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Newsletter | 30 May 2016

In this edition


Federal Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham and Vocational Education and Skills Minister Scott Ryan join TDA board meeting

Federal Ministers Simon Birmingham and Scott Ryan took time out from electioneering to join the TDA national board meeting in Brisbane late last week.

Senator Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training, pictured top,told the TDA board the Coalition was keen to avoid the mistakes of the troubled VET FEE-HELP loan system when considering the way forward for higher education reform.

He said the government’s higher education discussion paper, released on Budget night, was designed to review all options for higher education reform, noting that he looked forward to proposals from the sector as to how it could best be achieved within the parameters set down in the Budget.

He pledged “student choice” would drive his decisions and that quality would be key whether in TAFE and other non-university higher education providers or in universities. Fairness, affordability, innovation and excellence would be guiding principles.

Minister Birmingham agreed the student loan fees for non-university students needed to be “equalised” to address fairness.

Senator Ryan, Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, pictured bottom, focused on the VET FEE HELP loans system, and his Discussion Paper outlining the serious problems following the 2012 expansion and options for reform.

He indicated that, if re-elected, the government would improve protocols for the VET FEE HELP loans scheme. He was critical of Labor’s Budget-in-Reply plan for a single $8,000 cap on loans in any one year, suggesting that reforms needed to specifically consider incentives and unforseen effects, so as to avoid repeating the problems of the 2012 expansion.

See the 2015 TDA Annual Report

Federal government funds program to test alternative approach to apprenticeships

The federal government has funded three pilot programs to trial alternatives to the traditional method of apprenticeship delivery.

A total of $9 million will be provided over three years to fund five pilot programs, with three "priority" projects advised on the Australian Apprenticeships website.

The three pilots will be delivered by Master Builders Australia, the National Electrical and Communications Association, and North East Vocational College in Adelaide.

But the Shadow Minister for Vocational Education Sharon Bird accused the government of a "sneaky" plan to dismantle the apprenticeship system without any formal announcement.

The Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Senator Scott Ryan accused Labor of "confected outrage" and said the pilots were included in December's Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

“These pilots do not replace the existing apprenticeship system, they complement existing arrangements, they work with industry and other stakeholders to help more young people start and complete traditional apprenticeship training and repair the damage inflicted by Labor," the minister said.

Applications for the remaining two pilots will close 29 July.

Victoria creates investigations unit to target rogue training providers

The Victorian government has established an investigations unit in the Department of Education and Training to identify rogue training providers.

The unit will be headed by a former Victorian Ombudsman Principal Investigator and will conduct targeted investigations into unscrupulous training providers, according to Minister for Training and Skills Steve Herbert.

The minister said the unit will examine inappropriate low quality short course delivery, the suitability of qualifications and marketing practices of training providers.

“We will not give providers a blank cheque for taxpayers’ money – especially when the safety of the community could be put at risk because of substandard training," Mr Herbert said.

He said that since last June, 57 training providers have been identified for investigation, 15 training contracts have been terminated and $40 million has been earmarked for recovery.

South Australia expands the number of subsidised training courses

The South Australian government has expanded the number of courses on its subsidised training list, including those available to private training providers.

The Minister for Higher Education and Skills Susan Close said that an extra nine courses will be available through private training providers as part of the government’s WorkReady jobs strategy.

Starting July 1, the new courses are in civil construction, driving operations, hospitality, youth work, agriculture, and rural operations.

"The courses are in addition to the existing 300 TAFE courses and 100 courses run by private training providers," Ms Close said.

More than 50 courses on the list are aligned to the defence industry. Key Defence related courses include: aeroskills, information technology, computer systems, engineering, and automotive mechanical trades.

See the Subsidised Training List.

Tasmania's budget provides small business help with apprentices

The Tasmanian budget has provided $600,000 to assist small businesses to take on apprentices.

The Minister for State Growth, Matthew Groom, said that the two-year funding commitment would enable Skills Tasmania to work with stakeholders, including group training organisations, to deliver the program to support small businesses to employ trainees and apprentices.

"With the economy growing at its fastest rate in six years, we need to make sure that we boost skills and training so we can build on that momentum and ensure employers have access to the skilled workers they need to drive future growth in our economy," the minister said.

The government has also invested $3 million into TasTAFE to ensure that it has the cutting edge equipment and technology to train a job-ready workforce.

WFCP 2016 World Congress coming up in Brazil 

The World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) will be holding the 2016 World Congress at Vitória, Espírito Santo in Brazil from September 23-25.

The World Congress will bring together leaders of educational institutions in professional and technical training and education from around the world under the theme, 'The Role of Professional Education in the 21st Century.

TDA Australia is leading two of six segments of the World Congress, with special sessions highlighting higher skills and degrees delivered at colleges, and along with China, showcasing the APEC green skills workshop which was hosted in Sydney last November.

Several international experts will be featured, including keynote addresses by Dr Robert Cowen, speaking on the trajectory of professional education in the world, and Domenico Di Masi, speaking on perspectives for 21st Century society.

TAFE Institutes are also invited to nominate for two TAFE students to attend a special student retreat, while TAFE leaders or a ‘top team’ member can nominate to attend a college professional leaders' retreat, that will also be hosted during the Congress.

The WFCP World Congress will be followed by the annual gathering of leaders in professional education in Brazil, known as Reditec.

See the WFCP website for details.

GLS webinar to help TAFEs address student engagement, retention and progression

TDA Corporate Affiliate, Global Learning Support (GLS), is hosting an upcoming webinar that will address key issues around student engagement, retention and course progression.

The webinar, 5 Ways to Increase Student Engagement, Retention and Boost Revenue, will look at some of the challenges related to student success, especially in blended and online courses.

GLS helps institutions overcome these challenges by creating personalised support environments that help students progress and achieve their educational goals.

"We understand 'why and when' students are likely to disengage or drop out and what interventions get them back on track.  Because only some of the 'whys' are related to learning, we created EduSuite™ to proactively monitor and report on key student lifecycle milestones. With this actionable knowledge, our Study Coaches help students manage things when life happens," GLS says.

Register for the webinar. Contact GLS to discuss how it can help achieve student success.

Private students to be included in national student survey

For the first time, the National Centre for Vocational Education Research's (NCVER), major survey of VET students will include fee-paying students at private colleges.

Over coming weeks around 220,000 students will be asked about their recent training experience as part of the Student Outcomes Survey.

NCVER Managing Director Dr Craig Fowler said that, to date, only students who studied with government providers, such as TAFE, or those whose training was funded by governments were included in the survey.

"Now we’re also asking students who paid their own way to rate their training too. This will give us a better idea of how the sector is performing," he said.

Results from the survey will be available in late 2016.

Diary Dates

EduTECH 2016
30 - 31 May, 2016

More information

2016 Skills Conference
Group Training Association of NSW & ACT
15 June, 2016
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25th National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’
4 – 6 July 2016
Rockhampton, Queensland

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

4 – 6 July 2016
Sheraton Mirage, Gold Coast
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VETnetwork Australia
Biennial National Conference
27- 28 July, 2016
Gold Coast
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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
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VET Development Centre Teaching & Learning Conference
1 - 2 September, 2016
RACV Torquay Resort, Victoria
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National VET Conference 
Velg Training
14 – 16 September, 2016
Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre
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TDA 2016 Convention – Skills Resurgence
4 - 6 October, 2016
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Melbourne, Victoria
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Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Conference
4-7 October, 2016
Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart  
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2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition
6 - 8 October, 2016
Melbourne Showgrounds
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Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators (RACMA) Conference  
12-15 October, 2016
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
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Australasian Genomic Technologies Association (AGTA) Conference
9-12 October, 2016
Pullman Hotel Auckland, New Zealand
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ACER National Adult Training and Assessment Conference
13-14 October, 2016
William Angliss Institute, Melbourne
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Australian Training Awards
17 November, 2016
Darwin, Northern Territory
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Corporate Affiliates