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Newsletter | 5 March 2012    

In this edition

  • Welcome to Sharon Bird as new Parliamentary Secretary
  • TDA submissions to major Federal inquiries
  • TDA/VTA response to qualifications review
  • ASEAN VET Mission to explore VET opportunities
  • Concerns raised over visa streamlining for universities
  • Tertiary regulator releases provider frameworks
  • A national association for VET professionals?
  • Global photography competition
  • Diary Dates 

Feature story

Apprentice and trainee numbers rise

The latest data on the number of apprentices and trainees in-training shows a slight increase according to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

In total there were 461,200 apprentices and trainees in-training as at the end of September 2011, an increase of 3.2% from the previous year.

For further information, click here


TDA welcomes Sharon Bird as new Parliamentary Secretary

Sharon Bird MP

The Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, has announced her new Ministry, with Sharon Bird MP joining the Education portfolio as the new Parliamentary Secretary for Higher Education and Skills.

Ms Bird will work with Senator Chris Evans who remained as Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research. As a former high school and TAFE teacher, Sharon Bird has chaired and served on various education-related standing committees within the House of Representatives, and is the MP for Cunningham – the fast-changing Illawarra electorate of NSW.

TDA congratulates Ms Bird for her appointment, and looks forward to working with her.

See the changes to the Gillard Ministry here.

TDA submissions to major Federal inquiries

TAFE Directors Australia has lodged submissions with the Henry Review, Australia in the Asian Century, and the Productivity Commission review of COAG skills targets and reforms.


The ‘TDA’ submission to the Henry Review on Asia proposed a more coherent approach to Australia’s quality tertiary education into the region, with TAFE and the TVET sector balanced with universities across the promotion of educational services, bilateral and multilateral agreements.

TDA argued that with more than 50,000 Chinese students under joint qualifications with TAFE/VET already in China, this was a timely strategy, especially when developing strategic partnerships with industry. Click here to view the submission.


‘TDA’ has recommended that the Productivity Commission, in its final report on the progress of COAG reforms, place greater emphasis on the ability of Australia’s vocational education and training sector, and TAFE in particular, to contribute to workforce participation and productivity.

In its submission, TDA said the PC report has the potential to significantly improve the way policy makers and researchers see the sector. TDA provided nine recommendations to the Productivity Commission for consideration. Click here to view TDA’s submission.

TDA/VTA response to qualifications review

TDA has joined with the Victorian TAFE Association to give feedback to the Review of Graduate and Vocational Graduate Certificates and Diplomas in the Australian Qualifications Framework.

In a joint submission, TDA and the VTA expressed their desire for non-sector specific titles for the two qualifications, along with distinguishable learning outcomes, and the ability for both VET and higher education institutes to provide accreditation. 

Click here to view the TDA/VTA submission to the Australian Qualifications Framework Council.

ASEAN VET Mission to explore VET opportunities  - 24-28 April 2012

Austrade is organising a mission to Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei to explore emerging VET opportunities as these countries seek to grow and develop their workforces.

The ASEAN VET Mission will be held from 24 – 28 April. It aims to assist both public and private Australian VET providers to identify potential partnerships, linkages and opportunities – and cover special receptions in all three markets.

The SE Asia Mission will include a special TAFE briefing in Jakarta on the AEI-commissioned research with the Indonesia polytechnic system, with the Ministry of Education and Culture jointly hosting with TDA a seminar on industry linkages and collaboration with the TAFE sector.  

Click here for more information.                    

Concerns raised over visa streamlining for universities

TDA has become aware of a number of universities with existing TAFE partnerships and course packaging arrangements that have declined to nominate TAFE providers as educational business partners in the new visa streamlining arrangements.

The failure to honour existing partnerships has major implications for TAFE, and TDA will be surveying all members to establish the extent of the problem. Public disclosure of opt-in arrangements for universities, including their nominated business partners, is expected by the end of March.

Tertiary regulator releases provider frameworks

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) has released its risk framework for providers, with 46 indicators chosen, including student revenue, the number of casual staff and campus maintenance.

The three key indicators used to shape the framework are:

  • the risk to students and their education
  • the risk of a provider collapsing
  • the risk to the sector’s reputation.

Providers will be evaluated annually. Click here to view the risk framework. Click here to view an article from The Australian.

A national association for VET professionals?

Members are reminded to participate in a survey on the viability and formation of a national association for VET professionals.

The survey was commissioned by the TAFE Development Centre (TDC) and is being conducted by researchers Hugh Guthrie and Berwyn Clayton. It is based around the discussion paper 'Scoping study examining the feasibility of a professional association for VET practitioners' .

To complete the survey visit the TDC website. The survey will remain open until the end of March 2012.

Global photography competition

UNESCO-UNEVOC is running a world-wide photography competition which aims to capture images of learners and workers, modern technologies and traditional crafts, from all regions of the world.

The organisation is inviting contributions from Australians on what ‘TVET looks like’, and the winning images will be published in UNESCO-UNEVOC's anniversary publication. Click here for more information. Entries close 9 March.

Diary Dates

What’s new on the Horizon, incorporating Project Management
DATE: 29-30 March, 2012
LOCATION: Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
DETAILS: Click here for more information

DATE: 12-13 April, 2012
LOCATION: Canberra
DETAILS: Click here to submit an extract.

TAFE - Leading Skills Enrichment
DATE: 17-18 May, 2012
LOCATION: Hilton on the Park, 196 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne 3002
DETAILS: More information will available soon

DATE: 6 – 7 September 2012
LOCATION: Perth, Western Australia
DETAILS: More information will available soon