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Newsletter | 23 January 2012    

In this edition

  • Message from the Chair
  • Victorian VET no panacea for VET Reform
  • Registrations for TDA delegation to World Congress for VET
  • TDA/TDC-sponsored research visit to UK Colleges – report from Gail Mitchell
  • Bruce Mackenzie receives international award
  • ASQA update – national information sessions
  • Forum addresses engineering skills shortages
  • Student accommodation for Hunter TAFE
  • Nominate for the Queensland Training Awards
  • New tertiary alliance in Gippsland
  • Curtain fails to raise on encore training
  • Updates to training packages
  • Regional e-learning funding
  • Maths for the Future Forum
  • Diary Dates

Feature story

Happy Chinese New Year

Kung Hei Fat Choi! 2012 is the year of the Dragon. TDA wishes all its members and international partners a Happy Chinese New Year.

This week members will receive the first TDA China Bulletin. It is aimed at informing both local and international stakeholders and partners about the latest news and initiatives relating to TDA’s engagement with China.

Keep an eye out for the first edition.

Message from the TDA Chair, Stephen Conway

Steve 1 (14).jpgWelcome to our first TDA Newsletter for 2012. This is both a challenging and exciting time for TAFE Institutes and our partner organisations across the VET sector, as we welcome new students who join ongoing learners in their 2012 endeavours.

TDA expects a busy year delivering services to members, and an exciting year, as we seek to build upon a whole host of achievements. Our 2010-12 Strategic Plan has guided our growth as the pre-eminent VET association, and we will seek to engage with all of our stakeholders as we begin the development of our 2013-2015 road map.

I am pleased to report that approximately 20% of the readership of this newsletter comprises offshore practitioners and associations with an interest in, or who are partners with, TAFE members.

I have been involved in TAFE Directors Australia in one form or another since its inception in 1998. Gladly, I have seen first-hand the realisation of the original vision of a ‘National Voice for TAFE’. We have now gone far beyond the original concept. TDA serves us well as a national voice - which is crucial for our sector, especially as restructuring emerges as a dominant issue facing Australian industry at the broadest level, and within the TAFE sector, in 2012.

Beyond advocacy, TDA is now very much a sustainable entity which continues to expand its services to members as the needs of Institutes grow. This is especially important as the complexities of governance

change, as national VET reforms are taking place at a policy level, and as Federal regulatory requirements like Tuition Assurance certification, ASQA and TEQSA are being implemented.

2011 finished on a very high note for TAFE. We applauded the many awards going to Institutes at the Australian Training Awards. Of course, I was very proud of TAFE SA’s achievements, with TAFE SA Regional winning the Large Training Provider Award, but my congratulations go to all the TAFEs that had their teacher and student contributions showcased. Our representatives featured across national and state nominations, industry awards, and more recently, competitions like the Green Gown Awards in Sustainability. We are all proud leaders in a vital part of Australia society. We take seriously our mission to contribute to the economy and industry productivity. At TDA we need to constantly review our service to members, and promote our value to our jurisdictions in which we operate, and show leadership for VET in Australia.

I wish you every success in 2012, and welcome to this inaugural TDA newsletter for the year.

Victorian VET no panacea for VET Reform - NSW reviews VET funding model, Federal Minister expresses concern about private college quality

The New South Wales Government is reviewing competition funding models, as the timetable closes on the $1.75 billion offer by the Commonwealth which is reliant on “VET Reform”.

The NSW Education Minister, the Hon Adrian Piccoli MP, has spoken to media about seeking further advice on the substantial problems experienced in Victoria since it implemented a fully-contestable model.

And on Friday, the Federal Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, told the ABC’s 7.30 program that continuing problems with private college quality creates concerns, especially after reviewing the Victorian experiment with full competition in the VET market.

Mr Piccoli told the Sydney Morning Herald:  ''My problem with full contestability … is that it can encourage dodgy operators who take advantage of taxpayers' money. The experience in Victoria has not been without substantial problems - some very obscure outcomes and, at times, a lot of wasted money.” View the article here.

Senator Evans’ interview on the 7.30 Report, including the interview with VTA Executive Director, David Williams, view at the ABC website

Registrations for TDA delegation to World Congress for VET

TDA invites members to join its delegation to the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics’ World Congress 2012, to be held in Halifax, Canada in May.

TDA is a Board member of the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics, and the TDA 2012 Mission will be led by Stephen Conway, Chair of TAFE Directors.

TDA invites representatives from each state and territory to take part in the event, which will focus on major developments in skills amid tightened funding for public vocational education and training. The

workshops and major sessions will also include business reviews on key issues including sustainability and green skills, and a Presidents’ Academy. 

The World Congress brings together VET leaders who will join the WFCP Board - China, India, and Brazil.

An official invitation and a registration form are available here.  Please register direct with TDA.

TDA/TDC-sponsored research visit to UK Colleges – report from Gail Mitchell (Central Institute of Technology, WA)

“A more competitive, student-led market where new providers, including further education colleges, private providers and overseas universities will have greater opportunities to deliver higher education”. 

Sound familiar? This is one of the changes in higher education funding and policy in 2012 in the UK identified by Gail Mitchell, General Manager, Central Institute, WA.

Gail Mitchell was successful in winning the 2012 scholarship, sponsored by TDA and the TAFE Development Centre (TDC), to participate in the overseas study tour to the UK - hosted by Victoria University with Berwyn Clayton, in November 2011.

The study group participated in conferences and seminars with a range of English and Welsh colleagues. They exchanged insights into the opportunities and challenges facing Australia and the UK in the growth of delivery of higher education in further education; professional identity; colleges in their communities and student success and retention strategies.

You can access Gail Mitchell’s report here.  

Former TDA Chair, Bruce Mackenzie, receives international award

_DSC0054.JPGBruce Mackenzie, CEO of Holmesglen Institute of TAFE, and immediate past Chair of TDA, has been nominated for the Community Colleges Baccuaurlette Association’s 2012 Pioneer Award.

The international award is presented to an individual who has taken the lead in improving access to post-secondary education.

TDA congratulates Bruce on this international achievement in recognition for his work in progressing TAFEs role in offering degrees in Australia. The Award ceremony is scheduled to take place at the CCBA Conference, due in Philadelphia in March 2012. 

ASQA Update – national information sessions

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) will be holding information sessions in major cities across Australia for training providers and course owners in the first half of 2012.

These will provide an opportunity for training providers and course owners to hear from the Commissioners about ASQA’s regulatory approach, essential ASQA processes, transition arrangements and local VET issues.

For more information, as well as other ASQA news, see the latest ASQA Update.

Forum addresses engineering skills shortages

Director of TAFE NSW – Northern Sydney Institute, Kevin Harris, recently represented TDA at a Skills Australia Engineering Pathways Forum, which discussed ways to address skills shortages in the sector.

The forum identified the training and workplace issues which hold back the profession. On the training side, the forum highlighted that ffoundation skills are needed for a successful transfer from Cert III/IV to higher level qualifications.

It was also noted that the differential funding models for VET and higher education “muddy the waters” and may be affecting student choice.

A summary of the forum is available here.

Student accommodation for Hunter TAFE

Hunter TAFE’s Muswellbrook Campus will soon offer students residential accommodation, following the acquisition of Federal funding.

The project is a partnership between Muswellbrook Shire Council and Hunter TAFE. It will include accommodation for 56 students, and help ease the shortage of student housing in the area.

TAFE Hunter’s initiative is the latest in several TAFE Institutes now acquiring student accommodation. In Victoria, NMIT pioneered a public-private partnership accommodation offer to students.

Nominate for the Queensland Training Awards

Nominations for the 2012 Queensland Training Awards are open. This year marks 51 years of recognising individuals and organisations who strive for success, best practice and innovation in training.

Categories cover all areas of the training and vocational education sector, including student, teacher, employer and organisation awards. Queensland training providers may be eligible for the Small or Large Training Provider of the Year, as well as the Premier’s Industry Collaboration award.

Nominations close on Friday, 23 March 2012. For more information visit the Queensland Training Awards website.

New tertiary alliance in Gippsland

Victorian education providers, Monash University, GippsTAFE and Advance TAFE, have agreed to a new partnership which will see the three institutions share infrastructure and resources. 

The group has formed the Gippsland Tertiary Alliance, which will be guided by a co-ordinating body and will include the joint delivery of a new health sector diploma. 

The alliance was developed alongside another proposal, the Gippsland Tertiary Education Plan – a planned council to manage six tertiary learning centres in the area. 

See an article from The Australian here.

Curtain fails to raise on encore training

More funding is needed to ensure older workers can re-skill and continue to work through their ‘encore years’ – previously retirement years - according to a new report from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

The report says TAFE institutes and other registered training organisations are interested in developing encore career programs and services, but are hindered by the current funding arrangements.

It says that as life expectancy increases, people will be less likely to retire early and will want to continue in the workforce, but in a different capacity.

Click here to view the entire report.

Updates to training packages


As part of the continuous improvement to the Health Training Package (HLT07), draft changes have been made to HLT41807 Certificate IV in Pathology. The current Certificate IV in Pathology qualification has now been separated into two qualifications to better reflect the work roles in the areas of collection and assistance. Draft qualifications are available for feedback by 7 February. To view the draft qualifications and a summary of the changes, click here


Auto Skills Australia has recently reviewed the structure of the qualifications in the Automotive Retail, Service & Repair Training Package (AUR05). As a result a significant number of the current qualifications have been restructured to accurately reflect contemporary job roles, identify and capture current and emerging technology, and identify potential career paths for the industry. These draft qualifications are available for comment and feedback here.

Regional e-learning funding available

Funding is currently available for regional partnerships that develop businesses, employees or communities through e-learning technology.

For more information, click here.

Maths for the Future forum

The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) will be hosting a national forum Maths for the future: Keep Australia Competitive on 7-8 February 2012. 

The forum will propose strategies to secure future mathematical and statistical skills for Australia. Professor Celia Hoyles, former mathematics advisor to the British Government, will talk about initiatives employed in the UK that have improved standards, reversed teacher shortages and increased mathematics enrolments. For full details see: www.amsi.org.au/mathsforthefuture.php.

Diary Dates

Quality in the Making
DATE: 27-28 February, 2012
LOCATION: Sofitel Hotel, Brisbane
DETAILS: Click here for more information

What’s new on the Horizon, incorporating Project Management
DATE: 29-30 March, 2012
LOCATION: Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
DETAILS: Click here for more information

DATE: 12-13 April 2012
LOCATION: Canberra
DETAILS: Click here to submit an extract.