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Newsletter | 10 April 2017

In this edition


Farewell messages to Martin Riordan show trust in TAFE as the real legacy of his 12-year term

TDA CEO Martin Riordan, pictured has paid a special tribute for the thanks he has received from government ministers, shadow ministers, TAFE leaders, teachers, and key stakeholders ahead of completing a 12-year term at Easter.

Farewell messages to Martin Riordan show trust in TAFE as the real legacy of his 12-year term “I am especially grateful for the warm messages flowing from ministers, shadow ministers, ASQA commissioners, as well as from colleagues on the TDA Board and across our TAFE system, ahead of finishing a wonderful term leading TDA,” Martin Riordan said.

The Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, and Assistant Minister Karen Andrews joined with Shadow Ministers Kate Ellis and Senator Doug Cameron, who each sent personal messages, letters and testimonials congratulating Martin Riordan on his contribution.

“I feel completely humbled by these very generous messages – just wonderful to think we have so many who take time out in this most personal way. Thank you to all. I am sure it also shows wonderful trust in TAFE, and the role of TDA in advocating for the public TAFE network,” he said.

Martin said he wished to acknowledge his fabulous TDA executive team.

“The team face regular battles, yet have clearly made a real difference – across media, policy submissions and advocacy – here and internationally.

Each of them are senior professionals, and I pay tribute to colleagues Pam Caven, Jen Behan, Andre Diez de Aux, Janny Tjen and the secretariat team, including Gretchel Trost, Kathy Zhao and Nirvana Zibarrah, along with many past senior colleagues who have supported TDA as a peak body.

Martin said the challenge throughout has been managing policy advocacy at a time TAFE when was being exposed to open-market competition, amid continual VET sector-wide restructuring and reform. Yet, there was no federal funding for restructuring, such as that in areas such as automotive and manufacturing.

“There have been remarkable periods with significant wins by TDA in advocating for TAFE. However, these ‘highs’ were shared with natural concerns that federal policy appears to have stalled on the future of funding support for vocational education and TAFE,” he said.

Martin congratulated Craig Robertson on his appointment as CEO, with a handover through the Easter period.

“Everyone is excited by Craig's appointment, and I wish him all the best in this important role.”

Martin Riordan, who is a Senior Fellow at LH Martin Institute, University of Melbourne, said in the short term he plans to complete post-graduate studies, and will announce later in the year longer-term career plans.  

Incoming CEO's contact details

TDA's incoming CEO Craig Robertson is in handover phase ahead of formally assuming the role. For those wishing to contact Craig, his email is crobertson@tda.edu.au

ASQA set to target high-risk training providers under new audit model

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)  is set to roll out its new risk-based approach to auditing of training providers following the green light from a formal evaluation.

The new approach will see a greater focus on the student experience, as well as on past practices and behaviours of registered training organisations (RTOs).

It will also step up the use of risk intelligence including a risk dashboard and profile of providers.

The evaluation report, conducted by Ms Margo Couldrey of Lista, concludes that after a year of testing, the system is ready to be implemented.

"Just as the time was right for ASQA to strongly signal a changed approach to audit in early 2016, the timing following the testing of the approach has never been better to roll out the regulatory approach focused squarely on high quality student experiences," the report said.

See the Evaluation Report.

Victoria claims 50,000 skilled positions at risk under funding impasse

The Victorian government has added to the pressure for a new Commonwealth-state skills funding agreement, claiming the delay is putting almost 50,000 apprentice and training places at risk.

The Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney said that despite the National Partnership on Skills funding running out in June, the federal government is yet to confirm whether a new agreement will be signed.

"New modelling from the Department of Education and Training shows the agreement, worth around $130 million to Victoria this financial year, is equal to 43,000 Victorian apprenticeships or 50,000 training places," Ms Tierney said.

It follows a recent call from the major business organisations - ACCI, BCA and AiGroup - for a new funding deal on skills to be sealed promptly.

India and Australia complete final leg of joint training program

TDA delivered the final phase of the 2016/17 Australia India Vocational Education Leadership Training (VELT) Program in India last week.

TDA's International Director, Jen Bahen, was accompanied by leaders from TAFE QLD, South West TAFE, TasTAFE, CIT and TAFE NSW to deliver leadership training to around 100 Indian institute leaders.

This was the final phase of the three-phase project, whereby Indian leaders participated in workshops on modes of learning, curriculum development, student journeys, change management and industry engagement.

The 100 leaders included 20 participants who travelled to Australia in February, and who supported TAFE in delivery of the workshop.

Indian institution leaders also outlined how they would use the training after the program had been completed, including forming action groups across different states in India.  

TDA worked with three different Indian government agencies, including the All India Council for Technical Education, the Ministry of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship, and the University Grants Commission.

TAFE participants are now exploring a range of partnerships as a result of the program. 

TAFE activity continues in India this week, with Minister Birmingham leading a Skills and Education mission on Monday and Tuesday.

Mental health issues rife at university and TAFE, new report finds

Worryingly high numbers of  university and TAFE students are stressed and anxious, with many having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, according to new research from Headspace and the National Union of Students.

The survey of some 2,600 students nationally found that almost 70 per cent rated their mental health as poor or fair, while two-thirds reported high or very high psychological distress over the past 12 months.

Headspace CEO Jason Trethowan said young people who who were studying were often experiencing a big life transition and may be vulnerable.

“They might have moved out of home for the first time, they might have greater responsibilities financially, and domestically. Some young people might engage in risky behaviours such as drug use," he said.

Young people seeking help for a mental health problem should contact Headspace

Regulator takes action against two training colleges

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has taken regulatory decisions against two related training providers - Asia Pacific Training Institute, (APTI), and Franklyn Scholar.

ASQA has cancelled the registration of APTI and has removed all diploma-level qualifications and the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment qualification from Franklyn Scholar.

ASQA Chief Commissioner Mark Paterson said both organisations were reviewed due to complaints and other intelligence.

“An investigation into APTI found that it was not compliant with the requirements of the VET Quality Framework in the areas of marketing and student recruitment, student enrolment and the amount of training it provided to learners," Mr Paterson said.

"An audit of Franklyn Scholar (Australia) found non-compliance in the same areas of its diploma level qualifications, as well as issues with its assessment practices," he said.

Information for students who are impacted can be found here.

Pan-European apprenticeship standards

A recent publication out of Europe proposes a pan-European set of quality standards for apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships are seen as one of the most effective solutions to the youth unemployment that has dogged many European countries since the global financial crisis.

The paper proposes 20 standards, based on existing good practices, that would improve both the quality and consistency of apprenticeships across member states.

Standards seek to address how apprenticeships are defined, financed, delivered and regulated, which parties regulate them, and how they respond to labour markets and the needs of learners and employers.

It is hoped that the implementation of the standards will also help to address issues of declining numbers of apprentices, persistent skills mismatches, and gender and ethnic imbalances in apprenticeships,

Canberrans get access to more government-funded courses

The ACT government has lifted a restriction on the number of government funded courses that a person can undertake.

The Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research, Meegan Fitzharris, said the changes would improve the career prospects of older members of the workforce.

“For example, these changes allow a tradesperson with two apprenticeship qualifications at Certificate III and IV level to upskill through a funded traineeship to a diploma-level qualification," she said.

Showcase the work of your institute or organisation

The 2017 TDA Convention to be held in Adelaide on 7 & 8 September is providing an opportunity for you to showcase the work of your institute or organisation via market place sessions.

Your institute or organisation has an opportunity to present your ideas, your successes, your challenges, to gain some feedback and potentially find like-minded practitioners as, partners and collaborators.

See more

Sydney forum to review procurement qualifications

PwC’s Skills for Australia, the Skills Service Organisation (SSO) responsible for the Business Services (BSB) Training Package, is undertaking a review of current procurement qualifications.

PWC is holding a public forum in Sydney on 13 April and is inviting industry attendance. See more information.

Anyone interested in attending should contact Kristen Stribley on kristen.stribley@pwc.com

How sustainable is your institution?

A short survey has been initiated by the convenors of the Green Gowns Awards to try to establish the level of engagement around issues relating to sustainability in the TAFE sector.

In the past,  a number of TAFE institutions have received awards for their excellent work in this area and the Green Gowns Awards executive is trying to establish how much engagement is currently taking place around sustainability.

Please take just a couple of minutes to answer their survey. It will remain open until 26 April.

Diary Dates

20th Annual AVETRA 2017 Conference
18 - 20 April 2017
William Angliss Institute, Melbourne
More information

Group Training Association of NSW & ACT 2017 Skills Conference
Moving Apprenticeships and Traineeships Forward
14 June 2017
Dockside Darling Harbour
More information

26th National VET Research Conference 'No Frills' 
5 - 7 July 2017
More information.

2017 VTA State Conference
20 – 21 July 2017
Rydges Melbourne
189 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
More information coming soon

Queensland Training Awards
Department of Education and Training, Queensland
July 2017
More information

Community Colleges Australia Annual Conference 2017
25 - 27 July 2017
Citadines on Bourke, Melbourne, Victoria
More information
TDA Convention 2017 - Networked TAFE
7 - 8 September 2017 (Welcome Reception 6 September at Adelaide Oval)
Adelaide Hilton, South Australia
More information

2017 VDC Teaching & Learning Conference
7 - 8 September 2017
RACV Torquay Resort
More information

National Skills Week 2017
28 August – 3 September 2017
Nation wide
More information

National VET Conference
13 - 15 September 2017
International Convention Centre, Sydney
More information

Australian International Education Conference (AIEC)
10 - 13 October 2017
Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, Tasmania
More information

National Apprentice Employment Network
National Conference
2 - 3 November 2017
Radisson Hotel, Sydney
More information coming soon


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