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Newsletter | 13 January 2014

In this edition

Welcome to 2014

We hope that all our readers had a refreshing break and a happy New Year. To those of you who are at your desks, welcome back.

This is the first edition of TDA’s newsletter for 2014. The TDA newsletter has grown to be one of the largest for Australian TAFE and stakeholders, with some 20% international subscribers.

The previous year was a big one for governance changes to TAFE, and we expect that 2014 will see further change on a number of fronts.

The federal election has barely passed over the horizon and there is much anticipation about how skills and technical education policy will take shape in the next 12 months.

Federal parliament resumes in February and with it, a wide-ranging Senate inquiry into the TAFE system (see article below). The TDA board meets in Parliament House on Wednesday 5 March, during the third sitting week.

The government’s extensive expenditure review—the Commission of Audit—will be unveiled in tandem with the Federal Budget in May.

The Commonwealth, states and territories will continue to roll out the COAG skills reform agenda through the national entitlement to training and a host of changes to fees, structures and courses.

To add to the mix, there will be elections in South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria in 2014 at which TAFE will undoubtedly feature prominently on the policy agenda.

The TAFE network will have a significant interest in the impending roll out of the new standards for the regulation of vocational education and training being undertaken by the National Skills Standards Council (NSSC). (See article below)

Internationally, the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics World Congress will be hosted by China CEAIE in late October in Beijing. Key benchmark research on new skills and college models will be launched at this year’s World Congress.

In all, it will be a year of great interest and challenge for TAFE providers and we look forward to keeping you informed as 2014 unfolds.

Progress on the review of standards for skills & training

The National Skills Standards Council (NSSC) has agreed to provide the Minister for Industry, Ian Macfarlane with additional material to support the planned roll out of new standards for vocational education and training, including the move to ‘Licensed Training Organisations’.

At its latest meeting on December 5, the NSSC agreed to provide a regulatory impact statement relating to the proposed reforms.

The Communiqué issued following the meeting says the material incorporates a cost benefit analysis, an analysis of responses to the NSSC Position Paper, a draft Implementation Plan and a draft Evaluation Strategy.

See the NSSC Communiqué.

Senate inquiry into TAFE system

The Senate Education and Employment References Committee will commence its inquiry into TAFE early in 2014 and will report back by 13 May.

The inquiry essentially picks up on the House of Representatives inquiry that was short-circuited when the federal election was called for last September.

The Terms of Reference give very broad scope for the committee to examine all aspects of TAFE in Australia.

Submissions should be received by 7 March.

See the inquiry website for more information.

Mid-level qualifications don’t guarantee jobs

Mid-level qualifications do not always provide strong pathways to employment, according to the latest research from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

The study found that graduates of Certificate III and above had employment rates of over 80%, compared with 67% for Certificate II and 58% for Certificate I.

“Mid-level qualifications currently provide weak links to the labour market, except when they are related to licensing requirements or regulations,” the study says.

“Overall, to be successful in introducing mid-level qualifications, educational institutions need to identify a role in the workforce, convince employers of the benefits of the new role, and understand workforce structures and dynamics.

See the NCVER report.

Australia and India pursue skills partnership

A delegation of experts from Australia’s skills sector, including TDA’s International Director, Peter Holden, visited India late in 2013 to explore how TAFE can participate in meeting the country’s growing demand for skills development.

The Australia Skills Mission conference to India included representation from TAFE, private providers, industry peak bodies, Industry Skills Councils, and Commonwealth and State/Territory governments.

The facts on disappearing apprenticeships

The Conversation has applied its FactCheck to the question of whether the former Labor government is to blame for a fall in the number of young people starting an apprenticeship.

The authors, Alan Montague, Lecturer in Management at RMIT University, and John Buchanan, Director of the Workplace Research Centre at the University of Sydney examine the facts.

The conclusion?

“Under Labor’s watch, there has been a drop in apprentice commencements but only for non-trade apprenticeships. These were on the decline before the employer incentives were withdrawn by Labor, while traditional trade apprentice commencements have remained steady.”

Equally fascinating is the feedback that follows the main article.

See FactCheck: are Australian apprentices ‘disappearing’?

Transport and Logistics Awards open

Nominations are now open for the 2014 Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council Awards for Excellence.

The awards are open to both Transport and Logistics enterprises/businesses and RTOs that are registered and operating in Australia. There are 10 awards:

  • 2014 TLISC Innovation and Excellence in Workforce Development Award in each of the six sectors (Road Transport, Logistics and Warehousing, Rail, Aviation, Maritime and Ports)
  • 2014 TLISC Return on Investment in Skills Award
  • 2014 TLISC Excellence in Industry Promotion Award
  • 2014 TLISC Trainee of the Year Award
  • 2014 TLISC Chairman’s Award

This year the Chairman’s Award will acknowledge an individual, enterprise or RTO which has developed programs and strategies that demonstrate innovation in quality training outcomes within the Transport and Logistics industry.

Nominations are open until 3 February. The awards will be presented in Melbourne on 10 April.

For further information contact Sally Wagnon on 02 6163 7226 or email sally.wagnon@tlisc.org.au

See the awards website.

Diary Dates

VET Development Centre – The VET BLOG
For relevant news and articles about the VET sector
DETAILS: Click here.

Members Lunch Box Webinar
The Australian Apprenticeships & Traineeships Information Service

DATE: 20 January 2014
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Universities Australia
Higher Education Conference: Stirred not shaken

DATE: 26-28 February 2014
LOCATION: National Convention Centre, Canberra
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Engage, Empower, Excel – Connecting skills and workforce
Service Skills Australia 2014 Conference

DATE: 3-4 March 2014
LOCATION: Sheraton on the Park, Sydney
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Future Schools

DATE: 12-14 March 2014
LOCATION: Australian Technology Park, Sydney
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

NCVER Research Forum
Realising our potential: widening participation through education and training

DATE: 3 April 2014
LOCATION: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council Awards for Excellence
DATE: 10 April 2014
LOCATION: The Langham Hotel, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

AVETRA 17th Annual Conference
Informing Changes in VET Policy and Practice: The Central Role of Research

DATE: 22-24 April 2014
LOCATION: Outrigger, Surfers Paradise, Queensland
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

VET Summit
Velg Training

DATE: 29 April 2014 – Brisbane, 5 May 2014 – Melbourne, 12 May 2014 – Sydney
LOCATION: Outrigger, Surfers Paradise, Queensland
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

National Congress and Expo

DATE: 3-5 June 2014
LOCATION: Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for information.

'No Frills' - 23rd National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference
DATE: 9-11 July 2014
LOCATION: Holmesglen, Moorabbin Campus, Melbourne, Victoria
DETAILS: Coming soon.

National VET Conference
Velg Training

DATE: 11-12 September 2014
LOCATION: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Teaching & Learning Conference 2014
VET Development Centre

DATE: 4-5 September 2014
LOCATION: RACV Club Torquay, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

2014 WorldSkills Australia National Competition
DATE: 18, 19 & 20 September 2014
LOCATION: Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Group Training Australia
2014 National Conference

DATE: 12-14 November 2014
LOCATION: Grand Chancellor Hotel, Hobart
DETAILS: Coming soon.