Diversity criteria in VET

There's been a lot in the news this week refocusing the spotlight on how we view multiculturalism and what it is to be Australian. Throughout the week, while developing assessments the criteria 'work effectively with culturally diverse clients and co-workers...' kept capturing my attention. In reality, this single criteria should encompass an entire unit and could easily fill an entire course. So how do we effectively teach and assess this criteria as a small part of unit? Generally, I teach and assess this particular type of criteria as part of a generic assessment throughout the course where I can document and evidence students literacy, numeracy, communication skills, etc. When the HLT and CHC packages came out, similar units to this criteria such as "Work effectively with Aborginal & Torres Strait Islanders" were presented in one draft with the assessment requirement that local Aboriginal councils would have to sign off on the assessor.

So how do we approach this skill? How much time do we allocate to it when it forms only a small part of a large unit? What is considered sufficient for 'culturally diverse' when we struggle to identify as a society what our culture is and should be? And how do we deal with scenarios where the groups we are assessing have limited exposure to other cultures such as in remote and regional locations?

All of the above forces me to ask one final question... should we really include this as a criteria in a unit? While a crucial skill for the workplace and workforce in general, do we need to start reviewing units and looking at what skills cannot simply be added as a standard criteria in a unit?

Bea Chambers
Bea Chambers