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Newsletter | 13 March 2017

In this edition


Federal government re-opens applications for VET student loan approved courses

The Department of Education and Training has opened a new process for listed and not-for-profit providers to request additional courses to be approved under the new VET Student Loans program.

TDA has raised a number of issues relating to the previously approved course list and is pleased that the department has agreed to undertake this further review.

The new process means that applicants may request courses that have been previously rejected.

Details about the applications are available on the VET Student Loans website. Questions or applications can be sent to  vetloans@education.gov.au.

A 50-year snapshot of Australia's training system

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) has released an historical time series of apprenticeships and traineeships in Australia from 1963 to 2016.

It highlights the challenging state of the training system at mid-2016 with the fewest commencements since 1998 and the fewest completions since 2002.

A separate NCVER paper, 'The future of Australian apprenticeships', representing the views of 60 stakeholders, finds the  apprenticeship model still highly relevant, but complex, inconsistent and confusing, especially for national employers.

Invitation to defence force skills and apprenticeships forum, 21 - 22 March, Canberra

Readers are invited to register for the ADF Skills and Apprenticeships Forum in Canberra, 21 - 22 March, to hear experts discuss ways of easing the skills transition from military to civilian life.

The two-day forum is jointly hosted by TAFE Directors Australia and the National Apprentice Employment Network. Registration is free.

Speakers include:

  • Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans’ Affairs 
  • Hon Karen Andrews MP, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills 
  • Hon Richard Marles MP, Shadow Minister for Defence
  • Senator Jacqui Lambie 
  • Jon Black, Managing Director, TAFE NSW 
  • Megan Lilly, Head of Workforce Development, Australian Industry Group
  • Norman Gray AM, CEO, Box Hill Institute, 
  • Robert Adams, CEO, Australian Industry Standards
  • Mark Dixon, CEO, Wodonga Institute of TAFE
  • Gary Workman, Executive Director, Apprenticeship Employment Network
  • Professor John Burgess, School of Management, RMIT University
  • Paul Way, Director-General, Defence Community Organisation, Department of Defence
  • Mark Galgsdies, National Training Manager, Serco Defence
  • Alan Sparks, CEO, East Coast Apprenticeships
  • Lynda Douglas, National Skills Framework Manager, Department of Defence
  • Brendan Carlson, WA Apprentice of the Year 2016

Day 1 – Canberra Institute of Technology, Canberra, 9.00 am to 4.30 pm
Day 2 – Parliament House Canberra, 8.45 am to 1.45 pm

TDA and NAEN invite TDA member institutes, group training organisations, industry bodies, VET stakeholders and policy makers to this important event.

Register by contacting: memberservices@tda.edu.au 

VET a highlight at Australia Indonesia Business Week

VET and skills were in focus at last week’s Australian Indonesia Business Week, with Assistant Minister Karen Andrews making her first official trip overseas in her current ministerial role.

Minister Andrews was joined on the visit by Trade Minister Steven Ciobo and the Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Luke Hartsuyker.  The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister also participated in elements of the program. 

VET and TAFE were undoubtedly highlighted throughout the mission, with one of the five mission streams dedicated to skills development and training.  All ministers and plenary session speakers emphasised the importance of skills development to Indonesia, and the opportunities in Indonesia for Australian registered training organisations (RTOs).

The opportunities discussed included English language training, delivery of skills sets or tailored training directly to industry partners, and partnerships with politekniks. TDA also met with the Ministry of Manpower and the Ministry of Education during the visit to help inform potential activities or projects in Indonesia for TAFEs. 

Representatives from six TAFE institutes joined the mission, which saw delegates attend networking events, plenary sessions and workshops in Jakarta, as well as meet with Minister Andrews to brief her about international activities and opportunities in Indonesia.

VET delegates also travelled to Surabaya in East Java to visit politekniks and industry partners. Surabaya is of particular importance as Australia will open a new consulate there later in 2017.

Indonesia’s President Widodo has made skills development one of his top priorities, with reform including revitalisation of politekniks, redesign of the VET system and projects to ensure that training is more responsive to the needs of industry.  Cooperation with foreign institutions is one pillar of the reform.  

VET is also a focus in negotiation around the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA), with a number of proposed measures likely to ease market barriers for entry to Indonesia.  

For further information, please contact Jen Bahen, TDA, International Director, jbahen@tda.edu.au or on 0499 174 410.  

Australia Indonesia Business Week - Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull; David Saunders, Holmesglen Institute; Jen Bahen, TDA; and Lisa Goldacre, University of Notre Dame

Competency-based training a race to the bottom, says VET expert

Competency-based training (CBT) leads to a narrow focus on largely routine and supervised roles and should be scrapped, along with the training packages that underpin it, according to Associate Professor Leesa Wheelahan.

She said that CBT had failed to meet three key objectives of making qualifications more mobile, aligning training with occupations and overcoming a mistrust of public institutions.

“They’ve been trying to get it right for 20 years,” Professor Wheelahan told The Australian.

"If we’re still saying there are problems with implementation, maybe there’s a problem with the model,” she said.

Also, speaking at a seminar at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Professor Wheelahan said  vocational education was the only sector of education where funding cuts were regarded as an efficiency gain and not a crisis in quality.

“Just imagine if these cuts had been imposed on the schools sector or the higher education sector? There would have been uproar.”

Bert Evans scholarships available to deserving apprentices in NSW

Apprentices from NSW who are facing financial hardship are invited to apply for a Bert Evans Scholarship.

Up to 50 scholarships are awarded each year including 10 NSW Country Apprentice Scholarships, and each is worth $5,000 per year over three years.

The scholarships are in honour of Bert Evans AO, a towering figure in vocational training who died in February.

The Deputy Premier and Minister for Skills, John Barilaro said, “My message to training providers and employers is this – if you know of a deserving apprentice, encourage them to apply for a scholarship today.”

See more

Grant Lovelock moves to new role in education department

Long-standing and experienced Commonwealth bureaucrat, Grant Lovelock, is leaving his position overseeing workforce and apprenticeships policy in the Department of Education and Training and is moving to a new role.

Grant has been appointed Branch Manager, International Strategy in the department's International Group.

Fiona Lynch-Magor will take Grant's position as Branch Manager for Workforce and Apprenticeships Policy in the Industry Skills and Quality Group.

TDA extends its appreciation and best wishes to Grant and looks forward to working with Fiona in her new role.

Invitation to be a presenter delegate at TDA Convention, 7 - 8 September, Adelaide

The 2017 TDA Convention will be held at the Adelaide Hilton on Thursday 7 and Friday 8 September with the Welcome Reception at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday 6 September.

The overarching theme is “Networked TAFE”. You are invited to submit a proposal for the market place session that will be held on 7 September. Submissions must be received by 1 May 2017.

Please click here for more information.

See a flyer.


Report highlights Canadian colleges' expertise in green technical skills

Colleges and Institutes Canada, the national peak body representing Canada's public colleges, institutes, cégeps (in Quebec) and polytechnics, has released a report outlining the role that Canadian colleges play in supporting sustainable development both nationally and overseas.

What started in many cases as campus 'greening' has expanded to approaches across the whole institution, including campus development, operations, facilities management, and importantly, curriculum development that allows colleges to respond to emerging needs in terms of training content.

This has since extended into community engagement, which in turn provided opportunities for colleges to engage in applied research, in partnership with small and medium enterprises and community organisations.

The report discusses how colleges provide students with 'green skills' and how these are incorporated into the next generation of technical skills.

Finally, the report highlights the international role played by Canadian colleges and institutes in developing programs around green skills and promoting sustainability practices in VET.

Charles Darwin University seeking senior VET executive

Charles Darwin University (CDU) is seeking a person to fill the role of Executive Director, VET Business Operations.

The senior leadership role has responsibility for planning, monitoring, implementing and reporting on VET operations at CDU.

Applications are invited from leaders experienced in large vocational education related institutions who have high level management capabilities.

See more

Australia-India Skills Mission, 10 - 11 April 2017, New Delhi, India

The Commonwealth Department of Education and Training is inviting TAFEs to participate in the Australian Skills Mission to India 10-11 April 2017 in New Delhi,India.

This is a high level mission, led by the Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham, with a view to engaging with India to support its challenge of educating and skilling its large population.

For TAFEs joining the mission, TDA would seek to supplement the proposed program with additional activities, including a roundtable linking industry and new partnership models and/or site visits to Indian polytechnics. 

Delegates will have the opportunity to participate in a range of events including:

  • Mining Skills for a Global Economy workshop hosted by the Australia India Business Council, Australia India Institute, and the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
  • Australia India Knowledge Partnership Gala Dinner hosted by the Department of Education and Training, with special guest speaker.
  • The 4th Australia India Skills Conference, Skilling a Global Economy, hosted by the Australian and Indian governments and the Confederation of Indian Industry.
  • Concluding Skills Conference Reception hosted by the Australia India Institute.

The mission has a goal of enhancing the Australia-India bilateral education and skills relationship, and presents a unique opportunity for Australian education and skills delegates to network with Indian delegates from a wide range of business and industry sectors.

For further information visit the India Australia Education and Skills Mission website.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Jen Bahen, Director, International Education, TDA via email jbahen@tda.edu.au, or via phone 03 8199 6618 or +61 499 174 410.  Jen will coordinate TAFE representation directly with the Department.  

Comparative data for European training systems published

The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) has published a comprehensive collection of indicators for EU member states and several non-members, highlighting their relative performance in several key areas.

One set of indicators looks at access, attractiveness and flexibility, examining participation in initial and lifelong training by various target groups. It also seeks to highlight the flexibility of the VET system and the permeability between VET and higher education.

The second set focuses on skill development and relevance of these skills to labour markets. By looking at expenditures on VET, it seeks to determine the priority placed on VET by governments, employers, and individuals. It also compares employment rates (comparing VET to general education, excluding individuals participating in education), as well as data on skills mismatches.

The third set examines overall transition out of training and labour market trends. These contextualise VET policy by looking more closely at broader trends among the overall age cohort. 

Diary Dates

ADF Skills and Apprenticeships Forum
TAFE Directors Australia & the National Apprentice Employment Network
21 - 22 March 2017
More information

Association for Tertiary Education Management (ATEM)
Cross-Sectoral Forum
7 April 2017
CQ University, Melbourne
More information

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 coming soon

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

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


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