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Newsletter | 10 September 2012    

In this edition


Feature story

Blog from the CEO

TAFE leadership came together in Perth last week in strong numbers - across CEOs and top teams, head teachers, suppliers and industry of Australia’s 61 TAFE Institutes - showing a clear vote of confidence for public providers at our 2012 National Conference.

The welcome to our ‘East meets West’ Conference by State Premier of Western Australia, Hon. Colin Barnett, provided a deliberate message about the critical role for the public provider as WA leads with long-term resource investments in the west, and industry re-structure required to meet skill demands.

Read the full blog here.

TDA National Conference tackles the region’s major skills challenges 

Almost 350 delegates from the VET sector, government, industry, and our Asian neighbours converged on Perth for the TDA National Conference last week.

The conference, East Meets West, tackled the big issues on the domestic and international skills and training agenda.

Federal Tertiary Education and Skills Minister, Senator the Hon Chris Evans told the conference that TAFE was the “cornerstone of the VET system” and a “huge community asset” that needed to be supported.

“We have a massive, long-term public investment in the TAFE sector which is internationally regarded as world-class. It's a huge community asset and one of the challenges in the reform process is to get full value from that national asset.

“In order for our VET system to be strong, our TAFE system must be strong, innovative and responsive,” he said.

In his keynote address, he urged action to progress competency-based progression and to improve completion rates among apprentices studying at TAFEs.

Senator Evans also expressed his support for external validation of courses and assessments.

“I am a great advocate for external validation - I think we need to be absolutely reassured about the quality of our qualifications. This is something the Commonwealth will be driving hard.”

To read the Minister’s address, see here.

Shadow Minister for Employment Participation, the Hon Sussan Ley said that while she supports contestable funding for VET, she is a strong advocate for a well-supported and funded public provider.

“I understand only too well that, if it weren’t TAFE, many school leavers may not go on to obtain employment.”

A Coalition government would support greater autonomy for TAFEs as well as a more equitable playing field for TAFE, compared with the university sector, in relation to Commonwealth Supported Places.

“There are equity issues and they should be addressed,” she said.

West Australian Premier, Colin Barnett, reminded delegates of the continuing strength of the State’s resources activity, and the need for a sustained stream of skilled personnel from the rest of the country’s TAFE system.

See the story in The Australian.

All proceedings and papers from the conference will be published by TDA in an Occasional Paper.

See here for a picture gallery from the TDA Conference.

TDA would like to thank all our sponsors for their support:

DSIIRTE; TechnologyOne; Fuji Xerox Australia; West Coast Institute of Training; Echo360; Service Skills Australia; Group Training Australia; TAFE Development Centre; UniSuper Management Pty Ltd; LH Martin Institute; Ellucian; MEGT (Australia) Ltd; Victorian TAFE Association; and ETS Global Division.

L-R: Premier Colin Barnett; Senator the Hon Chris Evans; the Hon Sussan Ley; the TDA Conference at the Perth Hyatt

Private training colleges under scrutiny again

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has defended its role in the investigation of private training colleges targeted in the latest revelations by ABC’s 7.30 program.

ASQA said in a media release that claims of a crisis in the sector are overstated, and that the agency was in the process of taking action against the training providers identified in the program.

Federal Shadow Minister for Employment Participation, the Hon Sussan Ley, told the TDA Conference that she plans to write to the Minister seeking wider powers for the National Skills Standards Council (NSSC) to investigate the claims made about some private private providers, describing them as “alarming”.

“There is still an ongoing issue of quality to consider in relation to a number of providers who are rorting the system,” she told the conference.

“I will ask the minister to address the quality of RTOs.”

She was concerned that there are only six investigators to undertake investigations of the kind required to crack down on rorts.

“We are kidding ourselves if we think ASQA could drill down to this level.”

Initial findings of Queensland training taskforce

The Queensland Government has released the Skills and Training Taskforce Interim Report into the future of the State’s VET system.

The Interim Report is a package of recommendations, largely focused on TAFE, and is fundamental to the future of skills training in Queensland.

Martin Riordan, CEO of TDA, told today’s AFR of concerns about the campus closures to TAFE, and repeated his call that Federal Structural Adjustment Funding should be extended beyond universities, to support TAFEs in the transition arrangements under the COAG and National Partnership Agreement for Skills reform.

Click here to view an article published in AFR and The Australian.

Click here to see the TDA media release.

Green Skills International Network launch – plan to improve workplace sustainability

TDA Chief Executive, Martin Riordan, and TDA Director, International Green Skills Network, Linda Condon, launched a new initiative to assist educators, business and the community to more rapidly transition to a low carbon economy.

The International Green Skills Network was launched at the TDA Conference. It will work with TAFE, VET providers, universities, business, communities and governments across Australia to promote and support green skill development in the workplace, with a focus on education for sustainability.

Also, TDA has received funding to send 20 delegates to China for a green skills conference in October.

See Linda Condon’s address to the conference.

See the International Green Skills Network press release.

For more information, contact Linda Condon, lcondon@tda.edu.au

VET standards paper imminent

The Chair of the National Skills Standards Council (NSSC) the Hon John Dawkins, told the TDA National Conference that his organisation’s planned issues paper on the regulation of VET would be released within a month.

The paper follows a series of consultations with stakeholders around Australia on the Review of the Standards for the Regulation of VET.

Asked about the likelihood of tightening regulations to deal with higher risk operators, Mr Dawkins said, “Whatever resources are available should be applied to where the problem exists, rather than where they don’t.”

Mr Dawkins told the conference he tended toward light-handed regulation, where appropriate.

Associate Professor, Leesa Wheelahan of the LH Martin Institute for Higher Education, Leadership and Management, questioned aspects of the review, criticised “secrecy” of the inquiry, and what she termed a failure to coordinate the separate review of Training Packages.

“The emphasis is on stamping out dodgy practice, rather than building a quality system,” she told the conference.

“I don’t have much confidence that the review will improve the situation.”

Click here to view Professor Wheelahan’s presentation.

Click here to view TDA’s submission to the review.

TDA takes the lead in Asian VET network

The Tertiary Education Minister Senator Hon Chris Evans, has appointed TDA to coordinate a planned Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) provider network, along with Korea, across the 18 East Asia Summit network.

DIISRTE signed a contract for TDA to coordinate the East Asia Summit TVET Provider Network, to enhance educational coordination. Details on the plan were unveiled at the TDA Conference by TDA’s Director, International Engagement, Peter Holden.

The network aims to build the capacity of TVET institutions across the region and develop plans for regional coordination and recognition of skills and qualifications.

The first meeting of the network will take place in Melbourne in November.

TDA was delighted to have distinguished international delegations from India and Indonesia attend the conference.

The inaugural mentoring program with India saw senior Indian delegates meet with their Australian counterparts.

The delegation from Indonesia reached agreement for a program of mentoring to start mid-2013.

TDA also welcomed leadership from the polytechnics of New Zealand and Hong Kong.

Indonesian delegates with Martin Riordan and Peter Holden; Indian delegates with Minister Evans and Peter Holden

Perth design students on world stage

Six students from the Western Australia’s Central Institute of Technology’s 3D Design course have been invited to exhibit at an international exhibition in London this month.

Eighteen of the Institute’s designers were also selected to feature at Vibrant Visions in Design, a section of Australia’s largest furniture show, Furnitex, in Melbourne.

A selection of these works by Central students will be on display in Perth at Gallery Central until 15 September.

Click here for more information.

Flickerfest entries now open

TAFE media schools should notify their teachers and students that the Flickerfest entries are now open for 2013.

Flickerfest is Australia’s largest short film competition, and will be celebrating its 22nd birthday next year.

For entry details, see the Flickerfest website.

Diary Dates

DATE: 10 September
LOCATION: Citigate Central Sydney
DETAILS: Click here for more information

From Policy to Practice

DATE: 1 October
LOCATION: Rydges, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information

DATE: 2-5 October
LOCATION: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: www.aiec.idb.com

DATE: 3-4 October
LOCATION: Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Details will be available at http://www.skillsaustralia.gov.au

AUSTAFE 2012 NATIONAL Conference
DATE: 3-5 October 2012
LOCATION: Alice Springs NT, Kirribilli, Sydney
DETAILS: More information contact Lyle Mellors at lyle.mellors@cdu.edu.au

DATE: 17-19 October 2012
LOCATION: National Convention Centre, Canberra
DETAILS: Click here for more information

DATE: 25-26 October, 2012
LOCATION: RMIT University, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information

DATE: 12 – 14 November 2012
LOCATION: Crowne Plaza Terrigal, NSW
DETAILS:  Click here for more information

DATE: 16 November 2012
LOCATION: Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

TDA corporate affiliates: