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Newsletter | 5 August 2013

In this edition

‘Unleashing our Capability’ – TAFE Directors Australia launch for Federal election 2013 campaign

Unleashing our Capability will be the key theme for Federal election 2013 policy, being launched progressively by TAFE Directors Australia.

Today three Policy Position Papers are released.

  • Skill set funding – reforms to workplace training: Widening innovation in workplace training delivery. The objective is for TAFE to meet the expanding skill development needs of industry. See here.
  • Pathways in Tertiary Education and funding for work-ready degrees: Why TAFE pathways are critical for students and industry. The objective is increased participation by students in higher education in TAFE. See here.
  • Direct Federal engagement within Australia’s Public provider (TAFE) Institutes: National Entitlement to Training. The objective is a high quality technical and further education sector in Australia. See here. 

The TDA Policy Position Papers will continue throughout the Federal election 2013 campaign. Our purpose is to inform TAFE directors and executives on options for technical and further education as a dynamic sector for tertiary education policy, a key issue for the major and minority parties for the Election 2013 Campaign.

Apprentice and trainee incentives cut in Economic Statement

The Federal Government’s Economic Statement released on Friday included a surprise cut to Federal government funding in the area of traineeships.

The Australian Apprenticeships Incentive Program will be slashed by $241million over the four years to 2016-17.

The changes cut support to industry delivering traineeships, which took effect from Saturday. The funding change will cease the standard completion incentives payment of $3000 to employers engaging existing workers as apprentices or trainees in non-priority occupations.  Eligible employers will continue to receive the payment where the apprenticeship commenced up to 2 August 2013.

Employer incentives will be retained for all new workers, existing workers who are undertaking qualifications which lead to an occupation on the National Skills Needs List and existing workers who are in the aged care, child care, disability care and enrolled nursing sectors.

Under the new arrangement, disability care workers will be included on the priority occupations list.

The Australian Financial Review today reported on the Federal cuts, quoting TDA and its concern the subsidy cuts would exacerbate the decline in apprenticeship and traineeship commencements and completions, already tracked by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

NCVER recently attributed the decline in apprentice commencements in the March quarter to changes to incentive payments announced in July last year.

The government also deferred until July 2015 the introduction of the $2000 cap on work related education expenses.

See the changes to Australian Apprenticeships Incentives.

See the Economic Statement 2013

See TDA’s media release.

TDA 2013 National Conference – special session on apprenticeship training

A host of issues surrounding apprentice training will be the focus of a new session announced for the TDA National Conference, September 2-3 in Brisbane.

Declining apprenticeship numbers, a new Alternative Pathways to the Trades Pilot program, and new models of apprenticeships will all be explored in this concurrent session on the second day of the conference.

Facilitator, Trevor Schwenke, Director TAFE Reform, Western Corridor (Qld) and TDA Regional Board member will be joined by panellists, Mary Campbell, Institute Director, SkillsTech Australia; Ashley Langdon, General Manger, Operations, MEGT; and Sam Sheppard, Managing Director of the Buildmore Group.

The conference, “TAFE Redefined”, will also look at some of the most compelling issues in the sector, including:

• The economics of skills 

• Australia in the Asian Century

• Redefining learning approaches: MOOCs, NBN.

• The ‘quality proposition’ – what is it?

• Tertiary connectedness

• Indigenous workers and learners

See the conference program

See the pre-conference workshops.

Register here.

Rudd rumours then denials on Federal takeover of TAFE

A plan for a federal takeover of TAFE was reportedly discussed by Cabinet but shelved due to cost and timing issues.

A report in The Australian said the plan surfaced as a result of Commonwealth concerns over funding cuts to TAFE, particularly in Victoria and Queensland.

A spokesperson from the Prime Minister said there were no plans for a federal takeover.

“However, the government does have serious concerns about the cuts Queensland and Victorian state governments have inflicted on the TAFE system,” she said.

Queensland Minister for Education, Training and Employment, John-Paul Langbroek said no takeover was warranted.

“The last thing we need to address a skills shortage is a federal takeover of TAFE,” he said.

See an article in The Australian.

See Minister Langbroek’s media release.

iPART NSW review of training outlines pricing for TAFE and RTOs under Entitlement

Consultations have started on proposed sharp fee increases for vocational education students in NSW under a new scheme outlined by the State’s Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).

Under the NSW Government’s “Smart and Skilled” program, VET fees for government funded training programs will increase as part of the Commonwealth-State National Partnership for VET reform.

The IPART draft recommendations would see 16% of students who pay the standard fee benefit from a fee decrease, while around 24% would face increases of up to $500 per qualification (or $250 per year).

A further 37% would face increases of between $500 to $1500 per qualification (or $250 and $750 per year). Around 22% of students studying in high cost areas will face increases of more than $1,500 per qualification or around $750 per year.

IPART Chair, Dr Peter Boxall said the proposed approach seeks to balance affordability and availability of VET in NSW. However, the fees are open for review, with consultations invited by iPART.

“We anticipate stakeholders will have concerns about fee increases. However to set fees lower than 40% will reduce the number of government-subsidised VET places that can be made available in NSW,” Dr Boxall said.

See the IPART recommendations and consultation process.

TAFE NSW Western to become digital hub

A virtual digital enterprise service run by TAFE NSW Western Institute will become a national hub for training delivery, under a Federal funding proposal.

The Minister for Regional Communications, Hon. Sharon Bird, has provided $400,000 to enable TAFE NSW Western Institute to deliver the Virtual Advisor program, with most of the training being delivered using video interaction.

“Business and not for profit organisations will now be given training in how they can take advantage of the NBN, no matter where they are physically located,” Minister Bird said.

Read more.

Central Queensland Institute of TAFE to get $21 million energy training centre

A new $21 million energy training centre at the Gladstone campus of the Central Queensland Institute of TAFE (CQIT) will add more than 140 training places in the resources and energy sector.

The Minister for Higher Education Senator Kim Carr and Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O'Connor said the centre would bring new skills to the region, especially those required by the booming gas industry.

“The centre will mean industry will be able to employ local graduates with job-ready skills, who have learnt in a highly practical environment.”

“The merger of CQIT and Central Queensland University will create Queensland’s first dual-sector university which will offer Central Queenslanders a full range of courses, from Certificate I through to PhDs,” the Ministers said in a statement.

Read more.

Entries close soon for the $70,000 The Australian Innovation Challenge awards

Entries for the $70,000 The Australian Innovation Challenge awards – aimed at finding the nation’s best ideas in fields including manufacturing and hi-tech design, ICT and education – close Monday, August 26.

TAFE teachers and students are encouraged to enter.

Run by The Australian in association with Shell and supported by the federal government statutory body, Innovation Australia, the awards are helping to drive breakthroughs to commercialisation or execution.

The seven professional categories are:

  • Manufacturing and hi-tech design (designs either taken up in Australia or exported)
  • ICT
  • Environment, agriculture and food
  • Education
  • Minerals and energy
  • Health
  • Community services

Professional category winners will receive prizes of $5000. The overall winner will receive a further $25,000. An eighth category, backyard innovation, is open to the public and has a $10,000 prize.

The online entry form and details of the awards, including category definitions, the judging criteria, the judging panel, supplementary material requirements, the entry procedure, rules and past winners, are at the website.

Fulbright Scholarship applications closing soon

The Fulbright Scholarship round will be closing next Monday, 12 August.

The round also includes two new scholarships. One is the Distinguished Chair in Agriculture and Life Sciences, sponsored by Kansas State University, valued at up to US$60k. See here for details.

The other is a Senior Scholarship in any discipline, also sponsored by Kansas State University, and valued at up to US$50k. See details here.

Diary Dates

Flipped learning design for VET
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: 16 July – 13 August
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Getting started in e-learning
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: 22 July-26 August
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

New perspectives on learning
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: 1 August-30 August
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Knowledge management – use it or lose it
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: 7 August, 21 August and 23 October
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

National Skills Week
DATE: 26 August – 1 September
LOCATION: Various around Australia
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Australasian Association for Institutional Research Special Interest Groups

DATE: 21-23 August
LOCATION: Fairmont Resort, Blue Mountains
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Open Higher Education Markets in the UK - Seminar
TDA & LH Martin Institute

DATE: 28 August
LOCATION: LH Martin Institute, 715 Swanston St, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

TedX: This Way Up
Northern Sydney Institute

DATE: 28 August
LOCATION: Cameraygal Building, the Northern Sydney Institute, St Leonards Campus
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

TDA Annual Conference 2013 TDA Annual Conference 2013 - "TAFE Redefined"
TAFE Directors Australia

DATE: 2-3 September 2013
LOCATION: Sofitel, Brisbane
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Teaching & Learning Conference
VET Development Centre

DATE: 5-6 September
LOCATION: RACV Healesville Country Club
DETAILS: Click here for further information. 

2013 National VET Conference
Velg Training

DATE: 19-20 September, 2013
LOCATION: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Australian Council for Adult Literacy Conference
DATE: 30 September - 2 October
LOCATION: University of Technology, Sydney
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Australian International Education Conference

DATE: 8-11 October
LOCATION: National Convention Centre, Canberra
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

2013 AUSTAFE National Conference

DATE: 9-11 October
LOCATION: Gold Coast Convention Centre, Queensland
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

2013 AAIR National Forum
Australasian Association for Institutional Research

DATE: 13-15 November
LOCATION: Perth, Western Australia
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

conVerge13 - E-learning Conference

DATE: 21-22 November
LOCATION: Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Australian Training Awards
Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education

DATE: 22 November
DETAILS: Click here for further information.