A win for TAFE students at the summit – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

A win for TAFE students at the summit – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

It was a privilege to be part of the Jobs and Skills Summit last week in Canberra. However, I was not expecting that before 8.15am on Day One that TAFE would be the main story! In his opening address to the delegates the Prime Minister announced the $1billion ‘blitz for training’ with the announcement of the additional TAFE fee-free places.

On behalf of all TDA members, thank you Prime Minister, Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers. We are delighted to see taxpayer funding going into the provision of public vocational education and training in our not-for-profit TAFE sector.

This commitment to TAFE being at the heart of Australia’s vocational education and training sector is very welcome. These fee-free places will provide access to skills development for many who may not have been able to study. It sends an important message that all have opportunities to enrol in a TAFE course next year – to upskill or to gain a first qualification.

The theme of improving opportunities for all was dominant at the Summit. The first day included startling figures and facts about Australia’s poor performance in terms of equal opportunity and pay for women. There was much discussion of what needs to be done to improve the experience of women and how to get more women into the workforce.

The second day was highlighted by a panel of young people who shared their powerful lived experiences of work and careers. Students with disability, from disadvantaged backgrounds, or those whose first language is not English are already more likely to choose TAFE over other training providers. These fee-free places will further support opportunities for these students.

TDA’s partnerships with Adult Learning Australia (ALA) and with the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) will be important as we deliver learning to students who enrol through the fee-free places. We are in the middle of Adult Learners Week, and TDA acknowledges the important work of ALA in enabling students to gain foundation skills to come into a TAFE course. TDA also applauds the work of BSL, so powerfully demonstrated in the panel of young people who spoke at the Summit mentioned above.

Lastly, this injection into TAFE sends a wonderful message to TAFE staff. It is an acknowledgement that what we do in TAFE is valued. Tomorrow is TAFE day where the Australian Education Union will affirm its message that at least 70% of funding in vocational education and training should be for TAFE. We’re on track for that at last. This week TDA acknowledges the amazing work of all our teachers.

TDA welcomes $1.1bn TAFE package

TDA applauded the government’s decision at last week’s Jobs and Skills Summit to provide 180,000 fee-free TAFE places at a cost of $1.1 billion, starting in 2023.

In a media release, TDA CEO Jenny Dodd said it was a “tremendous vote of confidence in the power of the country’s TAFE system to drive the skills revolution.”

“It is also a very positive sign about the capacity of all levels of government to work cooperatively to deliver jobs, skills and the workforce capacity that will be needed”.

Yesterday the Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor said the federal government has put $3.7 billion on the table for a new five-year national skills agreement with the states and territories, commencing in 2024.

“But it does need reform and the state and territory ministers agree in-principle with me that we need to reform the sector so we’re providing the skills necessary,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Frankly, this is one of the biggest, most important areas of public policy in relation to feeding the labour market and providing the skills employers are crying out for.”

Mr O’Connor also said the government was looking at options to boost apprentice completions, including ways that employers can contribute.

“Let’s be honest, it’s not just for governments to be providing support,” he said.

“It has to be a commitment from employers, and where you see employers provide, for example, employment guarantees or future ongoing work, you see a greater likelihood of completion of apprenticeships and training.”

Summit wraps up – now the work begins

The Jobs and Skills Summit wrapped up in Canberra on Friday with agreement to review VET qualifications, overhaul apprentice support, and grow the VET workforce.

The two-day summit set out a reform roadmap that includes 36 immediate actions and 30 areas for further work.

The Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor said the summit had focused on what can be done immediately to strengthen VET and get more people trained, while addressing longer term challenges that are “structural, systemic and cultural”.

“After a decade of inaction, we have taken immediate steps since taking Government to plan for the future, address skills gaps and strengthen our VET sector,” Minister O’Connor said.

“As an immediate first step, state and territory skills ministers and the Australian Government will work together to agree a 12-month Skills Agreement to strengthen the TAFE sector.”

Key Immediate Actions
Accelerate the delivery of 465,000 additional fee-free TAFE places, with 180,000 to be delivered next year, with costs shared with the states and territories on a 50:50 basis

Legislate Jobs and Skills Australia

Jobs and Skills Australia to commission a workforce capacity study on the clean energy workforce

Extend visas and relax work restrictions on international students

Increase the permanent Migration Program ceiling to 195,000 in 2022-23

Update the Fair Work Act

Establish a tripartite National Construction Industry Forum to address mental health, safety, training, apprentices, productivity, culture, diversity and gender equity

Implement a Digital and Tech Skills Compact with business and unions to deliver Digital Apprenticeships


Key Areas for Further Work
Restart discussions for a five-year National Skills AgreementDevelop a blueprint to grow the VET workforce

Reinvigorate foundation skills programs

Explore options to improve the apprenticeship support system and boost completions

Reform the framework for VET qualifications and micro-credentials

Review STEM programs to attract First Nations people, women, people with a disability and low SES cohorts

Mr O’Connor released a statement yesterday outlining the government’s plan to make the VET system fit for purpose and avoid students needing to study “the same thing over and over again which is wasteful and costly.”

“Due to transferable skills being poorly recognised, students may need to undertake duplicate additional training that delivers similar skills to those they already have in order to move into a new job,” he said.

Mr O’Connor said many of the ideas raised during the summit will be explored further over the next 12 months as part of the Employment White Paper.

The government will release the terms of reference for the White Paper and begin accepting submissions later this month.

See the Jobs and Skills Summit Outcomes

See Minister O’Connor’s address to the Jobs and Skills Summit

See Treasury’s Jobs Summit YouTube Playlist

Rigid, inflexible VET system in need of overhaul, TDA tells summit

The jobs summit skills and training panel (from left), Brendan O’Connor, Minister for Skills and Training; Jennifer Westacott, Business Council of Australia; Correna Haythorpe, Australian Education Union; Mary Faraone, TAFE Directors Australia; Innes Willox, Australian Industry Group; and Professor Duncan Bentley, Federation University Australia.


Mary Faraone, TAFE Directors Australia Chair and Chief Executive of Holmesglen, urged the Jobs and Skills Summit to address falling demand for training, and the need for an overhaul of the broader VET system.

Ms Faraone told the summit that “churn, attrition and low demand” for some of the most in-demand skills and “woeful” apprentice completion rates needed urgent attention.

There was softening demand from students in areas such as nursing, health related programs, early childhood education, and aged care, she said.

Holmesglen’s work with apprentices indicated that the majority of issues related to attrition in apprenticeships were workplace-related.

“They don’t leave because they don’t like the training, they leave because of workplace issues,” Ms Faraone said.

The other key issue was the VET system and training products.

“It was established 25 years ago and it’s considered to be too rigid, too complex and inflexible, and not focused sufficiently on transferable skills for current workplaces….” Ms Faraone said.

TDA proposes an overhaul of the system and products, “including the role of microcredentials, which are useful in upskilling and rescaling and should augment qualifications, not replace them.”

See Mary Faraone’s comments to the Summit.

Dual sector partnership with industry delivering work-ready graduates

Professor Duncan Bentley, Vice-Chancellor and President of Federation University told the Summit there was a need to break down barriers and address opportunities for students in the regions and from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“University enrolments for lower socioeconomic students are stuck at fifteen per cent. And yet we know from the megatrends report that most future jobs will require a higher qualification or a degree,” he said.

Federation University’s approach has pushed boundaries.

“I’m going to say something which is quite shocking … when you combine work and learning, graduates have better employment skills, students are less likely to drop out and they’re more likely to continue learning throughout their career,” Professor Bentley said.

In partnership with IBM, Federation University Technology Park in Ballarat has developed a co-design and co-delivery model that produces thousands of graduates from school to PhD level.

“Not surprisingly, IBM hires seventy-five per cent of the graduates,” Professor Bentley said.

“Seven years later, seventy per cent of them are still with IBM in global careers. The other students are snapped up by SMEs in the Technology Park or in Ballarat. Ninety per cent work in the regions,” he said.

“Federation and  IBM have shown that co-design, co-creation and co-delivery in the workplace works.

“We are now scaling it to all students across every discipline and sector.”

See Professor Bentley’s comment to the Summit.

Celebrate Adult Learners Week, 1-8 September

Adult Learners Week is celebrated across Australia from 1–8 September 2022. This year’s theme is ‘Connect With Learning’ – and the focus is on discovery, connection and exploration through learning.

Adult Learners’ Week celebrates its 27th anniversary this year. Each year, Adult Learners highlights the benefits of learning – in the home, at work and in the community – and showcases the range of adult learning options available for all Australians.

To find an event in your area, visit adultlearnersweek.org, or check out Adult Learners’ Week on Facebook.

Read stories of adults who have challenged themselves and renewed their lives through a wide variety of learning and education programs.

Adult Learners’ Week is coordinated by Adult Learning Australia, the national peak body for adult and community education. It is a UNESCO initiative supported in Australia by the Commonwealth Government.


Summit attendees Jenny Macaffer, CEO, Adult Learning Australia; Dylan Alcott, Australian of the Year; and Jenny Dodd, CEO, TAFE Directors Australia.

TAFETalks: Supporting Learners Online - registration now open

Wednesday 28 September at 2.00pm AEST (Canberra/Melbourne/Sydney time)

Register now to join TDA in a discussion with Western Sydney University, D2L and TAFE Queensland on supporting learners online.

The session will cover the ‘pedagogy of support’ in the context of online learners including post-COVID hybrid courses and new forms of education into the future. It will also explore Learning Management System (LMS) tools and how they are being used in a TAFE setting to support learners online.

Guest Speakers:

  • Professor Simon Barrie, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President (Academic), Wester Sydney University
  • Mr Tony Maguire, Regional Director, D2L Australia and New Zealand
  • TAFE Queensland

To register for this event, please click here

Ili Pelletier departs after 40 years dedicated to education

After a career of more than 40 years in education, Ili Pelletier is retiring from her role as Associate Director of Higher Education Standards at TAFE NSW.

Ili has dedicated her career to enhancing and advancing life and career opportunities through education, with a particular commitment to widening access and support for all.

Since joining TAFE NSW in 2014, Ili has focussed on developing a unique higher education experience that focuses on applied teaching and learning. Ili’s vision and leadership have been a significant contribution to the success of higher education in TAFE NSW, with the number of higher education courses and students growing exponentially over the last eight years with consistently high student satisfaction and graduate outcomes.

Ili chaired the Australian TAFE Higher Education Provider Network for almost nine years.

Ili will be sorely missed by her colleagues, but her contribution, vision and innovations have provided a firm foundation. She departs with warmest regards and great appreciation.

Register for TDA Convention 2022!

There are a host of amazing speakers preparing for the TDA Convention 2022 in Melbourne 15-17 November.

For further information on registration packages and inclusions, and to register for the event, please click here.

Sponsorship opportunities
The sponsorship prospectus is now available here. To discuss sponsorship opportunities, please contact tdaconvention@absoluteevents.com.au

Stay up to date on convention news and program updates 
For updates on convention news and programming, please subscribe to the TDA Convention 2022 e-newsletter here.

TDA looks forward to welcoming its members, partners and supporters to Adelaide in November 2022 to be part of the conversation on Courage, Change and Challenge: The Future of TAFE.

Queensland extends free TAFE and apprenticeships

The Queensland government has extended its free TAFE and apprenticeships programs for under 25s until mid-next year.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the initiative, which has helped 56,000 people and was due to end this month, will now operate until June 2023 at an additional cost of $21 million.

There are 26 free TAFE programs and 139 free apprenticeships open to under 25s.

The top free TAFE courses have been Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, Certificate III in Individual Support, and Certificate III in Education Support.

The top free apprenticeship courses have been Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician, Certificate III in Carpentry, and Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology.

WorldSkills regional competitions kick off

WorldSkills Australia regional competitions are in full swing across the country, setting the scene for competitive and action-packed national championships next year.

Carpentry competitors in Brisbane and Melbourne had the unique opportunity to compete in the middle of the Bunnings Trade Expo.

While this new batch of WorldSkills competitors are beginning their journey with regional competitions, the Australian WorldSkills Skillaroos are honing their skills ahead of the WorldSkills International Competition which starts this month.

Also, today is the final day to register expressions of interest for chief judge and skill manager roles for the 2023 National Championships and Skills Show at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 14 – 22 August 2023.

The future of learning and teaching – with a twist

Wine tasting anyone? What about a wine tasting with a focus on the future of learning and teaching?

On Wednesday 14 September, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm AEST, D2L in collaboration with Class would like to invite you to a free demo with a difference. In a highly interactive session, a winery will be invited to deliver a hybrid wine tasting while showcasing the best of D2L Brightspace and Class.

  • Taste delicious wines with an expert winemaker
  • Network with like-minded professionals
  • Discover the possibilities of using Brightspace and Class

This event has been specifically designed for senior leaders who are passionate about learning, professional development and teaching. This includes CEOs, COOs, DVCs, PVCs, Learning and Development Directors and Managers, HR Professionals who interface with Professional Development, and Work Integrated Learning Directors/ Managers.

See more

ANZSCO review open for consultation

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is currently being reviewed to update a number of construction-related and emerging occupations.

The consultation commenced 1 September and will be open until 28 September.

The focus is on:

  • Construction-Related Trades Occupations
  • Emerging Occupations identified by the National Skills Commission (NSC) that were unable to be included in the ANZSCO 2021, Australian Update.

ANZSCO describes all occupations in the Australian and New Zealand labour markets and is jointly managed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and Stats NZ.

See details of the consultation. Please email anzsco.maintenance@abs.gov.au with any questions on this consultation or for further information.

Diary Dates

Tasmanian Training Awards

9 September 2022
Wrest Point Hobart
More information

Victorian Training Awards
10 September 2022
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
More information

Community Colleges Australia National Conference
13-14 September 2022
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AVETRA Webinar, Jobs & Skills Summit: What does it mean for VET?
16 September 2022
Register here

NSW Training Awards
16 September 2022
Sydney Town Hall
More information

Queensland Training Awards
17 September 2022
Royal International Convention Centre, Brisbane
More information

WA Training Awards
21 September 2022
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TAFETalks: Supporting Learners Online
28 September 2022
Register here

October 2022
More information

Australian International Education Conference 2022
18-21 October 2022
Gold Coast & Online
More information

2022 National VET Conference
Velg Training
3-4 November 2022
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
More information

TDA Convention 2022
Courage, Change and Challenge – the Future of TAFE
15-17 November 2022
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VDC Teaching & Learning Conference
VET Development Centre
17 & 18 November 2022 (Online)
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TEQSA Conference
23-24 November 2022
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins (and online)
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