TAFE Directors Australia

Supporting our member institutes since 1998

Newsletter 14 February 2011


National VET Regulator – support from COAG, yet Senate Committee review of legislation

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) met yesterday in Canberra and agreed in principle to sign off on the National VET Regulator (NVR) by the end of February – excluding Victoria and Western Australia. Victoria and Western Australia agreed to a national regulatory approach, but will maintain control over particular organisations including TAFE Institutes.

COAG also agreed that a formal business case for a unique student identifier should be prepared by June. The National Agreement on Skills and Workforce Development, created in 2008, will be reviewed to ensure a more responsive system in light of changed economic conditions.  View the COAG Communiqué here.

However, the Government faces a Senate Legislation review into the NVR Bill, with a March timetable.

Opposition MPs and Senators pushed to have the Senate review, following concerns from the VET industry about the lack of clarity on a risk management platform, the capacity of the NVR to take over within the timeframe proposed, and the fact that unlike health – for which Victoria and WA had deep concerns – the NVR legislation is proceeding without those states’ agreement. 

The TDA National Board will meet in Brisbane on 25 February, and will review its stance on the Senate Legislation Committee.

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TDA draft response to the Productivity Commission review of the VET workforce

TDA members are invited to provide feedback on a draft response to the Productivity Commission’s Review of the VET workforce.

This is the second response to be prepared for the Commission. Last August, the Victorian TAFE Association (VTA) and TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) provided a detailed joint submission in response to the original discussion paper.

TDA and VTA have now developed a response to the Commission’s draft research report which wasreleased inNovember 2010. It outlines TDA’s belief that a capable and competent VET workforce is fundamental to the achievement of the Government’s productivity agenda.

The draft VTA/TDA response is attached and members are invited to comment. Please reply to Pam Caven by 19 February.

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Collapse in international student visa applications – new data

International student applications for the VET sector fell 22% in the last six months of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009, and 37% from the same period in 2008, according to latest figures from the Department of Immigration.

Higher education was slightly less affected, recording an 11% fall in applications for the July-December period from 2009 to 2010.

Overall, the largest drop in student numbers came from Vietnam and India, followed by Nepal, Thailand and China.

To see the Student Visa Program Report click here (key figures for VET on pages 27 and 29). To view an article from the Sydney Morning Herald, click here.

TDA has written to Skills Australia, alerting the Board that the trend in international student enrolments may significantly affect the capacity of domestically supported skills recruitment, and the latest DIAC regulation (Nov, 2010) will further exasperate skills shortages.

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TAFE Governance -- TAFE SA to become independent entity

The South Australian Government has announced that under proposed changes, TAFE SA will separate from the government and operate as a statutory authority with its own office.

The proposal is part of the overhaul of the state’s VET system, and will begin towards the middle of this year, with completion of the plan to be carried out by 2012-2013.

Read more here.

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PM and DPM lead praise for education and TAFE, supporting the Mick Young Scholarship Trust

TDA was pleased to be a part of the Mick Young Scholarship Trust’s 2011 Dinner, which was held in Sydney on Friday night.  More than 25 TAFE campuses around Australia work with the Trust in selecting scholarships, worth more than $300,000 a year to disadvantaged students.

The Trust announced an exciting new initiative; a Nursing and Health Pathways scheme to provide support to financially disadvantaged students undertaking vocational studies in nursing and health through TAFE Institutes.  The initiative was announced by renowned neurosurgeon, Dr Charlie Teo, Director, Centre for Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery at Prince of Wales Private Hospital, and founder of the Cure for Life Foundation.

The Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council (CS&HISC ) initiated the fund raising, with a pledge of $5,000. Incoming CS&HISC chief executive Rod Cooke and his colleagues had a simple message:  "As champions of the benefits that education brings for the workers, employers and the community in this sector, we applaud and support this initiative."

The Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, spoke at the dinner, along with Deputy PM and the Treasurer, the Hon Wayne Swan MP. Minsters Conroy, McClelland, Wong, Emerson, Garrett, O’Connor and Butler also attended.

For more on the Mick Young Scholarship Trust, click here.


The Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, and Mary Young

Chair of Skills Australia, Philip Bullock, Deputy Director-General of NSW TAFE and Community Education, Pam Christie, CEO of TDA, Martin Riordan, Director of TAFE NSW – Western Sydney Institute, Susan Hartigan, and Director, International Engagement & Business Development, TDA, Peter Holden.

MYST recipient, Robert Churches, the Treasurer, the Hon Wayne Swan MP, and Janine Young

Minister for Finance and Deregulation, the Hon Senator Penny Wong, Dr Charlie Teo, and Genevieve Teo

Minister for School Education, the Hon Peter Garrett MP

Former Prime Minister, the Hon Bob Hawke, and Bart Cummings


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WA Premier visit to West Coast Institute of Training

The Premier of Western Australia, the Hon. Colin Barnett MP, visited West Coast Institute of Training late last week, along with Members for the North Metropolitan Region Hon Liz Behjat MLC and Hon Michael Mischin MLC.

The Premier heard about the Institute’s leading Academies including the West Coast Academy of Hospitality and Tourism and the new International Academy of Law Enforcement and Security in partnership with the WA Police.

He toured the Hospitality Academy’s skills kitchens including a multi-million dollar pastry and baking kitchen. At The Pavilion training restaurant he met award-winning apprentice Shane Middleton who had returned to the Academy to mentor apprentices and for the upcoming international culinary competition, Oceanafest.

West Coast Institute of Training, which was re-branded last year, covers one of the fastest growing areas of northern Perth, which is at the centre of increasing skills needs for WA.

See the Institute’s website here.


Premier Barnett with pastry students

Shane Middleton, Hon Michael Mischin MLC, Sue Slavin, Hon Liz Behjat MLC,Premier Barnett

Sue Slavin, Hon Liz Behjat MLC,Premier Barnett


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National employer survey to examine training needs

Starting this month, more than 7,500 employers across Australia will be interviewed about their training needs, as part of survey by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

NCVER says the survey will provide employers with the opportunity to voice their concerns about the training system, and give insight into the strategies employers use to meet skills needs.

For more information, click here.

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Opportunity to represent TDA in health reference group

The Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council (CS&HISC) has invited TDA to be a part of an Industry Reference Group for a review of the Hospital/Health Services Pharmacy Support qualifications of the HLT07 Training Package.

TDA is seeking a representative to partake in the group. Please contact Pam Caven (TDA) asap to nominate for the role.

A letter of invitation is attached with further information. To view the Terms of Reference, click here.

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Private college blames Immigration Department for profit downgrade

RedHill Education, a private provider which listed on the stock exchange in September last year and has the Hon Bruce Baird on its Board of Directors, has blamed visa rule changes on a recently announced profit downgrade and subsequent 47% drop in share price.

For more information, read an article from The Australian.

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New defence scholarships

The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, the Hon Warren Snowdon, has launched a program to give hundreds of Year 11 and Year 12 students across Australia a chance to secure a Defence technical trades scholarship.

The 2011 Defence Technical Scholarships program is now taking applications and offers up to 1,500 scholarships each year to students in Years 11 and 12 interested in pursuing a technical trade career in the Australian Defence Force. 

Click here for more information.

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ePortfolio conference

The ePortfolios Australia Conference 2011 will be held at Curtin University in Perth on 17-18 October.

ePortfolios provide learners with a structured way of recording their learning experiences and work history.

The conference is organised by the Australian Flexible Learning Framework and will bringtogether national and international educators and researchersfrom vocational education and training, higher education and adult and community education.

The conference is themed ‘Making a difference, showing the difference’, and will feature keynote speaker Kathy Yancey, Professor of English at Florida State University.

Click here for more information.

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Diary Dates

TAFE Governance and Regulations Forum
DATE: 28 February – 1 March, 2011
LOCATION: Rendezvous Hotel, Melbourne 
DETAILS: Click here for more information

TAFE Governance and Regulations Forum
DATE: 27-28 April, 2011
LOCATION: Rutherford House, Wellington
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Gaining the Edge – Outcomes, Equity and Innovation
DATE: 3-4 May, 2011
LOCATION: Hilton on the Park, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information

2011 Queensland VET Symposium
DATE: 12-13 May, 2011
LOCATION: Hilton, Brisbane
DETAILS: Click here for more information

No Frills
DATE: 13-15 July, 2011
LOCATION: North Coast TAFE, Coffs Harbour
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Nominations closing date
DATE: 25 March, 2011
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Interconnected Tertiary Education - Stronger pathways across Higher Education & VET for increased participation
DATE: 30-31 March, 2011|
LOCATION: Mercure, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information

The 9th Annual Higher Education Summit
DATE: 27-29 April, 2011
LOCATION:Sofitel, Brisbane  
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Research in VET: Janus – Reflecting Back, Projecting Forward
DATE: 28-29 April, 2011
LOCATION: Rendezvous Hotel, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information

2011 National VET Conference
DATE: 4-5 August, 2011
LOCATION: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information

2011 National Conference
DATE: 17 August, 2011
LOCATION:Four Season’s Hotel, Sydney
DETAILS: Click here for more information

2011 Conference
DATE: 11-14 October, 2011
LOCATION: Adelaide Convention Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information

ePortfolios Australia Conference 2011
DATE: 17-18 October, 2011
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Looking ahead - Group Training National Conference
DATE: 19-21 October, 2011
LOCATION: Grand Hyatt, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information

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