TDA Newsletter 7 April 2015

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Federal government considering escape clause for duped VET students

The federal government is considering a new ‘cooling-off’ provision that would allow students signed up by some colleges to back out of agreements.

The Australian reports that Assistant Education Minister Senator Simon Birmingham is evaluating a two-step enrolment system to stop colleges recruiting students signed up as a result of door-to-door sales and other high pressure techniques.

“It should be an opt-in process that operates a little like a cooling-off period,” Senator Birmingham said.

“Rather than opting out at the end of that period, they would have to opt-in as a demonstration of their ­enthusiasm and commitment to do the course.”

Senator Birmingham has also issued a warning to recruitment companies about using bogus job ads in order to gather personal details of job applicant which are passed on to training providers.

“If I find the current laws are inadequate to deal with it, I will be happy to strengthen the rules,” he said.

A new home and a new minister for TAFE NSW

TAFE NSW has been moved from the education portfolio to the industry portfolio and a new minister as part of Premier Mike Baird’s cabinet reshuffle.

Responsibility for TAFE will shift from Education Minister Adrian Piccoli to fellow National MP, John Barilaro, Minister for Regional Development, Skills and Small Business.

Premier Baird said the Coalition made a number of significant announcements on TAFE during the campaign “that indicate the importance of the vocational education and training sector in the Government’s push to create 150,000 new jobs during its second term of office.”

Minister Barilaro, who managed a building firm in Queanbeyan before entering parliament, has been a strong supporter of apprenticeships and training.

TDA extends its congratulations to Minister Barilaro on his new responsibilities.

South Australia to review courses in policy shake-up

The South Australian government has released a new training blueprint to replace the ’Skills for All’ scheme.

Meanwhile, the State Opposition has released a financial performance summary which, it says, shows payments to TAFE SA from the Skills for All program have fallen by almost $49 million this year.

Announcing the reforms, Higher Education and Skills Minister Gail Gago said: “Currently, there are about 900 subsidised courses. Today more than 200 courses that have no students – and more than 150 courses that do not align with the state’s economic priorities or strategic industry needs – will undergo a review.”

A refined list of courses will be released on May 1 and will be subject to consultation with the training and skills sector, and will take effect on July 1.

See more.

ASQA approves TAFE Directors’ tuition assurance scheme

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has approved the tuition assurance scheme (TAS) operated by TDA as suitable for the protection of fees prepaid by vocational education and training (VET) students.

Registered training organisations (RTOs) must protect fees that are prepaid by students in excess of a total of $1,500.

ASQA Chief Commissioner Chris Robinson said: “TAFE Directors Australia applied to ASQA seeking approval for its TAS and, following an extensive assessment, ASQA has determined that TDA’s scheme provides the necessary protection of prepaid student fees and approved its recognition under the national Standards for RTOs.”

Under the TDA TAS, if a member RTO is unable to provide the training for which it has received payment, the student will be placed with a suitable alternative. If no suitable alternative place can be found, fees will be refunded.

See more.

New job services providers announced

The Commonwealth Department of Employment has announced contracts to 66 organisations, including a number of TAFE Institutes, to deliver employment services as part of its new ‘jobactive’ program.

Jobactive will provide $5 billion over three years to deliver job services to 51 employment regions across Australia.

The new model, to come into effect on July 1, will provide outcome payments at four, 12 and 26 weeks to ensure job seekers take up work opportunities, including seasonal work.

Holmesglen and Box Hill Institute secured a number of contracts.

See the full list of providers.

International education strategy gets a thumbs-up

TAFE Directors Australia has welcomed the release by Education Minister Christopher Pyne of the Draft National Strategy for International Education.

TDA’s Acting CEO, Malcolm White commended the government for finally responding to the recommendations of the Chaney Report, Educating Globally, which was released over two years ago.

“We are particularly pleased to see a strong emphasis on vocational education and training and the significant benefits this sector does, and can, provide,” he said.

“We now look forward to a May budget which provides clear incentives and investments to achieve this,” Mr White said.

The Minister said that international education is a $16.3 billion export industry that supports 130,000 jobs nationally.

“It has been estimated that over the next decade international education could double in value to the Australian economy, creating tens of thousands of local jobs,” he said.

See the Draft National Strategy for International Education.

See TDA’s media release.

Financial advice tool now available for VET students

Apprentices and trainees will be able to improve their money management skills, following the release of ‘Be MoneySmart’ – a financial education resource aimed at those in the vocational education and training sector.

The resource was developed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), in consultation with the Australian Tax Office, Group Training Australia, Fair Work Building and Construction, Bendigo Kangan Institute and Innovation and Business Skills.

Be MoneySmart covers five topics – saving, budgeting and spending; personal tax; superannuation; debt management; and insurance.

It is a free, online resource that can be used for accredited training as part of the Certificate III in Financial Services or for general money management skills development programs.

It is also available as a package for training organisations.

See more.

Vietnam and TAFE NSW expand their training partnership

TAFE NSW and the Government of Vietnam have signed a new MOU that will see education and vocational training expanded to more colleges in Ho Chi Minh City.

The MOU will allow Vietnam’s most prestigious provider of vocational education, EMG Education, to roll out extra programs over the next three years with TAFE NSW.

TAFE NSW Managing Director Pam Christie said the training program which began earlier this month has been such a success that both parties agreed to expand the program across additional colleges.

“The continuing progress of this program will see students improve both their English language and vocational skills,” Ms Christie said.

Activities began this week with the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment professional development program which will be delivered to 30 vocational teachers who will then deliver TAFE NSW courses with the support of five TAFE NSW Institutes.

Closer partnership: TAFE NSW Chair, Margy Osmond and Managing Director, Pam Christie; Vietnam’s Minister for Education, Pham Vu Luan; EMG Education Chairman, Hung Truong and Sydney TAFE Director, David Riordan.

See more.

Victorian TAFE Association appoints Executive Director

The Victorian TAFE Association has appointed Andrew Williamson as its new Executive Director.

Andrew has held a number of senior positions in the Victorian VET sector, most recently in the Victorian Department of Education and Training, where he was Acting Director of TAFE Governance and Performance Monitoring in the Higher Education and Skills Group.

Previously, Andrew was an Associate Director at Victoria University, where his leadership responsibilities included industry liaison and innovation in the trades disciplines.

He is a founding member and past President of VALA (Victorian Applied Learning Association) and past President of VISTA, the peak professional association for managers and leaders in the Victorian VET sector.

TDA extends its congratulations to Andrew on his new role.

More funding to help young carers

The federal government will provide an additional 150 bursaries to help young carers to continue study or vocational training.

Carers Australia received 800 applications for bursaries this year.

Due to the strong demand, the Young Carer Bursary Programme will provide an extra 150 bursaries worth a total of $450,000 – on top of the 150 already announced.

The government will also provide $50,000 to Carers Australia to support the delivery of the bursaries.

There are more than 300,000 young carers under 25 who look after people with disability, physical or mental health issues, or older people in need of help.

See more.

Diary Dates

WAVE National Conference
Leaders, teachers, learners, leavers: Women in the Australian VET market

DATE: 8 April 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.

Group Training Association of NSW & ACT
The future of work: Rethinking employment, training and skills in NSW and ACT

DATE: 7 May 2015
LOCATION: Amora Hotel, Sydney
DETAILS: More information.

Global Concepts Symposium
Centre for Excellence & LH Martin Institute

DATE: 27 May 2015
LOCATION: Perth, Western Australia
DETAILS: More information coming soon.

National Congress & Expo

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

Navigating the new world: New challenges = New Opportunities

DATE: 4 June 2015
LOCATION: Sofitel Wentworth Hotel, Sydney
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.

Victorian TAFE Association
2015 State Conference – Leading Transformational Change

DATE: 16-17 July 2015
LOCATION: RACV Club, Melbourne
DETAILS: More information coming soon.

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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