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Newsletter | 5 June 2017

In this edition


TAFE sector rallies to support Careers Australia students

The TAFE sector is conducting a series of meetings around Australia to enable students of Careers Australia to receive advice about their training options following the appointment of an administrator to the business.

The first student meetings were held in Melbourne and Sydney last week, with Perth and Brisbane due this week.

The meetings were attended by representatives from TDA, the Commonwealth government, state governments, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and TAFEs.

The TAFE network has rallied to support the students, with a national call centre established at TAFE Queensland. Students are encouraged to provide their details and can speak to an adviser by calling (07) 3307 4789.

TAFE sector rallies to support Careers Australia students There have been more than 4,000 contacts with students through the call centre, pictured.

TDA operates the Tuition Assurance Scheme for Careers Australia, designed to assist eligible VET students to find alternative training providers and continue their studies.

The first meeting of creditors will be held tomorrow in Brisbane.

Listen to ABC Radio National Breakfast, 'Students and staff in limbo after Careers Australia collapse'

Also, an interview with TDA's Craig Robertson on ABC Radio 702 Sydney, Wendy Harmer, Mornings program

And, a revealing insight into the role of TAFE on ABC Radio 702 Sydney, Richard Glover, Drive, Political Forum 

TDA proposes $100 million student restoration fund

TDA has proposed to state and Commonwealth training ministers the establishment of a $100 million VET FEE-HELP Student Restoration Fund, financed through the recently announced $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund.

In a letter to state and territory training ministers, TDA CEO Craig Robertson said the Tuition Assurance Scheme (TAS) operated by TDA was opened to non-TAFE providers in the interests of students.

“TDA took the view that if a reliable provider failed, for whatever reason, the TAFE network across Australia was best placed, in terms of the range of delivery locations and breadth of courses, to assist displaced students.

“The risks taken on by TDA in operating a TAS for non-TAFE providers is mitigated by the underpinning regulatory and funding administration regimes which are expected to protect the interests of students and meet basic financial accountability practices.

“The scale of mismanagement of Careers Australia, which is beginning to emerge as administrators examine its operation, has tested these assumptions,” Mr Robertson said.

“Restoring confidence in VET is the first order priority. This requires a genuine quality training experience to students who have been duped into short-form, low quality training courses," the TDA letter said.

See ABC Radio World Today, 'Concern about privatisation of vocational education sector'

Training ministers give green light for new skills fund

Commonwealth, state and territory training ministers have agreed to move forward and develop projects to proceed under the new Skilling Australians Fund.

A meeting of the the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Industry and Skills Council in Canberra on Friday gave the green light for work to commence on developing joint projects, principles and funding.

"The Fund, when matched with funding from the states, will support up to 300,000 more apprentices, trainees, and higher level skilled Australians over the next four years," the communique said.

It said the Commonwealth’s priority areas for supporting apprenticeships and traineeships would be in high demand occupations that rely on skilled migration, trade apprenticeships, future growth industries, rural and regional areas, and targeted cohorts..

The meeting also gave flexibility to jointly find "other priorities, in response to emerging economic needs or priority sectors of the community, consistent with principles of the Fund."

Ministers directed officials to work on operational details and principles to refer to Council, in order to reach an agreement "as quickly as possible."

See the Communique

Acquire Learning fined $4.5 million for consumer breaches

The Federal Court has fined Acquire Learning $4.5 million for engaging in misleading, deceptive and unconscionable conduct.

It found that Acquire telemarketers were paid based on the number of consumers referred and enrolled in online VET FEE-HELP courses.

“Acquire took advantage of vulnerable consumers by using unfair sales tactics to pressure consumers to enrol in a vocational training course and apply for VET FEE-HELP assistance,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

The ACCC relied on recordings of calls by telemarketers to consumers to support its allegation of unconscionable conduct.

“These consumers were vulnerable, at a disadvantage, and pressured into unsuitable online courses given their individual backgrounds and educational capabilities," Ms Court said.

Indigenous VET participation at high levels

Indigenous Australians have twice the rate of participation in VET as the non-Indigenous population, according to new research from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

The paper, 'Indigenous VET participation, completion and outcomes: change over the past decade', finds that almost 19% of the 15 to 64 year old Indigenous population are engaged in VET, compared with 9% of the non-Indigenous population.

"Despite downturns in overall apprentice and trainee commencements in recent years, Indigenous people have a higher rate of participation in both trade and non-trade apprenticeships and traineeships compared with non-Indigenous people," the paper says..

TAFE and private providers have a similar proportion of Indigenous enrolments - 41.2% and 38.8% respectively, although TAFE's have a higher share in remote areas.

While the rate of Indigenous participation in VET is encouraging, completion rates and employment outcomes remain lower than for the non-Indigenous population.

See more

Indigenous VET participation at high levels

Former Sydney TAFE student to design WorldSkills uniforms

Former Sydney TAFE student and WorldSkills competitor, Ashleigh Huntley, pictured, has been selected to design the Team Australia’s uniform for the WorldSkills International event in Abu Dhabi in October.

Former Sydney TAFE student to design WorldSkills uniforms WorldSkills Australia invited young designers from national training institutions and TAFEs to design both the casual and formal uniforms for the Australian team.

Inspired by Aboriginal dot artwork and the Australian landscape, Ashleigh Huntley’s design was chosen unanimously.

Ashleigh completed an Advanced Diploma in Applied Fashion Design and Technology at Ultimo TAFE in 2012 and was selected for the 2013 Skillaroo team, competing at the Leipzig International Worldskills Competition.

The final uniform design will be revealed after the Global Skills Challenge in Newcastle in July.

Download booking form here

How Germany interprets VET competencies

A recent CEDEFOP report about key competencies in German VET demonstrates how different the concept of vocational skills and key competencies are in Germany.

The German definition of 'competency' is broad. It describes the accumulated knowledge, capabilities and skills of individuals, which enable them to master specific tasks'.

In their training and throughout their careers, German apprentices are expected to develop vocational action competency, which is defined as the willingness and the ability of the individual to act in a reasoned as well as individually and socially responsible manner in vocational, social and private situations.

Vocational action competency is, in turn, underpinned by professional, social, self, communicative, learning, and methodological competencies. Importantly, these competencies are focused as much on individuals and their roles within society, as on their ability to undertake professional tasks.

Community college conference 'early bird' deadline looming

Community Colleges Australia's annual conference in Melbourne, 25-27 July, will focus on the theme "Investing in Our Future". Early bird registration closes 12 June.

Speakers include the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Karen Andrews, Victorian Skills Minister Gayle Tierney; ASQA Commissioner Michael Lavarch; Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commissioner Susan Pascoe; and Professor Peter Noonan.

See more

Diary Dates

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

Vocational and Professional Education and Training
International Conference 2017
16 - 17 June 2017
Hong Kong
More information

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

2017 VTA State Conference
TAFE: Advancing Victorian Prosperity
20 – 21 July 2017
Rydges, Exhibition Street, Melbourne
More information

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

Towards Carbon Neutrality Workshop
14 - 15 August 2017
City Convention Centre, Victoria University, 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, Victoria
More information

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

Australian International Education Conference (AIEC)
10 - 13 October 2017
Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, Tasmania
More information

AUSTAFE National Conference
Turning Together for Success
11 - 13 October 2017
TAFE Queensland, Brisbane
More information

Chinese Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE)
Annual Conference
19 - 22 October 2017
Beijing, China
More information

International Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) Conference
THINK BIG for Global Goals
1 - 3 November 2017
RMIT University, Victoria
More information

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

Australian Training Awards
23 November 2017
National Convention Centre, Canberra
More information

Corporate Affiliates