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Newsletter | 7 November 2016

In this edition


Revamped student loan bill goes to the senate

The Senate will this week consider the federal government's revamped student loans scheme which replaces the failed VET FEE-HELP program.

The VET Student Loans Bill 2016 and two pieces of associated legislation will be introduced in the Senate tomorrow in what is the start of the final three-week sitting for 2016.

TDA raised a number of issues with the legislation at the recent Senate committee hearing, including  the extent of cuts to the approved course list and the proposed loan caps which, TDA argued, would impede student access to quality diploma and higher level VET courses at TAFE.

TDA called for a 12-month exemption from the new measures for TAFEs in order to ensure a smooth transition to the scheme for the 140,000 students currently receiving VET FEE-HELP.

ASQA cancels a record number of training providers

The Australian Skills Quality Authority's (ASQA's) compliance activity over the past year uncovered an increasing number of training providers who failed to meet standards.

In its annual report for 2015-16, ASQA says targeted audits and investigations resulted in 107 cancellations or non-renewals of training providers, double the number in the previous year and the highest on record.

The percentage of audits where a provider was found non-compliant, even after the opportunity to rectify, jumped from 18 per cent in 2014–15 to 29 per cent in 2015–16.

ASQA says that the maturing of its risk-based regulatory approach means that audit and other tools, such as investigations, are more effectively targeted at providers of concern.

The number of complaints about training providers also hit a record 2,350 in 2015-16, up from approximately 1,500 the previous year.

See the ASQA 2015-6 annual report.

Partnership on new TAFE campus in south-east China features at China VET forum

A partnership between TAFE NSW Western Sydney, China's Ningbo City College of Vocational Technology and Ningbo Foreign Affairs School has resulted in funding for a new TAFE campus.

About 1,000 students are currently enrolled through the partnership which aims to develop vocational skills and English proficiency for students who are guaranteed entry and, in some cases, credit into university programs in Australia.

The Ningbo municipal government has granted $140 million to build a new campus in Hangzhou Bay for TAFE and other programs with a focus on international curriculum of vocational education and training.

The Ningbo TAFE project was a key feature at last week's China VET Forum, hosted by Ningbo Municipality with the National Institute for Educational Science. TDA CEO Martin Riordan and TAFE NSW Western Sydney director, Robin Shreeve were keynote speakers at the event.  

An artist's impression of the TAFE Hangzhou Bay campus which is under construction

Left, top: Robin Shreeve, TAFE NSW Western Sydney Director, Xinzhe He, Deputy Principal Ningbo Foreign Affairs School and Martin Riordan CEO of TDA
Right top: Chen Wenhui, Chairman Ningbo Association of Science and Technology, Dr Sun Chen, Director of Vocational and Continuing Education, NIES Beijing, Martin Riordan TDA CEO, and Ma Yanwei, Senior Fellow, IVCE NIES

Dean of trades and technology wanted at Canadian university

Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia, Canada is seeking a person to become Dean of its School of Trades and Technology.

The school offers foundation and apprenticeship training in 20 trades backed by the Industry Training Authority of BC and the Ministry of Advanced Education.

There are approximately 1,500 students and over 60 faculty and staff at the school which offers high quality career-oriented degrees, diplomas and certificates as well as training upgrades through a variety of continuing studies programs.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2017 on a new Industrial Training and Technology Centre that will add 550 student spaces and lead to the creation of several new diploma programs.

See more.

Sixty-six NSW apprentices receive Bert Evans scholarships

Sixty-six NSW apprentices have each been awarded a $15,000 Bert Evans Scholarship by the NSW Government.

The Minister for Skills John Barilaro said the scholarships are awarded to help hard working students that are amongst the most vulnerable in the State.

“With completion rates over 88 per cent, these scholarships are making a huge difference to the lives of those who need it most, providing them with the skills they need to build a career and a fresh start in life," he said.

The Bert Evans Scholarships are part of a $2.4 million NSW Government program to assist apprentices who experience significant personal challenges and shown positive attitudes towards their training.

Apprenticeship ambassador Bert Evans has been a distinguished advocate of the VET sector for more than 30 years and said the scholarships were the most worthwhile program that the government has introduced.

Diary Dates

E-Oz and Skills Oz Conference
Assuring quality in the National VET system – Change, Challenge and Opportunity
8 - 9 November, 2016
Marriott Resort & Spa, Surfers Paradise, Queensland
More information

Australian Training Awards
17 November, 2016
Darwin, Northern Territory
More information

Pathways13 Conference: Changes, Challenges and Choice – embracing the future
Disability practitioners from TAFEs and universities around Australia
30 November - 2 December, 2016
Canberra, Australia
More information

2016 National Conference on VET Teaching and VET Teacher Education
Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group 
8 - 9 December, 2016
More information


Corporate Affiliates