Sustaining Partnerships between Schools and Industry: A Minerals and Energy Case

Sustaining Partnerships between Schools and Industry: A Minerals and Energy Case

Matthew Flynn (Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia), Hitendra Pillay (Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia) and James J. Watters (Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/IJAVET.2016100105
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Internationally, there is a growing body of research on industry-school partnership, particularly regarding the principles that contribute to effective and efficient partnership models that facilitate vocational-industrial education. However, there are very few articles in the literature that seek to understand the sustainability of industry-school partnerships. Hence, this paper adopted ecological system principles as a framework for understanding the threats that impact on the sustainability of such partnership arrangements. The author reports on a large-scale government led industry-school partnership, the Gateway to Industry Schools Program, established in Queensland, Australia. Central to this initiative is the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA), a lead organisation for 34 schools and 12 multi-national sponsor companies. This research used an explanatory case study methodology sourcing data through interviews and documents. The main findings were that resilience and adaptive capacity are critical principles for the sustainability of ISPs.
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Principles Of Sustainability

As an ecological principle, a system (including an industry-school partnership system) is susceptible to external and internal shocks, which may threaten sustainability (Anderies, Janssen, & Ostrom, 2004). Ecological theory includes two principles that the authors of this paper have adapted to better understand the sustainability of industry-school partnerships: (a) resilience capacity; and (b) adaptive capacity. These principles originated from Holling’s (1973) research on social-ecological systems and were further developed by other researchers in the field (Folke, Carpenter, Walker, Scheffer, Chapin & Rockstrom, 2010; Walker, Holling, Carpenter & Kinzig, 2004). It should be noted that literature on these principles is derived from the business sector and is consequently not considered within current literature on industry-school partnerships.

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