TDA Newsletter 2 February 2015

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Surprise Queensland election result puts TAFE in the spotlight

The Queensland Labor Opposition’s promise to rescue the TAFE sector will now come into sharper focus following the LNP’s surprise setback in the weekend state election.

During the election campaign, Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk made a number of commitments to address the vocational educational and training system, including:

  • $34 million over three years to create up to 100 TAFE teaching and support positions, fund new training schemes in emerging industries, invest in student support services and subsidise foundation skills course for disadvantaged learners.
  • $240 million over four years to fund industry and community-based organisations to deliver training schemes to 32,000 people.
  • Ensure 10% of workers on major projects are apprentices and trainees and extend the requirement to government-owned corporations.

The latest election counting shows Labor has 43 seats in the 89 member parliament and is on track to form a minority government or govern in its own right.

NSW Auditor-General hits out at training reforms

The framework for VET reform in NSW is unlikely to maximise public value, according to a report from the NSW Auditor-General.

“The Government is more likely to maximise public value from its investment in VET, if it takes a more balanced approach, by putting more emphasis on increased contestability and student choice,” the Auditor-General, Grant Hehir said.

It says that in 2013-14, approximately 11 per cent of the total VET budget of nearly $2.2 billion was contestable between private registered training organisations and TAFE.

In 2014-15, approximately 19 per cent of the total VET budget of $2.3 billion is contestable based on capacity, capability, past performance and ability to deliver particular qualifications in specific regions.

“There is no price competition as the Department sets the same price and fee structure for all Smart and Skilled qualifications on the NSW skills list,” the report says.

See the Auditor-General’s report.

TAFE SA in hospitality partnership with Malaysia

TAFE SA has taken a step towards a partnership with a prestigious Malaysian university college to help deliver courses in baking, patisserie and hospitality.

Employment, Higher Education and Skills Minister Gail Gago said an MoU between TAFE SA and the Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TARC) and its teaching arm, Kojadi Institute, could open up major export opportunities in the sector.

“Following on from a small study tour in 2014 where Malaysian students gained cooking qualifications at Regency TAFE, this MoU could result in increased training export activity with Malaysia,” Ms Gago said.

“From what was literally a brief taste test, TARC is interested in using TAFE SA’s high quality knowledge, expertise and teaching resources to improve its own training capabilities.

“TAFE SA learning materials, guides and assessments would be used in Malaysia and TARC’s teaching staff could undertake intensive study tours in South Australia,” the Minister said.

See more.

Sydney TAFE to provide international training program in India

Negotiations between Sydney TAFE and the Indian State of Maharashtra have come to fruition with confirmation from the Principal Secretary of the Department of Higher and Technical Education in Mumbai to proceed to final approval for an international ‘Train the Trainer’ program in India.

In 2012 the then Premier of NSW signed an MOU with the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra to strengthen bilateral relations between the two states regarding education and training.

Last week, Sydney TAFE Institute Director, David Riordan, travelled to Delhi and Mumbai as part of Australia Business Week in India and attended a meeting with the NSW Premier and Maharashtra Chief Minister aimed at assisting with skill development in India.

Sydney TAFE has been part of a national working party led by the Commonwealth Department of Industry to develop an international TVET Train and Assessor Course. As a result of Sydney TAFE’s involvement in this working party, they were invited to select a suitable partner in India for this pilot.

“Sydney TAFE is very excited to be working with the Maharashtra State Board of Technical Education to assist with this important skills training initiative. We believe it will contribute to the quality of TVET Teacher Training across India and builds upon India’s growing economic prosperity,” said Mr Riordan.

Sydney TAFE, upon final approval, will deliver a pilot Train the Trainer program to 40 Maharashtra Government teachers from selected colleges and institutes across the region.  The project is anticipated to begin in mid-2015.

TDA says farewell to Melinda Waters

TDA’s Director, Technical and Tertiary Education, Melinda Waters is leaving TDA to travel abroad.

Melinda departs with the very best wishes from all at TDA and those who have worked with her.

TDA Acting Chief Executive, Malcolm White said Melinda had been an invaluable part of the TDA team, particularly in relation to her work in higher education, advocacy on behalf of TDA, and for her extremely sound analysis.

We wish Melinda all the best of luck for the future.

Sino-Australia forum on transnational education and mobility

The federal Department of Education and Training and the Chinese Ministry of Education are organising a forum on Transnational Education and Student Mobility in Beijing, 27-28 March, directly following the 2015 APAIE (Asia-Pacific Association for International Education) conference.

The one-and-a-half day forum will bring together government, peak body and education institutions from across China and Australia, to look at current policies and future trends in Sino-Australian transnational education, and explore cooperation models, quality assurance mechanisms and measures for promoting two-way student mobility.

There is no cost, but numbers will be limited to around 50 participants from Australia, with China expecting around 100.

Those interested in participating should contact the Australian Embassy in Beijing at  or directly contact Cathryn Hlavka, Minister Counsellor (Education and Research), Australian Embassy, Beijing, Tel: + 86 10 5140 4241

Reminder: TDA/AVETRA 2015 Innovation Scholarship closes 27 February

The second round of the TDA and AVETRA joint ‘Innovation Scholarship’ for 2015 is open and due to close COB 27 February.

This Scholarship awards $6,000 to a TAFE practitioner, or group of practitioners, to research innovative ways to work with industry or community to meet skill needs. The aim is to build innovation and applied research capability in TAFE.

David McLean, Deputy Head of the School of Vocational Business Education at RMIT, was the winner in 2014 and will present his research at AVETRA’s Annual Conference in Melbourne in April. David investigated innovative training models for new micro-business start-ups in the Health and Community Services Sector.

The Scholarship supports TDA’s objective to position TAFE in a competitive training market, and AVETRA’s strong commitment to the development of research in VET nationally.

Applications which contain co-sponsorship contributions by industry are strongly encouraged.

See here for more information on the scholarship guidelines and application form.

Alternatively, email: Pam Caven at TDA or Linda Simon from AVETRA at

TAFE to pilot interactive training technology

TAFE SA is working with a private sector partner to ‘gamify’ training through the use of new interactive technology.

The training simulations use tactile and visual engagement in a 3D-simulated environment to deliver skills online, with less reliance on text and audio.

TAFE SA Executive Director Education Ms Jen Rodger says the work with Etrain Interactive will see simulated training piloted in the construction, carpentry, plumbing, minerals drilling and health programs in early 2015.

See more.

Vacancy for Policy Director at TDA

An opportunity will shortly become available at TDA in the role of Director, Policy.

This full time position may be located in either Sydney or Canberra (negotiable).

As an initial step, please contact Member Services on email: or phone 02 9217 3180 to obtain a Candidate Information Package.

Applications close this Friday, 6th February 2015.

Diary Dates

Victoria University
Financial Sustainability in VET

DATE: 25-26 February 2015
LOCATION: Victoria University City Convention Centre, Melbourne
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Engineering Excellence Project Information Sessions
Australian Industry Group

DATE: February & March 2015
LOCATION: Various locations around Australia
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

VET Development Centre
Learning Lab

DATE: 5 March 2015
LOCATION: Melbourne Convention Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Australian Workplace Practitioners’ Network
Foundation Skills at Work

DATE: 18-20 March 2015
LOCATION: Melbourne, Victoria
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

18th Annual Conference

DATE: 8-10 April 2015
LOCATION: The Rendezvous Grand, Melbourne
DETAILS: More information.

National Congress & Expo

DATE: 2 & 3 June 2015
LOCATION: Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

Western Sydney Careers Expo
DATE: 18-21 June 2015
LOCATION: Showground, Sydney Olympic Park
DETAILS: Click here for more information.

‘No Frills’ conference

DATE: 6-8 July 2015
LOCATION: University of Western Sydney
DETAILS: More information.

VET Development Centre
Teaching and Learning Conference

DATE: 3-4 September 2015
LOCATION: RACV Torquay Resort, Victoria
DETAILS: More information.

National VET Conference
Velg Training

DATE: 17-18 September 2015
LOCATION: Adelaide Convention Centre
DETAILS: More information.


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