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Newsletter | 8 February 2016

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In this edition  


VET funding declines according to Productivity Commission

Recurrent funding for the VET sector by Commonwealth, state and territory governments totalled $5.2 billion in 2014, a 12 per cent cut from 2013, according to a new report from the Productivity Commission.

The Report on Government Services, also shows that the total number of qualifications completed decreased by 0.5 per cent between 2013 and 2014, although it was 88 per cent above level of 2005.

In 2014, $2.4 billion, or 46.4 per cent of government VET funding was allocated on a competitive basis.

"Funding to non-TAFE providers has grown 222 per cent since 2005, at an annual average rate of 13.9 per cent," the report says.

The report also contains a measure of efficiency - the 'user cost of capital per annual hour' that reflects the cost of inputs such as land and buildings in delivering services across different jurisdictions.


Save the date - TDA Convention and WorldSkills Australia

For those interested in the latest developments in the policy and practice of vocational skills, two important, not-to-be-missed, events will be held in October 2016 in Melbourne.

The Convention will explore emerging and innovative policies and ideas  in vocational skills development from both an international and Australian perspective.

Five hundred and fifty competitors across 55 industry areas will compete to represent Australia at the international Skills Olympics in Abu Dhabi in 2017.

Joint events will be held with opportunities for delegates, skills judges, sponsors, exhibitors, international and local experts and speakers to share and explore ideas. Registration and attendance details will be available in late April.

Pam Christie joins ASQA

Pam Christie has joined the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) as the agency’s acting Executive Director, Regulatory Operations.

Ms Christie has held a number of senior government positions in the education and training sector over the past 20 years, including Managing Director of TAFE New South Wales and Deputy Director-General of the New South Wales Department of Education. In that time she has led policy, regulatory and funding reforms across public, community and private training organisations.

In her role at ASQA, Ms Christie will assist Chief Commissioner Chris Robinson and Commissioner, Risk, Intelligence and Regulatory Support, Michael Lavarch, with a range of strategic and operational priorities and responsibilities while the Australian Government undertakes a recruitment process for the position of Commissioner, Regulatory Operations.

Mr Robinson said  that Ms Christie was widely respected across the education and training sector in Australia and overseas, having forged partnerships between TAFEs, universities, private providers and major industry groups to improve pathways and innovative practices across the tertiary education landscape.

Commonwealth takeover of VET flagged in leaked paper

Student fees would be deregulated and the Commonwealth would become responsible for funding and management of vocational education and training, under a proposal to be considered by COAG next month.

The leaked paper sets out a blueprint for a Commonwealth-funded VET system as well as for full responsibility over Australian Apprenticeships.

"Government owned providers will be funded on the same basis as private providers," the paper says.

It suggests "continued reform of TAFEs to ensure they are competitive, including the separation of policy (including funding) and service delivery functions, to be initiated by 30 June 2016."

A spokesman for the Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Luke Hartsuyker said the paper was a draft only.

TDA CEO Martin Riordan said when the matter was considered by state and territory ministers in Hobart late last year, the clear feedback to the Commonwealth was that any takeover was unlikely for the time being, given the Commonwealth's mismanagement of VET FEE-HELP and VET reform.

See the COAG paper on VET reform.

ASQA cancels registration of Cornerstone Investment 

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has cancelled the registration of Cornerstone Investment, which trades as the the Australian Institute of Commerce and Language, and Empower Institute.

The ACCC has commenced legal action against Cornerstone, claiming Empower Institute enrolled over 10,000 students between March 2014 and October 2015 and was paid over $90 million by the Commonwealth.

The cancellation follows targeted ASQA audits of 21 training providers offering VET FEE-HELP loans.

Of the 21 providers ASQA audited, 16 were selected based on complaints received, while five had not been the subject of any complaints. It resulted in three RTOs having their registrations cancelled.

See more.

Six new faces for NSW TAFE board

The NSW government has appointed six new members to the NSW TAFE Commission Board.

The Minister for Skills John Barilaro said the new members would guide the organisation through a significant period of reform under the Chair Terry Charlton and recently-appointed Managing Director Jon Black.

The new members are: 

  • Emeritus Professor Joan Cooper, Chair, Academic Board of TAFE NSW Higher Education
  • Professor Annabelle Duncan, Vice-Chancellor and CEO of the University of New England
  • Morris Iemma, former Premier, NSW
  • Elizabeth McGregor, Institute Director, TAFE North Coast Institute
  • Duncan Taylor, Chair, Cooma Universities Centre; NSW Government Rural and Remote Education Advisory Group
  • Todd Williams, CEO, Regional Development Australia Hunter.

Reappointed board members are Carolyn Burlew, Director, Carolyn Burlew Consulting; Craig Pudig, Dispute Resolution and Litigation, Macquarie Group; and Justine Turnbull, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw Australia.

Have your say on the national training complaints hotline

The federal government is conducting a review into the National Training Complaints Hotline and is seeking feedback on its effectiveness.

Consultants, KPMG, have been engaged to undertake the review and have provided a guide to the key areas of discussion.

TDA will be making a submission. Anyone who wishes to have their input into this is asked provide feedback by Friday 12 January to Janny Tjen at TDA Member Services: memberservices@tda.edu.au


Diary Dates

Innovation and Applied Research Roundtable
TAFE Directors Australia and LH Martin Institute
2 March 2016
Canberra Institute of Technology, Canberra
More information coming soon.

Group Training National Conference
‘Skilling for Growth’
7 – 8 April 2016
More information

AVETRA 19th Annual Conference 
20 – 22 April 2016
More information

WAVE National Conference
Women: Education, Empowerment, Equality. A New Agenda?
20 April 2016
Northern Sydney Institute, TAFE NSW
More information

EduTECH 2016
30 - 31 May 2016
More information

2016 Skills Conference
Group Training Association of NSW & ACT
15 June 2016
More information

25th National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’
4 – 6 July 2016
Rockhampton, Queensland
More information

Victorian TAFE Association State Conference
18 - 19 August, 2016
More information coming soon.

NSW TAFE Managers Association
19 August 2016
Taronga Zoo, Sydney
More information coming soon.

VET Development Centre Teaching & Learning Conference
1 - 2 September 2016
RACV Torquay Resort, Victoria
More information

TDA Convention
4 - 6 October, 2016
More information coming soon

Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Conference
4-7 October 2016
Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart  
More information

2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition
6 - 8 October, 2016
Melbourne Showgrounds
More information
Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators (RACMA) Conference  
12-15 October, 2016
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
More information
Australasian Genomic Technologies Association (AGTA) Conference
9-12 October, 2016
Pullman Hotel Auckland, New Zealand
More information

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

Corporate Affiliates