A new hope – comment by CEO Craig Robertson

A new hope – comment by CEO Craig Robertson

This past week has been one of contrasting victories.

The winning jockey in the Melbourne Cup, Jye McNeil, in his first ride in the Cup, guided Twilight Payment at the front of the pack for the bulk of the race, a brave move for even the most experienced. A fairy tale story, even.

Many of us then may have thought the winner of the race to the White House would have been known in double-quick time, yet the world has been forced to hang on for four days before the media has been confident enough to call the win to the Biden Harris team.

Some wins are more straightforward while others are a grind, it seems. Yet perseverance seems an appropriate theme to draw from this past week.

Along his life’s journey Joe Biden has lost his first wife and daughter in a car accident and, while Vice President, his eldest son to cancer. In anyone’s books that’s enough to retreat from public life. Yet this is his third attempt at the presidency. Even early in the Primaries he was middle of the pack of would-be Democratic nominees for the Presidency.

The scenes of jubilation in the streets in the US on Biden’s success could be sheeted home to relief that Trump will soon exit the White House, but I suspect at the core it’s a celebration of a new hope. A sense that government can act for the people by starting with addressing the coronavirus and then turning to building hope for the future for all Americans.

2020 has shown that in sharp relief – we have been reminded of the fragility of population health, economic certainty and life itself.

Images here in Australia of the long queues of people outside Centrelink offices registering for income support crystalised our own uncertainty. No demographic seemed to be spared, although we know young people and women were most represented.

JobKeeper and JobSeeker alone demonstrate the power of government acting for people. How governments in Australia continue to act to build that confidence in the people is still an act to play out I suspect.

For Australia, this week, it’s apt to turn our attention to NAIDOC week. It’s a story of perseverance and the call for opportunity for owners of this land.

See our introduction below and follow the links to the great stories from our TAFEs about the recognition of our first peoples.

TAFEs, as agents of their governments, are the living demonstration that concerted government effort can make a difference in the lives of all Australians, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.


TAFEs pay their respects and acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional custodians of the land, rivers and sea. TAFEs acknowledge and pay our respects to the Elders, past, present, and emerging, of all nations.

NAIDOC Week celebrations are usually held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year because of the COVID-19 pandemic NAIDOC Week was postponed to November.

NAIDOC is celebrated in Indigenous communities and by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

This year’s theme is Always Was, Always Will Be and recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.

The 2020 national NAIDOC poster, Shape of Land, was designed by Tyrown Waigana, a Noongar (Perth region) and Saibai Islander (Torres Strait) man.

Tyrown’s artwork tells the story of how the rainbow serpent came out of the Dreamtime to create this land. The colour from the rainbow serpent is reflected on to the figure to display our connection to the rainbow serpent, thus connection to country. The overlapping colours on the outside is the Dreamtime. The figure inside is a representation of Indigenous Australians showing that this country – since the dawn of time – Always Was, Always Will Be Aboriginal land.

Mr Waigana – who has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in graphic design, advertising and illustration and photography – runs his own brand and business Crawlin Crocodile.

‘My passion for art and design comes from an early age and my goal is to make a living of being an artist and take on exciting new creative projects.’

‘I love to learn new techniques and platforms I can create on, he said.

Take the time to read the stories of TAFE contribution to advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

TDA launches report into applied research

Applied Research. You hear it talked about often enough in circles of learned individuals. But what does it actually mean? Who does it and why? And why does Australia need it now more than ever for its post-COVID economic recovery?

Applied research does suffer from a somewhat uninspiring name. Maybe if it was renamed as ‘research solving real world problems for businesses’, it may get more interest and better traction in Australia. Applied research is in fact a targeted intervention to bring technology and know-how to solve real-world production and service issues within small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Granted, a bit of a mouthful.

As Australia seeks to return to pre-COVID economic activity, SMEs will need targeted and sustained support. Businesses emerging from COVID are likely to pursue transformation, however, they face significant challenges in accessing services and the support needed to adapt. TAFEs’ engagement with businesses based on an applied research model is one tangible and practical solution to rebuilding resilience in SMEs and family businesses. The capability to undertake practical research and apply it into the business or industry is the key to success – for the business, employees and ultimately the economy.

Cisco, Optus and TDA have teamed up to produce SMEs and TAFEs Collaborating through Applied Research for Growth, a report which recommends the Australian Government investment in a one year pilot of an applied research model where TAFEs collaborate with SMEs to develop or enhance products and improve services and processes.

The report has been informed by lessons learned from 15 years of successful applied research in Canadian colleges. The Canadians do it very well as it happens. In 2017-2018, research activity in Canadian colleges and institutes led to more than 4,400 new processes, products, prototypes and services. Approximately 87 per cent of these results were achieved in less than a year. Innovation with tangible results? Yes please.

The full report makes the case for the place of innovation in a COVID recovery, including for investing in TAFE institute practice-based innovation. It highlights successful examples of applied research in Australia through case studies at Holmesglen Institute for the water industry and TAFE Queensland for the gas industry. Importantly, an analysis of the journey the Canadian Government has taken in building the capacity of Canadian colleges demonstrates the benefit of investing in applied research capacity in TAFEs here in Australia.

This Australian SME and family business research initiative, supported by Cisco and Optus, is part of a suite of timely and innovative public policy initiatives TDA is bringing forward for government consideration on behalf of the Australian people and their communities. It complements an earlier initiative, Critical Role of Blue Tech and Digital Skills in Australia’s Economic Recovery for the Australian Government to work with industry and TAFEs for greater national action on developing blue tech and digital skills, including for SMEs and family businesses.

The expression ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ means that a need or problem often encourages creative efforts to meet that need or solve that problem. It sounds a bit like applied research, and the need has never been greater than now.

New course teaches staff how to handle rude and aggressive customers

One of the features of the COVID pandemic has been the challenge for many frontline staff in dealing with aggressive and difficult customers, particularly in hospitality and retail.

Now, the Australian and Industry Skills Committee has fast-tracked a new skill set that is specifically designed to help staff resolve these difficult situations.

The Manage disrespectful, aggressive or abusive customers skillset is one of five endorsed by the AISC’s Emergency Response Sub-Committee.

“This skill set includes a new cross sectoral unit of competency and has been developed to support front line workers in customer service roles with the skills and knowledge they need to better manage interactions with disrespectful and aggressive customers,” AISC said.

Other new skill sets endorsed are:

  • Digital Skills for Small Business
  • Entry into Technology
  • Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Operator Induction Skill Set
  • Deliver E-Learning Skill Set
  • Manage disrespectful, aggressive or abusive customers

See more

GOTAFE named Inclusive Training Provider of the Year at Victorian awards

The Victorian Training Awards last week completed the series of online announcements, with GOTAFE named as Inclusive Training Provider of the Year.

The prestigious Lynne Kosky Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement went to two longstanding leaders of the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated (VAEAI) – President, Geraldine Atkinson, and General Manager, Lionel Bamblett.

The Wurreker Strategy developed by VAEAI and launched by the late Lynne Kosky in 2000 forms the basis of the education partnership between the Koorie community and TAFE in Victoria.

The Teacher Trainer of the Year is Kevin Nunn of TAFE Gippsland.

Trainee of the Year is Nicole Barrow who studied her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing at Box Hill Institute.

Koorie Student of the Year is Matthew Atkinson, studying a Certificate IV in Community Services at the Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association.

The People’s Choice Award for Apprentice of the Year went to Nellie Baker who completed a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician at NECA Education and Careers.

The Community Training Provider of the Year was The Centre for Continuing Education.

Local jobs recovery funding available in regional areas

The federal government has opened tenders for organisations in regional areas to receive funding of up to $200,000 to develop projects, including mentoring, training and reskilling.

The Local Recovery Fund is a part of the Local Jobs Program that will fund projects in 25 regions experiencing high unemployment.

The Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Michaelia Cash, said the funded projects will be locally driven initiatives, aligned to each region’s employment priorities, as identified in a Local Job Plan.

As part of the Local Jobs Program 25 employment facilitators, have been engaged to help connect job seekers to local employment opportunities.

Applications for the first round of funding are open until November 30, with funding available from mid-December.

See more

Live event to dissect the future of the mining workforce

TDA is one of a number of organisations featuring this Friday, 13 November, in a livestream event focusing on skills, training and the future workforce opportunities in the mining sector.

The event is hosted by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment and the Mining Skills Organisation Pilot.

Details:  Friday 13 November, 1 – 2pm AEDT

It will include an expert discussion on how changing technologies and future global demands are shifting the skills needs of the mining industry.

For more information and to register, see here.

Hundreds of free training places offered in NSW Summer skills promotion

The NSW government is opening up hundreds of fee-free training courses as part of a Summer skills program for school leavers and job seekers.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the courses come from the $320 million committed to delivering 100,000 fee-free training places across the state.

School leavers will have the opportunity to experience a range of skills to find out what suits their passions.

The skills offered will cover a range of industries including agriculture, construction, conservation, fitness, engineering, coding, communication and digital literacy.

See more

International vocational and industry training symposium on tomorrow

The inaugural International Vocational Education and Industry Training Symposium will be held tomorrow, Tuesday 10 November, 5.30 pm – 8.30 pm (AEDT).

The symposium is an innovative Hub & Node physical and virtual conference organised by the International Vocational Education and Industry Training Association (IVEITA) and hosted by Shaanxi Polytechnic Institute, China, and Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiārangi, New Zealand.

It will bring together industry and educational leaders, politicians and government agencies, practitioners and learners in vocational education and industry training to share their experiences, strengthen international collaboration and plan future initiatives and projects.

The symposium is structured around three interwoven themes:

  • The role of leadership and governance in re-shaping vocational education and industry training.
  • Validating and supporting workplace learning to enhance inclusion for all.
  • Learning design and assessment frameworks supporting employability.

Further information on the symposium is available here and you can register here.

Diary Dates

AVETRA 2020 Researcher Development Series
Webinars designed for early career, emerging and practitioner researchers
June 2020 – March 2021
More information

OctoberVET 2020
A series of online events in October showcasing VET research and discussion.

‘Social justice research and vocational education: A conversation with Professor Liz Atkins (University of Derby, UK)’

Host: Dr Teressa Schmidt (CQUniversity) Member of AVETRA Executive Committee

Date: This is a pre-recorded interview, which is available here: Recording

Enquiries: Dr Teressa Schmidt  t.schmidt@cqu.edu.au

Flyer: Attached

The multi-stakeholder engagement model (the ecosystem) for applied research and innovation in the Basque Country: insights from TKNIKA’ withIñigo Araiztegui and Unai Ziarsolo (TKNIKA).

Host: Andrew Williamson (Holmesglen Institute of TAFE)

Date: 5th November, 9am – 10.30 (AEDT)

Webinar Link: Provided upon registration

Enquiries: Andrew.williamson@holmesglen.edu.au

Flyer: Attached

Register here

‘How can VET teachers apply the Principles of Universal Design in Education to support learners of all abilities?’ with Annemaree Gibson and Annie Carney (Teaching and Learning Enhancement, Box Hill Institute)

Date: 4th November, 12.30pm – 1.30pm (AEDT)

Webinar Link: Provided upon registration

Enquiries: tle@boxhill.edu.au

Flyer: Attached

Register here

‘Learning in turbulent times’, hosted by Federation University, featuring Anthony Mann (OECD) speaking about ‘Young people and the COVID-19 Labour Market’ along with three Federation University presentations focusing on Men’s Sheds; Community learning in adversity; and People’s learning about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Date: 16th November, 6pm – 8pm (AEDT)

Webinar Link: Provided upon registration

Enquiries: vet.research@federation.edu.au

Flyer: Attached

Register here

VDC 2020 Virtual Teaching & Learning Conference
19 & 20 November 2020
Registrations Open

Australian Training Awards
20 November 2020
Virtual event
More information

Velg Training & MRWED
30 November – 4 December 2020
More information

TAFE Directors Australia Convention 2021
29 – 30 April 2021
Westin Hotel, Perth
More information coming soon

Worldskills Australia
28 April – 2 May 2021
Perth Exhibition and Convention Centre
More information