NCVER report shows federal funding of the VET sector has dropped 11% in the last 2 years

Federal government funding for TAFE and training was cut by $326 million last year, a new report says. According to the NCVER report the NSW government increased their contribution to vocational education significantly by 20.5 percent in the 2018 calendar year compared with the previous year.

Read more here:   https://au.news.yahoo.com/federal-tafe-funding-slashed-326m-051912209–spt.html and https://education.nsw.gov.au/news/media-releases/nsw-government-vet-funding-up-by-20-percent

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.

TDA Newsletter 2 December 2019

In this edition

  • Back on the horse – comment by CEO Craig Robertson
  • Technology to disrupt hundreds of thousands of jobs, new report finds
  • Private college that took $210m in government funds acted ‘unconscionably’
  • CIT to get new campus
  • More organisations to gain access to VET student records
  • ASQA cancels, suspends private colleges
  • Year13 & TDA – Beyond the data webinar
  • Diary

Back on the horse – comment by CEO Craig Robertson

It was pleasing to see Skills ministers agree Friday week ago to review VET Student Loans.

Loans for vocational education were legislated as VET FEE-HELP (VFH) in 2007; the last Act in John Howard’s Prime Ministership. The scheme kicked off proper in 2009 with VFH providers needing articulation agreements into higher education for the courses to be eligible for loans. The objective was to grow the proportion of the workforce with higher level skills.

VFH started slowly because of the lead time for articulation agreements and the slow approval process. In 2012, as part of a new inter-government agreement to introduce demand driven entitlement to Certificate level courses, VFH conditions were loosened. No articulation agreement, first among them. Students incurred an immediate 20 per cent loan fee unless they were enrolled in a state or territory subsided course – students benefitted by following priorities set by states and territories. The rationale was to open access to this level of VET as a strong equity measure, and to encourage private training activity by using loans to mitigate the barriers caused by high upfront fees.

The VFH horse bolted – out of control and in ways no one ever contemplated. There’s been plenty of column inches on that one. VSL replaced VFH in 2017, and participation at this level of VET tanked. VSL loans are around $300 million each year for about 58,000 students. Reasons are as many as bets on a race, but chief among them must be the limits on the loans.

Given VFH experimented with de-regulated fees it reasonable, expected almost, for the Government to limit loans, and thereby regulate fees. (The Government may say fees remain unregulated because there are still options for direct student contribution, but this mocks the purpose of student loans in overcoming upfront fees, and there’s very little private contribution in practice anyway.)

Fee regulation means the government needs to have a good idea of costs of delivery lest the loan over-shoots, giving a bonus to the provider at the expense of the student, or under-shoots at the cost of the provider, although ultimately the student because the provider has little option bar cutting delivery. Remember, the logic of the consumer (student) arbitrating quality and calibrating price was proven ineffectual in the face of the slick sales jobs of charlatans.

Enter Steven Joyce, followed by the National Skills Commissioner and the Productivity Commission. Joyce has suggested, and the commissioner and commission tasked to come up with a consistent national price for VET qualifications, and move even toward university funding rates.

Let’s look at one qualification – Diploma of Remedial Massage – the seventh most popular course in VSL with a maximum loan of $10,342. It has 16 core and five optional units with about 1700 nominal hours plus 200 hours compulsory work placement. Nominal hours represent the training effort for the qualification and are set by experienced curriculum designers. NCVER says a full-time load is 720 hours, so it’s at least a two-year full-time course, with the provider receiving $5,170 per year for each student. Assuming 12 per class as the limit for a practice-based qualification like this one and the provider has $62,040 to run it for the year! That doesn’t even pay for a full-time teacher.

Am I exaggerating the requirements of the qualification? Look at the unit with the highest nominal hours – Provide Remedial Massage Treatment. It has 18 separate elements of performance which need to be demonstrated and 62 separate items of knowledge the student must acquire, before even basic physiology and anatomy. If ASQA audits this unit, it has at least 80 points it can test for compliance, before it considers the efficacy of the assessment tools, the application of foundation skills or testing inputs such as unit duration.

Is the qualification important? According to Australian Industry Skills Committee data, the number of massage therapists has grown from 3,300 in 2000 to 19,900 in 2018 with 23,900 predicted for 2023. Remedial massage is bound to follow the same trajectory.

Is the twenty per cent loan fee justified? MySkills tells us the average full-time salary for Remedial Massage is $46,500 and the repayment threshold for the loan is $45,881. Graduating students start repayment straight away. Any argument for the loan fee to remain because of poor employment or wage outcomes weakens any claim that VET is the same as higher education or has the Government diluting the merits of qualifications they endorse.

Where to start? I encourage the Commonwealth to get back on the student loan horse.

Oh, and if universities were paid to do the qualification – they’d get $13,073 in subsidy and $9.395 in student loan…. each year!


Technology to disrupt hundreds of thousands of jobs, new report finds

As many as 630,000 jobs, equal to about 7% of Australia’s workforce, could be displaced by new technologies over the next decade, according to a new report by Cisco.

The fastest-shrinking sector will be construction, which is predicted to lose more than 70,000 jobs over the decade, while a further 33,000 jobs are predicted to be lost in the manufacturing sector.

The report, Technology and the Future of Australian Jobs, undertaken in conjunction with Oxford Economics, says healthcare will be by far the biggest net job creator in Australia over the next decade, expanding by 80,000 jobs.

The tourism and wholesale and retail sectors are also predicted to experience significant net increases in the sizes of their workforces, increasing by 22,000 and 20,000 workers respectively.

The study highlights the implications for governments and education providers in preparing Australia’s workforce for the future.

“Policymakers face a dilemma between seizing the economic advantages new technologies will bring and managing the repercussions they will have for the workers that bear the brunt of the transition,” the Cisco report says.

“Many workers will have to adapt not only their skillsets, but potentially their working habits and location, to meet the demands of the new economy,” it says.

“Education providers must ensure a pipeline of skilled workers is in place to feed into the workforce. This includes relevant formal training for new entrants to the labour market, as well as a much broader base for lifelong learning and more flexible training provision.”

TDA works in partnership with CISCO and Optus to explore the opportunities through digital skilling for TAFE students.

See ‘Technology and the Future of Australian Jobs’ (able to be downloaded under the heading ‘Future of Work’


Private college that took $210m in government funds acted ‘unconscionably’

The Federal Court has found that private training college, Australian Institute of Professional Education (AIPE), engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in enrolling students into thousands of courses under the former VET FEE-HELP scheme.

The ACCC and the federal Department of Education and Training commenced proceedings against AIPE in 2016.

The court found that AIPE breached consumer law when it told consumers their courses were free, when in fact they incurred debts of up to $20,000.

The court ruled that AIPE engaged in unconscionable conduct by offering free laptops as inducements, failing to assess students’ suitability, failing to explain the debt students would incur, and paying “extraordinary” commissions to third party agents and recruiters.

“AIPE enrolled consumers in around 16,000 courses and obtained over $210 million in Commonwealth funding as a result of its misleading and unconscionable conduct,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

AIPE was placed into liquidation after the ACCC commenced proceedings.

CIT to get new campus

The ACT government has announced that Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) will get a new state-of-the-art campus in the Woden Town Centre.

CIT Chief Executive Officer Leanne Cover said the new campus is expected to be the VET technology and service skills learning precinct, delivering courses in areas such as business, cybersecurity, IT, the creative industries, hospitality and tourism.

“Therefore, the ACT Government’s decision to build a new campus in the Woden Town Centre with a continued CIT presence in the CBD aligns with CIT’s strategic directions, and it is a very exciting news,” Ms Cover said.

“The ACT Government’s announcement is a significant milestone in the history of CIT and will enable the Institute to continue to be the region’s most trusted and dedicated VET provider.”


More organisations to gain access to VET student records

The federal government has introduced legislation that will expand the range of organisations able to gain access to a person’s authenticated VET transcript.

Currently anyone with a student identifier can access their national training record and give permission to share it with a registered training organisation or a VET-related body.

Legislation before the parliament will enable student-controlled access to transcripts to be extended to businesses, recruitment agencies, licensing bodies, and other third parties.

The Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships, Steve Irons, said employers, employment agencies, and state, territory and Commonwealth licensing bodies have shown an interest in being able to verify an individual’s authenticated VET transcript.

“This change provides confidence to industry on the authenticity of VET qualifications and reduces regulatory burden for the individual and third parties,” he said.

“These arrangements also reduce the risk of individuals tampering with their transcript before providing it to an employer.”


ASQA cancels, suspends private colleges

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has cancelled, suspended and rejected the registrations of a host of private training colleges.

ASQA’s latest regulatory update shows 13 training colleges have had their registrations cancelled, three have been suspended and one had its renewal application rejected.

Some of the training providers impacted may be able to have decisions reviewed, including by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

See ASQA’s latest regulatory decisions update

Year13 & TDA – Beyond the data webinar

Join Year13 & YouthSense for a complimentary webinar hosted by CEO Will Stubley on December 10. This will be an opportunity to keep up to date with their latest research ahead of the release of their third After The ATAR report in March next year.

The theme of the webinar will be Beyond The Data: Understanding The Psychographics Of Youth and will explore what this time of year means to young people as they finish high school, receive their final marks, make decisions about their future and more.

You’ll also be able to engage live with the host Will Stubley, who will be fielding any questions you may have and take your feedback regarding what insights you want to hear in future research.

Secure your place now!


Diary Dates

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

AVETRA Conference
20/20 vision for VET: Research at the centre of future policy and practice
23 – 24 April 2020
Melbourne
More information

VDC 2020 Teaching & Learning Conference
14 – 15 May 2020
RACV Torquay Resort, Great Ocean Road, Victoria
Registrations opening soon

‘No Frills’ 2020, 29th National VET Research Conference
NCVER co-hosted with TAFE WA, North Metropolitan TAFE
8 – 10 July 2020
Perth, Western Australia
More information

World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics
2020 World Congress

14 – 16 October 2020
Donostia – San Sebastian, Spain
More information

sourceaap:https://www.tda.edu.au/category-newletter/tda-newsletter/

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”. 

Flexibility In Vocational Training Is The System’s Strength National Monday Update — 25 November 2019 Troy Williams, ITECA Chief Executive

Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) system is recognised for its ability to support individuals at all stages of their working career. It supports those in secondary school, school leavers getting their first job and the existing workforce undertaking training to ensure their skills currency. Perhaps its best work is supporting those re-entering the workforce after a period of unemployment, having suffered a workplace injury or having experienced a set of personal circumstances that’s seen them without work.

The strength of Australia’s VET system is that it supports people to attain vital skills by completing individual units of competency or gaining full qualifications. That’s what makes Australia’s VET system amongst the best in the world. Its flexibility allows people to acquire and develop the skills they need to support their career journey.

Some stakeholders view VET through the prism of full qualifications, such as a Certificate IV, that are apparently considered to be superior and dismiss the work of those undertaking shorter courses. Presumably that was behind the extraordinary attack on the independent VET sector last week by a prominent public TAFE sector representative which criticised the independent sector for enjoying such a large market share – 81%. The suggestion was that independent providers have gained this market share as a result of delivering short courses such as first-aid and that somehow these courses aren’t of value. This is sad.  Why make a cheap political point by attacking students who undertake short courses … are we seriously going to tell the first-aid student who came to the aid of an injured person that somehow their short course, that gave them life-saving skills, isn’t a valid VET course? Similarly, is the school leaver undertaking a barista course somehow not a “proper” student, even if their studies helped them get their first job?

Last week I spoke at the Community Colleges Australia (CCA) conference, a gathering of a vital component of the independent VET sector. I spoke to so many CCA members that do much of the heavy-lifting to support people get back into the workforce. The contributions of the CCA membership to strengthening the communities in which we live, by providing valuable skills to those seeking work is outstanding. Are these students – that are included in the 81% – somehow less valuable as students? Of course not, we should celebrate the achievements of every VET student, whether they undertake their studies with an independent provider or within the public TAFE sector.

The Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) will always highlight the great outcomes that its members support. There may be many short courses within the 81% market share, but as the 2019 ITECA State of the Sector Report notes, independent providers also deliver 58% of the VET Diplomas, 64% of the Certificate IV qualifications, 58% of the Certificate III qualifications – that’s around 1,923,024 qualifications delivered – an awful lot of students.

Australia’s VET system changes lives as it gives people a leg-up in the workforce. You only need to talk to those undertaking VET to see the difference. Last week we celebrated success at the 2019 Australian Training Awards, with student winners, who were supported by independent providers and the public TAFE sector. These students serve as an exemplar of everything that’s great about our VET system. Less well recognised is the achievements of those undertaking short-courses, perhaps as a pathway to entering the workforce. Their achievements and those of the providers that support them, whether independent or public TAFE, also merit recognition. As we look at meaningful reform of Australia’s VET system it’s important that we always be mindful of the people that rely of VET – the students at independent providers and the public TAFE sector.

Troy Williams
ITECA Chief Executive

sourceaap:https://www.iteca.edu.au/

TDA Newsletter 25 November 2019

tda newsletter

In this edition 


Comment by Jen Bahen, Director, International Engagement

With Craig currently tending to his garden and in my final week at TDA I was asked to take over his column and reflect on all things international.
That also means no stories, no analogies, no poems and no April Fool’s Day jokes…

…..or does it?  (It’s nigh on impossible to work for Craig without learning a little.)

As I step aside to welcome a little Bahen in a few short weeks, it’s inevitable I will spend some time on the couch watching Christmas movies old and new, and that one of those will be A Christmas Carol. 

Dystopian Dickens feels a good fit for where we sit, right now, across VET and particularly in the area of international engagement, as we stand poised to either jump aboard new opportunities, or continue the path of the past.  So here goes, with sincere apologies to Charles Dickens.

The Ghost of International Education Past

Recent years have witnessed incredible success stories in international engagement, albeit largely focussed on university reform. Meanwhile, partner countries pursued reform in their education systems, with initiatives such as the Australia Chongqing Vocational Education and Training project showing the rest of the world Australia’s ability to support large scale VET reform offshore.  TAFEs were leaders in this, and became postmasters in delivering Australian programs offshore, with partnerships lasting to this day.

We are also shown the significant growth in international student numbers in Australia, and are reminded of the perfect storm of 2009/2010, led by the Indian VET student crisis, and we ask ourselves – what have we learnt?

The Ghost of International Education Present

On the surface, we see a healthy picture, with strong growth in international VET students in Australia and good activity in offshore delivery.

But can we see the risks?

There is a concentration of growth in international students in VET, centred around a small number of nationalities, courses and providers.  Are we sure this growth is sustainable?  We also see that TAFEs lead in relation to diversity of course and nationality but operate within a very small subset of students.

Offshore, partner countries are refocussing, with leaders in China, Indonesia, India etc leading progressive, whole of system reform agendas in VET.  We can see that this gives rise to significant opportunities to support reform with innovative partnerships and products, but are we too wedded to promoting adoption of the Australian system, including AQF qualifications, to see the opportunity to lead?

A scan of TAFE activity shows a change – capacity development projects, programs designed to meet partner needs, and training in partnership with industry – can we build on this?

The Ghost of International Education Yet to Come

Like the choices faced by Ebenezer Scrooge, we’re now presented with two possible future scenarios.

The first is as bleak as Scrooge’s lonely Christmas Day – offshore, we will be left behind, as we doggedly cling to promotion of the Australian system, including qualifications designed for Australian industry, causing our partner countries to look elsewhere.  Similarly, genuine students seeking high quality VET experiences consider their other options.

The second is considerably more optimistic – offshore, we have grasped the opportunity to promote our strengths, rather than our systems, that truly support the incredible reform of partner countries, capitalising on the initiatives TAFEs are already exploring.  International students are drawn to Australia to acquire high quality skills in a diverse set of industry sectors and can confidently take those skills back to a global setting.

The Happy Ending……..

With Christmas fast approaching, what lesson will we take? One thing that stands out to me across the journey is that TAFEs have led.  In a domestic setting, TAFEs are recognised as anchor institutions in communities – so they too can be, and already are, the anchor institutions of international education.

A Final Note

To the TDA Board, TAFE Executives and all the TAFE staff and students (especially those in international offices) I have worked with – the work you do is awe inspiring and I thank you for being given the privilege to represent you.  I look forward to working with you all again when I take up the education role in our embassy in Hanoi sometime in the middle of 2020.

To the outstanding team at TDA, led so very capably by Craig, keep fighting the good fight, for it is indeed a fight for good.  You will all be pleased to know Craig will be back next week!


TAFE turns on a blistering display at national training awards

TAFE students, teachers and staff dominated the Australian Training Awards held in Brisbane on Thursday night, taking out top places in the major awards.

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Wayne Collyer, the former MD of Polytechnic West (now South Metropolitan TAFE) and Central West College of TAFE (now Central Regional TAFE).

A former TDA board member, Wayne has devoted more than 40 years as an educator with most of that in the West Australian VET sector.

The judges said he “has made a difference to the future of hundreds of thousands of students”.

The Industry Collaboration Award went to Holmesglen Institute and the Royal Children’s Hospital for creating “an enriching pathway to employment for young people with disability”.

“Australia’s first Integrated Practical Placement Program is an innovative model combining industry, education and support services,” the  judges said.

TAFE Queensland was named the International Training Provider of the Year.

TAFE Queensland CEO Mary Campbell said the award showcases TAFE Queensland’s commitment and capability to change lives all around the world.

“We’ve dedicated resources to developing business with governments and enterprises across the globe and recruit international students from over 90 countries, resulting in great benefits for Queensland,” she said.

TAFE Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mary Campbell and International Executive Director Janelle Chapman.

The Large Training Provider of the Year went to Sunraysia Institute of TAFE, with judges noting its remarkable 95% completion rates, strong job outcomes and the highest number of new enrolments in Victoria in 2018.

The Apprentice of the Year was Rory Milner a former engineer who switched to a Certificate III in Carpentry with builder Sunbuild, studying at Charles Darwin University.

“In 2018 alone, Rory had the humble honour of being named Master Builders Australia National Apprentice of the Year, Master Builders Australia NT Overall Apprentice of the Year, and the Master Builders Australia NT General Building and Construction Apprentice of the Year,” the judges said.

One of the most remarkable stories was that of Vocational Student of the Year, Shaona Imaru, one of ten children born in a refugee camp in Tanzania before moving to Australia as an 11-year old speaking no English. Shaona studied a Certificate III in Health Services Assistance through TAFE SA and was offered employment with Uniting SA. She has now enrolled in a Bachelor of Nursing.

The Runner-up for Vocational Student of the Year was Kristy McDermott who took on the dual Diploma of Landscape Design, Diploma of Horticulture at TAFE Queensland.

There was another prize for Charles Darwin University with Jack Short the Runner-up in the Trainee of the Year Award. Jack studied his Certificate III in Information, Digital Media and Technology – something he took on alongside his Year 12 studies while at school.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Award went to Taylor Williams, a Wiradjuri woman from Forbes in NSW, who works with a team who are fostering cultural and behavioural change at the Department of Defence.  Taylor undertook a Diploma of Government with Canberra Institute of Technology.

The Gordon had success with the Runner-up in the Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year Award with Heidi Rasmussen who did a Certificate III in Companion Animal Services on her way to fulfilling an ambition to be a vet.

The Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award went to Debra Guntrip from TasTAFE. Debra is a literary specialist who has been working in the LLN field for more han 20 years and is engaged in the delivery of LLN skills to employees through 26TEN, a network of organisations and individuals working together to improve adult literacy and numeracy in Tasmania.

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners at the awards – each one of you should be enormously proud of what you have achieved!

And, a special shout-out to all the TAFE students, teachers and staff who have excelled – you show extraordinary commitment and ability – all the more remarkable for TAFE comprising a meagre 19% of the VET sector, or so we are told!

See all the finalists and winners.


Emeritus Professor Tracey Horton appointed new head of AISC

The federal government has appointed Emeritus Professor Tracey Horton, pictured, as the new chair of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC).

The Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Michaelia Cash said Ms Horton brings a wealth of experience from a range of government and not-for-profit boards. She replaces Professor John Pollaers in the role.

Professor Horton is the former chair of Navitas and a former member of the Council for International Education. She is a director of property group, GPT, technology firm, Nearmap, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is also a commissioner of the Tourism Commission of Western Australia and a member of the Australian government Takeovers Panel and Bain & Company WA Advisory Board.

Senator Cash said the AISC will work with government and industry stakeholders to support the reforms announced in the last federal budget.


COAG agrees to immediate overhaul of training packages, VET student loans

Federal, state and territory skills ministers have agreed to an immediate overhaul of training packages and a review of VET student loans.

The COAG Industry and Skills Council meeting in Brisbane on Friday agreed to “immediately fast track” the measures and to also examine the use of micro-credentials and the Australian Skills Quality Authority’s (ASQA) shift from compliance to “excellence in training”.

Training packages will be “streamlined” to remove all outdated and unused qualifications.

The system of VET student loans will be reviewed to ensure “parity of access for students across Australia”.

“Council particularly noted that actions agreed to were in response to feedback from stakeholders about where urgent reform is needed,” the COAG Communique said.

“Council directed the Australian Industry and Skills Council (AISC) and skills officials to develop criteria for commissioning new or updated training products and to establish clear timeframes for accelerated training product development before the next Council meeting,” it said.

See the Communique.


New head of VET at RMIT

Education and health leader Mish Eastman has joined RMIT as Pro Vice-Chancellor Vocational Education.

Mish began her career as a nurse before moving into education and leadership roles with TAFE Tasmania and the Tasmanian Polytechnic.

Most recently, she was Executive Director Pathways and Vocational Education at Swinburne University of Technology.

Vice-Chancellor and President Martin Bean said the appointment is part of RMIT’s vision to create a united VE community that can lead innovative, internationally-recognised teaching practice.

“Mish has diverse experience in leading through complexity, across both tertiary education and health environments,” he said.

“She has strong expertise in identifying and creating new models of education and training in collaboration with industry, enhancing tertiary pathways, and understanding how to create educational and employment success for learners.”

He said RMIT is exploring the creation of a new College of Vocational Education in what will be its biggest commitment yet to the long-term success and growth of the sector.


Chisholm confirms Stephen Varty as CEO

Stephen Varty has been appointed as the new CEO and Director of Chisholm Institute, following an extensive search and selection process.

Chair Stephen Marks announced that Mr Varty will formally commence immediately after serving as interim CEO for the past ten months and leading Chisholm through a number of new initiatives that have produced outstanding results.

“These have included the completion of the Frankston Learning and Innovation Precinct which was launched by the Premier in October, a number of new fee for service and international off-shore opportunities, and a number high profile projects for the TAFE sector that were awarded by the Department of Education and Training,” Mr Marks said.

Stephen has been with Chisholm for the past five years and has held a number of positions including Chief of Education, Executive Director Youth, Pathways and Regional Education and Director of Educational Innovation at Chisholm.


Productivity Commission looking to level the playing field between uni and VET

The Productivity Commission is asking for input into its review of the VET system including ways of achieving greater fairness in funding and loan arrangements between the VET and university.

An issues paper released by the Commission notes that the funding arrangements have led to a view that “universities are expanding at the expense of participation in VET”.

“Compared with VET students, university students have access to more generous financing arrangements,” the discussion paper says.

“Universities also have ‘self-accreditation’ status (that is, they can evaluate their own courses to ensure qualification standards are met) and greater control over course content. In contrast, VET RTOs are required to use regulator-approved training packages and accredited courses,” it says.

“In the past, the NCVER has pointed to this as a potential competitive advantage for universities offering courses that are traditionally in the VET domain (Moodie 2011).”

It asks for evidence of how funding is affecting student choices and options for achieving “greater consistency in funding and loan arrangements between the VET and higher education sectors”.

The Commission will deliver an interim report in March and a final report within a year.

See the issues paper or make a submission.


TAFE Queensland’s Andrew Holmes recognised for expert analysis

TDA has extended its appreciation to Andrew Holmes, the Director of Finance and Performance at TAFE Queensland for his outstanding contribution during upheaval in the VET sector following the collapse of a private training college in Brisbane.

Andrew was presented with an award of appreciation by TDA Chair Mary Faraone and CEO Craig Robertson at the recent TDA Convention.

Andrew was called upon to assist TDA and TAFE Queensland following the college collapse in December 2017, affecting some 16,000 students.

“Andrew’s data and analytical skills were a key part in TDA and TAFEs being able to assist thousands of displaced private provider students continuing their studies with a TAFE and mounting our case to the government,” Craig Robertson said.

“Andrew, you are a great credit to TAFE Queensland, a great credit to TAFEs across Australia.”

Award of appreciation: Mary Faraone, Andrew Holmes and Craig Robertson


Call for ‘No Frills’ 2020 presentations

NCVER has issued a call for submissions to present at the 29th National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’.

‘No Frills’ 2020 will be co-hosted with TAFE WA – North Metropolitan TAFE in Perth from 8-10 July 2020.

NCVER is seeking presentations that explore the theme Workforce ready: challenges and opportunities for VET.

Submissions are invited from all parts of the VET sector, including industry, government, practitioners, peak bodies, and researchers.

Submissions are open until Monday, 17 February 2020. Learn more about presentation guidelines and how to submit.


Call for proposals for Canadian colleges annual conference

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) has issued a call for proposals for its annual conference being held 3 – 5 May 2020 in Montreal, Quebec.

CICan’s annual conference is the largest event of its kind in Canada. It fosters connections between post-secondary institutions from across the country and around the world through discussions and the sharing of best practices.

The Conference will be organisesd into six streams, including: Governing Excellence, Wiring for Student Success, Hacking Education, Embodying Sustainability, Driving Innovation, and Going Global. Indigenous education and inclusion are cross-cutting topics.

All sessions should reflect on opportunities or lessons learned for the future of the college and institute system. Proposals should be submitted by December 8.

Selection criteria and recommendations for preparing a successful proposal are available here.


Diary Dates

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

AVETRA Conference
20/20 vision for VET: Research at the centre of future policy and practice
23 – 24 April 2020
Melbourne
More information

VDC 2020 Teaching & Learning Conference
14 – 15 May 2020
RACV Torquay Resort, Great Ocean Road, Victoria
Registrations opening soon

‘No Frills’ 2020, 29th National VET Research Conference
NCVER co-hosted with TAFE WA, North Metropolitan TAFE
8 – 10 July 2020
Perth, Western Australia
More information

Ssourceaap:https://www.tda.edu.au/newletter/comment-by-jen-bahen-director-international-engagement/

2019 Australian Training Awards winners announced in Brisbane

The awards hosted in Queensland this year was held on Thursday night and recognised excellence achieved by individuals, businesses and registered training organisations in the VET sector. TAFE featured strongly with Sunraysia Institute of TAFE winning Large Training Provider of the Year Award and TAFE Queensland acknowledged with the International Training Provider of the Year Award

TDA NEWSLETTER 4 November 2019


Keeping the partnership together – comment by CEO Craig Robertson

The longstanding debate in my household has been the resources my wife and I brought to our marriage and how we each contribute to family life. OK, confession time. I entered the marriage with debt and my wife didn’t, and I’d been working for some time! How we shared the responsibilities for getting the kids to school still causes some mirth. Imagine the tears from my then seven year-old daughter relying on me to fix her precious long hair for school when a pony-tail was the limit of my dexterity.

Should we have gone with a pre-nup? Nup. But we did talk about who does what and how our efforts contributed to the longer term for our family unit. Standard really, although I reckon toilet seat up or down must be compulsory premarital discourse.

This brings to mind the state of the union in Vocational Education and Training in Australia.  As we lead up to skills ministers meeting at the end of November I thought I’d outline the history of Commonwealth and state and territory collaboration.

The nature of collaboration between the levels of government has been vexed when it comes to VET. Whitlam first contributed to TAFE buildings and then toward their operations. It was the first time a federal government recognised that the taxes it raised were the best source for growing vocational education. At this point Whitlam took over full funding responsibilities for universities.
Post the recession of the 1980s John Dawkins as federal training minister reformed teaching and learning to bring the curriculum closer to the needs of industry. The National Training Board was formed and the competency approach to defining the division and approach to learning was imported from England.

Post the 1990s recession “we had to have”, Keating’s Working Nation gave birth to the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) and the National Training Board quietly retired. Collaboration between levels of government seemed to have a permanent solution and industry was brought formally into the mix. There was great progress on many aspects of VET and increased policy focus.

Enter the Howard era and collaboration turned to co-option. The series of ANTA agreements which transferred federal funds to the states and territories were more like purchasing contracts. The Commonwealth insisted on certain numbers of hours of delivery for its funding and set the priority areas for spending. Creative accounting by David Kemp as Howard’s skills minister resulted in the “Growth through efficiency” agreement. You guessed it – achieve more with less. This was followed in the next agreement with the push for “Work Choices” reforms in government owned entities. The ANTA ideal soured in 2005 and Howard abolished it thinking the federal bureaucracy had a better chance of success.

Rudd and Gillard returned to collaboration. Governments agreed shared objectives, sweetened by access to the bulk of the $2.5bn Productivity Places Program. In turn, states and territories had autonomy to set their own path to meeting the objectives.

Dazzled by the promise of new public management – governments working in tandem with the private sector – competition
for the training dollar was introduced with a vengeance. It promised quality as providers innovated to attract students. In turn, the overall impact of student choice of courses and providers, premised on access to good information, would optimise the flow into courses that would most meet the demand of industry. Victoria led the way with the Victorian Training Guarantee (VTG) followed by Skills for All in South Australia before a new national agreement was crafted. It called on states and territories to offer choice of course and provider up to a Certificate III for any of its citizens not holding that level of qualification. In return, the Commonwealth, which by that time had extinguished the bulk of its $2.5bn PPP, opened-up VET FEE-HELP so cash-strapped states and territories could impose fees for diplomas and advanced diploma courses offset by a student loan.

The rest is history and we are still recovering!

VTG and Skills for All and VET FEE-HELP were built on good policy grounds, except national regulation formed around provider standards was no bulwark against a class of provider intent on profit over student welfare. The competency definition of training output which celebrates education short-cuts was cream on the cake too easy for these providers to resist.

Calling on growth through efficiency the Turnbull and Morrison governments withdrew funding while still spruiking the federal contribution. It gathered the fees employers paid to bring in migrant workers to establish the Skilling Australians Fund as a replacement for the Skills Reform national partnership ending in mid-2017. The plan was to boost apprenticeship and traineeship numbers, again on condition with states and territories. The purchasing mentality returned. At the same time VET FEE-HELP was scrapped in favour of VET Student Loans, cutting the flow of about $1.5bn per annum in legitimate loans to something like $300m for VET Student Loans. States and territories, let alone decent providers, were left high and dry!

We are now faced with the 2019 federal Budget package – Delivering skills for today and tomorrow.  Funding that was earmarked for Victoria and Queensland was withheld to fund Commonwealth soft infrastructure in the form of Skills Organisations, the Skills Commissioner and Careers Institute.

Now it seems the Commonwealth has a wandering eye. In setting-up their own skills organisations they seem to prefer industry over states and territories.

Would any partnership weather such turmoil, even betrayal? Yet states and territories are being asked to go around one more time.

The Productivity Commission will assess the partnership by reviewing the national agreement for VET. The cost to the nation they’ve revealed this past week for inaction on mental well-being may be a useful template for identifying the costs to Australia from inaction on funding for vocational education.

As skills ministers approach their meeting in a few weeks time I hope they will survey the full history of the Commonwealth State partnership for VET. A trustworthy partnership with fair sharing of roles and decent financial contributions seems to be a pretty good blueprint for many aspects of life, even for vocational education and training. The question is whether the partnership is worth it?


Victoria launches year-long review of state’s VET system

TDA has commended the Victorian government’s decision to hold a wide-ranging review of the state’s VET system.

CEO Craig Robertson said the pace of technological change and disruption stemming from artificial intelligence and digitisation warrants a fundamental look at how we prepare people for future jobs and careers.

The Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education Gayle Tierney announced that former federal Minister Jenny Macklin will lead the 12-month review of the VET system.

Ms Tierney said the Macklin review would bring together experts from across the country to ensure Victoria has a quality system fit for the future.

“The Macklin Review will contribute to the reforms already underway through the COAG Skills Council,” she said.

See TDA’s media release

See the Victorian government media release

See the review terms of reference


TAFE and uni students receive $15k regional scholarships

Almost 1200 students have been offered scholarships worth $19.5 million to study at a regional university or VET provider next year, under the Destination Australia program.

The $93.7 program provides scholarships worth $15,000 a year.

A total of 35 tertiary education providers across 84 locations have been successful in the 2020 round. Details of the successful providers can be found here.

TAFEs received 15% of the available places, private providers received 11%, with the remainder going to universities. Given that TAFEs in some states did not apply, the TAFE share is a good outcome, and TDA encourages TAFEs to consider applying in future years.

The Minister for Education Dan Tehan said regional Australia has a lot to offer as a study destination, including smaller class sizes, a cheaper cost of living as well as the people and the lifestyle.

“Of the 690,000 international students in Australia, just three per cent were enrolled in regional Australia last year and our government’s $93.7 million Destination Australia program will help to change that,” he said.

More information about Destination Australia is available here.

See Minister Tehan’s media release


Opposition leader unveils Labor’s plan for national skills agency

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has outlined plans for a new national skills agency that would undertake skills forecasts and develop workforce plans for regions and key target groups.

In an address in Perth last week, Jobs and the Future of Work, he laid out Labor’s response to concerns about increasingly insecure work, wage stagnation and declining living standards.

Most media reporting was on the issue of energy policy but it also encompassed Labor’s vison for VET, based around high technology manufacturing including the creation of the new body, Jobs and Skills Australia.

Likening it to Singapore’s Skills Future, the new agency would undertake workforce and skills analysis, prepare capacity studies for emerging and growing industries, undertake plans for targeted groups such as the regions, older workers and youth, and review the VET system.

“It will ensure that the Commonwealth works genuinely with the states and territories to ensure that our VET system delivers the trainees and apprentices that our country needs,” he said.

“The TAFE system is the cornerstone of the Australian training system. It can be complemented, but never replaced.”

He dismissed the government’s proposed National Skills Commission as “a late and inadequate response from a tired government”.


Minerals Council skills pilot to create new training curriculum

The Minerals Council of Australia will be funded to establish a national curriculum for the mining industry, under a new Skills Organisations pilot program announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

It is the third Skills Organisation pilot program undertaken by the government, following programs for human services care and digital technologies, announced earlier this year.

The pilot programs give the target industries the opportunity to shape the national training system to be more responsive to industry and employer needs.

The Minister for Resources Matt Canavan said more than a million Australians were employed in the resources sector and it was vital to have a well-trained mining workforce to take full advantage of booming demand for commodities.

“Creating a nationwide curriculum under this pilot will help enhance, expand and advance the skills of our resources workers, securing the sector’s future for decades to come,” he said.

MCA Chief Executive Officer Tania Constable said the organisation will seek to secure “greater national-level consistency and clarity across the system to realise the significant benefits for the VET sector, industry and learners.”

“The MCA is in the process of securing education partners that will develop new learning pathways to the modern mining sector for delivery in 2020.

“These include curricula pilots, a micro-credentials package and experiential program as well as defining a mining 101 program for apprentices and trainees,” Ms Constable said.

See more


Employers less happy with VET outcomes

Employers’ use of the VET system has declined over the last two years, according to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

Across Australia, 50.9% of employers made use of the nationally accredited VET in 2019, down 3.5 percentage points from 2017.

Use of training by employers was down in general, with 74.1% providing informal training (down 7.3 percentage points from 2017), and use of unaccredited training steady at 48.8%, while the proportion of employers providing no training at all was up by 4.1 percentage points to 12.8%.

Nationally, 34.2% of employers had jobs requiring vocational qualifications in 2019, down 3.0 percentage points since 2017.

Employer satisfaction with vocational qualifications also declined, down 3.3 percentage points over the past two years, with 72.1% satisfied in 2019.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell said VET providers need to engage more with small business, which believes there is not enough focus on practical skills, and the level of training does not meet their needs.

“It’s important that VET providers understand the need to be flexible in their approach to training workers, even if that means tailoring courses to match the skills needed by small businesses,” she said.

See more


TAFE degrees offer relevance and employment, study finds

Students who undertake their bachelor degree at TAFE, rather than university, have largely made a deliberate decision because of the relevance to their career plans, according to a new study.

The study, Vocational institutions, undergraduate degrees: distinction or inequality, surveyed 463 students to understand the reasons behind choosing to do their degree at TAFE.

According to an article in The Australian, these students are well informed and “not settling for second best”.

A total of 64% said they chose to study for their degree at a TAFE institute because they ­enjoyed their area of study, 59 per cent said their study would enable them “to get a ­rewarding job” and 58 per cent said the course was part of their “longer-term career plans”, the article said.

The study examined nursing, design, early years education, fashion and business degrees at 11 TAFE ­institutes offering higher education. In conducting the survey, researchers interviewed 42 students and 13 graduates.

Chief investigator and Mon­ash Professor of Education Susan Webb said the degrees were “growing in significant niches that build on the heritage of ­established relationships with the industries” and reflected “the vocational education and training provision and experiences of these TAFE institutes”.


Traineeships soon to be free in NSW

The NSW government has made all traineeships fee-free, starting in January.

Traineeships in NSW through ‘Smart and Skilled’ will join apprenticeships in being fee- free, the Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee and Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said.

“Our investment in fee free traineeships, coupled with the $285 million initiative that’s made apprenticeships fee-free, demonstrates that we are serious about getting people into sustainable work and addressing the skills shortage,” Mr Lee said.

“It’s encouraging that the most popular traineeships are in early childhood education with over 10,000 students since 2015 taking up a traineeship,” Ms Mitchell said.


Education and training reviews – are we drowning in them?

With Australia, seemingly awash with education and training reviews at present, TDA CEO Craig Robertson will address the issue of which reviews to focus on and which to avoid at the Community Colleges Australia Annual Conference in Brisbane, 18 – 20 November.

Titled, ‘Navigating the seas of reviews’ it will examine how the sector should approach the many inquiries underway, or soon to begin.

“What reviews are just annoying swells? What are tsunamis that could wash out the sector and what are the rips that risk sweeping the helpless out of sight,” the abstract notes.

See more about the Community Colleges Australia Annual Conference


AVETRA announces key conference speakers

AVETRA (the Australasian Vocational Education and Training Research Association) has announced the keynote speakers for its annual conference in Melbourne, 23 – 24 April next year. They are:

  •  Professor Stephanie Allais, Research Chair of Skills Development, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and Special Advisor to the Minister of Higher Education and Training. Her topic is: TVET in developing countries: Constraints and possibilities
  • Professor Rod McDonald, Principal, Ithaca Group, and former Special Advisor to the Australian National Training Authority; author of seminal report on VET research: No Small Change. His topic is: Research at the centre of policy and practice – is it too much to expect?
  • Professor Ann-Marie Bathmaker, Professor of Vocational and Higher Education, University of Birmingham. Her topic is: Leadership dilemmas and incompatible goals? Pursuing access, social inclusion, social mobility and employability in public further education

See more or email: AVETRA2020@federation.edu.au


Diary Dates

OctoberVET
‘Supporting young people into their futures: research and practice’
14 November 2019
Ballarat, Victoria
More information

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

ASEAN Australia Education Dialogue (AAED)
18 – 20 November 2019
Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
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

AVETRA Conference
20/20 vision for VET: Research at the centre of future policy and practice
23 – 24 April 2020
Melbourne
More information

VDC 2020 Teaching & Learning Conference
14 – 15 May 2020
RACV Torquay Resort, Great Ocean Road, Victoria
Registrations opening soon

sourceaap:https://www.tda.edu.au/newletter/keeping-the-partnership-together-comment-by-ceo-craig-robertson/

Proposed changes to the education sector will give students options to combine vocational and university studies

The recently released review of the Australian Qualifications Framework by Professor Peter Noonan has recommended an overhaul of the system which oversees qualifications in Australia’s higher and vocational education sectors.