Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Management / Centre for Innovative Practice
This paper has a dual purpose. First it details key findings of a research study conducted in 2011 for the National Centre for Vocational Educational Research (NCVER) Community of Practice Scholarship Program investigating the implications of the increased use of sessional workers in the vocational education and training (VET) sector. The study used narrative from a purposively selected sample of sessional VET workers in a Western Australian state provider registered training organisation. Key findings include an analysis of the characteristics and capabilities of sessional VET practitioners; workforce planning and development strategies to support sessional VET practitioners; and their contributions to an academic culture. Second it discusses the sensitivities required when researchers turn the lens on their own organisations to look within and critically assess practice. This type of research needs to be conducted with a particular focus on ethical data collection as well as careful and sensitive reporting. The paper presents these issues as a first hand reflection by the researcher who conducted the study as a novice. A significant issue included juggling the various professional identities which the researcher currently holds, researcher, employee, and VET practitioner, delivering and assessing in teaching and learning and as a Union representative.