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Newsletter | 18 April 2017

In this edition

A special report on the Australian higher education and skills mission to India

The rest of the news...


TAFE and skills development highlighted on ministerial trip to India

The contribution and role of Australia's TAFEs was a key feature of last week's ministerial visit to India, with significant progress on ‘train the trainer’ programs, industry partnerships, and the place of the Australian vocational education and training sector.

The Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham led the two-day higher education and skills mission to Delhi, accompanied by a group of over 130 delegates from Australia’s education and training sector.

TAFEs were strongly represented, with  Mary Faraone, TDA Chair and CEO of Holmesglen; Trevor Schwenke, CEO of Bendigo Kangan Institute; Kate Baxter, Director of Western Region, TAFE NSW, and a number of other TAFE representatives.

The mission included a full day skills conference, a mining workshop, a site visit to a telecommunications centre, and networking events, including a dinner hosted by Minister Birmingham and attended by the Prime Minister Turnbull.

David Saunders, Executive Director for International Education and Business Development at Holmesglen with Minister Simon Birmingham at Vidyanta Skills Institutes in Delhi

Australia to play a role in India's national skills agenda

More than 200 participants from Australia and India gathered to discuss priorities for skilling in India during the formal skills conference.

Mary Faraone delivered a presentation on industry engagement in Australia, Philip Murphy discussed Bendigo Kangan’s automotive institute in India, and Jayne Miller, a VELT mentor, partnered with Nikhil Rajput, a VELT participant, to talk on achieving standards in international partnerships.

Senator Birmingham and his Indian counterpart, the Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Shri Pratap Rudy, delivered keynote addresses, with Minister Rudy outlining an ambitious skilling agenda for the country.

He also pointed to the VELT program as a successful example of Australia-India collaboration.

In a second ministerial site visit, senior TAFE representatives, together with colleagues from the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET), joined Senator Birmingham at the Vidyanta Skills Institute, a specialist health training provider.

Senator Birmingham held a bilateral meeting with Minister Rudy to discuss skill development priorities.

Senator Birmingham said: “Australian educators are well-placed to help the Indian Government achieve its ambitious target of upskilling 400 million Indians by 2022 and I’m pleased that Minister Rudy has endorsed the value of Australian ‘train the trainer’ courses being delivered by Australian providers.

"It highlights the world-class reputation of our education system while also smoothing the way for Australian trainers to gain greater access to the booming Indian market," the minister said.

Above left: Jen Bahen, Nikhil Rajput (VELT participant, Ramanujan College, University of Delhi), and Minister Simon Birmingham
Above right: Ken Howell, South West TAFE, Jayne Miller, CIT, Nikhil Rajput and Paul Lennard, TasTAFE

The two countries forge closer ties on skills needs

TDA Chair and Holmesglen CEO Mary Faraone, and TDA's Director of International Education Jen Bahen represented TAFE at the Australia India Skills Working Group meeting, where areas of joint cooperation were agreed.

The Australia India Skills Working Group is a bilateral governance mechanism, and is co-chaired by Megan Lilly from Australian Industry Group and Rajesh Agrawal, the Joint Secretary from India's Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

Representatives include the Australian government, TDA, ACPET, the Australia India Business Council, and several Indian ministries with responsibilities in the area of skills development.

The group agreed to cooperate on increasing access to skilled labour for Indian industry, on improved international skills mobility, raising the profile of VET and the development of Australia-India institutional and industry partnerships.

TDA agreed to participate in projects on transnational standards, train the trainer programs, and skills assessment, as well as the establishment of a VELT alumni group to monitor the impact of the program.  

Minister Birmingham celebrates TAFE leadership program with India

Minister Birmingham, accompanied by Mary Faraone, undertook a visit to the Industrial Training Institute (ITI) Pusa, during the India visit.

They were greeted by a full military cadet display and a tree planting ceremony, followed by a roundtable discussion on the priorities facing India’s training institutions.

Like many Indian training institutions, ITI Pusa is going through a transition.

Through partnerships with industry, including Daikon, Seimens and Suzuki Maruti, ITI Pusa receives funding that is transforming its facilities and enhancing the learning experience of students.

Learners have the opportunity to gain employment with these industry partners, with a number of programs boasting 100% placement rates.

Minister Birmingham and Ms Faraone were struck by the number of women studying in traditional trade programs, as well as by the way industry partnerships are modernising the training and infrastructure.

The site visit highlighted the success of the TDA Australia India Vocational Education and Leadership (VELT) program.

As Minister Birmingham commented, on social media, "...going to see one of the leading skills institutes at work and how a partnership between trainers and industry, backed by TAFE Directors Australia is having so much success…”

Minister Birmingham with Lok Pal, Principal of ITI Pusa, Subho Banerjee from the Australian Department of Education and Training; and Mary Faraone

From the minister's facebook....

Adults represent the changing face of apprenticeships, according to 20-year study

Adult apprentices now form a significant share of all apprentices, representing 28% in the trades and 45% in the non-trades, according to new perspective from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

The report, 'The changing nature of apprenticeships: 1996–2016' shows key trends including trade vs non-trade, completions, qualifications status and employment outcome.

It shows that completion rates for adult trade apprentices have steadily increased over time, while those for younger trade apprentices are on a slow but steady decline.

See more

No plan to cut TAFE funding

Ahead of the May budget, the federal government has signalled that funding to TAFEs is not being cut, The Examiner has reported.

The Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Karen Andrews was reported as playing down cuts to TAFE due to uncertainty surrounding the future of the National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on skills.

“As a result of Labor’s NPA, TAFEs have seen a significant decline in enrolment, from 60 per cent to less than 50 per cent of total VET enrolments,” Ms Andrews said.

“The Turnbull Government is committed to raising the status of VET and building apprenticeship numbers and is not cutting funding to TAFE.”

Federal Opposition leader Bill Shorten said that  TAFE, apprenticeship and skills faced cuts of $500 million a year with the NPA due to expire in June.

See more.

AFR higher education awards open for nomination

The Australian Financial Review has announced details of the 2017 Higher Education Awards. The awards recognise outstanding achievements in the following categories:

  • Community Engagement Award
  • Education Technology Award
  • Emerging Leader Award, sponsored by Perrett Laver
  • Employability Award 
  • Equity and Opportunity Award, 
  • Facilities Innovation Award
  • Industry Engagement Award 
  • International Education Award
  • Learning Experience Award
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by UniSuper.

Entry is open to all institutions (public and private) that are listed in the TEQSA National Register of Higher Education Providers.

The awards are open for entries from 3 April – 25 June. All entries must be made online at www.afrhigheredawards.com.au.

The awards will  be presented at a gala dinner in Sydney on 29 August.

Diary Dates

20th Annual AVETRA 2017 Conference
18 - 20 April 2017
William Angliss Institute, Melbourne
More information

Group Training Association of NSW & ACT 2017 Skills Conference
Moving Apprenticeships and Traineeships Forward
14 June 2017
Dockside Darling Harbour
More information

26th National VET Research Conference 'No Frills' 
5 - 7 July 2017
More information.

2017 VTA State Conference
20 – 21 July 2017
Rydges Melbourne
189 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
More information coming soon

Queensland Training Awards
Department of Education and Training, Queensland
July 2017
More information

Community Colleges Australia Annual Conference 2017
25 - 27 July 2017
Citadines on Bourke, Melbourne, Victoria
More information
TDA Convention 2017 - Networked TAFE
7 - 8 September 2017 (Welcome Reception 6 September at Adelaide Oval)
Adelaide Hilton, South Australia
More information

2017 VDC Teaching & Learning Conference
7 - 8 September 2017
RACV Torquay Resort
More information

National Skills Week 2017
28 August – 3 September 2017
Nation wide
More information

National VET Conference
13 - 15 September 2017
International Convention Centre, Sydney
More information

Australian International Education Conference (AIEC)
10 - 13 October 2017
Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, Tasmania
More information

National Apprentice Employment Network
National Conference
2 - 3 November 2017
Radisson Hotel, Sydney
More information coming soon

Australian Training Awards
23 November 2017
National Convention Centre, Canberra
More information


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