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Newsletter | 26 September 2016

In this edition


TDA urges government to embrace Mitchell Institute review of tertiary education funding

TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) has urged the federal Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, to respond in detail to today’s release of the Mitchell Institute’s review of tertiary and vocational education funding.

Professor of Tertiary Education Policy at the Mitchell Institute, Peter Noonan has proposed an independent authority to govern the tertiary financing system, based on higher education policy objectives decided by the Commonwealth, and VET objectives agreed with states and territories.

Martin Riordan, CEO of TDA said TAFE supports measures to restore Australia’s vocational education and TAFEs to a more balanced level of funding.

"The Mitchell Institute study illustrates why an overhaul of federal tertiary funding is urgently required, and how certainty and balance can be restored to help industry and students make informed choice when choosing courses.”

Mr Riordan also said that the planned tightening of regulations for VET FEE-HELP should include risk-based alignment of any funding to quality and low-risk VET and TAFE providers.

See the Mitchell Institute report, A new system for financing Australian tertiary education.

See TDA's media release

Still time to register for TDA National Convention, 'Skills Resurgence', Melbourne 4 - 6 October

There is still time to register to join more than 400 delegates at the TDA National Convention in Melbourne next week. It will see:

  • Over 100 speakers and facilitators
  • Four pre-convention workshops
  • A China+Australia Aged Care Roundtable
  • A Welcome to Melbourne Reception
  • Plenary speakers and panels
  • Addresses from federal government MPs
  • Structured laneways to cater for the broad areas of interests of the delegates
  • Joint events with WorldSkills Australia
  • An i-lounge
  • Sponsor presentations and exhibitions
  • A convention dinner showcasing the diversity of Melbourne.

The full program is now available to download from the convention website

Our thanks go to the Convention’s Official Sponsor, the Victorian Government, the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training, our Gold Sponsors CISCO/OPTUS, TechnologyOne and YourTutor, and Silver Sponsor TRIBAL. We also thank our TAFE sector commercial products and service sponsors and exhibitors for supporting the 2016 Convention.

Melbourne to host World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics 2018 World Congress

The city of Melbourne has been selected  to host the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics 2018 World Congress.

TAFE Directors Australia, a long-term board member of the WFCP proposed Melbourne, and with the support of the Victorian government, and Melbourne event agency, the WFCP board accepted the bid during the current 2016 World Congress that was held this weekend in Vitoria, Brazil.

TDA was represented by Martin Riordan, CEO of TDA, with Mary Faraone, board member for Victoria and CEO of Holmesglen Institute, Andrew Williamson, executive director of the Victorian TAFE Association, and TDA staffers Dr Melinda Waters, Director Technical and Tertiary Education, and Jen Bahen, Director International Education.

Melinda Waters led the World Congress workshops on higher education in TAFEs and colleges, along with the UK, and Andrew Williamson and Mary Faraone contributed to applied research, now a major feature of TAFEs and vocational education as it meets employment  needs and research development demands of industry.

The WFPC Board announce Melbourne as the host city for 2018 

Dr Melinda Waters, TDA, Nick Davy AoC UK, and Madeleine King, Mixed Economy Group UK

Martin Riordan with Denise Amyot, Chair of WFCP and CEO, Canadian Colleges and Institutes

Andrew Williamson, Victorian TAFE Association with Jose Luis Fernandez, Tknika agency, Basque Country

Assoc Professor Leesa Wheelahan, University of Toronto, John Widdowson, Principal of New Durham College and member of board of Association of Colleges UK, and Mary Faraone, board member TDA for Victoria and CEO Holmesglen  

Martin Riordan  with Dr Shyamal Majumdar, director UNESCO UNEVOC, Marie-Josie Fortin, Canadian Colleges and Institutes and Dr. Richard Masika, Rector, Asusha Technical College Tanzania and incoming board member, WFCP

ASQA cancels hundreds of security industry qualifications

More than 200 students have had their security industry qualifications cancelled following the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) de-registration of Queensland private training provider, Peacemakers.

ASQA has cancelled 461 qualifications issued by the group to 236 students.

Peacemakers’ registration was cancelled in July, after ASQA said it was issuing qualifications and statements of attainment despite almost no training being provided.

ASQA says the cancellation of the qualifications is not automatic and individuals have the opportunity to submit evidence as to why their qualifications should not be cancelled.

Europe launches new skills agenda

The European Centre for Development of Vocational Education and Training (CEDEFOP) has unveiled a new skills agenda that will set the framework for human capital and skills development.

It calls on member states and EU stakeholders to improve the quality of skills and their relevance to the labour market.

Currently, 70 million Europeans lack reading, writing and numeracy skills, and approximately 40 per cent of the EU population lacks digital skills.

The skills agenda emphasises the importance of transferable employability skills – achieved through apprenticeships and traineeships – over traditional academic choices, and has committed to make VET a first choice.

See more.

"Commercial realities" inhibit training for early school leavers

Private 'for profit' training providers are largely ill-equipped to cater to the complex needs of early school leavers, according to a report from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

The report, which surveyed 130 private ‘for profit’ training providers, said that while they were eager to show a willingness to support young learners, their ability to do so was limited by "the commercial realities of running a business" in the ever-changing vocational education and training landscape.

"Private RTOs have difficulty reconciling the needs of young early school leavers, who may be indecisive, confused and experiencing instability, with the requirements of a training system that is, by design, prescriptive," the report says.

The report also notes concerns among private RTOs and industry stakeholders about low-quality training, resulting from poor regulation of the sector, and the consequences not only for learners, but for those who may eventually be in the care of graduates lacking essential skills.

Pacific Islands recruiting training advisers

The Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) is seeking Specialist Vocational Training Advisers to help deliver Australian qualifications in the Pacific Islands.

The advisers are sought in Built Environment, Engineering Manufacturing, Business Programs, Hospitality & Tourism, Health & Community Services, and Electrotechnology Electrician/Refrigeration and Air Conditioning.

APTC has campuses in five countries – Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.

Applications close 10 October.

See more.

New foundation skills assessment tool available for trial

The Department of Education and Training has released the Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT), a free, interactive online tool to measure English language, literacy and numeracy as well as employability skills.

The tool is being made available in a test format ahead of it being validated and fully implemented.

The department says that users such as registered training organisations are invited to use the tool, noting that results should be considered indicative of a participant’s skills.

The FSAT is available here.

i-lounge to feature at 2016 TDA convention

The Innovation Lounge (i-lounge) will be open Thursday 6 October at the 2016 TDA Convention and will showcase companies and organisations on the cutting-edge of innovative and disruptive technologies.

It will provide an opportunity for delegates to chat one-on-one with innovation experts and to witness first-hand how each innovation or piece of technology works.

  • Phoria will be showcasing VR headsets and AR tablets that will allow delegates to explore virtual worlds
  • Box Hill Institute will be providing displays on Virtual Reality, Robotics and 3D Printing
  • CISCO and OPTUS will be sharing the latest collaboration technologies
  • Deakin University will show pathways from TAFE to Deakin Engineering
  • GLS will be diplaying EduSuite, that provides insight, personalisation and authentic connectedness in the learner experience.
  • TRIBAL will show delegates how to review, streamline and automate their quality improvement process with the Quality Circle
  • BuildingPoint Australia – will be showcasing Tekla Structures, a 3D modelling solution as well as revolutionary technology such as laser scanners and robotic total stations

To register for the convention click here

Diary Dates

TDA 2016 Convention – Skills Resurgence
4 - 6 October, 2016
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Melbourne, Victoria
More information

Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Conference
4-7 October, 2016
Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart  
More information

2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition
6 - 8 October, 2016
Melbourne Showgrounds
More information
Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators (RACMA) Conference  
12-15 October, 2016
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
More information
Australasian Genomic Technologies Association (AGTA) Conference
9 - 12 October, 2016
Pullman Hotel Auckland, New Zealand
More information

2016 AUSTAFE National Conference
12 - 14 October, 2016
Adelaide, South Australia
Contact: austafe2016@tafesa.edu.au
ACER National Adult Training and Assessment Conference
13 - 14 October, 2016
William Angliss Institute, Melbourne
More information

Innovation: What's Next For Community Education?
Community Colleges Australia Annual Conference
18 - 20 October, 2016
Park Royal, Darling Harbour, Sydney
More information

Australian International Education Conference (AIEC)
18 - 21 October, 2016
Melbourne, Victoria
More information

AVTERA conference
VET, trades & apprenticeships: voices from the shop floor
28 October, 2016
La Trobe University, Melbourne
More information

E-Oz and Skills Oz Conference
Assuring quality in the National VET system – Change, Challenge and Opportunity
8 - 9 November, 2016
Marriott Resort & Spa, Surfers Paradise, Queensland
More information

Australian Training Awards
17 November, 2016
Darwin, Northern Territory
More information

2016 National Conference on VET Teaching and VET Teacher Education
Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group 
8 - 9 December, 2016
More information


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