We have developed a range of qualifications that have started to open up minimum standards.

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Tony Graham

Tony Graham, Associate Dean, Industry Engagement and Partnerships Content from speech (Ignite, Chamber of Commerce).


The School of Vocational Design and Social Context responds to the social economy we live in. We work closely with our local communities so they can feel empowered to develop their own services. With 1.3 billion dollars we offer a socially driven economy that changes to the challenges we face.

Our school has developed a wide range of qualifications that have started to open up minimum standards. Social Futures, VDSC is offering 1.3 million hours of training to a sector that is very engaged with a social economy.

Engaging in conversation around issues and working through potential solutions - that is the RMIT way. We work with a range of practitioners from the sector on how to form a CoP approach to the ongoing challenges within a community.

Case Study (Northern Territory)

Katherine - services East Arnhem Land - spoke about the beauty of the country, the rich culture of the community, and the connection between land and individuals. He also spoke about the challenges of the community - the issues around health and social determinants. Issues around heart disease, diabetes, tobacco related, mental health , alcohol and other drugs

He was hoping to look at upskilling aboriginal health workers to work within their community. The previous market failure was to take the workers out of their community, send them to Alice Springs or Darwin, and then lay before them a qualification that was not contextually correct for them.

Working with David Hayward, we evolved a front end investment plan, wher we engaged the community, spoke with board of governors, engaging the exec of org - look how strategy evolves to operational context, and engaging the HR function to build a capability map , and how we could help them to achieve this

At RMIT we looked within to see what support we could engage - student, industry, etc. This has become a collaboration within RMIT and supported at the highest level by the VC, Martin Bean.

We put a plan in place - this for me was a front end view of what co-design is and what it should look like. Working in a collaborative approach with an org - we started the training cert 4 and Dip - 9 months later we had the graduations - a really unbelieve moment for staff, but most of all for the communities. Half the community came to celebrate with the graduates - it was a big deal.

To the staff that travelled, taught, engaged in workshops - but also the communities in their own environment,  was a great learning experience for our staff.

Our footprint in NT has evolved - a range of orgs in  Katherine, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs and a partnership  with the NT g’ment, Charles Darwin Uni and the broader sector

200 graduates across the NT in cert 4 and dip - working in frontline roles

The footprint evolved into looking at other ways that we work with orgs - governance, exec, micro creds looking at skill sets

Oct 2019 - first alumni event in Alice Springs - with the message to our graduates: this is only the start of our journey, let’s keep moving forward

This is an example, just one of many, that we at RMIT pride ourselves, are energised by, the way in which we engage with community, with  industry.  Our principles around Ready for Life and Work for our students, industry connected, we hold dear, that we can say proudly we are student centred, we are staff centred, and most of all industry focussed.

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The School of Vocational Design and Social Context partners with government and non-government agencies, professional bodies, businesses, research centres and the community in a number of ways.

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer