Empowering Culturally Diverse Leaders: TasTAFE’s Innovative Program with MCOT


March 2023

Culturally diverse future leaders gain skills

Tasmania’s immigration growth and overrepresentation of culturally diverse workers in entry-level jobs has led to an initiative to grow leadership skills within the State’s multiethnic community.

TasTAFE have worked collaboratively with the Multicultural Council of Tasmania (MCOT) to develop their Diverse Leadership Program, preparing current and emerging leaders for decision-making roles within the workplace and community.

Applicants from culturally diverse backgrounds faced a rigorous expression of interest process to select 25 learners, who are already in the workforce, for the inaugural program.  

They’ll study seven units of competency drawn from Certificate IV and Diploma level business qualifications, focusing on emotional intelligence, project management, leading difficult conversations and developing teams and individuals.

Shared values, shared processes

MCOT chose TasTAFE as their education partner, recognising their reputation for quality

“TasTAFE have the structures for successful learning. We’re committed to productive partnerships, so don’t have to reinvent that wheel. They’re 100% committed to this, as are we. So that’s a recipe for success.

People from different backgrounds are involved in the program design, putting that cultural lens over every decision we make. That’s integral to how MCOT does business.”

“Working with MCOT has been fantastic and good timing. Our new ten-year strategic plan includes themes of increasing access and participation and putting our learners at the centre of what we do. This initiative speaks exactly to that. We’re planning for this to become an annual program, not grant dependant, but hopefully industry led.”

Structured collaboration

Using a co-ownership model, MCOT and TasTAFE have ensured their program is fit for purpose and contextualised to the diverse nature of its learners.  

“The right people were involved from the beginning, with a Project Steering Committee established to develop the program. Underneath that there’s a working group of teachers and MCOT staff. These two governance layers make a big difference. It’s well structured, well informed. The work was done upfront to build a collaborative relationship.”

Flexibility in product design

By listening and understanding MCOT’s requirements, TasTAFE has used the flexibility of the VET system to meet specific development needs of the diverse participants.

“There’s a genuine willingness to tailor this product to meet the needs of participants, rather than a top-down approach. I applaud the project team for navigating the necessary quality requirements to find solutions. Flexibility in the approach to the delivery model is one of the most exciting things to come out of this.”

“We mixed and matched training package units that complement the outcomes MCOT want, explaining options and pathways. The whole idea is that this is flexible and responsive, with customised content. For example, delivery of the workshops is on weekends to better suit learners. And we provide extensive learner support outside of that. It’s not an off-the-shelf course, but highly tailored.”

TasTAFE and MCOT are committed to working together to break down barriers for migrant and culturally diverse workers and help them prove their skills at higher levels in business.

“There’s talent on employers’ doorsteps that they aren’t tapping into. There are solutions but it takes ‘outside-the-box’ thinking.

Our experience with TasTAFE has been exceptional. Their willingness to adapt, and change has been second to none. I’d recommend that businesses with skill shortages partner with TasTAFE to help solve their labour problems, which are so topical right now.”