TAFE Directors Australia

Supporting our member institutes since 1998

Newsletter 29 November 2010


TDA responds to Skills Australia ‘future direction’ discussion paper

TDA has responded to the Skills Australia Discussion Paper, Creating a future direction for Australian vocational education and training, commenting that it is comprehensive and wide-ranging.

However, in its submission TDA agrees with comments from LH Martin Institute’s Associate Professor Leesa Wheelahan that post the Bradley review, there is a need for a vision for VET. She said, “Training needs its own Bradley review to establish its vision and purpose and relationship with higher education on the one hand and schools on the other”.

TDA goes further in its submission, declaring a need for Skills Australia to articulate, and agree with Government, its vision for TAFE Institutes as the public provider component within the structure of Australian vocational education and training, and likely funding structures into the 21st Century.

The key messages in the TDA submission include:-

  • WHAT ABOUT TAFE? -- There is insufficient examination of the centrality of the public provider in creating a future direction for Australian vocational education and training
  • Re-engineering apprenticeships– TDA supports the finding by Skills Australia that a significant review of the Australian apprenticeship system is overdue. TDA advocates a range of models of apprenticeships - including Trade Cadetships, and existing worker apprenticeships.
  • SUPPORT FOR TARGETS -- TDA supports the Government’s access and participation targets and believes that the TAFE sector is vital to their achievement.
  • RESPONSIVENESS -- TDA concurs with the Discussion Paper that there is always scope for greater responsiveness to students and employers, although not necessarily as proposed in the paper.

TDA thanks members for their contributions to the submission. To view TDA’s submission click here.

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Further changes to study visa regulations will escalate collateral damage for TAFE

The Federal Minister for Immigration, Hon. Chris Bowen MP, has used the final days of Federal Parliament to gazette new Student Visa regulations, nominating new and separate classifications for diplomas and advanced diplomas.

The Federal gazettal (Regulation 1.40A, Migration Regulations 1994) creates separate classifications to distinguish between VET and Higher Education diplomas, and advanced diplomas.

The changes in course descriptors for international student study visas sends a clear signal the Federal Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) intends to crack down even harder on vocational education and training (VET) providers, leading to further decreases in enrolments across the sector. TDA has issued a media statement on the issue today.

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TDA seeks balance after wide variations in approaches to regulator consultations by DEEWR

TDA has written to the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations, Senator the Hon Chris Evans, seeking more balance in the consultation process, especially for the National VET Regulator (NVR), ahead of national regulatory legislation covering both the tertiary and VET sectors by the Commonwealth.   

DEEWR managed consultations on both the National VET Regulator and the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), however afterwards the TDA Board felt it was necessary to reiterate its position about the secrecy and associated issues which characterised the NVR consultation.

TDA also referred to its Blueprint for Australian tertiary education, and from a policy perspective, related the desired characteristics of the regulators, and the necessity for strategies to be put in place to bring about a merger between the National VET Regulator and TEQSA.

View TDA’s position on the National VET Regulator here.

View TDA’s response to TEQSA here.

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National VET Regulator Bill introduced to Parliament

The National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Bill 2010 was introduced to Federal Parliament on the last sitting days for 2010, and will be debated in February next year. In addition, the NSW Parliament also introduced its proposed enabling legislation which hands over authority to Canberra from NSW for the National VET Regulator powers.  

The new arrangements, to be implemented in April next year, will see regulatory duties handed over from all States, except Victoria and Western Australia, to the Federal body.

Following the weekend Victorian State election, it is unclear how Victoria will now proceed in this area.

To view a media release from the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations, Senator, the Hon Chris Evans, click here.

Meanwhile, media reports have suggested Australia’s universities sector is seeking further talks with the Federal Government before Christmas to discuss the proposed Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).

According to The Australian, there are still concerns from the universities sector that the new regulations will bring more ‘red tape’ than changes to quality.

Click here to view the article.

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Critical Skills Guidelines – call for comments

The Federal Government has released draft guidelines for the $200 million Critical Skills Investment Fund aimed at building the skills capacity in high-demand sectors such as the resources, construction and renewable energy sectors.

To view an announcement from the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations, Senator the Hon Chris Evans click here. Comments on the draft guidelines are invited by 8th December 2010.

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Training opportunities in aged care

Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), in collaboration with aged care services, will be able to apply to deliver accredited courses that will update the skills of thousands of aged care workers.

The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, the Hon Mark Butler MP, announced that the Government will provide $47 million to fund the Supporting a Professional Aged Care Workforce Program.

For more information click here.

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Proportionately fewer people have tertiary qualifications this year – Campus Review report

The latest issue of Campus Review reports that Australia slipped slightly behind in its effort to meet the Bradley higher education attainment target, with the proportion of 25- to 34-year-olds with higher education qualifications dropping for the first time in over a decade.

Tertiary writer John Ross reported that according to the latest Survey of Education and Work report on research released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 34.2 per cent of Australians in this age cohort now hold qualifications at bachelor level or higher – down from 34.6 per cent last year.

While this represents just a 0.4 percentage point turnaround, it’s the first decrease since the survey began in 1998. Between then and 2009, the proportion of 25- to 34-year-olds with higher education qualifications rose steadily from 19.3 per cent. (Ref: CR 29th November 2010)

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TAFE NSW recognised for efforts at Shanghai Expo


Mr Tao Shenxian, Bureau of Coordination, Shanghai Expo, and Mr Chris Wen, Director, North and East Asia, DET International.


TAFE NSW has been a awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the Shanghai Expo Bureau for its development of a training plan for the entire workforce, including professional staff, contractors and volunteers, at the Shanghai Expo held from May to October this year.


TAFE NSW was one of eight organisations to receive the Certificate, and the only non-China-based recipient.


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TDA welcomes appropriate recognition for Certificate III in revised qualifications framework

TDA has welcomed a proposed amendment to the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) by Ministerial Council for Tertiary Education and Employment (MCTEE) which will see Certificate III qualifications no longer equated to school-based qualifications.

The MCTEE amendment says: “the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education will be located in the framework but not tied to a specific level. “

TDA had argued for this issue to be rectified through its submission to the AQFC (August 2010). TDA stated that since the Certificate III qualification is generally a trades qualification, it shouldn’t be equated to the senior secondary certificate.  

Click here to view the MCTEE Communiqué. Click here to view the TDA submission to the AQFC.

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Roundtable discusses opportunities to engage the disabled in VET

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) held a VET and Disability Roundtable, in Melbourne last week.

TDA participated in the Roundtable which discussed the benefits of VET for the disabled and how to better engage them in the opportunities available.  The discussion was sparked by three presentations which centred on the NCVER’s previous research on VET and disability.

Head of Policy, Research and Stakeholder Management at the Victorian TAFE Association, Pam Jonas has prepared a summary of the discussion and links to the presentations. Click here to access the summary.

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TAFE SA Executive to represent TDA on national data standards reference group

Director of Education and Program Services, TAFE SA Adelaide South Institute, Alison Russell, will represent TDA on the Technical Reference Group for the new student data standards to be enforced next year.

The group will oversee the AVETMISS - the Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard for which all Registered Training Organisations must meet data collection requirements by 1 January 2011.

Alison will attend a meeting organised by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) in Adelaide on 8 December, and TDA looks forward to hearing the outcomes.

For more information on AVETMIS click here.  

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Diary Dates

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

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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