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

Newsletter | 26 August 2013

In this edition

Coalition announces student loans for apprentices to ease living costs

Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has announced plans by a Coalition government to extend student loans to trade apprentices, with a 20% discount if they complete their course.

TAFE Directors Australia welcomed the inititaive, given critical declines in commencements and completions in apprentieships and traineeships over recent years.

Martin Riordan, Chief Executive of TDA, issued a media statement describing the scheme as innovative, but sought assurances that student loans would not replace employer incentives and other support funding.

See the Coalition policy announcement.

See an Australian Financial Review article today.

See TDA’s media statement.

The weekend Coailition announcement followed last week’s decision by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to grant wage rises of approximately 15% for 1st and 2nd year apprentices, starting from January, 2014.

The decision was welcomed by TDA.

Martin Riordan said TDA supported the wage decsion as continued research from University of New England and evidence from TAFE trade schools showed the wage levels were a real challenge for sustaining students in the early years of a trade course.

However, TDA said employer incentives remained a critical part of apprenticeship employment, and these full benefits should also be restored.

See FWC’s decision.

Apprentice commencements - data update

The number of commencing trade and non-trade apprentices rose slightly in the June quarter to 58,700, up from 57,100 in the March quarter.

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), released its early trend estimates for the June quarter, which provide ‘seasonally adjusted and smoothed’ data for trade and non-trade apprentice commencements.

Trade apprenticeships were up 1,200 to 22,500 in the quarter, while non-trade apprenticeship commencements were up 1,400 to 36,400 following a sharp drop in the September quarter, due largely to changes to incentive payments for existing workers.

See more.

TDA National Conference - only days left to register!

There is just one week until the TDA National Conference in Brisbane, September 2-3, so now is the time to register!

The conference brings an outstanding list of prominent speakers and issues that will be central to the VET sector.

It will be the final chance to hear the policies from the Federal Government and the Coalition in the days before the election.

Speakers and panellists include:

  • Federal Minister for Employment, Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor
  • Queensland Minister for Education, Training and Employment, John-Paul Langbroek
  • Federal Shadow Minister for Employment Participation, Sussan Ley
  • Chief Executive Officer, Australian Industry Group (AiG), Innes Willox
  • George Megalogenis, journalist , Prime Minister’s Literary Award for The Australian Moment
  • Chair, National Skills Standards Council, John Dawkins AO
  • Professor Glenn Withers, Crawford School, Australian National University
  • Director, Griffith Asia Institute, Griffith University, Professor Andrew O’Neil

See the conference program

See the pre-conference workshops.

... discount registrations for TDA members, in lieu of flood support….

The TDA 2013 Conference is being hosted in Queensland to support TAFEs which have experienced floods and more recently communities facing drought.

To assist, TDA is offering that with THREE full paying member registrations, members will receive ONE complimentary registration to a nominated industry person (e.g. council members or industry partners/clients). Please email tda@pco.com.au for details about taking up this offer.

Discounts to TDA members wishing to send FIVE or more delegates also still apply. The current member registration of $1,100 reduces to $990 for FIVE or more delegates. This means that if you have SIX new registrations at $990.00, you also receive THREE complimentary registrations for industry partners.

Register here.

TDA launches Green Skills Policy Paper

TDA has launched a ‘Green Skills and Sustainability’ Policy Position Paper, as part of its support to members during Election 2103.

The Policy Position Paper encourages greater flexibility to support the VET and TAFE workforce, to remain current with their own professional skills on new technologies and sustainable practice now included in Training Packages.

The Australian government invested considerable sums for Australia’s 11 Industry Skills Councils to include green skills for Training Packages. TDA argues that the National Workforce Development Fund should include flexibility for training providers, including TAFE, to access funds for workforce training in specific ‘green credentials’ as outlined by the Training Packages.

TDA created an Australia-US International Green Skills Network last year, and has since held joint green skill workshops with American Community Colleges, and more recently China colleges and polytechnics.

See the Green Skills policy paper.

University ‘Election Watch’ website

The University of Melbourne has created a special education feature on its ‘Election Watch’, website tracker.

A key issue raised was the lack of detailed policy on the VET sector from both major political parties.

“The TAFE sector, particularly in the eastern states, is suffering with funding cuts and declining student share. There is a risk that TAFE is becoming a residual institution, as private providers dominate the market by offering courses that are cheaper and easier to run,” Election Watch says.

“Many states will only fund individual study at a higher level than existing qualifications. However, this often disadvantages retrenched older workers, women returning to the workforce, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds and workers trying to change careers.”

Read more.

TDA congratulates Fulbright winner

Ms Michelle Circelli, Senior Research Officer, with the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) in South Australia, is the 2013 winner of the Fulbright Professional Scholar in Vocational Education and Training sponsored by the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE).

Michelle will undertake research into measuring success of adult literacy and numeracy education programs in the U.S. with the Californian Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the Office of Vocational and Adult Education in Washington D.C, for 3-4 months.

See more on Michelle Circelli’s research.

WA implements training entitlement

Western Australia has joined other States in implementing an entitlement training system under the National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform.

Training and Workforce Development Minister Terry Redman announced Future Skills WA, a student-focused model to provide more choice and improved career pathways, starting next January.

He said the reform would increase competition between training providers, making the sector more accountable and responsive to industry needs.

Read more.

Industry links to Tasmanian school-based apprenticeship reform

Tasmania’s Minister for Education and Skills, Nick McKim, has announced a new program to extend Australian School-based Apprenticeships across a number of industry sectors.

“The new strategy and current work already happening in the Department targets the priority implementation of Australian School-based Apprenticeships which contribute to workforce planning across key industry sectors identified in the Tasmanian Economic Development Plan, including Transport and Logistics, Aquaculture, Tourism and Hospitality and Agriculture,” the Minister said.

Read more.

VET Outbound Mobility Funding

A reminder that applications for the 2014 Round of DIICSRTE’s  Vocational Education Outbound Mobility Program close this Friday 30 August .

The program provides subsidies of $2,000 each to support Australian VET students (Cert IV and above) undertake an overseas study experience in Asia, the Pacific, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.

See here for more information about this and other student mobility programs.

VET institutions may also apply for VET Outbound Mobility Project Establishment Funding to support the sector in the development of mobility projects for VET students.

Information about this and any general enquiries about mobility can be directed to the Student mobility team at student.mobility@innovation.gov.au

New content supporting equity in VET

New digital content is now available to support the delivery of vocational education and training (VET) to disadvantaged learners.

The content is focused on the needs of groups who have experienced disadvantage in learning and employment and supports their participation in a second chance at vocational qualifications. 

The content projects were funded by the National VET E-learning Strategy in 2012-13, and managed by the Broadband Content Services business activity.

Read more.

Diary Dates

Knowledge management – use it or lose it
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: 23 October
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

2013 Webinar series
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: August - November
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Love Apptually webinar series
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: 21August - 2 October
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

National Skills Week
DATE: 26 August - 1 September
LOCATION: Various around Australia
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Open Higher Education Markets in the UK - Seminar
TDA & LH Martin Institute

DATE: 28 August
LOCATION: LH Martin Institute, 715 Swanston St, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

TedX: This Way Up
Northern Sydney Institute

DATE: 28 August
LOCATION: Cameraygal Building, the Northern Sydney Institute, St Leonards Campus
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

TDA Annual Conference 2013 TDA Annual Conference 2013 - "TAFE Redefined"
TAFE Directors Australia

DATE: 2-3 September 2013
LOCATION: Sofitel, Brisbane
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Teaching & Learning Conference
VET Development Centre

DATE: 5-6 September
LOCATION: RACV Healesville Country Club
DETAILS: Click here for further information. 

2013 National VET Conference
Velg Training

DATE: 19-20 September, 2013
LOCATION: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Australian Council for Adult Literacy Conference
DATE: 30 September - 2 October
LOCATION: University of Technology, Sydney
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Australian International Education Conference

DATE: 8-11 October
LOCATION: National Convention Centre, Canberra
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

2013 AUSTAFE National Conference

DATE: 9-11 October
LOCATION: Gold Coast Convention Centre, Queensland
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

2013 AAIR National Forum
Australasian Association for Institutional Research

DATE: 13-15 November
LOCATION: Perth, Western Australia
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

conVerge13 - E-learning Conference

DATE: 21-22 November
LOCATION: Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Australian Training Awards
Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education

DATE: 22 November
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.