TAFE Directors Australia

Supporting our member institutes since 1998

Newsletter 10 May 2010


 TAFE in the year of the Tiger

Front seat needed for TAFE in skills reform

Professor Kwong Lee Dow, Chair of the Expert Panel on Tertiary Education in Victoria, warned Australian educators that national educational targets may be achievable, but equity targets will be threatened without TAFE taking part in higher education delivery.


Professor Dow, speaking to the Victoria TAFE Association 2010 National Conference, said inspection of TAFE facilities during the Panel’s review demonstrated that TAFE was “more than equal to the task” of satisfying facility and programme needs. “Let’s not underplay the base from which we are able to start,” said Professor Dow. “We are not going to get better campuses and better equipment; we have good facilities.”


Professor Dow added that the entrepreneurial success shown by many Victorian incorporated TAFE Institutes demonstrated that the challenging educational targets outlined by Professor Denise Bradley, and supported by Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Julia Gillard MP, would rely on engagement with TAFE, in collaboration with universities.


Earlier Professor Sally Walker, Vice Chancellor of Deakin University, was one of three Vice Chancellors speaking on the tertiary environment, and counseled delegates that Universities needed to better appreciate true partnerships with TAFE, and pointed to Structural Adjustment Funding as a key tool to begin new and wider engagement with TAFE Institutes.


The VTA 2010 Conference presentations will be listed this week on the website.


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Federal Budget

Tomorrow’s Federal Budget will be closely watched for news of new initiatives in the VET arena. The Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard has made clear that the VET sector will be the next focus for action under the education revolution.


The schools sector which has done well out of the Building the Education Revolution program, is unlikely to see significant new funds. There is a view that VET along with higher education are the areas that may benefit from initiatives to encourage skills development and encourage greater collaboration between the sectors.


TDA will provide members with a timely analysis of the relevant measures that are outlined in the Budget after it has been unveiled by Treasurer the Hon Wayne Swan.


To see TDA’s perspective on the Budget in the Australian Financial Review click here.

To read an article on the looming skills shortage click here.

To see TDA’s Submission to the Budget click here.


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WorldSkills winners announced today

The national WorldSkills Australia trades competition in Brisbane has wound up and the winners will be announced at a ceremony tonight.


After three days of exceptional performance in 50 trade and skill categories, all eyes will turn tonight to see who has gained the Gold, Silver and Bronze in each area.


More than 500 competitors pitted their skills against colleagues from 30 regions around Australia, attracting some 70,000 visitors during the contest.  If eligible, medallists may advance to the 41st International WorldSkills Competition in London 2011.


Results will be available here.


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VET reforms off the mark

TDA has raised serious concerns about draft Federal Government guidelines to enable structural adjustment and wider participation in higher education.


The concerns are contained in TDA’s response to two key programs flowing from the Bradley Review - the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP), and the Structural Adjustment Fund (SAF).


“From a TAFE perspective, these reforms are likely to have a deleterious effect in at least two ways: firstly, on the viability of Diploma courses in some TAFE Institutes, and secondly, on the greater cost/price disadvantage forced on TAFE degree programs,” TDA’s submission says.


The HEPP program will provide funding to improve educational access to students from low socio-economic backgrounds, while the SAF will encourage structural reforms such as new models of delivery and collaboration between higher education and TAFE Institutes.


To see TDA’s response click here.


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TAFE facilities get a lift in Victorian Budget

The Victorian Government has directed funding at TAFE Institutes and apprentice training in its latest Budget.


The Minister for Skills and Workforce Participation, the Hon Bronwyn Pike, said the $91 million skills boost includes $23 million over four years for the Apprentice and Trainee Support Package to boost the number of people starting and finishing apprenticeships and traineeships. Other highlights include:

  • $19 million over two years to Holmesglen Institute of TAFE towards the construction and maintenance of a new international centre and additional teaching facilities;
  • $24 million over three years to the NMIT Preston Campus Redevelopment  for a new facility to accommodate further education, building design and drafting, children services, business and commerce, health and community services and corporate units.
  • $12 millionto continue the TAFE Institute Specialist Teaching Equipment program which helps TAFE institutes to purchase and maintain up-to-date specialist teaching equipment.
  • $3.9 million for the Skills Stores initiative which will connect people with training opportunities and provide advisory services and referrals to Registered Training Organisations for recognition of prior learning through a network of Skills Stores.


For further detail on the Budget click here.


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Credit transfer system failing

The process encountered by students wishing to use their VET qualifications as credit towards university has been found to be flawed.


A paper published by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), provides insight from TAFE and enterprise-based registered training organisations into credit transfer arrangements.


Titled, Crediting vocational education and training for learner mobility, the paper finds that credit arrangements are mired in bureaucracy and often rely on individuals rather than systems.


NCVER has also developed a guide to help people navigate these arrangements.


To read more click here.


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South Australian TAFE capital boost

South Australia’s TAFE system has received a $70 million injection of funding to help upgrade and maintain facilities across the State.


In what is described as the largest capital program in the State’s history, Employment, Training and Further Education Minister, the Hon Jack Snelling has delivered funding to campuses at Port Lincoln, Whyalla, Port Augusta and Port Pirie.


Also announced was a $20 million Student Information System to make TAFE SA more flexible, easier to access and more suitable for e-learning.


To read more click here.

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Higher education investment linked to economic growth

Universities Australia has released the findings of a research report showing that the impact of funding higher education investment is spread across Australia and helps avoid a ‘two-speed’ economy.


The report, Economic Modelling of Improved Funding and Reform Arrangements for Universities, was commissioned by Universities Australia from consulting firm KPMG Econtech.


It shows that increasing public funding by $5 billion over three years, in line with the Bradley Review recommendations, and enhancing that to the OECD average for the longer term, as well as undertaking structural reform, would increase national GDP by 6.4 %, ($163 billion) by 2040. These GDP increases would commence four years after the funding injection and steadily increase thereafter, commencing with a $13 billion increase in 2014.


To read more click here.


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VET webinar series launched

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) will host a series of five webinars throughout 2010 showcasing recent research on a range of topics.


The first of these will take place this Wednesday and explores the issue of skills mismatch and how this impacts on workers and organisations. It will be presented by Professor Kostas Mavromaras from the National Institute of Labour Studies, Flinders University, Adelaide, along with panellists,Tom Karmel, David Curtis and Damian Oliver from NCVER.

To register to participate in this webinar, and for more information about future NCVER webinars, click here.


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Copyright explained

The Australian Flexible Learning Framework will host a series of workshops around Australia, giving VET practitioners the opportunity to get on top of the key issues around copyright.


To be held between May and October, there will be three distinct formats covering the basics of copyright, the use of digital resources in teaching and training, and copyright for managers.


For more information call (07) 3307 4700 or email: flexenews@flexiblelearning.net.au.

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Diary Dates

19th National 'No Frills Research Conference
DATE: 7-9 July 2010
LOCATION: Central Institute of Technology, East Perth Campus, Perth
DETAILS: Click here for more information

2010 National Conference: TAFE in the Year of the Tiger
DATE: 13-14 September 2010
LOCATION: Crown Promenade, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Work Integrated Learning (WIL): Responding to Challenges
DATE: 30 September - 1 October 2010
LOCATION: Curtin University of Technology, Perth
DETAILS: Click here for more information


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