TAFE Directors Australia

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Newsletter: 15 February 2010


Skilled migration decisions raise concerns

The recent decision to revoke the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL), announced by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator the Hon. Chris Evans has created a strong reaction both in Australia and around the world.

Public and media reaction has generally been positive, with a strong sense that the previous system had supported an unsustainable growth in private vocational enrolments. A comprehensive summary of the changes can be found on the DIAC website.

TDA cautiously backed the decision to revoke MODL but raised concerns over the timing of the announcement given a new Skilled Occupation List will not be in place for several months. Click here to view TDA’s media statement.

TDA also raised concerns over the focus on ‘high end’ applicants which may limit Australia’s ability to meet emerging skill demands in the trade and services areas. TDA will work closely with Skills Australia to establish a list which recognises these demands.

TDA reaffirmed its belief that a skilled migration program greatly benefits from international students studying in Australia before applying for permanent residency. It should be noted that of the 630,000 international students currently studying in Australia, only 60,000 of these successful apply for permanent residency each year. Read Stephen Connelly’s article in The Age.

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Indian delegation positive about future collaborations

High level delegates from the Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Ministry of Labour and Employment, as well as key industry representatives, spent the first week of February in Australia as guests of the Federal Government.

The delegates’ program included site visits to six TAFE Institutes in Victoria and NSW and concluded with a roundtable focusing on possible areas for future collaboration.

TDA proposed a formal agreement with an equivalent organisation in India which promoted a range of activities focusing on vocational leadership. The delegation showed particular interest in Australia’s VET frameworks and links with industry.

Further development of these and many other ideas for collaboration will be supported by the Skills International Section of DEEWR. TDA can provide contact details for members interested in discussing these developments - contact Peter Holden, Director, International Engagement and Business Development.

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Draft NCVER research priorities for 2010-2013

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) is currently completing consultations for its 2011-2013 research priorities for the training sector.

Based on discussions with researchers, policy makers and practitioners, as well as 20 written submissions, there is a consensus emerging around five priority areas:

  1. Skills and productivity
  2. Structures in the tertiary education and training system
  3. The contribution of education and training to social inclusion
  4. Learning and teaching
  5. The place and role of VET

Once complete, the NCVER board will present the new research priorities to the Ministerial Council for Tertiary Education and Employment, which is expected to consider the issue at its June meeting.

There are just a couple of days left to put your point of view on the priorities, by going to the blog set up for the consultations: http://futureresearch.pbworks.com

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Current challenges and possible directions for TAFE – presentation by Virginia Simmons

TDA Board Member and CEO of Chisholm Institute of TAFE, Virginia Simmons, recently delivered a presentation on the ‘Current challenges and possible directions for TAFE’ at the joint Monash University and TAFE Development Centre (TDC) one day conference.

To view Virginia’s presentation click here.

The conference: ‘Leading and Managing Learning in VET – Strategic and International Perspectives’, brought together key industry leaders to discuss how best to lead VET after the economic downturn and the Bradley reforms of Tertiary Education. Information on the conference will be available soon on the TDC website.

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New ceiling insulation program requirements

In response to recent fatal incidents from unsafe methods of installing ceiling insulation, the Minister for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, the Hon Peter Garrett MP has announced changes to the competency requirements of the Government’s Home Insulation Program.

From 12 February, all workers will need to meet more stringent requirements in order to install the insulation by demonstrating both OH&S training and one of the following: a trade-specific competency, an insulation-specific competency, or previous experience.

Click here for further details.

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Quality of VET teaching under the microscope

The Australian College of Educators Study on the Quality of Teaching in VET is getting underway this month. The study was commissioned by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

Elizabeth McGregor, Institute Director, TAFE NSW North Coast Institute was nominated by TDA to represent public providers on the steering committee. Elizabeth has provided the following updates about the study:

  • A research team has been selected and will be led by Dr Leesa Wheelahan, who has just moved to the LH Martin institute at the University of Melbourne. The team will link-in with related research including research currently being undertaken by NCVER researcher Hugh Guthrie.
  • Stakeholders, including TDA, have been identified for the first round of consultations
  • The approach will take account of the diversity of contexts in the VET sector and will focus as much on continuing professional development as on entry level qualifications such as the Certificate IV.
  • The project outcomes are due by the end of 2010

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Improved flexibility for National Quality Council rules

The National Quality Council (NQC) recently approved a number of changes to the rules of Training Package qualifications and the ways an individual learner or an employer can choose which units are ‘packaged’ together to meet the requirements for a VET qualification.

The changes flow from the ‘VET Products for the 21st Century’ Report of June 2009, which was the culmination of more than 12 months joint work by the NQC and the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

View the changes here.

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Testing the national training framework

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Council has commissioned research which will help fine tune the national training framework.

During 2009, extensive stakeholder consultations were undertaken nationally to develop the draft criteria and descriptors, and this new research will test their validity and strength.

An online survey is being designed to gather and analyse information from users of the AQF. The survey will be conducted during March 2010 and will take about 30 minutes to complete. Approximately 700 survey responses are required.

For more information subscribe to the AQF e-newsletter (email aqfc@sa.gov.au to subscribe), or contact Suzy McKenna, Principal Project Officer on 08 8226 3473 or Suzy.McKenna@sa.gov.au.

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Workplace policy in 2010 and into the future

The Workplace Research Centre's (WRC) Australian Workplace Conference ‘Workplace policy in 2010 and into the future’ will be held 31 March at the Citigate Central Hotel Sydney.

Key leaders and policy makers will discuss the emerging workplace strategies in workforce development and retention, workplace relations and future workplace policy. For more information about the conference click here.

The cost to attend the conference is only $600 for bookings before 26 February ($795 – full price).

TDA members and their staff can receive a discounted group rate including: two staff for $1,100, three staff for $1,500, four staff for $2,000 or five staff for $2,500. For bookings of five or more staff a further discount is available, as well as company acknowledgment as a sponsor and inclusion on the marketing materials. To book at the group rate please contact Karen Treacy on 02 93515624.

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Diary Dates

TAFE GOVERNANCE AND REGULATIONS FORUM
DATE: 25-26 February 2010
LOCATION: Hilton on the Park, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information

SERVICE SKILLS AUSTRALIA
National Conference
DATE: 1-2 March 2010
LOCATION: Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information

AUSTRALIAN HIGHER EDUCATION CONGRESS
DATE: 10-12 March 2010
LOCATION: Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information

IDEA10 – LEARNING FUTURES: TECHNOLOGY CHALLENGES
DATE: 10-12 March 2010
LOCATION: Conference and Events Centre, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information

TERTIARY & HIGHER EDUCATION CONFERENCE 2010
DATE: 16-17 March 2010
LOCATION: Dockside, Cockle Bay Sydney
DETAILS: Click here for more information

AUSTRADE
Study in Australia VET Showcase
DATE: 26-28 March 2010
LOCATION: Philippines
DETAILS: Click here for more information

AVETRA
2010 Conference

DATE: 8-9 April 2010
LOCATION: Holiday Inn, Surfers Paradise
DETAILS: Click here for more information

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