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Newsletter | 27 March 2017

In this edition


TDA announces new chief executive officer

TDA today announced that former senior Commonwealth and Victorian government education official Mr Craig Robertson, pictured, has been appointed as the organisation’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Mr Robertson was most recently Deputy Secretary, Higher Education and Skills, at the Victorian Department of Education and Training.

With the Commonwealth Government he served in a number of leadership positions covering most aspects of vocational education and training and other areas of social policy.

The Chair of TDA, Ms Mary Faraone said, “I am delighted that TDA has secured the services of such a highly-credentialed and capable person to lead the peak national body at such an important time.

“Craig has a wealth of experience across the broader education sector and, in particular, an intimate knowledge of the needs, priorities and trends shaping vocational education and training.

“He has played a pivotal role in many of the strategic and policy developments in the sector over several decades and is ideally placed to lead TAFE as it positions for a new era of growth and opportunity,” Ms Faraone said.

Mr Robertson said he was honoured and excited to be leading the organisation and helping TAFE to play an expanded role in training, employment and skills development.

“TAFEs play a unique role in building a highly skilled and adaptable workforce, which is central to Australia’s ongoing prosperity. Their partnerships with industry and the high standard of training set TAFEs apart in the opportunity they offer students,” he said.

Mr Robertson’s appointment, which takes effect in early April, follows the announcement last November by the current Chief Executive Officer, Martin Riordan, of his intention to step down after twelve years leading TDA.

Ms Faraone said the Board of TDA is indebted to Martin for the outstanding job he has done in advancing the position of TAFE across the domestic and international landscape.

“On behalf of the Board and the team at TDA, I sincerely thank Martin and wish him every success. We look forward to Craig building on the great work that Martin has done,” Ms Faraone said.

Mr Robertson said he is keen to engage with stakeholders and work closely with TAFE institutes, and furthering TDA’s role as a leader in tertiary education strategy and policy.

TAFE Futures latest edition out now

See the latest edition of TAFE Futures magazine with a great selection of articles, opinion and analysis from across the TAFE sector. Highlights include:

  • TAFE SA's tourism drive into the Middle East
  • The latest snapshot of TAFE's competitive position
  • Holmesglen's newest applied research project
  • Departing TDA chief executive Martin Riordan's reflection on a decade of VET policy
  • Wodonga TAFE CEO Mark Dixon's dangerous past,

...and much more!

See TAFE Futures

See previous editions of TAFE Futures or subscribe

Government, defence experts and TAFEs focus on improving skills transition for veterans

TAFE institutes, group training organisations, defence industry experts and VET policy makers met in Canberra last week for the two-day ADF Skills and Apprenticeships Forum.

The forum heard wide-ranging views about the current arrangements for transitioning ex-ADF personnel into civilian life, and suggested areas for improvement.

Speakers included the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Dan Tehan, the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews, and the Shadow Minister for Defence Richard Marles.

A number of ex-ADF personnel, including senior TAFE institute directors, outlined some of the challenges that stand in the way of clear transitions from the military, as did the 2016 West Australian Apprentice of the Year, Brendan Carlson.

A valuable outline of work being undertaken was presented by the Department of Defence National Skills Framework, the NSW Office of Veterans' Affairs, and the Defence Community Organisation.

The forum was jointly hosted by TDA and the National Apprentice Employment Network.

TDA and NAEN have committed to preparing an overview of the discussion to be shared with attendees, followed by a formal proposal to government.

TDA and NAEN would like to thank all those who took part for sharing valuable insights and helping to jointly address what all agree is an important national issue. 

Addressing the forum; Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews

From left, Lynda Douglas, Department of Defence; Lauren Tiltman, National Apprentice Employment Network; John Tucker, TAFE Queensland SkillsTech; Jon Black, TAFE NSW; and Megan Lilly, Ai Group

Dan Tehan, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel, and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security and the Centenary of ANZAC

Attendees in the main committee room, Parliament House

Shadow Minister for Defence Richard Marles

Minister Birmingham signs VET MoU with China

As part of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Australia last week, Minister Simon Birmingham signed an MoU on Vocational Education and Training (VET) with China's Ambassador to Australia, Mr Jingye Cheng.

The MoU seeks to elevate VET in the China-Australia relationship, and the witnessing of the agreement by Prime Minister Turnbull and by Premier Li will help demonstrate the status of the agreement.

The agreement itself is broad in nature and focuses on information exchange and collaboration in areas such as industry engagement, quality assurance, innovative training models, strategies to elevate the status of VET, joint research, and sharing of best practice.

The MoU also focuses on two way exchange between VET organisations, professionals and students in various ways such as through networks, scholarships and internships.

TDA will be working with the Department of Education and Training to identify ways the MoU and its associated activities can support TAFE members in China.

For further information, please contact Jen Bahen, Director, International Education, TDA via email 


Vocational learning college agrees to repay the Commonwealth

The Australian Vocational Learning Centre (AVLC) has agreed to cancel enrolments and repay VET FEE-HELP funds to the Commonwealth, following an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said AVLC admitted it had breached consumer law through the use of marketing agents who misled consumers into believing courses were free or government-funded, and who pressured some consumers into enrolling into courses that were unsuitable.

“The ACCC acknowledges that AVLC cooperated with this investigation and took a number of steps to remedy its conduct. These included cancelling some students’ enrolments, repaying at least $225,940 to the Commonwealth, and ceasing to use the marketing agents involved in the conduct," Ms Court said.

New apprenticeship data to better inform TAFE planning

TDA’s second commissioned report from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) on VET market trends and the role of TAFE in training provision includes TAFE’s share of trade apprenticeships between September 2012 and September 2016.

TDA hopes that the data will help to inform members' business planning, and provide a clearer picture of the role of the public provider in the training market.

The indicative September 2016 data show that TAFE delivers six-in-ten of most trade apprenticeships.Other highlights show that TAFE delivers:

  • 72% of fabrication engineering trades workers apprenticeships
  • 70% of all vehicle panelbeaters, and body workers and painters
  • 67% of automotive electricians and mechanics apprenticeships
  • 62% of mechanical engineering trades workers apprenticeships
  • 57% of bricklayers, carpenters and joiners, and
  • 55% of food trade apprenticeships

TDA would be pleased to share the data with members; please email André Diez de Aux, Director, Quality Services: adiezdeaux@tda.edu.au

ABC's Leigh Sales confirmed as MC for TDA convention

TDA is delighted that Leigh Sales, an award-winning author and anchor of the ABC's flagship 7.30 will be the MC for the 2017 TDA Convention In September.

From 2001 to 2005, she was the ABC's Washington Correspondent, covering stories including the aftermath of September 11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the 2004 Presidential election and Hurricane Katrina.

From 2006 to 2008, Leigh was the ABC's National Security Correspondent, before becoming the anchor of Lateline.

In 2005, Leigh won a Walkley Award, Australia's highest journalism honour, for her coverage of Guantanamo Bay and the case of David Hicks. In 2012 Leigh was again presented the prestigious Walkley Award for best interviews for her work on 7.30.

She's the author of two books, Detainee 002 and On Doubt and her writing appears in Australia's top newspapers and magazines. She co-hosts a popular independent podcast with her colleague Annabel Crabb called Chat 10, Looks 3 about culture and politics.

For further information regarding the 2017 convention, please go to www.tda.edu.au or email tda@pco.com.au


New maritime technical college to train future shipbuilders

The federal government will establish a Maritime Technical College to prepare the workforce for Australia's $90 billion shipbuilding program.

The college, to be based in Adelaide, will deliver training across the country in partnership with universities and training providers.

Education Minister Senator Simon Birmingham said the college will commence in 2018, with a focus on increasing key entry-level trade qualifications through contracted registered training organisations in areas such as steel fabrication, welding and naval engineering.

See more

Minister who 'rebuilt' Victoria's TAFE system to quit parliament

The former Victorian minister for training and skills Steve Herbert has announced his intention to quit state parliament.

Premier Daniel Andrews said Mr Herbert led the government’s efforts to strengthen the training system and rebuild TAFE.

"He delivered on our election commitments to save TAFE with the $350 million TAFE Rescue Package and through his hard work and dedication helped re-open Lilydale TAFE.

"He also overhauled the private training sector to return quality and oversight to the system and protect students against exploitation," Mr Andrews said.

Reminder: International Relations Grant Program: 2017-18 Grant Rounds

A reminder for TDA members that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) International Relations Grant Program 2017-18 Grant Rounds are currently open for applications, with most grants closing from mid to late April.  

The International Relations Grant Program aims to support professional, community and institutional linkages between Australia and a number of key partners on contemporary issues of shared interest, including business, innovation and science, the arts, media, education and sport.

Education, including VET, is supported by most of the grant rounds, and TAFE member institutions are encouraged to submit grant applications for projects in relevant areas and countries.

The grants are managed by DFAT's Foundations, Councils and Institutes, and include ASEAN, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Latin America and the Arab world. 

All grants are now open - the earliest closing date is for ASEAN countries, closing today, Monday 27 March, and the latest closing date is for India on Thursday 27 April.

For further information visit DFAT's website, or contact Jen Bahen via jbahen@tda.edu.au.  

Harvard global environment centre to deliver sustainability summit

Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) has teamed up with Harvard University’s Center for Health and the Global Environment to deliver the 'Leadership in Sustainability Summit: Positioning Sustainability as an Innovation Driver'.

The first of the one-day summits took place in Sydney this week, with two remaining summits in Melbourne and Auckland in April.

The sessions will interest senior leaders, leadership teams and sustainability professionals from all sectors, introducing best in class content that has been validated through executive education programs offered at Harvard University.

See more

AVETRA's 20th anniversary conference program now available

A preliminary program is now available for the 20th annual AVETRA conference being held at William Angliss Institute in Melbourne, 18 - 20 April.

There are some 50 papers being presented at the conference which will be accompanied by a 20-year celebration of the event.

See the latest AVETRA program or register here.

Diary Dates

Association for Tertiary Education Management (ATEM)
Cross-Sectoral Forum
7 April 2017
CQ University, Melbourne
More information

20th Annual AVETRA 2017 Conference
18 - 20 April 2017
William Angliss Institute, Melbourne
More information

Group Training Association of NSW & ACT 2017 Skills Conference
Moving Apprenticeships and Traineeships Forward
14 June 2017
Dockside Darling Harbour
More information

26th National VET Research Conference 'No Frills' 
5 - 7 July 2017
More information.

2017 VTA State Conference
20 – 21 July 2017
Rydges Melbourne
189 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
More information coming soon

Queensland Training Awards
Department of Education and Training, Queensland
July 2017
More information

Community Colleges Australia Annual Conference 2017
25 - 27 July 2017
Citadines on Bourke, Melbourne, Victoria
More information
TDA Convention 2017 - Networked TAFE
7 - 8 September 2017 (Welcome Reception 6 September at Adelaide Oval)
Adelaide Hilton, South Australia
More information

2017 VDC Teaching & Learning Conference
7 - 8 September 2017
RACV Torquay Resort
More information coming soon

National Skills Week 2017
28 August – 3 September 2017
Nation wide
More information

National VET Conference
13 - 15 September 2017
International Convention Centre, Sydney
More information

National Apprentice Employment Network
National Conference
2 - 3 November 2017
Radisson Hotel, Sydney
More information coming soon


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