TAFE Directors Australia

Supporting our member institutes since 1998

Newsletter 30 May 2011




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Stephen Conway, TAFE South Australia, elected new Chair for TDA

Stephen Conway, Managing Director of TAFE SA South, has been elected the new Chair of TAFE Directors Australia.

Stephen succeeds Bruce Mackenzie, Chief Executive of Holmegslen Institute, who completed his term at the TDA Annual General Meeting held in Melbourne last week.

Stephen Conway’s previous experience includes being a part-time instructor, a lecturer, and a Director in the South Australian TAFE system.

Dianne Murray, Institute Director of TAFE NSW – Illawarra Institute, continues in the role of Deputy Chair, and Sue Slavin, Managing Director of West Coast Institute of Training, was elected as the second Deputy Chair. Kevin Harris, Institute Director of TAFE NSW – Northern Sydney Institute, was elected Chair of the Finance & Audit Committee.

Stephen Conway paid tribute to Bruce Mackenzie, on his term as Chair, and especially his contribution both as a foundation member of TDA, and vision in terms of defining tertiary and key policy affecting TAFE institutes, post-Bradley Review.

Martin Riordan, CEO of TDA, congratulated Stephen Conway on his appointment as Chair, new Board executive Sue Slavin as Deputy Chair, and Kevin Harris as Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee.

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Regional development gets national attention

The Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Hon. Simon Crean, and the Member for Lyne, Rob Oakeshott, launched two key policy discussion papers on regional development at a function at Parliament House.

Mr. Crean said the role of education had become vital for regional development, and he was critical of a recent Grattan Institute report which had downplayed the role of regional investment.

The papers by TDA and Regional Development Australia – Mid-North Coast, focus on the critical role of Australia’s regions in economic prosperity, vocational education, and community development.

They included:

  • A joint Occasional Paper by TDA and RDA MNC, resulting from the 2010 ‘Strategic Regional Leadership for the Future Conference’.
  • TDA’s board paper: ‘TAFE’s Strategic Leadership Role in Regional Australia’ which sets out eight principles as a framework for TAFE to play a key role in leading regional renewal and sustainability.

For more information about Regional Development Australia, click here.

A new Regional and Rural Policy section of the TDA website also features a report from Agri-Skills Australia’s Arthur Blewitt, which demonstrates the positive impact government and community collaboration can have on regional development, and features a case study based in Narrabri, NSW.


Launch of Regional Development papers, Parliament House, 25 May


Martin Riordan, CEO TDA; Minister Crean; Elizabeth McGregor, Acting Chair of RDA MNC; Rob Oakeshott MP.

Peter Tregilgas, Executive Officer, of the RDA MNC addressing the audience

Pam Caven, Director Policy and Stakeholder Engagement, TDA; Elaine Eccleston; and Denise Janek, Executive Director, TAFE SA Regional.

The two reports launched by Minister Crean and Rob Oakeshott


Regional sub-committee

Since February 2010, TDA has convened a regional sub-committee of the Board which focuses on the role of TAFE in regional development. The sub-committee meets regularly via teleconference and recently published both the TDA Board Regional Paper and a submission to the Higher Education Income Support Review.

A list of sub-committee members and remaining meeting dates for 2011 can be viewed here. Members are invited to participate in the sub-committee, and can contact Pam Caven for more information.

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Chinese ‘microblog’ to promote Australian education

Australia Education International’s (AEI’s) China arm has launched a microblog to promote all sectors of Australian education to the Chinese market.

The ‘Weibo’ account, uses a mix of Facebook and Twitter, and will feature information about the latest policy reform in Australian education, developments in the relationship between China and Australia, information about upcoming education-related events, and practical information.  

Fans of the site already include students, parents, education agents and Chinese education institutions.  

TDA congratulates AEI China on this initiative and hopes to contribute to the site with information about TAFE Institutes and the TAFE sector.

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Canberra TAFE and university set to merge?

The ACT government has commissioned Professor Denise Bradley to review a possible merger between Canberra Institute of TAFE and the University of Canberra.

The possible ‘dual sector’ institutional merger was first proposed by former Commonwealth departmental secretary Allan Hawke, who reviewed the ACT public service, and was an issue reviewed by the ACT Government.

Click here to view an article in The Australian.

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U.S. author promotes TDA’s case for level playing field

Prominent US Author, Ben Wildavsky, has written a blog about his Australian visit, including an overview of his meeting with TDA CEO, Martin Riordan.

Ben is touring Australia while on an international education policy exchange program sponsored by Australian Education International.

In his blog, Ben Wildavsky, highlights TDA’s push for a level playing field between the funding for universities and TAFEs that offer vocational-based degrees.

Click here to view the blog.

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Three options for English testing now approved

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has approved another brand of English testing as part of visa applications, giving students greater choice.

Students can now use the TOEFL® test scores as part of their visa application. The TOEFL® test is created by non-profit educational assessment and research organisation, Educational Testing Service (ETS).

This follows the approval of the Pearson English test last week.

Click here to view the announcement.

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Completion rates steady

Slightly more than a quarter of students who enrolled in vocational education and training in 2007 are expected to complete their training, according to National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

New data shows that completion rates for the 2007 cohort are similar to those who enrolled in 2005. For young people aged up to 25 years, the national estimated completion rate increases to 35.6%.

Click here for more information.


Also from NCVER...

Low training wages for trade apprentices are not a deal-breaker when it comes to completing their apprenticeship. New research finds that the payoff associated with becoming a qualified tradesperson encourages apprentices to finish their training, rather than how much they get paid.

Click here for more information.

NCVER has also released December quarter figures for apprentice and trainee numbers. There were 440 700 apprentices and trainees in-training as at the end of December 2010, an increase of 6.3% from the previous year.

Click here for more information.

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Is VET worthwhile?

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) is holding a national forum in Adelaide, 28 June, focusing on the value of VET.

The program will include presentations by:

  • Professor Barbara Pocock and Dr Natalie Skinner from the Centre for Work + Life, University of South Australia
  • Dr Cain Polidano and Dr Hielke Buddelmeyer from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research
  • Dr Chris Ryan, formerly of the Social Policy Evaluation, Analysis and Research Centre, Australian National University
  • Dr John Buchanan and Dr Tanya Bretherton from the Workplace Research Centre, University of Sydney

A highlight of the forum will be a panel discussion with Robin Shreeve, Skills Australia, Angela Coker, ETSA Utilities, and Tom Karmel, NCVER, who will share their insights and respond to the research, discussing the implications for the VET system. Click here for more information.

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My Uni website to be tested in July

Debate around the inclusion of private providers to the pending My Uni website has begun, with concerns being raised with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations that private providers could be confused with universities.

The My Uni website is set to be tested in July. Read an article from The Australian here.

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Diary Dates

20th National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference (No Frills)
DATE: 13-15 July, 2011
LOCATION: North Coast TAFE, Coffs Harbour
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Higher Education on the Edge
DATE: 4-7 July, 2011
LOCATION: Radisson Resort, Gold Coast
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Inaugural Regional Higher Education Forum
DATE: 2-3 August, 2011
LOCATION: Coffs Harbour
DETAILS: More information soon

2011 National VET Conference
DATE: 4-5 August, 2011
LOCATION: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information

2011 National Conference
DATE: 10 August, 2011
LOCATION: Four Season’s Hotel, Sydney
DETAILS: Click here for more information

2011 National Conference
DATE: 5-6 September, 2011
LOCATION: Sheraton on the Park Hotel, Sydney
DETAILS: More information here

2011 Conference
DATE: 11-14 October, 2011
LOCATION: Adelaide Convention Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information

AUSTAFE National Conference
2020 Vision
DATE: 12-14 October, 2011
LOCATION: Canberra
DETAILS: Click here for more information

ePortfolios Australia Conference 2011
DATE: 17-18 October, 2011
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Looking ahead - Group Training National Conference
DATE: 19-21 October, 2011
LOCATION: Grand Hyatt, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Australasian Association for Institutional Research Forum “Let the sunshine in”
DATE: 9-11 November, 2011
LOCATION: Sea World Resort, Gold Coast
DETAILS: Click here for more information

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