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Newsletter | 26 March 2012    

In this edition

  • TDA presents to APEC International Symposium on green skills agreement
  • University partnerships checklist
  • Stage two of Knight reforms begins
  • TDA’s submission to the Student Visa Assessment Level Framework Review
  • Mixed support for audited assessment processes
  • Legislation introduced to form new Workforce Agency
  • TDA hosts Kiribati delegation
  • TDA response to Defence Workforce Strategy
  • Green Skills Symposium at RMIT University
  • Nominations open for the South Australian Training Awards
  • Box seat for Box Hill
  • Austrade seminars on Australia Unlimited Brand
  • Professional Development courses in April and May
  • Diary Dates

Feature story

VET numbers rise

A new report into the VET sector shows that in 2010 there were 1.8 million VET students, an increase of 5.4% on the previous year.

The report, The Annual National Report of the Australian VET system, was tabled in Parliament by the Minister for Tertiary Education and Skills, Senator, the Hon Chris Evans - click here to view a media release.


TDA presents to APEC International Symposium on green skills agreement

TDA addressed the APEC Symposium on Human Capital Policies for Green Growth and Employment, at an international forum on TVET held last week in Washington DC.

Martin Riordan (CEO, TDA) was sponsored by APEC, and presented a jointly authored Symposium Paper with Dr. Garry McDonald, Director, National Centre for Sustainability (NCS), based at Swinburne University of Technology, and Linda Condon, Director, ProActive Sustainability.

The Symposium included all nations from APEC, along with representatives of the World Bank, ILO, the OECD LEED project, and keynote speakers from the US Departments of Education, Department of Energy and Department of Labor. Proceedings from the APEC Symposium will be posted to an APEC portal in coming weeks, and will contribute towards the scheduled mid-year meeting of APEC Education and Training Ministers.

In his address, Martin Riordan outlined how TAFE Institutes had shown leadership in driving sustainability, recounting how this supported Australian, state and territory government policy under a COAG Agreement, which was endorsed as the Green Skills Agreement in 2009. The post-Garnaut policy included a commitment to make education and training in green skills a feature in supporting 'green jobs', with sustainability practice across vocational education, training and in industry.

The whole-of-government process was tasked with updating Training Packages by the 11 Industry Skill Councils. The Paper included detail on policy initially developed by TAFE NSW, and professional development delivered jointly by NCS and the TAFE Development Centre in Victoria.

TDA released to the APEC Symposium a survey of TAFE Institutes, showing enrolments had now gathered pace in sustainability qualifications, and green practice.

TDA wishes to thank TDA Institute members, executives and teaching staff who contributed to the TDA Sustainability Survey, and Dr. Garry McDonald and members of the National Centre for Sustainability for its compilation.


 Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary, US Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

Proceedings of the APEC Symposium, Department of Education, Washington DC  

Wang Wenjin, China Central Institute of TVET, Ministry of Education,  Martin Riordan, CEO TDA, Dr Michelle Fox, Chief Strategist, Workforce and Education, US Department of Energy

Neil Butcher, Education Impact Fellow, APEC


Jeff Skeer, US Department of Energy


University partnerships checklist

Colleges and Institutes thinking about providing higher education now have the benefit of a checklist, developed by skills bodies and institutes from the United Kingdom.

Although this checklist relates directly to the UK system, TDA believes this list will be of great interest for members that are either planning, or that have established, partnerships with universities.

The list was developed by the Learning Skills and Improvement Service (LSIS), which is a statutory body established to support quality improvement in the learning and skills sector in England, and the Mixed Economy Group (MEG), which comprises further education colleges with substantial higher education provision.

Click here to view the checklist.

Stage two begins for Knight reforms

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship has distributed a fact sheet to explain the changes that will occur, beginning 24 March, under stage two of the Federal Government’s response to the Knight Review of Student Visas.

From 24 March, in recognition of universities’ good track record, student visa applicants enrolled in Bachelor, Masters or Doctoral degrees at participating universities, regardless of their country of origin, will be treated as though they are lower risk, similar to the current Assessment Level 1.

Other key measures that will commence from 24 March include:

  • the work restriction for all Student visa holders will change to 40 hours per fortnight
  • Postgraduate Research (subclass 574) visa holders will no longer be limited in the number of hours that they can work
  • the maximum period of English language study for Schools Sector (subclass 571) visa holders subject to Assessment Level 3 and above will be increased to 50 weeks
  • Student Guardian (subclass 580) visa holders will be able to undertake ELICOS study on a part-time basis (less than 20 hours per week) for the duration of their visa
  • the English language requirement for Schools Sector (subclass 571) visa applicants subject to Assessment Level 4, and the associated waiver for applicants from China, will be removed.

To view the fact sheet, click here. A media release from the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship on the changes can be viewed here.  For more information on the changes, please visit the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s website here

TDA’s submission to the Student Visa Assessment Level Framework Review

Much interest is on the future of the assessment level framework used for student visa applications. Members will be aware the universities have been offered the opportunity to opt-in to new streamlined arrangements and the results of this opt-in arrangements are due to be announced by the end of March.

In the meantime, TDA has made a formal submission to the DIAC review focusing on the need for a provider-based risk management approach which recognises low risk, high quality provision for international students.  Click here to view the submission.

Mixed support for audited assessment processes

Education peak bodies and authorities have expressed mixed levels of support for external validators to audit assessment processes – a new proposal outlined in the Federal Government’s skills blueprint announced last week.

The Federal Government indicated the validators will operate in areas of most concern and will be independent industry experts. They will check the assessment process of a training provider, and in some cases, the competency measures used for individual students.

Click here to view an article by The Australian. Click here to view the Federal Government’s skills blueprint.

Legislation introduced to form Workforce Agency

The legislation to form the new Workforce and Productivity Agency – an industry-led national workforce and productivity agency to replace Skills Australia - has been introduced into the Federal Parliament.

The aim of the agency will be to improve long-term workforce planning and development to address skills and labour shortages, and contribute to improved industry and workplace productivity.

The agency will advise the Australian Government on the allocation of funding for the new National Workforce Development Fund. An explanatory memorandum about the new agency is available here.

TDA hosts Kiribati delegation

Last week TDA had the pleasure of welcoming ten delegates from Kiribati on a study tour funded by AusAID through a TVET Sector Strengthening Project. The delegation was led by Antoine Barnaart, Principal of the Kiribati Institute of Technology, and a former Board Director of TDA.

The outcomes of this study tour are being captured through a daily newsletter which members can read here.

TDA response to Defence Workforce Strategy

TDA is calling for submissions from members in response to the Defence Industry Workforce Strategy discussion paper.

There are a number of TAFE Institutes that work in partnership with the Defence Force to deliver training. Members are asked to comment on the discussion questions relevant to TAFE Institutes, on page 36 of the paper, which include but are not limited to:

  • How government, industry and the training sector can work together to ensure adequate skills supply to the Defence Industry
  • How improvements can be made to skilling programs for the defence materiel supply industries
  • The options to address skills supply in occupations with skills gaps

TDA will include member comments in a submission to Skills Australia. Please send any comments to Pam Caven, TDA, pcaven@tda.edu.au by 30 March.

Green Skills Symposium at RMIT University

The development of policy, programs and practice in green skills will be the focus of a Green Skills Symposium, to be hosted by RMIT on 13 April.

The event is supported by the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE), TAFE Directors Australia (TDA), and the RMIT Sustainability Committee.

Keynote speakers will discuss the concept of “Green Economy”, outline actions taken in Europe to advance and promote a green economy, green jobs and green skills, and outline the potential for policy development and the green skills agenda in the Australian context.

Please RSVP by 6 April, to eucentre@rmit.edu.au. For more information click here.

Nominations open for the South Australian Training Awards

Nominations are now open for this year's South Australian Training Awards which will celebrate outstanding quality in vocational education and training (VET).

For more information, click here.

Box seat for Box Hill

Victorian TAFE Institute, Box Hill TAFE, has acquired an international stake in the global language testing specialist organisation, Cambridge ESOL Examinations.

The new acquisition came as a part of Box Hill’s attainment of the Centre for Adult Education, which previously owned the Occupational English Test – used to test the competency of medical and allied professionals trained in non-English speaking countries.

Read an article from The Australian here.

Austrade seminars on Australia Unlimited Brand

Austrade will be holding two brand information sessions during April on the new Australia Unlimited promotion and branding for Australian international education.  

Registrations need to be made two business days prior to each session – click here to register or for more information. Key dates are:

  • Adelaide - 17 April
  • Brisbane - 4 April
  • Canberra - 23 April
  • Melbourne - 12 and 13 April
  • Perth - 2 April
  • Sydney - 19 April
  • Webinars - 18 and 20 April

Professional Development courses in April and May

The International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) has released detailed information on its first eight Professional Development Seminars/Workshops for 2012.

These cover a wide range of topics including student mobility, migration regulations and executive leadership in international education.

For more information click here.

Diary Dates

What’s new on the Horizon, incorporating Project Management
DATE: 29-30 March, 2012
LOCATION: Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
DETAILS: Click here for more information

DATE: 12-13 April, 2012
LOCATION: Canberra
DETAILS: Click here for a registration brochure.

What you need to know about ASQA
DATE: 17 April
LOCATION: Sydney Citigate Central, 169-179 Thomas St Haymarket
DETAILS: More information available here.

AQTF/SNR for Internal Auditors
DATE: 18 April
LOCATION: Sydney Citigate Central, 169-179 Thomas St Haymarket
DETAILS: More information available here.

TAFE - Leading Skills Enrichment
DATE: 17-18 May, 2012
LOCATION: Hilton on the Park, 196 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne 3002
DETAILS: More information available here.

Skills for NSW: high quality apprenticeships & traineeships
DATE: 31 May, 2012
LOCATION: SMC Conference Centre, Sydney
DETAILS: Click here for more information

AUSTAFE 2012 Study Tour to the European Union Date
DATE: 6 June 2012
DETAILS: For more information contact Louise Godwin at louise.godwin@tafensw.edu.au

Leadership Development Program for Facilities Management
DATE: 15 - 18 July, 2012
LOCATION: HC Coombs Centre, Kirribilli, Sydney
DETAILS: Click here for more information

DATE: 6 - 7 September 2012
LOCATION: Perth, Western Australia
DETAILS: More information will be available soon

AUSTAFE 2012 NATIONAL Conference
DATE: 3-5 October 2012
LOCATION: Alice Springs NT, Kirribilli, Sydney
DETAILS: More information contact Lyle Mellors at lyle.mellors@cdu.edu.au