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Newsletter | 20 June 2016

In this edition

The latest from the federal election campaign....

...the rest of the week's news


Federal election 2016 - the ALP rolls out big ticket items

The Coalition remained largely silent on VET policy promises over the past week, relying on its previously announced youth internship PaTH program, while Labor unveiled new initiatives that will impact TAFE.

Foremost, was the plan for 10 new pilot sites for Commonwealth Institutes of Higher Education  - joint ventures between TAFEs, universities, industry and government, delivering Advanced Diplomas and Associate Degrees.

Shadow Higher Education Minister Senator Kim Carr unveiled the $430m initiative at Chisholm Institute, promising 10,000 Commonwealth Supported Places in "high quality and hands-on work-integrated learning".

On Friday, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced the Working Futures program which will support 20,000 young people through a six-month work placement and a fully-funded Certificate III in a subject of choice.

Labor's Shadow Minister for Vocational Education Sharon Bird announced $40m over four years to Group Training Organisations and $285m to bring back Tools for Your Trade payments to apprentices.

It comes on top of the previous week's pre-apprenticeship and mature age apprenticeship programs.

At yesterday's ALP policy launch, Bill Shorten underscored the focus on VET, promising to "back public TAFE all the way" and "smash the dodgy private colleges".

In the table below we update the tally of key promises from the Coalition and Labor, with two weeks remaining in the campaign.

Election campaign tally - what's been promised so far

Liberal-National Coalition

Youth Jobs PaTH Programme
A $752 million program that aims to help young job seekers gain skills and internships, leading to jobs including apprenticeships.

Redesign of VET FEE-HELP
A discussion paper has proposed a range of options to take effect in 2017, supported by a $10 million education campaign.

Extension of P-TECH 
$4.6 million has been promised for 12 new pilot P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) sites to promote STEM skills.

Higher education 
Reforms including fee deregulation and improved equity for TAFE higher education students have been put on hold pending an expert committee that will make recommendations later this year.


Ten new polytechnics
$430 million for 10 pilot sites for ta new tier of higher education institutes - Commonwealth Institutes of Higher Education - combining TAFE, university, industry and government, delivering Advanced Diplomas and Associate Degrees.

Guaranteed TAFE funding 
A National Priority Plan that defines the unique role of TAFE, rebalances contestable funding, and works with states and territories to provide "ongoing guaranteed TAFE funding".

VET sector review
A promised review of the VET sector that, Labor says, will be the first since the Kangan review in 1974.

An $8,000 per year cap on all VET FEE-HELP student loans, with a ministerial exemption for some high cost courses such as nursing and engineering.

Apprentice quota
One in ten jobs on priority federally-funded infrastructure projects to be apprentices, creating 2,600 new apprenticeships.

'Apprentice Ready' is a 20-week,pre-apprenticeship course for trades on the National Skills Needs List, delivered through TAFEs that Labor says will offer 10,000 apprenticeships,

Mature age apprenticeships
A pilot of a National Skills Recognition Entitlement program with 5,000 places to help mature-aged, retrenched workers fast-track into apprenticeships.

Group training funding
$10 million a year over four years to group training organisations.

Apprentice advocate & portal
An apprentice advocate to address quality and training issues, and a portal, Apprenticeships Connect, that will link apprentices to employers.

Guaranteed training
Unemployed youth to be guaranteed a fully funded Certificate III under the Working Futures employmemnt program.

Tools for Your Trade
The reintroduction of Tools for Your Trade payments of up to $3000 to apprentices, costing $285 million.

Higher education 
The demand driven system to continue and Labor to create the Higher Education Productivity and Performance Commission to promote university efficiency.

TDA releases federal election policy position papers

TDA  has issued a series of policy position papers that have been developed to steer the direction of policy affecting TAFE and the VET sector.

  • TAFE: a national asset for Australia’s economic and social prosperity
  • Quality is the hallmark of a well-regulated VET system
  • Rural and remote vocational education and training relies on TAFE
  • Ending discrimination in Australia’s tertiary education system
  • Why a national industry policy & innovation and STEM strategy needs quality training
  • Let’s lift Australia’s national apprenticeships

See the full set of policy papers and recommendations.

...the rest of the week's news

Out now - the June edition of TAFE Futures magazine

The latest edition of TDA's magazine, TAFE Futures, is now available with a great variety of stories, opinion and comment  from across the TAFE sector, including:

  • Holmesglen's evolving private hospital development
  • The TAFE training that revolutionised Sydney's Barangaroo 
  • Sustainable food degrees at William Angliss
  • New perspectives on the public value of TAFE
  • The long awaited crackdown on VET FEE-HELP abuse
  • The election - Minister Scott Ryan and Shadow Minister Sharon Bird reveal their plans for TAFE

Read TAFE Futures and subscribe here.

Apprentice and trainee numbers continue decline

The number of apprentices and trainees in-training as at 31 December 2015 totalled 278, 600 - a fall of 11.8% from 31 December 2014.

Also In the December quarter, commencements decreased by 12.4%, to 35,500 (compared with the December quarter 2014) while completions decreased by 19.0%, to 32,300.

Early trend estimates for the March quarter series suggest that trades commencements remain steady when compared with the previous quarter following three quarters of decline, while non-trades commencements show an increase over the last two quarters.

TAFE NSW dumps failed student enrolment system

TAFE NSW has dumped its troubled student enrolment system and promised a new set up that will be operational by 2018.

The Minister for Skills John Barilaro told staff during a live video conference that the state was giving up on the system which has caused considerable inconvenience to students and staff.

“I have asked TAFE NSW to commence a market testing process to identify the most effective enrolment system for its current and future requirements,” Mr Barilaro said.

“A modern, cloud-based system will enable students to easily manage their training records and TAFE NSW to adapt more quickly to new policy settings.

“The new system will need to effectively support TAFE NSW’s financial systems in the new commercial and contestable training environment," he said.

Billions squandered on private college courses

It is costing taxpayers on average seven times more to educate a student at a private vocational college than at a TAFE, according to new analysis revealed in the Sydney Morning Herald.

The analysis of federal Department of Education and Training figures also shows that TAFE achieves significantly higher completion rates than private colleges.

"Taxpayers forked out $73,200 per graduate from private colleges on average, but only $10,500 per graduate in TAFE courses in 2014, two years after the Gillard government paved the way to marketise vocational training," the article says.

LH Martin Institute announces innovation ecosystem study mission to Europe

LH Martin Institute (LHMI) has advised details of its Innovation Eco-systems Study Mission to Italy and the Netherlands in September.

It  follows the TDA/LHMI Roundtable on Innovation and Applied Research in Canberra last March and the launch of the federal government's National Innovation and Science Agenda.

A number of European countries, cities and regions have taken up the challenge to build new prosperity, and are leading the way in developing innovation eco-systems; these are places proving the value of public-private partnerships where enterprises, government, and tertiary institutions collaborate to foster innovation and entrepreneurial commercial activity.

Three regions in two countries are showcased in the mission: Milan in Italy and Eindhoven and Enschede in the Netherlands. Milan and Eindhoven have both been nominated as European Innovation City for 2016, whilst the University of Twente, based in Enschede, once again has taken home the award of “Most Entrepreneurial University” in 2016.

More information can be found here

Project to identify Australia’s strengths in aged care, food safety and mine safety

Austrade invites the participation of Australian training providers in a research project to uncover capability in aged care, food safety and mining safety education and training and interest in offshore expansion.

The information provided will be used by Austrade in identifying business opportunities for your organisation, and positioning Australian training providers to meet global demand.

You can take part by completing one or more of the below short online forms by 24 June 2016. Each form should take no longer than 5-10 minutes to complete. 

  • Aged care: Please click here to complete the online form for the aged care sector
  • Food safety: Please click here to complete the online form for the food safety sector
  • Mining safety: Please click here to complete the online form for the mining safety sector

Austrade has engaged an external data collection company, Wallis Consulting Group, to manage the project.

All information collected will be kept confidential and will be held on secure servers in Australia. Organisations will not be identified in any publication of the aggregate industry capability analysis.

Diary Dates

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

NSW TAFE Managers Association
26 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
More information

National VET Conference 
Velg Training
14 – 16 September, 2016
Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre
More information

LH Martin Institute
Innovation Eco-systems: Study Mission to Italy and the Netherlands
21-30 September 2016
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  
More information

2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition
6 - 8 October, 2016
Melbourne Showgrounds
More information
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
More information

ACER National Adult Training and Assessment Conference
13-14 October, 2016
William Angliss Institute, Melbourne
More information

Australian Training Awards
17 November, 2016
Darwin, Northern Territory
More information


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