking backgrounds (appendix 1). This figure is quite low in comparison to North Sydney College who is in the same institute with a third of their students from a non-English speaking background. (Appendix 3). However, the results for Northern Beaches TAFE are similar to that of the national survey, which stated 12% of VET, students are from non-English speaking backgrounds, NCVER (2007).
Equity group: Disability
5.2% of the hair and beauty students at Northern Beaches TAFE have acknowledged they have some type of disability on their enrolment survey (Appendix 1). This is higher than the statistics provided for all VET students, which is 4.1% in 2001, NCVER (2007).
Equity group: Unemployed
Of all the equity groups apart from females, the unemployment group was the highest. It rated the highest from the Northern Beaches TAFE than any of the other TAFE’s within the institute at 25.9% this has also consistently increased since 2008 (Appendix 1 and 2).
Students training goals
Leading up to this report, I interviewed 21 female students with a variety of cultural backgrounds to acquire a greater understanding of how they felt regarding their course. It was interesting to note their goals for undertaking the course were divided equally into personal interest and to gain the qualifications necessary to obtain a job in the industry. As noted by Dumbrell (2004) “Female graduates regularly achieve poorer employment outcomes than males”(p.23). This is assuming graduates are doing the course with the outcome of gaining employment. For half of the ladies