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Newsletter | 18 April 2016

In this edition


Federal police raid private training college in VET FEE-HELP investigation

Australian Federal Police have raided the offices of private training provider, Australian Careers Network, in Melbourne.

The Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Senator Scott Ryan said search warrants were executed following an investigation by the Department of Education and Training into allegations of fraud surrounding VET FEE-HELP funding.

"This should serve as a warning to all VET FEE-HELP providers that the Commonwealth will investigate allegations of fraudulent conduct against not only the VET FEE-HELP program, but all funding programs," Senator Ryan said.

Meanwhile ABC Radio National Breakfast broadcast new allegations of malpractice in the private college sector last week following their comprehensive coverage of the VET FEE-HELP crisis on Background Briefing, 

TDA 2016 Convention announces conference MC and new gold sponsor - YourTutor

Virginia Trioli has been confirmed as the 2016 conference MC. Virginia is a two-time Walkley Award winner and one of Australia’s best known journalists, with a formidable reputation as a television anchor, radio presenter, writer and commentator. She is much sought-after as an MC, and combines a rigorous interviewing style with an often wicked sense of humour.

We are delighted that YourTutor has returned as a Gold Sponsor again this year. YourTutor increases student satisfaction and completion rates at your TAFE with online, after-hours study support. Trusted by Australian and New Zealand educators for over a decade, YourTutor has the industry’s most stringently-managed and respected network of experts, exclusive to YourTutor and their tertiary partners. Visit www.yourtutor.edu.au for more information.

“Skills Resurgence” the TDA 2016 convention will be held in Melbourne at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins on 5 and 6 October, with pre-convention workshops and a welcome reception on Tuesday 4 October.

For more information about sponsorship opportunities or attending the convention, please visit www.tda.edu.au and click on the convention banner.

Victoria's TAFEs record sharp financial improvement

The financial position of Victoria's TAFEs has improved markedly over the past year, with annual reports tabled in the parliament showing a record $25 million surplus in 2015, compared with a  $52.5 million deficit the previous year.

Ten of Victoria’s 12 TAFEs published their annual reports last week.

The Minister for Training and Skills Steve Herbert attributed the $77 million turnaround to initiatives including the $320 million TAFE Rescue Fund, the $50 million TAFE Back to Work Fund, a $50 million TAFE Boost fund and a $16 million investment in Skills and Jobs Centres.

“It will take time to boost TAFE enrolments and restore confidence in the system," he said.

“We are developing a new funding model based on quality improvements and initiatives tailored to meet the skills needs of industry.”

Information sessions to explain immigration risk ratings to training providers

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has commenced the task of advising training providers about their immigration risk rating under the new simplified student visa framework (SSVF).

Training providers registered with the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) have been allocated an immigration risk rating between one (lowest risk) and three (highest risk), based on the immigration risk outcomes of their international students over the previous 12 months.

A risk rating has also been applied to each country from which students arrive.

The department has provided a number of resources including General information for providers, Explanatory notes on risk reporting and methodology, and a paper on Managing immigration risk.

A series of roadshows will be held around Australia commencing late April to explain the changes.

Inquiry to untangle higher education entrance procedures

The ATAR, or Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank, that is commonly thought to be the basis for university entry is used by less than a third of successful students, according to discussion paper issued by the Higher Education Standards Panel.

The panel is undertaking an examination of issues that will improve the transparency of higher education admissions processes, including the role of the ATAR.

"It is perhaps surprising that more than half the students admitted in 2014 were accepted on the basis of previous vocational or higher education study, mature age entry special provisions and the like," the paper says.

It says that only 44 per cent of students were admitted on the basis of their secondary education, and only 70 per cent of these on the basis of their ATAR.

TDA will be attending a public consultation in Canberra on May 20 that will lead to recommendations being made to Education Minister Simon Birmingham.

Submissions can be made up until the end of May.

Report gives financial snapshot of higher education sector

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) has released a report outlining the key financial metrics of Australia’s higher education sector.

The report, “Key financial metrics on Australia’s higher education sector” is the first release of financial data analysed by TEQSA as part of its sector monitoring, providing a snapshot of selected key financial metrics covering the whole of Australia’s higher education sector, including 11 TAFEs.

As at last November, there were 170 providers with total revenue of $32 billion, with government grants and programs accounting for 56% of revenue, and international students 15% of revenue. Some 76% of providers recorded a profit.

The eleven TAFEs accounted for 0.4% of students and 0.3% of revenue.

State-of-the-art rail training for Queensland apprentices

Queensland apprentices and trainees will have access to a new rail-based training facility under a partnership between Queensland Rail and TAFE Queensland Skills Tech.

The Rail Centre of Excellence is based in SkillTech’s flagship Acacia Ridge campus.

“This new facility is the only simulated rail work environment in Queensland and will provide TAFE students with hands-on access to rail training,” the Minister for Transport Stirling Hinchliffe said.

Queensland Rail will use the centre as part of its ongoing in-house training programs which educate around 300 employees each year in track infrastructure, railway signalling and overhead traction maintenance.

TasTAFE shares in skills funding

TasTAFE has secured a share of the funding under a $2.3 million program to create some 800 new training places in growth areas including tourism, hospitality, agriculture, building and construction.

TasTAFE will receive $240,000 to support 103 training positions in adventure tourism - Essential Skills for Guides, Sea Kayaking Guide, Canyon Guide, White Water Rescue, and Abseiling and Climbing Guide.

A second program will allocate $1.7 million for the latest round of the Career Start program, a competitive funding round for private providers only in areas including agriculture, advanced manufacturing and aged and disability services.

Japan education expo tapping into growing market

There are just a few days to register for the Australia Future Unlimited Education Exhibition Japan 2016.

Austrade invites training providers to participate in what will be the only federal government-organised education exhibition in Japan for prospective students to learn about Australian education institutions from every sector in a single venue.

Austrade aims to attract a large number of quality students to the exhibition to leverage the resurgent interest among Japanese students in study abroad.

The Japan market is growing, with total enrolments up almost 8% over the year. The Japanese government has committed to increasing study abroad through short and long-term scholarships, non-interest-bearing student loans and its flagship study abroad scholarship program.

Places are limited and the deadline for registration is 22 April.

For enquiries, please contact George Manetakis.

WorldSkills Australia recruiting for new chief executive

The board of WorldSkills Australia is seeking a new CEO.

Chair Brian Wexham said that recruiter, Brown & Chase, has been engaged to fill the role. The former CEO, Mark Callaghan resigned in February.

See more.

Diary Dates

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

VETnetwork Australia
Biennial National Conference
27- 28 July, 2016
Gold Coast
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.

National Skills Week 2016
29 August – 4 September, 2016
More Information

VET Development Centre Teaching & Learning Conference
1 - 2 September, 2016
RACV Torquay Resort, Victoria
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National VET Conference 
Velg Training
14 – 16 September, 2016
Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre
More information

TDA 2016 Convention – Skills Resurgence
4 - 6 October, 2016
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Melbourne, Victoria
More information

Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Conference
4-7 October, 2016
Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart  
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2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition
6 - 8 October, 2016
Melbourne Showgrounds
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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
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ACER National Adult Training and Assessment Conference
13-14 October, 2016
William Angliss institute, Melbourne
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Australian Training Awards
17 November, 2016
Darwin, Northern Territory
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