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Newsletter | 16 October 2017

In this edition


International education sector allays concerns about tighter English language standards

The country's peak education bodies have rallied to protect Australia's $28 billion international education market and dispel fears that new English language standards could make it harder to study in Australia.

Under changes announced by the Minister for Education and Training Senator the Simon Birmingham, the new standards for English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS), will extend to VET courses and will be subject to more stringent assessment.

There will also be requirement for a minimum of 20 face-to-face contact hours, and a maximum teacher-to-student ratio of one to 18.

“Many would be surprised to learn that under the current system students can transition from an ELICOS course to further study without any mandatory assessment of their language skills,” Senator Birmingham said.

Initial media reports raised concern, both domestically and internationally, that a new English language test would be required, prompting a joint statement from nine peak bodies, including TDA.

"Australian education institutions already have some of the strongest standards in the world to ensure that international students can get the most benefit from studying and living here," the statement said.

"It is important that potential students understand this will not make it harder to study in Australia," it said.

TDA's Director for International Engagement, Jen Bahen said TAFE welcomes both the revised standards and the extension to VET providers.

"It is a sign of the quality and commitment of TAFEs that they are already delivering ELICOS courses to international students according to the revised standards," she said.

See the new ELICOS Standards

Business Council plan for tertiary reform splits TAFEs and universities

TAFEs and universities are at odds over a radical plan for reform of education unveiled last week by the Business Council of Australia.

The report, Future Proof, Protecting Australians through Education and Skills, proposed a tertiary system, where VET and higher education operate coherently, rather than as silos, supported by a single funding model and a lifelong entitlement to tertiary education.

TDA Chief Executive Craig Robertson said TAFEs strongly support the report's increased focus on TAFEs as a key economic lever.

"TDA has been advocating for some time for a coherent approach to tertiary education as the only way to solve the distortions in funding and regulation across the sectors,” he said.

Universities Australia warned that the plan risked eroding the quality of tertiary education, and opened the possibility of private providers abusing the system, as with the former VET FEE-HELP scheme.

See TDA's response

See 'Universities dislike BCA's education plan' in the Financial Review

WorldSkills competition gets under way in Abu Dhabi

Competitors at the WorldSkills international  competition in Abu Dhabi have completed their first full day of competition following a spectacular opening ceremony.

The ceremony at the du Arena on Yas Island was attended by 10,000 people, and  celebrated the place of vocational skills in the history of the UAE.

It included a parade of nations, where Australia's Skillaroos entered the stadium with carpentry competitor Ryan Grieger proudly waving the Australian flag.

Australian cabinetmaking expert Jason Hindes took the Expert Oath on behalf of all international experts alongside representatives from the UAE and Costa Rica.

Shanghai has been selected to host the 2021 WorldSkills.

Grants for women in STEM extended to VET sector

A federal government grants program for women and girls in STEM – which initially excluded TAFE – has been revised and is now open for applications.

The ‘Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship’ program provides funding of between $5,000 and $250,000, for projects up to two years.

Under the first round of the program, TAFEs and other vocational education providers were not eligible. Following consultations with TDA and other stakeholders about the role of TAFE and the VET sector in STEM, the guidelines were changed.

Grants will support women and girls engaged in STEM and entrepreneurship and also champion STEM role models in science, research, entrepreneurship and corporate leadership.

See more

Youth out of work or training at risk of ongoing disadvantage

Young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) for significant periods during their teen years are at risk of continuing that trend into their twenties, according to new research by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

The report Who are the persistently NEET young people?, which profiles a group of 15-24 year olds who experienced continuous NEET periods of six months or more, found that those who experienced these spells between ages 15 to 19 were more likely to experience further persistent spells and poorer education outcomes by ages 20 to 24.

“This group is considered to be ‘at risk’ of not making a successful transition to the labour market, as they are more likely to be socially excluded and less likely to have the opportunities to develop the skills and experience they require for further education or employment," said Dr Craig Fowler, Managing Director, NCVER.

Persistently NEET status is shown to be correlated with non-completion of year 12; having a child; and to some degree coming from a more disadvantaged background.

See more

University of Melbourne and Trinity College offer joint teaching certificate

Trinity College Australia has partnered with University of Melbourne’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education to offer a joint Melbourne Teaching Certificate focusing on non-university teaching staff in both higher education and vocational education.

Teaching staff will acquire skills in pedagogy, classroom and student management, lesson planning and assessment, validation, and moderation strategies.

See more

Industry feedback sought for training review

Projects are underway in the agricultural, horticultural, animal care, food, beverage and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries to review and update units of competency, skill sets and qualifications.

The Skills Service Organisation, Skills Impact, is seeking feedback that will lead to revised versions, followed by industry consultation from November to December. The projects are:

On each project webpage there is the opportunity to register interest to be informed of project updates.

Skills Impact is supporting the relevant Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) to undertake these projects.

Skills Oz to fund $2.2 million development of training resources

Skills Oz, an organisation providing skills and training services for the construction and property services sector, is to provide $2.2 million to fund the development of training resources to meet latest industry standards.

The materials will be provided at no cost to TAFE, RTOs, colleges, high schools and trainers delivering courses and qualifications in the construction and property services sector.

Skills Oz CEO Phillip Charlton said the funding follows an Australian Skills Quality Authority report that found 80 per cent of the nation’s RTOs failed their initial audit with non-compliance in areas relating to Learning and Assessment practices and resources.

“With the construction industry forecast to create an additional 80,000 jobs over the next five years, employers and stakeholders in the construction and property services sectors are rightly concerned about the current industry standards, productivity, workforce development and workplace health and safety,” Mr Charlton said.

See more

Diary Dates

2017 International Aid Business Opportunity Seminars

9 - 13 October 2017
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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
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The Future of Public TAFE Institutions
Australian Education Union
20 October 2017
NSW Teachers Federation Conference Centre, Surry Hills, NSW
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OctoberVET 2017
AVETRA (Australian Vocational Education And Training Research Association)
October & November 2017
Victoria, NSW & Western Australia
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Chinese Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE)
Annual Conference

19 - 22 October 2017
Beijing, China
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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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STEM in Defence Summit
Australian Defence Magazine

30 November 2017
Hyatt Hotel, 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