Having trouble viewing this email? Click here to view online.

Newsletter | 25 November 2013

In this edition

TAFE shines at Australian Training Awards

TAFE Institutes were in the spotlight at the 2013 Australian Training Awards in Perth on Friday.

TAFE NSW – South Western Sydney Institute was named national Large Training Provider of the Year.

The award recognises a registered training organisation (RTO) that has demonstrated outstanding achievement in all aspects of the delivery of vocational education and training.

The judges noted South Western Sydney Institute’s ‘Bright Ideas’ initiative to improve workforce capability in innovation and its successful collaboration with industry partners.

The success of this initiative led to the TAFE NSW – South Western Sydney Institute Innovate model, under Peter Roberts, Institute Director, and led to successful collaborations with industry partners, improved data benchmarking and focus on workforce development.

Congratulations to TAFE finalists in this category: Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, and Kimberley Training Institute.

TAFE’s success continued, with Victoria’s Box Hill Institute named as the International Training Provider of the Year.

Under John Maddock, CEO of Box Hill Institute, there has been a strong focus on international partnerships, with Box Hill boasting one of the largest portfolios of international students.

The International category award recognises a RTO that has demonstrated outstanding achievement in all aspects of the delivery of vocational education and training to full-fee paying international students.

Despite Box Hill’s national award, it was not included in the initial list of 22 private VET colleges and TAFEs judged by the Department of Immigration and Border Control to to be low risk in their dealings with international students. (See next article).

Finally, TAFE NSW - Western Sydney Institute won the Industry Collaboration Award for their successful industry collaboration with Racing New South Wales. The award recognises an exemplary skills development collaboration between an employer or industry body and, at least, one other organisation.

TAFE NSW - Western Sydney Institute and Racing New South Wales have formed a strategic partnership, known as the Australian Racing and Equine Academy, to make  the racing industry more professional, safe and sustainable through the provision of workforce development services across New South Wales.


Our congratulations also goes to other major Awards –


  • Markeeta Douglas , the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year, following health science studies at TAFE NSW – Western Sydney Institute
  • Ashlee Hodson, Australian Apprentice (Trainee) of the Year, who completed a Certificate III and Certificate IV at TAFE NSW – South Western Sydney Institute
  • Morgan Clementson, runner up for Australian Apprentice of the Year, a mature aged student in bread making (Cert III in Food Processing – Baking/Bread), TAFE NSW – Illawarra Institute
  • Joel Schwarz, winner of the Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year, supported by SuniTAFE, in automotive mechanical technology.
  • Jacky Cheng, VET teacher of the Year, who is a visual arts teacher at Kimberley Training Institute, WA.
  • Bert Evans AO, VET Lifetime Achievement Award, following his role as the Chair of the NSW Board of Vocational Education and the VET Accreditation Board.    

See the Australian Training Awards winners.

Inconsistent approach to streamlined visa processing – TDA Board Communique

The TDA Board meeting in Perth has issued a Communiqué seeking intervention from the Australian government on international education.

A key issue nominated in the Communiqué is the extraordinary contradiction of leading TDA member Box Hill Institute being awarded International Training Provider of the Year, yet being excluded from the initial offers by the Department of Immigration and Border Control (DIBC) for streamlined student visas.

A recent article in The Australian concerning extending streamlined visa processing (SVP) to a small group of non-university higher education providers also highlighted the inconsistency.

Government policy is to extend SVP to low risk and high quality providers. The approach taken by DIBC is to only focus on the first part of this policy—an approach totally inconsistent with the original offering of SVP to all universities. Despite a number of universities recording a relatively high risk in visa compliance, their overall quality was considered sufficient to enable them to participate in SVP.

TDA continues to argue that TAFE institutes which offer higher education degrees are all of sufficient quality to be treated in the same way. This has apparently not been the case, especially with several of our TAFE institutes in Victoria which are internationally and domestically recognised as outstanding providers of high quality teaching programs.

See the TDA Board Communiqué.

TDA CEO meets Federal Minister Ian Macfarlane on issues impacting industry and TAFE on national entitlement

Left to right: Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane; ABC 7.30 Political Editor, Sabra Lane; Minister Macfarlane’s Chief of Staff, Kirsty Boazman; and TDA Chief Executive, Martin Riordan, outside the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry dinner in Canberra, last week.

Martin Riordan, Chief Executive of TAFE Directors Australia, met with the Minister for Industry, Ian MacFarlane, and senior ministerial advisers on issues surrounding the phased introduction of the national entitlement to training.

The entitlement or ‘student voucher’ scheme was initiated by former Labor Government, through its National Partnership Agreement on Skills, but was introduced without financial modelling.

The Australian Industry Group and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry have expressed concerns about the voucher entitlement scheme, focusing on steep rises being authorised by states and territories to apprenticeship and training fees, and inconsistencies across jurisdictions on which courses would be included under entitlement.

TDA supports business concerns, and is seeking an urgent review of the entitlement scheme, including closer financial support ahead of fees across regional TAFE centres, and impact to SME employers of apprentices and trainees.

Gender gap closing for qualifications says COAG

Women are less likely to achieve a higher qualification, but the gap between women and men is closing, according to the first report to COAG on the status of women and girls.

In 2002, the proportion of women aged 20–64 years with higher level qualifications (at or above Certificate level III) was 13 percentage points lower than men (37.7% for women compared to 50.7% for men).

However, over the past ten years the proportion with higher level qualifications rose faster for women than it did for men. By 2012 the gap had closed to 3.5 percentage points—and women under 30 were more likely than men under 30 to have higher qualifications.

See the COAG report.

ASQA seeking comment on new VET reporting arrangements

The COAG Standing Council on Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (SCOTESE) agreed on 7 June to arrangements for the introduction of mandatory total VET activity data collection and reporting by all registered training organisations (RTOs) from 1 January 2014. 

This initiative requires all RTOs to gather and collate AVETMISS-compliant records of all students and all competency enrolments and outcomes achieved, throughout a calendar year.  Early in the following year, RTOs must report this data to NCVER unless they have previously done so through existing contractual arrangements.

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has written to TDA with the information about these new requirements and also requested feedback on their implementation. Feedback is required by this Friday.

See the following links for more information:

TDA member advice

The national policy

The 12-month transition arrangement

AVETMISS data reports

Vital community services information

Website information

TEQSA invites feedback on reform plans

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) has issued two discussion papers covering critical areas of regulatory reform, and invited comment and feedback from TDA.

The first paper, ‘Future directions for TEQSA’s Regulatory Risk Framework’ covers ways to improve the regulatory framework under risk-based regulation of the higher education sector.

The second paper, ‘Future directions for TEQSA’s regulatory processes’ outlines ways TEQSA plans to reform its regulatory approaches.

Submissions close 4 December 2013.

See Future directions for TEQSA’s Regulatory Risk Framework

See Future directions for TEQSA’s regulatory processes

TDA national conference Occasional Paper now online

The complete proceedings of the TDA 2013 National Conference, TAFE Redefined’, are now available in an Occasional Paper which covers speakers, presentations and workshops.

The paper outlines all the major issues and debates covering the two-day conference and the pre-conference workshops.

Click here for the Occasional Paper.

Development of an Australian VET Graduation Statement

The Australian Qualifications Council (AQFC) released a Consultation Paper in October, titled Development of an Australian VET Graduation Statement’.

The AQFC paper is attached, as is the draft response from TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) and the Victorian TAFE Association (VTA).

In essence the TDA/VTA draft response maintains that the paper fails to articulate any convincing arguments for the benefits of a graduation statement in the vocational education and training context.

TDA welcomes comment /feedback on this response by Monday 2 December prior to a meeting with the AQFC secretariat on 5 December.

See the AQFC Consultation Paper.

See the TDA/VTA draft response.

TAE Training Package webinars

Innovation and Business Skills Australia has issued a reminder about the TAE Training & Education Training Package consultation workshops that are currently underway.

Due to overwhelming demand there are now a number of webinars for those who missed out on a place in the workshops.

The webinars are open to anyone interested in having their say about the upcoming changes to the TAE Training Package. Registration is necessary.

For more information and registration, click here.

Opportunities for researchers

Applications are now open for NCVER’s new round of post-graduate research funding.

NCVER is offering $5000 grants to existing post-graduate students for research papers on an aspect of their post-graduate research.

Students set to start a PhD in 2014 are also eligible to apply for a PhD top-up scholarship, valued at $5000 per year for three years.

Be quick! Applications close Wednesday, 18 December 2013.

See here for more information.

Diary Dates

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

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.

Universities Australia
Higher Education Conference: Stirred not shaken

DATE: 26-28 February 2014
LOCATION: National Convention Centre, Canberra
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

NCVER Research Forum
Realising our potential: widening participation through education and training

DATE: 3 April 2014
LOCATION: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
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.

National Congress and Expo

DATE: 3-5 June 2014
LOCATION: Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for 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.