TDA Newsletter 21 July 2014

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Australian Apprenticeship Centres need review

TDA has urged a House of Representatives Committee to re-evaluate the role of Australian Apprenticeships Centres (AACs), with a view to arresting the decline in apprentice numbers and reducing duplication and complexity.

TDA Director, Adrian Maron; CEO, Martin Riordan; and  Director of Policy and Stakeholder Engagement, Pam Caven appeared last week before the Standing Committee on Education and Employment inquiry into TAFE.

Martin Riordan said both students and industry were confused by the current AAC arrangements, which were intended as one-stop shops to drive apprentice enrolments.

“Instead they remain as stand-alone Commonwealth tender items, bearing little relationship to TAFES and the major providers where Australian apprentices get trained, directly or indirectly.

“It’s time to re-think Australian Apprenticeship Centres. In our view, we think there’s a real need to streamline all this architecture and complexity and third party arrangements,” he said.

TDA applauds retiring directors, Kaylene Harth, Jeff Gunningham and John Hassad

From top: Kaylene Harth, Jeff Gunningham, John Hassad.

TDA farewells and thanks three of its most respected board members who have stepped down from their executive roles in recent weeks.

Queensland Board member, Kaylene Harth, a Deputy Chair of TDA, recently retired from her lead role in driving reform across TAFE Queensland, while in South Australia, Jeff Gunningham, CEO of TAFE SA, stepped down from his position because of family illness, and John Hassad, Pro Vice Chancellor – VET, Charles Darwin University (NT), has retired.

Kaylene’s contribution to the vocational education and training sector in Queensland has spanned more than 28 years, with 10 highly successful years as Institute Director at The Bremer, Skills Tech and Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE. Most recently, Kaylene was the Interim CEO and Director, TAFE Reform for the newly amalgamated TAFE Queensland Brisbane.

At her farewell function, Kaylene acknowledged the efforts of TDA in shaping national vocational education and training policy and said it had been an honour to be part of creating initiatives like the Tuition Assurance Scheme and the Scholarship Foundation.

“I am immensely proud of everything TAFE has achieved over the years. I feel privileged to have been involved with so many different levels of the sector and to be part of a great institution that plays an important role in helping to build the productivity of our nation.” she said.

TAFE SA Chairman Peter Vaughan announced on 27 June the immediate departure of highly esteemed CEO, Jeff Gunningham.

“I am saddened to have to make this announcement, but Jeff has pressing family health matters that need his full attention and we respect his decision to devote himself to his family at this time,” Mr Vaughan said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jeff for his outstanding contribution and dedication to the organisation. He has overseen the ongoing transformation of TAFE SA from three separate Institutes – Adelaide North, Adelaide South and Regional – into one unified, state-wide operation.”

John Hassad, a senior executive responsible for skills in the Queensland and Northern Territory governments, ahead of taking up the head of VET for CDU, has been a major contributor on the national board of TDA, with special focus on VET standards and regulation.

TDA applauds the enormous contribution of Kaylene, Jeff and John, and extends the warmest regards and appreciation from the Board and the wider TAFE community.

Industry leadership in TDA Q&A Conference session

TDA is delighted to announce a new ‘Q&A’ panel session at the 2014 TDA Conference. The Q&A panel comprises industry leaders:

  • Jennifer Westacott, Chief Executive, Business Council of Australia
  • Ged Kearney, President, Australian Council of Trade Unions
  • Megan Lilly, Director, Education and Training, Australian Industry Group
  • Jenny Lambert, Director, Employment, Education & Training, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The issues that they will address include::

  • What should the community expect by 2020 from industry and business in relation to skills development?
  • What role will industry and business have in the development of skills for school leavers?
  • Who will pay for the skill development of individuals?
  • What will be the role of the public TAFE provider?
  • Where will most post Year 12 leavers need to gain the education and skills necessary for work? Will it be a vocational education and training provider or a higher education provider?

The Q&A session will be facilitated by Conference MC and award winning current affairs journalist, Ellen Fanning. This is a not-to-be-missed session.

You can register now at

Global market wants Australian skills

TDA has argued that a wider range of skills qualifications should be able to be offered in overseas markets, in an address to the Apprenticeships and Traineeships Conference in Melbourne last week.

Mary Faraone, CEO of Holmesglen, delivered the address on behalf of TDA CEO Martin Riordan, who was unable to attend.

“The TDA offshore education report showed that across key markets such as China, India, Indonesia, Latin America and the AEI Gulf States, there had been tremendous progress with partnerships delivering support to overseas countries which were largely demanding consulting and curriculum support to grow their VET colleges and systems.

“However, many courses are offered in non-trade areas of study, and there are many gaps in the subject areas under our qualification structure that can be delivered abroad.”

TDA expressed a desire to work collaboratively with Industry Skills Councils to explore skills that could be tailored to international markets, particularly in key skill areas.

See the TDA address.

See all the conference presentations.

Students and employers to rate Victorian RTOs

Approximately 80,000 students and 11,000 employers in Victoria will be surveyed on the performance of registered training organisations (RTOs) under an initiative by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

The RTO Performance Indicator project is trialing a number of performance measures that impact student and employer choice of RTOs.

Survey participants will be asked to rate the quality of their training and courses, and whether they would recommend the RTO they studied at.

The findings will be released to individual RTOs early next year.

See details of the RTO Performance Indicator trial.

New board members for ACARA

The Minister for Education, Hon. Christopher Pyne has announced six new members of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) following completion of the Commonwealth appointment process.

Professor Emeritus Brian Caldwell, an academic, author and consultant on school improvement has been appointed as Deputy Chair.

The Commonwealth Minister nominee is Michael Hewitson, the foundation principal of Trinity College, author, and the current Councillor for the South Australian city of Unley.

Valerie Gould, Executive Director of the WA Association of Independent Schools, Dr Paul Sharkey, Director, Catholic Education in South Australia, Patrea Walton Deputy Director General, Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment and Stephen Gniel, Executive Director, Education Strategy, ACT Directorate of Education and Training have been appointed as board members.

Diary Dates

Vision 2020 – 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.

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.

2014 WorldSkills Australia National Competition
DATE: 18, 19 & 20 September 2014
LOCATION: Perth Convention and Exhibition 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.

Australasian Genomic Technologies Association (AGTA)
2014 Conference

DATE: 12-15 October 2014
LOCATION: Crown Promenade Melbourne
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.

2014 B/HERT Awards
Business Higher Education Round Table

DATE: 20 November 2014
LOCATION: Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.


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