TAFE NSW abysmal staff survey results leaked

TAFE is facing an "existential threat", says a former bureaucrat, as a new survey finds staff morale has plummeted.CREDIT:ADAM MCLEAN
The results have shown overall, staff engagement has fallen from 56 per cent last year to 49 per cent this year.  Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee has tasked the managing director of TAFE NSW to direct the executive leadership team to visit all campuses and listen to the concerns of TAFE NSW staff so urgent action can be taken to improve.

TAFE NSW spends big on consultants

TAFE NSW spends big on consultants
More than $6.4 million on 8 different contracts to various firms to provide advice and services across the TAFE sector has been spent between June 2018 and September 2019 by the NSW government.  The government is half-way through amalgamating its once 10 separate institutes into one central entity referred to as “OneTAFE reforms”. 

Hundreds of TAFE teachers to strike over pay deal

Hundreds of TAFE teachers and tutors will walk off the job for 24 hours following an ongoing dispute over a new pay deal with the Queensland government.

About 800 TAFE Queensland union members from the Queensland Teachers’ Union and Together union will strike on Wednesday, with classes expected to be cancelled across the state.

Hundreds of TAFE Queensland teachers and tutors will strike for 24 hours on Wednesday.
Hundreds of TAFE Queensland teachers and tutors will strike for 24 hours on Wednesday.

It comes after TAFE teachers and tutors held a two-hour stop-work meeting on July 30.

The current enterprise agreement expired on June 30.

Negotiations for the new agreement began in March.

QTU president Kevin Bates said progress had been made on claims from the two unions, which share coverage of education staff at TAFE Queensland.

However, “two key issues” remained unresolved, he said.

These were ensuring Queensland salaries were comparable with teachers and tutors interstate and measures to address gender employment inequity.

The Queensland government’s wages policy restricts pay rises in the public sector to 2.5 per cent a year, however, the QTU has previously sought an increase of 4.5 per cent.

Mr Bates said the salary of TAFE tutors in Queensland was among the lowest in the country.

He said: “2.5 per cent does not deliver a change in our relative position with the other states and territories – it means it needs to be more than that.”

Salaries for Queensland tutors ranged from $52,000 to $60,000, while pay packets in most other states started at $61,000 and went as high as $76,000, Mr Bates said.

“TAFE teacher salaries in Queensland remain under $100,000 while interstate colleagues extend up to a maximum of $145,000 in Tasmania, $120,000 in New South Wales and $113,000 in Victoria,” he said.

Mr Bates said women were also over-represented in “precarious” and part-time employment, which had a career-long impact on their earnings and retirement savings.

Almost 71 per cent of casual TAFE Queensland educators were women, while 56.4 per cent were temporary employees.

More than half of permanent TAFE Queensland educators were men.

The QTU is asking for annual progression through the salary scale regardless of hours worked and shared access by both parents to parental leave entitlements.

A spokeswoman for Training Minister Shannon Fentiman declined to comment as negotiations were ongoing.

SOURCEAAP:https://www.smh.com.au/politics/queensland/hundreds-of-tafe-teachers-to-strike-over-pay-deal-20190827-p52l6e.html

TDA Newsletter- Alan Jones tells the PM how to fix the training system: fund TAFE


A new high bar has been set – comment by CEO Craig Robertson

Heated agreement makes a change for the VET sector and TAFEs.

The Prime Minister and first ministers should be congratulated for their joint agreement on Friday to position TAFEs on the same footing as universities.

The Prime Minister said leading into COAG:

My message to those young people or those who are elsewhere engaged in the technical education system is TAFE is as good as uni. Vocational education is as good as uni….

This was re-iterated by Premier Berejiklian in the post meeting press conference:

… my colleagues also go to the fact with what we all had violent agreement on …is that vocational education and training is equal to other forms of tertiary education.

And if we want to be a nation that has the right skills for our existing industries, but also emerging industries, we need to have that in a good strong position. And in New South Wales, as I know in other states, there’s a natural conversation now occurring between universities and TAFEs and that is something we’ll encourage at a state level.

And … when we talk about education post-secondary school, we should be talking about universities and TAFE in the same breath because the options available should be of equal quality, of equal opportunity and equal accessibility to the community.

So the bar has been set. A new council of ministers with responsibilities for skills has been established, tasked with fleshing out the vision for reporting to COAG early in the new year.

Equal quality, equal opportunity, equal accessibility.

These words will no doubt be parsed, homogenised, pasteurised … you name it, as ministers take to the task. For me they are pretty clear.  Here’s my version.

Violets are Blue
TAFE is the best
Its mission is true
Roses have wilted
Violets lost hue
TAFE may have faded
But it’s back serving you
Roses can sting
Violets they stain
Treat TAFE right
It’ll blossom again
Roses are Noble
Violets colour true
Unis smell right
But so does TAFE too
Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
TAFE is my passion
COAG message on cue
Roses can die
Violets they wane
If you fail your words
Promises are feigned
Roses they blossom
Violets spread wide
Ministers keep your word
TAFE will be on your side
On a final note. This year’s TDA convention is more important than ever as we contemplate the future of TAFEs. Register now. The final program is out.

I’ll be teaching limericks, so come along.


COAG reform to make VET part of an integrated tertiary education system

Commonwealth, state and territory leaders have committed to a new COAG Skills Council, which, in consultation with education ministers, will devise a fresh VET reform plan by the end of the year.

It will form the basis of a reform “roadmap” early next year which will see VET and higher education as “equal and integral parts of a joined up and accessible post-secondary education system”.

The COAG Communique was accompanied by a Vision for Vocational Education and Training that sets out the goal of a “responsive, dynamic and trusted sector that delivers an excellent standard of education and training.”

“All jurisdictions acknowledge the importance of a viable and robust system of both public and private providers, and the particular role of states and territories in facilitating the public provision of VET,” it says.

“A focus on national consistency in key areas, such as quality assurance and qualification levels, whilst maintaining flexibility in the system for jurisdictions to meet local needs will ensure VET continues to work for all Australians into the future.”

Following the COAG meeting, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the skills agenda was one that “we all feel very passionately about and one that I know we’re going to continue to work very closely together on.”

“We spend over $7 billion a year on that agenda and we want to make sure that that money works harder for all Australians,” he said.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said it was critical to change the way TAFE, vocational education and non-university pathways are viewed, while NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian commended the prime minister and premiers for putting VET “top of mind”.

Ahead of COAG, TDA Chief Executive Craig Robertson told ABC RN Breakfast that figures show many young people were not attracted to VET and there was an urgent need to modernise qualifications, perhaps taking some of the power out of the hands of industry in designing courses.

“We need to overhaul the qualifications that we deliver so we make sure that it is an attractive training option that can lead to a good job and a career.”

He said TAFEs could be given greater say in designing courses that meet industry needs, citing the example of Box Hill Institute’s cybersecurity qualification, developed by TAFE, and being delivered nationally amid soaring demand for cybersecurity expertise.

See Skills Crisis: Restoring confidence in training means rescuing TAFEs in The Monthly.


Alan Jones tells the PM how to fix the training system: fund TAFE

Top Sydney radio broadcaster Alan Jones spoke up strongly ahead of last Friday’s COAG meeting to urge Prime Minister Scott Morrison to support TAFE.

The radio 2GB star told the PM that his switchboard was “on fire over TAFE”.

“The national apprenticeships and traineeship numbers have fallen from 446,000 in 2012 to 295,000 last year. And TAFE is the only institution you can trust to deliver genuine vocational training,” Mr Jones told the prime minister.

“But since 2012 more than 5700 NSW TAFE teachers have lost their jobs, 27 TAFE colleges in NSW have been sold, 5689 TAFE teachers have lost their jobs, the same in Victoria.

“Now it’s easy isn’t it? If you want to fix vocational education, give these people some money,” Mr Jones implored the PM.

However, Mr Morrison pushed back, claiming that TAFE is responsible for 16% of all training, with more than 80% outside TAFE.

“TAFE is an important part of the system but it is actually, in the grand scheme of things, it’s nowhere near the dominant part of the system,” he said.

Mr Morrison said a major problem was the way Commonwealth funds were handled by the states.

“There’s no ties on it, it just goes to the states and they make a whole bunch of decisions.

“What we’re not doing at the moment is the qualifications and the accreditations are not keeping pace with the modern economy and employers aren’t getting the people out of the training system they need that can actually make their business work better.


Former Holmesglen CEO to head new VET research institute

Former Holmesglen chief executive and TDA chair, Bruce Mackenzie, (pictured) will head up a new vocational and higher education institute that will provide evidence-based research to help improve tertiary education.

The Mackenzie Research Institute is an initiative of Holmesglen, and aims to develop policy papers and advance public debate with government, business and social institutions to influence tertiary education reform.

The former Holmesglen CEO chaired the 2015 Victorian government funding review and had a 30-year career in the VET sector which saw him formally recognised with the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award at the Australian Training Awards.

The institute will be supported by a six-member advisory board, comprising Victoria University Emeritus Professor Berwyn Clayton; former Victorian skills and training minister Steve Herbert; VET researcher Pam Jonas; Adjunct Professor with Flinders University’s National Institute of Labour Studies, Tom Karmel; TDA Chief Executive Craig Robertson and the former CEO of the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency Robin Shreeve.

Mr Mackenzie told The Australian that one of the institute’s first papers will address the issue of structural difficulties in the tertiary education system.

“We had a look at the reforms in Switzerland, the Nordic states and in the UK, and they’ve done some really interesting things to try to reverse some of the negative aspects in focusing too much on higher education.”

From next year in the UK system, senior secondary students will be able to opt for an academic stream or a technical stream that will be accompanied by benchmarks in literacy, numeracy and digital skills, as well as their subjects.

“We’re saying that you really can’t reform tertiary education unless you reform upper secondary education first of all,” he said.


Victoria backs free TAFE with $12m injection

The Victorian government has responded to the surge in demand for places under its free TAFE initiative with an $11.7 million package to support students and staff.

Students facing disadvantage will benefit from a $6 million injection for new course materials to assist with time management, study skills and literacy.

An additional $5 million will help ensure TAFEs keep up with demand so eligible students can enrol in their preferred free TAFE course.

A total of $500,000 will be available for teaching scholarships to professionals with industry experience to address staffing vacancies in priority areas.

A total of $200,000 will be provided to trial ways TAFEs can work with the not-for-profit early childhood sector to support work placements for students in the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care and Certificate III in Early Childhood Education, which start next year.

Premier Daniel Andrews said more than 25,000 students have commenced training in free TAFE in the six months to the end of June, a 92 per cent increase compared with the previous year.

Students over the age of 30 account for almost half of the enrolments and more than a quarter are in regional areas.


Apprenticeships to be made free in Queensland

The Queensland government will make apprenticeships and traineeships free to employers, in a $32 million initiative, expected to support 60,000 young people.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the commitment which will apply in areas of high demand including electrical, plumbing, engineering, healthcare, hospitality and early childhood, for people aged under 21.

There will also be a $5.5 million micro-credentialing pilot, a higher-level apprenticeship pilot, and  an expanded Gateway to Industry Schools program so students can train in emerging industries.

See more.


ASQA issues warning ahead of new ‘third-party’ training arrangements

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has warned that some registered training organisations are not ready for new third-party arrangements for delivery of training and assessment that will take effect in a few weeks.

ASQA has published updated guidance on third-party arrangements that will come into effect from September 1 for new third-party arrangements, and November 1 for existing arrangements.

ASQA said RTOs have indicated that they are unclear of the extent to which they can use third parties for the delivery of training and assessment, and says some have arrangements that will not be compliant.

“ASQA holds concerns with third parties undertaking marketing and recruitment on behalf of RTOs that is not in line with the requirements of the NVR (National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011) Act.

See more.


Exploring micro-credentials

The role of micro-credentials in tertiary education is up for debate.  There’s a chance to learn more on August 26 in Melbourne.

See more.


Apprentice support providers given contract reprieve

Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) providers have been given a short-term extension of their contracts until February 1 next year.

Existing contracts for the 11 AASN providers lapsed in June, with the future unclear in light of the Joyce Review recommendation for new Skills Organisations to take on many of the functions of AASNs.

The AASNs deliver support services from around 400 locations nationally.


Diary Dates

VTA 2019 State Conference 
15 – 16 August 2019
RACV City Club, 501 Bourke Street, Melbourne
More information

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/category-newletter/tda-newsletter/

PM pushing TAFE students into jaws of a profit-driven feeding frenzy

The Morrison Government’s push to put the private sector at the forefront of Australia’s VET sector will only create a profit-driven feeding frenzy that hurts the career prospects of thousands of Australians who need access to high quality vocational education.

Since being in government the Federal Coalition has already overseen $3 billion cut from vocational education and training (VET) and 140,000 fewer apprentices now than when it was elected.

Australian Education Union President Correna Haythorpe said that Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s plans to privatise VET would leave hundreds of thousands of trainees and apprentices across Australia at the mercy of profit-seeking private training providers.

“Putting profit-seeking private training providers in charge of vocational education is all about helping big business line its pockets at the expense of ordinary Australians,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“The Prime Minister is on record as saying he thinks TAFE is as good as university. Yet if this is the case, why has he stripped $3 billion in funding from TAFE, our world-class public vocational education provider?”

“If Mr Morrison supports TAFE so strongly, why didn’t it get a single mention in the Federal Budget? Why do we have 140,000 fewer apprentices learning their trade today than back in 2013?” Ms Haythorpe said.

“History has already shown us, via the VET FEE-HELP scandal, that private training providers will go into a feeding frenzy in their drive to extract profits from VET students.”

“People need to remember that Australia will always need TAFE as a strong public provider at the heart of VET to provide affordable and high quality vocational education,” Ms Haythorpe said.

The latest available data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) on government funding[1] shows that:

  • since 2013, the year the Federal Coalition was elected, the number of students in government-funded vocational education has fallen by 25%, from 1.48 million to 1.1 million. In addition, the number of hours of vocational education delivered has fallen by 28% between 2013 and 2018.
  • in 2017, following the VET FEE-HELP scandal, nearly $1.2 billion of public money flowed directly to private providers.
  • despite the fallout from the VET FEE-HELP scandal, in 2017 more than a third of the hours of training delivered by private providers were funded from public sources (34.5%) and more than a third of all state and commonwealth publicly funded hours (34.3%) were also handed to private providers.

“Despite the clear and undisputed benefits that a fully funded high quality public TAFE sector provides our economy and our society, there has been a concerted and continual drive from successive Coalition governments to marginalise vocational education and deprioritise TAFE,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“The Morrison Government just isn’t concerned enough about the 25% fall in TAFE enrolments on its watch to even acknowledge the existence of TAFE anywhere in the budget, let alone to do anything about this crisis.”

“Instead of reigning in private providers and rectifying the incalculable damage they have inflicted on the sector in recent years, Mr Morrison plans on handing them the keys to the piggy bank,” Ms Haythorpe said.

Ms Haythorpe said that TAFE must remain a strong public provider of vocational education in Australia. She called upon the Morrison Government to:

  • Guarantee a minimum of 70% government funding to the public TAFE system. In addition, no public funding should go to private for-profit providers, consistent with other education sectors.
  • Restore funding and rebuild the TAFE system, to restore confidence in the quality of the courses and qualifications and the institution.
  • Abandon the failed student loans experiment, and cancel the debts of all students caught up in private for-profit provider scams.
  • Re-invest in the TAFE teaching workforce and develop a future-focused TAFE workforce development strategy in collaboration with the profession and unions.
  • Develop a capital investment strategy in consultation with state governments, to address the deplorable state of TAFE facilities around the country.
  • Support a comprehensive independent inquiry into TAFE.

“Any proposal which undermines the importance of the Commonwealth and state and territory governments working together to build a strong, vibrant, fully funded public TAFE will be fiercely opposed by the AEU,” Ms Haythorpe said.

/Public Release. View in full here.

Improvements to TAFE top of COAG agenda

Improving the nation’s vocational system is at the top of the agenda at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Far North Queensland. The nation’s leaders were met by a group of protestors on Friday as they came together for the first time since the federal election in May. The leaders are expected to consider the recommendations of a recent review that identified a spate of challenges in the education and training sector. The Australian Industry group called for reforms to ensure there were enough skilled Australians to support the government’s $100 billion infrastructure pipeline. The group also raised concerns about a growing skills shortage and a struggling training system. Image: News Corp Australia

SOURCEAAP:https://www.theaustralian.com.au/video/id-5348771529001-6070193432001/improvements-to-tafe-top-of-coag-agenda

TDA Newsletter- TAFEs and private colleges to collaborate following landmark South Australian agreement


Let’s test VET’s value proposition – comment by CEO Craig Robertson

There’s been encouraging news for vocational education this past fortnight or so. On separate occasions the Prime Minister and Minister for Skills, Senator Michaelia Cash have said:

“We believe that learning through a vocational education is just as valuable as a university degree, so we want to transform the way we deliver skills, support employers and fund training.”

Word for word – a unity ticket. A good one.

It’s unusual in political discourse but in this case, I suspect it’s by design.

Both sides of politics have similar aspirations for the sector. In February 2018 in announcing a review of post-school education if Labor were elected, Tanya Plibersek said: “Labor wants prospective students to see TAFE and uni as equally attractive study options.”

I suspect both sides of politics are reflecting the growing sentiment in the community. Whenever I mention this issue with friends and acquaintances, they are quick to say we have the balance wrong between university and TAFEs. Before universities withdraw their support for a strong TAFE, let me add, the centrality of education and training in the economic fabric of a country and its chances globally, warrants new investment in TAFE, not transfer from universities.

I’m focused on the phrase “just as valuable”. Value holds different meanings for each of us. Just because I value my tweed jacket doesn’t mean my wife does, nor that I place the same value as she would on yet another pair of shoes!

In VET the term is loaded. The sector is structured, the rhetoric is straightforward and it’s shouted loud and clear – vocational education and training is about getting a job, or a better one!

Then, what is the data telling us about the chance of success of that message. The chart below shows trends in VET students by age group. It seems young people are not responding to the VET message.

Do job outcomes for those who choose the VET option stack up? Last November KPMG released research by NATSEM on the wage and earnings return from VET and higher education compared to completing Year 12[1]. VET does not fare well as the chart for males shows. For females the wage return is better from completing Year 12 than VET.

 

The report acknowledges that enrolments in catch-up VET courses dampens the returns. That’s a point worth contemplating. If that training is catch-up as it is supposed to be (Certificate II is equivalent to Year 12 as the policy goes) then those students should have earnings equivalent to Year 12. Then, for the remainder, about 70 per cent by my calculations, completing Certificate III or higher, you would contemplate higher outcomes. This makes the overall result for the sector more disappointing.

Some will say that the VET outcome measures collated by NCVER tell us students are satisfied with the training. That may be the case, but it’s difficult to draw conclusions from such subjective feedback. Their feedback about their jobs is more objective though. The same student survey tells us that of the 62 per cent of the students in employment at the start of their training, just over one-fifth reported getting a job at a higher skill level! Of those without work when they started, one-in-two got a job! For the 74 per cent of students who cite a job benefit from training, remember one of the three responses which give rise to this measure is simply a positive response to “received a job-related benefit.” I’m not sure these figures stack up for a sector selling jobs.

KPMG’s report cites Dame Alison Wolf, someone of enormous value to TVET across the globe, as saying: “Teenagers are entirely rational in their quest for academic qualifications … these seem to pay much better on average than vocational ones, as well as opening-up far more alternatives in a mobile changing economy.”

I recall friends from KPMG almost apologising for publishing the report. There’s little they could do. The question is what governments can do.

What can we draw from the Government’s statements? The aim is to be applauded but the path will not be easy. One thing that will help is Minister Cash’s commitment to a co-design process for implementation of the 2019 Budget measures such as the Skills Commission and Skills Organisations.

I say, give TAFEs a chance to stretch the value proposition. After all, they know a thing or two about skills for their communities and the aspiration of the students they serve.


TAFEs and private colleges to collaborate following landmark South Australian agreement

Private training colleges will have access to TAFE campuses and will share resources and coordinate on course offerings under an MOU between TAFE SA and the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA-SA), signed last week.

The Minister for Education John Gardner said the agreement will see the organisations working together through joint policy priorities, professional development initiatives, closer liaison regarding the scope of delivery offered by providers, and access for independent providers to publicly owned resources.

TAFE SA Chief Executive David Coltman said the closer relationship between the sectors would ensure that local education and training needs are being met.

“TAFE SA will contribute by providing access to our campuses for other training providers and businesses, sharing professional development opportunities and making sure that the right training for future needs of industry is being provided,” he said.

ITECA’s South Australian Executive Officer Dr Joy de Leo said the state would obtain greater value from the increased use of taxpayer-funded facilities with benefits going ultimately to those in receipt of training.

See more.


Response to Victorian free TAFE courses shows the value of a TAFE qualification

The overwhelming student response to Victoria’s free TAFE initiative demonstrates the pent up demand for new skills after years of upheaval in the sector, TAFE Directors Australia says.

TDA CEO Craig Robertson said the despite some initial teething problems, the free TAFE roll-out showed that Victorians value a VET pathway and that many had been held back by upfront costs or concern about the state of the training sector.

“The undoubted success of Free TAFE in Victoria reveals more about the aspirations of Victorians for career change and new work opportunities than initial teething problems reported in The Age,” Mr Robertson said.

“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.

“All of the sector is rebuilding, especially after the disaster of VET FEE-HELP which saw many sudden closures of private providers, leaving students stranded and TAFEs picking up the pieces.

“But it would be naive to think that upheaval hasn’t impacted TAFEs. They are also rebuilding and some teething problems in the face of such demand is understandable,” Mr Robertson said.

See TDA’s media release.


Dozens of training colleges affected by ASQA regulatory hit

Dozens of training colleges have had their registrations cancelled by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), in one of the regulator’s largest single crackdowns.

A total of 61 training providers were notified in late June that their registration as VET providers was cancelled. A further three colleges had their registrations suspended and two had renewals rejected by ASQA.

Some of the cancellations appear due to relatively minor oversights.

ASQA says the cancellations were the result of providers not operating consistently with the requirements of the VET Quality Framework, or with data provision requirements, including failing to complete and lodge annual declarations by the due date.

Training providers subject to an adverse regulatory decision have the right to have the decision reviewed, and a provider may, in certain circumstances, apply to have ASQA reconsider its decision.

See the latest ASQA regulatory decisions update


VET stakeholders to have a say in design of new national skills agency

The federal government will embark on a “co-design” approach with key stakeholders in developing the new National Skills Commission that will oversee the country’s VET sector.

The Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Senator Michaelia Cash told the NCVER ‘No Frills’ conference last Thursday that the government’s skills policy agenda would “promote a national approach to skills development and enhance the role of industry in designing training packages.”

“We will establish a new National Skills Commission – to provide leadership on workforce needs and VET funding,” Senator Cash said.

“A national co-design process will determine the functions, remit and governance of the new Commission.

“The Australian Government is committed to a VET system that puts industry at its heart,” she said.

As recommended by the Joyce Review, the commission will determine subsidy levels for government funded training, administer Commonwealth funding to the VET sector, develop performance indicators and produce skills needs forecasts.

Minister Cash said departmental projections show that seven out of the ten fastest growing occupations have a VET qualification pathway.

See the Minister’s address to NCVER.


TAFE Queensland to feature at national apprenticeship conference

TAFE Queensland students and staff will take centre stage at the upcoming National Apprentice Employment Network conference ‘Beyond 2020’ on the Gold Coast, July 31 – August 2.

The conference will look at the future of VET and apprenticeships with speakers including the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships, Steve Irons; the Shadow Minister for Education and Training, Tanya Plibersek; and the architect of the Commonwealth VET review, Steven Joyce.

The event will hear from John Tucker and Erik Salonen from TAFE Queensland SkillsTech, and will see a panel discussion with representatives from TAFE, private RTOs, Training Services NSW and Tradeswomen Australia on the future of apprenticeships, facilitated by Australian Industry Group’s Megan Lily.

The conference dinner, sponsored by TAFE Queensland, will feature TAFE hospitality and service students, and hear from WorldSkills Australia ‘Skillaroo’ Anthony Cobb ahead of the WorldSkills international competition in Kazan, Russia next month.

See more


TAFE SA campuses remain but with reduced footprint

The South Australian government has decided against closing the TAFE campus in the Adelaide suburb of Urrbrae, but TAFE’s presence will be scaled back in several locations.

Education Minister John Gardner said TAFE SA will maintain its presence at the Urrbrae campus and continue the delivery of horticulture training, after meeting its savings targets and by  providing underutilised space to the Urrbrae Agricultural High School, which is co-located at the site.

However, the minister confirmed TAFE’s Port Adelaide campus will close in January.

TAFE SA will maintain a presence at Roxby Downs, Wudinna and Coober Pedy campuses but in a scaled back form.

Mr Gardner said the government was focused on supporting TAFE to become more competitive as a training provider.

“This announcement allows TAFE to continue to deliver specialist courses on sites where they can be best delivered, while reducing and consolidating underutilised spaces,” he said.

See more.


Diary Dates

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 onference on VET Teaching and VET Teacher Education
9-10 Decemer 2019
Charles Stut University Wagga Wagga Campus
More informtion

SourceAAP:https://www.tda.edu.au/newletter/lets-test-vets-value-proposition-comment-by-ceo-craig-robertson/

TDA Newsletter – TAFE NSW MD departing to lead NZ Treasury

In this edition

  • A new start – comment by CEO Craig Robertson
  • TAFE NSW MD departing to lead NZ Treasury
  • New apprentice incentive arrangements commence today
  • VET sector needs to do more to cope with changing jobs
  • International student fees driving university revenue
  • Grants available for emerging women leaders
  • Change in how unit codes are allocated in VET accredited courses
  • ACT skills minister makes surprise departure
  • Diary

A new start – comment by CEO Craig Robertson

As we anticipate Parliament this week passing tax cuts, we may be excused for missing the important milestone in Australia’s vocational education and training. Today marks the start of a new reign of quality in vocational education and training in Australia!
Do you believe me? Or, are the terms lipstick and pig swirling the mind waiting to land in one of our particularly favourite turns of speech?

Following a decision of ministers and industry back in 2016, today marks the official start of training by trainers upgraded in two important areas of teaching and assessment.

In 2016 skills ministers agreed to two new core competencies for trainers – Design and develop assessment tools, and Address adult language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) skills as part of the official requirement for trainers to hold the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40116) with effect from April 2019.

As part of this quality change ASQA also required providers wanting to deliver TAE for their suitability to be assessed by 5 October 2017. Now, according to MySkills, we have 104 providers authorised to deliver the TAE, compared to about 500 (I believe) prior.
Despite the lead time for trainers to upgrade, there was a flurry at the beginning of the year and ministers agreed to the extension to today!

For TAFEs it will be business as usual. The vast majority of TAFE teachers are upgraded. Those who have not are waiting for their upgrade assessments to be completed (due to the bottleneck of demand), or they’re on long-term leave, or close to retirement.

This change has been implemented to ensure the VET workforce has appropriate skills in designing and developing assessment tools and identifying and evaluating LLN requirements, Skills Ministers have said.

Will it do the trick? Only time will tell, I guess. For me, I’m close to deciding between rouge or ruby for the hog of my choice!

I applaud the intent. It’s the execution I worry about.

Firstly, I hear that the body charged with upholding the training industry itself, the Education Industry Reference Group, didn’t even recommend the change. In fact, I hear the announcement came as a complete surprise. It seems industry leadership is not extended to the VET industry!

Maybe that can be forgiven, but what’s more disturbing – and at this point I’m deciding how to chase down the hog – all the guidance material given to the sector is simply about complying with the new requirements. Blessings go to PWC Skills for Australia which at least prepared an interpretation guide but guess what, it is about how to comply, not what good assessment is!  And the formal implementation guide is no better.

This journey started because ASQA identified systemic failure of assessment in their audits. For example, in ASQA’s 2016 Training Provider Briefing Sessions they reported that just 25 per cent of RTOs were compliant with RTO Standard 1 when first audited. As a reminder, Standard 1 is: The RTO’s training and assessment strategies and practices are responsive to industry and learner needs and meet the requirements of training packages and VET accredited courses.

Every step since has tightened the requirements. The training package and support documents, scope of practice requirements and audits by ASQA. Does it seem strange that the very instruments by which providers have failed are being used to try and correct the situation? More compliance to fix a compliance issue.

When will we learn as a sector that more specification and compliance is not the answer? Where was the government with professional development?

The Education IRC made recommendations to the Australian Industry Skills Committee back in April 2017 for an overhaul of the qualification, but as yet there’s been no agreement for just a review. It seems Industry is happy with the current state of play.

Admittedly, the jury is out on the success of the initiative but, if it does fail, it can only be sheeted home to government and industry.

I’m hoping the outcome is good as I’m not sure how to chase down that swine which would look pretty good with a spot of rouge.


TAFE NSW MD departing to lead NZ Treasury

TAFE NSW Managing Director Dr Caralee McLiesh has announced her resignation to take up the position of Secretary of the New Zealand Treasury.

In a note to her colleagues at TAFE NSW, she said it was a “particularly bittersweet moment for me given there is still so much more that I wanted to deliver for the customers and team of TAFE NSW.”

“However for various reasons this is the right decision for me and my family at this time in our lives.”

Dr McLiesh said while she was excited and honoured to be selected for the new role, she was genuinely sad to be leaving TAFE NSW earlier than originally planned.

“I want to assure you that this change will not affect the implementation of our TAFE NSW strategy,” she said.

Before commencing with TAFE NSW last October Dr McLiesh was Deputy Secretary for the Fiscal and Economic Group in NSW Treasury. Prior to joining Treasury she worked for eight years at the World Bank.

Ms McLiesh said Education Secretary Mark Scott would lead a recruitment process for her replacement.

In between her departure in July and the appointment of a replacement, Ms Kerry Penton, Regional General Manager, South Region will act in the role.

TDA extends its congratulations to Caralee on her new role.


New apprentice incentive arrangements commence today

A number of new incentive payments for apprentices and their employers that were unveiled in the Budget and during the federal election campaign take effect today.

The government committed to creating an extra 80,000 apprenticeships as part of its skills policies and made a number of specific promises to start on July 1. They are:

  • The second phase of the Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy trial, which supports employers in regional areas facing skills shortages. The program has been doubled to support an extra 1600 apprentices through a wage subsidy of 75% of the apprentice award wage in the first year, 50% in the second and 25% in the third.
  • An identified skills shortage payment which will provide eligible apprentices with $1000 after 12 months and $1000 on completion, while employers will receive $2000 after 12 months and $2,000 on completion.
  • A reduction from 25 to 21 years in the age requirement for the Support for Adult Australian Apprentices incentive.

The government also committed to ten new industry training hubs and a complete overhaul of the current system of apprentice incentive payments.

See the latest Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program Guidelines.


VET sector needs to do more to cope with changing jobs 

The VET sector has been urged to play a greater role in collaborating with universities and industry to deliver the skills needed for the fourth industrial revolution.

In an article in The Conversation, a group of academics say there is a “consensus among experts” that training providers and employers aren’t adapting fast enough to meet looming skill needs.

The authors are Pi-Shen Seet, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Edith Cowan University, and three academics from Flinders University – Ann-Louis Hordacre, Senior Research Fellow at the College of Business, Government and Law; Janice Jones, Associate Professor at the College of Business, Government and Law; and John Spoehr, Director of the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute.

“The VET sector requires increased collaboration between industry, educators and governments. It also needs responsivess and flexibility in delivering skills, from formal qualifications to micro-credentials or non-formal education to reflect the needs of rapidly changing technologies,” the authors say.

They say a good example is the first nationally recognised qualification in automation, launched in Perth recently from a collaboration between Rio Tinto, South Metropolitan TAFE and the state government.

“An important first step is to implement the early recommendations of the Joyce Review on VET,” they say.

“Recent initiatives indicate the VET sector, industry and government have recognised these issues. They will need to pick up the pace to ensure vocational education provides students – and businesses that employ them – with the future-ready skills needed to succeed in the fourth industrial revolution.”


Grants available for emerging women leaders

The organisation, Women & Leadership Australia, has announced a pool of scholarships available for women across Australia to participate in a range of leadership courses.

It will provide grants of between $3000 and $7000 to enable participation in one of three programs that cover areas such as Presence and Presentation Skills, Leading Innovation and Change, and Emotional Intelligence and Conflict.

The scholarship funding is provided with the specific intent of providing powerful and effective development opportunities for women.

Expressions of Interest close September 13.

See more.


Change in how unit codes are allocated in VET accredited courses

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has announced that the way unit codes are allocated to units of competency is changing and will apply to VET accredited course applications received from 1 September 2019.

The ASQA accredited course document template will be amended to include explanatory advice. A new version of this template will be published closer to the implementation date.

See more


ACT skills minister makes surprise departure

The ACT Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Meegan Fitzharris has made the surprise decision to step down as a minister and leave politics within weeks.

“My decision is a personal one, and stems from a desire to better balance my family life,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“This has been an incredibly difficult decision for me, but it is the right decision and will allow a new member of our team to come into the Assembly prior to the 2020 election,” she said.


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:www.tda.edu.au