TAFE Directors Australia

Supporting our member institutes since 1998

Newsletter 4 April 2011


New NSW Minister for Education

The Premier of New South Wales, the Hon Barry O’Farrell MP, has announced his first Cabinet, with the Hon Adrian Piccoli MP to retain the Education portfolio he held in opposition.

To see the official list of Ministers click here.

Further announcements on the departmental structure of education and training in NSW indicate some important changes in responsibilities. The re-named Department of Education and Communities will be responsible to three new Ministers:

  • The Hon Adrian Piccoli MP, Minister for Education
  • The Hon Victor Michael Dominello MP, Minister for Citizenship and Communities, and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
  • The Hon Graham Annesley MP, Minister for Sport and Recreation.

The Department of Education and Communities will have two main offices:

  • The Office of Education - this will comprise the current education and training functions and include Children’s Services transferred from the Department of Human Services.
  • The Office of Sport, Recreation and Communities – this will comprise the Sport and Recreation division of Communities NSW, Sydney Olympic Park Authority, Parramatta Stadium Trust, Illawarra Venues Authority, Hunter Region Sporting Venues Authority, Youth, Veterans Affairs, Community Relations Commission, Office of Volunteering, the Children's Guardian, the Commission for Children and Young People, the Policy and Reform and Corporate Services Divisions of Communities NSW  and  Aboriginal Affairs.

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Mark your diaries!



TDA National Conference 2011

Balancing the Big Issues


Sydney, NSW


Registration and welcome drinksSunday, 4 September.

Conference -  Monday, 5 September, and Tuesday, 6 September


Earlybird registration closes 6 July. 


Sponsorship and Exhibition opportunities now available.

Please email Jane at tda@pco.com.au for further information.



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VET regulator kicks into gear with new name

The new VET regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), will officially begin operations from July 1, following the passing of the National Vocational Education Training Regulation Act in Parliament.

Following a meeting with TDA and other industry bodies in March, where concerns were raised about the Act, ASQA has committed to a second meeting in April to discuss possible amendments. The Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations, Senator the Hon Chris Evans has indicted that the amendments may occur in August.

To view the latest National Update from ASQA, click here.

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Higher education not meeting industry needs, says new report

The higher education sector must ensure that undergraduates and post graduates learn the basic skills necessary for them to be successful in the workplace including teamwork, communication and leadership, according to a Business Skills Australia report.

The report, Lifting the Quality of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, identified four priorities to ensure the higher education sector contributes to growing productivity:

  • rewarding effective teaching and learning outcomes
  • working with institutions to continue to improve the value and the relevance of what is taught
  • developing a comprehensive strategy for international education
  • developing a demand-driven system responsive to business, students and the community.

The Australianreported the concerns of the Chairman of Accounting at KPMG, and Chair of the BCA Education Taskforce, Michael Andrew who said universities are failing to engage with industry about the skills required. Click here to view the article.

In another article, Mr Andrew talks about the underfunding of universities which he says is driving them to over-enroll students in cheap courses without consideration of skills shortages or industry needs. Click here to view the article.  To view the BCA report click here.

The TDA submission to the Federal Budget 2011 includes a concern that uncapped over-enrolments should be replaced with allowing wider access to Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) for TAFE and national VET providers, which deliver courses in skill shortage areas.

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Flooded Queensland TAFE bounces back

Central Queensland Institute of TAFE’s Central Highlands campus is once again operating at full capacity following the damage caused by the January floods.

The campus was inundated by the flood waters, but with the help of local volunteers, most of the damage has been repaired.

Business Services Manager, Jane Baker, told the Central Queensland News that she was shocked by the extent of the damage.

“When we finally got in there, the water had gone down but there was muddy residue everywhere, in ground-floor classrooms and workshops. Even the elevator shaft was full of floodwater.”

Read the full article here.

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Industry calls on government to improve basic skills

Industry Skills Councils (ISCs) have today launched a campaign to improve language, literacy and numeracy skills, saying up to eight million Australian workers do not have these basic skills.

The ISCs have released a report titled ‘No More Excuses’, and are calling for COAG to develop a national ‘overarching blueprint for action on language, literacy and numeracy’ to ensure Australia stays globally competitive.

Click here to view the report.

Click here to view an article in The Australian.

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Visa assessment changes begin

The changes to visa assessment levels, announced by the Federal Government late last year, are now in force.

The changes include a lowering of international student visa assessment levels for 38 countries. Following the Government’s original announcement, TDA expressed its disappointment at the limited benefits of the changes for TAFE Institutes.

TDA said that of the eight countries with a lower VET assessment level, only Taiwan is in the top 20 source countries for VET.  Conversely, the higher education sector has had assessment levels reduced for 26 countries, two of which, provide a high number of visa grants.  See TDA’s response here.

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New categories for Australian Training Awards

An additional section of the Australian Training Awards has been created which enables the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs, and Workplace Relations to nominate specific award categories each year under the title of the National Focus Awards.

The following categories have been approved by the Minister for 2011:

  • Innovative Practices for Employers of Australian Apprentices Award
  • Leadership in Quality Award
  • Community Pathways to VET Award
  • VET in Schools Program Excellence Award
  • Skills for Sustainability - Educational Institution Award

DEEWR has sought feedback on the selection criteria with responses due by 8 April. Given such a short time frame TDA will make direct representations to DEEWR. It is expected nominations will be open in May, however nominations for these National Focus Awards will bypass State and Territory selection procedures and be handled directly by DEEWR.  

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International education seminars

Members are reminded that Austrade will be holding seminars on the latest market insights into international education across the country during May.

Experienced education specialists will provide market briefings on countries in South Asia, North East Asia, South East Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Participants will also have the opportunity for one-on-one consultations with the specialists to gain deeper insight into specific markets.

For more information click here.

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Pre-apprenticeships under the spotlight

Apprentices who have undertaken a pre-apprenticeship are less likely to discontinue their training because they did not like the type of work or training, but this does not translate into a higher likelihood of completions, according to a research report by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

The report says the impact of pre-apprenticeships varies with occupation and prior education level. It says pre-apprenticeships increase the likelihood of completion for apprentices in the construction, food and electro-technology trades, but reduce completion rates among those already holding a Certificate III or higher qualification.

For more information click here.

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Nominations open for Victorian Training Awards

Nominations for the 2011 Victorian Training Awards have now opened. The awards help nominees gain recognition for outstanding achievements, increase their profile, and gain valuable networking opportunities with senior industry and business leaders.

There are 14 award categories, with prizes of up to $10,000 awarded to most winners. Winners also have the chance to represent Victoria at the Australian Training Awards, held in Brisbane in November.

Nominations can be made online, and will close 6 May. For more information, click here.

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Members invited to higher education research conference

Members are invited to the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) 2011 Conference, Higher Education on the Edge.

The conference will be held at the Radisson Resort Gold Coast, Queensland from July 4-7. It will bring together the academic staff, researchers and professional staff at the front lines of the higher education workforce.

This year, the conference also aims to traverse some of the more traditional higher education boundaries by encouraging representation from colleagues in the vocational education and training sector, from schools and private providers, and from colleagues in business, industry and the private sector.
Visit the conference website for more information.

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Diary Dates

TAFE Governance and Regulations Forum
DATE: 27-28 April, 2011
LOCATION: Rutherford House, Wellington
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Gaining the Edge – Outcomes, Equity and Innovation
DATE: 3-4 May, 2011
LOCATION: Hilton on the Park, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information

2011 Queensland VET Symposium
DATE: 12-13 May, 2011
LOCATION: Hilton, Brisbane
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Industry E-learning Showcase and Exhibition
DATE: 25 May, 2011
LOCATION: Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information

No Frills
DATE: 13-15 July, 2011
LOCATION: North Coast TAFE, Coffs Harbour
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Nominations closing date
DATE: 25 March, 2011
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Interconnected Tertiary Education - Stronger pathways across Higher Education & VET for increased participation
DATE: 30-31 March, 2011|
LOCATION: Mercure, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information

The 9th Annual Higher Education Summit
DATE: 27-29 April, 2011
LOCATION:Sofitel, Brisbane  
DETAILS: Click here for more information

Research in VET: Janus – Reflecting Back, Projecting Forward
DATE: 28-29 April, 2011
LOCATION: Rendezvous Hotel, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information

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 Conference
DATE: 11-14 October, 2011
LOCATION: Adelaide Convention Centre
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

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