TAFE Directors Australia

Supporting our member institutes since 1998

Newsletter 17 January 2011


Flood devastation continues – update on affected TAFE campuses

The Department of Education and Training (DET) Queensland has been informed that several missing TAFE staff have been accounted for, in the devastating flooding that hit the Toowoomba region. On behalf of all the TAFE Institutes across Australia, TDA sends its support and sympathies to those Queensland communities that have been devastated by this force of nature.

Chief Operating Officer of DET Queensland, Deb Daly, has advised TDA on the current state of TAFE Institutes affected by the floods: 

  • The Southbank Institute of Technology (SBIT) suffered flooding up to 1.5m, but the water receded fast, and there is no damage to classrooms or administrative areas. 
  • The Emerald campus of the Central Queensland Institute of TAFE is being cleaned up with a lot of assistance from employees of mining companies.  It is not likely to begin classes out of the affected facilities until the second week of February.  
  • The Toowoomba Campus of the Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE sustained a lot of flood damage to its new Hospitality Centre refurbishment. There were grave concerns for the safety and wellbeing of a TAFE staff member in Toowoomba, but thankfully they were  found. 
  • Acting Institute Director at The Bremer Institute of TAFE, Brent Kinnane, assembled about a dozen staff at the Institute and went out into the Ipswich community with TAFE utes and tools to assist with the clean-up efforts.  This is but one act of selfless generosity being witnessed all over the city. 
  • Critical TAFE business systems are down until this week because they are hosted in a key government building in Brisbane.  This is particularly difficult for TAFE Institutes around Queensland that are in the peak enrolment period, and it has meant that some TAFE email systems are down.  

To donate to the Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal call 1800 219 028 or donate online

Read the story of a TAFE student here.

To view a map of all Queensland schools and TAFE Institutes affected by flooding click here.

For more information from the Department of Education Queensland click here.

The National Board of TDA will hold its next meeting in Brisbane or surrounds, and will consider a special package of measures from Australia’s TAFE community, to assist.

TDA will keep members informed of other flood threats, developing in New South Wales and Victoria. 

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TDA ramps-up campaign on visa assessment

TDA has again voiced its concerns about the inequities of visa risk assessment changes announced by the Federal Government late last year. TDA says that higher education courses received an easing of assessment levels, but vocational education is still experiencing tough restrictions.

TDA Chair, Bruce MacKenzie was quoted in The Australian, saying that TAFE is being unfairly compared to universities, and inappropriately treated as a standard ‘VET’ provider on the same risk basis as private colleges.  

To view the article click here.

Last week TDA met with the Office of Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, the Hon Chris Bowen, to discuss its concerns. 

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Australia Pacific Technical College tender -- Stage II now open

AusAID has released the tender specifications for Stage II (July 2011 to June 2015) of the management and operation of the Australian Pacific Technical College (APTC) with estimated funding of $152 million. A pre-tender briefing is scheduled for 10am 28 January in Canberra and submissions are due by 2pm 3 March 2011.

Further details on the briefing and access to the full tender documentation can be found here.

Please note, you will need to register on the Austender website to access the documents.

TDA wishes to congratulate all those from TAFE who have delivered the APTC to date. When the promise was initially made at the South Pacific Forum, it was TDA that Austrade relied upon heavily to begin scoping options for the APTC plan. A wide range of personnel from TAFE has remained involved, and presentations on the APTC Plan have been in demand across North America, by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and at major international fora. 

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VET Outbound Mobility portal goes live

A new resource that provides information to staff and students about overseas study and travel is now live on the Study Overseas website.

The VET Outbound Mobility Portal and Toolkit aims to increase the mobility of Australian vocational education and training students and staff by providing ideas, information and resources to practitioners in comprehensive and user-friendly manner.

Further details can be read here

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Expanded offshore skills assessments for General Skilled Migration

Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) has expanded offshore skills assessments to include a greater range of countries and occupations.

People applying for skills assessment in a nominated occupation who also hold a passport from a nominated country, must be assessed by a TRA-approved Registered Training Organisation (RTO). To allow greater flexibility to applicants, the list of RTOs able to conduct offshore assessments on behalf of TRA has been expanded.

Details of the expanded services, nominated occupations and countries, and those RTOs approved to conduct skills assessments on behalf of TRA, can be found here

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Working while studying – how much is too much?

Combining too much work with study can cost young people future job opportunities but the right work provides a valuable foot in the door, according to research published by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

The studyfound that working 16 to 24 hours or more a week dramatically reduces the completion rate of full-time students. For those who study part-time, full-time work reduces their chances of completing their qualifications.

The report, Outcomes from combining work and tertiary study, is available here

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Significant savings for Austrade’s market data package

Austrade has reduced the subscription fee for a critical data and statistics tool by up to 55%.

The Market Information Package (MIP) includes very detailed market data and statistics on international students as well as updates, news, market intelligence and business opportunities.

The fee reduction is the first stage of a review of the MIP. In addition to the reduced fees, the revised fee schedule introduces two new categories for smaller providers with 26–100 and 101–500 international student enrolments. The new fee schedule is available on the Austrade education website.

The ongoing review of the MIP will see further work on upgrading resources, more details of events, opportunities and updates, and regularly revised Education Market Profiles.  A user survey will be distributed early in 2011. 

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Middle East conferences – call for speakers and papers

Two VET conferences are coming up in the Middle East and the organisers are seeking speakers and/or papers. The conferences include: 

  • Abu Dhabi, March 13 – 14, which will focus on innovation and leadership. The deadline for submissions is 16 February. For more information visit www.iat.ac.ae/iattect/default.asp or contact tamara.alashal@iat.ac,.ae.
  • Saudi Arabia, 24 – 27 April, which will focus on employability skills and vocational guidance. It is organised by the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation(see website here). Contact Ismail.Farag@austrade.gov.aufor more details. 

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Fiji marketing event

Applications to join an Austrade marketing event in Fiji in March close on 14 February.

More information on the event can be found here

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USA Community Colleges’ conference – registrations close 31 January

The Community Colleges for International Development 35thAnnual Conference will be held in Orlando, Florida from February 26 – March 1.

Registrations close on 31 January. A summary of the program can be found here

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New study matches occupational expectations with achievements

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) has followed a group of high-achieving school students from 1998 to see if their achievements have matched their expectations.

The results show: 

  • About 15% of the top students changed their occupational expectations from highly skilled destinations to careers which required on-the-job training and less formal training.
  • Approximately 15% of students who ‘showed early signs of talent’; that is, who were in the top 50% of academic achievers in their age group, abandoned their initial plans to complete university.
  • Students who came from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were significantly more likely to lower their educational and occupational expectations. 

Click here to view the report. 

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Data accreditation seminars

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) is holding seminars in February on the new Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard (AVETMISS).

To find your nearest ‘Testing Your AVETMISS Compliance’ seminar click here

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Business/Higher Education award recipients

Last week’s newsletter featured TAFE NSW as a winner in the Business-Higher Education Roundtable awards. Click here for more information.

There were also two other award recipients: Victoria University was awarded Best Community Engagement, and Best Collaboration with a Regional Focus in R&D or Education & Training; and RMIT received Honourable Mentions for its projects. 

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Diary Dates

Nominations closing date

DATE: 25 March, 2011
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

Gaining the Edge - Outcomes, Equity and Innovation

DATE: 3-4 May 2011
LOCATION: Hilton on the Park, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information 

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