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Newsletter | 14 August 2017

In this edition


First report card gives a tick to revamped VET loans scheme

Public training providers occupied nine of the top ten places for VET student loans under the revamped program that replaced the troubled VET FEE-HELP scheme.

The first report, covering the initial six months of the VET Student Loans (VSL) program shows that the completion rate for units of study was 75.2 per cent - almost 10 percentage points higher than for the full year of 2016.

The Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews said the report showed positive early signs from the policy of approving loans only for high-quality providers.

Over the six month period, a total of 24,492 students received VET student loans worth a total of $78 million. The report does not include grandfathered loans under VET-FEE-HELP.

The ten biggest providers of VET student loans were TAFE Queensland ($13m), TAFE NSW ($8.3m), Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology ($6.4m), Swinburne University of Technology ($3.1m), North Metropolitan TAFE ($2.7m), Victoria University and Box Hill Institute (both $2.5m), Chisholm Institute ($2.1m), Holmesglen ($2m), and Basair Aviation College ($1.9m).

The Diploma of Nursing was the top ranked course in both enrolments and the value of loans,

See VET Student Loans Six Monthly Report – 1 January 2017 to 30 June 2017

New commissioner for ASQA

New commissioner for ASQA The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has appointed a new commissioner, Dr Irene Ioannakis (pictured) a former teacher and university lecturer who headed a private training provider and worked in the oil and gas industry.

Dr Ioannakis will become one of three commissioners at the VET regulator, joining Chief Commissioner Mark Paterson and Commissioner Professor Michael Lavarch.

Dr Ioannakis' previously held positions including Manager of Organisational Capability and Development at Chevron Australia, and Director of the GE Oil and Gas Skills Development Centre.

She was also Executive General Manager for Human Resources at WesTrac, a heavy vehicle training organisation, and Director at the Chamber of Minerals and Energy in Western Australia.

TDA extends its congratulations to Dr Ioannakis on her appointment.

Apprentice rights explained in guide for employers

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has issued two new guides to assist apprentices and their employers to understand their rights and obligations in the workplace.

The guides – one for apprentices and one for employers – follow a recent report by the FWO which found widespread underpayment of apprentices.

FWO Ombudsman Natalie James said that despite accounting for less than three per cent of the workforce, apprentices make up a disproportionately large number of disputes.

“Our new guide for apprentices will help them to understand their rights and entitlements as they commence their employment, and equip them with the information they need to resolve workplace issues and seek support during their apprenticeship," Ms James said.

Victorian trainees skilled for major rail projects

The Victorian government has accepted the first intake of trainees under a rail industry skills program that will cater to the state's growing transport infrastructure needs.

A total of 150 cadets will join the Newport Rail Academy where they will get on-the-job training while studying railway signal engineering.

The government has joined with the rail industry to develop a vocational Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma of Railway Signalling Systems.

The courses have been developed in collaboration with Metro, V/Line, United Group Limited, Aurecon Group, and Siemens Limited, with accreditation guidance from Box Hill Institute.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the cadets would help address a key skills gap and would be in high demand as a result of record investment in rail projects.

See more

West Australian training board starts industry consultations

The West Australian government has opened a series of industry consultations aimed at boosting the number of apprenticeships and traineeships.

The State Training Board will meet with industry, employers, apprentices and trainees over coming months to look at ways of increasing the number of apprentices and trainees.

The Chair of the State Training Board Jim Walker said the consultations will ensure that businesses will have a greater say in what is needed from the training sector to create jobs and meet skills needs.

The board also released the State Training Plan 2017-2020 which includes a focus on the skills required by the aged care, disability and health sectors and an overview of the state's skills requirements.

See the WA State Training Plan

TAFE NSW teachers rewarded in premier's scholarships

TAFE teachers and officials are among the recipients of the 2017 Premier’s Teacher Scholarships in NSW.

Two scholarships of $10,000 each to TAFE NSW teachers to observe and study best practice partnerships between vocational education providers and business were awarded to:

  • Annette Krause, TAFE NSW, Miller College, Hoxton Park (Innovation to completion and beyond, United States of America), and;
  • Nicola Connon, Lithgow TAFE (Impact of building resilience in the classroom for rural communities and the educational outcomes that follow, United Kingdom).

A scholarship of $15,000 for Indigenous education was awarded to Renee McBride, TAFE NSW, Gosford (Creative innovation to meet the needs of Indigenous VET students).

A scholarship of $10,000 in Creative Arts was awarded to Cath Barcan, Nepean College, Kingswood Campus, TAFE Western Sydney Region (Museums and galleries as cultural entrepreneurs: bringing best practice to teaching and learning in TAFE NSW, United Kingdom).

A scholarship of $15,000 was awarded to Louise Pamment, Teaching and Learning Directorate, Department of Education (Innovation in school-based apprenticeships: models and best practice from Sweden, Finland and Switzerland).

Extra training places and skill sets open for public funding in ACT

For the first time, skill sets will be eligible for public funding under the latest ACT government training initiative.

An additional 2,000 subsidised training places will be made available to Canberrans, including 1,500 places in 37 qualifications and more than 600 places in 12 skill sets.

The Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research, Meegan Fitzharris said it was the first time that public funding had been extended to skill sets.

“Taking on board feedback from industry and employers we have funded a range of skill sets to enable workers to broaden their skills to meet industry specific requirements, which in some circumstances are best served by undertaking a selection of competencies rather than a full qualification," Ms Fitzharris  said.

It also opens eligibility to some school students in selected Certificate II and III qualifications.

See more

New Australian apprenticeships pathways website

The Australian Apprenticeships and Traineeships Information Service (AATIS) has a new AAPathways website.

Free interactive face-to-face sessions are now scheduled to demonstrate the improvements and functionality of the website, launching on 31 August. Areas of the website that will be reviewed are:

  • Site search
  • Job and Training Descriptions
  • Field Officer Brief
  • Industry information pages

The sessions will be in:

  • Melbourne, Monday, 4 September
  • Adelaide, Wednesday, 6 September
  • Canberra, Thursday, 7 September
  • Brisbane, Monday, 11 September
  • Sydney, Wednesday, 13 September
  • Perth, Tuesday, 19 September

To register your attendance at these free events, visit the AATIS Eventbrite page.

Green skills and automation skills to be subject of review

The Skills Service Organisation, Skills Impact has been provided with two new cross industry projects from the Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC).

The Green Skills Project and the Automation Skills Project require Skills Impact to develop cases for change by working with the Department of Education and Training, Industry Reference Committees (IRCs), Skills Service Organisations and other stakeholders. To read more about these projects and subscribe to receive updates, follow the links below.

Skills Impact is also continuing work on behalf of the relevant IRCs, the AISC and with industry on the following projects to review and improve units of competency, skill sets and qualifications for a range of agricultural related industries.

The projects are at various stages of development and include:

The projects are being led by Industry Reference Committees and are part of the Commonwealth Government's program for training package development.

Diary Dates

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
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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
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National Apprentice Employment Network
National Conference
1 - 3 November 2017
Radisson Blu Hotel, Sydney
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Australian Training Awards
23 November 2017
National Convention Centre, Canberra
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Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group (ACDEVEG)
VET Teaching and VET Teacher Education Conference
7 & 8 December 2017
TAFE Queensland, Southbank Campus
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Corporate Affiliates