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Newsletter | 19 August 2013

In this edition

TDA advocates quality risk framework & regulation review

Quality leadership by TAFE in the technical and vocational education sector is a key priority under this week’s launch of policy by TDA for Election 2013.

TDA advocates a Quality Risk Framework, a review of protocols for updating Training Packages, and a risk-based streamlining regulation in a new Policy Position Paper being released today.

The Policy Position Paper will be sent to all federal MPs, Senators and Federal Election candidates.

Last month, TEQSA authorised a streamlining of risk proceedures for universities, under higher edcuation regulation. This coincided with a comisioned review of ‘red tape’ under TEQSA and sought recommendtaions on necessary architecture for regulation under Professor Kwon Lee Dow.

See the Policy Position Paper.

Apprenticeship roundtable – ACCI Communiqué

Last week’s launch of the TDA Policy Position paper critical of apprenticeships and traineeship funding cuts led to TDA being included in a special Industry Roundtable on Apprenticeships in Canberra.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) chaired a half-day roundtable of industry peaks involved in traineeships and apprenticeships, and peak provider groups TDA and ACPET.

ACCI released a joint Communiqué as a result of the Roundtable. It stated:

Industry is calling on all political parties to respond, as a matter of urgency, to the dramatic drop in apprenticeship commencements.

“The future of skills development and productivity growth in Australia hangs in the balance, waiting for policy clarity and clear commitment from all sides of politics.”

Martin Riordan, CEO of TDA, said the withdrawal of funding for core skills will be a key issue for Federal Election 2013.

See the ACCI statement.

Skills and training ministers confirm for TDA National Conference 2013

Coming on the eve of the federal election, the TDA National Conference in Brisbane, September 2-3, will be the final opportunity for the major political parties to outline their policies.

Speakers and panellists include:

  • Federal Minister for Employment, Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor
  • Queensland Minister for Education, Training and Employment, John-Paul Langbroek
  • Federal Shadow Minister for Employment Participation, Sussan Ley
  • Chief Executive Officer, Australian Industry Group (AiG), Innes Willox
  • Chair, National Skills Standards Council, John Dawkins AO
  • Professor Glenn Withers, Crawford School, Australian National University
  • Director, Griffith Asia Institute, Griffith University, Professor Andrew O’Neil

In another coup, the keynote speaker in the ‘Economics of Skills’ session, journalist, George Megalogenis, was last week awarded the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for The Australian Moment.

See the conference program

See the pre-conference workshops.

...and a special registration offer

For every new THREE full paying member registrations TDA will offer ONE complimentary registration for your nominated industry person (e.g. council members or industry partners/clients). Please email tda@pco.com.au for details about taking up this offer.

Discounts to TDA members wishing to send FIVE or more delegates also still apply. The current member registration of $1,100 reduces to $990 for FIVE or more delegates. This means that if you have SIX new registrations at $990.00, you also receive THREE complimentary registrations for industry partners.

Register here.

Launch of National Skills Week

The 2013 launch of National Skills Week took place at the Automotive Centre of Excellence at Kangan Institute in Melbourne last week.

The night showcased the skills of vocational students from Victorian TAFEs and Registered Training Organisations. Students demonstrated their skills in floristry, hospitality, event management, photography and hairdressing to more than 300 guests.

The Federal Minister for Employment, Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor launched National Skills Week, which runs from August 26 – September 1.

See the Minister’s speech.

Minister Brendan O’Connor

Students at the launch

Hospitality students

Martin Riordan and Victoria's Minister for Higher Education & Skills, Peter Hall

Breaking down barriers – women’s apprentice network

The launch of National Skills Week attracted a host of great ambassadors for skills and training.

Fiona Lawrie (pictured) is a third year motor mechanic apprentice who was interviewed as part of a panel discussion.

Fiona studied interior design after leaving school, but didn’t enjoy it and switched to her auto apprenticeship.

She has founded a female apprentice network, ‘Fanelle’, to encourage more women into trades and offer support and encouragement to the women working in the industry.

“I am presenting myself and other tradeswomen as examples through Fanelle to help prove to women that being a tradesperson is an achievable and rewarding career option.

“I have some amazing and inspiring female apprentices on my side that share the same vision, and together I hope we can make Fanelle change the perception of the trade force and inspire more women to give it a try.”

See Fanelle’s facebook page.

Tom Karmel  takes a shot at slow tertiary reform

The outgoing head of the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research (NCVER), Dr Tom Karmel,  has lamented the slow progress on implementing a ‘seamless’ tertiary education sector, as proposed by the Bradley Review.

In an interview in The Australian, Dr Karmel says the promised integration between higher education and vocational education is “more distant now than ever”, while overstated differences between the sectors are producing dysfunctional outcomes.

"If you're a dual-sector institution, for example, you've got completely different rules for everything - how you do your buildings, how capital is treated. That can't be an efficient way of doing things,” he said.

See the article in The Australian.

$210 million for new Trade Training Centres

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced almost $210 for 137 new Trade Training Centres in schools.

The funding, which was included in the Budget, will enable 225 schools to benefit, half of them in regional and remote communities in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia.

See the Prime Minister’s media release.

See the full list of successful Trade Training Centres.

International education peak bodies release Communiqué, with data pointing to fourth year of decline due to poor regulation


TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) has joined Australia’s education peak bodies in urging all political parties to get behind measures to restore global competitiveness and innovation to Australia’s international education sector.

In a joint statement, TDA along five associations to warn that Australia is losing ground to international competitors whose governments place a higher value on international education.

“International education returns $15 billion a year to our economy, directly employs more than 100,000 Australians and delivers enormous cultural and diplomatic benefits to the nation,” the statement said.

“It therefore beggars belief that we lack a strong government champion or the focused support afforded to other important industries like manufacturing, mining and tourism.”

See the statement.


The Department of immigration and Citizenship last week released international student visa data to June 2013. Despite the Department’s upbeat executive summary, the reality for the VET sector is a continuing decline in applications for the full financial year period (down 8%), a decline in the number of visas granted (down 16.7%), and a visa approval rate for offshore applications at least 12% lower than any other sector. Of equal concern is the significant drop in the numbers of students moving schools to VET (down 27%) and VET to Higher Education (down 23%).

The dramatic declines in international students in the VET sector have been recorded for the fourth consecutive year. Comparing figures for June 2010 and June 2013, we now have 82,015 less students currently studying in Australia, 54,657 of these from the VET sector.

TDA released a Policy Position Paper last week calling on all political parties to clearly articulate what action they will take to protect and enhance Australia’s international vocational education and training sector.

  • TDA specifically calls for the  reversal of increased visa charges, estimated to generate an additional $141m in the next financial year; the extension of streamlined visa processing to other sectors including TAFE;
  • a review of the genuine temporary entrant criteria; and
  • post study work rights for VET graduates equal to those offered to higher education graduates.  

Key taxation information for international students

The Australian Tax Office has launched a number of sections on its website with essential information for international students.

The ATO is also keen to engage directly with individual TAFEs in using social media platforms for updates and any changes which may occur.

Contact Steven.Schmidl@ato.gov.au to discuss your options and in the meantime please visit the following links:

TAFE Illawarra in solar triumph

The award-winning ‘Illawarra Flame’

A partnership between TAFE Illawarra and the University of Wollongong has beaten 19 international entrants to win the Solar Decathlon in China.

Students and teachers from both institutions pooled their knowledge, skills, research and experience to create their net-zero and innovative home, known as Illawarra Flame.

It was built from the ground up at the competition site in Datong and all materials shipped from Australia. Modelled on a 1960s Aussie fibro house floor plan, the Illawarra Flame House shows how to make existing houses energy efficient and comfortable.

Director of TAFE Illawarra, and TDA board member, Dianne Murray said: “This has been a huge opportunity to show the world how far advanced the Illawarra is when it comes to clever, sustainable construction and design – and to establish our region as a global leader in this field.”

See more.

NCVER announces five new VET research projects

The National Centre for Vocational Education and Research has just released details of five new research grants.

Francesca Beddie will research past ideas and contemporary policy related to a binary system of tertiary education.

Hugh Guthrie from the Work-based Education Research Centre at Victoria University focuses on the impacts on assessment, assessors and workplace supervisors for competency completion.

Dr Ellie Fossey, from La Trobe University will explore individual and system-level approaches to supporting students with disabilities.

Professor Victor Callan, from the Callan Consulting Group will study issues and impacts relating to VET providers delivering associate and bachelor degrees.

Dr John Buchanan, from the Workplace Research Centre at the University of Sydney researches the structures of support and wellbeing for young Australian apprentices.

More details here.

Austrade webinar on October ASEAN mission and employer survey

This event will be held on Tuesday 20 August at 2pm (EST) and will provide an overview of the planned missions to south east Asia (see item below) and the results of a recent survey of employers in the region.  

See here for more details and registration.

Australian Skills Development Mission to ASEAN

Austrade has announced a major mission to South East Asia focusing on the skills and training needs in the region. Commencing on 22 October in Jakarta, this 11-day mission then travels to Manila, Hanoi and Lao Cai, Bangkok, and Yangon in Myanmar.

For more details and applications see here.

TAFE students to get  online departmental news

The Commonwealth Department of Human Services is urging TAFE student to keep up to date with latest information from the department via its subscription news service.

This new service will provide up-to-date information, including payments and eligibility news for all students and indigenous customers.

See here under 'News for students and trainees'.

Kenya vacancy on offer

The United Nations Office for Project Services is seeking an Australian citizen or permanent resident who may be interested in an AusAID paid volunteer position based in Nairobi for 12 months.

The vacancy closes this Thursday August 21.

All information and full application procedure can be found here.

Diary Dates

Getting started in e-learning
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: 22 July-26 August
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Knowledge management – use it or lose it
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: 7 August, 21 August and 23 October
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

2013 Webinar series
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: August - November
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Love Apptually webinar series
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: 21August - 2 October
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

National Skills Week
DATE: 26 August - 1 September
LOCATION: Various around Australia
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Australasian Association for Institutional Research Special Interest Groups

DATE: 21-23 August
LOCATION: Fairmont Resort, Blue Mountains
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Open Higher Education Markets in the UK - Seminar
TDA & LH Martin Institute

DATE: 28 August
LOCATION: LH Martin Institute, 715 Swanston St, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

TedX: This Way Up
Northern Sydney Institute

DATE: 28 August
LOCATION: Cameraygal Building, the Northern Sydney Institute, St Leonards Campus
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

TDA Annual Conference 2013 TDA Annual Conference 2013 - "TAFE Redefined"
TAFE Directors Australia

DATE: 2-3 September 2013
LOCATION: Sofitel, Brisbane
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Teaching & Learning Conference
VET Development Centre

DATE: 5-6 September
LOCATION: RACV Healesville Country Club
DETAILS: Click here for further information. 

2013 National VET Conference
Velg Training

DATE: 19-20 September, 2013
LOCATION: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Australian Council for Adult Literacy Conference
DATE: 30 September - 2 October
LOCATION: University of Technology, Sydney
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Australian International Education Conference

DATE: 8-11 October
LOCATION: National Convention Centre, Canberra
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

2013 AUSTAFE National Conference

DATE: 9-11 October
LOCATION: Gold Coast Convention Centre, Queensland
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

2013 AAIR National Forum
Australasian Association for Institutional Research

DATE: 13-15 November
LOCATION: Perth, Western Australia
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

conVerge13 - E-learning Conference

DATE: 21-22 November
LOCATION: Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Australian Training Awards
Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education

DATE: 22 November
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

AVETRA 17th Annual Conference
Informing Changes in VET Policy and Practice: The Central Role of Research

DATE: 22-24 April 2014
LOCATION: Outrigger, Surfers Paradise, Queensland
DETAILS: Click here for further information.