In this edition

Financial Review article warns of skills shortage if VET funding is not addressed

An article in Saturday’s Financial Review warned that skills shortages may result if the slide in government funding for VET since 2012 is not addressed.

The story points to recent reports that show the decline in funding to VET at a time when funds for higher education and schools have both increased.

VET experts called for greater accountability to halt the trend that has seen the states withdrawing funding for vocational education and training.

“The agreement that governs funding for VET enables the states to withdraw without consequence,” Peter Noonan from the Mitchell Institute said.

“The fall-off in VET is because there is no clear accountability – unlike schools, which also have joint funding. Earlier versions of the National Agreement for Skill and Workforce Development had stronger accountability obligations on the states.”

TDA Chief Executive Craig Robertson, speaking about the impact of demand-driven (entitlement) funding across the states and territories introduced under agreement with the Commonwealth, said “TAFEs were prepared to go along with the government program to encourage enrolments.

“But the independent providers cut corners. And we never liked the fact the government went alone with VET FEE-HELP, without dialogue with state and territory governments.”

Mr Robertson also said that the advent of demand-driven enrolments for universities helped create a perfect storm that contributed to the decline in VET.

See ‘Skills crisis looms as VET training slides in favour of university degrees’

Education providers and business weigh in on new skills fund

Education, business and community groups have offered a diverse range of views on the federal government’s proposed Skilling Australians Fund in submissions to a Senate inquiry.

The $1.5 billion skills fund will support the creation of some 300,000 new apprenticeships and traineeships and will be funded by a levy on businesses that use skilled migration to fill vacancies.

The draft legislation relating to the fund is being examined by the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee, which will report on February 9.

In its submission, TAFE Directors Australia says it is concerned that the proposed model may result in a piecemeal approach, with the need for extensive red tape across jurisdictions and projects.

“This creates a clear disincentive plus a real cost premium, especially as each jurisdiction will pursue its priorities in different ways. TDA recommends that governments consider a pool of funds to support national employers.”

The Business Council says “the Fund is not the best solution for solving the persistence of skill shortages, nor is it likely to lead to better skills outcomes than under the present system.”

Universities Australia says the proposed levy on organisations which use the skilled migration system would be a “powerful disincentive to recruit internationally”.

The National Apprentice Employment Network says that while it supports the fund, it should be widened to allow direct partnerships with national or state organisations with a capacity to deliver skills training.

See all the submissions to the Senate committee.

New chair and deputy for WorldSkills Australia

The former director of TAFE NSW Northern Sydney Institute, Kevin Harris has been elected as chair of WorldSkills Australia (WSA), following the decision by Brian Wexham to stand down after five years in the role.

The board also elected Megan Lilly, Head of Workforce Development at Ai Group, as deputy chair.

Prior to joining the WSA Board, Kevin Harris was director of TAFE NSW Northern Sydney Institute and a director of TDA.

Brian Wexham will remain on the board.

TDA extends its congratulations to both Kevin and Megan on their appointment and to Brian for his contribution as chair over the past five years.

ASQA extends reporting deadline for TAFE SA

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has extended the deadline for TAFE SA to respond to the regulator’s decision to suspend registrations in ten qualifications.

ASQA says that it has agreed to a request from TAFE SA for an extension of time to lodge a reconsideration application to March 2.

“Consistent with usual practice, ASQA has also agreed that its decision on the suspension of the 10 qualifications will not take effect while the reconsideration process is underway,” ASQA said.

“ASQA has advised TAFE SA of its intention to undertake another compliance monitoring audit of its training and assessment within 12 months.”

Change manager appointed to TasTAFE

Tasmania’s Minister for Education and Training Jeremy Rockliff yesterday announced that a new senior level change manager will be appointed at TasTAFE to oversee the implementation of the TasTAFE investigative audits.

Mr Rockliff said TasTAFE recently received the second quarter update from consultancy firm WLF on their independent audits, which includes recommendations in the areas of procurement and consultancy services, conflicts of interest, and personal benefits, all of which, he said, were being implemented.

“I thank TasTAFE staff and their commitment to their work while we work through this process, to ensure TasTAFE continues to provide the highest possible standard of skills and training to young Tasmanians,” the minister said.

He also said that since the audit process is ongoing, it would not be appropriate to release the update or specific recommendations, but that the government would release “as much information as we are able to” at the conclusion of the full audit.

Money laundering, drone technology and terrorism financing on TAFE NSW course list

TAFE NSW is taking a leap into the cyber age with a range of innovative new courses for 2018.

The courses cover areas including drone technology, anti-money laundering and cyber security. The new course include:

  • Certificate IV in Cyber Security
  • Advanced Diploma in Cyber Security
  • Drone Technology – course is titled Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot – Visual Line of Sight)
  • Diploma of Payroll Services
  • Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Skill Set

The Assistant Minister for Skills Adam Marshall said the latest course offerings showed that TAFE NSW was leading the way in delivering the workforce of the future.

Diary Dates

ASEAN Australia Education Dialogue
21-23 March 2018
Penang, Malaysia
More information

VET Practitioner Research Conference
AVETRA, VET Development Centre, and Victorian TAFE Assoc.
26-27 April 2018
More information

Skills Show Australia 2018
WorldSkills Australia
2-4 June 2018
International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, Sydney
More information

Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD)
National Conference

7- 8 June 2018
International Convention Centre, Sydney
More information

2018 Skills Conference
Apprentice Employment Network, NSW & ACT
14 June 2018
Dockside Darling Harbour, Sydney
More information

No Frills – Skills for a global future
NCVER & New Zealand’s Ako Aotearoa and Industry Training Federation
15-17 August 2018
More information

2018 World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) World Congress (in conjunction with TDA National Conference)
8-10 October 2018
Melbourne Convention Centre
More information

Corporate Affiliates


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