TDA Newsletter 4 May 2014

TDA newsletter

Commission of Audit calls for states to take over VET

The National Commission of Audit has recommended that responsibility for vocational education and training (VET) be handed to the states.

“The Commission is of the view that the States should take responsibility for VET, including the current reform agenda. This simplified governance and accountability would be more efficient than the current arrangements,” the report says.

“Given the amount of money all governments spend in the vocational education and training area, outcomes achieved are not strong. For example, in 2012, the completion rate for trade apprentices was only around 56 per cent.”

It recommends abolishing all Commonwealth vocational education and training programmes including the National Workforce Development Fund and Commonwealth support for apprentices.

It says that transferring responsibility for VET to the states would require an equivalent adjustment in funding. However, under the plan, the Commonwealth would retain regulatory control over VET through a merger of the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency and the Australian Skills Quality Authority.

The devolution of VET from the Commonwealth to the states is consistent with the case TDA put in its submission to the Commission of Audit.

The recommendations will be considered by the government ahead of the May 13 Budget. TDA will be considering the findings at its Board meeting and AGM in Brisbane on 23 May.

See the National Commission of Audit.

See TDA’s submission to the Commission of Audit.

See an article in The Australian.

University expansion hits quality of apprentices

The opening up of universities to a wider array of students has reportedly had an adverse impact on the quality of apprentices.

An upcoming report by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) shows that apprenticeships are increasingly going to people who scored among the lowest 40 per cent in high school reading and maths.

According to an article in The Australian, the report which will be released next month shows that the expansion of higher education has resulted in people undertaking apprenticeships who would have neither studied or trained in earlier times.

See the article in The Australian.

The ‘Completions Agenda’

Pam Caven, TDA, Professor Bailey and Denise Stevens, VET Development Centre.

TDA and the VET Development Centre, Victoria hosted two Thought Leaders forums in Sydney and Melbourne with Professor Thomas Bailey speaking on the topic of Analysis of Low Completion at Community Colleges in the United States’.

Australia and the US have shared national aspirations of increasing the skills levels of the population in the next 10-15 years:

  • seeking a national skills agenda in a federated state education system
  • recognising the need to  support of a new cohort of students who have not been traditionally well represented in further education
  • requiring an expansion in the numbers taking higher education qualifications, while retaining quality in a period of fiscal constraint.

The ‘Completions Agenda’ – who completes? If not, why not? How can students be supported? – is a topic of interest to governments, academics and practitioners.

Professor Bailey drew on a body of research which examined those stages in the student experience (connection, entry, progress, completion) which can be documented and analysed to identify at what points a strategic intervention could improve completion rates.

Professor Bailey’s presentation reinforced the importance of analysis of data on student completions and a strategic approach to intervention to ensure successful completions. It can be accessed at the VET Development Centre  under the VET Blog.

TDA Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of TAFE Directors Australia will be held in Brisbane on Friday, 23 May 2014, commencing at 10.00am (EST).

The location is TAFE Queensland, Southbank Institute Campus, Boardroom (Level 7, Room C7112 – C Block) 66 Ernest St, South Brisbane.

Please RSVP to Janny Tjen, Administration Manager, TDA, (02) 9217 3180, or email: 

Teleconference dial-in is available. Please RSVP for details.


  1. Opening and Welcome
  2. Apologies
  3. Confirmation of the Minutes of the TDA AGM held on 24 May 2013
  4. Chair’s Report
  5. Annual Report and Statement to Members
  6. Statement of TDA’s Accounts for 2013 and Auditor’s Report
  7. Other Business
  8. Close

Morning tea will be served after the AGM meeting.

Members and Associate Members are invited to attend.

Save the date – TDA Conference 1 & 2 September 2014

Delegates to TDA’s 2014 National Conference, Vision 2020, will explore ways to increase productivity and ‘create dangerously’ by considering topics such as:

  • Operating more competitively in increasingly complex Australian and global markets
  • International networks and partnerships
  • Reconceptualising Higher Education
  • Integrating innovation into organisational structures
  • Using digital technology to enhance student learning and institutional business models
  • Moving from a learning organisation to an entrepreneurial institution
  • Improving employment outcomes for Indigenous people
  • Servicing Australia’s regional diversity

There will be a stellar line-up of speakers and a networking event on an international scale, with delegates from China, Indonesia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. TDA will also be hosting a UNEVOC-UNESCO Forum on Sunday 31 August, which will be addressed by the head of UNEVOC, Dr Shyamal Majumbar.

Pre-conference workshops on Sunday 31 August will include ‘Future proofing your TAFE Institute’ (for CEOs and emerging leaders,) ‘Maintaining Quality in time of scare resources’ and ‘Champions for Women in Management’.

A Welcome Reception will be held on Sunday 31 August and a Gala Dinner on Monday 1 September.

Exhibition and sponsorship opportunities are also now available.

Earlybird and group registration discounts close 7 July.

Visit for more information and to register now.

See the conference flyer.

Study of training delivery wins Innovation Scholarship

David McLean

Earlier this year, TDA and the Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association (AVETRA) launched a joint Innovation scholarship to fund a TAFE practitioner to undertake research in their profession.

The scholarship funds a practitioner to the value of $6,000 to investigate innovative practice and/or models of delivery in partnership with enterprises or communities.

The winner, announced at the AVETRA conference on the Gold Coast, is David McLean from RMIT University. David is the Deputy Head of SchoolIndustry Group Manager in the School of Vocational Business Education at RMIT. The group includes the Business Enterprise Unit that delivers the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) and Apprentice to Business (A to B) Owner programs.

David’s proposal seeks to investigate innovative funding and training delivery models for new micro-business start-ups in the Health and Community Services sector with the aim of increasing graduate success in business and developing stronger relationships with industry. He will be presenting his findings at the AVETRA conference in 2015.  Congratulations David!

Australian Training Awards deadline looming

The Australian Training Awards are the peak, national awards for the vocational education and training (VET) sector, recognising individuals, businesses and registered training organisations for their contribution to skilling Australia.

Applicants may have the opportunity to reach the national stage in November this year and gain Australia-wide recognition for the work they do. Australian Training Awards direct entry categories include:

For individuals:

For businesses:

For registered training organisations:

Applications close on Friday 30 May 2014. For more information, visit or phone 13 38 73.

The 2014 Australian Training Awards will be held in Adelaide on 21 November 2014. For regular updates about the Australian Training Awards, please follow the Australian Training Awards on Twitter @AusTrainAwards.

Diary Dates

National Congress and Expo

DATE: 3-5 June 2014
LOCATION: Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for information.

Office for Learning and Teaching
National Conference

DATE: 10-11 June 2014
LOCATION: Dockside Pavilion, Darling Harbour, Sydney.
DETAILS: See more.

‘No Frills’ – 23rd National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference
DATE: 9-11 July 2014
LOCATION: Holmesglen, Moorabbin Campus, Melbourne, Victoria
DETAILS: Click here.

Victorian TAFE Association
2014 State Conference

DATE: 17-18 July 2014
LOCATION: Holmesglen, Moorabbin Campus, Melbourne, Victoria
DETAILS: Click here.

TDA National Conference 2014
TAFE Directors Australia

DATE: 1-2 September 2014
LOCATION: Sheraton on the Park, Sydney, NSW
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

National VET Conference
Velg Training

DATE: 11-12 September 2014
LOCATION: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Teaching & Learning Conference 2014
VET Development Centre

DATE: 4-5 September 2014
LOCATION: RACV Club Torquay, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

VETnetwork Australia 2014
Biennial National Conference

DATE: 17-19 September 2014
LOCATION: Darwin Convention Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Australian International Education Conference
Inventing the Future

DATE: 7-10 October 2014
LOCATION: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

2014 WorldSkills Australia National Competition
DATE: 18, 19 & 20 September 2014
LOCATION: Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Group Training Australia
2014 National Conference

DATE: 12-14 November 2014
LOCATION: Grand Chancellor Hotel, Hobart
DETAILS: Click here for more information.


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