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Newsletter | 14 November 2016

In this edition


Senate to consider 12-month TAFE exemption from student loan scheme

TAFE would be granted a 12-month exemption from the federal government's revamped VET student loan requirements, under proposed amendments to the legislation introduced into the Senate last week.

The amendments to the VET Student Loans Bill 2016 moved by Labor and the Greens exempt TAFE from the course restrictions and loan caps.

The amendments would also extend the grandfathering afforded to students under the current VET FEE-HELP scheme for an additional 12 months, to the end of 2018.

The Shadow Minister for TAFE and Vocational Education Kate Ellis said the amendments reflect concerns raised in the recent Senate inquiry into the legislation.

“Despite not being part of the problem, the government is treating public TAFE with the same heavy hand as dodgy private providers," Ms Ellis said.

In its submission to the Senate inquiry, TDA called for a 12-month exemption for TAFEs in order to ensure a smooth transition to the scheme for the 140,000 students currently receiving VET FEE-HELP.

PwC and IBSA win key skills service roles

Professional services firm Price Waterhouse Coopers has won the latest federal government bid to develop training products for the  automotive and mining industries.

The Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews announced that Price Waterhouse Coopers Skills for Australia has been selected as the Skills Service Organisations (SSO) for the automotive and mining and drilling sectors.

Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IBSA) has been chosen as the SSO for the manufacturing sector.

Ms Andrews said IBSA and PwC Skills for Australia had been chosen on the merits of their bids in an open expression of interest process and were distinguished by their track records of transparency, flexibility and capability.

“IBSA is well placed to work with the manufacturing sector, while PwC have deep understanding of the automotive, mining and drilling sectors and are adept at engaging a wide range of stakeholders," Ms Andrews said.

The minister thanked AutoSkills Australia, SkillsDMC and Manufacturing Skills Australia for their service over the past year.

See more.

Australia and Taiwan forge closer VET cooperation

The Australian government and Taiwan held a ceremony in Taichung earlier this month to renew long-standing co-operation on vocational education and training.

An MoU signing took part on the first day of a APEC Skills Centre opening in Taichung, and included presentations from TAFE Directors Australia which has continued with a TVET consulting project working with the Taiwan Ministry of Labor’s Workforce Development Agency (WDA).

Ms Cathy Raper, Australian Representative in Taiwan, attended the ceremony and signed the MoU bilateral renewal agreement, with the Director-General of the Workforce Development Agency, Mdme Huang. 

Australia is also taking an active role in the APEC VET Project, which is leading projects in portability in qualifications, with Taiwan likely to consider tourism and hospitality as the next phase of its involvement. 

Mdme Huang, Director-General Taiwan Workforce Development Agency, with Ms Cathy Raper, Australian Representative, Taiwan

Victoria appoints new minister for training and skills

Ms Gayle Tierney, pictured, has been appointed as Victoria's new Minister for Training and Skills, following the resignation of Steve Herbert.

Ms Tierney was previously Cabinet Secretary and, before entering parliament in 2006, was federal president of the vehicle division of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union.

Mr Herbert resigned from his position and will not re-contest the 2018 state election over misuse of his taxpayer funded car.

Premier Daniel Andrews praised Mr Herbert for his role in the government's $350 million TAFE rescue package and the turnaround in TAFE.

"Under Mr Herbert's stewardship Lilydale TAFE has reopened, while other TAFE facilities have been redeveloped and expanded. He has had a profound impact on the lives of young Victorians, making sure they get the skills they need for the jobs they want," Mr Andrews said.

European lessons in competency-based training

The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) reports on some  challenges of adopting a learning outcomes- or competency-based in vocational education and training (VET).

The report finds that it is essential to move towards student-centred approaches that treat competencies holistically, rather than narrowly focusing on tasks. This can only be achieved by engaging a broad range of stakeholders, including employers, educators, and policy-makers, and achieving their buy-in.

A more student-centred approach will ultimately result the development of better tools for learning, as well as more effective assessments and quality assurance mechanisms.

The effectiveness of such an approach requires teachers and trainers who are both more autonomous, and more skilled at operationalising these approaches in the learning environment.

Research explores TAFE's role in tackling long term unemployment

There is greater scope for TAFEs to link with employment services and enterprises in tackling long term unemployment, according to a new research report.

The findings, prepared by Peter Hurley, are the result of an International Specialised Skills Fellowship sponsored by the Higher Education & Skills Group in the Victorian Department of Education and Training.

Peter Hurley has worked in higher education and TAFE for the past ten years, most recently at Bendigo Kangan Institute, and was the recipient of the 2015 AVETRA/TDA Innovation Scholarship.

His report looks at the ways in which training colleges in the United Kingdom, Denmark and Finland, have run and designed effective programs for the long term unemployed, especially in conjunction with industry partners.

The most successful programs were ‘bottom up’ schemes that were small in scale, targeted to the local needs of job seekers and employers, resulting in a formal qualification and reflecting real workplaces and practices.

See the report, Increasing employment opportunities for marginalised Victorians through the use of TAFE training and social enterprises by Peter Hurley.

Diary Dates

Australian Training Awards
17 November, 2016
Darwin, Northern Territory
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Pathways13 Conference: Changes, Challenges and Choice – embracing the future
Disability practitioners from TAFEs and universities around Australia
30 November - 2 December, 2016
Canberra, Australia
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2016 National Conference on VET Teaching and VET Teacher Education
Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group 
8 - 9 December, 2016
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