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Newsletter | 28 October 2013

In this edition

Minister Pyne sets ground rules on higher education regulation

The Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, has stepped in to ensure reduced regulation and reporting in higher education, with a direction to the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).

Mr Pyne said the government accepted all the recommendations of the Review of Higher Education Regulation, conducted by Professor Kwong Lee Dow AO, and Professor Valerie Braithwaite.

Next steps include establishing a TEQSA advisory council which will create broad consultation mechanisms and provide expert advice to TEQSA on its activities, as well as advise the Minister directly on TEQSA’s progress in implementing more efficient regulation. 

Further work will be underway this year and into next year to consider amendments to legislation to reduce duplication and streamline requirements across the various Acts that apply to higher education providers. The Minister has asked the Department to ensure that this work is undertaken in full consultation with the sector. 

TDA will be seeking detailed discussions supporting the role of TAFE Institutes registered as higher education providers.

See the Minister’s announcement.

See the Ministerial Direction.

Developing a graduation statement for VET

The Australian Qualifications Framework Council is undertaking consultations regarding the development of a graduation statement for the VET sector.

Graduation statements are official documents provided to graduates alongside other certification documentation such as testamurs and records of results.

The introduction of a VET graduation statement would bring Australia in line with international practice in documentation provided to graduates.

The AQF Council has prepared a consultation paper on the issue.

AQFC will be seeking written feedback on the proposal.

Please email TDA Director Policy and Stakeholder Engagement, Pam Caven with comments.

Up-skilling needed for agrifood workforce

Less than 40 per cent of workers in agriculture and fishing, and 45 per cent in food processing, have a post-school qualification, compared to Australia’s all-industries average of 62 per cent, according to the Food and Beverage Workforce Report, released by the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency.

Since 2007, there has been only a 2 per cent growth in students commencing food industry training packages annually, compared with a 6 per cent average growth across all training packages.

“The challenge is to build the skills base of the agrifood workforce and to increase the proportion of workers with post-school qualifications,” the AWPA report says.

Completions in food industry training packages have increased by just over 8 per cent per annum between 2006 and 2010, a slower rate of increase than that for all VET qualifications which is about 12 per cent.  Less than a third of VET commencements in food-related training packages lead to completion of a formal qualification.

See the AWPA Food and Beverage Workforce Report.

Listen to a podcast.

Funding open for Queensland training providers

Queensland registered training organisations (RTOs) providing innovative training for disadvantaged learners are being encouraged to apply for funding under the second round of the $47 million Community Learning program.

Education, Training and Employment Minister John-Paul Langbroek said the government was keen to receive funding applications from regional Queensland.

“In the first round we’ve distributed nearly $6 million to 23 organisations to deliver nationally recognised, community-based training to more than 2,100 learners with diverse needs across the state.”

See the Minister’s announcement.

See more on Community Learning funding.

Employers urged to ‘rate their training’

Employers in Victoria are being urged by the State Government to rate the quality of their training.

The Minister for Higher Education and Skills Peter Hall launched a new website that will help businesses source vocational training that best suits their needs.

Using a 5-star rating system, employers can rate the training they or their employees have received. It is supported by industry associations, including Australia Industry Group, Master Builders Association, the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce, the Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Victorian Farmers Federation.

See more.

Vocations rule in the regions

Vocational qualifications outnumbered university level qualifications by two to one in the regional areas of Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

"In the cities we saw little difference between the number of people with uni degrees and the number of people with vocational qualifications," said Lisa Connolly from the ABS, "but outside the big cities, there were more than twice the number of vocational qualifications compared to degrees and diplomas."

The rates of attainment for tertiary qualifications varied widely across Australia, from a low of about one-third to a high of two-thirds, and the highest rates were generally in and around the capital cities.

See the ABS report.

TAFE facing up to challenges

In a recent presentation to the E-Oz Energy Skills Australia Conference, Pam Caven, TAFE Directors Australia’s Director of Policy and Stakeholder Engagement responded to the question of whether the current changes in vocational education and training policy were “terrific or terrifying”.

The answer to the proposition – terrifying or terrific depends on your vantage point.

From a TAFE Directors Australia perspective the changing situation is challenging to say the least, neither terrifying, nor terrific.

Ms Caven concluded her presentation by referring to the chair of TDA, Stephen Conway’s welcome address to TDA conference delegates in which he characterised the current situation of TAFE institutes; “We are leaner, we are sharper in our focus on skills in an international context, we aim for agility in our business models, and we anticipate the changing needs of our diverse clients. We increasingly draw on our collective capability”.

See an edited version of Pam’s address.

Technical and vocational education helping skilled migrants

Technical and vocational education institutions have a wider role to play in assisting skilled migrants and their families to better integrate into the labour market and the community, according to a new study by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

The report, Skilled migrant women in regional Australia: Promoting social inclusion through VET, considers how vocational education and training can assist in achieving ‘social inclusion’ for skilled migrant families.

“VET institutions can assist the spouses of skilled migrants by explaining and offering recognition of prior learning and providing advice on how educational opportunities relate to jobs in the Australian context,” said Sue Fergusson, NCVER’s General Manager Research.

See the report.

NCVER’s validation software now available for AVETMISS release 7.0

The Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard (AVETMISS) for VET providers is a national data standard for collecting and reporting VET information. The Standard details the information training organisations need to collect on the training activities they provide.

The new release of the data standard, AVETMISS release 7.0, has been made available in NCVER’s new web-based AVETMISS validation software (AVS). Training organisations can now validate their data in AVS to check if their systems are AVETMISS 7.0 compliant.

AVETMISS 7.0 comes into effect for 2014 training activity. Please use the PC-based validation software to validate your 2013 training activity under AVETMISS release 6.1

To access the web-based validation software, please register here.  Support materials on how to use the new validation software are available on the same page (under Support).

The following AVETMISS 7.0 materials are available:

  • Business rules to assist you in implementing AVETMISS 7.0 changes in your systems
  • Sample text files to allow you to validate trial data and provide you with an opportunity to become familiar with the new software.

For additional information on AVETMISS 7.0 and NCVER’s new AVETMISS validation software, please visit NCVER.

Diary Dates

Building Research Capacity and Culture in VET
AVETRA, TAFE Managers NSW, and Women in Adult and Vocational Education (WAVE)

DATE: 31 October
LOCATION: TAFE NSW, St George College, Kogarah.
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

2013 Webinar series
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: August - November
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

VET Development Centre – The VET BLOG
For relevant news and articles about the VET sector
DETAILS: Click here.

17th Annual Centre for the Economics of Education and Training (CEET) Conference
Where to now with VET and social inclusion?

DATE: 1 November
LOCATION: Monash Conference Centre, Melbourne.
DETAILS: Click here for more information

2013 AAIR National Forum
Australasian Association for Institutional Research

DATE: 13-15 November
LOCATION: Perth, Western Australia
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Risk Management for Tertiary Education Sector
Australian Institute of Company Directors and Association for Tertiary Education Management

DATE: 15 November
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

conVerge13 - E-learning Conference

DATE: 21-22 November
LOCATION: Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Australian Training Awards
Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education

DATE: 22 November
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

National Association of Enabling Educators of Australia
Flexibility: Pathways to Participation

DATE: 27-29 November
LOCATION: Australian Catholic University, Melbourne Campus
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

AVETRA 17th Annual Conference
Informing Changes in VET Policy and Practice: The Central Role of Research

DATE: 22-24 April 2014
LOCATION: Outrigger, Surfers Paradise, Queensland
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

'No Frills' - 23rd National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference
DATE: 9-11 July 2014
LOCATION: Holmesglen, Moorabbin Campus, Melbourne, Victoria
DETAILS: Coming soon.