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Newsletter | 27 June 2016

In this edition

The latest from the federal election campaign....

...the rest of the week's news


The final week - election 2016

The 2016 federal election enters the final week following the Coalition's official launch in Sydney yesterday and Labor's the previous week.

The Coalition's launch highlighted its national economic plan, with the Prime Minister emphasising the economic uncertainty following the UK's shock Brexit vote.

The PM also underscored the risk of a hung parliament, and announced additional school funding, although there was still no mention of vocational education policy or initiatives.

TAFE calls for long term funding for vocational education

Chairs and Directors of TAFE from around Australia have come together, calling for pledges on VET funding from both the Coalition and Labor.

In a media statement, they said that with the economy in transition, it was time to act on funding certainty for the sector.

"However, the Government has remained silent on further funding support for tertiary education and especially vocational education, beyond 30 June 2017," the statement said.

"Labor has committed to negotiate, but no clear funding has been nominated," it said.

"Increased funding and parity with the higher education sector is important starting with replacement of the $516 million per annum that is shown to stop from 1 July 2017. The ‘funding gap’ for vocational education remains."

See the latest edition of TAFE Futures magazine.

TAFE's role in higher education reform debated

The role of TAFE and the outlook for higher education was the subject of a discussion on ABC Radio National Breakfast between TDA Chief Executive Martin Riordan and on The Grattan Institute Higher Education Program Director, Andrew Norton.

The Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Senator Scott Ryan and Shadow Minister for Vocational Education Sharon Bird took part in the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry's vocational education and skills leadership luncheon.

It highlighted a sharp difference over the competing policies for apprentices - Labor's plan to re-introduce 'Tools for Your Trade' payments and the Coalition's Trade Support Loans.

All the key policies from the Coalition and Labor are updated in the table below.

Time is right for joining up agencies on youth unemployment

The TAFE network has called on an incoming government to utilise regional TAFE institutes as part of a solution to help address critical pockets of youth unemployment.

The TDA Regional Advisory Committee commissioned research to identify prime examples of TAFE collaboration that may better address youth disengagement and unemployment.

The report, prepared by Escalier McLean Consulting, says that TAFE has traditionally played a key role working with local communities, with almost 20 per cent of TAFE students living in rural and remote areas.

“What the study shows is that federal employment networks and TAFEs should be better structured to create opportunities for youth experiencing unemployment to pursue skills shortage occupational areas,” said TDA CEO Martin Riordan.

The report highlights five regional TAFE Institutes adopting innovative approaches to tackling unemployment – TAFE Western in NSW, Central Regional TAFE and Northern Regional TAFE in Western Australia, Wodonga Institute of TAFE in Victoria, and TAFE SA.

Election campaign tally - what's been promised so far

Liberal-National Coalition

Youth Jobs PaTH Programme
A $752 million program that aims to help young job seekers gain skills and internships, leading to jobs including apprenticeships.

Redesign of VET FEE-HELP
A discussion paper has proposed a range of options to take effect in 2017, supported by a $10 million education campaign.

Extension of P-TECH 
$4.6 million has been promised for 12 new pilot P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) sites to promote STEM skills.

Higher education 
Reforms including fee deregulation and improved equity for TAFE higher education students have been put on hold pending an expert committee that will make recommendations later this year.


Ten new polytechnics
$430 million for 10 pilot sites for ta new tier of higher education institutes - Commonwealth Institutes of Higher Education - combining TAFE, university, industry and government, delivering Advanced Diplomas and Associate Degrees.

Guaranteed TAFE funding 
A National Priority Plan that defines the unique role of TAFE, rebalances contestable funding, and works with states and territories to provide "ongoing guaranteed TAFE funding".

VET sector review
A promised review of the VET sector that, Labor says, will be the first since the Kangan review in 1974.

An $8,000 per year cap on all VET FEE-HELP student loans, with a ministerial exemption for some high cost courses such as nursing and engineering.

Apprentice quota
One in ten jobs on priority federally-funded infrastructure projects to be apprentices, creating 2,600 new apprenticeships.

'Apprentice Ready' is a 20-week,pre-apprenticeship course for trades on the National Skills Needs List, delivered through TAFEs that Labor says will offer 10,000 apprenticeships,

Mature age apprenticeships
A pilot of a National Skills Recognition Entitlement program with 5,000 places to help mature-aged, retrenched workers fast-track into apprenticeships.

Group training funding
$10 million a year over four years to group training organisations.

Apprentice advocate & portal
An apprentice advocate to address quality and training issues, and a portal, Apprenticeships Connect, that will link apprentices to employers.

Guaranteed training
Unemployed youth to be guaranteed a fully funded Certificate III under the Working Futures employmemnt program.

Tools for Your Trade
The reintroduction of Tools for Your Trade payments of up to $3000 to apprentices, costing $285 million.

Higher education 
The demand driven system to continue and Labor to create the Higher Education Productivity and Performance Commission to promote university efficiency.

...the rest of the week's news

NSW Budget funds TAFE capital works

The NSW Budget has allocated $1.8 billion for the NSW TAFE Commission in 2016-17, up 5.4%, while $97 million has been allocated for capital expenditure which will fund 34 major building and IT projects.

The Department of Industry, Skills and Regional Development will spend $786 million on skills development including purchasing training through TAFE NSW and other providers.

Government funded enrolments fell from 461,798 in 2014 to 352,733 in 2015 but are forecast to climb to 550,000 in 2016.

The Budget papers blame the fall in 2015 on a number of factors including "greater student intake by universities, major growth in the Australian government's VET FEE-HELP scheme, market uncertainty under the new Smart and Skilled policy, and a national trend away from vocational education."

A feature of the Budget was a new  $25 million Sydney School of Entrepreneurship (SSE), a joint venture between NSW universities and TAFE NSW, which will attract the top 1,000 students from partner institutions.

Victorian TAFE board members finalised

Board appointments for Victoria’s TAFEs have been finalised, with 65 people recommended for ministerial appointments which take effect on 1 July.

An independent panel was set up to provide advice to the Department of Education and Training on the best people to serve across the 12 TAFEs. An expression of Interest process saw 513 people apply to become board members with 239 candidates interviewed.

Women make up 54 per cent of the directors.

Along with the ministerial appointments, the boards will consist of the institute CEO and a staff-elected member. An interim chair has been appointed to each board. 

TAFE NSW South Western Sydney awards

TAFE NSW awards have been held in recent weeks, with the South Western Sydney TAFE campus awards held at Bankstown.

Jon Black, Managing Director of TAFE NSW, hosted the event, with senior campus staff, teachers and industry.

The TAFE NSW Institute Medal was awarded to a young stonemasonry student, Bradley Rimmer, who was also the Apprentice of the Year in building and construction.

State MPs for the south-west of Sydney all attended, as well as SWSI advisory council members led by Chair, Ian Stone.

TAFE NSW Managing Director, Jon Black, presenting the TAFE NSW Institute Medal to Bradley Rimmer, who also won the TAFE NSW SWSI Apprentice of the Year and Building and Construction Award.

State medal Winners Mark Pearce and Ghadeer Zeidat, both Diploma of Laboratory Technology students, with Mark specialising in biological and environmental testing, and Ghadeer in chemical and forensic testing.

Graduates of TAFE NSW South Western Sydney selected for the upcoming WorldSkills Australia 2016 competition.

TDA Convention - last chance to register before the end of the financial year and pre-convention workshops now launched

The 2016 Convention will be held in Melbourne from October 4 - 6, 2016. Four pre-convention workshops will be held on Tuesday 4 October from 3 - 5 pm. The topics are:

Growing International Education
Examining the key strategies of government agencies, the priorities of ASEAN, and the opportunities for collaboration.

The market challenge for regional TAFE institutes
Examining the ways that regional and rural TAFE institutes are meeting industry needs and equipping students with future skills.

TAFE Boards in a complex environment
Examining the complexities of a TAFE board, approaches that governments use for communicating with chairs and boards, and the roles of CEOs on boards in the different jurisdictions.

Data mining for results
A look at the potential applications of big data, analytics and visualisation in the TAFE sector, ranging from more effective skills pipeline forecasting, institutional planning, improved asset utilisation and provision of student services. 

See further details about the pre-convention workshops including speakers.

The cost (if registered before July 15) is $121 to attend a workshop only or $77 if you are also attending the TDA Convention.

For information on how to register, become a sponsor or for more information regarding the program, please click here

TAFEs learn from study tour to Singapore and Korea

Ten TAFE institutes from Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT recently concluded a study tour to Singapore and Korea, in partnership with Cisco, Optus and Dandolo Partners.

The tour built on a similar program delivered in 2015 and drew on some of the themes identified in Dandolo’s VET in Asia report, which was launched at the 2015 TDA national conference.

The tour was designed to explore how  Singapore and South Korea are dealing with digital disruption, and encourage Australian TAFE leaders to reflect on what can be learned and adapted in their own institutions.

Dandolo produced the tour report, ‘Vocational Education and Training (VET) as an Economic driver: 2016 Australian TAFE Study Tour to Asia’.

TDA is delighted that Cisco and Optus have again supported the TDA 2016 Convention as Gold Sponsors. Brad Davies from Dandolo Partners has also been invited back, and will be speaking on ‘Embracing borderless learning 24/7’ and will also be a pre-convention workshop speaker in Workshop 4: Data Mining for results.

Study support available to young carers

The Department of Social Services will shortly open applications for its Young Carer Bursary Program, which provides assistance to young people who are caring for a family member or friend.

A total of 333 bursaries will be granted in 2017, worth $3,000 each, and the money can be spent on whatever helps with a person's education or training.

It is open to young carers aged 12 - 25 caring for a family member or friend with an illness, disability, mental health illness, or who is frail, aged or has an alcohol or other drug problem.

Applications open 2 August and close 14 September.

See the fact sheet.

See frequently asked questions. 

Diary Dates

25th National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’
4 – 6 July 2016
Rockhampton, Queensland
More information

VETnetwork Australia
Biennial National Conference
27- 28 July, 2016
Gold Coast
More information

Victorian TAFE Association State Conference
18 - 19 August, 2016
More information

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

National Skills Week 2016
29 August – 4 September, 2016
More Information

VET Development Centre Teaching & Learning Conference
1 - 2 September, 2016
RACV Torquay Resort, Victoria
More information

National VET Conference 
Velg Training
14 – 16 September, 2016
Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre
More information

LH Martin Institute
Innovation Eco-systems: Study Mission to Italy and the Netherlands
21-30 September 2016
More information

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

ACER National Adult Training and Assessment Conference
13-14 October, 2016
William Angliss Institute, Melbourne
More information

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


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