TAFE Directors Australia

Supporting our member institutes since 1998

Newsletter 15 June 2010





National VET regulation - MCTEE moves ahead

State education and training ministers advanced the moves toward national VET regulation at the Ministerial Council for Tertiary Education and Employment (MCTEE) meeting last week.

At the meeting held at Central Institute of Technology in Perth, the ministers agreed to the drafting of an agreement and supporting legislation to progress VET reform and national regulation.  

The ministers also agreed to establish the National Standards Council for Vocational Education and Training under the agreement.

International education was also addressed, with the Joint Committee on International Education tasked with undertaking a national assessment of the implications of market changes in international education by the end of July.

The Ministers also agreed to release a consultative paper on the proposed introduction of a Unique Student Identifier for the VET system. An expert reference group will be established to support the implementation of the initiative.

To view the entire MCTEE Communiqué click here.


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TDA & Universities Australia joint statement highlighted at AFR Conference

The shift into a post-Bradley model of an inclusive tertiary system, where TAFE Institutes can provide higher education courses, will support more specialised skilled qualifications according to TDA CEO, Martin Riordan.

Speaking at the Financial Review Higher Education Conference last week, Martin Riordan also outlined the Joint Statement by Universities Australia and TAFE Directors Australia (April, 2010), articulating a description of ‘Tertiary Education’. He noted this Joint Statement sought to clarify key issues facing regulators ahead of the release later this month of the Higher Education Protocols.

He also outlined some preliminary findings from his work in the U.S. during a Fulbright Scholarship mission, including the increasing pressures on the U.S. education from funding cuts.

Click here to read Martin’s full speech.


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Calls for changes to Victorian skills system

The Victorian TAFE Association has called for Victoria’s new skills system to be scrapped because of inequalities in the eligibility criteria.

The Association’s Director, David Williams, said the criteria are discouraging the disadvantaged and many students over the age of 20 from undertaking diplomas.

He also said that the increased fees for mature students will discourage employers who are required to pay for tuition fees from taking on mature-aged apprentices.

For more read a story from the Campus Review here.


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‘TAFE in the Year of the Tiger’ – TDA National Conference

Early Bird booking registrations can be made for the TDA 2010 National Conference, to be held at the Crowne Promenadein Melbourne, 13 and 14 September.

The Conference in this election year is a must for TAFE CEOs, senior managers, international business managers and key business partners.

It will provide a great opportunity for TDA members to hear from key national and international leaders and decision makers. It will also provide structured opportunities for exchange of ideas and perspectives by delegates.

While the program is in the final stages of development, exciting and expert keynote speakers confirmed to date include:

  • Senator Mathias Cormann, Shadow Minister for Employment Participation, Apprenticeships and Training
  • Jackie Fisher, CEO/Principal, Newcastle College Group, UK
  • Colin Walters, Group Manager – International, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

Confirmed panel and case study presenters include:

  • Robin Shreeve, CEO, Skills Australia
  • Associate Professor Leesa Wheelahan, L H Martin Institute, Melbourne University
  • David Williams, CEO, Victorian TAFE Association
  • Neil Edwards, CEO, TVET
  • Chris Fraser, Executive Director (Victorian Division) and Director (Education and Training), Minerals Council of Australia
  • Ray Barker, Chair SkillsDMC

TAFE Institutes are encouraged to book early for making table reservations for the National Conference Dinner to be held at the Melbourne Aquarium on the evening of 13 September. To register go to www.tda.edu.au.


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Visa cap legislation creates further concerns  

On 26 May, an amendment was introduced to Parliament to allow the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship to cap and terminate applications based on certain objective characteristics, rather than having to cap an entire subclass or class of visas. See details here.

As noted in a recent press release from the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA), no consultations with the education sector were held and the uncertainty over how the legislation could be used will create even further uncertainty for providers, agents and international students. This was also highlighted in an article in The Australian.

The unintended consequences of these and other changes, plus the failure of recent Federal and State budgets to even mention international education let alone allocate specific funding to address student and provider concerns, confirms the need for a whole of government approach to this sector.


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Draft blueprint for consultation 

TDA is seeking feedback from members on a draft blueprint to create a more cohesive tertiary education sector that better connects VET and higher education.

The ‘Blueprint for Australia’s tertiary education sector’ was developed on the back of a joint TDA and Universities Australia letter to the Deputy Prime Minister in March outlining on the reforms needed to create a unified tertiary sector.

The draft blueprint can be accessed here.

TDA members are asked to provide feedback to Pam Caven by 17 June.


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Key VET policies outlined

TVET has released its 2010-2011 policy document which includes a summary of all current vocational education and training policy documents and initiatives.

It also outlines key announcements  to look out for in 2010/2011 including:

  • An AQF Council report on connectivity between universities and VET that was due November 2009, but is not yet publicly available
  • The mid-term review of the Productivity Places Program (PPP) anticipated this month
  • A Draft National Greenskills Agreement Implementation Plan due for consideration this month.
  • The Study in Australia Portal due mid-2010
  • The review of the new Skilled Occupation List in November 2010.

To view the document click here.


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TAFEs gain from Federal grants

The successful projects in the latest round of the Federal Government’s Education Investment Fund have been announced.

Two West Australian TAFEs are among four educational institutions in the State awarded a total of $105 million. Pilbara TAFE will see a major redevelopment of its Pundulmurra Campus at South Headland, while a new Green Skills Training Centre will be built at Central TAFE in Perth. For more informationclick here.

In New South Wales, the Sydney Institute of TAFE received $17 million to upgrade its 1950’s workshop which will facilitate 80 new courses.Click here for more information.


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NSW and QLD budget initiatives 

The NSW and Queensland state governments have announced the key VET initiatives in their 2010/2011 Budgets.

The NSW Government delivered a $110 million boost to recurrent funding for the VET sector. This includes funding to provide an extra 5,850 training places at TAFE NSW. Click here for more information.

The QLD Government announced an overall investment of $500 million in VET funding for providers. Click here for more information.


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TDA mission to China takes off

Next Saturday, a high level delegation of TAFE Directors arrives in Chongqing to begin a six-day Mission to China.

The program includes briefings on the outcome and evaluation of the Australia-China Chongqing VET Project, a joint symposium with the China Education Association for International Exchange focusing on future cooperation between China and Australia, and a special luncheon in the Australian Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo.

A number of initiatives will be announced at the luncheon and TDA will be producing an Occasional Paper summarising the program and offering reflections from the delegation.


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Uni chief warns of job losses from international student fallout

Universities Australia Chief Executive, Dr Glenn Withers, has warned that the fallout from a decrease in international student numbers poses a greater threat than the mining super profits tax.

In a speech to delegates at the Financial Review Higher Education Conference, Dr Withers said the projected fall in international student numbers will have enormous impact on local jobs. He said economic modelling showed that for every 5% drop in foreign students, more than 6,000 jobs would be lost.

To view an article from the Australian Financial Review click here.


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Victorian TAFE enrolments plateau

New data shows that TAFE enrolments in Victoria have remained steady over the past two years.

The survey conducted by the Australian Council for Education Research and commissioned by the State government, found that from the class of 2009, almost 50% of school leavers went to university and 18% went to TAFE.

Of the school leavers that enrolled in TAFE, 21% were from public schools, and 15% from private schools.

Click here to view an article from The Age.

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Date set for NQC offshore delivery consultations in Sydney

The first consultation workshop for the NQC Project on Offshore VET delivery is scheduled for 28 June at the TAFE NSW Ultimo Campus, Room IG,07, Building I, 1 Mary Ann Street, Ultimo.

Session 1 runs from 10:00am to 12:00pm and focuses on the Internationalisation of Australian VET qualifications. Session 2 is from 1:30pm to 3:30pm and looks at best practice in offshore delivery of VET.

Please contact Sue Foster at susanfoster1@bigpond.com if you’re interested in attending.


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International effort to protect students

In March this year, the British Council issued a press release on behalf of immigration and education representatives from the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and the Republic of Ireland.

The release followed a roundtable where the issue of unethical practices of agents in recruiting international students was clearly of major concern. TDA has now been invited to contribute to further discussions on how Australia should respond and will inform members on progress.

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NCVER webinar series starts today

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) is holding two online seminars, with the first to be held today from 2pm.

The two webinars are:

  • ‘Do wages matter, or the value of completing an apprenticeship or traineeship?’by Tom Karmel (NCVER)
  •  ‘TAA... the friendly way?’ by Berwyn Clayton (Work-based Education Research Centre, Victoria University).

For more information click here.


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Ultimo TAFE students stun Sydney

A group of Sydney Institute event management students enthralled commuters with a stunning, impromptu ‘flash mob’ at Central Station last week.

More than 100 dancers staged the performance to raise money for the Westmead Medical Research Foundation and the Move Movement. The flash mob phenomenon has taken off around the world and Sydney Institute set an impressive local example.

To view the performance click here.


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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

Investing in VET = Succeeding in VET
DATE: 5-6 August 2010
LOCATION: Sydney Convention Centre
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

Leadership, Innovationa and Workplace Culture
DATE: 14-15 October 2010
LOCATION: Citigate Central, Sydney
DETAILS: Click here for more information

2Has institutional research come of age in Australiasia?
DATE: 10-12 November 2010
LOCATION: Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Geelong
DETAILS: Click here for more information


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