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Newsletter | 20 March 2017

In this edition


TDA outlines policy priorities at national skills summit

TAFE Directors Australia joined business peak bodies, education leaders and trade unions for Labor’s National Jobs and Skills Summit in Canberra last Friday.

The summit was held at Canberra Institute of Technology with Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten opening the event and being joined by key economic, skills and immigration shadow ministers.

TDA CEO Martin Riordan was a panellist at the morning session, joined by Jennifer Westacott (Business Council of Australia), Ged Kearney (ACTU), and Dr Damian Oliver (UTS).

Speaking on the current challenges facing the VET sector, Mr Riordan outlined three priorities: 

  • Achieving improved balance in tertiary education, with equal treatment for TAFEs and vocational education with universities, and the extension of ‘Commonwealth Supported Places’ funding to TAFE students choosing higher education courses and degrees; 
  • Restoring the reputation of the VET sector, with the adoption of threshold standards to create alignment between quality providers and federal funding, and;
  • Utilising Commonwealth referral powers under the federal regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), to allow delegation of self-accreditation to RTOs – aligned to threshold standards of quality providers. 

TDA also welcomed last week's joint announcement by the three business peak bodies - ACCI, BCA and Ai Group - urging the Commonwealth renew the National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on skills funding, worth $1.75 billion.

TDA spoke on the need to increase apprenticeships, and agreed that the NPA  was necessary in light of a 40% fall in apprenticeships since 2010.

See the Opposition Leader's address.

Reaching the summit: Rod Camm, ACPET; Mary Faraone, Holmesglen Institute; Opposition Leader Bill Shorten'; Martin Riordan, TDA; and Helen Zimmerman, Navitas

Slide in apprentice numbers continues

The number of apprentices and trainees has continued its downward path, led by a plunge in the number of mature age apprentices.

National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) figures show that the the number of apprentices and trainees in-training at September 2016 was 278,500 - 5.7% fewer than a year earlier.

Commencements in the September quarter were up 2.9% over the corresponding period in 2015 but there was a 14% fall in trade commencements, led by a 26% plunge among those aged 25 years and older.

Completions were worse - down 15.6% over the year, with older apprentices leading the drop - down 25.4% in the trades and 28.5% in the non-trades.

Early trend estimates for the December quarter show the trades decline continuing while non-trades are up slightly.

See more.

Defence skills transition the focus of Canberra forum

TAFE Directors Australia and the National Apprentice Employment Network will this week jointly host the ADF Skills and Apprenticeships Forum in Canberra.

The two-day forum will explore a wide range of issues aimed at better utilising the skills acquired by personnel in the military, and assisting ex-ADF when they transition to civilian life.

Stakeholders include government, the ADF, employers, TAFE institutes, group training organisations, the defence industry and ex-ADF personnel.

Speakers include Ministers Dan Tehan and Karen Andrews, Shadow Minister Richard Marles and independent Senator Jacqui Lambie.

WA premier names education and training minister

The new West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has announced his ministry which will see Sue Ellery become Minister for Education and Training and Leader of the Legislative Council.

Ms Elery previously served as a minister under premier Alan Carpenter and before entering parliament worked for the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers' Union.

Ms Samantha Rowe was named as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education and Training.

Sponsorship and exhibition opportunities now available for the 2017 TDA Convention

Sponsorship and exhibition opportunities are now available for the 2017 TAFE Directors Australia Convention.

You are invited to become a sponsor or exhibitor and forge business links with senior managers from Australia’s TAFE institutes.

Please click here to download the 2017 sponsorship invitation.


Knowledge and skills the key to national economic growth

An article by a Stanford University researcher published by IZA World of Labour affirms that a country's economic growth depends on the knowledge and skills of its population.

Longitudinal data across a range of countries show that differences in economic growth can be predicted by nations' knowledge and skills capital.

The author emphasises that the quality of the education delivered, not the duration of compulsory education, is the deciding factor.

Skill levels are measured by national scores on international maths and science tests.

The policy recommendation is to improve educational quality, and focus on outcomes.

SkillsOne unplugged – a 10-year anniversary

SkillsOne will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in July and is planning an evening of entertainment in Sydney.

The event will be held on July 11 at the iconic music venue, The Basement, located in the Rocks.

Revenue raised on the night will assist the TDA National Scholarships Foundation and the Australian Children's Music Foundation.

“It will be a night of surprises and will include dinner, along with entertainment from some of Australia's best-known musicians,” said SkillsOne CEO Brian Wexham.

SkillsOne was launched in July 2007 and has broadcast over 3,000 hours of television and been behind other VET initiatives including National Skills Week.

To book for the 10th anniversary dinner, email Kerrie on kerrie.unplugged@skillsone.com.au.

New Zealand vocational college hiring chief executive

The Ara Institute of Canterbury (Ara) in New Zealand is recruiting a chief executive.

Ara is one of country's largest vocational education institutes with a large metropolitan campus in Christchurch and five satellite regional campuses across Canterbury.

In 2016 it employed 977 staff and enrolled 7,647 students.

The role of CEO is based in Christchurch.

See more.

Dean of trades and technology school vacancy in Canada

Assiniboine Community College (ACC) located in the Canadian province of Manitoba is seeking a person to become the Dean of its School of Trades and Technology.

The school offers 21 foundation and apprenticeship training programs and nine programs in technology backed by the Department of Education and Training’s Advanced Learning Division.

It has approximately 1,100 students and over 60 faculty and staff.

See more.

Diary Dates

ADF Skills and Apprenticeships Forum
TAFE Directors Australia & the National Apprentice Employment Network
21 - 22 March 2017
More information

Association for Tertiary Education Management (ATEM)
Cross-Sectoral Forum
7 April 2017
CQ University, Melbourne
More information

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 coming soon

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

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


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