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Newsletter | 9 May 2016

In this edition


We're off! The nation will go to the polls on 2 July

The federal election campaign is formally underway after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday announced the much anticipated July 2 election.

The double dissolution poll, the first since 1987, is set to be fought in a tight budgetary environment with little scope for big spending promises over the course of the campaign.

For the first time in a recent federal election, the issue of TAFE funding and vocational training is likely to be a key feature (see budget story below).

ASQA chief commissioner Chris Robinson to depart

The Chief Commissioner of the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) will leave the VET regulator at the end of the year.

The Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Senator Scott Ryan revealed the departure in a statement announcing the appointment of Mr Mark Paterson as ASQA's new Commissioner for Regulatory Operations.

He said that Mr Robinson would serve a three month extension to his time at ASQA, finishing up in December. Mr Robinson was appointed Chief Commissioner in October 2011 for a five year term.

The incoming commissioner, Mark Paterson is a former Chief Executive of the NSW Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services, and a former Secretary of the federal Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, and the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources.

His appointment follows the retirement of Dr Dianne Orr.

Labor's student loan crackdown welcome but $8,000 cap may hurt  

TDA has welcomed the federal opposition’s plan to find savings from the poorly administered VET FEE-HELP loan scheme, but questioned the promised $8,000 cap on student loans.

In his Budget Reply, the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said only the highest quality colleges would get access to government funding, and tougher rules would be introduced to audit, investigate and suspend unscrupulous training providers.

He said a loan cap of $8,000 per student per year would save about $6 billion over a decade.

TDA CEO Martin Riordan expressed concern that the $8,000 figure appeared arbitrary and said he was surprised that TAFEs were included.

The Minister for Vocational education and Skills Senator Scott Ryan said Labor's plan  threatened thousands of students with upfront fees.

In a media statement, the Opposition said that the only exemption to the loan cap would be for "legitimate high-cost courses such as nursing and engineering following ministerial approval."

See TDA's media statement.

See the Sydney Morning Herald article, 'Completely random': TAFEs warn against Labor's $8000 fee cap.

Federal budget proposes $50 billion infrastructure program but ignores skills

The federal budget allocated $50 billion in a massive infrastructure program that would boost demand for skills, but investment in skills was largely ignored or deferred.

An $840 million youth employment and internship program was welcome, but the provision for training young Australians was less clear.

In a detailed statement, TDA CEO Martin Riordan said the budget creates a major tension, with skill shortages likely to increase, at the same time as pressure was being placed on state and territory funding of skills.

One of the few new spending commitments was a $10 million advertising campaign to promote the redesigned VET FEE-HELP scheme.

A surprise inclusion was a 12 per cent cut to the budget of the Australian Skills Quality Authority at a time when its audit and compliance work is expected to increase.

Careers advice takes to the stage

SkillsOne is taking careers advice out of the office and onto the stage through a series of Sydney shows that will include music, film and theatre.

The 'Skills and Thrills' showcase will see five free shows presented in local clubs at Penrith, Wentworthville, Blacktown, Campbelltown and Cammeray during June and July. It is aimed at students, parents and cereer advisers.

The showcases were previously run in 2014 to NSW careers advisers and in 2015 to over 4,000 students.

“In an entertaining way we give you the need-to-know information to find the career that’s right for you, your children, or your students,” says Kirstin Casey, General Manager at SkillsOne.

More information and bookings can be made here.

$8 million funding for Victorian residential care training

The Victorian government will provide $8 million for vocational training for residential care workers as part of the move to mandatory qualifications for these workers.

Victorian TAFE Institutes will work with the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare to develop the training requirements.

Residential care staff are expected  to be able to begin training in the second half of this year through their entitlement to training under the Victorian Training Guarantee.

By the end of 2017 all residential care workers will be required to have a minimum relevant qualification.

2016 schools pathways to VET award - applications close Tuesday 31 May

“Receiving the School Pathways to VET Award says to me that we are getting things right. It’s a testament to our staff and broader community.”

Patrick O’Reilly, Founding Principal, Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College, New South Wales – 2015 Winner.

The School Pathways to VET Award recognises eligible organisations including schools, registered training organisations, industry bodies and employers that have collaboratively delivered an excellent vocational education and training program to secondary school students.

The Award is one of the 18 awards presented at the 2016 Australian Training Awards, the peak national awards for VET.

To be eligible applicants must meet the conditions of entry and: 

  • Have delivered VET programmes to secondary school students within the past two years
  • The VET programmes must be based on national training packages or accredited courses that lead to qualifications or statements of attainment under the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Collaborative ventures between schools and other VET stakeholders (including public/private RTOs and group training companies) are encouraged. One application will be accepted for collaborative ventures of this nature.

Applications for the Award are made directly to the Australian Training Awards by completing the nomination form on the website. Applications close Tuesday 31 May 2016.

Watch the free webinar for assistance in applying for the award.

For more information see Australian Training Awards website

Diary Dates

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

2016 Executive Leadership Symposium: Building a Resilient TAFE
ACU Executive Education and the LH Martin Institute

4 – 6 July 2016
Sheraton Mirage, Gold Coast
More information

VETnetwork Australia
Biennial National Conference
27- 28 July, 2016
Gold Coast
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.

National Skills Week 2016
29 August – 4 September, 2016
More Information

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

National VET Conference 
Velg Training
14 – 16 September, 2016
Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre
More information

TDA 2016 Convention – Skills Resurgence
4 - 6 October, 2016
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Melbourne, Victoria
More information

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

ACER National Adult Training and Assessment Conference
13-14 October, 2016
William Angliss Institute, Melbourne
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Australian Training Awards
17 November, 2016
Darwin, Northern Territory
More information


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