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Newsletter | 6 February 2012    

In this edition

  • Student-to-funding ratio awry
  • TDA response to loans for VET students
  • New data on the supply of key technical trades
  • Discussion paper on student visas
  • UK Vet-in-schools under pressure
  • Fullbright Alumni grant opportunity
  • European fellowship open
  • New Commonwealth funding available for the automotive industry
  • Applications open for VET practitioner sustainability scholarships

Feature story

Tertiary regulator operational

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) has commenced its regulatory functions.

TEQSA will hold briefings for the tertiary sector over the coming months. Visit the TEQSA website for more information.


Student-to-funding ratio awry

Public VET providers, including TAFEs, are receiving less funding per student, even though student numbers are increasing, according to the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services.

Between 2009 and 2010, government spending increased 4.3% to $4.9 billion, however student numbers rose 7.7%.

Click here to view an article in The Australian. See the VET section of the Productivity Commission’s report here.

TDA response to loans for VET students

TDA has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement seeking state support for extension of VET FEE HELP more widely beyond Victoria. The Prime Minister’s address to the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce followed a visit to RMIT last week.

The announcement follows recommendations from Skills Australia for subsidies for foundation and other courses up to Certificate III, as well as loans for VET students studying Diploma or Advanced Diploma courses.

TDA noted that the extension of VET loans would begin to provide an equal career choice between VET and university, and welcomed the strict new quality criterion also promised by the PM.

The Prime Minister’s media release can be viewed here. See TDA’s media release here.

TDA’s comments in the Australian Financial Review can be viewed here.  Listen to the ABC Radio National interview with Martin Riordan here.

Discussion paper on student visas

A new discussion paper from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) explores how the issue of “risk” in the international education sector can be spread across institutions to avoid another international student crisis.

The report poses a series of questions about the future of the system:

  • Given the challenges and benefits associated with individually rating all international education providers, how could such an approach be introduced?
  • If it is not feasible to implement such an approach in its entirety, what would be the features of an alternative and administratively feasible approach that allowed ‘granularity’ in identifying and managing risk? For example, could groups of providers be rated together in smaller groupings than at present, and on what criteria? Or could providers with certain characteristics be ‘deemed’ to be of a particular risk rating?

TDA is represented on the external reference group for this review. Submissions to the review are now invited, and are due in by 16 March.

TDA will be making a submission, and TDA members are invited to contribute or to make their own submission. Further details are included in the discussion paper, click here to view the paper.

New data on the supply of key technical trades

The supply of electricians will grow significantly over the next decade, however other technical trades will experience shortages, according to Skills Australia’s Defence Industry Workforce Strategy released last week.

The data shows that the supply of electricians is set to grow 35% between 2010 and 2020, however for building and engineering trades, the supply will fall some 19%, and for electronics and communications tradespeople, the fall is 9%. 

Click here to view the Skills Australia report (page 23).

UK VET-in-schools under pressure

The United Kingdom is currently reviewing its vocational education and training in schools courses, and its contribution to the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) – equivalent to Australia’s School Certificate.

A recent report on Channel 4 News in the UK can be viewed here.

Although the report mainly focuses on School League Tables, it also highlights the status of VET in schools, with UK schools facing a downgrading of importance for VET courses.

Fullbright Alumni grant opportunity

The Australian-American Fulbright Commission is calling for applications for the 2012 Fulbright Alumni Initiative Grant.

This grant is available to an Australian or American Fulbright alumnus who received their Fulbright Scholarships between 1999 and 2009 (inclusive). It is aimed at supporting the development of innovative projects that will foster institutionally supported linkages and sustainable, mutually beneficial relationships through the home or host institutions associated with during a Fulbright Scholarship period.

Visit the Fulbright Commission website for further details. Applications close on Friday 13 April 2012.

European fellowship open

Applications are open for Australian European University Institute Fellowships which provide the opportunity to carry out research at the European University Institute in Florence – the high profile research institute established by the Member States of the founding European Communities in 1972. 

A six-month Postdoctoral Fellowship will be offered for the period January-June 2013.  Two three-month Postgraduate Fellowships will be offered for the period September-December 2012. In addition, one fellowship will be offered for a Visiting Scholar from an Australian university for one month during the period January-June 2013.

All applications and letters of support are to be emailed to euifellowships@arts.monash.edu.au by 15 March 2012.

New Commonwealth funding available for the automotive industry

Auto Skills Australia (ASA) has been awarded funding from the Australian Government for eight projects for training delivery to support skills development activities across the automotive sector.

The funding was gained through the first round of the National Workforce Development Fund (NWDF).

New applications from automotive enterprises for additional projects under the second round can now be submitted under the NWDF. Similar criteria apply for the training delivered through the Fund.

For further information call 03 8610 2509 or email info@autoskillsaustralia.co.au. For more information concerning the NWFD and access to the program guidelines click here

Applications open for VET practitioner sustainability scholarships

The National Centre for Sustainability is offering scholarships for VET practitioners to undertake a Vocational Graduate Certificate in Education and Training for Sustainability.

NCS Swinburne, in collaboration with the North Coast TAFE and Tropical North Institute of TAFE recently won a DEEWR tender to deliver the initiative. 

Up to 80 ‘Sustainability Champions Scholarships’ will be available. Course tuition and enrolment costs are fully subsidised.

The application process closes 29 February. For more information, click here.

Diary Dates

Quality in the Making
DATE: 27-28 February, 2012
LOCATION: Sofitel Hotel, Brisbane
DETAILS: Click here for more information

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 become available in February.