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Newsletter | 6 February 2017

In this edition


Business throws support behind federal opposition plan for national skills summit

TDA was one of a number of key industry organisations that responded enthusiastically to the federal opposition's call for a national skills summit to address critical issues in the VET sector.

The summit will be held in Canberra on March 17.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten’s told the National Press Club  that Labor would boost apprentice numbers through setting minimum apprentice targets on major projects including defence contracts.

TDA CEO Martin Riordan welcomed the summit proposal, saying it was needed to ensure equal ranking for VET students along those in higher education.

The opposition's initiatives were also welcomed by the Business Council of Australia, the National Apprentice Employment Network, Australian Industry Group, ACCI and the Australian Retailers Association.

NSW government bans 11 colleges and suspends 17

The NSW government has banned 11 private training colleges over failure to meet standards but is refusing to identify a further 17 colleges that have been suspended pending further inquiries.

The names of the 11 terminated colleges were disclosed by the NSW opposition after an FOI inquiry and a six-month procedure in the NSW Civil Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).

The Shadow Minister for Skills Prue Car said the government's failure to identify the suspended colleges was placing thousands of students "at risk of signing up to a course with a potentially dodgy provider."

The government’s Smart and Skilled program offers funding to a range of private providers.

"Many of the courses are offered at exorbitant prices that are unaffordable for most people," Ms Car said.

See an article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Productivity Commission delivers findings on training system performance

The Productivity Commission has delivered its performance report on the VET sector in meeting key national performance targets.

Among the findings, the 'Report on Government Services 2017' says:

  • In 2015, 24% of employers had employees undertaking apprenticeships or traineeships, a decrease of 6 percentage points since 2007
  • In 2015, 44 per cent of government-funded VET graduates were employed after the course, a decrease from 59.1 per cent in 2006
  •  The number of qualification completions for all students peaked in 2012 (having almost doubled from 2006) and has since declined, with a 16.9 per cent decrease from 2014 to 2015.
  •  Government payments to non-TAFE providers have almost tripled since 2006, to $1.4 billion in 2015.

See 'Dwindling VET funding reflected in results: PC report' in The Australian.

'Competency' to remain central to training reform

Australia is unlikely to move away from from competency-based training as part of a wider reform of training packages.

An NCVER paper, Evolution not revolution: views on training products reform captures the views from industry, educators, students and regulators at a symposium held last August.

It says that the mood "was to reject any revolutionary action to abandon the competency based training (CBT) system on which Australian VET is founded.

"Instead, it was thought possible ‒ and necessary ‒ to redefine the notion of competency so that the system could deliver the underpinning knowledge, skills and capabilities the workforce must acquire," the paper says.

It was agreed that training products must capture the entire range - from a requirement to do a specific task, to a worker’s capacity for holistic workplace awareness and social interaction.

"What remains unclear is how to achieve the right balance between these technical task-specific skills and the essential, yet more generalist, work skills — and determining how generic any of these skills actually are," it says.

Pacific Island executive positions open

The Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) is seeking senior people to fill two roles - Executive Director, Training Delivery, based in Fiji, and Country Manager, Papua New Guinea.

The Executive Director, Training Delivery is a member of the executive management and leadership team, with responsibility for delivery of Australian qualifications in Pacific Island countries and responsibility for the performance of the campus countries in Fiji, Vanuatu, PNG, Samoa and the Solomon Islands.

The Country Manager (PNG) will provide leadership and operational management to the team of training and administrative staff as well as develop and maintain engagement and communication with Technical, Vocational Educational and Training (TVET) partners, industry, employers and community stakeholders.

To see a role description, terms and conditions including salary, see APTC career opportunities

NCVER conference - call for abstracts closing in two weeks

Don't miss the chance to present at the 26th National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference 'No Frills', to be held in Hobart, 5-7 July 2017.

Abstract submissions close 5.00pm on Monday 20 February. Submit your abstract online now via Abstract Warehouse.

Presentations and posters must relate to the conference theme Skilling for tomorrow, and highlight work across one of the following streams:

  • Explore: gaining a better understanding of education, training and employment, the people involved and interactions between these systems
  • Translate: applying knowledge about education and training to improve practice, quality and outcomes
  • Evolve: addressing the opportunities and challenges ahead to transform the sector to better meet future skill needs.

 For more information on submitting an abstract see the presenter and poster guidelines.

AVETRA extends abstracts deadline

The deadline for abstract submissions to the 2017 AVETRA conference has been extended to 5 pm, 17 February.

With the theme, 'Renovate or Rebuild? Exploring the Architecture of VET'  organisers welcome both oral and poster abstract submissions in the following categories: 

  • Access, equity and pathways
  • Teaching Learning and Assessment
  • Qualifications, training products and future skills
  • Apprenticeships, traineeships and work-integrated learning

Submit abstracts or register here.

Diary Dates

20th Annual AVETRA 2017 Conference
18 - 20 April 2017
William Angliss Institute, Melbourne
More information

Group Training Association of NSW & ACT
2017 Skills Conference
14 June 2017
Dockside Darling Harbour
More information coming soon

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

2017 TDA Convention - Network TAFE
7 - 8 September 2017
More information coming soon

2017 VDC Teaching & Learning Conference
7 - 8 September 2017
RACV Torquay Resort
More information coming soon

National Skills Week 2017
28 August – 3 September 2017
Nation wide
More information

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


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