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Newsletter | 15 July 2013

In this edition

PM says more work needed in VET

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has cited the need for extra effort to boost vocational education and training (VET), at a time when some states are ignoring the sector.

The PM nominated skills as a priority for a new national competitiveness agenda, in a speech at the National Press Club.

“Our national objective must be to build the best educated, best trained, best skilled workforce anywhere in the world,” he said.

“We have uncapped university places for Australian students so that we now have 190,000 more kids at university than five years ago.

We do, however, need to do more with vocational education and training, particularly given the recent withdrawal of effort by many of the states.”

See the PM’s speech.

Reform to ‘Uncapped Places’ urged by Group of Eight – new ATAR limit of 60

The Chair of the Group of Eight (Go8) universities, Professor Fred Hilmer, Vice Chancellor of University of New South Wales, has reportedly responded direct to the incoming Federal Minister for Higher Education, Senator Kim Carr, with proposals for limiting uncapped place university funding with new entry caps of 60 to ATAR school leaver scores. He also has commented on the 2% dividend cut proposed by the most recent Federal Budget.

Senator Carr last week had flagged concerns about quality in universities because of the current uncapped places applying to university entry, and open funding to universities of Commonwealth Supported Places HECS places.

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) today reported that Professor Hilmer had signalled to Senator Carr that entry to undergraduate degrees would require a minimum Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of 60. The benchmark would be higher for teaching, at 70.

Professor Hilmer was quoted in the AFR, saying: “The high and increasing cost of demand-driven funding means the government has to seek irrational savings at the margins to try to limit budget blowouts. Savings could be made by limiting eligibility for …places to students with ATARs of 60 or more.”

The Go8 proposal was designed to save $1.4 billion. This issue was originally canvassed last year in a Go8 Discussion Paper, in which the Vice Chancellors argued for improved pathways funding, and support for improved teacher entry standards.

See the AFR article.

Latest speaker list for TDA 2013 national conference

There is an outstanding line-up of speakers confirmed for the 2013 TDA National Conference in Brisbane, 2-3 September.

Issues to be discussed include:

  • The economics of skills 
  • Australia in the Asian Century
  • Redefining learning approaches: MOOCs, NBN.
  • The ‘quality proposition’ – what is it?
  • Tertiary connectedness
  • Indigenous workers and learners

The latest conference program is available here.

Pre-conference workshops will be held at Southbank Institute of TAFE on the 1st September 2013.

Please click here for a full description of the workshops.

Register here.

TDA launch of CEO mentoring – so you want to be a CEO?

You have the qualifications, you have the deep understanding of vocational education and training, you have the administrative, commercial and management experience required to run a modern organisation. But- are you ready to lead?

This engaging subject is one of five pre-conference workshops that will feature on Sunday, 1 September, ahead of the TDA national Conference, 2-3 September. They will be held at Southbank Institute of Technology,

The CEO workshop will explore issues of leadership in a volatile vocational education and training climate and will feature, Liz Harris, Chief Executive Officer Challenger Institute of Technology (Winner of the Australian Training Awards Large Provider of the Year).

Liz recently attended the Harvard Women’s Leadership Forum in Boston.

Liz has kindly agreed to write a short precise of the event for information to TDA members.

Read Liz Harris’s reflections on her recent leadership training at Harvard.

See all the pre-conference workshops.

More students opt for full-time study

More students are enrolling in full-time publicly funded training, with 34,800 additional enrolments for full-time study in 2012, according to national training statistics from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

The annual snapshot of student enrolments and training activity shows that the number of students enrolled at TAFE or other government providers remained largely steady at 1,257,600 student places in 2012, up 0.8% from 2011.

Overall, the number of students across the country increased by 3.3% to 1.94 million in publicly funded training, total subject enrolments increased by 5.3% and total hours of training delivery increased by 9.0%.

TAFE and other government providers supply nearly two-thirds (64.7%) of publicly funded training.

Se here for a copy of Australian vocational education and training statistics: Students and courses 2012.

WorldSkills success for the Skillaroos

TDA congratulates all team members of the Skillaroos who travelled to Leipzig, Germany for the World Skills competition. For the first time, there were more than 1,000 vocational students from 54 countries competing in 45 different skill areas.

In particular we congratulate:

  • Gold medallist Timothy Taylor competing in the automotive technology area and from the TAFE Division of the University of Ballarat
  • Silver medallist Jessica Martin competing in restaurant service and from TAFE NSW Northern Sydney Institute
  • Silver medallist, Tayron Scagnetti (Jewellery, Central Institute of Technology)
  • Bronze medallist Lachlan Mayled (Welding, TAFE NSW New England Institute).

Plus 14 Medals of Excellence!

For more information on the winners and the other team members, please visit WorldSkills.

TDA at WorldSkills

TDA’s Peter Holden was delighted to meet some of the team members and see them in action during the five day event. The venue was quite remarkable and the whole city of Leipzig was focused on the event with over 200,000 visitors.

Peter also attended a three day conference hosted by the German government focusing on global networks and delivered a paper on behalf of UNESCO’s UNEVOC network at a special session on green skills.

The next international WorldSkills competition will be held in Brazil in 2015. 

Educators urged to tap into India’s education market

Australia is well-placed to secure a stake in India’s rapidly-expanding skills market but VET providers will need to be smarter and more competitive, according to a report from the Australia India Institute (AII).

The report, ‘Skills Challenge: Australia and India’s Skills Training Needs’, says that education spending in India ranks second only to outlays on food for the average Indian middle class family. 

“Australia, with its robust, best in class VET providers, and institutional framework and quality assurance systems, is well placed to garner a large share of this market among consumers who cannot afford to be trained overseas.  Yet Australian providers lag behind their competitors from the UK, Germany and Switzerland in this field,” it said.

To gain access to Indian market, Australian Training and Further Education (TAFEs) should unbundle their high quality training courses and offer simpler training modules at lower cost to students, the report proposed.

“With public sector funding for VET providers under pressure, serving Asia’s massive skills training demand could be important to securing the TAFE sector’s long-term future,” it said.

See the report here.

Meanwhile, senior researcher Alan Olsen, has tracked increases to Australian inbound international student enrolments, based mainly on the improvements in the Australian dollar.

In a special column in today’s AFR, Alan Olsen noted a 2% increase recently in China student numbers, and increases from most countries in South Asia.

See Alan Olsen’s AFR column.

Opening up ICT to apprenticeships

A new report on the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) workforce recommends that apprenticeships become an established pathway for students joining the industry.

The ICT workforce study 2013, released by the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA) notes that apprenticeships comprise only a small part of those who enter the ICT workforce.

It also finds that women comprise less than 20% of the ICT workforce, and that the quality of teaching in schools, VET and higher education is one of a number of factors contributing to high drop-out rates from courses.

See the AWPA media release.

See ICT workforce study 2013.

VET regulatory impact survey underway

At its meeting on 7 June, the Standing Council on Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (SCOTESE) requested that the National Skills Standards Council (NSSC) develop draft standards for the regulation of VET.

A key part of this work is the preparation of a COAG decision Regulation Impact Statement (dRIS), which is being undertaken by Deloitte Access Economics on behalf of the NSSC.

Deloitte Access Economics has commenced a survey of approximately 1,900 RTOs. This survey has been designed to build a baseline picture of the current operations of RTOs, upon which the changes associated with the NSSC Standards Policy Framework can be measured.

The NSSC strongly encourages providers approached by Deloitte Access Economics to complete the survey.

See here for more information.

TasTAFE to deliver courses in China

TasTAFE has secured an international education partnership that will see a range of qualifications delivered in China.

The Minister for Education and Skills Nick McKim announced a strengthened partnership between Shanghai Bangde Vocational College and TasTafe.

The two have worked together for more than 10 years, but the enhanced partnership will see TasTAFE deliver qualifications in business/banking, accounting and hospitality to students in China.

See the Minister’s media release.

Retaining knowledge for organisational sustainability

The key issue of knowledge management will be the subject of an upcoming Professional Learning Program hosted by the Queensland VET Development Centre (QVDC).

In the current education and training environment, managing the retention of tacit, or expert, knowledge is especially critical. The Use it or lose it - Knowledge management strategies for the VET sector activity is particularly relevant for middle and upper managers of Queensland registered training organisations (RTOs).

For more information and to register, see here.

Diary Dates

Flipped learning design for VET
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: 16 July – 13 August
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Getting started in e-learning
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: 22 July-26 August
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

New perspectives on learning
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: 1 August-30 August
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Knowledge management – use it or lose it
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: 7 August, 21 August and 23 October
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

National Skills Week
DATE: 26 August – 1 September
LOCATION: Various around Australia
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Australasian Association for Institutional Research Special Interest Groups

DATE: 21-23 August
LOCATION: Fairmont Resort, Blue Mountains
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Open Higher Education Markets in the UK - Seminar
TDA & LH Martin Institute

DATE: 28 August
LOCATION: LH Martin Institute, 715 Swanston St, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

TedX: This Way Up
Northern Sydney Institute

DATE: 28 August
LOCATION: Cameraygal Building, the Northern Sydney Institute, St Leonards Campus
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

TDA Annual Conference 2013 TDA Annual Conference 2013 - "TAFE Redefined"
TAFE Directors Australia

DATE: 2-3 September 2013
LOCATION: Sofitel, Brisbane
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Teaching & Learning Conference
VET Development Centre

DATE: 5-6 September
LOCATION: RACV Healesville Country Club
DETAILS: Click here for further information. 

2013 National VET Conference
Velg Training

DATE: 19-20 September, 2013
LOCATION: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Australian Council for Adult Literacy Conference
DATE: 30 September - 2 October
LOCATION: University of Technology, Sydney
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Australian International Education Conference

DATE: 8-11 October
LOCATION: National Convention Centre, Canberra
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

2013 AUSTAFE National Conference

DATE: 9-11 October
LOCATION: Gold Coast Convention Centre, Queensland
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

conVerge13 - E-learning Conference

DATE: 21-22 November
LOCATION: Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Australian Training Awards
Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education

DATE: 22 November
DETAILS: Click here for further information.