In this edition

  • Students in government-funded training in decline
  • World congress an opportunity for TAFEs to engage on a global stage
  • TAFE Queensland’s Jenny Dodd appointed to head TasTAFE
  • Skills funding projects close to finalisation, says minister Karen Andrews
  • Career opportunities open through senior roles in TAFE NSW
  • ASQA gets a tick in its latest report card
  • Diary

Students in government-funded training in decline

The number of students in government-funded VET fell by 45,000 or 5.3% to 804,700 in the six months to June, compared with the same period the previous year.
While the number of apprentices and trainees rose by 3,900, there was a drop of almost 49,000 in other areas of government-funded training, according to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).
Student numbers in TAFE were down 6.1% to 460,100 while those in private colleges were down 4.4% to 295,400
Over the six-month period, student numbers increased in the ACT (3.6%) and the Northern Territory (3.0%), while there were falls in South Australia (-19.6%), Western Australia (-10.8%), Victoria (-5.2%), Queensland (-4.4%), Tasmania (-4.3%) and New South Wales (-2.2%).
See Government-funded students and courses: January to June 2017

World congress an opportunity for TAFEs to engage on a global stage

Australia will be at the forefront of a global conversation on the future of skills and training when it hosts the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) Congress in Melbourne next year, alongside the annual TDA convention.

The congress, to run 8 – 10 October, 2018,  will bring more than 700 delegates from over 50 countries and one of the most impressive groups of TVET leaders and practitioners ever assembled in Australia.
With the theme ‘Preparing for the Skills Future, Now’, the congress will showcase leading education and workforce strategies, helping to make a difference for millions of vocational professionals and students worldwide.
Attending will be college and institute leaders, policy makers, government officials, researchers, practitioners, teachers, industry representatives, education leaders and service providers.
The congress will be a significant opportunity for the TAFE community, with numerous ways to be involved over a week-long support program, including through speakers, sponsorship, exhibitions, the TAFE Professional Showcase, the Leadership Institute, the Youth Camp, and site and host visits.

TDA will need the support of TAFE institutes and, equally, there will be an unprecedented opportunity for TAFEs to demonstrate their capability on a world stage.
TDA has prepared ‘Opportunities for Australian TAFEs’ which explains the event and sets out the various ways to be involved.
You can also see the ‘Call for Speaker Proposals’ by visiting the TDA website.

TAFEs can also discuss ideas, opportunities and find out more by contacting:
Jen Bahen, Director, International Engagement jbahen@tda.edu.au or
Craig Robetson, CEO crobertson@tda.edu.au

TAFE Queensland’s Jenny Dodd appointed to head TasTAFE

The Chief Academic Officer at TAFE Queensland, Jenny Dodd, has been appointed as the new CEO of TasTAFE, to commence in early 2018.
The Minister for Education and Training Jeremy Rockliff said Ms Dodd brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills from senior vocational education and training roles including Deputy Chief Executive of Canberra Institute of Technology, and most recently with TAFE Queensland.

“Ms Dodd is nationally known for her work in online learning and change management, and will be moving to Tasmania to take up the position from February,” he said.

Jenny is known for her expertise in flexible learning and was a member of the Flexible Learning Advisory Group for seven years. She is also a board member of the TAFE Directors Australia National Scholarships Foundation.
TDA extends its congratulations to Jenny on her appointment.

TAFE Queensland’s Jenny Dodd appointed to head TasTAFE

The Chief Academic Officer at TAFE Queensland, Jenny Dodd, has been appointed as the new CEO of TasTAFE, to commence in early 2018.

The Minister for Education and Training Jeremy Rockliff said Ms Dodd brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills from senior vocational education and training roles including Deputy Chief Executive of Canberra Institute of Technology, and most recently with TAFE Queensland.

“Ms Dodd is nationally known for her work in online learning and change management, and will be moving to Tasmania to take up the position from February,” he said.

Jenny is known for her expertise in flexible learning and was a member of the Flexible Learning Advisory Group for seven years. She is also a board member of the TAFE Directors Australia National Scholarships Foundation.

TDA extends its congratulations to Jenny on her appointment.

Skills funding projects close to finalisation, says minister Karen Andrews

The federal government’s $3 billion Skilling Australians Fund is getting close to finalising projects that will  be given the green light, according to the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews.

Ms Andrews told the National Apprentice Employment Conference that discussions were well under way with the states, at both a ministerial and official level, to determine the projects that would proceed.

Many of the states were “quite advanced” in developing projects, the Minister said.

“I can assure you that while there might not be as many visible signs that work is happening as some people would like, there is a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes and I’m very confident that its coming towards a conclusion,” Ms Andrews said.

The fund will see the states nominate eligible projects and provide matched funding, with the aim of creating some 300,000 apprenticeships over four years.

The Shadow Minister for TAFE, Skills and Apprenticeships, Senator Doug Cameron told the conference that the government’s reliance on funding the program through a levy on firms importing skilled migrants meant it was likely to fail.

“If the number of skilled migrants goes down under the Coalition, so will funding for skills development and apprenticeships,” he said.

Career opportunities open through senior roles in TAFE NSW

A total of 38 senior positions are currently being advertised across TAFE NSW.

The roles are associated with the TAFE NSW modernisation program and extend across three divisions – the Regional Business Group, the Education and Training Group, and TAFE Digital. There are openings in both metropolitan and regional areas.

The closing date for all positions is Sunday 12 November.

See details of all the positions open in TAFE NSW

ASQA gets a tick in its latest report card

The VET regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), has received an overall positive rating from training providers in its latest report card, but has been chastised over the speed and quality of some of its responses.

ASQA was viewed as an effective regulator by 77% of registered training organisations (RTOs), a result that was in line with the previous annual survey.
The best rated features were ASQA’s communication channels, which all scored above 90% positive rating.

The lowest scores related to issues surrounding reviews of RTO license applications, something ASQA says “is not surprising considering applications for a reconsideration of a decision follow an adverse decision.”

ASQA’s email service and info line each attracted some negative feedback in relation to issues such as speed of responses, knowledge of staff, and completeness of answers.
ASQA says that many RTOs are supportive of its compliance actions but they also want swifter action against the “cowboys” bringing down the reputation of the sector.

See ASQA’s annual survey of training providers for 2016-17

Diary Dates

Australian Training Awards
23 November 2017
National Convention Centre, Canberra
More information

STEM in Defence Summit
Australian Defence Magazine

30 November 2017
Hyatt Hotel, Canberra
More information

Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group (ACDEVEG) 
VET Teaching and VET Teacher Education Conference
7 & 8 December 2017
TAFE Queensland, Southbank Campus
More information

 

A war on TAFE? Some VET facts and myths.

Recently again, my news feeds, social media and other outlets have been jammed with the AEU, Greens and Labor people talking about the war on TAFE and that non-public providers are causing the death of TAFEs in Australia.  To be fair I understand what is going on here;

  1. A not insubstantial number of AEU members in various states are TAFE workers.  In fact the overwhelming majority of AEU members from the VET sector come from TAFE.  It therefore makes sense that the AEU vigorously pushes the TAFE bandwagon.  Less TAFE staff means (probably) less AEU members, making them a less relevant voice in the VET sector.
  2. The Greens with their deep ideological commitments to public provision of a wide range of things including education and a VET policy that says no funding should go to non-public providers at all, coupled with a solid understanding of their voting base, means that there is a war on TAFE, resonates with their political agenda and makes them more palatable to their voters.
  3. Labour.  Well with deep connections to the Union movement, a lean towards the left, and again a good understanding of their ‘true believers’ talking up the death of TAFE makes sense.  It also helps that they can use it to kick the government as well.
    The fact that these are the main groups behind the various save our TAFEs movements makes it pretty clear that a lot of the rhetoric around this and a lot of the negative press leveled at the non-public side of VET is, well, driven by political and ideological agendas.
    Now two things before I go on.  Firstly let me make it abundantly clear that the position taken by the government and its advisory groups are, just as much as with the groups above, driven by ideological and political agendas.  Secondly, as I have said so many times before, we need to have a strong efficient and effective public VET education system in this country, losing it would be a loss for Australia.  However, we also need a vibrant and well supported non-public system as well.
    Let us then jump away from the rhetoric and agendas and just look at some facts however, and then perhaps we can make some considered conclusions about some of the recent rhetoric.  Now bear in mind these facts have come from data publicly released by NCVER.

Myth Number One: Private RTOs have grown out of control.

Fact Number One:  A small number of private providers (and some TAFEs) substantially increased their enrolments mostly on the back of the flawed VET fee help scheme.  However 47% of all non-public VET providers have less than 1,000 Students.

Myth Number Two: TAFE provides a far better quality of training than non-public providers.

Fact Number Two:  If we look at the Employers’ use and views of the VET system 2017 report from NCVER we can see that Employers report a 91.5% satisfaction with private providers against 85.6% with TAFE as well as an 82.9% satisfaction rate for the delivery to apprentices and trainees as opposed to 81.8% for TAFE.

Myth Number Three: Private providers cherry pick students and courses and leave TAFE to do the heavy lifting with remote, disadvantaged, disabled and indigenous students.

Fact Number Three:  Private providers actually deliver to 50% of all indigenous students, 43% of all students with a disability, 54% of the most disadvantaged students, and more than half of all remote and very remote students.

Myth Number Four: TAFE does the vast majority of the training of trainees and apprentices.

Fact Number Four: Non-public providers delivered 45% of apprentice and trainee enrollments.

So I am just going to leave those here for you to think about for a little while and remember the old saying ‘Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.”
Have a great weekend everyone.

Trainers back commission on skills, graded qualifications

JOHN ROSS
Higher Education reporterSydney
@JohnRoss49

 

 

 

 

 

Training experts have backed the Productivity Commission’s criticism of tightly prescribed skills courses and its proposal for graded qualifications.
The vocational education and training chapter in the commission’s five-year productivity review, Shifting the Dial, says training packages, documents that specify the skills required in narrowly defined occupations, and how they are combined and assessed, have had their day.

The report says training packages are too specific and take too long to develop, often passing their use-by date before students graduate.
It says the packages are unpopular, and that half of employers opt instead for unaccredited training, and that satisfaction levels are higher for informal than formal courses.
The commission says colleges need to focus on more generic and transferable skills. It also wants “better signalling” of graduates’ skills than the pass-fail ­approach of competency-based training.
“Proficiency grading” would encourage students to try harder, boost the status of VET and deliver better information to recruiters, the report says. It says that while Canberra should not mandate graded assessment, it should start laying plans for its adoption.
As a first step, the federal government should consult states and territories and examine how and where graded proficiency could be introduced, it says.
Federal Skills Minister Karen Andrews said all of the report’s recommendations were up for consideration. She said she was “not ruling anything in or out”, but any changes would involve stakeholder consultation.
Ms Andrews said the government’s immediate priority was to establish the Skilling Australians Fund announced in the May budget, and to review the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act.
Ruth Schubert, VET expert with the University of Melbourne’s LH Martin Institute, said introducing graded assessment would not be hard for colleges. Many TAFEs already graded their students, she said. “It is a more accurate reflection of skill level, more nuanced than a black and white yes or no.”
Dr Schubert said training packages had become too narrowly focused on vocational outcomes. Most VET graduates work outside the areas in which they had trained, so the narrow focus was inappropriate and would become more so as automation transformed the labour market.
SkillsIQ, one of the six service organisations that develop training packages, said they needed to strike the right balance.
Chief executive Yasmin King said prescriptive approaches were easier to regulate, and overly generic qualifications ended up being “everything to no one”.
“Employers don’t want really broad,” she said. “They want flexible, but they don’t want broad.”
Ms King said generic qualifications would allow providers to deliver the cheapest electives, not the most appropriate ones. She said training packages took a long time to develop because endorsement was needed by every state and territory.
TAFE Directors Australia said training packages could never keep pace with the changing economy.
“Why not turn the problem on its head, and say we’ll make sure we train people with the capability to adjust?” chief executive Craig Robertson said.
He also backed the proposal for graded assessment, saying a “pass-fail competence” approach did not encourage students or teachers to strive for their best.
The Australian Council for Private Education and Training said graded assessment was not incompatible with a competency-based framework.
Chief executive Rod Camm said employers wanted to know how good graduates were, not whether they could do something.

In this edition

VET system “a mess”, says Productivity Commission

The Productivity Commission has delivered a blunt assessment of the state of the vocational education and training (VET) system in its landmark five-year review of the economy.
“The VET system is in a mess, and is struggling to deliver relevant competency-based qualifications sought by industry,” the report says.
The report, ‘Shifting the Dial: 5 year productivity review’, recommends a move to proficiency-based assessment, so that rather than providing a qualification based on a minimum standard, there is grading based on relative performance.
“A comprehensive consultation process with employers, training providers and students should be used to identify suitable areas for early adoption. This would also provide lessons about the best pathways to developing proficiency‑based assessment more broadly,” the commission says.
“Models would be the subject of employer and VET provider review, with a process that supported early adopters to trial and deliver proficiency assessments.”
The commission also says that training packages are too numerous, too detailed and too specific to current job requirements.
“They need to be broadened to ensure they also equip people with sufficient skills to adapt to changes in the workplace.”

Taiwan and Australia embark on new phase of VET collaboration

TAFE institutes will benefit from a new agreement with Taiwan’s Workforce Development Agency (WDA), with an MoU exchanged between TAFE Directors Australia and WDA during a ceremony in Taipei last week.
Taiwan and Australia have a strong history of collaboration in VET, having completed two joint projects over the past four years. These saw Australian VET experts support the introduction of a competency based training system in Taiwan, as well as deliver training to TVET trainers in Taiwan’s large training centres – training which has now been embedded within Taiwan’s system.
The MoU was exchanged during the Asia-Pacific International Symposium on Competency Application and Talent Application.
TDA’s Director for International Education, Jen Bahen, represented TAFE during the ceremony, and said “This third phase of the agreement between TDA and WDA represents more opportunities for Australian TAFEs to participate in the continued reform of Taiwan’s TVET system and to build relationships with partner institutions in Taiwan.”
See more

Closer agreement between Taiwan and Australia; Deputy Minister Lin, Minister for Workforce Development (centre) and Workforce Development Agency Director-General, Ms Huang Chiu-Kuei (third from right, front) with attendees
Closer agreement between Taiwan and Australia; Deputy Minister Lin, Minister for Workforce Development (centre) and Workforce Development Agency Director-General, Ms Huang Chiu-Kuei (third from right, front) with attendees

Responsibility for TAFE shifts in mini-reshuffle of Labor frontbench

Responsibility for TAFE under the federal ALP has been handed to Senator Doug Cameron, under minor changes to the shadow ministry announced by leader Bill Shorten.
It follows the decision by the former shadow minister, Kate Ellis, to step down and not contest the next election.
Senator Cameron adds TAFE to his current responsibilities as Shadow Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships.
Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek adds Training to her existing responsibilities as Shadow Minister for Education and Shadow Minister for Women.
Amanda Rishworth  joins the shadow cabinet as Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development, in addition to her current role as Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.

Employers show high rate of satisfaction with training

Employer satisfaction with the quality of the vocational education and training (VET) system remains at relatively high levels, according to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).
Its latest research shows that 75.4% of employers were satisfied that vocational qualifications provided employees with the skills they require for the job, similar to the result in 2015.
A total of 77.5% of employers were satisfied that apprentices and trainees were obtaining skills they require from training, down 4.2 percentage points from 2015.\
For TAFE, the highest rate of employer satisfaction was with unaccredited training, at 99.5%, followed by nationally recognised training (85.6%) and apprentice and trainee training (81.8%).
See more

Input invited into digital economy blueprint

The federal government has released a Digital Economy Strategy consultation paper which will be used to guide the development of a digital blueprint to be unveiled in the first half of next year.
The consultation paper sets out a series of themes and questions for consideration. Among the question’s posed, it asks, “What opportunities do we have to equip Australians with the skills they need for the digital economy, today’s jobs, and jobs of the future?”
Among other things the strategy will set out how Australia can develop world-leading digital business capability, and address the ‘digital divide’ in skills.
The consultation is open until 30 November.
There is also a new online tool called Dialogue where it’s possible to engage and provide feedback

Gender stereotypes and VET image problem hurting students

Gender stereotypes and negative perceptions about a vocational career still pervade much of the thinking among students considering their future, according to research from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).
The paper, “Choosing VET: aspirations, intentions and choice”, finds this is contributing to misunderstanding among students about their ultimate career goals, and the study pathways needed to get there.
“Some mistakenly believe they require a university degree for a VET-related occupation, including aspiring hairdressers who thought they required a university qualification, and aspiring surgeons who intended studying at TAFE,” the paper says.
“It suggests that schools and/or VET providers have more to do in ensuring that students and their parents or carers have a greater awareness of the range of education choices that vocational training offers and where they might lead,” it says.
It finds that primary and junior secondary students have formed negative perceptions of VET or TAFE which do not reflect contemporary realities, while gender stereotypes persist.
“Some students indicated to the researchers that their school organised TAFE excursions for them to try out different courses, but the girls had to do hairdressing and the boys had construction-related experiences.”
The Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Karen Andrews, said the government is committed to raising the status of VET to encourage more school students to consider a VET pathway.
Minister Andrews said the government plans to add an RTO dashboard to the MySkills website which will enable consumers to use training provider quality and outcome information to make decisions about a training provider.

Aviation Australia joins with TAFE Queensland

Queensland aviation training college, Aviation Australia, is to become part of TAFE Queensland.
The Minister for Training and Skills Yvette D’Ath said the move would allow Aviation Australia to leverage the size and experience of TAFE Queensland to expand its presence across the aviation and aerospace industry.
Aviation Australia was established by the state government in 2001 and delivers a range of pilot, cabin crew and aircraft maintenance and engineering programs.
TAFE Queensland interim CEO Mary Campbell said the move was positive for both Aviation Australia and TAFE Queensland and would strengthen their presence in local and global aviation markets.
See more

UK association of colleges conference

There’s still time to register and attend the pre-eminent further education conference in the world – the Association of Colleges annual conference in Birmingham, England on the 14 and 15 November.
There are exciting speakers and topics in concurrent sessions that are relevant world-wide, particularly here in Australia.
It will bring together experts in education and business to present the latest in the field of further education, both nationally and internationally, and from experts across the country.
If you are attending would you mind letting us here at TDA know: memberservices@tda.edu.au.
See more

Diary Dates

OctoberVET 2017
AVETRA (Australian Vocational Education And Training Research Association)
October & November 2017
Victoria, NSW, Western Australia, Queensland & South Australia
More information

International Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) Conference
THINK BIG for Global Goals
1 – 3 November 2017
RMIT University, Victoria
More information

National Apprentice Employment Network
National Conference
1 – 3 November 2017
Radisson Blu Hotel, Sydney
More information

Australian Training Awards
23 November 2017
National Convention Centre, Canberra
More information

STEM in Defence Summit
Australian Defence Magazine

30 November 2017
Hyatt Hotel, Canberra
More information

Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group (ACDEVEG) 
VET Teaching and VET Teacher Education Conference
7 & 8 December 2017
TAFE Queensland, Southbank Campus
More information

Staff issues, assessment lead to college deregistrations

JOHN ROSS
Higher Education reporterSydney
@JohnRoss49

Just one-quarter of vocational education and training colleges meet their regulatory obligations when they are audited, a Senate estimates committee heard today. And almost half still fall short after they’ve been given time to lift their game.

The national VET regulator’s forthcoming annual report — currently being printed — will show that just 25.8 per cent of providers are “fully compliant” at initial audit, the Education and Employment Legislation Committee was told. That figure rises to 53.4 per cent after the “rectification period”.

These results are both better and worse than in 2014-15, when just 18 per cent of providers passed muster initially but around 70 per cent complied when they were rechecked, the committee heard.

The Australian Skills Quality Authority cancelled the registration of 125 colleges last financial year — some 18 more than the previous year, and more than twice as many as the year before that, the committee heard.

A further 56 providers had their registration partially or fully suspended. Altogether, ASQA threatened regulatory sanctions 516 times and imposed them on 232 occasions.

The main reasons were “inadequate numbers or qualifications of teaching staff, and inadequate assessment processes”, chief commissioner Mark Paterson said.

Deputy chief commissioner Michael Lavarch said “unduly short” training such as “weekend diplomas” was also a fraught area. “Too much training in this country has occurred over too short a time frame,” he told the committee

The Australian Skills Quality Authority ‘strongly’ refutes claims of deliberate cuts to RTOS

LEGAL REVIEW: Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews launched a review earlier this year into the law covering the Australian Skills Quality Authority. The review report is due by the end of the end. Picture: Alex Ellinghausen

There are no plans to cut the number of training organisations offering national qualifications, despite concerns raised in the sector.

An Australian Skills Quality Authority spokesman said the authority, “rejects – in the strongest possible terms – any claim that the goal of its regulatory activity is to reduce the number of RTOs in Australia.”

The spokesman was referring to a story in The Advocate which suggested ASQA aimed to cut the numbers of RTOs by almost 18 per cent, based on the number paying fees next year.

The spokesman said  there were 4593 RTOs in Australia at 30 June 2017.

“ASQA regulates 4098 of these and the remainder are regulated by … Victoria and Western Australia,” he said.

“ASQA estimates that 3704 of its RTOs will pay next year’s annual registration fee,” he said.

A further 300 would pay fees to Queensland and the remainder would probably leave the sector.

The spokesman also said the authority had found issues with the abilities of trainers and assessors in the sector.

“ASQA has applied enhanced scrutiny to applications from RTOs to add qualifications from the new TAE package to their scope of registration,” he said.

The intention was to protect students and employers, not cut the number of providers offering TAE qualifications.

The issue of RTO cancellations has seen an online petition set up asking for an investigation into ASQA’s operations.

Among the areas raised in the petition was the allegedly high proportion of cancelled registrations which were appealed, then revoked, meaning the company remained a registered training provider.

The online petition claimed too many RTOs had had their cancellation decision revoked or put on hold.

It said the concern was the disruption to training companies, their students and their families during the period of uncertainty arising from a cancellation that was appealed, only to be revoked later.

However the ASQA spokesman said, “The claim that a high proportion of ASQA’s decisions have been revoked following appeal has no basis in fact.

“Between 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2017, there have been 301 applications to tribunals or courts seeking review of an ASQA decisions that have been finalised,” he said.

“Of these, ASQA’s decision has been set aside in only 11 applications, or 3.7 per cent.”

In June this year, the federal government commissioned a review of the law governing ASQA, to ensure it could effectively and efficiently regulate the sector. It is also looking at ASQA’s response to student and industry needs.

The report is due out soon.

In this edition

TAFE students help Australia enter the global top ten at WorldSkills

Australia has moved into the top ten skills nations in the world, following the performance by the ‘Skillaroos’ at the WorldSkills International competition in Abu Dhabi.

Australia jumped from 12th at the 2015 São Paulo competition to 10th this year, following three days of competition among 77 countries across 51 skills. The Australian medal winners were:

Silver

  • South Australian carpenter Ryan Grieger, trained at TAFE SA
  • Industrial mechanic millwright Brad Ingham from New South Wales, trained at TAFE NSW Orange

Bronze

  • Beauty therapist Lily Campbell from New South Wales, trained at TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga
  • Victorian bricklayer Trystan Sammut, trained at Federation University

Best in Nation

  • Hairdresser Gaby Ware from New South Wales, trained at TAFE NSW Port Macquarie, who achieved the highest overall individual result across the Australian team.

WorldSkills Australia CEO Brett Judd said that the individual performances of every team member were commendable which ultimately contributed to an outstanding overall team result.

The top 10 countries after this year’s international competition are China, Switzerland, Korea, France, Brazil, Austria, Chinese Taipei, Italy, Liechtenstein and Australia. https://www.tafensw.edu.au/

Closing ceremony in Abu Dhabi
Brad Ingham
                            
          

Clockwise from top left: Gabby Ware, Trystan Sammut, Lily Campbell and Ryan  Grieger.

TAFE could disappear within five years, says academic

The TAFE system is at a breaking point and could disappear within five years unless there is urgent reform, according to VET expert, Professor Leesa Wheelahan from the University of Toronto.
“If we don’t change the system and we don’t value TAFE we’re going to lose it,” she said on ABC PM last Friday.
“We’re going to lose it within five years – we are at the point where we can go one way or the other – one way is to lose TAFE, the other is to save TAFE and build it,” Professor Wheelahan said.
Her comments followed her presentation at the ‘Future of public TAFE institutions’ conference in Sydney, attended by industry, unions and academic experts.
Professor Wheelahan said that tinkering with the TAFE system was no longer an option.
TDA Chief Executive Craig Robertson said that TAFE was still highly regarded around the world but the situation was akin to a “ticking time bomb”.
“For too long there has been just a focus on delivering a very limited range of skills for the jobs of today.
“What we need is new investment and deeper, broader training for young people, in particular,” he said.
Listen to the ABC PM program, ‘Education experts sound alarm about the future of TAFE’.
See last night’s ABC TV News report on TAFE.

UK steps up its promotion of skills expertise internationally

The UK government has launched a new body that will actively promote the country’s expertise in vocational education and training to the world.
The UK Skills Partnership was announced by Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, and will comprise representative of universities, vocational training, international schools, education technology, early years education and English language training.
“The UK is a world leader in education exports, and anywhere in the world, British education is in demand,” Mr Fox said.
He said the new body will “build our capacity, reach and engagement in international activities, and collective insight on matters relating to vocational skills development in international markets”.
See an article in The PIE News.

VET’s role in innovation to be opened up

The role of VET applied research in innovation will be a key topic in the national OctoberVET discussion taking place this week in NSW.
Researchers Linda Simon and Francesca Beddie will discuss their recent NCVER report, which argues that VET needs to develop a new approach to teaching and industry engagement if it is to be recognised as part of the innovation system.The event takes place this Thursday in Sydney. See more.
Other events being run as part of AVETRA’s OctoberVET can be found here.

Industry project examining generic skills in teamwork and communication

PwC’s Skills for Australia is undertaking a cross-sector project examining the case for standardised units of competency in teamwork and communication.
It will potentially develop common units which would be adopted across multiple industry sectors.
PwC has opened up a survey which can be used to provide views and feedback about the proposal.
See the survey

Diary Dates

OctoberVET 2017
AVETRA (Australian Vocational Education And Training Research Association)
October & November 2017
Victoria, NSW, Western Australia, Queensland & South Australia
More information

International Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) Conference
THINK BIG for Global Goals
1 – 3 November 2017
RMIT University, Victoria
More information

National Apprentice Employment Network
National Conference
1 – 3 November 2017
Radisson Blu Hotel, Sydney
More information

Australian Training Awards
23 November 2017
National Convention Centre, Canberra
More information

STEM in Defence Summit
Australian Defence Magazine

30 November 2017
Hyatt Hotel, Canberra
More information

Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group (ACDEVEG) 
VET Teaching and VET Teacher Education Conference
7 & 8 December 2017
TAFE Queensland, Southbank Campus
More information

Education Minister Simon Birmingham announces foreign students have to scrub up English skills to study in Australia

FOREIGN students will be forced to brush up on their ­English skills if they want to study at Australian universities and colleges from next year.

More than 150,000 international students who come to Australia every year will have to pass tough new ­English language exams before they can begin their preferred courses.

They will have to undergo at least 20 hours of face-to-face teaching a week in intensive courses designed for non-­English speakers who want to study in Australia.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the overseas students who had poor English skills were disadvantaging themselves and their Australian classmates.

“What we hear from universities, vocational education providers and from the regulator is that some students are slipping through the cracks,” Senator Birmingham said.

“Some students simply don’t have the English language skills they need to succeed. It means they draw away from getting involved in lectures, tutorials and group study work while their classmates and teachers struggle to bridge the language divide.”

Federal Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham. Picture: Mick Tsikas (AAP)

Google Pledges $1 Billion to Improve Education Levels Worldwide

Google says over the next five years it will spend $1 billion on nonprofit organizations helping to raise education levels around the world and commit its employees to a million hours of volunteer work doing the same.
CEO Sundar Pichai announced the goal Thursday morning in Pittsburgh, the city where he arrived in the U.S. from India 24 years ago.
Pichai also unveiled a program called “Grow with Google” aimed at training Americans how to get jobs or grow their businesses. The program aims to outfit people with computer and entrepreneurial skills.
The company is partnering with online education companies like Udacity and Coursera as well as charitable organizations like Goodwill and 4-H.

–The Associated Press