TDA Newsletter 25 August 2014

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National Skills Week celebrated around the country – TDA Scholarships Foundation plays key role

National Skills Week was launched at a series of functions around Australia over the past week, under the theme, The Magical Mystery Tour of Skills.

In Brisbane, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane spoke at the national launch and outlined the government’s priorities for VET reform.

“The Australian Government’s reform agenda represents the first time in a long time that we have taken a long hard look at all aspects of the VET system,” he said.

In Sydney, NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli MP attended as guest speaker and joined 400 guests at a gala dinner for the NSW launch, along with Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson from Celebrity Apprentice and Jessica Martin, the International WorldSkills silver medallist.

The TDA National Scholarships Foundation was active at these events, and at the Sydney event alone raised almost $18,000 with donor pledges, auctions and further fund raising planned by TAFE Institutes.

See all the events at the website.

Announcement from TDA Chair, Stephen Conway

TAFE Directors Australia is pleased to announce that Martin Riordan, Chief Executive Officer, has been awarded a Prime Minister’s Postgraduate Asia Scholarship for 2014-15.

Martin Riordan
Malcolm White

Martin Riordan will be hosted by the Shanghai Second Polytechnic University effective late November 2014, based in Shanghai.

Stephen Conway congratulated Martin on the Prime Minister’s Asia Scholarship.

The TDA board has approved Martin to take leave from end-November 2014 to June 30, 2015 to enable him to take up the Scholarship.

Malcolm White, Chair of the TDA National Scholarships Foundation and project director at TDA, will be appointed Acting Chief Executive Officer during the period of leave.

“This Prime Minister’s Asia Scholarship is a tremendous opportunity for Martin, and we wish him well for this strategic study on the TAFE sector and new business models,” Stephen Conway said.

“We are excited that Martin will be hosted in China at a polytechnic university in Shanghai which has enjoyed a long-term relationship with TAFE. I know Martin will also serve as an outstanding ambassador for this posting to build even closer ties for Australian TAFEs with the Chinese colleges and polytechnics.”

Martin is enrolled in PhD studies at LH Martin Institute, University of Melbourne, developing enterprise business models for TAFE, with some international benchmarking on new vocational college models. The

Scholarship will facilitate research on China’s initiative to establish more than 600 applied technology polytechnics and universities, from later this year.

TAFE urged to get behind entitlement system

Governments must be clearer about the role and purpose of TAFE as the public VET provider in a competitive system, according to an article in The Conversation by Peter Noonan, a Professional Fellow at Victoria University.

He says that a largely government-funded private training market alone will not provide the depth, breadth or ongoing capacity required to meet Australia’s workforce skills needs into the 21st century.

“Skills supply cannot be just turned off and on like a tap,” the blog says.

One thing is clear: student-driven and demand-based funding is here to stay in both the VET and higher education sectors.

“The future of TAFE is not to be found in a return to a public monopoly that has not existed for over 20 years, as some have proposed.

“Rather, the TAFE business and delivery model must be much more strongly attuned to the needs of the hundreds of thousands of potential students who are eligible for the VET student entitlement – even with its design faults.”

See the blog.

Marketplace at the TDA National Conference

The TDA Conference Marketplace on Tuesday 2 September at 9.20am is made up of over 20 discussion groups conducted around tables in the main conference ballroom.

These discussion groups will cover a wide range of themes:  industry, international, higher education, sustainability, entrepreneurialism and leadership, technology, VET research, community development and social cohesion, indigenous training and employment outcomes, and Government policies

The Marketplace has been specifically designed so that delegates can discuss practical issues, contribute information, share experiences and ideas, ask questions and make useful contacts. Delegates will have the opportunity to be involved in 3 x20 minutes discussion groups.

After each 20 minutes, delegates will be advised that it is time to change over to the next discussion group.  Delegates will then move to the table number of their choice (as indicated in the conference program). If the group is full, delegates should select another group.

Ellen Fanning, Conference MC will be the maître de les tables.

To access the latest conference program go to

Sydney TAFE design students outdo The Block

Four interior design students at Sydney TAFE have completed a renovation that makes The Block looks like child’s play, according to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

With a budget of $60,000 and 14 weeks, their assignment was to transform a rundown cottage in Petersham into a home that could be placed on the rental market.

The property was bought by the Department of Education in 1984 for $67,000 and had been used as a support centre for students.

With those services brought into the main campus there was an opportunity to turn the cottage into a money spinner and, at the same time, give Sydney TAFE students a hands-on experience at transforming a property, the article says.

See the article in the Herald.

Westpac announces Indigenous training program

Westpac has committed to a wider Indigenous employment and training program, with plans to take on 40 Indigenous interns annually and for a pilot apprenticeship program in the hospitality sector.

The apprenticeship program called Warrigal will see 16 young Indigenous Australians gain hospitality industry qualifications and practical experience, supported by holistic mentoring at work and home.

It will operate in conjunction with Westpac’s catering partner, Compass Group.

Westpac Group CEO Gail Kelly said the company was focused on providing long-lasting and meaningful careers which support the professional development and leadership aspirations of Indigenous employees.

See more.

Input wanted on foundation skills assessment tool

The Department of Industry has contracted the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) to develop a free online Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) to identify and assess an individual’s foundation skill levels.

The tool will be available free when released to assist learners, job seekers, trainers, educators and employment services practitioners to assess their own or a client’s foundation skill levels, and help identify any gaps in skills and knowledge. The FSAT will be based on the Australian Core Skills Framework and the Core Skills for Work Developmental Framework.

ACER is interested in hearing from interested LLN, VET and employment services providers to participate in trials in order to gain empirical evidence about the performance of the questions in the tool and provide feedback about the assessment system being developed.

More information.

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.

NSW Training Awards
DATE: 9 September 2014
LOCATION: Darling Harbour, Sydney
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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