Publication Details

O'Shea, S. Elizabeth., Lysaght, P. & Tanner, K. (2012). Stepping into higher education from the vocational education sector in Australia: Student perceptions and experiences. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 64 (3), 261-277.


It is not unusual to hear study in the vocational education sector referred to as a ‘stepping stone’ into further studies in the higher education environment. What this pathway entails for those who choose it is not immediately clear however. This paper reports on research conducted with a small cohort of students who arrived at an Australian university with credit or advanced standing based on their studies in the vocational sector. A narrative inquiry approach highlights the voices of these participants drawn through stories of their individual experiences of the transition to higher education. Recommendations related to structural and educational change are based on evidence that this vocational ‘stepping stone’ can mean different things to different people.

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