TDA Newsletter -Coalition’s surprise election win revives the Joyce plan for VET reform

In this edition

  • Let’s learn from Hawke – comment by CEO Craig Robertson
  • Coalition’s surprise election win revives the Joyce plan for VET reform
  • Proposals invited for historic Queensland rural training centre
  • Unique scholarship opportunity for VET experts
  • Two weeks to apply for national training awards
  • Industry skills forecasts open for review
  • Register now for ‘No Frills’ 2019
  • Diary

Let’s learn from Hawke – comment by CEO Craig Robertson

Reflecting on the death of Bob Hawke, the 23rd prime minister of Australia, on the eve of the federal election and contemplating a Morrison government, causes me to think that we’ve lost sight of the heavy lifting VET can do for the economy.

Hawke’s reforms are legendary. They were designed to open Australia to compete on the world stage – reducing trade barriers, floating the dollar, setting wage accords between industry and unions, decentralising wage fixing and restructuring awards.

His reforms also reached into the heart of vocational education and training, courtesy of the union movement.

Australia of the early 1980s was facing under-developed value-add to products and high prices of goods coming from protected Australian industries – jeopardising jobs and wages. At the instigation of the Amalgamated Metal Workers Union and its leading official, Laurie Carmichael, the federal department of Trade supported an ACTU mission to Sweden and other Northern European countries. Carmichael had observed first-hand Sweden’s approach to transforming its industrial base while protecting the rights of workers.

The ACTU’s report on the mission – Australia Reconstructed – released in 1987, recognised there needed to be a closer working relationship with industry to grow the industrial base for the benefit of businesses as well as workers. Narrow job roles, rigid job demarcation and poor levels of skills in workers were a drag on efficiency.

Speaking in December 1988, Carmichael laid out the challenge:

… our current form of work organisation, the current definition of employment in narrow categories of skill, the lack of career pathing in industry, all originated … from Frederick Winslow Taylor’s so called “Scientific Management System” which was taken on board by management all around the world in the early part of this century. And it is that, which we reflect from the workforce into trade unions, into demarcation attitudes. We believe it is necessary and absolutely essential that there be an up-grading in terms of multi-skilling … in terms of career-pathing [and] generally raising the skill level.

Award restructuring embodied a strategy to address the issues and the Metals Award was the instrument. Developed in conjunction with the Metal Trades Industry Association (the predecessor of the Australian Industry Group) the award encouraged multi-skilling and established skill-related career paths accessible by additional training embedded in VET competency-based qualifications. It established fixed minimum rates of pay and relativities between different categories of workers.

The National Training Board, established in 1988 by John Dawkins as Hawke’s education and training minister, was charged with deploying this model across a large sweep of industries and occupations served by the TAFE sector. Competency based training, linked to occupations and tied to the Industrial edifice, was born. Little has changed since – the Carmichael vision still underpins our approach to qualification content and qualification hierarchies within training packages.

Regardless of views on the success of the Carmichael model or its relevance for today, the broader point is that VET was used as a driving force for change across the economy. It is worth keeping in mind that VET reaches about 70 per cent of occupations in Australia and over 5.3 million Australians hold VET qualifications.

Come forward and many commentators lament that the training package model is not fit for purpose. The enquiry into TAFE SA concluded:

The development and use of Training Packages in their current form, particularly when combined with the way they are used in regulation, don’t support the innovation required to meet the emerging skill needs of at least some occupations and industries. Nor do they provide a framework for the lifelong learning workers need to adapt to economic change.
Today we face different industry structures, work organisation practices and industrial arrangements in a services-dominated economy.

Just as Hawke knew he could not hold onto old approaches in the vain hope that the economy would correct itself, I trust that Morrison is similarly brave when it comes to VET.

A footnote: At the same time of these VET reforms, Dawkins expanded higher education by converting Colleges of Advanced Education into universities. It is worth contemplating the autonomy afforded by Dawkins to the expanded university sector compared to the tri-partite mechanisms (complete with wage fixing and work demarcation) he imposed on VET, and which produces the better outcomes and is suited for the times.

Coalition’s surprise election win revives the Joyce plan for VET reform

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s against-the-odds win in Saturday’s election has re-shaped the immediate policy outlook for TAFE, and refocused attention on the Joyce review of VET and the government’s promise of a new body to oversee the  sector.

Labor campaigned heavily on TAFE, right up to the final days when Bill Shorten visited North Metropolitan TAFE in Western Australia, promising a generational overhaul of post-secondary education.

There was also a plethora of ALP promises including free TAFE places, guaranteed funding, and money for campus upgrades, apprenticeships, digital skills hubs, renewables training, an apprentice advocate and a regional training commissioner, as well as uncapped places for universities.

With the Liberal-National party win, the focus has swung back to key coalition commitments, including the findings of the Expert Review of VET conducted by former New Zealand minister Steven Joyce, pictured.

The government’s Budget skills package committed $48 million to progress one of the key Joyce recommendations – the establishment of a National Skills Commission “putting industry at the forefront of national leadership on workforce needs and VET funding”. The government has committed to appointing a National Skills Commissioner by September.

The Budget also committed $42 million to pilot new Skills Organisations, that will “put industry at the forefront of setting VET qualifications”. The new bodies would also develop standards for industry to accredit RTOs and pilot industry validation of student competency.

During the election campaign, the government promised to add $60 million to double the size of the current apprentice wage subsidy trial to an extra 1600 apprenticeships. There will also be a complete overhaul of apprentice incentive payments.

While a ministerial reshuffle is imminent, Prime Minister Scott Morrison indicated during the campaign that education minister Dan Tehan is likely to remain in the portfolio.

Proposals invited for historic Queensland rural training centre

The Queensland government has invited proposals for the use of the Queensland Agricultural Training College facilities at Longreach and Emerald which are due to shut down by the end of the year.

The Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the project management office (PMO) overseeing the QATC transition was looking for commercial partnership proposals for the community assets.

“The PMO is looking for proposals to repurpose the facilities to create reinvigorated training opportunities in central western Queensland, and to consider alternate commercially sustainable future uses for the college assets,” he said.

The college closures were announced last December following a review by Professor Peter Coaldrake.

Proposals can be submitted to

Unique scholarship opportunity for VET experts

The Fulbright Program, in partnership with the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training, is offering funding for Australian VET experts to undertake research and/or training anywhere in the U.S. for 3-4 months.

The Fulbright Professional VET Scholarship suits employees within the vocational education and training sector, or training leaders in business and industry. It involves the undertaking of an educational program concerning current vocational education and training policy or practice, such as a short course and/or research. The outcomes of the scholarship must inform and benefit the wider VET sector in Australia.

Examples of those who may apply include:

  • employees, including teachers, managers, and administrators, of public and private registered training organisations and those who teach vocational education and training in dual sector universities.
  • people who are leading vocational education and training strategies within their business.

Preference will be given to those who have a record of achievement and are poised for advancement to senior levels.

Past awardees: Sean O’Toole (NSW Department of Family and Community Services to the State University of New York); Caroline Smith (Skills Australia to Rutgers University); Damien Pearce (Canberra Institute of Technology to the John Jay School of Criminal Justice).

Applications close Monday 15 July 2019.

Two weeks to apply for national training awards

The Australian Training Awards are the peak, national awards for the vocational education and training (VET) sector. The awards recognise and reward individuals, businesses and registered training organisations for their contribution to skilling Australia.

Watch this video to find out why you, your business or registered training organisation should apply for national recognition in one of the following awards:

Registered Training Organisation:

Individual Awards:

*Applications for the Small Employer of the Year Award is available by direct entry to the Australian Training Awards in only in WA and NSW. 

Applications close on Friday 31 May 2019.

The 2019 Australian Training Awards will be in Brisbane on Thursday 21 November.


Industry skills forecasts open for review

The Skills Service Organisation, SkillsIQ, has issued draft industry skills forecasts for key sectors.

The draft 2019 industry skills forecasts which are open for consultation are:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker
  • Children’s Education and Care
  • Direct Client Care and Support
  • Local Government
  • Sport and Recreation

The closing date for feedback is Friday, 31 May.

See more.

Register now for ‘No Frills’ 2019

Join NCVER and co-host TAFE SA in Adelaide this July as presenters and delegates from across Australia and around the world come together for the 28th National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’.

Don’t miss your chance to hear guest speakers from the world stage, with keynotesDr Fiona Kerr (Founder, the NeuroTech Institute) and Ms Gabrielle Kelly (Director, the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre), and dinner speaker Mr Glenn Cooper AM (Chairman, Coopers Brewery).

The conference will also feature a lively panel discussion on ‘Lifelong learning: VET’s role now and into the future’.

With over 40 presentations and 6 pre-conference workshops to choose from, ‘No Frills’ 2019 has a range of registration options to suit everyone.

Date: 10 – 12 July 2019
Venue: TAFE SA Adelaide Campus, 120 Currie Street, Adelaide, South Australia
Theme: The student journey: skilling for life
Register: on the NCVER Portal

Diary Dates

VDC 2019 Teaching & Learning Conference
16 & 17 May 2019
RACV Torquay Resort, Great Ocean Road, Victoria
More information

2019 VET CEO Conference
Velg Training
17 May 2019
Doltone House – Sydney
More Information

TechnologyOne Showcase
Empowering industry transformation
Brisbane: 29 May 2019
Sydney: 4 June 2019
Melbourne: 6 June 2019
More information

2019 EduTech
6-7 June 2019
International Convention Centre, Sydney
More information

Skills Conference 2019
Apprentice Employment Network NSW & ACT
13 June 2019
Dockside Darling Harbour
More information

22nd Annual Conference of the Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association (AVETRA)
No future for old VET’: Researching for the training system/s of tomorrow
17-18 June 2019
Western Sydney University and University College, Parramatta, Sydney
More information

No Frills 2019: The student journey: skilling for life
28th National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference
10-12 July 2019
TAFE SA Adelaide Campus, 120 Currie Street, Adelaide, South Australia
More information

National Apprentice Employment Network
2019 National Conference
31 July – 2 August 2019
Crowne Plaza, Gold Coast
More information

QLD School VET Conference
Velg Training
9 August 2019
Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane
More Information

VTA 2019 State Conference 
15 – 16 August 2019
RACV City Club, 501 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Save the date

National Manufacturing Summit
21 & 22 August 2019
More information

National Skills Week
26 August – 1 September 2019
Locations around Australia
More information

TAFE Directors Australia 2019 Convention
4 – 6 September 2019
More information coming soon

2019 National VET Conference
Velg Training
12 &13 September 2019
Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane
More Information

Community Colleges Australia 2019 Annual Conference
18-20 November 2019
The Stamford Plaza Hotel, Brisbane
More Information

Australian Training Awards
21 November 2019
Brisbane, Queensland
More information

Turkey abolishes limit on international students numbers at universities

In what is being heralded as a positive step towards Turkey’s ambition of becoming an education hub, the country’s Council of Higher Education (YÖK) has announced that limitations on the number of international students accepted to study at Turkish universities have been abolished.

Prior to the announcement, universities could only accept international students if their total number did not exceed 50% of the overall student quota that each university defined annually for new admissions.

“The goal is to make Turkey a centre of attraction for higher education opportunities”

According to a report in the Daily Sabah medicine and dentistry courses will be the only exception where the 50% quota will still apply.

“However, universities with enough facilities to house a large number of students and meet criteria for education standards will be allowed to admit any number of students into these branches, providing a separate class for them,” the report stated.

Medicine and dentistry courses will be the exceptions where the 50% quota will still apply

YÖK president Yekta Saraç explained that the goal is to make Turkey “a centre of attraction for higher education opportunities”.

He pointed out that YÖK took the first steps to achieve this goal by setting up an international relations department and drafting a strategic plan for international efforts.

“I think we are conducting a successful process,” Saraç said, noting that Turkey signed deals with 34 countries since the 1980s in cooperation on education and to boost the number of students choosing Turkey for higher education.

“The recognition of our universities, especially in neighbouring countries, increased and we get good results from our initiatives to make Turkey more known for its universities in Africa and the Balkans.”

Saraç added that they have seen “a leap” in the number of international students. According to statistics released by YÖK last year, 125,138 international students were in the country in 2017-18.

“This is the result of serious planning… a new student and lecturer exchange program, updated accredited diploma regulations, new scholarships and initiatives to attract qualified foreign lecturers played a role in the increase,” Saraç added.

Speaking with The PIE News, vice director for Global Education and Partnerships at Istanbul Aydin University and coordinator of EURIE Ayse Deniz Ozkan noted that the lifting of undergraduate restrictions is expected to increase international student numbers overall.

In the past, when YÖK deregulated university admission criteria to allow institutions to set their own admission criteria, total international student numbers increased.

“Particularly foundation universities tend to take initiative and develop proactive marketing and admission policies when regulatory frameworks allow,” she said.

“Some may open more English-taught programs where the majority of the students will be international”

However, it is key that universities now develop the right internationalisation strategy to suit their individual institution.

“Some may open more English-taught programs, possibly where the majority of the students will be international,” Ozkan explained.

“We may see over-concentration of international students in certain study fields. These may create new challenges for university administrations.”

“It will be up to the universities themselves to navigate through this new era by setting the right admissions criteria and competitive tuition fees and by offering quality academic programs, and more services and support structures for international students,” Ozkan added.

Employer incentives may not be the most cost-effective or fair way of boosting apprenticeship number

The Coalition has promised to create 80,000 new apprenticeships in areas of skills shortages if it wins the election. Most skilled trades (such as motor mechanics, panel beaters, carpenters, automotive electricians, plumbers, hairdressers) have recently been in shortage.

The Coalition aims to reduce the shortages through doubling employer incentive payments, making cash payments to apprentices and creating training hubs in regional areas and other areas of need.

Labor said it would pay upfront fees for 100,000 TAFE places. Labor has also said it would provide incentives for employers and apprentices for an additional 150,000 apprentices.

It’s clear trade apprentices and associated skills shortages are a central concern of both parties. But it’s not clear providing incentives is the best way to handle the issue, as history shows government incentives to employers have made little difference to the (mostly male) trade apprenticeship numbers.

Difference between apprentice and trainee

In considering the policies of both parties, it’s important to understand the differences between longer-term trade apprenticeships and shorter-term traineeships.

An apprentice, in the narrow use of the word, is contracted in a tradesuch as that of an electrician, carpenter, chef or hairdresser. An apprenticeship can take up to four years to complete. Trade apprentices make up a small proportion of the vocational education and training sector – around 14% of all government funded vocational students.

Many of the main trades frequently appear on the skills shortage list. Shortages are seen to inhibit productivity in industries and the broader economy.

Traineeships were established in the late 1980s to provide apprentice-type training for young people in non-trade occupations such as sales and clerical, and many of the care occupations including disability and aged care.

The aim was to provide options, particularly for early school leavers, which combine work experience and learning on the job. It was hoped this would enhance early school leavers’ job prospects and add to the stock of skills in the economy.

Traineeships usually take one to two years to complete, much shorter than trade apprenticeships.

History of incentives

From the 1970s, the federal government had been providing financial incentives to employers of trade apprentices. The states also provided assistance. From the mid-1990s the federal government extended incentives to trainees, existing workers and to part-time and older workers.

Together with the introduction of a low training wage for trainees, the incentives led to a rapid expansion in the numbers of trainees in the late 1990s and to new training modes including fully on-the-job training. There was a sharp increase in the number of training organisations as employers were allowed to choose a private or public provider for off-the-job training (often one day a week).

Traineeships are different from apprenticeships, and are usually in non-trades such as clerical occupations. from

1999 review into the system found some firms were using traineeships as a source of wage subsidies and, in many instances, provided little training to the trainees. For some, the skills acquired were not valued by employers over general work experience obtained during the traineeship. And the issue continued into the next decade.

In 2011, an expert panel noted Australia was the only country that paid government incentives, on a large scale, to employers of apprentices and trainees. The panel reported research that showed incentives paid to employers for the shorter traineeships represented a significant part of the wage costs (in some cases about 20%) and contributed to the large increase in trainee numbers.

For the longer, and more costly, training of trade apprentices, government payments to employers represented a much smaller proportion of the wage and training costs. And so, the incentives had only a marginal effect on the numbers of trade apprentices employed.

The expert panel suggested the government would be better to confine its payments to programs that added value to the economy, such as those in community services, health and information technology.

The panel also recommended the government not give funds directly as incentives to employers. Instead, both employers and government would pay into an employer contribution scheme. Employers who met benchmarks such as a strong induction process and effective mentoring would have their contribution rebated, either in part or in full.

These recommendations were particularly aimed at the non-completion rates of apprentices – on average less than half complete their apprenticeships with their first employer. The most common reason given is dissatisfaction with the employment experience including difficulties with employers or colleagues.

Drop in trainee numbers

The government at the time didn’t take up the recommendation of an employer contribution scheme. It retained incentives for apprenticeships in trades on the national skills needs list such as construction and telecommunications, and for traineeships in priority occupations in aged care, childcare, disability care and nursing.

It abolished incentives for existing workers in other traineeships. Together with cuts in state subsidies to the providers of off-the-job training in some courses, these changes led to a large fall in traineeship numbers.

For example, by 2018, traineeships in clerical and sales had fallen by more than 70% from 2012. Older and female workers were most affected.

But the numbers of starting apprenticeships in trades in the last ten years in the largest three groups – construction trades, automotive and engineering, and electrotechnology and telecommunications – is virtually unchanged. And a fall in automotive was offset by increases in the others.

These results were largely in keeping with intentions of the expert panel in 2011.

A male dominated industry

Trade apprenticeships are male dominated. In 2018, 65,000 males started trade apprenticeships compared to 9,000 females. And females bore the larger share of the reduction in traineeships since 2012. It seems unlikely many of the women who missed out on traineeships are among the entrants to higher education where women form the majority of undergraduates.

The available research shows electrotechnology and telecommunications trades and construction trades graduates are relatively well paid, while hairdressers are the worst paid.

Trade apprentices are already the best-supported VET students during training. They can access trade support loans of up to $20,000 over four years – with a 20% discount of the debt on completion. Apprentices can receive allowances for living away from home, and the government provides support for adult apprentices as well as rural and regional skills shortage incentives.

Employment of apprentices and their mentoring is assisted by the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network, at an annual cost of nearly A$200 million.

State governments also provide additional support for employers and apprentices. For instance, Queensland has a program including schemesaimed at the unemployed. Western Australia has announced the provision of employer incentives in its 2019 budget. NSW has abolished tuition fees for apprenticeships.

Extra government incentives to improve apprenticeship numbers do not seem to be the most effective, or equitable, policy. The next government must undertake a comprehensive review of incentives and all other forms of apprenticeship assistance.

The review should revisit the advice of the 2011 expert panel and ideally, should be conducted in the context of a review all tertiary funding (similar to what Labor is proposing).

Australian construction industry says new technologies will increase productivity and revenue

SYDNEY, Australia – 15 May 2019 – Procore Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of construction management software, in partnership with ACA Research, today released the findings of an Australian construction industry benchmark report, How We Build Now – Tracking Technology in Construction 2019. Highlights from the report show that 86 percent of respondents think increasing technology usage is an important means of improving productivity, but an existing skills gap could prove to be an issue with 92 percent of respondents stating that upskilling the workforce is equally important. The survey provides insights on technology, people, and outlook in the local construction sector.

The How We Build Now report found that construction companies with more than ten employees are generally optimistic, expecting continued growth and more lucrative projects throughout 2019. The rising cost of raw materials and equipment is the most significant challenge for this outlook, while other common pain points include project productivity, efficiency, and information technology.

Overall, small construction businesses (10-99 employees) have significant concerns relating to staff management, however, they are agile and adaptable when it comes to adopting technology and developing technical skills. Meanwhile, medium businesses (100-499 employees) have more confidence in the year ahead yet struggle with efficiencies and are somewhat complacent when it comes to technology adoption and skills development. Large businesses (500+ employees) will continue to lead the charge, adopting new technologies to drive productivity and revenue and seeking a broad range of skills including data analytics and comfort with digital technology to support this.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Business outlook: 64% of respondents feel confident about building and construction industry business conditions in 2019, with 22% expecting an increase in the value of their projects.
  • Efficiency and productivity: The Australian construction industry spends 12% of its time on re-work. Small (17%) and medium (16%) sized businesses spend more time on re-work than large (10%) businesses. Meanwhile, almost 50% of businesses believe improving project management skills is essential to increasing productivity.
  • Technology impact: 69% of respondents feel prepared for the impact of new technologies on their business. Equally, 69% think new tech will increase productivity, while 62% of respondents say it will also increase revenue. 41% of businesses will use 6 or more new technologies in 2019.
  • People and skills: 92% of respondents think that upskilling your workforce is an important means of improving productivity, yet in contrast 95% are also confident the skills of their current workforce will meet their business needs in 2019.
  • Current and future tech usage: BIM/CAD is the most popular technology currently used in the industry (33%), followed by pre-fabricated parts (29%) and digital project management tools (25%). Respondents also see these technologies being the top three drivers of change over the next 3 years, with pre-fabricated parts (32%) leading the charge.
  • Health and safety: Half of all construction companies are unaware of the targets set by ‘The Australian Work Health & Safety Strategy 2012-2022’.
  • Diversity: 1 in 5 leadership positions are held by women, with large companies leading the way.

“Construction companies are constantly looking for ways to drive growth, reduce risk and delays, or simply to find that elusive work/life balance. At Procore, we believe that the right technology makes life easier, so we take every effort to learn how we can use it to make work easier in the construction industry,” said Tom Karemacher, Vice President APAC at Procore Technologies.

“Our customers tell us that, whilst they’re looking at ways to consolidate legacy technologies, they are also planning for the future. We invested in this research to shed light on technology adoption in construction, and how new technologies are influencing more efficient processes and better business outcomes,” Karemacher continues. “We hope the report will provide industry, government and the education sector with information about how technology is being adopted, the current and future skills required, and the role that technology plays in helping the construction industry meet its obligations.”

The first in an annual ‘benchmark series’, the research behind How We Build Now – Tracking Technology in Construction 2019 was conducted by independent research company ACA Research, which surveyed 170 construction companies across Australia.

Download a copy of the How We Build Now – Tracking Technology in Construction 2019 report here.

# # #

About Procore

Procore is a leading provider of construction management software. Procore connects people, applications, and devices through a unified platform to help construction professionals manage risk and build quality projects—safely, on time, and within budget. Procore has a diversified business model with products for Project Management, Construction Financials, Quality & Safety, and Field Productivity. Headquartered in Carpinteria, California, with offices around the globe, Procore is used to manage billions of dollars in annual construction volume. For more information about Procore, visit

Media contact:

India Bednall / Samantha Rosich

Espresso Communications

+61 2 8016 2200

This Saturday is chance to restore TAFE funding in Australia

Under the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison government’s TAFE institution across the nation have been under attack.

Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman reminded Queenslanders of their chance to restore training opportunities in Australia as they head to the voting booth on Saturday.

“So far the LNP in Canberra have presided over more than $3 billion in cuts to TAFE and training,” Ms Fentiman said.

:They are no different to the Queensland LNP that cut $82.4 million from the training budget and sacked more than 2100 TAFE Queensland staff, discontinuing TAFE course and closing or selling campuses.”

The impact of these cuts have been highlighted today by the Queensland Audit Report intoEducation: 2017–18 results of audits.

The impact of Commonwealth unfair student loan system and cuts to training programs for 2017-18 alone was over $27 million and included:

  • $18.6 million reduction from students accessing Commonwealth Government VET Student Loans
  • $7.1 million cut from the Commonwealth Adult Migrant English Program; and
  • $1.7 million cut from the Commonwealth Skills for Education and Employment program.

“Saturday’s Federal Election is a chance for State’s like Queensland to gain an ally in the effort to repair and fix this damage,” she said.

“Only Bill Shorten and Labor are prepared to provide Queensland TAFE with its fair share of support.

“Only Federal Labour have promised to review all post school education and training funding and address the unfair student loan system operating for TAFE.

“In addition, only Federal Labor has committed $1 billion dollars in vocational education and training including 100,000 Free TAFE places and $330 million to deliver 150,000 apprenticeship subsidies in areas with skills shortages.”

“Federal Labor is also prepared to work with us on TAFE and has committed $200 million towards helping the states build TAFEs for the future.

“This has included investment in TAFEs at Cairns, Townsville, Logan, Mt Gravatt, Acacia Ridge, Whitsundays, Bowen, Redcliffe AND a new TAFE trades training centre at North Lakes.”

Despite federal funding cuts, with the support of the Palaszczuk Government TAFE Queensland has continued to achieving results

TAFE Queensland continues to be the largest provider of education and training in Queensland, delivering training to over 120,000 students in 2017–18 across more than 530 programs.

“Strengthened by its online and international delivery, no other provider can match TAFE Queensland for scale and location options,” Ms Fentiman said.

“TAFE QLD ensures high quality outcomes for students and employers – more than 85% of students are employed or in further study after completing their course.”

“With a Federal Labor Government partnering with us we can achieve much more.”

/Public Release. View in full here.

TAFE Queensland struggles with declining enrolments

AFE Queensland’s financial performance is at risk because of declining student numbers, the state’s auditor-general has warned.

According to a Queensland Audit Office report, TAFE Queensland is struggling due to decreasing student numbers and revenue, without an equivalent reduction in expenses.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at Acacia Ridge's TAFE Skill Centre during the 2017 election campaign.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at Acacia Ridge’s TAFE Skill Centre during the 2017 election campaign.CREDIT:TRACEY NEARMY/AAP

“There are risks to its sustainability,” Auditor-General Brendan Worrall’s report reads.

“TAFE Queensland requires ongoing support from the Queensland government to remain financially sustainable.”

TAFE Queensland’s attempts to reduce expenses were unsuccessful, largely due to employee costs and system implementation issues, the report said.

TAFE was expected to make an $11 million loss in the 2019 financial year, while its operating surplus plunged from $19.96 million in 2017 to $1.42 million in 2018.

The competitive market also heaped pressure on TAFE, with 69 per cent of students enrolled in courses in Queensland being delivered by private providers.

TAFE Queensland delivered training to more than 120,000 students in 2017-18 across 530 programs.

The Queensland government provided grants and subsidies of $762.1 million to public and private providers last year, of which $336.7 million was given to TAFE Queensland.

Training Minister Shannon Fentiman accused the federal Coalition government of cutting funding but said no other provider could match TAFE Queensland for scale and location options.

“TAFE Queensland ensures high-quality outcomes for students and employers – more than 85 per cent of students are employed or in further study after completing their course,” she said.

In a letter to the auditor-general, TAFE Queensland chief executive Mary Campbell said the body serviced rural and remote areas of the state and supported students affected by the closure of private providers.

“This responsiveness and high quality of TAFE Queensland’s education and training provisions is fundamental to the successful operation of (the) vocational education and training sector in Queensland, however it must be acknowledged that this comes at a cost,” she said.

LNP leader Deb Frecklington accused the state government of not having a plan to manage the body.

“Under (Premier) Annastacia Palaszczuk and her TAFE system, we’ve had senior execs being wined and dined and flown around the world at a cost of millions of dollars to the taxpayer of Queensland,” she said.

Last year’s estimates hearings revealed TAFE’s hospitality expenses doubled in three years and $687,525 was spent on international travel.


German cabinet approves reform of vocational training law

BERLIN, May 15 (Xinhua) — Starting next year, trainees will receive at least 515 euros (575.9 U.S. dollars) a month for their vocational training, according to a reform of the Vocational Training Act (BBiG) passed by the German cabinet on Wednesday.

The minimum remuneration for the first year of training will increase annually, according to the reform of the vocational training law that was part of the German coalition government’s agreement.

The inclusion of a minimum remuneration will be the first time that a general lower limit is set for the payment of trainees in Germany, although it will only apply if an employer is not bound by a prior collective agreement, according to the German Ministry for Education and Research.

“With the minimum remuneration, we start where there is no collective bargaining agreement. It keeps the balance, creates transparency and increases attractiveness,” said Education and Research Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU).

“With each training year, trainees receive a little more, since they learn more each year and thus do more for the company,” emphasized the minister.

In the second year of training, the minimum salary is to increase by 18 percent, in the third year by 35 percent, according to the draft bill.

The planned reform of the German vocational training law was also intended to strengthen continuing vocational education and training in Germany.

“Vocational education and training in Germany is one of the most successful qualification systems in the world. The BBiG amendment will make it even more attractive,” said Karliczek.

“The choice between initial and continuing vocational training or studies is not a question of more or less. It is a choice between two equal ways to professional success,” the minster added.

Criticism of the reformed vocational training law came from Germany’s two largest trade unions, IG Metall and ver.di.

“The reform of the Vocational Training Act contains the right approaches with regard to the minimum training allowance. With regard to the conditions for vocational training, however, it largely falls short of the requirements for modern vocational training,” Hans-Juergen Urban, managing director of the board for IG Metall, told Xinhua on Wednesday.

“The dual system of study is a form of training for the future. Binding quality standards and modern forms of co-determination are needed here. This is where the draft law simply fails,” said Urban.

The German trade union also felt that the draft law fell short with regard to the necessary quality assurance in training, support for voluntary work in the examination system and improved further training opportunities for in-company trainees.

According to figures from the Federal Employment Agency (BA), more than seven percent of all trainees in Germany earned 500 euros or less a month at the end of 2017.


Study shows industry workforce is unprepared for demands of the digital age

New research has found that most employers are unprepared for the digital future of work and risk being left behind.

New research has found that most employers are

The RMIT study examined demand and supply for digital skills in Australia – especially in the sectors of transport and logistics and public safety and correctional services – as well as a broader survey of other industries.

Associate Professor Victor Gekara led the team of researchers from RMIT University’s College of Business in compiling the Skilling the Australian workforce for the digital economy report for the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

Gekara said the nature of Australian industry was changing rapidly as global competitive pressures grew, leading to rapid and extensive workplace transformation.

“Despite this reality, the adoption of digital technology across many of the organisations we studied was gradual and restricted, rather than rapid and comprehensive,” he said. “This is concerning.”

He said this lack of preparedness was usually due to cost considerations, over-reliance on the open market to prepare the workforce or just pure complacency.

The report calls for a comprehensive Australian national digital skills framework, similar to the Australian Core Skills Framework for numeracy and literacy skills, as a sustainable approach to meeting demand.

“This would assist employers to identify digital skills gaps and help training providers to develop targeted training programs,” Gekara said.

The report revealed that many employers lack confidence in the capacity of the VET system, in its current form, to effectively develop the digital skills required for the emerging, highly digitalised economy.

“In the current situation where the majority of digital skills training units are elective, it is very possible for someone to undertake entire qualifications with little, if any, digital skills training,” Gekara said.

Furthermore, the report revealed uncertainty in industry about the extent of government policy intervention to ensure that digital skills in Australia were adequately developed.

The report also called for government and industry to work together more closely with the VET sector to ensure future workplace skills are guaranteed for the Australian economy.

“The only way to have an effective and sustainable system for developing these kinds of skills is when you have employers committed to invest in training efforts and working closely with training providers to identify need, design programs and monitor their application under a strong relevant national policy,” Gekara said.

The research team included RMIT’s Professor Alemayehu Molla, Associate Professor Darryn Snell and Dr Stan Karanasios, in partnership with Ms Amanda Thomas of Australian Industry Standards.


Labor to spend $12m boosting number of female tradies in vocational education overhaul

Doug Cameron says $12m spend will ‘help break down the barriers faced by women’

 Labor says many trades are dominated by men but it will spend $12m to increase the number of women. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

A Labor government will commit $12m to boost the number of female tradies as part of an overhaul of Australia’s vocational education sector.

The shadow skills minister, Doug Cameron, said the commitment aimed to boost female representation in traditionally male-dominated occupations, where women remain a tiny fraction of the workforce.

Cameron said training organisations would be given funds to recruit women, who would then be linked to employers who wanted to make their “workshops more diverse and inclusive”.

“Women should have safe and inclusive opportunities to become fully qualified and well-paid tradespeople,” Cameron said. “Many trades are still male dominated, but that doesn’t need to continue to be the norm.”

The $12m will operate under the guidance of Labor’s apprenticeship advocate, who will be charged with closing the apprenticeship gender gap and expanding the uptake of quality apprenticeships and traineeships across the labour market.

The program will include funds for mentoring apprentices, peer support and working directly with employers to “overcome bias” and achieve more accepting and inclusive workplaces.

As little as 2% of workers in well-paid traditional trades including electrical, building, automotive and engineering are women.

The party points to a recent study of women in the automotive trades, which found that only half believed men and women were treated equally at work. One in four women reported direct sexual harassment and more than 40% had been subjected to offensive language or behaviour at work.

“Experienced group training organisations will provide direct assistance to employers and apprentices to help break down the barriers faced by women,” Cameron said. “Through this program Labor will support women who want to do a trade, lift their earning potential, improve the businesses they work in and make our society fairer.”

The party’s shadow minister for women and education, Tanya Plibersek, said the program would also offer practical assistance to ensure worksites were more female friendly.

“Women wanting to gain a trade in male dominated occupations face major barriers to finding quality trade apprenticeships,” Plibersek said.

“Things like ensuring worksites have appropriate bathroom facilities, inclusive communal staff areas and providing advice on how to appropriately interact at work are easy to address but are often some of the biggest barriers to women taking up a trade and feeling comfortable at work.”

The commitment forms part of the party’s post-budget pledge to spend $440m on skills and training, including $330m to deliver 150,000 apprenticeship subsidies in areas with skills shortages.

Bill Shorten has also committed Labor to spend $200m on Tafe campuses and promised to almost double the number of new apprenticeship offered by the Coalition in Tuesday’s budget.