TAFE Directors Australia

Supporting our member institutes since 1998

Newsletter 26 September 2011

Knight Review entrenches university bias in student visa program

The recent release of the Knight Review has confirmed TDA’s concerns about an inherent bias towards universities in international education.

The Review singled out universities for special treatment when assessing student visa applications. This bias ignores the fact all degree programs, whether delivered by universities, TAFEs or other higher education providers, are required to meet the same stringent requirements under the higher education protocols.

Knight also contends universities have a proven low risk, based on visa grant rates. Of much greater value in assessing risk will be the individual providers rate of students’ non-compliance with their study visas, and TDA continues to advocate that such analysis be given the highest priority.

The nine factors used by Knight to justify special treatment for universities equally apply to all TAFE institutes, and TDA will continue to advocate such recognition by the Federal Government.

On the positive side, the reduction in financial requirements for prospective students, the opportunity for TAFE institutes to package courses with universities to achieve a lower assessment level for students, and the removal of the English language threshold requirement, are all welcomed by TDA.

The establishment of an Education Visa Advisory Committee, with representation from key stakeholders including TDA also offers a very constructive way in which TDA members can raise their concerns and suggestions for improvements to the student visa program.

TDA’s media release can be read here. The Knight Report and supporting fact sheets can be accessed here and the joint Ministerial media statement can be read here.

[Return to top]

New Workforce and Productivity Agency fast-tracked to 2011

The Government has brought forward the establishment of the National Workforce and Productivity Agency – announced in the Federal Budget – which will now begin 1 October, nine months ahead of schedule.

In an address to the National Press Club, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations, Senator the Hon Chris Evans, announced that the Agency will act as a “skills broker” and will be responsible for a new initiative which will consolidate the Government’s skills programs, called Skills Connect.

Senator Evans said consolidating the Government’s industry skills programs would result in $110 million being made available to industry for the remainder of 2011-2012. 

Skills Connect will provide access to the following funding:

  • $50 million through the National Workforce Development Fund (consolidated from the Critical Skills Investment Fund);
  • $29 million through the Accelerated Apprenticeship Program;
  • $15 million through the Apprenticeship Mentoring Program; and
  • $15 through the Workplace English Language and Literacy Program.

An interim board will be established for the National Workforce and Productivity Agency which will include the current members of the Skills Australia Board, as well as ACCI Chief Executive, Peter Anderson and Australian Workers’ Union National Secretary, Paul Howes.

Click here to view Senator Evans’ National Press Club address. Click here to view a media release.

[Return to top]

TDA Submission to the Productivity Commission

TDA is calling on members to contribute to a submission to the Productivity Commission’s review of the Impacts of COAG Reforms, commissioned by the Federal Government.

The first review will look specifically at ‘business regulation’ and ‘vocational education and training and transitions from school’.

The submission is due on 19 October, so members are asked to provide preliminary information to TDA by Wednesday 28 September, prior to the Productivity Commission Roundtable on 29 September at which TDA will be represented. A more detailed response is due 11 October.

For an outline for the response click here. Contact Pam Caven, TDA, for more information.

[Return to top]

Tuition Protection Service legislation tabled in Parliament

Last Thursday, the Federal government tabled the ESOS Amendment Bills which form the basis of establishing a single Tuition Protection Service for overseas students.   The Bill, Explanatory Memorandum and the Second Reading speeches can be read here.

TDA is currently reviewing the documentation and will provide members with a summary of the key issues later this week.

[Return to top]

TAFE capabilities on show for Mongolian delegation

A highly successful two-week program for senior TVET leaders from Mongolia has just concluded with the signing of three Memorandums of Understanding with two of our member Institutes, and the identification of several capacity-building projects for further discussion.

Led by N.Byambasuren, Deputy Director of the Mongolian TVET Agency, and accompanied by two regional directors, the delegation attended TDA’s national conference, participated in three roundtable discussions in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, and visited ten Institutes.

Highlights included the online capabilities of OTEN (TAFE NSW Western Sydney Institute) and VTEC in Kalgoorlie, the state-of-the-art nurse training facilities at Holmesglen’s Moorabbin campus, the hospitality sections at Box Hill and West Coast Institute, the design and fashion expertise at Polytechnic West, the simulated mine shaft in the basement of Central Institute’s Perth campus, and the process plant at Challenger’s ACEPT facility.

The delegation was particularly impressed with the way in which Institutes engage with industry, update and upgrade facilities and course materials, and support teachers.

Photo: Mrs T. Altantsetseg,  N. Byambasuren, Senator Chris Evans and Holmesglen’s Bruce Mackenzie at TDA’s national conference

[Return to top]

Invitation to contribute to Review of Skilled Occupations List

Skills Australia is seeking stakeholder input and evidence to help with its annual update of the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) which is used for independent general skilled migration purposes.

All submissions are due by 9 December. Click here for the submissions template.

For each occupation listed on the SOL, a summary sheet of the analysis against the specialised occupations criteria and labour market data is available. They will be refreshed using the most recent data as part of the 2012 update. The summary sheets are available here.

The 2011 SOL came into operation on 1 July 2011 after a review of existing and new data sources as well as consultation with stakeholders. The 2012 SOL is likely to be published on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website on 1 July 2012.

[Return to top]

TDA responds to trainer and assessor qualifications

Following recommendations by the Productivity Commission earlier this year, the new National Skills Standards Council (NSSC) is implementing changes to VET teacher and assessor qualifications.

It has determined that teachers and assessors must hold the Certificate IV TAE or demonstrate equivalent competencies through a formal recognition of prior learning (RPL) process. See the attached letter for more information.

The NSSC is seeking advice on the changes, and members are asked to contribute to a submission from TDA.

Please respond to Pam Caven by 28 September based on the three issues outlined in the attached letter.

[Return to top]

TDA thanks Institutes and staff for Alumni contributions

TDA would like to thank those TAFE Institutes and their staff who contributed to the TDA National Alumni Exhibition, which featured at this year’s Conference, Balancing the Big Issues.

The Exhibition was formally launched by the NSW Minister for Education, the Hon. Adrian Piccoli MP, and was viewed by 340 Conference delegates, as well as Gala Dinner guests.

The Exhibition will go on display at Parliament House, in Canberra, during the 2011 Mick Young Oration, to be delivered on 12 October by the Hon Peter Garrett MP, Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth. It will then be on permanent display in the TDA Board Room, in Sydney.

TDA trusts that members will forward its thanks and best wishes for ongoing success to their nominated alumni, as well as its thanks to the staff members in each Institute, who helped gather information and pictures for the Exhibition.

Photo: The Hon Adrian Piccoli MP viewing the Alumni Exhibition

[Return to top]

Indonesian sponsorship opportunity

The Australian Embassy in Jakarta is sponsoring the 10th Jawa Pos DetEksi Convention 2011, one of Indonesia’s largest youth events, which will take place from 11– 20 November in the East Java capital of Surabaya.

The convention is organised by the Jawa Pos, one of Indonesia’s largest media companies and its success in reaching the youth market has seen it grow in scope, exposure and attendance.

Australia has been the exclusive sponsor of the Convention and the organisers would like to expand the opportunity for Australian TAFE Institutes to be involved in the Convention by sponsoring a homestay program.

The homestay program represents a rare opportunity to promote an Institution to a large youth market and leverage off the considerable influence of the Jawa Pos group to extend the profile of Australian education in Indonesia.

For more information, please contact Ms Sanchi Davis, First Secretary, Cultural Section, Australian Embassy at sanchi.davis@dfat.gov.au.

[Return to top]

TDA members recognised in WA Training Awards

TDA congratulates Polytechnic West as the winner of Western Australia’s Large Training Provider of the Year, and Central Institute of Technology for winning both the Training Initiative Award and the International Training Provider Award - the latter for the second year in a row.

Click here for more information.

[Return to top]

Automotive Training Package under review

Industry Skills Council, Auto Skills Australia (ASA), is undertaking a review of several projects under the Automotive Retail, Service & Repair Training Package.

Consultations will be held throughout September and October, and those interested, can also respond via the website.

The projects under review include:

  • Certificate IV in Vehicle Loss Assessor
  • Battery Electric Vehicle Inspection and Servicing Skill Set
  • Battery Electric Vehicle Diagnosis and Repair Skill Set
  • Hybrid Electric Vehicle Inspection and Servicing Skill Set
  • Certificate III in Automotive Engine Reconditioning

The projects are available for comment and feedback until Friday 7 October. The draft qualifications, skill sets and units of competency are available here: Review & Feedback. For more information, please contact Peter Miller.

[Return to top]

Diary Dates

2011 Conference
DATE: 3 October, 2011
LOCATION: Royal Society of Arts, Covent Garden, London
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

2011 Conference
DATE: 11-14 October, 2011
LOCATION: Adelaide Convention Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information

AUSTAFE National Conference
2020 Vision
DATE: 12-14 October, 2011
LOCATION: Canberra
DETAILS: Click here for more information

ePortfolios Australia Conference 2011
DATE: 17-18 October, 2011
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Making a Difference... 2011: Breaking Through the Barriers
DATE: 19-20 October, 2011
LOCATION: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Looking ahead - Group Training National Conference
DATE: 19-21 October, 2011
LOCATION: Grand Hyatt, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information

DATE: 9-10 November, 2011
LOCATION: William Angliss Conference Centre, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Australasian Association for Institutional Research Forum “Let the sunshine in”
DATE: 9-11 November, 2011
LOCATION: Sea World Resort, Gold Coast
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Grounds for Learning Workshop
DATE: 14-16 November, 2011
LOCATION: Monash University, Clayton Campus, VICTORIA
DETAILS: Click here for more information

‘For innovation’
DATE: 18 November, 2011
LOCATION: The Glasshouse, Port Macquarie
DETAILS: Click here for more information

DATE: 25 November, 2011
LOCATION: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, South Bank
DETAILS: Click here for more information

[Return to top]

To subscribe or unsubscribe to the TDA Newsletter click here.