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Do you know the President of the International Vocation and Training Association, Dr John S Gaal? We want to get to know him better. That’s why we do an interview with him.
However, we need to tell you something about the International Vocation and Training Association. Most people call the association for IVETA, and you need to use that abbreviation if you want to search for the organisation on the Internet.
IVETA is an independent Non-Government Organization (NGO) registered in the USA. If you want the advancement and improvement of high-quality vocational education and training wherever you live, you are the perfect member of the association. Anyone can apply for membership. IVETA has individual and organisational members in over 50 countries worldwide. The members are:
- Primarily vocational educators.
- Vocational skills training organisations.
- Business and industrial firms.
- Other individuals
- Groups interested or involved in technical vocational education and training.
The President of IVETA, Dr John S Gaal
The President of IVETA, Dr John S Gaal, retired in 2019 as the Director of Training and Workforce Development for the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council. We have asked Dr John S Gaal a couple of questions. Firstly, let us know something about his private life.
We asked him if he could describe himself in a few sentences.
Here is what he told us: This May, I will celebrate my 38th wedding anniversary with my lovely wife, Mary. We have 4 children: Dana (32), a doctor of pharmacy; John Jr. (deceased in 2017); Jake (27), a 4th-year apprentice Sprinkler-fitter; and Leah (25), a Community Health Worker who works in a medicinal tea shop.
I am a lifelong supporter of TVET as I served a carpenter’s apprenticeship in the late 1970s – early 80s and have since earned several university degrees, including 1 of 2 post-docs at Harvard that provided me with a gift that gave me a gift that keeps on giving.
As the President of IVETA, Dr John S Gaal answered our question on who benefits from the work of IVETA.
At a micro-level, students and staff reap benefits from the work and/or services that IVETA performs/offers. Our cities/towns benefit via the partnerships created through learning communities at the macro-level. Our peer-reviewed journal serves as a resource for educators to share ideas and a platform for innovation. Our in-person, virtual, and hybrid conferences allow for more timely sharing of creative solutions, especially in a pandemic.
Who should become members of IVETA?
In my opinion, anyone who is touched by the work of TVET professionals. Whether a K-16 teacher, counsellor, administrator, student, business leader, or union leader, IVETA provides all interested parties with a seat at our table.
Is the work as President for IVETA well paid?
All elected Executive Committee positions are volunteer-based. Therefore, there is no pay for our services. However, benefits beyond pay to make volunteering attractive/worthwhile (i.e., forming new relationships with people across the globe, expanding one’s cultural competencies, sharing best/promising practices, etc.).
Why do voluntary work for IVETA?
We find it interesting that an essential position like the President of IVETA is unpaid. Therefore we have to ask Dr John S Gaal why he wants to do this kind of voluntary work. He answered in two ways:
- First, he said, I believe I have been blessed throughout my career and owe a debt to those who follow in my footsteps based on the sacrifices those before me paid. There always seemed to be people in my life -at each stage- who were willing to place trust in me that I would excel if given the opportunity… …often not afforded to others. Honestly, I do my best to live by the adage: “To whom much is given, much is expected.”
- Second, he says that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, I worked with local Public Health researchers to bring the Mental Health aspects of safety in the workplace to our TVET students and staff members. To this end, COVID has only exacerbated the need for Mental Health aspects in our TVET programs.
How long can you sit as a President?
While the actual term of service is 2 years, the commitment is a total of 6 years: 2 as President-elect; 2 as President; and 2 as Past-President. I just began the 2nd year of my 2-year term as President.
Who elects the President?
All those who are current with their annual membership fee before the launch of the election process. IVETA holds elections for President, President-elect, Regional Vice-Presidents, etc., every 2 years (in even years around June/July).
How can you follow up on the job when you step down?
Well, in Jan 2023, I move from President to Past-President. I look forward to assisting our incoming President, Dr Julian Ng (currently our President-elect), in carrying out unfinished aspects within our 2020-25 Strategic Plan. In addition, I plan to continue publishing my TVET-related research and delivering training sessions.
As the President of the organisation, what is your vision for IVETA?
My vision for IVETA is to grow our membership base by offering timely/relevant services and products that TVET professionals seek to improve their lives.
From there, we will thank Dr John S Gaal for sharing his thoughts with us. We believe that his work and his vision are essential for today’s and tomorrow’s development of TVET. Remember, IVETA is an international network of vocational educators and service providers dedicated to advancing and improving high-quality vocational education and training wherever it exists and is needed.
Lucubrate Magazine February 2022
The photo on the top of the article: Adobe Stock