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Newsletter | 30 January 2017

In this edition


Education leaders recognised in Australia Day honours

A number of outstanding individuals who have contributed to education, including vocational education, were recognised in the 2017 Australia Day Honours.

Dr Tom Karmel, who led the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) for more than a decade up until 2013 was awarded a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia for significant service to vocational education research and administration, and to the community through public administration roles.


Longstanding public education advocate, Lyndsay Connors AM, was made an Officer (AO) in the Order of Australia for distinguished service to national public education policy, to improved school performance and equitable funding delivery, and as a role model and mentor of young women.


Former Howard government minister Dr David Kemp was appointed Companion (AC) in the Order of Australia for eminent service to the Parliament of Australia, notably in the areas of employment, education, training and youth affairs, to the environment, to institutional reform and public policy development, and to the community.


The late Emeritus Professor Larry Smith was appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia for significant service to the vocational education and training sector, through leadership and research roles, and to professional organisations. He was an academic over more than 30 years and Director of the University of New England Centre for Business Research from 2005 to 2015.

New ministers announced in NSW cabinet reshuffle

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro retains the skills portfolio but the education minister has been replaced in a cabinet reshuffle unveiled yesterday by the new Premier, Gladys Berejiklian.

The Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro adds the role of Minister for Regional NSW, along with the Skills and Small Business portfolios.

The Nationals' Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall made it to cabinet as Assistant Minister for Skills and Minister for Tourism and Major Events.

Three Nationals ministers were dropped including education minister Adrian Piccoli who served in the post for almost six years.

The new education minister is Sydney northern beaches MP Rob Stokes who was previously minister for planning.

Ms Berejiklian became premier two weeks ago after the surprise retirement of Mike Baird.

Work needed at the intersection of VET and higher education

A paper published last week, by NCVER's managing director Craig Fowler described the relationship between the VET and higher education sectors as 'confused, contested and collaborative'.

Despite some excellent examples of TAFE institutes collaborating with university partners, the intersection and overlap between VET and higher education shows a lack of coherent, long-term planning, both in terms of policy and funding.

For instance, students enrolled in higher education qualifications in TAFE are ineligible for HELP loans, unlike diploma students. Moreover, the funding bias in favour of the university sector is causing increasing expansion of higher education into the VET space.

Adding to this dissonance is the fact that the VET regulatory regime makes it difficult for providers to incorporate 21st century capabilities that complement technical knowledge and skills into the qualifications they deliver.

The paper suggests a more unified system of loans comprising both VET and higher education, administered by the Commonwealth, which complements Certificate I-IV policies administered by the states and territories.

VET and early school leavers

The European Centre for Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) recently released a two-part publication examining the linkages between VET and early school leavers.

The first part seeks to understand why young people leave VET programs early, and quantify the impact this decision may have over the course of their lives. The second focuses on policy solutions that reduce early leavers.

Countries with higher VET enrolments have lower rates of early school leavers, despite the fact that early leaving appears to be more prevalent in vocational than in non-vocational streams.

Moreover, national differences in rates of early leavers are influenced by what status VET holds in a particular country.

The study also found that students involved in work-based learning had higher completion than students in classroom based VET programs.

Overall, VET acts as a safety net for some students who may take up a vocational stream instead of leaving an academic one. They may also come back into the system by enrolling in a vocational program.

Policy solutions should target specific profiles of learners at risk of leaving. The paper lists examples of effective prevention and intervention measures from different EU countries.

Overall, the publication finds that EU members should commit to VET as a means of tackling and reducing early school leavers.

ICT Industry Reference Committee review – nominations open

Stakeholders in the ICT sector have been invited to take part in a review of training packages.

Nominations are now open for suitable organisations to be considered for membership of the ICT Industry Reference Committee (IRC).

A proposed structure for the ICT IRC was made available for public consultation on 13 December. The structure was amended in consultation with the IRC Chair based on the feedback received from stakeholders.

To nominate, follow the instructions provided on the AISC website. The closing date for nominations is this Friday.

More information about the review on the AISC’s website at www.aisc.net.au/content/irc-review.

Diary Dates

Group Training Association of NSW & ACT
2017 Skills Conference
14 June 2017
Dockside Darling Harbour
More information coming soon

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

2017 TDA Convention - Network TAFE
7 - 8 September 2017
More information coming soon

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

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


Corporate Affiliates