TDA Newsletter 18 August 2014

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Apprenticeships and traineeships slump

The collapse in apprentice and trainee commencements has continued, according to early estimates from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

Seasonally adjusted trade commencements fell 1,200 to 21,700 in the June quarter, representing three consecutive quarters of decline since the September quarter 2013.

Seasonally adjusted non-trade commencements fell 2,300 to 28,800 in the June quarter, representing four quarters of decline and the lowest in at least ten years.

“We know from our research that commencements in trade apprenticeships closely follow the economic cycle”, said Ms Sue Fergusson, Acting Managing Director, NCVER.

“Following the changes to commencement incentives paid to employers, the number of starting non-trade apprentices and trainees decreased. Time will tell if a new pattern will emerge”, said Ms Fergusson.

See more.

Minister Macfarlane defends head of new VET board

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has rejected criticism from the Federal Opposition over the appointment of the government’s new five-member Vocational Education and Training Advisory Board which will oversee reform of the sector.

On Friday, Mr Macfarlane announced as Chair, John Hart, Chief Executive of the Restaurant and Catering Australia and a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council.

Mr Hart is also Chairman of the North Sydney Forum, a fundraising body attached to the Liberal Party federal electorate conference of Treasurer Joe Hockey.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on the weekend that Mr Hart has been called to give evidence to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption into illegal political donations.

The Shadow Minister for Vocational Education, Sharon Bird, said there were “legitimate” questions” to be raised about the appointment. She also criticised the “skewed” make-up of the board, noting the lack of any representation from TAFE.

A spokeswoman for Mr Macfarlane rejected the criticism of Mr Hart.

“John Hart has 27 years’ experience in the hospitality industry and is the chairman of the Service Industry Skills Council and is on the board of the National Centre for Vocational Education Research” she told theHerald.

Other members of the board are:

  • Patrick McKendry (Deputy Chair) – CEO Careers Australia Group and former Chairman of the National Quality Council and TVET Australia,
  • Tara Diamond – Executive Director, Industry Services at the Australian Mines & Metals Association,
  • Dominique Fisher – Executive Chairman and Managing Director of CareerLounge,
  • Jodie Hughson – Manager for Quality, Learning and Workplace Development for Anglicare, Southern Queensland.

See the Sydney Morning Herald article.

See Minister Macfarlane’s media release.

See the Shadow Minister’s media release.

TDA to lobby Senate to pass Coalition education subsidies

Labor and the Greens will be branded as hypocrites if they throw low-income students at vocational colleges ”into the dustbin” by denying them government support, TDA has warned.

In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, TDA CEO Martin Riordan says it would be a ”tragedy” if the Senate blocks the expansion of Commonwealth subsidies to students in sub-bachelor degrees – a budget measure experts say will bring fees down and reduce university drop-out rates.

“The TAFE sector is concerned its students will lose out following a rancorous debate about increased university fees,” the article says.

”There has been a tirade of questions about fairness in the budget but this measure has to be top of the list when it comes to fairness,” TAFE Directors Australia CEO Martin Riordan said.

”It would be hypocritical to throw out a full package and leave TAFE students in the dustbin.”

Read the Herald article.

TDA National Conference – a digital engagement strategy for learners and institutions

All Australia educational institutions now have a digital presence.

They are however at different stages in integrating digital technology into their organisational operations and into their teaching and learning Strategies.

Dr Diana Oblinger, President & Chief Executive, Educause, an international authority on digital technology will provide a compelling argument for the benefits of digital technology as a tool for transforming business and as a means of expanding opportunities for learners and institutions.

You can read more of Diana Oblinger’s thinking at Designed to Engage.

Dr Oblinger will join TDA conference delegates via video on Day 2. The Australian reflection will be provided by Francesca Saccaro, Acting Director, TAFE NSW – Western Sydney Institute.

WA Deputy Premier to launch Central Institute’s Mick Young Scholarships

Central Institute of Technology has committed to funding 15 Mick Young Scholarships to assist students experiencing financial hardship.

The Deputy Premier and Minister for Training and Workforce Development, Dr Kim Hames, will launch the scholarship program at an event to coincide with Anti-Poverty Week in October.

The event will take the form of a conference, organised by Central’s Event Management students.

Central Institute’s Managing Director, Neil Fernandes (pictured) said the organisation plans to build on the launch, and work with the TDA National Scholarships Foundation to extend its availability to a broader range of the students.

“Nobody wants to see ambition thwarted through financial challenges alone and these scholarships can keep the door of opportunity open for those students weighing up whether they can afford life-changing training,” he said.

Future-proofing your TAFE Institute – special pre-conference workshop

Readers are reminded about the pre-conference workshops to take place ahead of the TDA National Conference on Sunday 31 August.

There is particular interest in one of these – Future proofing your TAFE institute, which includes a networking lunch in Feast Restaurant.

  • Facilitator: Stephen Conway, Chair, TDA Board and Chief Executive Officer, TasTAFE.
  • Speakers: David Meates, CEO, West Coast District Health Boards, NZ, and Fintan Donohue OBE, CEO, Gazelle, UK.

This is a not-to-be missed session for CEOs and emerging leaders. TDA is making the offer of no-cost attendance for an emerging leader or a CEO for every five members that are attending the conference.

Please contact Jane Yeaman, conference event manager on or on the

NB: If you don’t have five delegates attending the conference you can still register and pay the workshop fee of $165. See details of all the pre-conference workshops.

Top group training apprentices preparing for leadership

The best apprentices and trainees from the group training network will converge on Canberra this week as part of the Group Training Australia’s annual Today’s Skills: Tomorrow’s Leaders Program at the Australian Institute of Sport.

The participants have been selected from approximately 30,000 group training apprentices and trainees around Australia.

The CEO of GTA, Jim Barron, said the program is aimed at giving some of the most promising young apprentices and trainees the benefit of leadership skills that will set them up for the next phase of their careers.

For the first time, a non-group training apprentice has been invited to take part – 19-year old Danny Allende, employed by the National Rugby League ‘Learning with League Centre’ and a member of the Sydney Roosters (under 20’s) National Youth Competition.

See more.

Consultations open on Forrest Review

The federal government has opened consultations on the Forrest Review of Indigenous training and employment.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Alan Tudge, said the government wants to hear the views of the community, Indigenous leaders and employers.

A six-week consultation period will allow the community and interested stakeholders to provide feedback on the broad direction of the report and the recommendations put forward by Mr Forrest.

An Implementation Feasibility Taskforce has been formed to assess the practicality of each of the report’s proposals.

More information is available at the Review’s website.

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.

ACE National Conference
DATE: 11-12 September 2014
LOCATION: Adelaide
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Velg Training
National VET Conference

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

TAFE NSW Western
Bangamalanha Conference: post-school Aboriginal education and training

DATE: 15-17 September 2014
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.

AUSTAFE 2014 Annual Conference
DATE: 8-10 October 2014
LOCATION: Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney
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.

Government Skills Australia
2014 National Conference

DATE: 17-18 November 2014
LOCATION: Adelaide Oval
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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