TAFE Directors Australia

Supporting our member institutes since 1998

Newsletter 20 December 2010


Federal Ministers announce review into student visas -- 12th Inquiry over 12 months into international education

Federal Ministers, the Hon Chris Bowen (Immigration and Citizenship) and Senator Chris Evans (Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations) have launched a six-month official inquiry into the student visa program.

This comes just two weeks after the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) gazetted strict new regulations tightening Skills Migration, including creating an historic new treatment of students, between those undertaking diplomas through higher education, and those through vocational education.

The Federal Ministers appointed former NSW Labor Minister, Michael Knight AC, to head the Inquiry - it is the 12th inquiry in just over 12 months into international education, and the third by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Others included a COAG inquiry, a Senate Inquiry, the Baird Review, Skilled Occupation List reviews, interdepartmental reviews, reviews by the National Quality Council into offshore provision, reviews of Austrade and AEI marketing, and separate inquiries in Victoria and NSW.   

Despite the Knight Inquiry, it is unclear whether DIAC will now suspend its most recent gazettal, pending the proceedings of the review.

The inquiry will report the findings by mid 2011.

TDA issued a media statement, saying that while the review is welcome to overcome unintended consequences of gazetted immigration regulation, it may be too little, and too late to ease the pressures facing the international education sector and TAFE training in areas of skills shortage.

The Ministers surprised by announcing however, that a further easing of visa processing will be allowed for students seeking university and higher education applications, but still no ruling on TAFE applications.

Read how these changes will impact on TAFE Institutes here.

Click here to view the Ministers’ statement.

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Update from the Chair of the new tertiary regulator

Chair of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), Professor Denise Bradley AC, has issued an update on the progress of the new regulation agency.

The TEQSA update says a risk-based and proportionate regulatory model for the higher education sector is currently underway.

This model will allow TEQSA to focus its activities on new entrants to the system and higher risk providers, while ensuring that well-established, high quality providers will not be unnecessarily burdened. The risk framework will be the subject of consultation with the higher education sector.

Click here to view the update.

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International students give Australian education a positive review

New research shows that international students are generally satisfied with Australian education.

The Australian Education International (AEI) survey of international students found that 84% were satisfied or very satisfied with their study experience, and 86% with their living experience.

More than 85% of students were satisfied or very satisfied with the level of support they received on arrival.

For more information click here.

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TDA representative appointed to National Quality Council

The CEO of the Canberra Institute of TAFE, Mr Adrian Marron, has been formally appointed as the TDA representative on the National Quality Council.

The role of the NQC is to oversee quality assurance and ensure national consistency in the application of the Australian Quality Training Framework standards for the audit and registration of training providers.

Adrian has vast experience in VET, having held senior management roles in Victoria and South Australia. He brings to the role a deep interest and expertise in teaching, learning and assessment.

TDA congratulates Adrian on his appointment.

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Skills Queensland leadership announced

Queensland Premier, the Hon Anna Bligh MP, has appointed the chair, board members and CEO of Skills Queensland which was announced in October.

The Chair isGregory Kempton, Managing Director of Watpac who has over 35 years’ experience in the construction, mining, engineering and property industries across Australia. The CEO is Rod Camm, the Associate Director-General, Skills, Tertiary and Non-State Education for the Department of Education and Training.

Skills Queensland will work with industry to ensure Queensland is equipped to handle future skills needs. To view the announcement click here.

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State-of-the-art sustainable skills centre for Canberra

The Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) has opened its newly completed $9 million Sustainability Skills Training Hub.

The hub was officially opened by ACT Minister for Education and Training, the Hon Andrew Barr MP, and Federal Labor Member for Fraser, Dr Andrew Leigh MP.

CIT says the pioneering, purpose-built building will help industry, governments and communities meet the challenges of climate change by providing workers with skills in sustainable practices.

Click here for more information.

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Leading researcher recognised

TDA congratulates Berwyn Clayton, Director of the Work-based Education Research Centre (WERC) at Victoria University, who has been awarded the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) VET Researcher of the Year for 2011.

The award recognises the outstanding contribution of a researcher in Australia’s VET sector.

For further information, click here.

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Request for participation in survey on language services

The National ELT (English Language Teaching) Accreditation Scheme (NEAS) is conducting a survey on the types of language services required by industry.

The NEAS is a self-funding, non-profit, industry-based body operating independently of government and industry ELT centres, but with strong cooperative links with government agencies and industry representative bodies.

The survey takes about ten minutes to complete, and participants will go into a draw to win two complimentary registrations to the NEAS Conference where the results will be presented.

Click here to take to survey.

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Updates from the National Quality Council

The National Quality Council (NQC) has agreed to defer the implementation of part of the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) Condition 5 which provides protection for students who pay fees in advance.

The condition will be deferred until 1 July 2011. By this date it is anticipated that the NQC will have advice and options for the protection of student fees, including the criteria for what constitutes an approved tuition assurance scheme. 

Click here for more information.


The NQC has endorsed a new design and structure for Training Packages.  This reform has been a key priority for the VET Products for the 21st Century project and is the culmination of more than two years of research and consultation by the NQC.

For more information see an article from the NQC here.


During 2010 TVET Australia supported the National Quality Council (NQC) to achieve a number of key objectives in its agenda around international education. Some of the initiatives TVET has undertaken include:

  • a policy on internationalising VET qualifications
  • compulsory data collection from public and private providers on their offshore delivery
  • a good practice guide which will support high quality delivery of Australian VET offshore
  • a set of risk guidelines that will assist registering bodies make determinations about levels of risk in offshore delivery

For more information about these initiatives click here

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Development of national guidelines to support e-assessment

The Australian Flexible Learning Framework is undertaking some preliminary work in consultation with the National Quality Council (NQC) to develop guidelines for good practice in e-assessment.   

The organisers would like to discuss the brief with a number of key organisations to ensure that the project is appropriately focused, and that the outcomes will be of benefit to assessors, Registered Training Organisations, industry and other stakeholders.

TDA is seeking any members, or their staff, who would like to participate early in the new year. The draft brief is attached, and as well as a letter with some background information. Please contact Pam Caven, TDA, pcaven@tda.edu.au to participate.

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2011 Austrade events list

Austrade has provided a detailed program of upcoming events and exhibitions for 2011 on its website.

Each year, Austrade organises a range of events aimed at supporting the student recruitment and international business objectives of Australian education providers. See the list here.

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Free DVDs on the lives of Indigenous workers in the community services and health sector

The Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council has released a suite of free DVDs that profile the lives and jobs of five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who work in community services or health in rural and remote areas.

The DVDs follow the day-to-day tasks, the reasons for wanting to work in the role and the challenges faced by the storyteller on their journey to gain a qualification.

For more information click here.

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New data accreditation information available

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) has provided some new information on the Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard (AVETMISS).

The changes include:

  • updated information about the ‘Testing Your AVETMISS Compliance’ seminars and seminar resources (click here to view)
  • updated information about ‘How to become AVETMISS compliant’ (click here to view).

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Diary Dates

Research in VET: Janus - Reflecting Back, Projecting Forward

DATE: 28-29 April 2011
LOCATION: Rendezvous Hotel, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Gaining the Edge - Outcomes, Equity and Innovation

DATE: 3-4 May 2011
LOCATION: Hilton on the Park, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information 

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