TAFE Directors Australia

Supporting our member institutes since 1998

Newsletter 20 September 2010




Regional skills and international education feature at Melbourne Conference

More than 280 TAFE directors and managers from across Australia joined together for the TDA National Conference in Melbourne last week, with almost 400 attending the Dinner with author, Don Watson as guest speaker.

TDA acknowledges the significant support from Skills Victoria, the Federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, and a record number of corporate suppliers to TAFE Institutes, which supported the 2010 National Conference.

The 2010 Conference was a record for TDA. Delegate registrations included CEOs and/or representatives from Executive Teams from all member dual sector TAFE and Universities, and 54 of the 59 TAFE Institutes represented by delegates, along with industry, suppliers of TAFE Institutes, key VET agencies and a delegation from CEAIE China.  

TDA will be preparing an Occasional Paper which will include presentations and proceedings from the Conference. Photos of the Conference can be accessed here


TDA Chair, Bruce Mackenzie

Prof Greg Craven,          Vice-Chancellor, ACU

Dame Jackie Fisher DBE, CEO Newcastle College Group UK

The Hon John Dawkins AO, Chair TVET Australia Board, National Quality Council



Liu Jiantong, Vice-Director, Department of Vocational and Adult Education, Ministry of Education, People’s Republic of China

Dr Mark Cully, Chief Economist, Department of Immigration and Citizenship



The Hon Bronwyn Pike MP, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development

Ged Kearney, President, ACTU



Kym Peake, Deputy Secretary, Skills Victoria – Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development

Robin Shreeve, CEO Skills Australia



David Williams, Victorian TAFE Association, Neil Edwards, CEO TVET Australia

Paul Houghton, Polytechnic West, Kevin Harris, TAFE NSW – Northern Sydney,  Leslie Moore, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Australia


Report on Proceedings

ISSUES -- The challenge with an incoming Government in relation to funding regional skills, as well as supporting much-impacted international education market both featured as important issues.  TDA responded by distributing two media releases including:

  • TAFE in box seat to revitalise skills in regional Australia - click here to view.
  • Australia and China reach new deal on VET partnership - click here to view

MEDIA -- The Australian reported on a session that featured TDA Chair, Bruce Mackenzie, andAustralian Catholic University Vice-Chancellor, Greg Craven, discussing a range of issues surrounding tertiary education, most notably access to Commonwealth Supported Places for degrees for all higher education providers. Click here to view the article.

PEOPLE -- This year, TDA invited a group of emerging leaders to run a ‘world cafe’ session where delegates could visit various tables discussing key challenges and opportunities. Some of the key issues arising from the session were:

  • Access to Higher Education Commonwealth Supported Places
  • Defining ‘Tertiary Education’
  • Working more closely with universities to create better student pathways, and improved communication to school students about available pathways
  • Consistent access to the Structural Adjustment Fund for TAFE
  • The need to question parts of the contestable funding model in response to feedback from Victoria as the model spreads across the rest of Australia
  • The implementation of a rating system to ensure TAFEs are seen as quality providers for international students – separate from private providers

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Welcome to Minister Chris Evans – Week of controversy over 'Skills’ Portfolio

TDA welcomes Senator Chris Evans as the Federal Minister for Tertiary Education, Jobs, Skills and Workplace Relations.

As last week’s TDA 2010 National Conference got underway, there was national industry and media debate about the omission of ‘Education’ in the new federal Jobs, Skills and Workplace Relations portfolio. Heads of the university sector were calling for the name to be revised, worried that the emphasis on higher education would be lost.

TDA’s CEO, Martin Riordan, weighed into the debate in a story on the SBS World News, in which he described the “skills” title as appropriate given the national crisis in skills shortages, and that training had remained the ‘poor cousin’ of higher education in previous portfolios. View the news video here.

TDA also featured in news articles in both The Australian and the Australian Financial Review.

After much debate, the Government decided to revise the name of Minister Chris Evans’ portfolio to Tertiary Education, Jobs, Skills and Workplace Relations. 

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SA budget $125M infrastructure grant for redevelopment of TAFE SA campuses

The SA State Budget 2010 has allocated $125 million toward a flagship Sustainable Industries Education Centre, on the site of the former Mitsubishi Motors. 

The Sustainability Industries Education Centre will focus on building and construction, and replace existing TAFE SA campuses at O’Halloran Hill, Marleston and Panorama.

The Minister for Employment, Training and Further Education, Hon. Jack Snelling MP, said the announcement would foreshadow an extensive review of TAFE SA campuses, and a major capital investment program into TAFE.

Mr. Snelling added: “The changes are only the beginning of a comprehensive plan to transform TAFE SA.”

For a link to the Budget changes announced, click here

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Victorian Upper House votes down Government Bill to alter board appointments to TAFE Councils

The Victorian Legislative Council last Thursday evening engaged in lengthy debate about Brumby Government moves to widen its powers in relation to appointments to Victorian TAFE Institute boards. It also debated provisions of the Victorian Training Guarantee.

The Ballieu Coalition together with Green MPs, and the DLP Upper House MP, successfully voted down the amendments on the Board appointments in the Education Reform (Skills) Bill, following representations from Victorian TAFE Institutes. The Government had proposed in the Bill that full Ministerial authority be extended over board appointments, in place of current legislation allowing half of the board to be appointed by the Minister.

The Bill returns to the Legislative Assembly for review, when it resumes for sittings on 4 October – the final week before the election is called for November. To view Hansard, click here.  

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VTA calls for changes to Victorian State-funded places

The Victorian TAFE Association (VTA) has warned that mature-aged apprentices could face higher fees next year, and should not be excluded from state-funded places earmarked only for those under 20 years of age.

VTA Executive Director, David Williams said the organisation is putting representations to the Victorian Government to adjust its market-driven reforms, which he argued may risk outcomes that may also extend skills shortages.

Former Prime Minister, Paul Keating, also weighed into the debate at a special forum organised with the VTA in Melbourne, calling for a Federal takeover of TAFE – replacing State and Territory jurisdictional control.

View an article from The Australian here

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VET in Schools Address to VET network 2010 Biennial Conference

The record increase in enrolments from students in Years 11 and 12 in Australia’s VET in Schools was the focus of an address from Martin Riordan (CEO, TDA) at last week’s VET network 2010 Biennial Conference in Adelaide. Martin was a guest of DEEWR, and supported by the Australian American Fulbright Commission.


Chairperson, VETnetwork Australia, Terry O’Hanlon-Rose,

with Martin Riordan, CEO, TDA

The address highlighted new initiatives toward education qualification completions for schools and Colleges in the United States, including supporting legislation in Florida and various other states to create Career Academies. This followed Martin Riordan’s Fulbright VET Scholarship to the American Community Colleges in early 2010 - an initiative funded by DEEWR.

In addition, Martin previewed commissioned DEEWR research by the Australian College of Educators, and TAFE Directors Australia, reviewing nine TAFE and non-TAFE vocational school and college “VET in School” models in Australia. The research was carried out by Victoria University’s Work-based Education Research Centre (WERC), under Berwyn Clayton.

The preview of the WERC research included some overall results of the survey, which emphasised that combining a range of educational strategies can ‘make a difference’ in terms of completions and student results.

To view the TDA Address to the VET network 2010 Biennial Conference, click here

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Multi-sector institutions the focus of Melbourne LH Martin Conference

The development of multi-sector institutions will be the focus of an upcoming conference organised by the LH Martin Institute, to be held 11-12 November in Melbourne.

The conference, titled “Building Australia’s Tertiary Education Sector: Alternative models & their leadership challenges” will explore the similarities and differences between the various types of multi-sector institutions, and will consider how public policy can support their development.

The conference will also look closely at a newly released study “VET Leadership for the Future: Characteristics, contexts and capabilities”, and focus on key opportunities and challenges for leaders in VET. See the report here, and a briefing document here).

For more information about the conference click here

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Support for careers on Facebook

Organisers of the National Career Development Week have set up a Facebook page titled AusCareerWeek.

They are calling for support to spread the word about career development, and build the number of ‘friends’ for the page.

Click here to view the page.   

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Diary Dates

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

DATE: 17-22 October 2010
LOCATION: Peppers Moonah Links Resort, Victoria
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Education and Training for a more productive Australia

DATE: 29 October 2010
LOCATION: Ascot House, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information 

Research Forum - Fostering enterprise: The innovational and skills nexus
DATE: 9 November 2010
LOCATION: Australian Technology Park, Sydney
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Has 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

DATE: 13-15 November 2010
LOCATION: Birmingham, UK
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Buidling sustainability through marketing
DATE: 10-11 November 2010
LOCATION: Rydges Hotel, Brisbane
DETAILS: Register for conference or enter awards online at www.atmaltd.org.au

2010 Australian Youth Mentoring Conference

DATE: 10-11 November 2010
LOCATION: Radisson Resort, Gold Coast
DETAILS: Click here for more information

World Innovation Summit for Education
DATE: 7-9 December 2010
LOCATION: Sheraton Resort, Doha, Qatar
DETAILS: Click here for more information 

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