TAFE Directors Australia

Supporting our member institutes since 1998

Newsletter 6 December 2010


TDA seeks alignment between TEQSA and National VET Regulator agencies

TAFE Directors Australia’s CEO, Martin Riordan, was a keynote speaker at last week’s VET Summit, held in Melbourne,  and urged the incoming Federal Tertiary Education and Skills Minister, Hon. Senator Chris Evans, to consider a ‘Bradley review for VET’ following a record number of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) in Australia.

Martin Riordan (CEO, TDA) said that the 5,001 RTOs now recorded in Australia, the disarray with international education, discussion about quality, and continuing concerns about skill shortages, demonstrated the need for a special VET Bradley inquiry – especially questioning the widespread registration of small and potentially financially insecure RTOs.

TDA flagged its concern that leadership of TEQSA and the National VET Regulator had recently questioned the groups ‘coming together’ and that their merger might be “aspirational”.

Last week the NSW Parliament passed its legislation to allow Federal authorities to proceed with setting up the National VET Regulator.

Click here for the full TDA Keynote Address.

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Building the VET workforce – Productivity Commission delivers draft report

TDA has welcomed the Productivity Commission’s draft report into the Australia’s VET workforce, particularly its focus on the need for increased professional development in order to build capacity for the future.

The report highlights the need for reform of the industrial relations arrangements that TAFE operates under, and recommends that TAFEs be given greater control over employment and HR practices.

The report also calls for better data reporting mechanisms for the sector, and has tasked the National Centre for Vocational Education Research with creating an appropriate collection method.  

Click here to view the Productivity Commission’s report into the VET workforce. TDA will be submitting a response to the draft report and will inform members on how they can contribute in the coming weeks.

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New Cabinet announced for Victorian Government

After the change of Government following the Victorian State Elections, the new Premier, the Hon Ted Ballieu MP, has announced his new Cabinet.

TDA congratulates the appointment of the Hon Martin Dixon MP as the new Minister for Education, and the Hon Peter Hall MP, as the Minister for Higher Education and Skills, and the Minister responsible for the Teaching Professions.

Click here to view the announcement.

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Migration program consultations underway

Amid an outcry from TDA and national VET leadership, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has announced a series of consultations with the sector on Australia’s student visa rules, and skilled migration program.

The consultations will include an update from DIAC on the economic overview, policy challenges, key migration reforms and priorities. TDA will be attending the 17 December meeting in Sydney and has been advised that written submissions are due 10 January.

TDA maintains its strong position on three key issues:

  • There should be a more streamlined approach to processing study visa applications for students wishing to study with a TAFE institute, with assessment levels at least equivalent to those for the higher education sector.
  • The points test for independent skilled migration should not discriminate against trade and para-professional occupations.
  • DIAC should improve its consultative mechanisms by creating a Student Visa Advisory Group.

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International student data still showing unrest

International student numbers continue to decline, with year-to-date October figures showing a decline of 1.4% in enrolments across all sectors when compared with YTD October 2009 figures.

Vocational education and training recorded a minimal growth in enrolments of 0.4%, however the biggest blow was recorded in commencements - down 8.2%.

The Australianfeatured an article on the data, click here to view. To view the original data from Australian Education International click here.

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Strong outlook for apprentices in new data

The number of apprentices in training has increased 3% and commencements have risen 9% during the course of the 12 months to June 2010.

New data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) has, importantly, also shown a rise in the number of completions, with almost 5% more students completing their studies in 2010 compared with 2009.

To read more about the latest figures click here.

NCVER has also released an historical account of apprenticeships and traineeships in Australia dating from 1963 to 2010. The information provides a summary of the major historic events which have shaped the sector into what we see today. Click here to view the document.

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Austrade briefing on China

Austrade has provided a video conference briefing on China led by its Trade Commissioner in Beijing, Jane Wallis. Key points included:

  • International student commencements from China continue to rise (up 3.5%)
  • Higher education shows strong growth, VET is almost static, and English language courses and Schools are declining
  • Offshore visa grants have declined
  • An agent survey carried out by Austrade in China identified increased study and living costs, and migration policy change and uncertainty, as their top two issues, with 66% of agents expecting further declines in the next three months
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) data, which captures the number of Chinese applying for an IELTS, shows a dramatic decline this year  - down 31%

Austrade strongly encouraged participation in 16th China International Education Exhibition Tour to be held in March. Further information on Austrade’s role will be available shortly.

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TDA meets with new education counsellors to China and Japan

TDA recently had the pleasure of meeting with, and briefing, two new Australian Education International education counsellors:  Jen Tyrell who joins the team in Beijing, and Karen Sandercock who will head to Japan.

They were joined by Jason Coutts who has recently been appointed as Branch Manager for International Cooperation within the International Group of DEEWR.

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Red tape holding back VET’s potential to meet changing industry needs

A new report says that the VET sector has strong mechanisms for identifying, and responding to the changing needs of industry, however too much ‘red tape’ is hindering the speed of its response.

The report, Responding to changing skill demands: training packages and accredited courses, from the National Centre for Vocational Education and Training (NCVER), finds that the development and review of training packages is not enough, and must be complemented with effective teaching, rigorous assessment and up-to-date materials and technology.

Read more here.

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Request for support – publication to celebrate 25 years of international education

Members of the international education industry are currently working to prepare a publication to celebrate 25 years of international education in Australia.

The celebration of this event will be an effective way of highlighting the importance and achievements of the industry, which was officially launched in 1986.

The landmark publication, Looking Forward, Looking Back: Celebrating 25 Years of International Education in Australia, will be launched in Parliament in November 2011.

TAFE Institutes are being asked to show their support for this initiative by contributing a donation. This donation will help to ensure the publication, and the events surrounding its launch, gain full attention. The project has so far received funding from the Commonwealth, some states, universities and other organisations.

Click here to view a letter from the organisers. Click here to view a flyer.

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VET workforce study submissions available to view

Members may have contributed earlier in the year to a study on the VET workforce being organised by the Australian College of Educators and undertaken by the LH Martin Institute. 

The final report is currently under final review by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, which funded the project, and will be available soon.

In the meantime, the LH Martin Institute has published submissions to the draft paper, ‘The Quality of teaching in VET: options paper,’ on its website. To view these submissions click here.  

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Opportunity to participate in PNG VET Expo

Austrade invites members to be a part of the 2011 VET Expo in Papua New Guinea (PNG) which will showcase the quality of the Australian VET sector and the potential opportunities available in PNG.

The PNG market is currently undergoing significant economic growth and there is growing demand for skilled labour. For more information about this opportunity, click here.

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AQF & AQTF: similar acronyms, different purposes

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) have similar letters in their acronyms but have quite different purposes.

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is Australia’s comprehensive framework for all nationally recognised qualifications in schools, vocational education and training and higher education. Link to the websitehere

The Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) is the national set of standards which assures nationally consistent, high-quality training and assessment services for the clients of Australia’s vocational education and training system.  Link to the website here.

Note: The TDA Newsletter, 29 November, article nine, was referring to the Australian Qualifications Framework, not the Australian Quality Training Framework.

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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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