Having trouble viewing this email? Click here to view online.

Newsletter | 2 May 2016

In this edition


Commonwealth releases blueprint for redesign of student loan scheme

The federal government has proposed a set of tougher measures to fix the VET FEE-HELP blow-out in a discussion paper released on Friday.

The Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Senator Scott Ryan said the paper will pave the way for a full redesign of the scheme. However timing of any amending legislation looks unclear with the pending federal election.

The discussion paper proposes a series of measures including minimum eligibility requirements for VET FEE-HELP, reductions in the lifetime student loan limit, a narrower range of eligible courses, a VET FEE-HELP ombudsman, and payments tied to compliance and student progression. It raises the possibility of existing providers needing to reapply.

The paper catalogues the scale of malpractice by some providers and the deliberate targeting of disadvantaged students.

"These figures are extremely troubling, both for their impact on disadvantaged Australians and the unavoidable conclusion that this program has seen them taken advantage of by unscrupulous and unethical practices," the paper says.

It also reveals official 2015 VET FEE-HELP costs which reached $2.9 billion, with private providers accounting for $2.46 billion or 84 per cent of the total (see table below).

See the discussion paper.

Registration now open for the 2016 TAFE Directors Australia Convention – Skills Resurgence

“Skills Resurgence” the TDA 2016 convention will be held in Melbourne at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins on 5 and 6 October 2016, with pre-convention workshops and a welcome reception on Tuesday 4 October.

The Convention will be bigger than ever with a clear focus on skills. It is a ‘must attend’ event for all chief executives and their senior managers involved in vocational education and training along with industry partners and government officials and international delegates.

Convention delegates will gain up-to-date knowledge on policy, best practice and the latest resources and innovation from keynote speakers, discussions, engaging workshops, and invaluable networking opportunities, as well as experiencing Melbourne.

“You never quite know what's in store when you wander off Melbourne's grid of city streets into the maze of gothic laneways behind them…….”

Like Melbourne, the 2016 Convention will have a structured series of laneways which will give delegates the opportunity to explore: 

  • future skills: what skills will graduates need in a post mining Australia and global market place?
  • digital horizons: as technology infiltrates every corner of the market place how ready are we in vocational education?
  • professional practice: a quality approach
  • international education: opportunities and challenges
  • future higher education diversity: TAFE’s role.

Registration is now open and TDA Institutes can register groups during the month of May at very special registration fees. Visit www.tda.edu.au and click on the convention banner to register.

Shanghai vocational colleges link with TAFE higher education

Shanghai’s 13 vocational colleges and polytechnics have signalled closer cooperation with Australian TAFE’s higher education network, ahead of the opening next year of their inaugural degree college.

The China Vocational Education Association in Shanghai, joined with TAFE Directors Australia with an official MoU signing to launch the cooperation.

Currently 20,000 Shanghai secondary school students each year enrol mainly in universities offering degrees overseas. The new cooperation between China colleges, beginning in Shanghai, and TAFE Australia, will endeavour to begin assessment of new marketing for recruitment to the many TAFE degrees now offered across Australia, joint programs in higher education, and new models of higher education cooperation in Shanghai.

The MoU was signed at a special ceremony at the China Vocational Education Association’s headquarters in Shanghai. Martin Riordan, CEO TDA, joined with the China Vocational Education Association Vice President Li Ming, for the signing. Karen Surmon, Australian Trade Commissioner – Consul (Commercial and Education) attended and spoke at the event, supported by Molly Liu, Austrade Education Shanghai.

Udo Doring, Chief Executive of AustChamb Chamber in Shanghai, also attended and spoke of the opportunities to further leverage the extensive TAFE network in China, with industry and new higher level skills in demand.

China and Australia educational cooperation discussions, hosted by the China Vocational Educational Association at the Shanghai branch head office.   

 Li Ming, Vice President of the China Vocational Educational Association (Shanghai Branch) congratulates Martin Riordan, CEO TDA, with the MoU on China colleges and TAFE higher education cooperation.

TDA welcomes new international education strategy

TAFE Directors Australia has welcomed new mechanisms for major providers and industry to play a greater role to ensure quality in international education.

Martin Riordan, CEO of TDA said the weekend release of the national strategy on international education reflected long-awaited acknowledgement that vocational education would be better included in a new strategy, and that quality would drive future growth.

“It was important that the document identified the VET sector across the three-pillar strategy, and contained opportunities for industry input with a focus on quality,” Martin Riordan said.

Coinciding with the launch, the Department of Education and Training released a Deloitte Access Economics-commissioned report, The value of international education to Australia.

See TDA's media release.

See the National Strategy for International Education 2025.

Outstanding person sought for national achievement award

TAFE Institutes are being encouraged to consider suitable individuals to nominate for the National Achievement Award, to be presented at the Australian Training Awards in Darwin in November.

The National Achievement Award is a relatively new category in the Australian Training Awards.

It recognises an individual who has an established history of distinguished service, who has made a lasting contribution, exhibited leadership and provided inspiration, and positively influenced VET on a state, national or international level.

All the information regarding nomination, criteria and selection process can be found at the Australian Training Awards website.

TDA notes with appreciation Jim Barron, who departs as head of Group Training Australia

TAFE Directors Australia has acknowledged Group Training Australia’s Jim Barron, who completed his service as CEO last week, after almost 15 years in the post.

In a note to stakeholders, he advised that as a result of significant structural changes to the national association, the role of CEO is to be abolished.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every GTA network member and VET stakeholder who, over the course of nearly 15 years, I have had the privilege and pleasure to work with and get to know," he said.

On behalf of the TAFE network, TDA extends its appreciation to Jim for his enormous contribution and wishes him the best for the future.

Australian applications open for Fulbright scholarships

Applications for the 2016 Fulbright Scholarships opened this week.

The Australian-American Fulbright Commission offers scholarships to Australian citizens across all career stages and includes postgraduate, postdoctoral and professional scholarships.

During May and June, the Commission will travel across Australia conducting a series of information sessions.

Leadership forum to examine the resilient TAFE

The challenge of change and reform in VET will be the theme of the 2016 Executive Leadership Symposium: Building a Resilient TAFE, hosted by Australian Catholic University Executive Education and the LH Martin Institute in July.

It will cover topics including building an entrepreneurial commercial culture, developing sustainable competitive advantage, organisational change, neuroscience and change, and building engagement and personal resilience.

The symposium will take place 4 - 6 July at the Sheraton Mirage, Gold Coast.

Diary Dates

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

2016 Executive Leadership Symposium: Building a Resilient TAFE.
ACU Executive Education and the LH Martin Institute

4 – 6 July 2016
Sheraton Mirage, Gold Coast
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.

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

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


Corporate Affiliates