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Newsletter | 29 February 2016

In this edition


Canberra summit to examine the role of TAFE in innovation and applied research

Local and international experts in the field of tertiary education are meeting in Canberra this week to examine the place of Australia’s TAFE network in the federal government’s innovation agenda.

The Innovation and Applied Research Roundtable will take place at the Canberra Institute of Technology on Wednesday.

The meeting has been organised by TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) and the Melbourne University’s LH Martin Institute, and will address how the sector becomes more engaged with the federal government’s $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda.

Guest speakers from Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom will outline how applied research and innovation has been advanced in their public college systems.

It will be followed by dinner, with guest speaker, the Swedish academic, technologist, and author, Göran Roos, a member of the Economic Development Board of South Australia.

Department of education failed to provide student loan data to regulator

The Commonwealth Department of Education and Training did not provide key information to the Australian Skills Authority (ASQA) that would have helped target training providers responsible for the multi-billion dollar blowout in VET FEE-HELP.

ABC Radio National's Background Briefing episode, 'TAFE plunder' reports that the regulator was "flying blind" because it did not receive student loan data from the department until early 2015, well after private colleges had started rorting the scheme.

"Certainly, I think in the early days that information wasn't forthcoming the way it is now," ASQA Chief Commissioner Chris Robinson told the program.

An education department spokesperson told ABC that the department had shared information with ASQA prior to 2015 regarding VET FEE-HELP “regulatory activity and quality issues”, but confirmed that loan data on providers receiving VET FEE-HELP only started in early 2015.

NSW parliamentary committee says 'Smart and Skilled' needs to be overhauled

A NSW parliamentary committee has recommended major changes to the state's 'Smart and Skilled' program, including higher prices for certain courses and a limit on contestable funding in regional areas.

The report of the standing committee, Vocational Education and Training in New South Wales, says that the prices paid to some training providers appear too low to cover the cost of delivering courses.

The committee has called for a cap on the level of contestable funding in areas deemed as thin markets, with direct funding allocated to TAFE institutes.

It also strongly criticises the TAFE NSW IT system, known as SALM/EBS.

"The committee can reach no other conclusion than that the SALM/EBS system is so dysfunctional that it must be abolished," the report says.

The committee says TAFE should allow other providers to use its facilities for a commercial fee.

The committee comprised three Liberal members, two Labor, one Green and one Christian Democrat.

WA TAFE colleges amalgamated in training shake-up

The West Australian government has announced a major overhaul of the training system that will see the number of TAFE colleges reduced, with new management and governing councils.

Commencing in April, the 70 existing campuses will be managed by five TAFE colleges, instead of the current 11.

Deputy Premier and Training and Workforce Development Minister Liza Harvey said there will be greater collaboration among the network of colleges, allowing resources and expertise to be shared.

"Under the changes there will be greater local community and industry collaboration to ensure students are being trained to meet local industry needs," Ms Harvey said.

Acting managing directors for each college will be appointed and new governing councils will be formed.

The five new TAFE colleges will be named North Metropolitan TAFE, South Metropolitan TAFE, North Regional TAFE, Central Regional TAFE and South Regional TAFE.

Fulbright professional award 2016 for Nicholas Wyman

Former group training executive Nicholas Wyman has been chosen as the 2016 recipient of the Australian American Fulbright Professional VET Scholarship.

Nicholas Wyman, based at the Institute for Workplace Skills and Innovation, plans to study in the Urban Institute in Washington DC, reviewing alternate models of adult apprenticeships, including new ICT based advanced apprenticeships.

Craig Robertson, deputy secretary of the Victorian government's vocational education and skills group, presented the Fulbright Scholarships in Melbourne, along with the American Ambassador to Australia, Mr John Berry. 

From left: Damien Pearce (Fulbright VET Scholar 2011), Nicholas Wyman, Craig Robertson, Victorian government, and Martin Riordan, CEO TDA (Fulbright VET Scholar 2009).   

Graduate programs for VET students - is there a need?

Information on internships, cadetships and graduate programs is readily available for university students, but rare for VET students, according to a paper from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

The paper explores the feasibility of employment program for recent VET graduates, similar to those that operate in higher education.

"Overall, graduates place great value in these programs as they assist them to begin their professional working careers; however, they do experience some frustrations," the paper says.

See 'Graduate programs for VET students: is there a need?'

Chance to participate in survey on quality VET teaching

TAFE and VET teachers and those associated with VET organisations are invited to participate in an online survey for a research project ‘Investigating Quality Teaching in the Victorian VET Sector’.

The project has been commissioned by the Victorian Department of Education and Training and is being undertaken by the LH Martin Institute and the Centre for Vocational and Educational Policy team in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. The project brings together a team of experienced researchers, VET practitioners, department representatives, and key industry stakeholders.

The project is investigating quality teaching, and the capabilities that VET teachers need to support effective student learning. It seeks to develop a capability framework that describes how VET teachers typically progress from novice to expert within the teaching profession. 

The 15-20 minute survey will help identify the relevance, accuracy, feasibility and usefulness of the capability framework for teachers. It will also identify the potential barriers and challenges in developing those skills.

The survey is open until Friday 11 March and is available here.

It is completely anonymous, although if participants choose to enter the draw for the Apple iPad Air, they will be asked to supply contact details.

Diary Dates

Innovation and Applied Research Roundtable
TAFE Directors Australia and LH Martin Institute
2 March, 2016
Canberra Institute of Technology, Canberra
More information

2016 Virtual VET Summits
Velg Training
8 – 9 March, 2016: RTO Managers
15 – 16 March, 2016: Trainers & Assessors
Online Live Stream
More information

Group Training National Conference
‘Skilling for Growth’
7 – 8 April, 2016
More information

AVETRA 19th Annual Conference 
20 – 22 April 2016
More information

WAVE National Conference
Women: Education, Empowerment, Equality. A New Agenda?
20 April 2016
Northern Sydney Institute, TAFE NSW
More information

EduTECH 2016
30 - 31 May, 2016
More information

2016 Skills Conference
Group Training Association of NSW & ACT
15 June, 2016
More information

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 coming soon.

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

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

TDA Convention
4 - 6 October, 2016
More information coming soon

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

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


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