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Newsletter | 21 October 2013

In this edition

New shadow minister for vocational education

The Federal Labor Opposition has followed the approach of the Abbott government in aligning skills and training within the industry portfolio under its Shadow Ministry announced on Friday.

The new Shadow Minister for Vocational Education is Sharon Bird. Ms Bird will be the junior minister in the broader Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Industry shadow portfolio under Senator Kim Carr.

This is the same pattern as the government which sees vocational education and training under Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane.

Ms Bird is a former TAFE teacher and Minister for Higher Education and Skills, and has had a long association with TAFE. TDA congratulates Ms Bird on her appointment.

The new Shadow Minister for Education is Kate Ellis, and the Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations is Brendan O’Connor.

See the full Shadow Ministry.

See a media release from Shadow Minister Bird.

WA government to review training system

The West Australian government has announced an independent review of the State’s vocational education and training sector.

Training and Workforce Development Minister Terry Redman has appointed Emeritus Professor Margaret Seares to undertake the review .

The Minister said it will identify pathways towards greater autonomy and innovation, while ensuring the sustainability of regional training facilities.

“WA’s training system is undergoing rapid change and we want a critical and detailed assessment of how it can become more innovative and autonomous while also delivering a quality product,” the Minister said.

See the Minister’s media release.

See the Terms of Reference.

Queensland explores alternative trade pathways

The Queensland Government is investing $1 million in a pilot program to investigate alternative training pathways in the building and construction industry.

The Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek said the Registered Trade Skills Pathway Construction Pilot Program offered existing workers an alternative to a traditional apprenticeship to gain a Certificate III qualification and be formally recognised as a tradesperson.

“Due to the nature of employment in the building and construction industry, it can be difficult for unqualified workers such as labourers and trades assistants to formalise their skills and experience and take the next step to a full trade qualification,” Mr Langbroek said.

“This pilot program recognises that work-based skills do not always come from regular, permanent employment, but from a broad range of work and life experiences.”

Read more.

Employer survey of VET

Some 9,000 employers will be interviewed to gain their views on training as part of an upcoming examination of the VET system.

The Survey of Employer Use and Views of the VET System has been conducted biennially since 2005 by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

NCVER has just completed a review of the content and methodology of the survey and made a number of changes for 2013, including questions on choice of training provider, employee skill levels and employers’ reasons for training.

Read more.

International students tell their stories

The experience of international students in Australia has been documented in an inspiring series of videos prepared by the Council of International Students Australia (CISA).

The project, "I'm not Australian but I have an Australian Story" outlines the “experiences, challenges and triumphs” of international students in Australia.

See the stories.

Northern Sydney Institute launches Chinese visiting teacher partnership

The Northern Sydney Institute has welcomed the first teacher to take part in its offshore partner Teacher Research Program.

Ms Leann Shang was put forward by her college, Shunde Polytechnic in Guangdong, China where the Institute delivers logistics and marketing programs.  She will undertake a research project in Sydney as part of the program.

After 13 years of delivering TAFE courses in China, Northern Sydney Institute has launched the Teacher Research Program with its eight partner colleges in China.

Institute Director and TDA Board Member, Kevin Harris said the program reflects the importance of vocational education training to both Australia and China and will strengthen the relationship with offshore partners.

Focus for TAFE managers

TAFE’s place in the national reform agenda was highlighted in a recent presentation by Marilyn Hart, Director, Tertiary Education Reform with the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency.

The paper, given to the AUSTAFE national conference in Queensland, outlined the various versions and stages of reform to TAFE across state and territory jurisdictions. It also included a personal view about some of the key issues for TAFE Institute managers.

Among the suggestions were several regarding marketing.

First, the need for user friendly websites with information on fees and other key information. And where there are good KPI’s, the need to broadcast them!

See Marilyn Hart’s presentation.

$2,000 VET-in-schools prizes open

The search is on for Australia’s best vocational training students, with nominations open for this year’s Australian Vocational Student Prize (AVSP).

Schools have until 29 November to nominate their top Year 12 students for the 2013 AVSP, which includes the Prime Minister’s Award for Skills Excellence in School.

Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley said up to 500 outstanding Year 12 students, who are undertaking VET in Schools or an Australian School-based Apprenticeship as part of their senior secondary certificate, will be awarded a $2,000 prize and a certificate.

Students studying in a wide range of fields including aged care, hospitality and animal care, or trades such as carpentry, cooking, hairdressing and mechanics can be nominated.

See here for more information.

VET researchers to share their knowledge   

A panel of researchers will host a discussion around the topic, ‘Building research capacity and culture in VET’ in Sydney next week, and will refer to their own research.

The group comprises Dr Keiko Yasukawa, UTS; Melinda Waters, TDA; Michelle Creamer, TAFE NSW (Higher Education); and Rosalind Carter, TAFE NSW. MC will be Kevin Heys, longstanding AVETRA Executive Member.

The event is on Thursday 31 October at TAFE NSW, St George College, Kogarah, starting 6pm.

Find out more.

Diary Dates

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

DATE: 23 October
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Building Research Capacity and Culture in VET
AVETRA, TAFE Managers NSW, and Women in Adult and Vocational Education (WAVE)

DATE: 31 October
LOCATION: TAFE NSW, St George College, Kogarah.
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

2013 Webinar series
Queensland VET Development Centre

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

VET Development Centre – The VET BLOG
For relevant news and articles about the VET sector
DETAILS: Click here.

5th National Student Engagement Forum: Creating an engaged student experience
LH Martin Institute and the Australian Council for Educational Research

DATE: 21, 23 & 25 October
LOCATION: Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane.
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

EYEQ2013 Conference
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: 24-25 October
LOCATION: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Queensland.
DETAILS: Click here for more information

17th Annual Centre for the Economics of Education and Training (CEET) Conference
Where to now with VET and social inclusion?

DATE: 1 November
LOCATION: Monash Conference Centre, Melbourne.
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.

Risk Management for Tertiary Education Sector
Australian Institute of Company Directors and Association for Tertiary Education Management

DATE: 15 November
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.

National Association of Enabling Educators of Australia
Flexibility: Pathways to Participation

DATE: 27-29 November
LOCATION: Australian Catholic University, Melbourne Campus
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.

'No Frills' - 23rd National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference
DATE: 9-11 July 2014
LOCATION: Holmesglen, Moorabbin Campus, Melbourne, Victoria
DETAILS: Coming soon.