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Newsletter | 26 April 2016

In this edition


ASQA to crack down on fast-tracked training and student loan rorts

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)  will target fast-tracked training courses and high-risk providers offering VET FEE-HELP-approved courses under a new crackdown.

The focus on 'quickie' courses and the rorting of VET FEE-HELP will be the subject of two strategic reviews to be undertaken by ASQA, the Chief Commissioner Chief Robinson said.

Speaking at the Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association (AVETRA) annual conference, Mr Robinson said "very short courses prevent learners from gaining all the skills and competencies they should be getting from vocational education and training courses."

He said a report will be prepared for release by the end of 2016.

Speaking to The Australian, Mr Robinson said some of the courses offered were "ridiculously short".

"Some are advertised as short as a long weekend and we know learners can’t get the skills in that time," he said.

See more.

NSW Skills minister says TAFE NSW uncompetitive, failing students and industry

The NSW Minister for Skills John Barilaro has issued direct criticism of TAFE NSW, describing it as an expensive, high cost system where 40 to 60 cents in every dollar is spent on administration and backroom costs, not front line teaching.

The Minister's made the scathing comments following the release of a report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) into the competitive performance and future strategies for TAFE NSW.

“The current system is failing students, failing industry, and failing to meet the demands of employers to create the workforce for the jobs of tomorrow," Mr Barilaro said.

The BCG report says that to remain competitive, TAFE NSW must improve productivity, cut costs, and maintain or grow enrolments in order to defray high fixed costs and remain competitive with private training colleges.

The report immediately came under fire because one of the benchmark private colleges used was Australian Careers Network whose offices were raided by the Australian Federal Police over alleged misuse of VET FEE-HELP.

In a statement, TAFE NSW Managing Director Jon Black said the organisation was at a crossroads and that maintaining the status quo was not an option.

"Operating with outdated, inadequate and often duplicated systems and structures – across multiple facilities – is not only an onerous and unproductive way of working, but it’s costly too," he said.

See Minister Barilaro's media release.

See 'NSW minister promotes TAFE report involving company raided by Federal Police' in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Queensland music teacher wins 2016 TDA/AVETRA Innovation Scholarship

Dr Ross McLennan, pictured, the Principal Teacher, Music, at TAFE Queensland, Brisbane campus is the winner of the TDA/AVETRA Innovation Scholarship for 2016.

Ross will receive $6,000 through the scholarship to support his research into innovative internship models for music students.

His interest is in commercial models of internship that support students financially and improve their entrepreneurial skills and employment opportunities. The outcomes of his research will inform new industry partnerships models and practices in TAFE Queensland.

Ross received his award at the annual Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association (AVETRA) conference held at North Sydney Institute last week. His final paper will be published on the TDA and AVETRA websites in 2017.

The Innovation Scholarship is a joint TDA and AVETRA initiative that supports TAFE practitioners to engage in research that leads to innovation and change in VET.

TDA Executive appointment – International education

Former Australian government international education counsellor to Beijing and Thailand, Jen Tyrell, has been appointed Director, International Education for TAFE Directors Australia.

Jen's appointment reflects her international experience and earlier appointments with the Department of Education and Training in the vocational education branch, including youth transitions, and the former trade training centres in schools.

After leaving the department, Jen consulted to the Group of Eight, and since 2014 has been Director of Marketing and Admissions for Nord Anglia School Shanghai. She is the current chair of the AustChamb Shanghai education working group.

Martin Riordan, CEO of TDA, welcomed Jen on her appointment.

“I congratulate Jen Tyrell on this executive appointment. Jen has demonstrated considerable skills in articulating international education policy, and for our TDA members -- both TAFE institutes and our dual sector universities with VET/TAFE divisions – they will benefit from Jen’s depth of experience through China and in South East Asia.”

Jen will be relocating from China to be based in Melbourne for TDA, effective 20 June.

Pictured above, Jen Tyrell meeting with Martin Riordan in Shanghai last week. 

Thousands of students and employers to rate Victoria's training system

More than a quarter of a million Victorians will be asked to rate their recent experience in the vocational education and training.system.

The survey will included 222,000 people who studied in the VET sector in 2015, as well as more than 70,000 employers.

The Minister for Training and Skills Steve Herbert said the surveys - the largest of its kind in the country - will be used to improve the training system and ensure closer alignment to industry workforce needs and jobs.

"Information on training quality and outcomes are used for contract compliance, to identify dodgy training providers and will ensure industry has a say in the performance of the system," Mr Herbert said.

All students who completed or withdrew from government funded training in 2015 can expect to receive the survey via email or through the post.

If students do not receive a survey by April 30 they can call the TAFE and Training Hotline on 131 823 to request a survey.

Swinburne partners with Chinese maritime research institute

Swinburne University of Technology is partnering with the First Institute of Oceanography of the State Oceanic Administrations (FIO) in China to establish a joint research centre.

The partnership is one of six new Joint Research Centres announced by the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne under the Australia-China Science and Research Fund (ACSRF).

The Australia-China Joint Research Centre for Maritime Engineering (ACCME) will develop highly sophisticated modelling tools to predict ocean and wave climatology, extremes and trends.

Other partners in the institute are MetOcean Solutions, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and Woodside Petroleum. 

See more.

Diary Dates

EduTECH 2016
30 - 31 May, 2016

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2016 Skills Conference
Group Training Association of NSW & ACT
15 June, 2016
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25th National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’
4 – 6 July 2016
Rockhampton, Queensland

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VETnetwork Australia
Biennial National Conference
27- 28 July, 2016
Gold Coast
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Victorian TAFE Association State Conference
18 - 19 August, 2016
More information coming soon.

NSW TAFE Managers Association
19 August, 2016
Taronga Zoo, Sydney
More information coming soon.

National Skills Week 2016
29 August – 4 September, 2016
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VET Development Centre Teaching & Learning Conference
1 - 2 September, 2016
RACV Torquay Resort, Victoria
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National VET Conference 
Velg Training
14 – 16 September, 2016
Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre
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TDA 2016 Convention – Skills Resurgence
4 - 6 October, 2016
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Melbourne, Victoria
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Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Conference
4-7 October, 2016
Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart  
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2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition
6 - 8 October, 2016
Melbourne Showgrounds
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Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators (RACMA) Conference  
12-15 October, 2016
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
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Australasian Genomic Technologies Association (AGTA) Conference
9-12 October, 2016
Pullman Hotel Auckland, New Zealand
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ACER National Adult Training and Assessment Conference
13-14 October, 2016
William Angliss institute, Melbourne
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Australian Training Awards
17 November, 2016
Darwin, Northern Territory
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