TDA Newsletter 28 October 2019

In this edition

  • More than 19 per cent – comment by CEO Craig Robertson
  • Leading economist appointed as new national skills commissioner
  • Mixed VET and uni subjects to lead to qualifications
  • VET should be a “wide pool of connectivity” in the modern economy, says Paul Keating
  • Demand-driven programs to blame for $919m VET ‘underspend’
  • ASQA disputes Coalition MP’s claim of regulatory over-reach
  • Queensland outlines TAFE fee cuts across state
  • SA gets generational VET-in-school shake-up
  • Maths compulsory for teachers, students in NSW
  • Diary

More than 19 per cent – comment by CEO Craig Robertson

The Education and Employment Senate Committee was told last week that TAFE represents 19 per cent of VET in Australia, echoing a comment made previously by the Prime Minister. I repeat, 19 per cent!

Where has this figure come from? Total VET Activity, or TVA. It reported there were 4.1 million VET students in 2018. With 777,100 enrolments, TAFE accounts for 19.1 per cent of students!

Fair enough. The 4.1 million students include millions who only engage in training for less than a day such as the White Card or Responsible Service of Alcohol. I doubt they would even regard themselves as students. They are simply meeting a work obligation or wanting to help out at the sports club.

If this is the way VET figures are going to be used, I’ve had a go at a different view of VET, drawing on this magical 4.1 million student denominator. (For accuracy I’ve used 2017 TVA and finance figures as it is the latest year where both data sets are available.)

  • The Commonwealth contributed only $444 per student in 2017 for vocational education delivery – based on Commonwealth funding of $1.86bn for vocational delivery in 2017.
  • $1.16bn of the $1.86bn appears to have been wasted as 62.2 per cent of the students were enrolled in subjects not part of a nationally recognised program.
  • 345,320 students are at school and it’s likely the Commonwealth doubled up on payment for VET as well as schooling.

The Senate committee was also told that the National Agreement on Skills and Workforce Development, which transfers Specific Purpose Payments from the Commonwealth to states and territories, will grow over the next four years. These are bulk payments recognising that the Commonwealth has most of the tax raising power yet states and territories carry the lion share of delivery costs.

I couldn’t help myself.

  • An extra $5.16 per student for the year will be provided based on the growth from the 2018 to 2019 Financial Year in the National Agreement – 1.43 per cent, or $21.7 million. Amanda Vanstone once said a $4 per week family tax cut would barely buy a sandwich and a milkshake – it seems VET students are limited to one milkshake per year!
  • But the working-age population will grow at around 1.5 per cent in the same year so the same funds have to spread further. The $5.16 becomes $5.09.

The student count seems implausible doesn’t it? 4.1 million students equates to 22.7 per cent of the population aged between 15 and 64. That means that at least one person in a standard Australian family enrolled in VET in 2018. Go on, do the test. Has someone snuck out at night to do a spot of carpentry? Do the test for the rest of the week.  Wherever four gather, check who it is!

If we are using the magical 4.1 million student count what would it cost if they were each funded on the same basis as university students – after all we are aiming for VET to have equal standing. The mid-point across fields of education for rates of Commonwealth Supported Places is $14,523 per annum. For 4.1 million VET students that’s $59.5 billion for the year. You beauty! VET, come on down!

That is ridiculous you say. The situation is no better with the regard of TAFEs within the count of RTOs. In the 2018 TVA report there were 4,675 RTOs. Because the number of TAFEs is impacted by recent amalgamations, let’s assume (generously) that 100 of the 4,675 are TAFEs. On the same logic presented to the Senate, TAFEs represent only 2 percent of providers!

Imagine you are on an island, quite a large island, but the population must move to another place, over the ocean. The ocean is unpredictable – swells and waves depending upon the tempest and sharks and other menaces make it impossible to make it in your own make-shift vessel.

Then imagine that the authorities of the island guarantee you passage on a vessel. According to the island’s official definition the vessel is a floating device suitable to carry person(s). Sounds good. Now imagine the officials being most fastidious about vessel-neutrality. It’s policy that they could not be seen to favour any vessel over another provided the definition – a floating device suitable to carry person(s) – is met.

It’s not too hard to imagine the officials, holding vessel-neutrality principles close to heart, requiring you and your fellow islanders to select one sight-unseen. After all, they need to be fair to the owners of the vessels. Sort of having a range of doors to select from.

Imagine the surprise on opening the door to be presented with a dinghy – after all, it’s a floating device suitable to carry person(s). Or the sheer relief when the door opens to an ocean liner – big and sturdy to cut through the waves, with a choice of rooms, ample dining and recreation options to boot. What’s your chance of getting the Ocean-liner? Taking as a guide the logic applied to VTA, 2 out of 100!

For islanders faced with the dinghy determining their destiny on the bumpy ocean, what or who is at fault? The dinghy isn’t. It’s always been a dinghy. The ocean liner isn’t. It’s always been an ocean liner and has always had plenty of room for passengers.

I reckon they’d be looking sternly at the officials who gave them the assurance that a floating device suitable to carry person(s) could take then through the tempest.

My point is two-fold. Competitive neutrality is not a policy outcome. Addressing the need at hand is. And misuse of information makes poorly-informed policy.

Misrepresenting the place of TAFEs in VET, even innocently from TVA, risks the sector being seen as little more than a flotilla of dinghies with little capacity to give citizens safe passage to a better future.

For your interest, TAFEs deliver just under 60 per cent of subjects and hours of publicly funded training.


Leading economist appointed as new national skills commissioner

The former chief economist at the Business Council of Australia, Adam Boyton, has been appointed as the new Interim National Skills Commissioner. 

Prior to joining the BCA Mr Boyton was a managing director at Deutsche Bank, the bank’s Australian chief economist and head of fixed income research.

He started his career at the federal Treasury and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and also served as chief of staff to former NSW Opposition Leader John Brogden.

He is a member of the NSW Skills Board, the NSW Rural Assistance Authority and the NSW Rice Marketing Board.

The Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Michaelia Cash said Mr Boyton will play a critical role in the overhaul of the VET system.

“The newly appointed Commissioner will oversee the early design work on how to nationally forecast skills demand in industry and options for a new funding model for VET qualifications,” Senator Cash said.


Mixed VET and uni subjects to lead to qualifications

Students are likely to be able to mix subjects across university and VET as part of their qualifications, following the expert review of the Australian Qualifications Framework released last week.

The AQF review led by Professor Peter Noonan recommended closer links and pathways between VET and higher education, including:

  • A revised AQF architecture that is simpler and more flexible to promote the equal value of qualification types across higher education and VET.
  • The creation of a Higher Diploma at the same level as a Bachelor degree and renaming VET certificates to reflect their purpose.
  • Recognition of microcredentials and greater fluidity between VET, higher education and schools.

The Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Senator Michaelia Cash said the report recommends a more flexible system which can provide workforce skills and qualifications for people at all stages of their career.

“For example, someone doing a VET course in carpentry may want to study some business courses at a university to help them run a small business. Likewise, someone studying engineering at university may want to get some hands-on experience in refrigeration,” Senator Cash said.

The Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the government would consider the review and respond in due course.


VET should be a “wide pool of connectivity” in the modern economy, says Paul Keating

Former prime minister Paul Keating says “turbocharging vocational education” should be a key part of an ambitious federal government plan to boost infrastructure investment and stimulate the economy.

In an article in the Weekend Australian, he said that the Reserve Bank had reached the limits of its ability to boost the economy through interest rate cuts, and that new fiscal stimulus measures were required.

“We are moving into a new world of big government after 30 or 40 years of smaller government because, with world growth shrinking and monetary policy being incapable of providing the stimulus, the building of infrastructure both by governments and by private industry, perhaps acting in concert, is the way ­forward,” he said.

In a separate interview in the paper, he says people are more globally connected because of the digital revolution, which means the economy and society are more horizontally structured rather than the silos that prevailed in business, society and politics when he left school at 14.

“We should be pulling together the important threads and struts of the vocational education system,” he said.

“Modifying our education system to allow young people to swim their way more confidently in the much more horizontal and collaborative world that the digital economy facilitates.

“In the great Japanese houses, you often see they have a shallow pool with many fish swimming around. We are moving into a world like that, a shallow but wide pool of connectivity, and we have to teach young people, especially, to be able to swim … and to find the opportunities in that pool.”


Demand-driven programs to blame for $919m VET ‘underspend’

The federal government has disputed claims by the Opposition of a $919 million underspend in the skills and training budget over the last five years.

Shadow Minister for Education and Training Tanya Plibersek said the Department of Education’s annual report shows that since 2014, the 17 per cent underspend was worst in apprentice and trade programs, including apprentice incentives for business.

However in Senate Estimates, the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Michaelia Cash rejected the claim as “absolutely false”, attributing the spending shortfall to a lack of demand for the programs in question.

“It is a demand-driven program and the demand for that program was met,” Senator Cash said.

Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Deputy Secretary Nadine Williams told the committee the department expects demand for incentive payments to soon increase following the government’s recent skills package.

“Our view is that, as those programs start to roll out, we’ll start to see a much higher uptake of apprenticeship and traineeship incentives, and that will work towards ensuring that there is more money spent, essentially, in these demand driven programs, because demand will be rising,” Ms Williams said.

Senator Cash also told the hearing that the Productivity Commission would be examining the central agreement that sets the framework for Commonwealth, state and territory funding of skills – the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development – and would be reporting back next year.


ASQA disputes Coalition MP’s claim of regulatory over-reach

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has hit back at claims it has used its regulatory power to damage and, even wipe out, some private training colleges.

In August, Queensland Coalition backbencher Dr Andrew Laming told parliament his nationwide investigation revealed ASQA’s “aggressive and adversarial conduct” toward private RTOs was forcing many to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) over trivial matters.

In Senate Estimates hearings last week ASQA Acting Chief Commissioner Saxon Rice, pictured, said the organisation “certainly took on board” Mr Laming’s comments but rejected his claim that the AAT was being misused.

She said that from almost 4000 training providers regulated by ASQA, there were 1,600 audits, including some 600 compliance audits last financial year.

“The vast majority of providers are either not triggering ASQA’s risk indicators or demonstrating compliance at audit,” Ms Rice said.

In terms of critical non-compliance, there were 263 cancellations last financial year.

Ms Rice said there have been a total of 484 matters that have been referred to the AAT over the past eight years, with around half settled “by consent”.

“There have only been 32 occasions where a matter before the AAT has run its full course and there’s been an actual decision by the AAT,” Ms Rice said.

“On 21 occasions, ASQA’s decision was affirmed, and on 11 of those occasions ASQA’s decision was either set aside or varied.”

Minister Cash said Mr Laming was “a backbencher who is entitled to his opinion, as are all backbenchers”.


Queensland outlines TAFE fee cuts across state

The Queensland government has named a series of VET courses that will be eligible for further training subsidies across metropolitan and regional areas.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the $4 million “Skills Boost” will slash the cost of TAFE for many Queenslanders.

Skills Minister Shannon Fentiman said there were over 10 courses on offer for each region.

“These have been chosen specifically to provide the opportunities for Queenslanders to boost their skills and increase career opportunities,” She said.

“For example, through Skills Boost a Certificate III in Hospitality will mean students will pay around $300 to $600 instead of up to $3,700.”

See more


SA gets generational VET-in-school shake-up

South Australia will see closer integration of VET courses in secondary school under the state government’s ‘VET for School Students’ policy released last week.

It will see Industry Skills Councils, which operate under the Training and Skills Commission, given a key role in the design and development of vocational pathways for each industry sector.

The ISCs will also develop “industry and employer immersion programs” which will include student and parent information sessions, workplace visits and industry-based projects.

There will also be a new VET for School Students Ministerial Advisory Council.

Education Minister John Gardner described it as “the biggest overhaul of VET in schools in a generation”.

“It is vital that our schooling sector is preparing students to take advantage of emerging industries, and we know that growing areas such as defence, space, cyber security and health all require employees with vocational qualifications,” he said.

See more


Maths compulsory for teachers, students in NSW

Maths will be compulsory for all students under a new curriculum in NSW, and anyone wanting to teach maths in primary schools will need to achieve a minimum standard.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the NSW government is working to make maths compulsory from Kindergarten to Year 12 to ensure students have the necessary numeracy skills.

It follows the release of the interim report into the NSW Curriculum Review.

Also, starting in 2021, anyone wanting to teach maths in NSW primary schools will need to have achieved at least a band 4 or equivalent in maths for the HSC.

A student who fails to achieve a band four in maths – but undertakes and succeeds in a maths based course at university of equivalent or higher standard will still be able to get job as a primary school teacher.

“We promised to take the curriculum back to the basics and today we are taking the first steps to deliver on that commitment by prioritising maths,” Ms Berejiklian said.


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

TDA Newsletter

In this edition

  • Systems trump – comment by CEO Craig Robertson
  • Major changes at ASQA
  • Charles Darwin University takes out host of training awards
  • Sally Curtain appointed CEO at Bendigo Kangan Institute
  • Diary

Systems trump – comment by CEO Craig Robertson

This past weekend marks the end of my AFL inspired analogies, at least for the next 25 weeks, or 171 days, or 4,116 hours till the 2020 season kicks off.

As a supporter of the Richmond Football Club, imagine your foreboding when just three quarters into the first game of the 2019 season you lose for the year the league’s best defender, followed by a prized forward for 13 weeks and knowing the star recruit was only expected to play half the season. With seven wins and six losses mid-season, the foreboding turns to dread.

Followers of the game would be familiar with the Richmond approach – not only the way of moving the ball, the defensive zone and the clear expectations on players, but more so, importantly, the inextinguishable support and accountability between the players and coaches. It’s the belief in a system that flexes with the ebbs and flows of the game and the season that eventually brought Richmond to the premiership, despite the odds.

This has caused me to reflect on the recent suite of ASQA approvals of TAFE registration renewals for seven-year periods, the latest being TAFE NSW.

The renewal is no ordinary thing. In the case of NSW it represents the culmination of bringing together 12 separate training organisations into one operation. The auditors just didn’t visit Ultimo but several campuses. The same was the case for Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and Charles Darwin University.

The renewal is not to be taken lightly. It’s like a refining fire. Staff of each TAFE have spent countless hours and resources reviewing teaching and assessment practices, procedures and documents to be ready to be tested under the rigour of the audit.

No citizen, student, industry, TAFE staff, board member or politician should under-estimate its significance.

The renewal is not a simple business transaction. It’s a license to operate. It’s the privilege to serve the citizen, the state and the nation.

The renewal is not solely a testament to TAFEs executive. The practices of all staff are under scrutiny. The renewal reflects the commitment of the staff.

Systems is about the only way to assure quality in education. Unfortunately, the sector’s policy is quasi-commercial, point in time and compliance based.

At one point new applicants to become RTOs equalled the number being forced to close due to poor practice. ASQA also reports that many, once approved, quickly changed their scope, chasing the money courses it seems.

It also appears we’ve had providers motivated by returns to owners with little regard for the education mission. We’ve had too many rely on the rectification option as a first stop, not as a backstop. The alarming number of external appeals of ASQA decisions must point to systemic provider issues that warrant a review of the policy of entry to VET. In the meantime, it’s good that ASQA has strong assessment of the education mission of applicants.

But what is not well understood is the ever-expanding bank of training specification by industry which has to be assessed during an audit. Our open standards-based approach to training design and delivery has become bogged down in over specification. Training Packages, which at their core are meant to prescribe occupational standards into qualifications and to guide course design, have been choked with delivery expectations. This creates a smorgasbord of requirements which auditors are forced to pick through to test compliance instead of education practice.

Sector policy and practice has us at this point. It’s useful for our ministers to ask ASQA to educate providers about quality expectations of the system, but it’s not helpful if the root cause is not examined and is not helped when there is no definition of quality beyond being compliant.

It would have been easy for Richmond to point blame at the umpires but that’s not helpful. The club looked internally, as VET also needs to do.

In the meantime, let’s reflect on the foundation TAFEs are laying for the sector. South Australia, NSW, Tasmania, Charles Darwin and CIT (with a decision on Queensland TAFE due soon) are licensed to operate for seven years. They are the provider to be trusted across the jurisdiction they serve. They have systems to deliver consistently in all their campuses. The message is the same for our stand-alone TAFEs which are at various points of registration.

TAFEs set benchmarks and create leverage as the public expects of them. This is just one of the many reasons why Australia needs public providers.

We are not saying TAFEs are faultless. We are saying TAFEs are committed to public values as training organisations. We are not saying we love the rules. We are saying we commit to meeting them until such time they can be changed.

We are asking though why public providers, subject to the oversight of their government and accountable to voting citizens, cop a policy based on low trust compliance. Why is it that public providers with this system of quality control from their owner endure additional measures that are effectively designed to guard against the excesses of private VET activity? There may be a risk-based approach to compliance but checking and reporting requirements based on the lowest common denominator too quickly sap educational spark.

Compliance is not the way to meet the Prime Ministers’ desire for vocational outcomes to be regarded as highly as university outcomes. Freeing up TAFEs to get on with the job will. (Let’s try the training package model in higher education and see which way innovation goes.) TAFEs, with quality systems and committed staff, are the starting point to rebuild the sector. The public understands this. The only thing competitive neutrality means to them is governments shifting to them the responsibility for discerning dodgy providers when all they want is quality and relevant vocational education.

Speaking of seven years it’ll be 2026 before TAFE NSW is reviewed again for registration. Seven years ago we got virtual reality headsets so it’s hard to imagine the world we’ll be training for in 2026. That doesn’t really matter because systems are designed to flex with the times.

Sure, systems fail and they need to be reviewed and adjusted. One thing is for sure – a system with staff freed to look after the education outcome has a far greater chance of quality improvement than more specification and compliance.

TAFEs’ training transactions have been tested by fire and the systems have proven themselves. Surely the time is right to think about a new model of trust for TAFEs founded on their public ownership and community mission and to demonstrate the new benchmark of quality vocational education that others can follow.

Richmond won their premiership in 2017 following deep reflection on the disastrous previous season. It wasn’t based on recrimination, but trust in the people. Richmond wont be resting – they will be back at training in November preparing for a better 2020. TAFEs wont rest on quality either.

(I may be sad at a GWS loss but as they say, the game is the winner. Let’s hope VET can be the winner!)

Major changes at ASQA

Federal ministers Cash and Irons on Friday announced reforms to Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). The ministers said ‘the reforms respond to key recommendations of the Braithwaite and Joyce Reviews, including supporting ASQA to expand its scope to adopt a more educative approach to lift quality in the delivery of vocational education and training (VET).”

Chief Commissioner, Mark Patterson, also took the opportunity to announce he would not extend his appointment and would pass on the baton to someone else to take ASQA in the new direction.

Importantly, ASQA has cleaned up the sector, something that Minister Cash acknowledged, saying “I would like to thank Mark for the leadership he has provided to ASQA since January 2017, including managing the removal of a large number of poor quality training providers that arose as a result of past practices and the VET FEE-HELP debacle.”

TAFEs have appreciated the collaboration with Mark and the other commissioners and wish Mark well in the future.

Saxon Rice, ASQA Commissioner will act in the role from next Monday. Her time will be busy as the government’s “reforms” have not been announced yet!

See more

Charles Darwin University takes out host of training awards

Charles Darwin University has won the prestigious Training Provider of the Year trophy for the third year in a row at the Northern Territory Training Awards in Darwin.

CDU and Menzies staff and students also won a host of individual awards, including the Austin Asche Apprentice of the Year and the VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks said the awards were a momentous occasion for the university, its staff and students.

“These are proud moments for CDU with wins in six categories. I congratulate all our winners and runners-up who have been recognised for their high standards of training, their dedication and their personal achievement,” he said.

Other awards for CDU were:

  • VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year – Winner, Patricia Sweeney-Fawcett
  • VET in Schools Student of the Year – Runner-up, Courtney Canavan
  • School-based Trainee / Apprentice of the Year – Runner-up, Claudia Kretschmer
  • Austin Asche Apprentice of the Year – Winner: Rory Milner; Runner-up: Callum DiFranscesco
  • Vocational Student of the Year, Jacqui Culgan; Runner-up: Despina Rossides
  • Trainee of the Year, Jack Short
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year, Raelene Collins (Menzies); Runner-up: Kenny Lechleitner
  • International Student of the Year – Runner-up, Sharon Wu

See more


From left: : Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor VET Ashar Ehsan, Workforce Development Coordinator Patricia Sweeney-Fawcett and Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks.

Sally Curtain appointed CEO at Bendigo Kangan Institute

Sally Curtain, the Executive Director of Customer and Technology at VicRoads has been appointed as the new CEO of Bendigo Kangan Institute.

Chair, Peter Harmsworth said Sally was an accomplished public sector senior executive with significant experience across state and local government, having also undertaken executive roles with the Victorian Department of Justice and the City of Casey.

“The Board believes her extensive experience and expertise are important to continue to drive the change program put in place by the current CEO, Phill Murphy,” Mr Harmsworth said.

“On behalf of the Board, I would like to take the opportunity to thank Phill who has done an outstanding role as Chief Executive Officer while we undertook the search for a permanent appointment to the CEO role.”

Sally will commence on October 21.

TDA extends its congratulations to Sally on her appointment.

Diary Dates

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

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

TDA Newsletter-It’s time to register for ‘The Power of TAFE’, Brisbane, just eight days away!


Skills to the world – comment by CEO Craig Robertson

Kazan, Russia is the top of the world this week when it comes to skills, and we have our Skillaroos drawn from the VET sector conquering that mountain.

Tomorrow concludes the 2019 Worldskills competition and there are 15 Australians competing across trade and other areas including computing, design and fashion.

In Abu Dhabi we ranked tenth, globally, and snared four medals among 59 countries. The size of the task is getting harder because the world is catching up.

In my travels it’s easy to see that other countries are gearing up to climb the skills ladder. Taiwan has been central in organising an Asian region competition to help prepare candidates. Vietnamese officials I met many years ago wore their Worldskills membership badge with pride. And the last time I was in Islamabad in Pakistan, they were already holding competitions even though they only joined in 2017.

Some of you may have seen on social media the spectacular opening ceremony from Kazan. Rumour has it that President Putin saw the power of global standing in skills and worked hard for Russia to host this year’s competition.

WorldSkills International CEO David Hoey recently said, “Russia joined WorldSkills International in 2012, and seven years later it is already organizing the WorldSkills Competition! This event contributes not only to our movement, but to the Russian market as well.”

It’s worthwhile pausing to remember that China is the host of the competition in 2021.

We talk about the impact of globalisation and instant communications across the globe. It’s not too much of a stretch then that skills are increasingly global in design and application. It’s all too easy to think of the differences to us in the countries we visit. (The most pronounced for me is the undrinkability of North American coffee, but these are more the result of taste, while underpinning technology is the same, and so are the skills.)

Worldskills, therefore, is more important than ever to assess how we are maintaining our place as an advanced economy. We must do skills to a world-class standard if we are to maintain our global trade.

Worldskills is the perfect opportunity to benchmark how we are doing. As you can imagine, with a global competition there needs to be fair, yet high, standards for the competition. Worldskills standards set a new aspiration for Australia’s VET system.

In the heady days of the Rudd Government, business leader David Crawford AO conducted a review into sport in Australia. It lit a fuse about whether the priority was toward general sport participation or support for elite sportspeople, or both. The same dilemma applies to our approach to skills, especially if we want to keep pace with the rest of the world. We need to widen participation AND support our best through Worldskills.

In the past month we’ve had many statements about VET holding its own against university outcomes, at least for some of the highly paid jobs such as trades. Worldskills is the ideal avenue to promote a future and inspire participation.  But if we are going to, let’s make sure we get the building blocks right, from the very first day a potential student in primary or high school dreams of a global job, to enrolment in TAFE, to receiving leading-edge training.

I well remember the day I met several 2013 Australian Training Award winners who had just returned from a China youth skills conference and competition, courtesy of the Chinese government. Joel Schwarz, a diesel mechanic, was the winner of the Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year and Henry Kemp, an electrician, was runner-up. For Joel, a country kid from Mildura, the journey was his first overseas! Henry, an electrician from Perth, said he was itching to compete and when he saw what was required, he was confident he could – even with the instructions in Mandarin!

For several of the party they were the first of their family to travel overseas! I can tell you that after hearing those stories I worked a bit harder for the VET sector.

Over 22 experts, drawn from the VET sector, are guiding the competitors. They, as are all our trainers, are critical to the skills transfer that characterises VET.

If you are a trainer reading this, for the next student you enrol think about what may lay ahead for him or her. If you are facing down compliance work think about the passport you are building for those students through the skills you impart. As students wind their way through your TAFE, envision them competing with the best in the world in China.

For our leaders, when advocacy doesn’t seem to be working, contemplate the global workplace we are preparing students for and advocate some more. I will.

Editor’s note: The WorldSkills Australia Board advised during the week that Brett Judd, Chief Executive Officer of WorldSkills Australia, has left to pursue other opportunities. Trevor Schwenke will assume the role of CEO immediately for the foreseeable future.

Trevor can be contacted at the WorldSkills Australia Melbourne office or via email on tschwenke@worldskills.org.au

TDA thanks Brett for his tireless work in promoting skills and working so closely with TDA.  

worldskills

Governments launch a review of senior secondary education

Commonwealth, state and territory education ministers have agreed to a comprehensive review of the country’s senior secondary education system.

The COAG Education Council has appointed a seven-member panel headed by the former Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Professor Peter Shergold.

The terms of reference say the review will “provide advice and recommendations on how senior secondary students can better understand and be enabled to choose the most appropriate pathway to support their transition into work, further education and/or training.”

This will include “clarifying the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders, such as schools, students, parents, VET providers, higher education institutions, and employers, in supporting inclusion and preparing school leavers for life beyond school, whatever pathway they choose.”

Other members of the review panel are Professor Tom Calma, Sarina Russo, Patrea Walton, Jennifer Westacott, Dr Don Zoellner and Patrick O’Reilly.

The panel will report back to the COAG Education Council next June.

See more.


It’s time to register for ‘The Power of TAFE’, Brisbane, just eight days away!

It’s just over a week until the TDA Convention, ‘The Power of TAFE’, which runs from 3 – 5 September in Brisbane.

There are a host of impressive speakers, presenters, workshops and networking events.

The event will showcase best practice and innovation in teaching and learning, curriculum design, student support, industry outreach, international, innovation and new technologies.

With MC Kerry O’Brien, The Power of TAFE will hear from some of the most thought provoking and engaging speakers, including:

Michael Brennan, the head of the Productivity Commission whose job is to promote competition and markets as the starting point for public policy, will explore what’s next for the VET sector.

Vicki Thomson from the Group of Eight Universities, Australia’s elite, will contemplate how TAFEs inhabit the tertiary sector.

Drawing on his findings as chair of Jobs Queensland, the warhorse of higher education, Professor Peter Coaldrake, will argue for a higher order of TAFE if Australia is to educate and train a new the class of worker.

The best of England and Canada, from a technical and vocational education viewpoint, will see David Hughes talk about the journey of Further Education colleges amid Brexit, and Dr Rick Huijbregts from Toronto reflect on the technology climate facing students.

A dedicated session with ASQA leadership will allow TAFEs  to take steps to a higher order focus on quality.

We will hear from Steven Joyce, whose advice to Prime Minister Morrison will be central in the shape of VET.

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships, Steve Irons will reflect on the next steps for TAFEs.

Overall, the Convention will see:

  • 15+ plenary speakers
  • 8 State showcases
  • 55+ workshops speakers
  • numerous networking opportunities

See more about the impressive line-up of plenary speakers.

See the Convention program

Register Now!


TAFE to host new VET centre at Western Sydney Aerotropolis

The NSW government has announced a permanent TAFE VET facility at the new  Western Sydney Aerotropolis, with a focus on advanced manufacturing, technology and engineering.

While on an international trade mission in Germany, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the government is working with Siemens to finalise an MOU that will bring advanced technologies to the new facility.

Ms Berejiklian said Germany’s dual system of on-the-job and classroom training provided trainees with high-level technical skills and has been especially effective at responding to changes in technology and the employment needs of business.

The ‘Siemensstadt 2.0’ innovation precinct is set to transform a 70 hectare industrial area in Berlin into a modern, urban district with offices, residences, laboratories and production plants in place by 2030.


Victoria’s manufacturing sector buoyed by major projects

The future of manufacturing in Victoria is strong, the National Manufacturing Summit in Melbourne was told last week.

Hosted by Weld Australia, speakers outlined the growth expected in advanced manufacturing.

Victoria’s Minister for Skills and Higher Education, Gayle Tierney, pictured, spoke of the reforms to state’s skilling system with TAFEs as a driving force.

 

“The Future Foundries for Defence Capabilities project is delivering an Australian first — a completely new accredited course at Chisholm Institute of TAFE’s Dandenong campus,” she said.

This project will help build a workforce to take advantage of opportunities in the production of complex, high-precision components for jet fighters, submarines, frigates and armoured vehicles.

The Victorian government’s recent budget included $5.6 million for  Victoria’s Big Build and Social Services higher apprenticeships program. This will support the rollout of major infrastructure programs and growth in the state’s human services sector.

“It is an example of how this government is building stronger links between the higher education and the training sectors,” Ms Tierney said.


National Skills Week kicks off around Australia

National Skills Week 2019 has kicked off with the first state launch yesterday at Victoria’s Box Hill Institute, and events around the country in coming days.

With the theme “Succeed your Way”, National Skills Week brings together stakeholders to raise the profile and improve the standing of VET, while highlighting the talents, diversity and benefits of VET pathways.

The Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Senator Michaelia Cash said National Skills Week is a great time to reflect on the many success stories that have come from VET, and a chance to introduce VET to those who are looking to move ahead with the career of their choice.

Other launch events will take place today in Queensland today, tomorrow in Sydney and on Thursday in South Australia.

See more


TasTAFE CEO looks to the future with confidence

The CEO of TasTAFE, Jenny Dodd (pictured) says the organisation has reached a milestone, with ASQA’s granting of a seven-year registration, following a period of reform and restructuring.

In an interview with The Mercury in Hobart, Ms Dodd outlined some of the challenges faced since taking on the top job at TasTAFE in February 2018.

 

“We had 29 business units operating in 29 different ways, and you can’t run a single registered training organisation like that,” she said.

But the reforms have borne fruit with the regulator recently providing the longest available period of registration.

“Seven years’ registration is hard to get, and it’s a big deal for Tasmania,” she says.

Part of the new focus will be on programs that enable existing workers to upskill as their jobs transform, including both advanced and foundational digital skills.

There is also a closer partnership with the University of Tasmania in the area of co-delivery of some short-course programs, including some nursing classes.

Ms Dodd, who is also a TDA Board Member, joined TasTAFE from TAFE Queensland where she was Chief Academic Officer.

Photo: Zac Simmonds, The Mercury


VET to drive SA’s international student strategy

The South Australian government is counting on a doubling in the state’s VET student numbers as the main driver of a new $3 billion strategy to attract international students.

A strategy paper International Education 2030 says that VET is expected to be the fastest growing area of international education in the state, more than doubling from 7,000 students in 2018 to 14,500 in 2030, and outstripping the national growth rate.

Higher education is expected to increase from 19,500 students in 2018 to 36,100 in 2030, making up more than 50 per cent of total enrolments in the state.

The current top four source markets for enrolments in South Australia – China, India, Hong Kong and Vietnam – are expected to remain the top performing markets to 2030.


TAFEs able to apply for grants to promote regional studies

Tertiary education providers including TAFEs are eligible to apply for grants to enable international and domestic students to study in regional Australia.

The first round of the $94 million Destination Australia Program is now open and aims to attract 4,720 students to study at regional campuses from next year with scholarships of $15,000.

The scholarships are available for qualifications from a Certificate IV through to a PhD.

Students are not able to directly apply for the scholarships.

See more


NZ’s displaced construction workers need to ‘live in Australia’: Steven Joyce

The architect of Australia’s recent VET review, New Zealander Stephen Joyce has warned that his country’s road infrastructure program has been hijacked by the Greens and that policy makers should look to Australia for job-boosting initiatives.

He also says that out of work construction employees will find plenty of jobs if they’re prepared to move to Sydney or Melbourne.

“Everyone knows the Green Party is anti-road and anti-development,” he says in an article in NZ’s Sunday Star Times.

“The surprise for most people is just how much the Greens are now controlling New Zealand’s roading policy, and how radical that policy has become.”

“The construction workers will be okay. There is tons of work coming up for them, although they will need to live in Australia.

“Melbourne and Sydney in particular are crying out for skilled road builders as Australia ramps up its infrastructure investment,” he says.

 

See more


Researcher finds the key to making a good argument

A Queensland education researcher has argued that the Australian curriculum places too much emphasis on emotive writing and not enough on encouraging students to develop their powers of reasoning.

Luke Zaphir, a researcher with the University of Queensland Critical Thinking Project, says there are three things present in all good arguments, and that teachers need to encourage children to start putting across their points of view from an early age.

“One shortcoming in the Australian Curriculum is that it asks students to write persuasively, by using emotive language,” he says.

“We should be teaching our students to provide the reasoning behind their opinion as well as backing it up with evidence, not to manipulate emotions,” he says in an article in The Conversation.

See “How to make good arguments at school (and everywhere else)” in The Conversation.


ASQA clarifies third party training for VET-in-schools

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has sought to clarify new third-party arrangements for training providers that will apply for VET-in-schools.

It follows the release of guidance on third-party training arrangements that will take effect soon.

ASQA says it has been asked to clarify the impact where a school engages an RTO to deliver a course to VET-in-schools students, and the school provides some support in the delivery.

Essentially, the arrangements will depend on whether the school is registered as an RTO under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011.

See the new guidance for VET-in-schools.


Diary Dates

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

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

2019 National VET Conference
Velg Training
12 &13 September 2019
Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane
More Information

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

Australian Training Awards
21 November 2019
Brisbane, Queensland
More information

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

SOURCEAAP:https://www.tda.edu.au/newletter/skills-to-the-world-comment-by-ceo-craig-robertson/

TDA Newsletter – TAFE Queensland reviewer, Michael Roche, dies suddenly

In this edition

  • The Yin and Yang of international VET – comment by CEO Craig Robertson
  • New federal skills minister outlines his VET reform plans
  • Backbench coalition MP unloads on ASQA
  • Search commences for new skills commission chief
  • ASQA invites input to annual training provider survey
  • TAFE Queensland reviewer, Michael Roche, dies suddenly
  • Diary

The Yin and Yang of international VET – comment by CEO Craig Robertson

ASQA released a very important report this past week, but it seems other matters were occupying the mind of Ministers.

The strategic review of international education in VET[1] and its recommendations may appear unremarkable but data from the report itself and elsewhere suggests it is critical and must be handled urgently. We are still waiting for ministers to respond to ASQA’s recommendations to abate unduly short courses following consultations in early 2018, so my hope could be misplaced.

When we think of international education we are drawn to headline figures – Australia’s third largest export and over $34bn in revenue.

But it’s also full of hyperbole, sophistry and danger.

As new minister, Dan Tehan in October last year in his first speech on international education claimed mutual trade benefit with the countries from which our international students flowed, only to then spend the rest of the speech crowing the benefits to Australia.

Treasurer Frydenberg’s promises of surpluses built off the back of robust economic activity rely largely on continued growth in international students and other temporary entrants. While capping permanent migration to argue congestion busting, targets for international students were increased. Apparently they mustn’t congest.

In figures released coincidentally this past week, the ongoing growth in international enrolments is spectacular, including for VET.

International Student Enrolments by Sector
Source: Department of Education

At a time when the VET sector is chasing stability and balance across most aspects of its operation – the figures appear encouraging but hide some imbalances. Balance and harmony – a recognition of the Yin and Yang of things – are hard to find when it comes to international VET.

For VET student growth, the Yin of international student enrolments growing at around 15 per cent per annum over the past three years far from balances with the Yang of domestic enrolments, which continue to decline.

When it comes to VET providers, the Yin is represented by 94 per cent of students at private vocational colleges while the Yang has just 6 per cent of students enrolled in TAFEs.

For Yin, over 70 per cent of students prefer business and general training, when Yang expects enrolments across the broad portfolio of VET courses. Yin also struggles to have students meet their minimum 20-hour per week attendance requirements.

When it comes to its older cousin, the tables are turned. The publicly inclined Yang has the far greater proportion of enrolments, unhealthily so. Oddly enough, most are in general studies similar to the Yin of its younger cousin.

For the little cousin, over two-thirds of enrolments are sourced from temporary entrants already in in Australia. For the older cousin most international students come to Australia intent on studying. Is the Yin of the younger cousin simply a convenient way to stay and work in Australia?

Confusing?  Maybe. One thing that is clear though is the Yin and Yang are out of kilter.

For the younger cousin, it’s eerily similar to the situation in 2009. For those new to international education this was the time that favourable residency conditions created a boom in private colleges offering commercial cookery and hairdresser training, only to come tumbling down when student exploitation was exposed coinciding with the tragic death of several students.

International education should be more than a quick source of cash. It’s a path for diplomatic relations and economic collaboration. I must say, though, that every time we at TDA are consulted from the Council for International Education the conversation ultimately, and too quick for comfort, turns to benefit for Australia.

The task for TAFEs and TDA is to demonstrate the benefits of international education for students, institutions, the countries to which they will return, fuelled by deep friendships stretching across the globe. TDA operates a network of TAFE leaders engaged in these matters and seeks to demonstrate the power of TAFEs working together. This theme is being explored in the TDA convention in September in Brisbane, not only on International Education but other important matters for TAFE, such as teaching and learning, regulation and quality and higher education.

ASQA, in a measured way, is suggesting action now to avoid 2009 which entrenched views in other countries that we are often no better than education mercenaries. Other commentary pointing to dissatisfaction with the actions of ASQA in upholding the integrity of the sector shouldn’t distract from responding to this report, otherwise the whole sector sinks one step lower in its global standing.

Dan Tehan and Michaelia Cash may be the power team of tertiary education here in Australia but when it comes to the administrative orders the buck stops with Tehan on International education. Tehan carries ultimate accountability but Cash is responsible for oversight of ASQA and the carriage of the recommendations ASQA is proposing. That will test their Yin and Yang.



New federal skills minister outlines his VET reform plans

Australia’s new skills minister has committed to sweeping reforms to the VET system in the wake of the Joyce review, with a strong focus on industry engagement.

In his first major address since taking the portfolio, the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships, Steve Irons (pictured) has highlighted the central place of VET reform in the government’s policy agenda. 

“This government is really keen to make sure we get this right.

“We’re not going to rush to failure – we’re going to make sure the community and industry gets involved as we make the changes,” he told the National Apprentice Employment Network conference in Queensland on Friday.

The former electrical apprentice revealed the role of his “good mate” and former Canberra housemate, Prime Minister Scott Morrison in pushing for a fresh look at the sector.

“He’s really focused on the education of apprentices.

“He picked me because he said ‘You’ve been there, you’ve done it, you know how to do it and you’ve run a small business’.”

“He’s focussed and he wants me to get the job done and to make sure we do it with an industry focus,” he said.

“Personally, I’ve looked at it over the last 30 years and I think the sector’s been captured a bit by trainers, educators and academics, and I think that, going forward, changes need to be made with industry-based support.”

He said that the implementation of the Joyce review recommendations would be based around industry engagement.

As an example, he cited Holmesglen’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Centre of Excellence, established in partnership with the Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors’ Association (AMCA).

“They’ve put in equipment which is current, not 30 years old, and they’re putting in training programs which are actually happening in buildings today, not 30 years ago.”

He said that during his time in parliament, he’d seen many governments “over-reach” with reforms not supported by industry that needed to be wound back.

He urged steps to get into schools earlier – around Years 8 and 9 – to build greater awareness of vocational choices.

“I think the department, after the meeting we had during the week, have got that message and I think they’re doing a great job and trying to create some packages that will get into schools,” he said.

He also called for  harmonisation of curriculums and licensing across the states and territories, urging “a national curriculum with national licensing to give people portability across the whole of Australia with their vocational licensing or skill sets”.


Backbench coalition MP unloads on ASQA

The chair of a federal parliamentary committee has launched an extraordinary attack on the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), claiming its audit activity is being misused to damage and, ultimately, wipe out some private training colleges.

Queensland Coalition backbencher Andrew Laming (pictured) told parliament his “nationwide investigation” of ASQA has revealed “aggressive and adversarial conduct” toward private RTOs, forcing many to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) over trivial matters.

“It appears to me ASQA is increasingly using the AAT as a vehicle for extinguishing RTOs simply by legal cost, reputational damage and delay,” he said.

He cited several cases where the evidence he had to hand appeared to be over-reach by ASQA.  TAFEs, he said, had the opportunity to “shuffle things between units, close a module down and shift students across to something else”.

Mr Laming chairs the House of Representatives Employment, Education and Training Committee.

Craig Robertson, CEO of TDA said that the claims by Mr Laming should have the opportunity to be verified and recommended dialogue with ASQA.

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Search commences for new skills commission chief

The federal government has commenced the search for its new National Skills Commissioner who will lead the mega agency that will oversee the country’s VET sector.

Advertising has started for the “Interim Commissioner” who will oversee consultations, design and the initial work ahead of deciding the role and functions of the National Skills Commission (NSC), which will need to be legislated.

The government committed $48 million in the last Budget to creating the new national body, as recommended by the Joyce Review of VET.

The contender will require “senior level experience in government or the private sector, together with an impressive record of success in organisational leadership and innovation.”

The initial engagement is for approximately one year, with a “substantial remuneration package” and flexible location.

Applications close August 18.

Selection documentation and further information is available through Ian Hansen and Associates: email: admin@ianhansen.com.au; or phone: Ian Hansen 0408 306 769.


Mixed signals confounding the VET sector, says Stephen Joyce

The author of the federal government’s VET reform blueprint, Stephen Joyce, says “confusing signals” coming from the sector were contributing to the lack of confidence on the part of employers and governments.

He told the National Apprentice Employment Network conference in Queensland last week that Australia was experiencing high employment growth and skill shortages, but also declining VET enrolments.

“We’re also seeing declines in government funding, both at the state and Commonwealth level, particularly at the state level.

“On the other hand, employment outcomes from vocational education are positive, yet employer satisfaction with vocational education is dropping, so there are some confusing signals being sent from the market about where we are at with vocational education,” he said.

“Meanwhile universities continue to grow, they continue to take on more students.

“And with the school leaving age being lifted, more students are staying at school, so not surprisingly, TAFEs and other providers are finding less enrolments because they are being squeezed at both ends.”

The lack of confidence was apparent among employers, RTOs and “funders”, he said.

“If governments were confident in the outcome of the VET sector generally they’d be investing more in it, but they’re not.”


ASQA invites input to annual training provider survey

ASQA is currently running its annual provider survey which allows RTOs, CRICOS providers and course owners to have their say about how the national regulator performs its functions.

The survey is closing shortly – midnight tomorrow.

This year, the survey also provides the opportunity to give feedback on the audit experience.

See here for more information.


TAFE Queensland reviewer, Michael Roche, dies suddenly

The chair of a landmark review into the operations of TAFE Queensland, Michael Roche, died suddenly last week.

Mr Roche, 64, was the former CEO of the Queensland Resources Council.

He chaired the 2012 Queensland Skills and Training Taskforce which recommended extensive restructuring of campuses and a more commercial focus by TAFE Queensland.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Mr Roche contributed to many of the economic reforms that Queenslanders today take for granted.

TDA extends its condolences to Michael’s family and colleagues.


Diary Dates

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
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/

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-NSW Budget funds key TAFE election promises


Let’s converge – comment by CEO Craig Robertson

I wonder if your heart sank when you heard the media stories two weeks ago about a report from Deloitte

It smashed out of the park the fear that the automation and digitisation boom will run Australia out of jobs. Even though an IMF staff paper predicts the opposite, that is not what’s important about its findings.

 

The key message is the growth of knowledge jobs and continued decline of manual repetitive jobs – what Deloitte call “jobs of the hand”.

 

Their analysis shows the vast majority of jobs will involve work of the head and, significantly, work of the heart. For the latter, think of all those jobs which need sophisticated inter-personal and communication skills.

 

Did you think this is another dagger in the heart of VET? Does this mean even more demand for university?

While you may not subscribe to such distinctions between sectors, your heart may have sunk anyway because popular understanding, even among our politicians, has VET pegged as the sector turning out practical process workers, the very jobs computers are waiting to take?

The political narrative in Australia may have VET as the factory for turning out process workers, and universities as the knowledge factories, but this couldn’t be further from the truth, for VET at least.

The reality is that technology has been a feature of our productive endeavours for decades, even centuries, and most of us have taken it on with some degree of success, although I still haven’t conquered Excel!

Technology, believe it or not, brings convergence. The best example is our mobile phone. It started as a mobile telephonic device but now handles our email, social media, banking, video, and you name it!

That’s why I believe economy-wide capabilities will emerge. What do I mean? The modern workers (of all levels) will need to be able to see and understand the whole process in which they are operating, use technology to support or transform that process and be able to work cooperatively and productively with others in that process.

What are VET graduates expected to do? Exactly, that. They work in production and service processes every day; they apply technology safely and effectively; and they work in teams and with others to achieve results! A simplification, but you get my point.

We shouldn’t assume that our universities own this applied knowledge domain. At the risk of stirring the debate, if they are holding firm to their formal recognition as universities here in Australia, their mission should be focused on the frontiers of knowledge through their research efforts. The TAFE model is the one we need in these changing times – producing graduates with knowledge, understanding and skills. Clearly universities also deliver these graduate capabilities.

Just as modern capabilities will converge, we also need to think seriously about how TAFE and higher education converges. Training packages in VET need to do more in the knowledge stakes, but I’ll address that in future weeks.

Stephen Parker has come closest to offering a theoretical underpinning for imagining post-school education, drawing on Aristotles’ three forms of knowledge: knowing why, knowing how and knowing what to do (with apologies to Aristotle and all philosophers for this crass generalisation). In his article in The Australian last December he warned in respect of higher education and VET:

“Our rigidities could cost Australia dear. We urgently need to reimagine our educational providers, funding system and qualifications framework to encourage new blends of knowing why, knowing how and knowing what to do.”

The printing press underscored the spread of the Reformation and the Enlightenment, which has led to our modern open society. That’s why the 3 Rs (reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic) remain a human right of Australian residents and underscore the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Systems thinking, digital skills and engagement capabilities should be the new rights of every Australian. I hope we can start the journey Parker outlines for us, not for our sake, but for our country.


KPMG report identifies TAFE Queensland’s value to the state’s economy

As Queensland’s largest and most experienced provider of vocational education and training (VET), TAFE Queensland is playing a critical role in Queensland’s prosperity into the future, creating jobs and enhancing the social wellbeing of communities across the state, according to a KPMG report.

In 2018, TAFE Queensland commissioned KPMG to calculate the organisation’s impact to the Queensland economy and evaluate how it supported industries and communities throughout the state.

The report found TAFE Queensland delivered an economic benefit of $1.8 billion to Gross State Product (GSP) in 2017, with every $1 spent supporting $2.55 of value-added in the Queensland economy.

KPMG National Education Lead Partner Professor Stephen Parker and his education team wrote the report which includes analysis and modelling by KPMG Economics.

“More than ever before, Queensland’s and Australia’s current and future workforce needs to prepare for the changing requirements of employment,” Professor Parker said.

“These changes will happen to jobs themselves, and the skill profiles within jobs.

“A healthy and vibrant TAFE system will be a non-negotiable and vital part of ensuring that Queensland has an education system that can meet the skills needs of the future,” he said.

To read the KPMG report, visit www.tafeqld.edu.au.

See the media release.


Axe likely to fall on education infrastructure fund

The federal government may be set to axe a $3.9 billion education infrastructure fund, part of which was used to support upgrading of regional TAFE campuses.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that the government may be about to scrap the fund, citing the need to divert cash away from areas such as university upgrades to natural disaster assistance.

The Higher Education Endowment Fund (HEEF) was first launched by then Treasurer Peter Costello in 2007 and later re-badged as the Education Investment Fund (EIF) by Labor in 2008.

The Herald reports that Prime Minister Scott Morrison is seeking to legislate a new Emergency Response Fund, but will need the Senate to approve the plan to re-purpose the existing fund.

See ‘Stoush brewing over $3.9b education infrastructure fund’ in the Herald


PC inquiry shows the need for a level playing field in tertiary education

Last week’s Productivity Commission report into the demand-driven system for university entry  highlighted the unequal playing field between TAFE and universities, TDA said in a statement.

TDA CEO Craig Robertson said that the demand-driven system that operated from 2010 until last year, saw many students channelled into university pathways who could have equivalent employment outcomes through TAFE, if the playing field was level.

“The inquiry is clear that the demand-driven system certainly increased the numbers attending universities, but it diverted many away from the TAFE sector where their prospects may have been better, particularly when the difference in foregone earnings and the level of student debt are taken into account,” he said.

The inquiry found that additional students who attended universities under the demand-driven system had, on average, lower ATAR scores, commenced at an older age, while about 30 per cent had some previous VET experience.

“While we must look at raising access and improving equity, it’s clear that this cannot be achieved by prioritising one sector over another,” he said.

“TAFEs, including dual sector institutes, continue to do the heavy lifting in the VET sector, providing the bulk of high-level skills and qualifications, trades training and apprenticeships, and have an unmatched level of public confidence in their integrity and capability.”

He said the report was a “wake-up call” that an uneven approach to skills and learning was leaving some individuals vulnerable and disadvantaged as they cope with a rapidly changing workplace.

See TDA’s media release


NSW Budget funds key TAFE election promises

The NSW Budget has delivered a total of $2.3 billion in funding for VET, including money for key election promises such as additional free TAFE places and a new campus in Western Sydney.

The Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said the government’s investment in TAFE NSW totalled $1.85 billion,an increase of 3.1 per cent, and accounted for 80 per cent of the state’s skills budget.

“We remain committed to reforming TAFE NSW to further strengthen its place as the nation’s biggest education and training provider,” he said.

The government allocated $71 million over four years for an extra 100,000 free TAFE places. It also committed to deliver an $80 million TAFE “super campus” in Western Sydney, eight additional Connected Learning Centres and two vocational high schools for Western Sydney and the North Coast.


South Australia opens subsidised training to more private providers

Private training providers in South Australia will be able to access subsidies for all 853 courses, including 20 that were previously only available to TAFE, under the latest subsidised training list.

The Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni said the 2019-20 Subsidised Training List (STL 5.0) will ensure more choice and deliver on the government’s commitment to funding contestability.

“Qualifications on the STL have been carefully selected to align with new and emerging areas of the state’s economy such as defence, ICT, cyber security and creative industries while maintaining a sustainable level of funding to support critical sectors such as health, disability, construction and agriculture,” he said.

“Based on stakeholder feedback, we have simplified our communication of subsidised training, with courses funded under training contracts included in the Skilling South Australia Subsidised Traineeship and Apprenticeship List and all other funded courses in the Training Priority List.”

The revised training list takes effect on July 1.

See the South Australian Subsidised Training List


VET needs a shake-up to deal with digital disruption

Australia’s VET sector needs a comprehensive re-think to ensure it can deliver the skills and the people needed for a new era of digitasitaion and automation, TAFE Directors Australia CEO Craig Robertson has urged.

In the latest AVETRA A-News, he says the “philosophy and instruments” of the VET sector are not well-suited to respond to the looming skills need of those entering and transitioning to work.

“The unquestioning adherence to competency-based training centred on practical skills aligned to a point-in-time occupation fails to prepare people for an uncertain future,” he said.

“The little regard given to underpinning knowledge, or to the development of basic literacy and numeracy skills, is a further disservice to students.

“In addition, qualifications which are pegged to current-day occupations provide little opportunity for advancement.”

He said that funding models forcing price competition and simplistic “tick and flick” training and assessment lead all providers down the same path to rudimentary adherence to standards, with little regard for the quality and the spirit of teaching and learning.

“In times of uncertainty, the most basic tenet of education and training – the development of self-managing individuals – should be paramount,” Mr Robertson said.

See the AVETRA News.


TDA issues a call for proposals for the 2019 convention

TAFE Directors Australia has issued a Call for Proposals for this year’s TDA Convention being held in Brisbane, 3 to 5 September.

The call is an opportunity for TAFE staff and close stakeholders of TAFE to present a unique aspect of the distinctive role that TAFEs play in Australia’s post-school education sector, in technology transfer and in close working relationships with industry and business.

The convention theme is ‘The Power of TAFE’. 

TDA and the Advisory Committee invite proposals from within TAFEs, from supporters and partners of TAFEs and from VET experts in Australia and beyond.

Proposals may be for one of the workshop sessions or the keynote program. Proposals can be submitted here.

The deadline for submissions is July 9.

The Convention sponsorship and exhibition prospectus is also available by emailing: tdaconvention@absoluteevents.com.au


Federal Court imposes hefty fine on VET provider

The Federal Court has ordered a Tasmanian man to pay significant penalties for providing a VET course without registration and for issuing qualifications that were not genuine.

The court found that Leon Vere King contravened the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 by providing a VET course when he was not a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and that he issued 31 statements of attainment, despite not being an RTO.

Justice Perram found that Mr King “undermined the creditability of the VET training system” and ordered him to pay $200,000 in penalties that include the Commonwealth’s costs of $75,000 as well as a civil penalty of $125,000.

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) commenced investigations into the matter in 2016 and said the result highlights the importance of the regulator’s investigative work alongside its scrutiny of RTOs and accredited courses.

ASQA Chief Commissioner and CEO Mark Paterson said ASQA will continue to take action against organisations that misrepresent their status as registered providers and mislead students and employers.


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

TDA Newsletter-NSW apprentices facing hardship can apply for $15k scholarship

In this edition

  • Get with the times, VET – comment by CEO Craig Robertson
  • New minister and new department for skills and training
  • What VET leaders expect from a Morrison government
  • Apprentice incentive payments don’t work, says VET academic
  • South Australia set to overhaul its training system
  • Careers webinar to ‘demystify VET’ and explain job choices
  • NSW apprentices facing hardship can apply for $15k scholarship
  • TasTAFE receives skills funding in state budget
  • Vale Delia Ivanoff (Delia Craig)
  • Canberra Institute of Technology auto apprentices among the best
  • Diary

Get with the times, VET – comment by CEO Craig Robertson

This week I return to the topic of VET qualifications following a hiatus due to the election and reporting back on our study tour to Canada and the US supported by two of our industry partners, CISCO and Optus.

Last time I wrote of my alarm on the prospect of competency-based education as the new black in the US tertiary education system, although I calmed down once it was clear US competencies are to be a different take on learning outcomes.

We differ in our concept of competency. Substantially so compared to the aspiration in the US, much narrower than the Germans conceive competency but possibly like the English version. In Australia, our learning outcomes (to the extent there are any in an education sense) are the tasks involved in an occupation – the competencies. Each VET qualification, complete with task definitions, oops, units of competency, seeks to prescribe the skills of an occupation. The learning program (if there is one) is built from that. For a person to move on in their career, or change job, more formal training is required, thanks to the Carmichael model.

In Australia we celebrate the efficiency of this model. Someone acquires a qualification for a job. She or he gets the job. Simple!  But let’s see how efficient that looks from a broader view.

I make my point courtesy of Australian Rules Football, that great home-grown game. Australia can only blame itself when there are faults in the game.

Let’s imagine what would happen if we applied the current logic of qualifications to Aussie rules.

Firstly, people would need to train for a specific position – as a forward flank, or back pocket, possibly even a left forward flank or right back pocket.

Secondly, players would be limited to play the position for which they had trained. Clearly, if the pathway into the game was prescribed in this way then it must flow through to the game itself.

Thirdly, if a player wanted to play another position, they’d need to go back to training to qualify for that position.

Fourthly, when it comes to the game, a player could only play their position and the skills prescribed to it. That’s the only logical conclusion from the rules.

Fifthly, this would also have to be policed. More umpires to ensure each player did not venture beyond the position they were trained for.

Sixthly, a player exercising skills beyond those prescribed would be in breach. It’s not too hard to imagine that special committee structures would be required to approve any skills outside the norm.

Would you watch? Would you recommend your children play the game? Fifteen little zones of play. The action in one zone at a time. Little motion and no movement of players. Rules bound and heavy policing. No thrill of a Buddy Franklin sweeping down the wing with a great arching kick to goal. No desperate defensive retreat from a forward trying to defend the goal.

Lastly, to make things worse, a player with aspirations for other football positions after retirement wouldn’t be allowed as the Australian Football Positions Framework doesn’t recognise some positions![1]

Some will say that I’m exaggerating. But am I? In the Australian economy there are 1,325 occupations, yet at last count there were 1,527 qualifications in training packages and 887 as accredited courses!

Some may say this is ridiculous and doesn’t match the real world. Amen! Then why do VET qualification structures continue with this kind of logic? Some positions need specialist skills, but those don’t dictate how the rest of the positions are structured and how the game is played.

I’m pretty sure that the success of the AFL Women’s league has many a girl aspiring to be an AFLW player and developing the skills that will get them there. Honing ball skills, on both sides of the body, acquiring knowledge of the game and learning how to read the play and the opposition – not the rules of each position. They can learn that when they get there and if they need to.

How efficient is a system if it doesn’t work as a whole? Only 32 per cent of graduates end up in jobs aligned to their training and we know most workplaces are far more dynamic than what VET qualifications structures assume.

A sport survives and thrives on participants aspiring higher and achieving more. Australian VET needs to offer the same for students, but the rules count against it. We made the rules, so we have the capacity to change them. It’s a question whether there’s the will.


[1] If this is too coded – the Australian Qualifications Framework specifically excludes Certificates I-III from recognition in any higher qualifications.

New minister and new department for skills and training 

The skills and training portfolio is set for a shake-up with the appointment of a new minister, and departmental responsibility expected to shift from education to employment.

As expected, Dan Tehan retained his position as Minister for Education.

But the VET sector is now set to fall largely under the new Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Michaelia Cash, in the portfolio previously held by Kelly O’Dwyer.

Senator Cash’s junior minister in the portfolio is West Australian Steve Irons, pictured, who becomes Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships.

The former electrical apprentice, has fought to secure his marginal seat of Swan in metropolitan Perth, once held by Labor leader Kim Beazley, and contested in the recent election by his daughter, Hannah Beazley.

At the official level, there will be a period of transition as key responsibilities and personnel move across to the new department.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Steve Irons was someone who knows what it’s like to get a trade and help people get trade qualifications.

“He understands the needs of small businesses who want to take people on with trades, as apprentices. I look forward to the great work Steve will be able to do in that portfolio,” he said.

TDA extends its congratulations to Senator Cash, Minister Dan Tehan and Mr Irons on their appointments.

The ministry will be sworn in on Wednesday.

See the full Morrsion ministry.


What VET leaders expect from a Morrison government  

In the election aftermath, there have been several media articles speculating on what the re-election of the Morrison government will mean for VET and TAFE.

The Financial Review quoted TDA CEO Craig Robertson and his ACPET counterpart, Troy Williams calling for greater integration of VET and universities in the ministerial arrangements under the new government.

“The disjoint between education policy and ministerial oversight is feeding some of the inequalities (between VET and universities),” Mr Robertson said.

“It would be better if all of the education functions of government were under one portfolio and one minister.”

The architect of the government’s review of VET, Steven Joyce told the Financial Review that he didn’t agree with a wholesale integration of the two sectors, but said it would be good to have a more neutral setting on fees between the two.

He told the paper that his main recommendation was to speed up the way new courses were created so industry could get the skills it needed more quickly. He said courses and qualifications should be drawn up by new Skills Organisations, which would be jointly owned by employers and other stakeholders.

The Australian speculated that there would be “tinkering at the edges” but little in the way of major VET reform.

“We are not clear whether the government has accepted all the recommendations (of the Joyce review) or whether the budget announcements are the limit of what they intend to do,” Craig Robertson told the paper.

Gavin Moodie, an adjunct professor of education at RMIT said that the promised careers institute might offer useful information, but would be relying on centrally derived workforce planning and employment outlooks which have proven unreliable in the past.

Addressing the government’s promise to create 80,000 new apprenticeships, Leesa Wheelahan from the University of Toronto said that even if there were a dramatic increase in apprenticeships, they comprise a minority of the system, and the government needed a policy for all vocational education, not just apprenticeships.

VET consultant Claire Field said that while she regarded the Joyce review highly, there was little to suggest that private providers would see any growth in domestic markets, and they would need to look to international students.

The head of the National Apprentice Employment Network, Dianne Dayhew said the Coalition had put forward several positive policy ideas, and there was confidence these could help to elevate the importance of apprenticeships and traineeships.

The PIE News (Professionals in International Education) said it would be “business as usual” with sector leaders cautious about the impact of Labor’s promised $10 billion in university funding over a decade now off the table.

“The worry now is to the effect that universities will now look to alternative revenue sources and that usually will mean they’ll up the ante on their international student recruitment,” said Phil Honeywood, chief executive of the International Education Association of Australia.


Apprentice incentive payments don’t work, says VET academic

Government incentives to employers to encourage the uptake of apprentices and trainees are not the best way to achieve that outcome, according to a discussion by VET academic, Gerald Burke.

In an article in The Conversation, Burke, Adjunct Professor of Education at Monash University says history shows that government incentives to employers have made little difference to the (mostly male) trade apprenticeship numbers.

“In 2011, an expert panel noted Australia was the only country that paid government incentives, on a large scale, to employers of apprentices and trainees,” Mr Burke says.

“The panel reported research that showed incentives paid to employers for the shorter traineeships represented a significant part of the wage costs (in some cases about 20%) and contributed to the large increase in trainee numbers.

“For the longer, and more costly, training of trade apprentices, government payments to employers represented a much smaller proportion of the wage and training costs. And so, the incentives had only a marginal effect on the numbers of trade apprentices employed,” he said.

He says the incoming government should undertake a comprehensive review of incentives and all other forms of apprenticeship assistance, ideally in the context of a full review of  tertiary funding.


South Australia set to overhaul its training system

The South Australian government has announced a review of the state’s training system following an extensive stakeholder consultation and the release of a series of far-reaching recommendations in a new report.

The Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni has called for feedback as part of the overhaul of what he says is the “outdated” Training and Skills Development Act 2008.

The review follows the release of a report by the Training and Skills Commission, ‘Future-proofing the Apprenticeship and Traineeship System’.

“Extensive stakeholder consultation undertaken last year by the Training and Skills Commission revealed the desire for simpler and more responsive legislation, lower costs and less red tape,” Mr Pisoni said.

He said that the government would continue to work towards the recommendations outlined in the report.

The Training and Skills Commission Chair Michael Boyce said he was pleased the government is acting on expert advice and continuing to revitalise South Australia’s training sector.

Feedback can be provided at yourSAy until June 19.


Careers webinar to ‘demystify VET’ and explain job choices 

The Career Development Association of Australia is hosting a webinar on Wednesday that will explain the VET system and the range of choices open to anyone wanting to start a career.

Featuring TDA CEO Craig Robertson, the webinar ‘Demistifying VET’ will also explain the range of online tools to help get the right advice in selecting courses and training providers as well information on apprenticeships and traineeships.

The webinar is on at 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm AEST.

See details.


NSW apprentices facing hardship can apply for $15k scholarship

Apprentices in NSW are able to apply for financial support worth up to $15,000 under the latest round of the Bert Evans Apprenticeship Scholarships.

The scholarship program commenced in 2014 and is named after the late Bert Evans who devoted most of his working life to the VET system and apprenticeships. More than 400 scholarships have been awarded to date.

They are aimed at apprentices who are experiencing hardship and have demonstrated a positive attitude and application in the workplace throughout their studies.

Applications can be lodged here of by phoning 13 28 11 to contact your local Training Services NSW Office.


TasTAFE receives skills funding in state budget

TasTAFE has been provided with $2.9 million funding over two years as part of a program to build skills that meet industry demand.

The state budget handed down last week provided the funds for increased pre-vocational training to support the construction industry, address workforce shortages and to train more nurses.

The 2019-20 budget also provided funding of $92.3 million as a grant to TasTAFE to support training activity and operations. This gives effect to the government’s commitment to ensure a minimum 70 per cent of training funding is provided to TasTAFE.


Vale Delia Ivanoff (Delia Craig)

Members with memories of TAFE NSW will be sad to know that Delia, aged 80, passed away on May 13.

Although she retired 25 years ago, she is still remembered by her TAFE friends and colleagues for the series of senior leadership roles she held – particularly as Head, College of External Studies and then as Group General Manager (Non Metropolitan/Country Colleges) in TAFE NSW.

Delia will be sadly missed, but remembered fondly as a committed and compassionate educator.


Canberra Institute of Technology auto apprentices among the best 

Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) automotive apprentices have taken out first and third place in the gruelling 2019 MotorEx Flying Spanners competition in Melbourne.

The annual competition offers automotive students the chance to team up and compete in a two-day event, stripping and rebuilding motors in record time against other TAFEs and teams from around the country.

Head of Department for CIT Automotive Steven McMahon said the competition was a fantastic opportunity for students to network with key players in the automotive industry and learn from the very best.

“Our teams of dedicated apprentices are the future of automotive, and we are so proud of their achievements in being the current Flying Spanners title holders,” Mr McMahon said.


Diary Dates

TechnologyOne Showcase
Empowering industry transformation
Brisbane: 29 May 2019
Sydney: 4 June 2019
Melbourne: 6 June 2019
More information

2019 EduTech
6-7 June 2019
International Convention Centre, Sydney
More information

Skills Conference 2019
Apprentice Employment Network NSW & ACT
13 June 2019
Dockside Darling Harbour
More information

22nd Annual Conference of the Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association (AVETRA)
No future for old VET’: Researching for the training system/s of tomorrow
17-18 June 2019
Western Sydney University and University College, Parramatta, Sydney
More information

No Frills 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

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
4 – 6 September 2019
Brisbane
More information coming soon

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

SourceAAP:www.tda.edu.au