Explore Melbourne Polytechnic

The Rise of Vocational Education and Training – 1920s


It was not all plain sailing with the concept of technical education in Australia during the first few decades of the 20th century.

While the concept of a technical school was expanded to include distinct girls schools and the Catholic school system begun to introduce technical schools, the new educational theorists and bureaucrats who were becoming influential, were not pleased with such early ‘streaming’ of students into trade areas. The idea of blending technical schools into existing high schools was beginning to gather momentum and starting to influence governments.

In 1928 The Apprenticeship Act was passed in Victoria requiring compulsory schooling for each proclaimed apprenticeship trade.

In 1929 the Australian Labor Party was elected into government. Under the influence of the powerful voices of the Victorian Trades Hall Council, Chamber of Manufacturers, The Age Newspaper, and technical school councils, it was decided to retain the technical school system nationally.

Technical education which had proved to be so popular with students and industry was now facing new problems brought on by the increased demand.

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Last Modified: 14th June 2013

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