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Newsletter | 25 September 2017

In this edition


VET bodies urged to stake their claim to innovation and research

Despite being largely overlooked in the national innovation debate, the VET sector has a great deal to contribute including through applied research, according to a new study by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

It says that the current innovation agenda does not fully recognise the role of VET because the sector’s latent potential is not well understood, either within or beyond the sector, and because many in the VET workforce need to be equipped to play a greater part in the innovation cycle.

"Beyond the sector, the idea of VET as a research partner hardly surfaces," NCVER says.

Report authors, Francesca Beddie and Linda Simon say that for many VET organisations, the notion of applied research is "at best novel and often alien".

"At the moment, much of the VET applied research effort depends on the enthusiasm, industry knowledge and contacts of individuals," it says.

"The sector itself needs to further champion its achievements and invest in its capability. This would be facilitated by a coalition of peak organisations able to uncover and disseminate existing research and research resources; offer professional development, partnerships and mentoring; and represent the sector at external research, industry and policy tables."

"RedSpace at TAFE Queensland or the Centre for Applied Research and Innovation at Holmesglen Institute, with their dedicated research units may offer one option," the report says.

See the report, VET applied research: driving VET's role in the innovation system

Young people getting a raw deal in tertiary education

A misguided reform program has let down a generation of young people who are being encouraged to go to university instead of TAFE, according to Sydney Morning Herald Economics Editor, Ross Gittins,

He has argued that young graduates are becoming uncertain about the value of their degrees, at a time when many struggle to find a job, and as universities have lowered entry standards and educated far more people in some occupations than will ever be needed.

"A big part of this last problem comes from the way successive "reforms" by both sides of politics at both levels of government have stuffed up the choice between going to uni and going to TAFE or a for-profit provider of VET – vocational education and training," he says.

"The truth is that the efforts of federal and state governments of both colours to make VET "contestable" by making for-profit education providers part of the system have been a disastrous failure," Gittins says.

Echoing that view, Geoff Crittenden, CEO of the Welding Technology Institute of Australia asks why TAFE is constantly being restructured, and pleads for governments to understand that it is a critical part of the national infrastructure.

"TAFE simply does not receive the funds required to deliver high-quality technical vocational training to Australians. Our governments treat TAFE as a business - not as infrastructure - expecting increased revenue year-on-year.

"And yet, government-funded primary and secondary schools are not expected to generate revenue. So why has technical trade training become the poor relation of Australia’s education system?," he asks.

"Without skilled technicians, we will not be able to deliver submarines, high speed trains or any other manufactured product which, despite what our politicians may say, still contribute more to Australia’s GDP than mining."

Melbourne Polytechnic engaging international students in skills development and volunteering

International students at Melbourne Polytechnic learned more about volunteering in Australia, as well as skills that will help their employability, during the inaugural Volunteer and Skills Expo.

The expo was the brainchild of the President of Melbourne Polytechnic’s International Student Association (MPISA), Andrea Mayroga, and supported by the TAFE’s Student Life and Media Team (SLAM).  

More than 250 staff and students, as well as representatives from Melbourne’s volunteering community, attended and heard from Volunteers Victoria, Vollie and Uniting Care Hotham Mission.

Students also learnt about how to build their own career profile through campus and volunteering experience, helping increase their employability either in Australia or on return home.  While the expo was targeted largely at international students, a number of domestic students also attended.

MPISA, one of the few formal TAFE international student associations, was launched in May 2016, after a pilot program identified potential student leaders, supported by a new role of the International Student Engagement Officer.  

Read more

Andrea Mayroga, President of Melbourne Polytechnic’s International Student Association, and Jen Bahen,  Director of International Education at TDA

Training colleges banned

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has cancelled a number of training colleges in its latest crackdown.

Training providers who have had their registrations cancelled are:

  • Wise Education Group
  • New Direction Training
  • Big Future Training Institute
  • Western Institute of Technology and Western Senior Secondary College
  • South Pacific Institute

ASQA says the providers have not operated consistently with the requirements of the VET Quality Framework.

Diary Dates

Australian International Education Conference (AIEC)
10 - 13 October 2017
Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, Tasmania
More information

AUSTAFE National Conference
Turning Together for Success
11 - 13 October 2017
TAFE Queensland, Brisbane
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Chinese Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE)
Annual Conference
19 - 22 October 2017
Beijing, China
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
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Australian Training Awards
23 November 2017
National Convention Centre, Canberra
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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
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Corporate Affiliates