‘Enormous’ skills shift needed

'Enormous' skills shift needed

Andrew Charlton: A significant reskilling of Australia is required to address the future of work

The government needs to invest in and support an “enormous” skill shift to help Australians adapt to the future of work, a new Google-commissioned report has found.

The report, produced by AlphaBeta, found that Australian education providers will need to alter their teaching models and skills on offer, with significant government support required to do this successfully.

To keep pace with technological change and adapt to new skills needed to complement the growing prevalence of artificial intelligence and automation, Australia will need to double its total investment in education and training. The report suggests the average Australian will increase learning by a third across their lifetime.

“Australia must shift its thinking from education and learning being delivered only through traditional models such as university or TAFE,” AlphaBeta director Dr Andrew Charlton said. “For most people, the extra learning we are talking about will need to occur through on-the-job training and flexible short courses.”

The report analysed recent changes in more than 300 jobs, 2,000 work tasks and more than 500 skills that were required to complete the tasks. It found that there will need to be large amounts of reskilling and upskilling to meet the needs of the future of work, with skills that complement new technologies needed rather than those that compete with them.

“This data has significant implications, on everything from curriculums and the need for ‘human’ skills through to the effect on those attempting to return to work after a few years off, and of course on Australia’s national productivity,” Dr Charlton said.

“It is not the case that we all need to learn how to code to have a job in the future – but the report shows all jobs are changing, and no single skill set will future proof us.”

The need to adapt to the future of work will put education in the spotlight, with the government needing to make skills a priority, create more flexible education and training opportunities and adjust funding and certification models.

“Dealing well with skills shifts will require significant national reform. The challenge is substantial, and business as usual is not an option. Governments need to ensure funding and accreditation systems provide the right incentives for the necessary shift towards learning flexibly and later in life,” the report said.

“A massive skill shift is required to prepare Australia’s workforce for the automation age. We need to change what, when and how we learn to master the growing unpredictability of work. This has consequences for everyone in Australia, and governments and education providers must take the lead in driving reform.”

The federal government also needs to provide an overall framework for the skill shift, and make sure existing funding frameworks encourage lifelong support and ensure a “funding neutrality” between vocational training providers and universities.


Human training to rise along with the machines

AlphaBeta’s Andrew Charlton. Picture: Hollie AdamsAlphaBeta’s Andrew Charlton. Picture: Hollie Adams

Australians are likely to spend an extra three hours a week in education and training across their life, on average, to learn the skills needed to meet the challenge of automation in the economy, accord­ing to a new economic analysis.

The study, Future Skills, commissioned by Google and carried out by economic consultancy AlphaBeta, says people will need, on average, to double the share of learning they do when over the age of 21 to ready themselves for the age of intelligent machines.

Australians get about 19 per cent of their learning (measured by hours spent in education and training) when over the age of 21, but this will need to rise to 41 per cent by 2040 to meet the need to learn new skills.

The report says three forces — increased longevity, automation and less predictable career paths — are behind the push for more lifelong learning.

It found there were three groups of skills needed in the workforce and demand for some would diminish while demand for others would increase as automation grew.

Knowledge skills — such as maths, language or medicine — which are the ability to retain specific information used to perform a work task, increasingly will be the domain of the machine.

Abilities — such as physical strength, mental competence, driving or time management — also are prone to takeover by machines in many instances.

But characteristics — such as creativity, integrity, leadership, persistence and empathy — are in a human domain where machines are least ready to intrude, and people with these skills will be increasingly valuable to employers.

However, AlphaBeta director Andrew Charlton said there was still a strong need for people to have broad skills, and not just limit themselves to mastering characteristics, because things such as leadership or empathy alone were not enough to accomplish a task.

“People who say machines can do X so humans don’t need to are wrong,” Dr Charlton said. “Humans will need that skill in combination with other skills that are uniquely human in order to get tasks done.”

But he said it also would be a mistake to try to replicate in detail specific skills that machines were good at, such as coding.

“We’re looking for almost the opposite of that — encouraging people to build skills which enable them to work with machines rather than compete with machines,” he said.

Dr Charlton built his analysis based on a forecast that each Australian worker, on average, would change jobs 2.4 times between now and 2040. As a result of using data about the tasks required in each of Australia’s 348 occupations, he estimated the average change in tasks for each worker across 10 years at 18 per cent. By applying data about the training time required to learn particular skills he was able to calculate the volume of training likely to be needed.

If Dr Charlton is correct, education providers have an opportunity to grow enormously in the next two decades.

Dr Charlton estimated the stock of education (that is, the time already spent learning by all Australians) at 300 billion hours. This would need to rise to 600 billion hours by 2040, he said.

Each person will need 8000 hours more learning, on top of the average of 24,000 hours people currently spend learning across their lifetime, and this will need to be done by adults as there is no room to add more hours to school learning.


TAFE taps VET David Coltman expert for ‘fresh start’

David Coltman is the new boss of TAFE SA.David Coltman is the new boss of TAFE SA.

Swinburne University executive David Coltman will be the new head of TAFE SA, charged by the South Australian government with giving TAFE colleges a “fresh start”.

Mr Coltman is currently deputy vice-chancellor for pathways and vocational education at Swinburne, a dual-sector university that offers vocational courses as well as higher education.

SA Education Minister John Gardner said Mr Coltman’s appointment was a “key milestone” in renewing TAFE.

In 2017, 10 TAFE SA courses were suspended by the regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority. TAFE SA had suffered years of budget cuts.

After winning the election last year the incoming Liberal government promised TAFE renewal.

The government said Mr Coltman had an extensive history in managing and delivering programs that increased participation in training.

It praised him for his work in New Zealand, where he succeeded in bringing under-represented groups — including Maoris, Pacific people and refugees — into training programs.

Source: www.theaustralian.com.au

Choosing a Training Provider – Your Ultimate How To Guide

Choosing a Training Provider – Your Ultimate How To Guide
Posted January 21, 2019, By Jenny

You wouldn’t buy a car before taking it for a spin, or buy a house without a thorough inspection, so why would you invest in your education without the right research!

There’s a lot to check off your list when it comes to finding ‘the one’, and you only get out what you put in, so when you’re course hunting, be prepared to put in the time and effort to research.

Deciding who to study with is really important, and knowing the difference between university or vocational education training (VET) at a private college or TAFE is a must! So without further ado, here’s a little breakdown on each:


University has long been one of the most popular tertiary choices for Australian students. There are currently 43 universities across the country with more than 1 million enrolled students.

University qualifications
Uni is often a compulsory stepping-stone to many careers, arming students with highly regarded Degrees, Masters and/or Doctorates – we’ll talk more about what each qualification offers in Chapter 4. Regardless of your background, talents or career goals, the huge range of university courses on offer means you’re sure to find a degree to suit your interests and aspirations.

The time to complete a Bachelor’s Degree is 3-4 years and a Masters is 1.5-2 years.

Entry requirements for university tend to be more competitive and those straight out of high school will require a specific ATAR, which is set by each institution. There are alternatives for getting into uni without an ATAR including professional work experience.

Teaching style
Universities have large intakes and if you’re choosing to study on campus you’ll find yourself in lecture theatres among hundreds of fellow students. Lectures are led by industry experts who are at the top of their game – so listen up! You do, however, have the opportunity to pick the brain of your tutor during smaller tutorials.


Get more hands-on and practical with a TAFE course! Short for ‘Technical and Further Education’, TAFE offers a more focused learning environment, ensuring students gain more practical skills for the workforce. It’s a government-run education system offering courses in vocational areas such as beauty, trades, childcare, hospitality, tourism and much more.

TAFE qualifications
At TAFE, qualifications you can graduate with include Certificate I, II, III or IV, Diploma and then Advanced Diploma – you can learn more about each of these in the next chapter.

Teaching style
The great thing about TAFE is that they offer smaller class sizes, which means you’ll receive more one-on-one teacher assistance.

There are generally fewer prerequisites for getting into TAFE and can often be considered a stepping-stone for those who don’t qualify for university.

Private Providers

Private providers are all about offering students a more personalised learning experience. Private colleges come in all shapes and sizes and often concentrate on delivering industry-focused training in their specialised field, such as design, hospitality, beauty, fitness, finance or more.

Private course providers offer a mix of VET* and higher education courses. Independent training providers can offer certificate courses, right through to postgraduate degrees.

Private colleges do not have to be government regulated so if you want your piece of paper at the end to be nationally recognised, then be sure to check that your institution is a registered training organisation.

*“Vocational education and training (VET) enables students to gain qualifications for all types of employment, and specific skills to help them in the workplace… [VET] is provided through a network of eight state and territory governments and the Australian Government, along with industry, public and private training providers. These organisations work together to provide nationally consistent training across Australia.” – ASQA

Teaching style
Be part of a more focused learning environment! Like TAFE, private colleges have a smaller student intake which means more focus on you.

An ATAR is not required for admission and the entry requirements for each course will depend on the level of qualification you’re applying for.

At the end of the day no one option heavily outweighs the others, each provider has different strengths, and each qualification offers different benefits, so it is up to the individual to choose the institution and qualification that suits them the best and gets them closest to their goals.

What to Look for In Your Education Provider

Be sure to shop around and enquire with multiple providers (/courses/course-providers). Compare course fees, content, the length of the course and their industry connections. The NSW Department of Fair Trading state they receive “complaints from students about fees, refunds, misleading information and course quality for training and education.”

Don’t commit to a course without adequate research and really weighing up your options. Here are some things to look out for when tossing up between training providers.

  • Some providers specialise in one or two particular fields, while others offer a huge variety of courses. If an institution has put a lot of resources into mastering the field you’re interested in joining, then it might be worth signing up and allowing them to help you really excel.
  • What’s their reputation like? Don’t be shy to ask around (colleagues, industry professionals or friends) to find out more about a training provider.
  • Do you learn better among peers in a classroom environment or do you prefer to log on and learn online, allowing you to study remotely at your own pace? Perhaps you want the best of both worlds and will opt for a blended learning experience. Know what study mode works best for you and ensure your provider can meet your needs.
  • Facilities offered to students can help be the deciding factor of whether to stay or keep looking. Institutions offer different facilities such as sporting facilities, student accommodation, libraries and study spaces; as well as speciality facilities that may be required in your field like science labs or health clinics. Ensure your provider has the right facilities to help support your learning experience.
  • If you’re studying on campus, the atmosphere could be important to you. Be sure to research and visit the campus you’ll be studying at, chat with students and even see if you can have a look at some upcoming social events and activities.
  • Have a good read over the course content. The same course can be taught quite differently across different institutions. It’s important to read the course outline, and pay attention to the core subjects and electives to ensure they’re suitable for you. You may also want to check whether work placement is a component (if relevant).
  • Your qualification is recognised. If you’re putting in the hard yards, you want to ensure that the end result (aka that ‘piece of paper’) is accredited. Be sure to check relevant industry bodies accredit the course you’re looking at and your training provider is registered.
  • Are your trainers properly qualified? Look for providers with trainers who have industry experience and are prepared to mentor you.
  • Last, but definitely not least is the big F word, FUNDING. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you need to make sure you can afford them. Find out if there are Commonwealth Supported Places available or government loan schemes such as HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP and VET FEE-HELP. Most institutions also offer scholarships and awards or even a number of payment plans, so be sure to have a good chat with your provider about what options are available to you.

Be Supported

No matter what provider you choose, one thing you should be looking out for across the board is what student support services are on offer. Ask about academic support, online resources, health services and career counselling services. You might not think it now, but when the going gets tough it’s important to have a good support network that you’re comfortable turning to.

Avoid Making The Wrong Decision

The NSW Department of Fair Trading urges everyone to make an informed decision when choosing the right provider. Avoid pressure tactics and scams. Don’t be fooled by ‘on the spot’ sign-ups or feel obliged because of their ‘limited time only’ prices. Training providers should always offer you time to consider the course and offer you adequate information on their institution and the course itself. Oh, and never ever give your tax file number to a provider unless you’re 100% sure you want to sign up.

Want more guidance around your studies? Our FREE study eBook, Study for Success, is loaded with tips and advice to help you along every stage of your learning journey.


Corporate Australia is facing a prosperity slump


Corporate Australia is facing a slump in business prosperity for 2019. A quarter of the nation’s chief executives expect business conditions to deteriorate this year, according to Ai Group’s annual CEO Business Prospects Survey. The biggest risks flagged for 2019 include a lack of customer demand and skills shortages. Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott says skills need to become a major policy issue because the vocational education and training system is in ‘disarray’. Image: News Corp Australia.


New boss for TAFE SA

The State Government has appointed a permanent CEO to TAFE SA for the first time since former head Robin Murt resigned more than a year ago, after enrolments were suspended in a raft of underperforming courses.

David Coltman. Photo via www.swinburne.edu.au

David Coltman, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Pathways and Vocational Education at Melbourne’s Swinburne University of Technology, has been appointed to the role, starting in mid-April.

He’ll replace bureaucrat Alex Reid, who has served as interim chief since Murt’s departure in December 2017.

Coltman said he was “hugely excited” about the challenge, saying the role “comes with lots of expectations”.

“It’s a great responsibility and I feel very privileged to be given the opportunity,” he said.

“I look forward to working with employers and community leaders, the SA Government and TAFE SA staff and students, to make sure we have the right people with the right skills to grow our economy, and to meet the social and cultural needs of South Australia.”

The former Labor Government’s handling of the public training provider came under a blowtorch late in its tenure when the Australian Skills Quality Authority suspended enrolments in 14 courses after finding major problems with all 16 targeted by a random audit.

Former Business SA boss Peter Vaughan was sacked as TAFE SA chair, with BHP’s former Olympic Dam supremo Jacqui McGill appointed his permanent replacement late last year by the new Liberal Government.

Education Minister John Gardner said in a statement Coltman would bring “a wealth of experience from the vocational education and training sector”, citing an extensive history in the management and delivery of programs that increase participation in higher education.

He also highlighted an “extensive history in delivering programs that increase the participation of underrepresented communities in higher education – in particular, his work with Maori, Pacific and refugee communities in New Zealand”.

He said the interim management had “delivered on a range of measures to address quality matters and taken significant steps towards achieving TAFE SA’s goal of becoming a benchmark for high-quality vocational education in the state”.

“This work resulted in the delivery of a positive final audit reported from ASQA in December, delivering a clean bill of health for TAFE SA and representing a significant milestone in restoring the community’s confidence in our public training provider,” he said.

McGill said there had been a “really strong field of candidates applying for the role”.

“We believe that David’s knowledge and experience will provide significant benefits to TAFE SA into the future,” she said.


Bias against VET study needs remedy: review

Skills and Vocational Education Minister Michaelia Cash. Picture: AAPSkills and Vocational Education Minister Michaelia Cash. Picture: AAP

Former New Zealand skills minister Steven Joyce says one of the key recommendations of his ­review of Australia’s vocational education and training sector will be to address what he sees as a bias against vocational education in favour of universities.

Citing the New Zealand slogan “Got a trade? Got it made!”, the former Key and English government minister said he had been surprised by the lack of ­information on VET pathways being provided to school leavers.

The Morrison government appointee said he saw his review as “above politics” after Labor skills spokesman Doug Cam­eron described Mr Joyce’s appointment as “farcical” and the rapid review as “compromised”.

Scott Morrison and Skills and Vocational Education Minister Michaelia Cash announced the review in November, with submissions due by January 25 and a report due by March.

Mr Joyce, who is spending January travelling around Australia to consult stakeholders, said a bias towards university education in Australia did a disservice to students who could excel at ­vocational education.

“If VET was invented after higher ed, my view is that people would find it a really attractive alternative option,” he said.

“I mean, ‘Wow, that’s fantastic, you mean I don’t have to go to university for four years, and I don’t have to get a big loan, and I can earn money straight away?’ What a great new system that would be. I think that sort of ­­in-built bias into the system means some people don’t do the jobs that they love, and some people don’t do the jobs that would make sense for them.”


TDA Newsletter

In this edition

  • Seven sound arguments for VET reform in 2019 – comment by CEO Craig Robertson
  • 2019 shaping up as a landmark year for the VET sector
  • TAFE SA receives clean bill of health in final audit report
  • NCVER appoints new chair, Dr Ruth Shean
  • Queensland government selects bodies to lead apprenticeship drive
  • Nursing education to be put under the spotlight
  • Government reverses plan to dump adult skills survey
  • Forum to examine Eastern Indonesia’s tourism expansion
  •  VET leaders say technology holds the secret to success
  • AVETRA sets the theme for 2019 research conference
  • Diary

Seven sound arguments for VET reform in 2019 – comment by CEO Craig Robertson

Welcome to 2019. I trust the resolutions are holding. For me, I’m convinced those bathroom scales are faulty!

2019 offers change, and hope, more than many a year. A new federal government will be in place mid-year led by Bill Shorten or Scott Morrison. Labor’s once-in-a generation review of post-school education holds major promise – a serious investigation to set up tertiary education for the demands facing Australia. The quick-fire review of VET offered by Morrison will have to be just that. Nevertheless, although somewhat belated, the attention is welcome.

There were enough views on the table in 2018 to help guide the way.

  1. Jennifer Westacott deserves credit for bringing attention to VET in late 2017 and through the BCAs final report – Future-Proof – released in August last year which reinforces the need for a lifelong learning culture in Australia, lest we are left behind our competitors.
  2. Innovation and Science Australia released its 2030 plan in January highlighting VET in need of a new strategy to make it responsive to new priorities and technology, but the Government said nothing needed to be done!
  3. The Mitchell Institute warned in April that if current participation rates in VET continue, then as night follows day, so will skill shortages of the highest order.
  4. Stephen Parker AO, as the new education lead for KPMG, offered practical suggestions for a tertiary education ecosystem designed to meet the needs of a more dispersed set of demands for trained minds and skilled hands.
  5. Not to be left behind, the NOUS Group’s Robert Griew contended that the cross-subsidisation of university research funding from teaching funds should end and said focus on teaching and learning in VET has more chance to bring success to the sector than the current faith in Training Packages.
  6. Parliament entered the fray in its report Hope is not a strategy — our shared responsibility for the future of work and workers which said VET should provide learners with broad transferable skills and called for reversal of funding cuts to the tertiary sector.
  7. Terry Moran, arguably the father of the VET system as we know it today, in reflecting on the sector’s fit for the modern age called for a new vision
“More emphasis and resources should be applied to developing professional educators in capable training organisations within a strategically-led national system. It is therefore imperative that the VET system moves quickly towards a new style of regulation, directed towards the professional capability of RTOs, rather than a deadening attempt to micro-manage delivery in a highly prescriptive manner.”

Seven warnings!

When Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, the Old Testament story goes, he had his army circle the walled town seven days in a row and on the seventh ordered his troops to blow their horns. The battlements crumbled and the town was seized.

Some of the old battlements of VET must go!  The warnings are there. Let’s see what Morrison or Shorten deliver in 2019.

2019 shaping up as a landmark year for the VET sector

While it was a time of rest and reflection for many, there were some in the VET sector who have been hard at work preparing for the busy year that looms.

The main issue on the horizon is the federal government’s Expert Review of the VET sector to be conducted by Steven Joyce, the former New Zealand Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment. Submissions to the VET review are due by this Friday.

There is also the federal government’s Review of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

It is the first review of the AQF in seven years and comes at a time of intense focus on the national approach to qualifications in senior secondary school, VET and higher education. Submissions to the AQF review are due by 15 March.

The AQF review expert panel, headed by Peter Noonan of Victoria University, has released a discussion paper. There will be a stakeholder consultation process during February and a report to the government due next July.

The Federal Budget has been moved from its traditional date in May to April 2, in order to fit in with the federal election due in May. Pre-budget submissions are due by 1 February.

There is the NSW election to be held on 23 March, followed by the federal election in May.

TAFE SA receives clean bill of health in final audit report

TAFE SA has received a positive final report from the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), with no sanctions applied to any of the 16 qualifications that were audited in 2018.

South Australian Education Minister John Gardner said just one minor technical matter was identified across the entire report, which TAFE SA will fully rectify before training commences in 2019.

“This report delivers a clean bill of health for TAFE SA and is a significant step in restoring the community’s confidence in the organisation,” he said.

“This is a very positive outcome for TAFE which would not have been achieved without the dedication and commitment of staff across the organisation to implement a new quality framework in such a short period of time.”

He said that TAFE SA’s continuous improvement program would ensure its education and training meets the rigorous standards of all regulatory bodies and the expectations of students.

NCVER appoints new chair, Dr Ruth Shean

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) has a new chair, Dr Ruth Shean (pictured), who was appointed earlier this month, replacing Dr Peter Shergold.
Dr Shean is an experienced non-executive director who has served on both government and not-for-profit boards.

She was the Director General of the Western Australian Department of Training and Workforce Development and, prior to that, Commissioner for Public Sector Standards.

She also served as Director General of the Disability Services Commission, and Director General of the Department for Community Development.

Dr Shean was recently appointed to the board of Catholic Professional Standards, which was set up in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

She was also CEO of the Cerebral Palsy Association and served on governing councils of both Curtin and Murdoch Universities.

TDA extends its congratulations to Dr Shean on her appointment.

Queensland government selects bodies to lead apprenticeship drive

Four organisations have been selected by the Queensland government to receive a total of almost half a million dollars to promote apprenticeships and traineeships.
Each of the organisations will provide matched funding, taking the total injection to almost $1m. The four groups and the government funding allocation are:

  • Smart Employment Solutions ($68,500)
  • National Retail Association ($118,000))
  • National Electrical Contractors Association ($277,500)
  • HGT Australia Ltd (Novaskill) ($31,000)

The funding represents the second round of the Advancing Apprentices Fund which allocated  round one funding last year to three industry groups – Restaurant and Catering, Hardware Australia and the Apprentice Employer Network.

Nursing education to be put under the spotlight

The federal government has announced a wide-ranging review of nursing education, practice and qualifications  – the first since 2002.
The Minister for Regional Services Bridget McKenzie said that the review would examine how nurses are prepared and educated to ensure they continue to meet the expectations of the community and maintain their professional standards.

Titled, Educating the Nurse of the Future, the review will be conducted by Professor Steven Schwartz, a senior fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies and the former Vice-Chancellor of Macquarie University, and the former chair of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Advisory Authority (ACARA).
The terms of reference are to examine:

  • the effectiveness of current educational preparation of and articulation between enrolled and registered nurses and nurse practitioners in meeting the needs of health service delivery
  • factors that affect the choice of nursing as an occupation, including for men
  • the role and appropriateness of transition to practice programs however named and
  • the competiveness and attractiveness of Australian nursing qualifications across international contexts.

Government reverses plan to dump adult skills survey

The federal government has reversed its decision to withdraw from the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (or PIAAC).
It was reported in November that the government was withdrawing from the survey, which collects data on literacy, numeracy and problem solving capacity of Australian adults.
The data provides a rich source of information for researchers and stakeholders in advancing public policy in the area of adult learning and workforce development.

TDA welcomes the government’s decision to maintain its involvement in this valuable program of international measurement.

Forum to examine Eastern Indonesia’s tourism expansion

The outlook for Eastern Indonesia’s expanding tourism sector and opportunities for Australia to become involved will be the focus of the Australia-Eastern Indonesia Tourism Forum, hosted by the Australian Consulate-General in Makassar, 4-5 March 2019.
It will bring together tourism practitioners, professionals and experts from Australia and the provinces of eastern Indonesia, for two days of discussions, networking and sharing of experiences.
Keynote speakers include the Governor of South Sulawesi, Professor Nurdin Abdullah, whose vision includes making South Sulawesi a world-class tourism destination, the Mayor of the City of the Gold Coast, Tom Tate, and a leading expert on sustainable tourism, Steve Noakes.

There will also be a range of speakers on topics as diverse as hospitality industry training, destination management, digital marketing, and sustainable tourism development.

Participation in the event is free but accommodation and transport is at your own expense.

See more information or email any questions to tourism.makassar@dfat.gov.au

VET leaders say technology holds the secret to success

Digital disruption in the VET sector, and across the Australian workforce, is forcing TAFEs, colleges and polytechnics to become more competitive, innovative and consumer oriented.

With students increasingly expecting to be able to learn and access information from any device, at any time, VET institutions need to evolve. And in an industry where the success of an institution is measured on student feedback, keeping up with student expectations is a necessity.

According to industry leaders at the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics 2018 World Congress, technology holds the secret to success.

Hear from your peers at the World Congress about the key issues facing the industry, the role technology can play, and how other institutions are keeping up with rapidly changing student expectations.

AVETRA sets the theme for 2019 research conference

The date and theme have been set for the AVETRA (Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association) conference.

With the title, No future for old VET’: Researching for the training system/s of tomorrow, the event will be held at Parramatta, Sydney on 17-18 June 2019.
The call for research-based papers will be made soon. Topic streams (to be confirmed) will be: The other ‘E’ in VET (equity, social justice and marginalised learners); Teaching, Learning and Curriculum; Theorising VET; The ongoing debate about CBT; Industry and workplace training; Regulation, governance and policy-making; VET for industry 4.0, for new forms of employment, and for a globalised labour market.
See more

Diary Dates

VDC 2019 Teaching & Learning Conference
16 & 17 May 2019
RACV Torquay Resort, Great Ocean Road, Victoria
Save the date  

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

2019 EduTech
6-7 June 2019
International Convention Centre, Sydney
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
28th National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference
10-12 July 2019
More information

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

Australian Training Awards
21 November 2019
Brisbane, Queensland
More information


VET sector funding review to consider job outcomes says Steven Joyce

Performance-related funding is likely to be a recommendation of the review into vocational education and training being carried out by former New Zealand skills minister, Steven Joyce.

Mr Joyce said the current financing arrangements were “confusing” and created “strange incentives” that encouraged people to “study things that might not be in their long-term interest”.

In an interview with The Australian Financial Review, Mr Joyce said of his findings so far, confusion over funding was one of the most significant.

Steven Joyce says current financing incentives have encouraged people to study things that might not be in their long-term interest. Eamon Gallagher

State and federal governments paid $6.1 billion in 2017 (latest available) to the VET sector with states contributing the biggest share.

Mr Joyce said training packages were not responsive to industry needs and one way to improve this would be to make government spending relate to outcomes such as student retention, graduation rates and “long-term employment destinations”.

In New Zealand, funding for training and higher education is handed out by the Tertiary Education Commission and includes performance measures.

“In New Zealand we put a bit of work into outcomes measures and how they inform future funding. We want to encourage the sector to be responsive. We want to focus on employment outcomes.”

But when asked if he would recommend an Australian VET Commission to take oversight of the whole sector, along the lines of the TEC, he said he was “not going to go there”.

“It’s different in New Zealand. The Tertiary Education Commission has arrangements with each provider. It’s smaller and it’s not a federal system. It would be difficult to do in Australia.”

TAFE enrolments have been on a long-term slide since 2012. Rob Homer

He said what Australia needs is to set up a system where people are encouraged by demand and opportunity to find careers that suit them.

“What you don’t want is for the way you fund things to distort decisions that would-be students make.”

TAFE enrolments increased by 0.7 per cent in 2017 but have been on a long-term slide since 2012, and took a serious fall after the 2016 student loan debacle when private operators enrolled students in bulk, despite many having little likelihood of succeeding.

The government sector has suffered reputational damage from a series of TAFE-management scandals in South Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales. And two Labor-dominated states, Victoria and Queensland, have refused to sign up to the federal government’s Skilling Australians fund, which offers to inject $1.5 billion into the sector.

“We want to encourage the sector to be responsive. We want to focus on employment outcomes,” says Steven Joyce, chair of the government’s VET review and a former New Zealand skills minister. Alden Williams

Mr Joyce said among other findings since he started his review on December 5 there was a lack of information for students about pathways out of school and on the merits of VET over university education.

He said there was a lack of trust in the sector, mainly owing to the reputational issues but also over the quality of private operators.

Last year it was claimed a number of registered training organisations are fronts for immigration rackets, with big international enrolments but no actual classes.

When Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the review on November 29 he said it was important to be training the right people for the right courses.

Critics said the short time-frame – Mr Joyce must report by mid to late March – meant the report was a device to get controversial VET issues off the election agenda.

Mr Joyce said he would most likely recommend some short-term initiatives to make the system more responsive to demand.

And in the longer term he wanted to turn attention away from politics and towards “how to run this system better”.

He said he it was clear there was a momentum building for rethinking VET and from his conversations this was evident on both sides of politics.


Accounting to retail: The skills employers want in 2019

accountingDigital project managers, finance business partners and other roles involving non-routine tasks not subject to automation will be in high demand in the first-half of 2019.

That’s according to recruitment firm Hays, which has released its twice-annual list of the most in-demand skills across the economy, providing an insight into what businesses across the economy are looking for.

There’s an overriding trend towards highly specialised roles, which has been going on for a while, coinciding with broader labour market trends concerning automation and outsourcing, particularly among SMEs.

But in some cases where SMEs have outsourced jobs, such as finance functions, a counter-trend has emerged where businesses are seeking to bring functions back into their businesses, Hays said.

That’s driving demand for finance managers and financial controllers, while payroll managers and officers are also sought after, although businesses are looking for people experienced in their relevant accounting software.

Looking at retail, disruption is driving many businesses to change their business models, which is creating new kinds of demand for candidates in the industry.

Store managers that can take ownership of changing strategic priorities are in high demand, while merchandise planners are still in short supply following earlier changes to 457 visas.

The high-demand jobs for the first-half of 2019

Accountancy and finance

Finance managers, financial controllers, finance business partners, senior auditors and insolvency professionals.


Civil site engineers, project engineers, estimators, project managers, commercial contract administrators, site managers and residential site supervisors.


Store managers, merchandise planners and merchandise allocators.


Construction and property lawyers, commercial litigators and commercial contract lawyers.

Information technology

Data scientists, data engineers and data analysts with SQL, R or Python experience, cloud engineers and infrastructure engineers.

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