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Newsletter | 30 November 2015

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In this edition  


TAFE ‘exporting’ green skills expertise to China

TAFE green skills on show at Northern Sydney Institute.

A high level delegation of Chinese researchers and VET practitioners had a first hand experience of ‘green’ skills in a special regional workshop hosted by TAFE Directors Australia in Sydney last week.

The delegation is part of an APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) project for the ‘Systematic Design of Green Skills Development’ in the VET sector, led by China.

The group visited TAFE NSW Northern Sydney Institute Learning and Innovation Campus at St Leonards – an award-winning ‘green campus’, featuring solar panels and recyclable materials.

The delegation was led by Professor Yufeng Lui from China’s Central Institute of Vocational Training and Education (CIVTE), part of the Ministry of Education.

“I think the Chinese model of vocational education has a lot that we can learn from TAFE in Australia,” Professor Lui said.

The workshop also featured speakers from Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Canada and New Zealand.

The aim of the APEC project is to identify new green skills specialties that can become a central part of teaching and learning, while creating an international green skills exchange among APEC economies.  

Linda Condon, coordinator of the TDA-led green skills network across TAFEs in Australia, was a keynote speaker. For industry, Lend Lease showcased sustainability features of the Sydney Barangaroo foreshores project, and how TAFE training was integral to the project.

Alison Wood, Director of Northern Sydney Institute of TAFE, welcomed the workshop to the sustainability features of its ISO-sustainability campuses.

Alison Wood, Northern Sydney Institute; Professor Liu Yufeng;  and Linda Condon, TDA. The award-winning Cameraygal building at Northern Sydney Institute.

Departmental regulator group set up to focus on training college failures

A dedicated taskforce has been set up in the federal Department of Education and Training to share intelligence and assess risk associated with the growing VET FEE-HELP controversy.

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) says the working group will closely monitor and target training providers identified by complaints, intelligence data and audits.

ASQA last week cancelled the registration of Phoenix Institute of Australia, while the ACCC commenced legal action against Phoenix and Community Training Initiatives.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said: “We allege this conduct targeted some of the most vulnerable groups in the Australian community, including consumers from low socio-economic backgrounds and consumers with intellectual disabilities.”

Shares in the ASX listed Australian Careers Network, which runs the Phoenix Institute, have been in suspension since mid-October.

See ASQA’s statement.

See the ACCC’s statement.

TAFE to absorb students affected by collapse of Vocation

Victorian students affected by the collapse of Vocation Ltd will be absorbed into the state’s TAFE system to enable them to complete their qualifications.

The publicly listed group was placed into voluntary administration, affecting approximately 12,000 students in its various colleges.

Victoria’s Minister for Training and Skills Steve Herbert said the students would be looked after no matter what the administrator decides.

"We're making every preparation so that if those companies do close, those students who are affected can move across to a Victorian TAFE at no cost to themselves and complete their qualification," he said.

Vocation, once chaired by former education minister John Dawkins, failed in its efforts to raise extra funds after VET FEE-HELP funding was curtailed. It has students in New South Wales, ACT, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

Martin Riordan, CEO TDA, told The Australian the Vocation collapse had been one of several private for-profit college scandals that had damaged the Australian tertiary education sector, especially for international education.

Federal takeover of VET hits a hurdle

The proposed Commonwealth takeover of the VET system ran into headwinds at the recent meeting of the federal and state skills ministers in Hobart.

The Australian reported that the takeover proposal dominated the meeting and that all but one jurisdiction “vociferously opposed” handing training over to the Commonwealth.

South Australia was the only state to support the proposal. Victoria and Western Australia have been tasked to report back on the idea.

The Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Luke Hartsuyker said the idea was not yet dead.

“It’s not a decision for the skills ministers,” he said. “It will be the first ministers who make that call,” he told The Australian.

See the Communiqué.

Official figures show education levels rising

Australians are more educated than ever, with almost six out of ten having a qualification, and over a quarter with a degree, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The publication, Education and Work, Australia, May 2015, also shows a significant increase in education levels among women.

"Since 1990, the proportion of working aged women (15-64 years) with a degree has increased fourfold from around 7 per cent to 29 per cent, while the proportion of men has increased more slowly from 10 per cent to 24 per cent,” said Michelle Marquardt of the ABS.

“In those 25 years, the proportion of women of this age group with a qualification rose from 34 per cent to 60 per cent while the proportion of men with a qualification increased from 45 per cent to 61 per cent.”

See more.

TDA attends business leadership dinner

Shane Kay, Pam Caven
and Craig Sloan.

The newly appointed Chair of Canberra Institute of Technology, Craig Sloan, and Shane Kay, CFO CIT, were guests of TAFE Directors Australia at the annual dinner of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), in Canberra last week.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressed the dinner, speaking about the governments agenda in the final two weeks of federal parliament.

Pam Caven, Director Policy and Stakeholder Engagement represented TDA, and met with the head of education for ACCI, Jenny Lambert.

Former Young Australian of the Year to be tech school ambassador

The Victorian government has announced robotics communicator and entrepreneur Marita Cheng as Victoria’s Tech School Ambassador.

The Minister for Education James Merlino said Ms Cheng’s passion for science and engineering made her the perfect ambassador for the new Tech Schools program which aims to inspire STEM careers.

The government is spending $125 million to create ten high tech centres of learning at TAFEs and university campuses, using leading-edge technology to deliver advanced skills and training.

The learning centres will be located at Gippsland, Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong, Monash, Casey, Wyndham, Whittlesea, Banyule and the Yarra Ranges, with the first schools opening in 2017.

See more.

Tasmania introduces bonus payment to attract ‘out of trade’ apprentices

The Tasmanian government has set up a register to attract apprentices back into the building and construction industry.

The Tasmanian Building and Construction Industry Training Board’s Out of Trade Apprentice Program aims to attract apprentices who may not have completed their training, as a way of meeting growing skills needs.

The program offers a completion bonus, paid to the employer, as well as funding for refresher training needed during re-employment of apprentices.

Major projects include the silos development in Launceston, the Living City project in Devonport and the Royal Hobart Hospital redevelopment in Hobart, all of which are spurring demand for building and construction apprentices.

Diary Dates

National conference on VET teaching & VET teacher education
‘Refocusing on teaching and training in VET’

DATE: 14 December 2015
LOCATION: Melbourne
DETAILS: More information

AVETRA 19th annual conference
DATE: 20 – 22 April 2016
DETAILS: More information

HERDSA (Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia)
The Shape of Higher Education

DATE: 4-7 July 2016
LOCATION: Fremantle
DETAILS: More information

National Skills Week
DATE: 29 August – 4 September 2016
DETAILS: More information

Corporate Affiliates