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Newsletter | 6 May 2013    

In this edition


"TAFE Redefined" – Brisbane, 2-3 September 2013

The TDA National Conference will take place in Brisbane, 2-3 September.

It will examine the economics of skills,

Australia in the Asian Century, redefined approaches to learning, the elusive definition of quality, tertiary connectedness, and Indigenous workers and learners.

Click here for more information or go to the conference website.

Queensland assurance sought in Commonwealth agreement for Central Queensland dual sector university with TAFE

The Queensland government has been required to provide financial assurances to see the dual sector university for Central Queensland University (CQU) proceed, with its merger with Central Queensland Institute of TAFE.

The Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, the Hon Craig Emerson announced the merger last Friday, following months of deadlock between the Federal and Queensland governments.

Minister Emerson’s announcement was accompanied by $73.8 million in financial support for the merger through the Structural Adjustment Fund, however the Commonwealth noted in the final part of the announcement that Queensland government assurances were required for the go-ahead.

Minister Emerson stated he has received written assurances from the Queensland Government that it would “ensure the financial viability of the merged institution”.

As part of the deal, a new engineering complex will be built at CQU’s Mackay South campus. Its Rockhampton Allied Health Complex will be expanded with new clinical teaching spaces, laboratories, classrooms and theatres. Interactive learning systems will also be installed across campuses at Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone and Emerald to enable leading-edge presentation and collaboration.

Member for Capricornia, Kirsten Livermore and CQU Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman

See the Minister’s media release.

See comments from CQU Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Scott Bowman.

TDA congratulates all those involved in the successful dual sector negotiation, and particularly the dedicated role and course undertakings for TAFE within the new structure.

TDA secures assurance from Tertiary Education & Skills Minister on funding for TAFE and education investment fund

The incoming Tertiary Education and Skills Minister, the Hon Dr Craig Emerson, met with TDA executives to discuss the ongoing issues of TAFE funding under the drawn-out impasse between Canberra and eastern states NSW, Queensland and Victoria, with the Commonwealth refusing to accept ‘transition support for TAFE’ under the National Partnership Agreement on Skills. Reward payments under the $1.7 billion, four- year NPA Agreement remain at stake for the three states.

TDA’s Chief Executive Martin Riordan, and Director of Policy and Stakeholder Engagement, Pam Caven, met with Dr Emerson in Parliament House, Canberra.

Martin Riordan presented the TDA submission to the House of Representatives Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into TAFE, which details a series of recommendations seeking the Commonwealth better articulate the special legislated role of Australia’s public provider (TAFE) network within National Partnership and related VET policy agreements.

Minister Emerson assured TDA that the NPA issue required urgent attention, and he remained sympathetic to concerns across the TAFE sector of funding uncertainty. TDA noted its concerns were further highlighted by implications from last week’s Gonski schools funding decision by NSW when Premier Barry O’Farrell, after signing the Federal Agreement, signalled higher VET and TAFE fees and other efficiencies may be required to cover the costs of extra school funding signed with the Prime Minister. Minister Emerson indicated further talks were likely with officials in each state.

TDA pressed that Education Investment Fund Regional Round payments were also outstanding, with 12 projects involved. Minister Emerson said he was “favourably disposed” to releasing these EIF grants. A decision would be made shortly, he said.

Minister Emerson said international education was also “on the radar”, and he would look again at the delay in proceeding with streamlined visas for VET/TAFE international students.

Pictured: Pam Caven, Director Policy and Stakeholder Engagement, the Hon  Dr Craig Emerson MP, Martin Riordan, Chief Executive, TDA

TDA response to NSSC VET standards review

Consultations with the National Skills Standards Council (NSSC) have begun, following detailed submissions from TDA and major peak bodies. At stake is a complete overhaul of regulation and licensing for Australia’s technical and vocational education sector.

The Chair of the NSSC, Hon John Dawkins AO, is meeting state and territory officials, and agency officials dealing with peak agencies, many voicing concerns about aspects of the new standards proposed.

TAFE Directors Australia in its submission detailed concern that while tightening of regulation was highly desirable, the ‘Option 3’ nominated as a preferred position failed to articulate key elements which would make absolutely clear the difference in regulation, and definition on key elements of the new regime.

See an article in the Australian Financial Review.

See the TDA submission to NSSC.

See the NSSC Communiqué from the meeting in Melbourne, 17 April.


1. Understanding youth transitions from school to work – ABC broadcast

A significant number of young Australians struggle to find the final years of schooling positive, and many are ill suited to university. So is it wise to insist that everyone complete year 12?  Do we need a complete overhaul of vocational education and apprenticeships?

These questions are among a number posed by the ABC Radio National Big Ideas program, and addressed by an expert panel at the latest National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) forum.

Speakers were Professor John Buchanan, Workplace Research Centre, University of Sydney Business School; Dr Kirsty Muir, Associate Professor, Social Policy Research Centre, University of NSW; Bill Scales, Chancellor, Swinburne University of Technology; and Dr Tom Karmel, Managing Director, NCVER.

Click here to listen to the ABC program.

Listen to a podcast with Tom Karmel.

Click here to see the NCVER research paper.

2. Top German students opt for apprenticeships

An increasing number of apprentices in Germany hold university entrance qualifications, according to latest data from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, part of the Federal Institute for Vocational Training.

In 2011, almost a quarter of those commencing a vocational education and training course could have alternatively chosen to study at a university. Since 2005, the number of apprentices holding a university entrance qualification has steadily increased from 17.7 per cent to 22.1 per cent.

Almost every second apprentice finished middle school and approximately every fourth completed the Hauptschule (lower secondary modern school). Just 2.6 per cent had no school leaving certificate.

The profile of apprentices across the German apprenticeship system is in a updated newsletter from iMOVE, a German government VET agency. For more information, click here.

3. Australian apprenticeship crisis deepens – NCVER December 2012 data

Research from NCVER’s Apprentices and Trainees 2012—early trend estimates in December quarter 2012, and supported by more detailed Apprenticeships and Trainees September Quarter 2012 data, point to deep declines in Australia’s apprenticeship and trainee numbers:

The report, confirms news to TDA from trade sources that with the economy showing signs of weakness, and unease at business costs, apprenticeship completions are taking a heavy toll.  In brief –

  • The early trend estimates of trade and non-trade commencements for the December quarter and the preceding few quarters remain volatile due to changes in Commonwealth incentive payments for existing workers, which came into effect on 1 July 2012.
  • The growth in trade commencements after September 2011 has been followed by a period of decline from June 2012.
  • After March 2012, non-trade commencements declined steeply, ending the rapid growth in the two preceding quarters.

Trade apprentice commencements fell from 23,900 in September 2012 to 21,400 in December 2012.

Non trade commencements fell from 57,000 in September 2012 to 44,000 in December 2012.

Across Australia, apprentices and trainees in training fell from 524,400 in June 2012 to 493,600 in September 2012.

Cancellations and withdrawals increased from 34,400 in June 2012 to 35,500 in September 2012.

See the NCVER report.

AsiaBound scholarship applications close soon

Members are reminded the closing date for round one of AsiaBound scholarship applications is Monday 20 May. Updated information is on the AsiaBound website.

Key points for making a submission:

  • Only education institutions, including RTOs, can apply for grants on behalf of their nominated students. Students can not apply themselves.
  • All applications must be made online and you must register first. If you are not already registered, you need to complete this form and email to student.mobility@innovation.gov.au
  • Once registered, you can complete and submit the applications at this site.
  • TAFE institutes can apply for the VET grants of up to $2,000 per student, and there are up to 600 scholarships available in this first round for study offshore for up to six months
  • TAFE institutes which are registered as higher education providers can also apply for the higher education scholarships which offer up to $5,000 for up to 12 months study offshore.
  • $1,000 per student is available to education institutions to provide language support for the students pre-departure and during their offshore studies.
  • A one-off grant of $1,500 per institution is also available to assist in your administration of the program.

Students can commence their studies any time after 1 July and must have completed their offshore studies by December 2014 for short term study (up to one semester) and June 2015 for longer term (up to 12 months).

Offshore destinations are restricted to the list of Asian countries on the AsiaBound website. TDA can support members with advice and referrals to a number of high quality institutions in the Asian region who are willing to host students.

Offshore activities can also include practicum or clinical placements, internships, professional entry programs, research experiences, short-term study experiences and volunteer projects.

We commend this opportunity to you and your students and look forward to promoting the successful recipients after 1 July.

South Western Sydney Institute showcases innovation

TAFE NSW – South Western Sydney Institute (SWSi) has commissioned technical and vocational education academic, Dr John Mitchell, to document the nature of innovation with its customers and industry partners.

The result has been compiled in a new publication, SWSi innovate’, which showcases the best of SWSi and TAFE NSW in creating and adding value.

The Mitchell report contains 16 examples of high value collaboration that demonstrate how innovative solutions have been embedded in the Institute’s approach to industry, clients and students.

See the SWSi innovate’ paper.

See an article in Campus Review.

For more information, contact Belinda Kynaston, 02 9796 5433 or SWSi.marketing@tafensw.edu.au.

Get started in e-learning

The Queensland VET Development Centre (QVDC) is once again offering in 2013 its successful Getting started in e-learning program to Queensland educators.

The professional learning package will offer a stronger focus on coaching and mentoring of participants, as well as separate streams for metropolitan and regional participants. It leads educators through the key principles of e-learning and the development of an e-learning training plan.

The program runs from June to August and includes face-to-face, webinar and individual consultations. Registration costs $480 (inc GST) and closes 31 May.

See the attached flyer.

For more information, click here.

Reminder to nominate for Australian Training Awards

Nominations for the direct entry categories of the Australian Training Awards close on 31 May. The categories are:

  • Leadership in VET Quality Award
  • School Pathways to VET Award
  • Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award
  • Australian Apprenticeships – Employer Award 
  • Skills for Sustainability – Educational Institution Award
  • International Training Provider of the Year Award
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Employer of the Year Award

For more information, see the Australian Training Awards.

Diary Dates

Augmented reality for VET
Queensland VET Development Centre

DATE: 29 April-24 May
LOCATION: The Edge, Brisbane State Library
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Thought Leaders forum
VET Development Centre

DATE: 6 May
LOCATION: Rydges, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for further details.

National Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy Assessment Conference
Australian Council for Education Research

DATE: 9-10 May
LOCATION: Ultimo College, TAFE NSW – Sydney Institute
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

Australasian Adult and Community Education Conference
Adult Learning Australia & ACE Aotearoa in New Zealand

DATE: 18-20 June
LOCATION: Comfort and Quality Inn, Cuba St, Wellington, New Zealand
DETAILS: Click here for further information.

NCVER ‘No Frills’ Conference

DATE: 10-12 July
LOCATION: Sunshine Coast TAFE, Mooloolaba campus
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 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.

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

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

TDA corporate affiliates: