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Newsletter | 3 April 2017

In this edition


One third of employers under-paying apprentices

Almost a third of businesses employing apprentices failed to pay them the  correct wages, according to a report by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

An audit of 822 businesses over two years as part of the National Apprenticeship Campaign found that 32 per cent failed to pay apprentices correctly and 22 per cent didn't comply with record-keeping and payslip requirements.

The campaign led to the Fair Work Ombudsman recovering almost $340,000 for 323 workers, while it issued 54 formal cautions, seven compliance notices and five infringement notices.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell said more than 2,000 apprentices made requests for assistance during the campaign, with almost two-thirds under the age of 24.

"Apprentices and trainees account for less than 3 per cent of the Australian workforce yet they account for more than 7 per cent of dispute lodgements with the Fair Work Ombudsman. This is disproportionately high," Mr Campbell said.

New TDA CEO says TAFE critical to rebuilding VET's reputation

Incoming TDA CEO Craig Robertson says that the regalvanising of the TAFE system is critical to the standing of the entire vocational education and training sector.

In his first major interview, Mr Robertson told The Australian that restoring TAFE's position would be a central goal.

"I’ve long felt that the role of the public provider had been lost and they were core to rebuilding the reputation of VET,” Mr Robertson said.

“They deal with all types of students and service a range of industry and economic development needs.That’s the role they play. It’s been lost a bit in the market model," he said.

Mr Robertson, a former senior Victorian and Commonwealth government official, replaces CEO Martin Riordan who is standing down after twelve years in the role.

Committee looks at raising industry's awareness of defence skills

The federal government has held the first meeting of its new industry advisory committee on veterans' employment.

The committee is an initiative of the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program, launched in November.

The committee is chaired by George Frazis, chief executive of the Consumer Bank Division of Westpac Group and a former member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), while the deputy chair is Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG, and general manager of Seven Brisbane and Regional Queensland.

The committee comprises representatives of business organisations and will develop strategies to help industry to recognise the unique skills and experience of ex-ADF personnel.

It follows discussions on a similar theme at the ADF Skills and Apprenticeships Forum in Canberra in late March, jointly hosted by TDA and the National Apprentice Employment Network.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said the initial meeting of the industry committee focussed on key areas including the availability of data on the employment profile of veterans, improving the transition process from the ADF and translating skills and raising awareness of the value of forrmer members of the ADF.

TAFE engineering skills identified for new shipbuilding college

TAFE institutes in South Australia and Western Australia have already been identified as part of the federal government's plan to establish a network of training providers that will comprise the new naval shipbuilding college in Adelaide.

The Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham told parliament that the college would take a 'hub and spoke' approach by working with existing training providers to coordinate and leverage skills already available in order to train some 5,000 future workers.

"In Western Australia the South Metropolitan TAFE already provides courses like an engineering certificate III in shipbuilding, which will provide opportunities particularly tied to the Henderson shipyards and the work that will be undertaken there in Perth," Senator Birmingham told parliament.

"Equally, South Australia's three public universities, TAFE SA and defence industry contractors are collaborating on opportunities they see - opportunities across states, across the spectrum from the thousands of jobs we are generating," he said.

Big fall in private colleges offering student loans

The number of private training colleges approved to provide student loans under the federal government's revamped scheme has dropped from 270 to approximately 180.

The Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham told the Senate that the decline was a reflection of the tougher compliance requirements for providers compared with the troubled VET FEE-HELP scheme.

The 40 TAFE institutes have automatic access into the new scheme, which will come into operation in July.

Senator Birmingham also said around 70,000 students had chosen to continue their studies under the former scheme, while about 20,000 students had applied under the new scheme.

Chance to nominate for the Australian Training Awards

Since 1994, the Australian Training Awards have recognised the outstanding achievements of apprentices, trainees, vocational students, training practitioners, businesses, secondary schools and registered training organisations for their contribution to skilling Australia.

In 2016, Box Hill Institute was named Australia’s best Large Training Provider of the year.

Of the 18 categories presented, a majority of the awards are the culmination of state and territory training awards programs with winners from each state and territory eligible to compete at the national level in aligned categories. There are also seven award categories available by entering directly to the Australian Training Awards. Applicants may have the opportunity to reach the national stage in November this year and gain Australia-wide recognition for the work they do.

The 2017 Australian Training Awards are open for application now and include:


 Registered Training Organisation

*Applications for this category are made directly to the Australian Training Awards. Entries close Wednesday 31 May 2017.

Application deadlines for all other awards differ state by state.

For more information, visit www.australiantrainingawards.gov.au, email australiantrainingawards@education.gov.au or phone 02 6240 9691.

Diary Dates

Association for Tertiary Education Management (ATEM)
Cross-Sectoral Forum
7 April 2017
CQ University, Melbourne
More information

20th Annual AVETRA 2017 Conference
18 - 20 April 2017
William Angliss Institute, Melbourne
More information

Group Training Association of NSW & ACT 2017 Skills Conference
Moving Apprenticeships and Traineeships Forward
14 June 2017
Dockside Darling Harbour
More information

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

2017 VTA State Conference
20 – 21 July 2017
Rydges Melbourne
189 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
More information coming soon

Queensland Training Awards
Department of Education and Training, Queensland
July 2017
More information

Community Colleges Australia Annual Conference 2017
25 - 27 July 2017
Citadines on Bourke, Melbourne, Victoria
More information
TDA Convention 2017 - Networked TAFE
7 - 8 September 2017 (Welcome Reception 6 September at Adelaide Oval)
Adelaide Hilton, South Australia
More information

2017 VDC Teaching & Learning Conference
7 - 8 September 2017
RACV Torquay Resort
More information coming soon

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

National VET Conference
13 - 15 September 2017
International Convention Centre, Sydney
More information

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


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