Having trouble viewing this email? Click here to view online.

Newsletter | 15 February 2016

In this edition


TDA urges continuity as a new federal skills minister announced

TAFE Directors Australia has extended its congratulations to the new Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Senator Scott Ryan (pictured).

Senator Ryan was announced in the portfolio by Prime Minister Turnbull on Saturday, replacing Luke Hartsuyker.

TDA CEO Martin Riordan said in a media release that Senator Ryan's previous role as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education and Training should ensure a smooth transition.

He said a priority should be on fixing the crisis in the management of the VET FEE-HELP student loan scheme, guaranteeing security for students, and quarantining loans to low-risk quality VET providers.

Mr Riordan thanked former Minister Hartsuyker for his open door to consultation, noting that as late as last week, he had pledged further legislation to not only tighten regulation of VET FEE-HELP, but oversee a new tertiary loans regime.

Federal government asked to cancel student debts after college collapse

The federal government is being asked to cancel the VET FEE-HELP debts of thousands of students impacted by the collapse of Aspire College of Education and three related entities.

Victorian Minister for Training and Skills Steve Herbert said he will be writing to the federal minister asking that students have their loans cancelled and offering assistance from Victorian TAFEs to help place students into alternative courses.

Aspire has 20 campuses across Australia and received some $66 million in VET FEE-HELP funding.

"As news of the closures trickled to concerned students on Thursday, former employees revealed the colleges recruited students from foster homes, homeless shelters, women's refuges, aged care homes and drug rehabilitation centres," The Age reported.

Meanwhile, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has provided information to assist students and their employers impacted by the recent collapse of Vocation Ltd and four related training entities.


Registration now open: TDA/LH Martin Innovation and Applied Research Roundtable, Wednesday, 2 March, Canberra Institute of Technology

TAFE Directors Australia and LH Martin Institute are hosting a joint national Innovation and Applied Research Roundtable in Canberra on 2 March, 2016.

The aim of the Roundtable is to stimulate discussions about TAFE’s contribution to Australia’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.

See flyer for more information.

Registration is now open. Please register here by Wednesday, 25 February 2016 (note limited space is available).

Speakers from Canada, New Zealand and the UK will share the applied research and innovation models in colleges, institutes and polytechnics in their countries.

The symposium will be followed by dinner at the Lobby Restaurant in Barton. You can choose to attend one or both events.

Roundtable venue: Canberra Institute of Technology
K Block, 37 Constitution Ave, Reid, ACT

Dinner venue: Lobby Restaurant
King George Terrace, Parkes, ACT

Fee: Roundtable only $380 (inc GST)
Roundtable and dinner $450 (inc GST)

International Presenters:

  • UK - Dr John Lea, Director HEFCE/AoC College HE
  • Canada - Dr Alex Zahavich, Vice President SAIT Polytechnic and Director, ARIS
  • New Zealand - Ms Kay Giles, Chief Executive, CPIT & Aoraki Polytechnic
  • New Zealand – Mr Chris Collins - Chief Executive, Eastern Institute Technology 

In you have any questions please contact:
Melinda Waters at TDA   mwaters@tda.edu.au  (02) 9217 4951
Ruth Schubert at LH Martin  ruth.schubert@unimelb.edu.au  (03) 9035 6042

Federal takeover of VET won't solve funding crisis

The current funding system for vocational education and training (VET) is failing, but would not be resolved by a federal takeover of the sector, according to Peter Noonan, Mitchell Professorial Fellow at Victoria University.

In an article in The Conversation, Mr Noonan says funding for VET by all states and territories has declined since 2013.

The fundamental problem with the system is that no single level of government is fully responsible for VET funding," he says.

"It is also clear that state governments and the community will not allow their substantial, accessible and broadly based TAFE systems to be run into the ground by not funding the direct and indirect costs of TAFE as the public VET provider.

"There are huge financial and political risks for the states in handing over VET funding to the Commonwealth and then having to manage community and industry expectations," the article says.

WorldSkills Australia CEO Mark Callaghan resigns

WorldSkills Australia CEO Mark Callaghan has announced his resignation, after 10 years in the post.

His resignation, effective last Friday, was made in a statement, in which he said it was "time for me to seek new challenges – both personally and professionally."

"I leave knowing that WorldSkills Australia is well placed to deliver its biggest ever National Competition later this year in Melbourne and I look forward to watching the continued progress of not only WorldSkills Australia but of Australia’s young Skill Champions from the sidelines," he said.

Chair, Brian Wexham said Mr Callaghan joined WorldSkills Australia at a time of significant challenges and his stewardship had been instrumental in its success.

"The benefits of Mark’s leadership have been widely felt, touching and positively influencing the lives of many young Australians," Mr Wexham said.

A fitting tribute to a great TAFE figure

Many in TAFE would have been saddened at news of the death of Judith Steanes, a remarkable figure who had a lasting impact on TAFE NSW.

Judith passed away in late January and a memorial service was held at Northern Suburbs Crematorium on 5 February.

The service was attended by family, friends and many TAFE colleagues, as Judith was both highly respected and a leader in TAFE NSW in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Jozefa Sobski provided a tribute to Judith on behalf of her TAFE colleagues, and has kindly agreed to make it available as recognition of her enormous contribution.

2016 international student barometer getting underway

TAFE institutes are being encouraged to participate in the latest global survey examining the experience of international students.

The International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) and the federal Department of Education International Group are conducting the third biennial survey of the international student experience in Australia.

Known as the International Student Barometer (ISB), it collects feedback from over 2.3 million students worldwide across all student types, levels and years of study, and is the leading benchmarking tool used to track the international student experience.

VET data is compared against an equivalent international data set, and with data from the University ISB enabling a comparison of an institute’s performance against other VET providers as well as alternative sectoral and international benchmarks.

See more information.

Call for APTC board nominations

The Australian Government, in collaboration with the Australia-Pacific Technical College, is inviting suitably skilled individuals to nominate for seven independent positions on the Board of the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) .

Details regarding the skills being sought, and how to nominate, can be found in the APTC Board - Call for Nomination. Nominations must be received by 5:00pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time on Friday 26 February 2016.

The APTC Board will provide the Australian Government and APTC management with advice on APTC’s performance and strategic direction. Independent membership will be offered to individuals based on relevant skills and experience, rather than the organisations or constituencies that they represent. Gender equality will be a consideration in determining the composition of the APTC Board, as will geographic and sectoral coverage.

More information about the APTC Board can be found in the APTC Board Charter.

Please send any enquiries to APTCboard@dfat.gov.au

One week to submit 'No Frills' abstracts

Call for abstracts for the 25th National Vocational Education and Training and Research Conference ‘No Frills’ close next Monday 22 February. This year the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) is offering opportunities for both presentations and poster sessions.

‘No Frills’ is considered one the most affordable and valuable networking events on the VET calendar. It provides an excellent forum for researchers and practitioners in the vocational education and training sector to come together to present and discuss informative, relevant and thought-provoking presentations.

Co-hosted with CQUniversity, this year’s conference is being held on Monday 4 July – Wednesday 6 July at their picturesque Rockhampton North campus in central Queensland.

Download the information pack

Diary Dates

Innovation and Applied Research Roundtable
TAFE Directors Australia and LH Martin Institute
2 March, 2016
Canberra Institute of Technology, Canberra
More information

2016 Virtual VET Summits
Velg Training
8 – 9 March, 2016: RTO Managers
15 – 16 March, 2016: Trainers & Assessors
Online Live Stream
More information

Group Training National Conference
‘Skilling for Growth’
7 – 8 April, 2016
More information

AVETRA 19th Annual Conference 
20 – 22 April 2016
More information

WAVE National Conference
Women: Education, Empowerment, Equality. A New Agenda?
20 April 2016
Northern Sydney Institute, TAFE NSW
More information

EduTECH 2016
30 - 31 May, 2016
More information

2016 Skills Conference
Group Training Association of NSW & ACT
15 June, 2016
More information

25th National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’
4 – 6 July 2016
Rockhampton, Queensland
More information

Victorian TAFE Association State Conference
18 - 19 August, 2016
More information coming soon.

NSW TAFE Managers Association
19 August, 2016
Taronga Zoo, Sydney
More information coming soon.

VET Development Centre Teaching & Learning Conference
1 - 2 September, 2016
RACV Torquay Resort, Victoria
More information

National VET Conference 
Velg Training
14 – 16 September, 2016
Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre
More information

TDA Convention
4 - 6 October, 2016
More information coming soon

Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Conference
4-7 October, 2016
Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart  
More information

2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition
6 - 8 October, 2016
Melbourne Showgrounds
More information
Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators (RACMA) Conference  
12-15 October, 2016
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
More information
Australasian Genomic Technologies Association (AGTA) Conference
9-12 October, 2016
Pullman Hotel Auckland, New Zealand
More information

Australian Training Awards
17 November, 2016
Darwin, Northern Territory
More information


Corporate Affiliates