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Newsletter | 23 October 2017

In this edition


TAFE students help Australia enter the global top ten at WorldSkills

Australia has moved into the top ten skills nations in the world, following the performance by the ‘Skillaroos’ at the WorldSkills International competition in Abu Dhabi.

Australia jumped from 12th at the 2015 São Paulo competition to 10th this year, following three days of competition among 77 countries across 51 skills. The Australian medal winners were:


  • South Australian carpenter Ryan Grieger, trained at TAFE SA
  • Industrial mechanic millwright Brad Ingham from New South Wales, trained at TAFE NSW Orange
  • Beauty therapist Lily Campbell from New South Wales, trained at TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga
  • Victorian bricklayer Trystan Sammut, trained at Federation University
Best in Nation
  • Hairdresser Gaby Ware from New South Wales, trained at TAFE NSW Port Macquarie, who achieved the highest overall individual result across the Australian team.

WorldSkills Australia CEO Brett Judd said that the individual performances of every team member were commendable which ultimately contributed to an outstanding overall team result.

The top 10 countries after this year’s international competition are China, Switzerland, Korea, France, Brazil, Austria, Chinese Taipei, Italy, Liechtenstein and Australia.

Closing ceremony in Abu Dhabi
Brad Ingham
Clockwise from top left: Gabby Ware, Trystan Sammut, Lily Campbell and Ryan Grieger.

TAFE could disappear within five years, says academic

The TAFE system is at a breaking point and could disappear within five years unless there is urgent reform, according to VET expert, Professor Leesa Wheelahan from the University of Toronto.

“If we don’t change the system and we don’t value TAFE we’re going to lose it,” she said on ABC PM last Friday.

“We’re going to lose it within five years – we are at the point where we can go one way or the other – one way is to lose TAFE, the other is to save TAFE and build it,” Professor Wheelahan said.

Her comments followed her presentation at the ‘Future of public TAFE institutions' conference in Sydney, attended by industry, unions and academic experts.

Professor Wheelahan said that tinkering with the TAFE system was no longer an option.

TDA Chief Executive Craig Robertson said that TAFE was still highly regarded around the world but the situation was akin to a “ticking time bomb”.

“For too long there has been just a focus on delivering a very limited range of skills for the jobs of today.

“What we need is new investment and deeper, broader training for young people, in particular,” he said.

Listen to the ABC PM program, 'Education experts sound alarm about the future of TAFE'.

See last night's ABC TV News report on TAFE.

...and new research on the value of TAFE

Teachers and strong publicly funded vocational education institutions are the key to strong vocational education systems that contribute to social inclusion and economic prosperity, according to a new research by VET experts, Leesa Wheelahan and Gavin Moodie.

The research, 'Global Trends in TVET: A framework for social justice, was presented to the 'Future of public TAFE institutions' conference in Sydney last Friday.

The report says that publicly funded vocational education institutions are the key anchor institutions in their communities and local industries.

"Vocational education teachers and institutional leaders are deeply involved with their communities, understand their needs, and how to support them."

"Unlike schools and universities where there is a broadly shared understanding about the role they play in society, there is no shared understandings about the role of vocational education institutions and teachers, and this is a serious problem for our sector," the report says.

See Global Trends in TVET: A framework for social justice.

UK steps up its promotion of skills expertise internationally

The UK government has launched a new body that will actively promote the country's expertise in vocational education and training to the world.

The UK Skills Partnership was announced by Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, and will comprise representative of universities, vocational training, international schools, education technology, early years education and English language training.

"The UK is a world leader in education exports, and anywhere in the world, British education is in demand,” Mr Fox said.

He said the new body will “build our capacity, reach and engagement in international activities, and collective insight on matters relating to vocational skills development in international markets”.

See an article in The PIE News.

VET's role in innovation to be opened up

The role of VET applied research in innovation will be a key topic in the national OctoberVET discussion taking place this week in NSW.

Researchers Linda Simon and Francesca Beddie will discuss their recent NCVER report, which argues that VET needs to develop a new approach to teaching and industry engagement if it is to be recognised as part of the innovation system.

The event takes place this Thursday in Sydney. See more.

Other events being run as part of AVETRA’s OctoberVET can be found here.

Industry project examining generic skills in teamwork and communication

PwC's Skills for Australia is undertaking a cross-sector project examining the case for standardised units of competency in teamwork and communication.

It will potentially develop common units which would be adopted across multiple industry sectors.

PwC has opened up a survey which can be used to provide views and feedback about the proposal.

See the survey

Diary Dates

OctoberVET 2017
AVETRA (Australian Vocational Education And Training Research Association)
October & November 2017
Victoria, NSW, Western Australia, Queensland & South Australia
More information

International Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) Conference
THINK BIG for Global Goals
1 - 3 November 2017
RMIT University, Victoria
More information

National Apprentice Employment Network
National Conference
1 - 3 November 2017
Radisson Blu Hotel, Sydney
More information

Australian Training Awards
23 November 2017
National Convention Centre, Canberra
More information

STEM in Defence Summit
Australian Defence Magazine

30 November 2017
Hyatt Hotel, Canberra
More information

Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group (ACDEVEG) 
VET Teaching and VET Teacher Education Conference
7 & 8 December 2017
TAFE Queensland, Southbank Campus
More information

Corporate Affiliates