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Newsletter | 4 October 2016

In this edition


More than 400 delegates, 100 presenters - 'Skills Resurgence' erupts in Melbourne!

The 2016 TDA Convention 'Skills Resurgence' kicks off in Melbourne today with a record 450 delegates set to engage with more than 100 speakers and presenters for three days of networking and learning.

Proceedings start with a series of pre-convention workshops, followed by a welcome reception with Victoria's Minister for Training, Skills and International Education Steve Herbert, and Melbourne's Lord Mayor Robert Doyle.

Tomorrow sees addresses by the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Karen Andrews and the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, as well as an industry perspective on skills from Optus/SingTel's head of Education, Katrina Reynen.

A series of 'laneway' sessions will address skills needs in the post mining boom era, plans for greater diversity in higher education, digital transformation in TAFE and the challenges ahead in international education.

It's not too late to register.

Yesterday, the Australia+China Aged Care Roundtable saw leading China and local experts discuss the opportunities flowing from China's rapidly expanding aged care sector (see story below).

A feature of the convention is the new i-lounge, open on Thursday, showcasing companies and organisations on the cutting-edge of innovative and disruptive technologies.

TDA welcomes all delegates, visitors, speakers and sponsors and wishes everyone a great week in Melbourne!

See the convention program.

See the latest edition of TAFE Futures

TDA is delighted to publish the latest edition of its magazine, TAFE Futures, which features the latest news, issues and expert opinions from across the TAFE and VET sector.

In keeping with the Spring theme, this edition takes a look at two iconic Australian fashion design schools that are among the most sought after by students around the world.

It also looks at Bendigo Kangan's Automotive Centre of Excellence and how it is responding to the challenges and opportunities in the car industry.

There is a report on how Asia is managing its vocational and training to maximise the opportunities in STEM and innovation.

And, we shed light on a new ‘live site’ model of training, pioneered by TAFE, which has been adopted for major infrastructure programs.

There is expert opinion and analysis right across the TAFE sector.

Read and subscribe to TAFE Futures.

Federal cabinet to consider tightening VET FEE-HELP scheme

Federal Cabinet is expected to consider this week changes to reform the VET FEE-HELP student loan scheme.

The Australian Financial Review reported that Cabinet was due to consider the matter following a review and stakeholder consultation by the Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham.

The AFR reported that the coalition was considering adopting some of the reforms to the VET sector that were proposed by Labor during the federal election campaign.

Possible measures include restricting access to loans by high risk providers, greater checks to ensure students have the ability to complete courses, and a new system of regulating the loan scheme.

Labor proposed an $8,000 a year fee cap on VET FEE-HELP loans, something the coalition opposed.

ASIC starts legal action against Vocation and former chairman John Dawkins

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has commenced legal action against the once-listed training provider, Vocation Limited, and directors, including John Dawkins, a former education minister who once headed the national VET standards agency.

ASIC's proceedings in the Federal Court allege that Vocation made misleading representations and failed to make proper disclosures to the ASX.

ASIC also alleges that Mr Dawkins, along with two other former directors, were either involved in the failure of Vocation to meet its obligations or failed to discharge their duties with care and diligence.

ASIC is asking the court to find that the three breached the Corporations Act, and is seeking penalties and prohibitions on managing a company.

Mr Dawkins was education minister in the Keating Labor government and was chair of both the Australian Qualifications Framework Council and the National Skills Standards Council.

TDA visits Argentina and Chile

A small TDA delegation last week undertook visits to Argentina and Chile.

TDA was invited to both countries by Austrade following a visit to Brazil for the World Congress of Colleges and Polytechnics.

Argentina and Chile are both emerging markets in education, with significant reform being undertaken in their respective vocational education and training sectors. 

in Argentina, the TDA delegation met with representatives from the Ministry of Education, and held a roundtable discussion at the National Institute of Technological Education, the organisation responsible for training institutes.

The Macri government in Argentina is keen to upgrade VET nationally, including pursuing qualifications frameworks, links with industry, and workforce development. 

TDA also met with the Chamber of Mining Companies, which is facing challenges in skilling new workers and up-skilling the existing workforce. TDA will follow up this opportunity by creating a capability statement of TAFE institutes in the mining sector. 

Following meetings with the Australian Ambassador to Argentina as well as the current architect of VET reform in Argentina, Mr Gabriel Sanchez Zinny, TDA will draft ideas for areas of cooperation between Australian TAFEs and Argentina. 

In Chile, TDA met with the Vice Minister for Education, Ms Valentina Quiroga, and heard about the ambitious program of reform.

The Chilean Ministry of Education recently presented a bill to Parliament to reform the country's technical education system, including VET. 

A law has recently been enacted to create 15 new public tertiary level technical education institutes throughout the country - the first public VET institutes to be created in Chile.

The TDA delegation met with the project team that will bring these public institutes to life.

The Chilean Government is keen to seek foreign partners to help in building the capacity of the new institutes, as well as pursuing an overarching agreement with TDA to support, where appropriate, qualification frameworks, workforce development and quality assurance systems. 

If you would like to discuss the visit, please contact TDA's Director, International Education, Jen Bahen at email: jbahen@tda.edu.au

TDA will also keep members updated on progress of the outcomes of the visit. 

Left to right: Noel Campbell, Australian Ambassador to Argentina; Norma Ramiro, Austrade, Argentina; Mary Faraone, Institute Director, Holmesglen; Martin Riordan, CEO, TDA; Gabriel Sanchez Zinny, Executive Director, National Institute of Technological Education; and Jen Bahen, TDA Director, International Education

Mary Faraone, second from left, and Jen Bahen, third from right, with the Chilean project team for the new public polytechnics

Australia and China discuss opportunities at aged care roundtable

The China Australia aged care roundtable in Melbourne yesterday brought a host of perspectives on issues surrounding aged care  in China.

Roundtable speakers were unanimous in the view that among the eight million health care workers in China, most are insufficiently skilled to cater to China’s ageing population.

Dr Chuyang Liu, China Adviser for International Operations at Austrade, said that "despite China’s sophisticated development of infrastructure, there is a lack of soft infrastructure (skills), and this is one of China’s greatest barriers in developing an adequate aged care system."

China’s has a national strategy to ensure that ninety per cent of the aged population receives care at home.

"By 2025, China could represent 36 - 41 per cent of Australia’s educational export market, and 42 - 47 per cent of it’s healthcare and social assistance export market, if Australia does the right thing," said John Paolacci, Partner, ShineWing Australia.

Kate Baxter, the newly appointed TAFE NSW, West Region General Manager said that although there is no shortage of opportunities in the aged care sector in China, it can't be done "from behind your desk".

"You’ve got to go in country and build relationships, gain local knowledge and develop experience. There are limits for TAFEs, but it is all about studying the market and targeting gaps in the skills sector, rather than qualifying people with certificates in aged care just to qualify," Ms Baxter said.

For TDA, the roundtable was the beginning of a series of projects and consultations looking at China-Australian aged care and how best to support TAFEs entering the  Chinese market.

New leadership team named for TAFE NSW

The Managing Director of TAFE NSW Jon Black has announced the five key appointments to head the state's new 'One TAFE' system. They are:

  • Regional General Manager – North Region – Ms Elizabeth McGregor
  • Regional General Manager – South Region – Ms Kerry Penton
  • Regional General Manager – West Region – Ms Kate Baxter
  • Regional General Manager – Sydney Region – Ms Alison Wood
  • Regional General Manager – Sydney West Region - Mr Michael Cullen

Mr Black said that while the appointments take effect from 24 October, they will not assume administrative responsibility until next March.

Mr Black also advised arrangements for the outgoing institute directors:

  • Peter Heilbuth will be departing TAFE NSW, New England Institute to take the new role of Pro-Vice Chancellor VET Operations and Growth at Central Queensland University, Rockhampton
  • Robin Shreeve will remain Institute Director, TAFE NSW, Western Sydney Institute until March, before assuming an advisory role with TAFE NSW before retirement next July.
  • Peter Roberts will remain Institute Director, TAFE NSW, South Western Sydney Institute until March, before assuming an advisory role with TAFE NSW before retirement next July.
  • Dianne Murray, Institute Director, TAFE NSW, Illawarra Institute will retire in December.
  • Christine Warrington will remain as Institute Director, TAFE NSW, Hunter Institute until March, before assuming an advisory role with TAFE NSW until next July.

TAFE scores at WA training awards

South Metropolitan TAFE has been named as Large Training Provider of the Year at the 2016 West Australian Training Awards.

Deputy Premier and Training and Workforce Development Minister Liza Harvey attended the announcement of the 12 winners. They included:  

  • Trainee of the Year, Blake Sayer, trained at Challenger Institute of Technology and employed by METL
  • Vocational Student of the Year, Louise Brookes, trained at South West Institute of Technology
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year, Naomi Beath, trained at Challenger Institute of Technology
  • Cultural Diversity Training Award, Jasmin Porter, trained at CY O’Connor Institute
  • International Student of the Year, Natalie Robinson, trained at Central Regional TAFE
  • Trainer of the Year, Tegan Mossop from North Regional TAFE

See more.

VET complaints hotline attracts complaint

The VET complaints hotline - one of the key elements in the federal government's plan to clean up the training sector - has failed, according to an external review.

The review of the hotline was conducted in April by KPMG, and obtained by The Australian under Freedom of Information laws.

The Australian reported that "stakeholders had questioned its role, the lack of awareness of the hotline and ­limited information-sharing between jurisdictions."

It said that call centre staff were “not asking appropriate clarifying questions to understand the ­essence of the issue” or where to send complaints.

According to the KPMG review, "The hotline does not have visibility of the timeliness, quality and outcome of complaint resolution to ensure that consumer complaints are handled appropriately,” 

Diary Dates

TDA 2016 Convention – Skills Resurgence
4 - 6 October, 2016
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Melbourne, Victoria
More information

2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition
6 - 8 October, 2016
Melbourne Showgrounds
More information
Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators (RACMA) Conference  
12-15 October, 2016
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
More information
Australasian Genomic Technologies Association (AGTA) Conference
9 - 12 October, 2016
Pullman Hotel Auckland, New Zealand
More information

2016 AUSTAFE National Conference
12 - 14 October, 2016
Adelaide, South Australia
Contact: austafe2016@tafesa.edu.au
ACER National Adult Training and Assessment Conference
13 - 14 October, 2016
William Angliss Institute, Melbourne
More information

Innovation: What's Next For Community Education?
Community Colleges Australia Annual Conference
18 - 20 October, 2016
Park Royal, Darling Harbour, Sydney
More information

Australian International Education Conference (AIEC)
18 - 21 October, 2016
Melbourne, Victoria
More information

AVTERA conference
VET, trades & apprenticeships: voices from the shop floor
28 October, 2016
La Trobe University, Melbourne
More information

E-Oz and Skills Oz Conference
Assuring quality in the National VET system – Change, Challenge and Opportunity
8 - 9 November, 2016
Marriott Resort & Spa, Surfers Paradise, Queensland
More information

Australian Training Awards
17 November, 2016
Darwin, Northern Territory
More information

2016 National Conference on VET Teaching and VET Teacher Education
Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group 
8 - 9 December, 2016
More information


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