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Newsletter | 13 June 2017

In this edition


Queen’s birthday honours for VET leaders

The former chair of the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (previously Skills Australia), Philip Bullock has been made an Officer in the Order of Australia in the 2017 Queen's Birthday Honours List.

He was honoured for distinguished service to vocational education and training through leadership and advisory roles, as a leader in the information technology sector, and as a supporter of equal opportunity.

Under his leadership, AWPA produced a number of landmark reports on the strategic direction for the VET sector.

Another prominent figure in the VET landscape, Chris Eccles was also made an Officer in the Order of Australia for distinguished service to public administration, to innovative policy development and sound governance, and to the delivery of reform in the areas of training, education and disability

He is currently chair of the Victorian Secretaries' Board and previously played a central role in VET design as a premier’s department head in Victoria, South Australia and NSW.

Ms Elizabeth Carr, the chair of South Metropolitan TAFE in Western Australia and a former chair of Challenger Institute of Technology was made a Member in the Order of Australia for significant service to the community through voluntary contributions to the health, aged care, education and social services sectors.

Ms Dorothy Hennessy was awarded a Medal in the Order of Australia for service to vocational education and training, and to the community of the Illawarra, as was Professor Helen Huntley, a former member of TDA, for service to tertiary education in Central Queensland.

Mature age apprentice numbers slide

Older apprentices bore the brunt of a downturn in numbers commencing and completing their training in final period of last year.

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research's (NCVER) 'Apprentices and trainees 2016' shows there were 265,000 apprentices and trainees in-training at 31 December 2016, a 4.5% decrease from 2015.

In the December quarter 2016, 33 800 apprentices and trainees commenced, down 2,400 (or 6.5%) from the December quarter 2015.

Trades commencements among those aged 25 and older decreased by 25%

The number of completions in the quarter was down 12% overall, but for older apprentices, trades completions were down 18% and in the non-trades, down 26%.

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Independent review to examine ASQA

The role, functions and power of the VET regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) will undergo a full examination, under a review announced last week by the federal government.

The Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews announced the appointment of Professor Valerie Braithwaite from the Australian National University’s School of Regulation and Global Governance to head the review.

Professor Braithwaite has been tasked with reviewing the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011.

Minister Andrews said the review would determine whether ASQA has appropriate legislative capacity to regulate the sector.

“It will also evaluate if ASQA’s functions and powers are consistent with best regulatory practice and how well the system meets the needs of industry and students," Ms Andrews said.

The report is due by the end of the year.

Plenty of blame to share for the crisis in VET

A series of policy and regulatory failures in the vocational sector created a "toxic cocktail" that culminated in the collapse of training colleges and thousands of students facing uncertainty, TDA Chief Executive Craig Robertson said.

In a comment piece in The Australian, titled 'Sector’s best-laid plans go awry' Mr Robertson said that blame for the crisis needed to be shared across multiple fronts.

"Many will say that for-profit providers should not have been allowed into the sector. Indeed, this needs serious consideration," he says.

"Several of these companies offered investors a 60 per cent return in their stockmarket prospectuses. Surely that signalled that the interests of the balance sheet would eventually outweigh those of students."

He said the policy assumption that student choice would drive quality proved ill-founded, while the prevailing rules licenesed unscrupulous training providers and took too long to scrutinise their training.

"Finally, add demand-driven university funding that drags students away from VET, and desperate providers further cutting corners to attract students.

"Meanwhile, TAFEs and other reliable providers are picking up the pieces for the 45,000 displaced students," he said.

See 'Sector’s best-laid plans go awry' in The Australian.

Deadline for TDA member convention bundle discounts extended to 14 June

Bundles of 10 or 20 registrations are quick and easy to book and delegate names can be provided later.

You can save over $1,000 by selecting a bundle registration fee before 14 June.

Members, if you have not already done so, please register a group from your institute today!

Special hotel rates have also been negotiated for TDA delegates, ranging from $109 per night (very limited rooms available) at IBIS Styles, to $220 at the Hilton Adelaide, including breakfast for one.

Click here to view the registration fees. Click here to register

Financial health of Victoria's TAFEs improving

The financial health of Victoria's TAFE sector is improving, according to the latest report by the state's auditor-general.

The '2016 Audit Snapshot' found the state's TAFEs generated a combined net profit of $43 million in 2016, an increase of $5 million on 2015 and a significant turnaround of $139 million from the $97 million loss in 2014.

"The improvement is largely due to the increase in government grants to the sector in 2015 and 2016," the report says.

TAFEs received $278.6 million in government grants in 2016, up from a low of $74.6 million in 2014.

"However, there are opportunities for the TAFEs to be more efficient and effective," the auditor-general says.

"The TAFEs’ performance reports show that most are not achieving the ratio of training revenue to staff costs that they are aiming for," it says.

TAFE Queensland joins in Sunshine Coast healthcare partnership

TAFE Queensland has joined in a partnership with a new world-class healthcare education and training facility on the Sunshine Coast.

TAFE Queensland East Coast has entered into an unincorporated joint venture with the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service to deliver training programs for the Sunshine Coast Health Institute (SCHI).

TAFE Queensland joins in Sunshine Coast healthcare partnership SCHI is located alongside the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital, opened in April.

SCHI will initially offer eight primary training courses, but this is expected to grow significantly as the need for specialised health and health related programs grows over coming years.

Around 360 TAFE students were the first to be trained in the facility when classes commenced in January,

TAFE Queensland East Coast Head of Nursing Jo-Liz Prosser, pictured, is leading the delivery of the 18-month Diploma of Nursing at SCHI.

"SCHI has a 370-seat auditorium, a 150-seat lecture theatre, three clinical research laboratories, e-learning labs and simulation suites which contains state-of-the-art technology and comprises exact replicas of hospital rooms including operating suite, intensive care bedroom, birthing suite and emergency resuscitation bay," Ms Prosser said.

Buyers found for Careers Australia's nursing, carpentry and painting businesses

The administrators appointed to Careers Australia have secured the sale of parts of the business which went into voluntary administration in late May.

PPB advisory announced the sale of parts of the Trades division - Certificate III in Carpentry and Certificate III in Painting and Decorating - to Lynchpin Enterprises Pty Ltd trading as Everthought Education.

The administrators also announced the sale of the nursing business to Think Education, part of Laureate International Universities.

Circulars have been sent to students and staff affected by the transactions.

TDA operates the Tuition Assurance Scheme for Careers Australia and is working with administrators to assist eligible students affected by the closure of the business.

TDA, in conjunction with TAFE, held  meetings with students over the past fortnight in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.

Students of Careers Australia should contact the call centre on (07) 3307 4789.

Four new digital centres for TAFE NSW

The NSW government has announced the start of construction on a further four of TAFE NSW's Connected Learning Centres in Coonabarabran, Glenn Innes, Quirindi and Tenterfield.

The centres are a key element of the 'One TAFE'  strategy, and will see a series of multi-purpose and digital learning facilities that will provide access for students across the state.

The Assistant Minister for Skills Adam Marshall said, "The NSW Government has always said that where there is a TAFE today there will be a TAFE in the future and I reaffirm that commitment today as we focus on communities where TAFE doesn’t have a presence or where outdated facilities are not meeting future needs.” 

Deadline looming for Green Gown sustainability awards

There is just two weeks until the deadline for stage one applications for the 2017 Green Gown Awards Australasia,

The awards, which champion sustainability, are open to all Australasian tertiary education institutions including universities, TAFEs, institutes of technology and polytechnics, and registered training organisations.

The winners of Community, Continuous Improvement and Student Engagement categories are automatically entered into the International Green Gown Awards. The Australasian winners will go head to head with the winners from countries including UK, Ireland and Canada in the International Green Gown Award.

Submission to the awards is now a two stage process with the first stage closing 21 June.

Winners will be announces at a gala dinner on 2 November.

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Training package reviews open for feedback

There is an opportunity to provide input into a series of reviews into training packages for the animal care, forestry, baking and veterinary sectors.

The Skills Service organisation Skills Impact is overseeing the training package reviews to improve units of competency, skill sets and qualifications. The reviews cover:

Also, the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) has announced the membership of the Animal Care and Management Industry Reference Committee, with responsibility for overseeing the development of skills standards and qualifications within the ACM Animal Care and Management Training Package.

Download booking form here

New inquiry into school to work transition

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training has launched an inquiry into school to work transition.

It follows a reference from the Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, and will examine:

  • Measurements of gain in school and how this contributes to supporting students to prepare for post-school education and training
  • Opportunities to better inform and support students in relation to post-school education and training, including use of employment outcomes of students who undertake school-based vocational education or post-school tertiary pathways; and,
  • Other related matters that the Committee considers relevant

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Diary Dates

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

Vocational and Professional Education and Training
International Conference 2017
16 - 17 June 2017
Hong Kong
More information

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

2017 VTA State Conference
TAFE: Advancing Victorian Prosperity
20 – 21 July 2017
Rydges, Exhibition Street, Melbourne
More information

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

Towards Carbon Neutrality Workshop
14 - 15 August 2017
City Convention Centre, Victoria University, 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, Victoria
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

AUSTAFE National Conference
Turning Together for Success
11 - 13 October 2017
TAFE Queensland, Brisbane
More information

Chinese Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE)
Annual Conference
19 - 22 October 2017
Beijing, China
More information

International Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) Conference
THINK BIG for Global Goals
1 - 3 November 2017
RMIT University, Victoria
More information

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

Australian Training Awards
23 November 2017
National Convention Centre, Canberra
More information

Corporate Affiliates