TDA Newsletter 8 September 2014

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Apprenticeship centres to be axed in VET shake-up

The federal government is today expected to announce the scrapping of Australian Apprenticeships Centres as part of a wide-ranging overhaul of the VET system, according to a report in The Australian.

Young workers will be offered new training schemes that are shaped by employers in a move designed to more closely link training with work.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says the reforms are essential to put the emphasis on training that leads to work needed by industry.

“The training system needs to change – I don’t know that it’s broken but it’s certainly not working at its capacity or its potential,” he said.

The Minister says TAFEs have a crucial role to play in the training system but they need to meet modern needs of business.

“That means being more flexible, being more focussed on someone graduation from a TAFE and going straight into a job. They need to be listening more to what industry is saying they need,” he said.

See the article, ‘Bosses get more say on training’ in The Australian.

Peak training providers unite over funding cuts

TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) has joined with the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) to call on the federal government to address a dramatic cut in funding of the vocational education and training (VET) sector, revealed in research at last week’s TDA national conference.

The study by Professor Peter Noonan, Professorial Fellow at the Mitchell Institute of Health and Education Policy at Victoria University, found Australia’s VET system had been subject to an unprecedented level of funding disadvantage compared to schools and universities.

“The states and territories are implementing a national agreement to introduce a student entitlement model in VET, but the funding outlook in most states and territories is resulting in so many constraints and distortions of the entitlement that for many students it will have little or no meaning,” he said.

TDA and ACPET have urged the Minister for Industry, Ian Macfarlane, to seek an independent assessment of funding at the next COAG Industry Skills Council meeting due later this month.

See the joint TDA-ACPET media release.

See Professor Noonan’s address.

Business lobby urges more focus on VET

Business leaders told the TDA national conference last week that the political debate over education needs to shift from a preoccupation with universities to a focus on vocational education and training.

The industry session was addressed by Jennifer Westacott, CEO of the Business Council of Australia; Megan Lily, Director of Education and Training at Australian Industry Group; and Jenny Lambert, Director of Employment, Education & Training at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Ms Westacott said the erosion of VET needed to stop, and there should be steps to free up the TAFE system.

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said that under the state’s Smart and Skilled initiative, TAFE would continue to do the “heavy lifting” in the training system and would need to adapt through “greater flexibility in delivering training, more contemporary systems, more local decision making and less red tape.”

See Minister Piccoli’s speech.

See an article, ‘Trades should be focus of education’ in the Australian Financial Review.

TAFE NSW Managing Director, Pam Christie NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli Assistant Education Minister Sussan Ley

TAFE NSW signs agreement with Chinese universities

NSW Premier Mike Baird attended the signing of two agreements between TAFE NSW and Chinese universities that will see mutual recognition of qualifications.

TAFE NSW Managing Director Pam Christie officially signed the agreements with representatives from the Jinan University, Guangdong, and Ningbo Dahongying University (NDU) in Zhejiang.

Under the agreement with Jinan University, students who have been accepted for entry, who hold a TAFE NSW Diploma, will receive one year’s credit toward any three or four year Bachelor Degree.

The second agreement with NDU will allow students who have completed a qualification at the Chinese university to be eligible to apply for entry into Sydney TAFE’s Diploma and Advanced Diploma level courses.

Ms Christie said that formal recognition of TAFE NSW Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas, especially in the areas of travel, tourism, marketing and international business, would lead to many opportunities for students in both NSW and in China.

See the Premier’s media release.

UNEVOC forum highlights the value of networking

On Sunday 31 August, representatives from eight UNESCO-UNEVOC centres joined TDA and NCVER to discuss ways of improving the evidence base for greater investment in vocational education and training.

The eight country representatives also provided an update on the status of their VET sectors and priorities for further development.

Rod Camm from NCVER and Martin Riordan from TDA gave summaries of current research in Australia and the Head of UNEVOC, Shyamal Majumdar, challenged the more than 70 participants to use the UNEVOC network and develop strong regional and global links.

Copies of all presentations plus a summary of the forum will be on the TDA website shortly.

Indonesian mentoring program underway

Twenty leaders from Indonesia’s public and private polytechnics are now undergoing intensive mentoring with five TAFE institutes after attending the TDA national conference and UNEVOC seminar.

This program is supported by the Australian and Indonesian governments and managed by TDA. Three Sydney metropolitan TAFEs as well as TAFE SA and Western NSW are hosting the delegates who return to Sydney for a final review and strategic planning session this Friday.

Australian Qualifications Framework Council to be disbanded

The Australian Qualifications Framework Council which is responsible for the governance of the Australian Qualifications Framework is to be disbanded.

The Council comprises 12 members and is chaired by former federal minister John Dawkins.

Stakeholders have been advised that the decision in no way diminishes the government’s commitment to the AQF. The AQF was first introduced in 1995 to underpin the national system of qualifications encompassing higher education, vocational education and training and schools

The residual functions of the Council will be transferred to the Department of Education.

ASQA seeking input into strategic reviews

During 2014 the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) conducted strategic reviews into training in early childhood, security and equine programs.

Chris Robinson, Chief Commissioner of ASQA has written to TDA inviting members to provide input into the 2015 strategic industry review program.

Specifically, TDA is being offered the opportunity to nominate training areas that ASQA should investigate next.

If you wish to nominate areas please respond to by COB Friday 12 September.

See the ASQA letter to TDA.

OctoberVET on the way

The Australian VET Research Association (AVETRA) convenes OctoberVET events across the country each year.

While most capital cities will hold one OctoberVET event, the opportunity is there for several to be held in different centres. In Sydney, one event will focus on ‘lifelong and life-wide perspective on literacy and numeracy development (UTS) and another will highlight issues around professional issues and scholarly practice in VET (Randwick TAFE).

There are also events planned in Ballarat, Melbourne, Rockhampton, Hobart, Wagga, Perth and Brisbane.

The organisers are keen to encourage other events – they can range in size and scope, depending on local needs and interests, and range from convivial, small-scale gatherings to larger formal events with speakers.

AVETRA offers a small seed-grant for all OctoberVET events and a national coordinator is on hand to discuss ideas, and to provide advice and support.

Contact the coordinators: Steven Hodge and Linda

More information:

Forum to examine qualifications completions

A webinar about qualification completion rates in the vocational education and training (VET) system will highlight the experience in Queensland, where there is almost 20 years’ of data on the topic.

Daniel Doncaster and Adrian Seabrook from the Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment will discuss the development of a Longitudinal VET Activity Dataset that allows for the tracking of individual students from commencement through to completion.

With the introduction of a national Unique Student Identifier on the horizon, it is hoped the Queensland experience will provide an insight to what may be possible at a national level.

The webinar will be this Wednesday at 2.30 pm AEST.

See more.

Diary Dates

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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