TDA Newsletter 15 May 2017

Federal budget unveils a new model of skills funding

The federal budget saw a new model of funding for vocational training, with the announcement of a skills fund that will support state and territory-led projects that meet defined Commonwealth criteria.

The $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund effectively replaces the National Partnership Agreement on Skills and aims to create 300,000 new apprenticeships over four years.

States and territories will be required to put forward projects, provide matching funding, and achieve agreed milestones.

The Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews told a post-budget breakfast that the fund “marks an unprecedented re-engineering” of how the federal government works with state and territories on VET.

“It will only support state and territory-led projects that deliver on the aims of the fund,” Ms Andrews said.

“It will have shared funding commitments and accountability for each and every outcome.”

The budget also saw a new $60 million Industry Specialist Mentoring Program to support 47,000 apprentices.

TDA Chief Executive Craig Robertson welcomed the measures, saying TAFEs were keen to work with the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to help identify projects that meet the government’s criteria.

Commonwealth, state and territory ministers will meet on June 2 to commence negotiations about the projects that will proceed under the skills fund.

See the government’s vocational education budget measures

See TDA’s media release 

Federal opposition promises guaranteed funding for TAFE

In his Budget-in-Reply, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten promised that Labor would guarantee two-thirds of public vocational education funding for TAFE.

He also promised to deliver an additional $637 million in funding to VET, on top of the government’s $1.5 billion skills fund, and establish a $100 million Building TAFE for the Future Fund.

TDA Chief Executive Craig Robertson welcomed the promises, saying it demonstrated a strong commitment to the role of TAFE as pivotal to training and apprenticeships.

See Labor’s plan for VET

See TDA’s media release

Government skills fund to support ex-ADF personnel

One of the key elements of the federal government’s new skills fund, announced in the budget, is the role it will play in helping ex-ADF personnel transition to civilian life.

The Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews said the fund would support projects that helped ease the adjustment faced by veterans.

“The focus of the projects will also be on supporting former Australian Defence Force service men and women to transition out of the services into an apprenticeship or traineeship pathway,” Ms Andrews said.

The announcement follows the ADF skills and apprenticeships forum in Canberra in March, jointly hosted by TDA and the National Apprentice Employment Network.

Audit office clears education department over apprentice grants

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has cleared the Department of Education and Training over the way it administered grants for a pilot program to test alternative forms of apprentice training.

Following an inquiry, ANAO said that the department established the Apprenticeship Training – alternative delivery pilots program in December 2015 in accordance with Commonwealth grants rules and guidelines.

As part of the program, the department awarded a first stream of grants for up to $1.84 million each to Master Builders Australia, the National Electrical and Communications Association, and the North East Vocational College (NEVC), a college associated with former Family First senator Bob Day.

ANAO said that a report by the government’s Apprenticeships Reform Advisory Group had recommended against supporting Senator Day’s NEVC proposal.

However, ANAO said the first stream of funding was a closed non-competitive process which was permissible under the guidelines.

See more.

Test cricketer Nathan Lyon becomes the latest apprentice ambassador

Australian test cricketer Nathan Lyon has been named as the latest high-profile figure to become an Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador.

The former apprentice groundkeeper at Canberra’s Manuka Oval joins figures including celebrity carpenter, Scott Cam; AFL legend and former plumber Kevin Sheedy, stylist to the stars, Renya Xydis, and former Canberra Raider Alan Tongue.

Lyon commenced his apprenticeship, studying a Certificate III in Horticulture (Turf) at Canberra Institute of Technology, before becoming a curator’s assistant at Adelaide Oval, and then an outstanding cricket career where he has taken 247 test wickets.

Nathan’s was hugely popular speaker at the 2016 TDA convention gala dinner in Melbourne last October.

Congratulations Nathan from everyone in the TAFE community!

Australia China Careers Fair Roadshow: 30 June to July 2

With approximately 80% of Chinese students returning home after graduation, Chinese students need increased support from Australian institutions to help them find internships and employment.

The Australia China Careers Fair Roadshow aims to service these students and graduates and demonstrate the commitment of Australian providers to serving the career needs of this key international cohort.

Following the success of past Careers Fairs delivered by the Australian Chamber of Commerce Shanghai (AustCham Shanghai) and the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), the two organisations are joining forces to host the Roadshow in Shanghai and Beijing from June 30 – July 2, 2017.

The careers fairs in China’s two largest cities will take place during the student vacation period and support the career development of both current Chinese students and graduates of Australian institutions by linking them with key Chinese and Australian businesses operating in China.

Australian institutions will also have the opportunity to make connections with a large group of Chinese employers to facilitate employment and internship opportunities

Austrade China is keen to see increased participation from Australian TAFEs in the Careers Fair Roadshow.

If TAFE institutes are interested please contact either Jen Bahen ( or Rhett Miller, Austrade Shanghai ( for further information.

2017 Australian training awards applications close 31 May

The Australian Training Awards are the peak, national awards for the vocational education and training (VET) sector, recognising individuals businesses and registered training organisations for their contribution to skilling Australia.

The direct entry categories of the 2017 Australian Training Awards are open for application and include:



Registered Training Organisation

How to apply
Enter directly to the Australian Training Awards by completing the nomination from the website. Applications close Wednesday 31 May 2017.

For more information
Visit our website at Australian Training  or email

This year the Australian Training Awards will be held in Canberra on Thursday 23 November. For real time updates you can find the Australian Training Awards on social media:


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