Australia’s VET system set to shape our future workforce

The Morrison Government’s renewed commitment to the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector will make it central to shaping Australia’s workforce for the future.

Speaking at the 28th National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference today, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Michaelia Cash, said she would lift the profile of Australia’s VET sector and aim to make it the first choice in post-school learning for millions of Australians.

“It is a valuable career choice for many Australians and should not be seen as being something less important than a university degree,” Minister Cash said.

More than 4 million people undertook vocational education and training in 2017. At the end of last year, there were more than a quarter of a million apprentices and trainees.

“We know that people with VET qualifications are highly regarded and sought after by employers, but we need more people to choose VET as their path to success,” Minister Cash said.

“The Morrison Government already has in place a number of programs and tools designed to increase the profile of the sector and encourage more Australians to choose a VET qualification.

“These programs will be especially important because, as our economy evolves and our workforce changes, VET will be the way we train and re-train the workforce of the future.

Minister Cash also delivered a message to education providers of the VET sector that more cooperation with industry was required to create better outcomes for students.

“Employers look to vocationally trained workers because of their suitability in skills and experience. Australia’s VET system must better connect with industry, respond to community needs, and have clear, consistent funding.

And with the growth in the VET sector, Minister Cash said there was always room for improvements.

“The sector still bears some of the scars of Labor’s mismanagement of bad student loans, underfunded courses, quality issues and the diminishing of TAFE.

“It is this Government’s promise to continue the hard work of reforming the sector, providing better quality courses, and better outcomes for trainees and employers.”

The Australian Government’s $525 million Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow package announced in the April Budget will also ensure that the sector can help supply Australia’s future workforce.

The package provides every Australian with the opportunity to grow the skills needed to succeed in an evolving workforce and, concurrently offers employers a pipeline of qualified workers they need to grow and prosper.

Minister Cash said the package reflects the Morrison Government’s commitment to growing the number of new apprenticeships.

“Under our landmark skills package, up to 80,000 additional apprenticeships will be created over the next five years in priority skill shortage areas, assisted by new apprenticeship incentives. Youth unemployment will be targeted with an offering of 400 scholarships in regional Australia to the value of $8 million.

“The Government is committed to creating more than 1.25 million jobs over the next five years and I’m confident that more and more of the people filling these positions will be coming to employers through the VET system,” Minister Cash said.

/Public Release. View in full here.

Minister praises vocational study over uni

Michaelia Cash
Minister Michaelia Cash hopes to raise the profile of the vocational education and training sector. (AAP)

Skills and Employment Minister Michaelia Cash wants Australian students to choose vocational training over university study when they finish school.

The federal government hopes Australian students will put their hands up for vocational education over university study.

Skills Minister Michaelia Cash will on Thursday address the vocational education and training sector at a conference in Adelaide, outlining the Morrison government’s aims for the field.

Senator Cash hopes to raise the profile of the sector to ensure it’s the first pick for students choosing their next steps after high school.

“It is a valuable career choice for many Australians and should not be seen as being something less important than a university degree,” she will say.

“We know that people with VET qualifications are highly regarded and sought after by employers, but we need more people to choose VET as their path to success.”

Senator Cash will also urge education providers to work closer with industry to ensure students receive better training.

“Employers look to vocationally trained workers because of their suitability in skills and experience,” she will say.

“Australia’s VET system must better connect with industry, respond to community needs and have clear, consistent funding.”

There were more than 250,000 apprentices and trainees at the end of last year, while more than four million Australians undertook vocational education and training in 2017.

Under the Morrison government’s $525 million plan, up to 80,000 extra apprenticeships will be created over the next five years in areas with skills shortages.

Youth unemployment in regional Australia will also be combated, with 400 scholarships on offer to the value of $8 million.

International Student Safety Loopholes In Australia Pretty Alarming

Australia prides itself as a safe travel destination, however, the latest series of robberies and physical attacks targeting international students in Melbourne is alarming. Moreover, the Australian media believes that international students are treated as “cash cows”, raising serious concerns about the safety and wellbeing of foreign students in Australia.

International education is a lucrative industry in Australia, with more than 500,000 international students contributing nearly A$32 billion into Australia’s economy. International education was also the third-largest export earner for the country, according to a statement by Universities Australia’s Deputy Chief Executive Anne-Marie Lansdown, released last year.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said the government was working in collaboration with education providers to “ensure Australia is a safe and welcoming country for international students”.

Several safety policies and frameworks were employed in the country, including the 2018 National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students which requires education providers to give foreign students information in relation to on-campus safety. It also entails that varsities should employ staff and other support mechanisms to help students in matters pertaining to health or counselling, with immediate actions against critical incidents such as cases of violence, aggression, physical or sexual assault.

Majority of Australian universities have good safety measures employed at their respective campuses such as CCTV camera coverage, emergency phone points and active security services patrolling. However, a major challenge for universities lies in protecting international students travelling to and from the university and also in their local communities.

University students were often victimised on public transports. According to a Melbourne-based study, nearly 80 percent of surveyed female students said they ‘had been victims of comments, advances, groping, or being followed on public transport” in the last three years. More than half of the surveyed men reported that they were mistreated in public transports. Another study found international students were more likely to report safety threats on racial, religious or cultural grounds than domestic students

Different Australian universities are also taking a lead to handle the matter at hand. Griffith University offers self-defense classes to their students and staff so that they can protect themselves and can develop strategies to avoid personal harm or injury. Several universities have MATES (Mentoring and Transition Equals Success) or equivalent mentoring program for new students to connect them with already enrolled students and learn about university life in Australia. This network can also be used to create awareness about international student safety.

SourceAAP:https://academiamag.com/international-student-safety-in-australia/

Are we unprepared for the jobs of the future?

A new report reveals the majority of employees across the Asia Pacific region are worried their employers will not support them to meet future job requirements, with seven in ten workers saying they are concerned they’re unprepared for the jobs of the future.

Skillsoft’s Mind the Gap report is based on a Vanson Bourne study of 2,500 employees across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia about their readiness for the future of work.

The report found more than three quarters (77%) of respondents reported they would need to learn a new skill in 2019 to remain confident in their role. Nearly 70% of respondents are concerned about not receiving the learning, development and training they need from their organisation to remain employable and skilled in the future, while one-fifth (21%) are very concerned.

On average, surveyed employees received learning, development and training from their organisation for new skills for their job role three times in 2018. However, 82R% report their organisation could provide more training, learning and upskilling opportunities, while only 14% of those who received training last year rated this as excellent, where nothing could have been improved.

“We are quite shocked by the level of concern and unpreparedness among employees,” states Rosie Cairnes, regional director of APAC, Skillsoft.

“Training, learning and development are critical to technology-enabled workplaces, yet many organisations are failing to deliver enough. This is not just a ”future” problem; it is happening now,” she says.

The study shows digital transformation and employee training is out of step.

Approximately 80% of respondents surveyed say their role is being changed due to digital transformation, with over a quarter (26%) reporting their role is being digitally transformed, and more than half (55%) stating their role is having a slight digital transformation.

However, employee training is not keeping pace. In 2019, 80% of employees across APAC would like their organisation to be more on trend with the training they provide. More than half (54%) of employees would like to receive learning, development and training opportunities online through eLearning courses, while 42% are interested in receiving training via microlearning. Furthermore, 86% of respondents agree the future of work is nothing without training, learning and development.

“Continuous, personalised, on-demand learning that allows individuals to curate their own learning journey in a way that is responsive to the needs of their role, at their own pace, must become standard across all businesses, large and small, in order to manage digital transformation effectively,” Cairnes says.

The report also found organisations are hiring instead of training.

The study showed that 90% of respondents believe when a new role needs to be filled in their organisation, employers look externally instead of internally because they have failed to put in place an appropriate learning and development programme to upskill their people. Forty percent of respondents report that roles are filled with external employees all or most of the time.

“Hiring is far more costly than training, and organisations are already grappling with a skills deficit in the jobs market,” says Cairnes.

“Failing to invest in employee development also has a huge bearing on job satisfaction, morale and retention,” she adds.

“Many organisations are missing out on the positive financial impact and increased performance of upskilling their employees to take on new roles, and are missing an opportunity to reduce attrition by providing a compelling experience for their employees.”

SourceAAP:https://itbrief.com.au/story/are-we-unprepared-for-the-jobs-of-the-future

How digital document management can help training organisations boost compliance

Proving enrolments are active and legitimate can be a major challenge for registered training organisations (RTOs), which rely on student numbers to maintain competitive advantage and obtain government funding. RTOs need to justify their student intake with up-to-date documents and records, and this can be difficult using traditional, paper-based data management processes.

It’s important for RTOs to have the tools to easily and confidently support claims about student enrolment for compliance and auditing purposes, while providing students with access to better services, according to Upstream.

RTOs operate in a highly competitive space. Student services and teaching staff manage large volumes of documents, from feedback and enrolment forms to assignments and late submission notices for assessments. It’s critical to securely and accurately process and store these documents.

Failing to produce accurate and relevant documentation when needed can see student satisfaction decrease, and importantly can also jeopardise RTOs’ certifications and funding.

Upstream Victorian sales manager Cal Stevens says, “RTOs relying on paper documents are putting their organisation’s funding at risk. Paper documents are more difficult to keep track of, and they can easily become lost, damaged, stolen, copied, and forgotten about at the back of filing cabinets, all of which are common challenges faced by RTOs daily.

“Handling student information on paper also means student services teams need to manually update records, which becomes cumbersome and complicated. In addition, it puts the responsibility on staff and means that RTOs are relying on employees for business-critical processes.  Physical documents also take up space as they accumulate over time, and demand maintenance resources many RTOs simply don’t have.”

As digital document trends take off across multiple sectors, RTOs should consider the following suit to improve their document management and student services, increase compliance, become audit-ready, and ensure government funding.

Digitising student documents means that information and updates can be easily stored and tracked over students’ tertiary lifespans. Students’ documents can be scanned and automatically uploaded against their own student records directly in the document management platform for authorised staff to view, track, and manage.

Even after students graduate, RTOs can maintain records relating to alumni. This is helpful for RTOs undergoing audits and managing student records retrospectively.

RTOs with digitised document management systems can save significant time during audits by accessing a student’s complete records and document history at the simple click of a button.

This means staff also have more time to focus on more meaningful tasks, rather than getting bogged down in paperwork during auditing periods.

Cal Stevens said, “Despite a shift towards digitised document services, many students still provide physical submissions of their assessments or don’t have access to laptops or iPads, and subsequently can’t upload documents to their digital accounts. As a result, RTOs still have to cater to and manage physical paperwork. This challenge can be easily resolved with simple document management solutions that migrate physical paperwork to a digital format.

Whether through barcode technology or document scanning solutions, DMS technology can be applied to a range of student documents and scanned directly into the RTO’s learning management system.

Digital document management systems are helping RTOs, and other businesses in a range of industries save time, improve security, and provide better services to customers and clients. RTOs can use digital document solutions to perform better in audits and maintain necessary funding.

Digital systems also let RTOs better cater to students, who trust in their education providers to responsibly, ethically, and accurately manage their documents and data.

SourceAAP:https://itbrief.com.au/story/how-digital-document-management-can-help-training-organisations-boost-compliance

Australian Taxation Office to target expats owing on student debts

Australians living or set to head overseas have been warned they can’t dodge loans simply by moving away from the country

The ATO say they will crack down on Australian graduates living overseas.Source:Supplied

Australian graduates living or travelling overseas have been warned moving away doesn’t mean they can dodge their student loans, and the Australian Taxation Office intends to remind them.

The ATO announced on Tuesday it would contact people with student debt who leave or are already overseas in the coming months.

ATO assistant commissioner Karen Foat said it was easy to get caught up in the excitement of moving overseas and forget about one’s repayment obligations.

“Moving overseas does not cancel student loan debts and your repayment obligations do not change with your address,” she said.

“Current laws give us the power to pursue these debts overseas.”

The ATO has set their sights on Aussie moving abroad.

The ATO has set their sights on Aussie moving abroad.Source:Supplied

Expats with Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), Vocational Education & Training student loan (VET) and Trade Support Loan (TSL) debts can expect to be contacted.

Ms Foat said it took an average of nine years for people to pay off HELP debts. “But for Australians who travel overseas and don’t make any repayments, it takes significantly longer,” she said.

Under new rules, Australians with an income contingent loan travelling overseas need to notify the ATO of their new address and lodge an overseas travel notification.

From July 1, anybody earning over $45,881 a year had to start repaying their student loans after the government passed laws cutting the threshold from $55,000.

The ATO say they will be cracking down on student loans who are living overseas.

The ATO say they will be cracking down on student loans who are living overseas.Source:Supplied

“Expats should know that once their income reaches the new threshold of $45,881 for 2019/20, they need to be making repayments, just like anyone living in Australia,” Ms Foat said.

As at January 31, there are over 3.2 million Australians with outstanding student loan debts totalling more than $66 billion.

SourceAAP:https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-advice/money/australian-taxation-office-to-target-expats-owing-on-student-debts/news-story/eff60779c02ad50e54ff94f704f3e0b0

Australian expats warned on student debts

Australian graduates living overseas have been warned moving away doesn’t mean they can dodge their student loans, and the tax office intends to remind them.
The Australian Taxation Office announced on Tuesday it would contact people with student debt who leave or are already overseas in the coming months.
ATO assistant commissioner Karen Foat said it was easy to get caught up in the excitement of moving overseas and forget about one’s repayment obligations.
“Moving overseas does not cancel student loan debts and your repayment obligations do not change with your address. Current laws give us the power to pursue these debts overseas,” she said.
Expats with Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), Vocational Education & Training student loan (VSL) and Trade Support Loan (TSL) debts can expect to be contacted.
Ms Foat said it took an average of nine years for people to pay off HELP debts.
“But for Australians who travel overseas and don’t make any repayments, it takes significantly longer,” she said.
Under new rules, Australians with an income contingent loan travelling overseas need to notify the ATO of their new address and lodge an overseas travel notification.
From July 1, anybody earning over $45,881 a year had to start repaying their student loans after the government passed laws cutting the threshold from $55,000.
“Expats should know that once their income reaches the new threshold of $45,881 for 2019/20, they need to be making repayments, just like anyone living in Australia,” Ms Foat said.
As at 31 January, there are over 3.2 million Australians with outstanding student loan debts totalling more than $66 billion.

Escape from country, but not your student loans

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will be contacting Australian expats this year reminding them that leaving Australia doesn’t mean leaving their student loans behind.

As at 31 January, there are over 3.2 million Australians with outstanding student loan debts, totalling over $66 billion. The ATO will be engaging with the Department of Home Affairs to identify those who leave or have already departed Australia. Individuals who leave or have already departed Australia with Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), Vocational Education & Training student loan (VSL) and Trade Support Loan (TSL) debts can expect to be contacted by the ATO in the coming months.

“We know it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of moving overseas. That’s why we’re reminding expats about obligations they may have forgotten back home,” said Assistant Commissioner Karen Foat.

“On average, it takes someone nine years to pay off their HELP debt. But for Australians who travel overseas and don’t make any repayments, it takes significantly longer.

“Moving overseas does not cancel student loan debts and your repayment obligations do not change with your address. Current laws give us the power to pursue these debts overseas,” Ms Foat said.

Under new rules, Australians with an income contingent loan travelling overseas need to notify the ATO of their new address and lodge an overseas travel notification. They should also report their worldwide income if they earn over $11,470 (AUD). Expats can lodge their tax returns through ATO’s online services via myGov.

“Expats should know that once their income reaches the new threshold of $45,881 for 2019-20, they need to be making repayments, just like anyone living in Australia,” Ms Foat said.

Individuals within Australia who have an income contingent loan are also required to make compulsory repayments against their study or training loan debt. The income threshold for 2019-20 is $45,881. It is important to tell your employer you have a study or training loan debt, so that the correct amount is withheld from your salary or wages.

More information on overseas repayments: ato.gov.au/Individuals/Study-and-training-support-loans/Overseas-repayments/

More information on study and training support loans: ato.gov.au/Individuals/Study-and-training-support-loans/

Details of the ATO’s data matching strategies are published at ato.gov.au/datamatching

Accessing myGov from overseas

If you can’t receive security codes by SMS to your Australian mobile number overseas, before you travel download the ‘myGov Access app’ to update your myGov sign-in option.

If you have a myGov account linked to the ATO and answer a secret question to sign in, you can continue using this option whilst overseas.

If security codes by SMS are switched on but you don’t have access to your Australian mobile number overseas, you will not be able to login your account. You’ll need to create a new myGov account and link to the ATO, you can do this whilst overseas using the ‘myGov Access app’ as your sign-in option.

Income contingent loans include:

Income Contingent loan No. of individuals Amount owed
HELP (Higher Education Loan Program) 2.8 million $62.9 billion
SFSS (Student Financial Supplement Scheme) – scheme closed in 2003 165,409 $2.1 billion
SSL (Student Start-up Loan) 161,768 $406 million
ABSTUDY SSL 3,119 $7.2 million
TSL (Trade Support Loan) 88,926 $631.6 million
VSL (Vocational Education & Training student loan) from 1 July 2019 n/a n/a

Top 5 international destinations for Australians with income contingent loans

Top 5 Country Number of Australians
1 United Kingdom 12,296
2 United States 5,569
3 New Zealand 2,632
4 Canada 2,444
5 Hong Kong 2,111
/Media Release. View in full here.

TAFE suspends mid-year enrolments amid student influx

Students due to start at one of Victoria’s largest TAFEs in just two weeks have been told not to turn up because of a shortage of work placements under Labor’s free TAFE initiative.

In a blow to the Andrews government’s flagship policy, Melbourne Polytechnic has suspended mid-year enrolments for five courses because it has been unable to accommodate an influx of students.

Mid-year enrolments have been suspended for five TAFE course at Melbourne Polytechnic
Mid-year enrolments have been suspended for five TAFE course at Melbourne Polytechnic

The institute apologised for the disruption, saying it was unable to secure enough work placements for the unprecedented student numbers.

About 200 students set to embark on a certificate III in Individual Support, certificate IV in Disability, Mental Health and Community Services and the diploma of Community Services have been affected.

The development followed revelations in The Age last week that the initiative was plagued with staff shortages, swelling class sizes and students were struggling to find placements due to the increased competition.

More than 19,000 students have flocked to free TAFE courses since the initiative was launched at the start of the year in a bid to boost enrolments and meet skills shortages. This is more than double the number of students who enrolled in these courses last year.

“The sudden growth in student numbers has caused some challenges for us as an organisation, particularly in those areas where course completion requires industry placements,” Melbourne Polytechnic chief executive Frances Coppolillo told staff in an email on Friday.

Affected students have been told they can either start their course next year, transfer to another course or move to an equivalent course at another TAFE. Melbourne Polytechnic spokeswoman Nicole Amsing said the TAFE was reviewing its processes to ensure the disruption never occurred again.

“Despite ongoing efforts, it has become clear in recent weeks that we could not guarantee work placements for all students enrolling in Semester Two in these courses,” she said.

“We had not fully anticipated the level of demand for these courses and our local partners simply do not have the capacity to provide enough placements.”

She said the changes would not affect current students.

Enrolments in the TAFE’s community services courses have ballooned from 76 to 445 under the initiative.

The Opposition’s training spokeswoman Mary Wooldridge said Labor’s on-the-run pledge was failing students and compromising TAFEs.

“Labor’s implementation of Free TAFE is a shambles, with little thought to how courses are actually delivered, where students can get practical training, how to recruit teachers or improve the quality of learning,” she said.

But Training and Skills Minister Gayle Tierney defended the policy, saying it was providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to Victorians.

“We knew the demand for Free TAFE would be huge,” she said.

“It’s why we’ve worked closely with TAFEs since last year’s budget to employ more TAFE teachers, launch the Jobs at TAFE website and offered targeted scholarships.”

She said Melbourne Polytechnic would work closely with other TAFEs to ensure students could start their free courses as soon as possible.

The initiative has made more than 50 priority non-apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship courses free, including mental health, disability, nursing and education support.

But some industry groups, such as the Australian Community Workers Association, said they were not consulted.

The professional body, which accredits community services courses, is investigating complaints from students enrolled in four free TAFE courses, including the diploma of community services at Melbourne Polytechnic.

The Association’s chief executive Sha Cordingley said she welcomed the institute’s decision to suspend mid-year enrolments.

“We are very supportive of not putting students through courses if you can’t secure placement for them,” she said.

TAFE Directors Australia chief executive Craig Robertson said despite initial teething problems, the initiative had been a success.

“Free TAFE has been the right strategy to bring people back into vocational education because it removed financial barriers and ensured options were available across the state,” he said.

SourceAAP:https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/tafe-suspends-mid-year-enrolments-amid-student-influx-20190708-p5259g.html

TDA Newsletter – Final chance for TAFEs to respond to official evaluation of VET student loan program


Self-determination with a heart – comment by CEO Craig Robertson

Just because an Aboriginal family is in straitened times, do not assume they do not harbour aspirations. This was the best advice I received from a senior public servant whom I respect immensely. He knew, as he had held a very senior role in the Northern Territory Government.

This week we mark NAIDOC and for our part we think through the role TAFEs play in the advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

We’ve had some weird policy in Indigenous training and employment policy in recent times. I well remember the requirement placed on the unemployed in remote communities. Each had to undertake formal VET training and access work at various points in order to retain income support payments. What work? What industry? Mutual obligation may work in the mainstream but you could not imagine the quizzical looks in the community when faced with this silly white fella business!

This push followed the lofty COAG targets and aspirations of 2008 to 2013. The era of joint action between the Commonwealth and states and territories shone the light on the issues and set targets for action. Still, it was what governments were going to do to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Nevertheless, the Closing the Gap report that arose and the annual address of the Prime Minister to Parliament has kept our country focused.

The last report presented on 14 February 2019 shows gaps remain between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the rest of Australia, alarmingly so. In good news, though, efforts are on track for two targets: that 95% of Indigenous four-year-old’s are enrolled in early childhood; and halving the gap in Year 12 attainment or equivalent by 2020.

Vocational education and training plays its part by offering Year 12 equivalent courses as part of the Year 12 Attainment target. Each state and territory also committed to targets for participation and completions for Indigenous Australians by 2016 through the National Partnership on VET Reform. The agreement’s mid-term review showed that the targets were met by the end of 2014. My search of the Skilling Australians Fund, the replacement agreement between governments, fails to find mention of Indigenous priorities.

In the most encouraging news for Closing the Gap, our Indigenous leaders have led a refresh of the targets. The spirit is self-determination built on a strengths-based approach. VET has its role to play in several of the targets, which are being led by the Commonwealth:

  • 47 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (aged 20-64 years) have completed Certificate III or above, including higher education, by 2028;
  • 65 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth (15-24 years) are in employment, education or training by 2028; and
  • 60 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25-64 years are employed by 2028.

I’m interested in the self-determination element. There is no doubt that work is a key plank to success but are we sure the way we conceive of linear pathways to work through our concept of VET is the best? Specifically, are competencies aligned solely to the tasks of occupations that operate in our capital cities and rigidly enforced by providers in fear of unfavourable findings from the auditor, the best solution? This smacks of white fella business to me. The Joyce recommendations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders risks this approach, but makes useful recommendations, nevertheless.

As NAIDOC asks, and we reflect on progress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, I sense there’s been progression in our policy approach. Modern efforts in Indigenous policy, including in VET, have been based on a welfare philosophy: ‘they can’t look after themselves, so we’ll need to do it for them’. The recent move to targets, in this case through Closing the Gap has us feeling good about what we want to achieve on behalf of Indigenous Australians (only having to beat ourselves when things don’t go to plan). Now there’s self-determination: let’s work in partnership. This probably has a greater chance of success because we are all working on shared commitments to meet aspirations.

One of the dangers in public policy is we don’t ditch our past practices. We just pile new approaches on top of the old and wonder why there is confusion and little progress. In this instance, I’m not sure that our Western neo-liberal social policy toolkit, best characterised by principal-agency theory (that has turned into control from the centre), is suited, but that’s up to the parties to determine.

While you’re in a reflecting mood, where do you place the overall VET system on this progression spectrum?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Read the rest of this newsletter to see just some of our members’ work in facilitating progress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Also, take the time to watch the story of Cassie Puruntatameri in this videoCassie spoke at the Congress of the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics last October about her journey from the Northern Territory to a job in the Department of Education and Training in Victoria, thanks to the AIG traineeship program. The journey was possible because of the belief of her supervisor and Cassie’s pluckiness. It will lift your spirits – I guarantee.

Self-determination with heart, is what I call it.


NAIDOC Week a celebration of culture, education, achievement

This week’s TDA Newsletter celebrates NAIDOC Week (7 – 14 July) and showcases areas where TAFE is working with Indigenous communities to promote education, training and achievement.

TDA is delighted to celebrate NAIDOC Week and its 2019 theme: ‘Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let’s work together.’

See more on NAIDOC Week


TAFE partners in WA Aboriginal police cadet program

Western Australia’s North Metropolitan TAFE Aboriginal Cadet Program was developed in partnership with WA Police Force to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation and to encourage indigenous youth to pursue a career in the Police Force.

The program creates a more accessible pathway for Aboriginal people who wish to become police officers.

Trainees gain exposure to a range of unique policing activities to get a true taste of what it means to be part of the WA Police Force. They receive important job related training and attend formal class-based training provided at NMTAFE’s Joondalup campus.

There were 31 trainees enrolled across 2018 and 2019, and four recruits have begun their careers, after successfully graduating as police officers.

Aboriginal recruit Mark Tye was earning good money working FIFO but reached a point in his life where he wanted a change and a more stable job that would give him the opportunity to help people.

“I’d been out of school for a while so the Aboriginal Cadet Program helped me with basic literacy and numeracy skills for the Academy’s entrance exam,” said Mark.

“We also had good mentors and were well supported throughout our time at the Academy.”

Aboriginal police recruits Tiarna Eades and Mark Tye with Sergeant Geoff Regan and North Metro TAFE MD Michelle Hoad.


Charles Darwin University’s VET teaching enriches remote communities

Charles Darwin University (CDU) has launched a report that highlights outstanding instances of vocational teaching and training in Indigenous communities.

Seven case studies across communities and disciplines were selected by CDU for the review as exemplars of good practice in VET in regional and remote Indigenous communities. The case studies highlight the rich diversity in environments, social contexts, cultural backgrounds and languages in regional and remote Indigenous communities in the Territoty.

They also demonstrate the complexity of delivering VET in these communities and the challenges regional and remote Indigenous students face when participating in VET.

The report, Ready for Work – Stories of Innovative Vocational Education and Training for Regional and Remote Indigenous Students at Charles Darwin University, was commissioned by CDU and written by TDA alumni, Melinda Waters.

One of the case studies features CDU students (pictured) working at the Guluman Family Centre in Ngukurr. The 2018 class was made up of eight women aged between 18 and 36, most with young children and with year 10 to 12 levels of education.

They were part of more than 50 early childhood education and care students studying at the Katherine campus from communities in Timber Creek, Mataranka, Kalkaringi, Lajamanu, Wugularr and Barunga as well as Ngukurr and Katherine.


Tasmanian award winner forging a career in health

The 2018 Tasmanian Training Award winner Lydia Scotney is a proud Aboriginal woman forging a successful career in the health industry.  

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year knew she wanted to work with a variety of different people across a broad spectrum of the industry.

This led her to complete a Certificate III in Disability, a Certificate III in Aged Care and a Certificate III in Home and Community Care and Introduction to Nursing at TasTAFE.  She then completed a Diploma of Enrolled Nursing in February 2018.

Lydia is currently working in the aged care sector, employed by OneCare as an enrolled nurse.

She continues to develop and consolidate her skills through TasTAFE courses for her Nursing Continuing Professional Development.

“Without services such as Aboriginal Training Programs at TasTAFE I believe that access to vocational education and training would be diminished because the cultural understanding  and support that they provide, to not only Aboriginal students, but to TasTAFE as a whole, helps break down the barriers,” Lydia said.

“I sometimes think that TasTAFE staff don’t realise just how much they have done for me as well as many other students.”


Woorabinda trainees growing new land management skills at Central Queensland University

Woorabinda Pastoral Company trainees are enhancing their skills – and their community – thanks to a Certificate I in Conservation and Land Management at CQUniversity.

The group, which is undertaking the course as part of the Queensland Government’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work program, travel to the Rockhampton campus once a week to work with Horticulture teacher Kay Pearson.

They learn how to recognise native plants using Western scientific knowledge, use and store chemicals safely, test soils and are trained in workplace health and safety practices, with the skills and knowledge being applied to a restoration project in Woorabinda.

The group has been gradually regenerating a local wetland. They plan on constructing a walkway over it and installing tables, chairs and commemorative plaques. The natural area holds cultural significance for the community as one of the original camp sites.

“We’ve been working on the Taroom-Woorabinda Memorial Walkway,” one of the participants, Shawn Holz said.

“It’s where fifty-two tribes used to live here around the lagoon.”

Teacher Kay Pearson said although the students were in the early stages of the course, they were enthusiastic. She travels out to Woorabinda once a month as part of the course to record progress of the project.

“I am very much going to enjoy the challenge of teaching them and their practical project is fantastic. The end result will certainly benefit their community,” Kay said


NAIDOC celebrations come to life in Western Australia

Western Australia’s North Metropolitan TAFE celebrated NAIDOC Week across three of its campuses – Perth, Midland and Joondalup.

Event management students brought free celebration events to Midland and Joondalup campuses. The event took students and staff on a cultural journey featuring Dreamtime stories, collaborative art installations and a native flower arrangement station. There was also food tastings, live music, cultural dance and Aussie animals.

The Koolark Centre for Aboriginal Students presented the exhibition “Djoowak Yaakiny – following generations standing up”.

The exhibition supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who are currently studying across creative portfolios and also showcased work from past students who maintain strong relationships with the Koolark team.


Final chance for TAFEs to respond to official evaluation of VET student loan program

TAFE institutes are reminded of an important online survey they have been requested to undertake as part of an official evaluation of the VET Student Loans program.

The Department of Education and Training (DET) commissioned KPMG to undertake this evaluation. Feedback from TAFEs will help inform this analysis. The primary audience for the evaluation is the Australian Government, to inform potential changes to the program in the future.

DET has identified key representatives from each RTO and an initial email with an individualised link to the survey has been sent.

The survey will be open  for a further week and can be completed in approximately 10-15 minutes. Responses will be de-identified and kept confidential in all project reporting.

If you have any difficulty finding the original email from KPMG or have any questions, please contact Zain Sandila at KPMG: zsandila@kpmg.com.au


Diary Dates

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

CISA (Council of International Students Australia) National Conference
15-19 July 2019
Perth, Western 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
Melbourne
More information

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

TAFE Directors Australia 2019 Convention
‘The Power of TAFE’
3 – 5 September 2019
Brisbane
More information

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

Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group
5th Annual Conference on VET Teaching and VET Teacher Education
9-10 December 2019
Charles Sturt University Wagga Wagga Campus
More information

SourceAAP:https://www.tda.edu.au/newletter/self-determination-with-a-heart-comment-by-ceo-craig-robertson/