Further meetings with Adrienne Bird

I met Adrienne Bird at a Board meeting in 1994.

She surprised me one day a month or so later by setting up a meeting with me. It was at a time when there was considerable animosity between employers, employer bodies and trade unions.

When she arrived at our training centre she didn’t want to go inside – it would look like the union official was consorting with the employer body which ran the training centre. So, we walked up and down the street between the factory units in Eastleigh, Edenvale where our training centre was situated.

She told me that the National Training Strategy Initiative document had generated substantial interest. Various stakeholders were beginning to look at how the National Qualifications Framework could be implemented. Representatives from the previous process had formed what was being called Working Group 9. She was pulling in additional people to participate in this work.

So I discovered early on she had this significant gift of mobilizing people from a range of stakeholders in pursuit of her vision.

One of the elements that they were exploring was what eventually became the Critical Crossfield Outcomes. The model which triggered this concept was Australian. There they were known as the Mayer Key Competencies. 

The other element was career pathing. She was looking for a way to run a career pathing project across a number of sectors and industries. She was interested in the way that the plastics industry had structured their career path.

It was the first time I heard the expression “from sweeper to engineer.” From that concept flowed two further elements in our discussions

A third element in our discussions was on the nature and structure of qualifications for the workplace.

A final element was that of training programme design.  Key to this element was to assist the thousands of illiterate workers to become literate and so enable them to progress beyond the low-level positions the lack of literacy trapped them in.

I’ll deal with each element in other blog posts.

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