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Newsletter | 18 September 2017

In this edition


Australian VET graduates older, but with better job prospects, OECD says

Australia has some of the oldest VET graduates in the world, according to the OECD’s 2017 Education at a Glance report.

It finds that across the OECD the average age of graduation from upper secondary vocational programs is 22, ranging from a low of 17 in Israel to 33 in Australia.

It says across the OECD, 55% of upper secondary vocational graduates are below the age of 20.

“In contrast, in Australia, Denmark, Latvia and Quebec (Canada), fewer than 20% of graduates are younger than 20 years old,” the report says.

Only 7% of vocational graduates across the OECD are aged 40 and over, while Australia has 31%.

Explaining this pattern, the report says “…the Australian VET system is flexible and able to satisfy different needs at different stages of people’s lives, whether they are preparing for a first career, seeking additional skills to assist in their work or catching up on educational attainment.”

The OECD report also finds that in Australia, unlike in most countries, employment rates of younger adults with vocational qualification are almost as high as for tertiary graduates.

Delegates, sponsors and presenters make TDA 2017 convention a great success

Thank you to everyone who attended the TDA 2017 Convention in Adelaide. If you haven’t already, please take five minutes to tell us what you thought about the convention by completing the online evaluation form.

The success of this year’s convention was made possible by the delegates and presenters who participated, networked, convened sessions and spoke, and by our wonderful sponsors and exhibitors.

A special thank you goes to the Official Sponsor, The South Australian Department of State Development; the Australian Government Sponsor, The Department of Education and Training; Gold Sponsors, Cisco, Optus and TechnologyOne, Silver Sponsors, VETtrak and the very generous support received from TAFE SA.

The involvement of all of our sponsors and exhibitors meant we could deliver so many great sessions and networking events. Virtual flyers from some of the convention sponsors can be accessed here.

The convention photos are now available on the convention website along with a convention summary.

Don't forget to save the date for the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) 2018 World Congress to be held in Melbourne from 8-10 October 2018. This world congress incorporates the TDA 2018 convention.

Delegates, sponsors and presenters make TDA 2017 convention a great success

CEO of TAFE Queensland, Jodi Schmidt, resigns

The CEO of TAFE Queensland Jodi Schmidt has resigned after four years in the role.

The Chair of TAFE Queensland, Annabel Dolphin, announced that Ms Schmidt had tendered her resignation and finished last Friday to commence a new chapter of her career.

“Under Jodi’s stewardship, she has led the organisation through many challenging times and has successfully repositioned TAFE Queensland as a trusted, credible education and training provider in the contestable market and as a thought leader in the national policy debate,” Ms Dolphin said.

Ms Schmidt, who is also Deputy Chair of TDA, played a leading role in the transformation of TAFE, both as Deputy Director-General, Training and Employment with the Department of Education and Training, and then as CEO.

“During her time as CEO, Jodi was responsible for leading the TAFE Reform program including the establishment of TAFE Queensland as a statutory body through the amalgamation of 13 institutes into one organisation operating through six regions,” Ms Dolphin said.

“Jodi leaves TAFE Queensland in a very strong position for future growth and we sincerely thank her for her contribution and leadership during her tenure as CEO. We wish Jodi every success for the future.”

CEO of TDA, Craig Robertson said, “Jodi is a passionate advocate for lifting the professionalism and standing of  vocational sector practitioners. At a time when employers want VET graduates with more than just technical skills we need trainers with greater educational expertise and ways to collaborate across the sector to improve practice. He commented further that TDA will continue advocating for Government support work in this area.

“A stronger education voice in the sector is a clear bulwark against fraud perpetuated by RTOs.” he said.

Mary Campbell, the General Manager of SkillsTech will take on the role of interim CEO while the board undertakes a recruitment process for the CEO role.

TDA extends its appreciation and best wishes to Jodi for the part she has played in advancing TAFE and for the contribution she has made to the TDA Board.

Joint statement from VET providers about higher education reform

ACPET, COPHE and TDA have signed a joint communique to the government and Senate cross-benchers about unfair loan fees on those student who choose to pursue their careers aspirations outside of a university.

In what will be a double-blow for many students, they will pay either a twenty per cent (VET Student Loan) or twenty-five percent (FEE-HELP) fee on top of their student loan AND then start repaying earlier when the loan repayment threshold reduces to $42,000.

The VET representatives also warn against the unintended consequences if the government extends higher education subsidies to sub-bachelor level courses, needlessly putting at risk good quality VET diploma and advanced diploma courses. Universities have the whip-hand - demand-driven subsidies, no-fee loans for students and self-accreditation powers.

TDA is continuing to work with the federal government to pursue policy, regulation and funding reform to promote a coherent tertiary sector.  

See more

TAFE links with industry critical to innovation, report says

A new report has recommended the creation of a new category of higher education provider within the TAFE system, which would be funded to deliver applied research.

Melbourne University's LH Martin Institute says that the experience in Canada and Europe shows the benefits of engaging higher vocational education institutions in innovation, given their close links with the SME sector.

The report authors, Professor Leo Goedegebuure and Associate Professor Ruth Schubert say that Europe and Canada are shining examples of how to develop collaborative, open innovation ecosystems.

"TAFE Institutes and TAFE divisions of dual sector universities in Australia are best placed to perform the role of Universities of Applied Sciences as in the Netherlands, or the Colleges of Canada, by developing an applied research capacity," the report says.

"This will further enable them to be an integral partner in regional innovation networks and facilitating the link between pure research and commercialisation."

See the report, 'Bridge to Opportunity: TAFE as Key Partners in Innovation Ecosystems'.

Box Hill training changing lives in Vietnam

Victoria’s Box Hill Institute is celebrating 15 years in a partnership that is delivering life-changing training for disadvantaged youth in Vietnam.

The Know One Teach One (KOTO) program provides a free, two-year Certificate III in Hospitality, English and Life Skills to disadvantaged youth from a training centre and two training restaurants in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

It was established by Vietnamese-Australian Jimmy Pham, and is the first social enterprise recognised by the Vietnamese government.

Box Hill Institute has provided resources such as teacher development sessions, online e-learning resources, teaching and learning skillsets classes, OHS training, graduation sponsorship, and yearly KOTO scholarships.

The scholarships allow students to come to Australia to study at the Box Hill campus with the aim of becoming future leaders for KOTO Vietnam.

Almost 1,000 street kids and disadvantaged youth have participated in the program, which has a 100% job placement rate and a 90% retention rate.

See more

Regulator cancels college registrations

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has cancelled a number of training colleges.

ASQA advised that it has caccelled the registrations of  Waterford College and Hills Educational Foundation.

It has also rejected an application for re-registration by the Inter-Continental College of Business.

It said that the providers had not operated consistently with the requirements of the VET Quality Framework.

NSW rolls out skills centres

The NSW government has launched the first of its new SkillsPoints as part of the TAFE NSW modernisation program.

The Assistant Minister for Skills, Adam Marshall opened the centre, specialising in Innovative Manufacturing, Robotics and Science at Newcastle.

“Located strategically across the State, each SkillsPoint will work directly with industry stakeholders to design the course content and delivery for the future to ensure training is matched with what employers and industry need,” Mr Marshall said.

A further eight centres will be opened by the middle of next year.

New TAFE qualifications and campus upgrades in WA state budget

A number of trade qualifications will be re-introduced and TAFE campuses will get a makeover, as part of the West Australian state budget.

The Minister for Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said that in response to industry concerns, apprenticeships training in crafts including upholstery, flooring and furniture finishing, will return in 2018.

Remedial works totalling $54 million will improve rundown infrastructure at TAFE colleges.

South Regional TAFE's Esperance campus will receive $17.8 million in capital works.

Classrooms at Central Regional TAFE's Northam campus will be turned into a simulated ward for nursing and aged care training.

The state government has frozen TAFE fees at a cost of almost $12 million over four years, to be funded by a foreign property buyers surcharge.

Diary Dates

D2L Ignite Asia Pacific Conference
21 - 22 September 2017
TAFE Queensland, Brisbane
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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
More information

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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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