Acknowledging refugees on World Refugee Day – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Acknowledging refugees on World Refugee Day – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

From 1827 to 2022 a form of TAFE has existed. That’s nearly 200 years! The first adult technical college was founded in Hobart in 1827 and that was followed closely by a college in Sydney in 1833. TAFE is a part of the fabric of adult education and training in every State and Territory and in all metropolitan and most regional communities.

TAFEs are intergenerational assets – what do we mean by that? In one family many people will have been to TAFE, either as an apprentice, as a trainee, for a short skillset, for an upskilling opportunity, or for a whole qualification. This makes TAFE vital to families, communities, and local employers.

TAFEs have relationships with hundreds of thousands of learners. These relationships generally extend way beyond just a short course, such as first aid. The relationship can extend for six months to multiple years. And learners don’t engage just once, in so many cases they come back to TAFE for a second bite at either a new skill set or a new qualification.

TAFEs are aware of the economic benefits they bring to their local economies and to a multitude of employers. Whether it is the construction industry, manufacturers, the care industry, or emerging industries, TAFEs are responding to industry with local solutions that help transition their workforces.

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with Alison Pennington, Senior Economist from The Australia Institute. Pennington’s 2020 research showed that “over $6 billion in economic activity and 48,000 jobs are supported by the direct operation of TAFE institutes and the TAFE supply-chain”.

Not only does Pennington’s research identify the economic benefits of TAFE, her findings also include the social benefits. TAFE helps “bridge access to further education and jobs pathways in regional areas and for special and at-risk youth groups. TAFE students are more likely to come from low-income households and identify as Aboriginal compared with private VET providers”.

Diversity of students is a characteristic of all TAFEs. Today is World Refugee Day with a theme everyone has the right to feel safe. Each TAFE and their committed staff can point to the work they do with refugees not just through education, but also in terms of integration into communities.

As the TAFE community today we stand with refugees, acknowledging the courage they have demonstrated to re-establish their lives.

New federal skills body to be top priority: PM

The Albanese government’s plan for a new body, Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA), will be one of its top three priorities when the parliament meets next month.

In an interview with The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said ambitious climate change targets, ten days domestic and family violence leave, and the creation of JSA will be the first three pieces of business when parliament resumes on July 26.

“We’ve asked people to bring forward the legislation to create Jobs and Skills Australia; to create the Nationally Determined Contribution [to emissions reductions] and the target – 43 per cent by 2030 and then [zero by] 2050. That legislation will come forward and there may be some appropriation legislation required,” Mr Albanese is quoted as saying.

He said parliament would sit for another two weeks before the budget on October 25. The employment summit is planned for September or early October, he said.

TAFE NSW outlines plan to cater to thousands of extra students

TAFE NSW Managing Director Stephen Brady has laid out a detailed plan to increase training capacity and manage the influx of thousands of new apprentices and trainees under the latest government skilling initiatives.

Speaking at the NSW & ACT Apprentice Employment Network conference in Sydney, Mr Brady outlined the plan to help deliver an additional 70,000 fee-free training places in NSW over the next four years.

A series of TAFE initiatives will aim to increase training capacity, deliver skills more effectively, and fast-track trades teachers. It will see:

  • Teams responsible for apprentices and trainees brought together so stakeholders have a single point of contact for advice and support.
  • The possibility of staggered starts so new cohorts of students can start sooner to minimise wait times.
  • Improved communications around the range of apprentice and trainee offerings, the enrolment process, learner progress and issues management.
  • A new approach to training plans that will trigger consistent and timely communications.
  • A fast-tracked approach to recruiting trades-based teachers, using the Diploma of Adult Education, which could halve the current 18-month lead time.
  • Measures to attract and support new trades teachers including a mentor program and a state-wide peer support network in specific industry areas.

Also, hundreds of additional apprentice and trainee places will become available through expanded facilities and new trades hubs, including the NSW Institute of Applied Technology for Construction in Western Sydney, and the Institute of Applied Technology Digital and Multi-Trades Hub at Meadowbank.

“We’re committed to being customer centric, to listen to your needs and the needs of our learners and to support them to be the next generation of our trades people,” Mr Brady said.

TAFE institutes and teachers recognised in world excellence awards

Australian TAFE institutes, teachers and a senior executive have been honoured at the 2022 World Congress of the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics being held in Donostia-San Sebastián, the Basque Country (Spain).

Mary Campbell, the Chief Executive Officer of TAFE Queensland, and TDA board member was one of three recipients of the Lifetime Achievement award.

Victoria’s Box Hill Institute and TAFE Queensland collected excellence awards in the Construction category.

Box Hill Institute also received an award in the Cyber and Data Security and Social Engineering category.

Box Hill Institute saw two of its outstanding teachers recognised among the best in the world. Dean Champ, a teacher in the Disability Enterprises team, was recognised in the Outstanding Educator category.

Meanwhile, Josh Allison, who was paralysed from the chest down after a tragic accident in 2011 and went on to complete a Diploma of Sport (Coaching and Sport Development) at Box Hill Institute was awarded for Outstanding Student Achievement.

Three Australian organisations – BHP FutureFit Academy, Central Queensland University and North Metropolitan TAFE – received the award in the Indigenous Education category.

TDA extends its congratulations to all the individuals and organisations represented at the excellence awards, and especially to the outstanding Australian representatives!

TDA Convention 2022 – Registrations and Call for Presentations NOW OPEN!


TDA is excited to announce that registrations are now open for the TDA Convention 2022, Courage, Change and Challenge – The Future of TAFE which will take place in Adelaide, South Australia from Tuesday 15 – Thursday 17 November 2022.

The TDA Convention 2022 will be the first opportunity in three years to bring together all TDA members with their key partners and stakeholders – an event not to be missed!

The TDA Convention 2022 is about coming together, reconnecting, collaborating, learning from change, rising to challenges and creating the future together.

It will be a convention to reconnect and reflect on the changes that are occurring within the vocational education and training (VET) sector. It will be a convention that celebrates excellence and innovation, where challenges are seen as opportunities and where delegates can collectively shape the future of TAFE.

Delegates at the TDA Convention 2022 will be in informed and inspired by courageous stories and innovative practices. Presentations will highlight the power of collaboration with colleagues, community and industry. The TDA Convention will bring together different perspectives including from students, staff, employers, industry, community and government.

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

Call for presentations
If you would like to be a part of the TDA Convention 2022 program and collectively shape the future of TAFE, the call for presentations is now open. The deadline for submissions is COB Monday 1 August.

This is an opportunity for TAFE staff and key stakeholders of TAFE to share their stories and experiences of courage and change, and to be the leading providers of solutions to the challenges of the future. Please click here for more information and to download the presentation guidelines.

Sponsorship opportunities
The sponsorship prospectus is coming soon. To discuss sponsorship opportunities, please contact

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.

Group training completion rates better than direct employment, report finds

Group training organisations (GTOs) in NSW are achieving completion rates up to up to 15 percentage points higher than direct employment, according to a new report.

The Apprentice Employment Network (AEN), NSW & ACT commissioned consulting firm, Social Outcomes to develop an evidence-based analysis of the work of GTOs.

The report says the available data suggests that GTOs achieve a completion rate of 65% compared to 59% for those directly employed by a business. However, the data also shows that an average of 7% of apprentices across Australia, and 9% in NSW, who start with GTOs, transfer to direct employment in the same occupation and ultimately complete their qualifications.

“While this is a substantive success in terms of apprenticeships brokered by GTOs, it is recorded as a GTO ‘cancellation’ in the data,” the report says.

“This means that effective completion rates for NSW GTOs are up to 74%, i.e. up to 9% higher than the data reports. In other words, GTOs are achieving up to 15% higher completion rates than direct employers.”

The report says one of the key strengths of GTOs lies in their ability to make good matches between apprentices and trainees with host employers.

“And because GTOs also have relationships with local school career advisers and employment services who similarly have insights into the interests, work-readiness, skill levels and training needs of particular candidates, GTOs have more information about the potential apprentice/trainee than an employer would if they were employing directly.”

See The Value Proposition Report on Group Training Organisations

A unique opportunity to join TDA in the position of Manager IT, Communication and Business

The TDA secretariat is very small, consisting of three people.

The fabulous Melinda Fischer, who is completing her degree in software engineering at the end of the year, has indicated she is starting to seek her career job. Therefore, a full time (although part time would be considered) position exists in Canberra.

The role is responsible for IT support and working directly with TDA’s IT contractor, office and business manager, and also communication, which entails looking after the website and social media.

This is a great opportunity for someone interested in working in a small team in a generalist role.

If you know of someone who might be interested please get them to contact Jenny Dodd directly on

Holmesglen retains top spot for customer service

Holmesglen Institute has maintained its #1 position in the latest tertiary education customer service benchmarking rankings.

The Association for Tertiary Education Management (ATEM) Customer Service Excellence Award saw Holmesglen increase its overall customer satisfaction score by six points – from 85% in 2021 to 91% in 2022.

The CSBA-ATEM Future Student Experience Benchmarking Program provides insights on the experiences of  potential students.

There were 12 participating tertiary institutions, with an average score of 74%.

CSBA managing director, Paul van Veenendaal, said the program provided critical data and insights for future student teams to continually evolve and improve on enrolment outcomes.

“There is no doubt that for many future students, their first experience has a huge influence on where they decide to apply.”

See more

Policy makers urged to end tertiary education hierarchy 

Freelance researcher and former senior officer with NCVER, Francesca Beddie, says the new Albanese government has a chance to break down silos that have developed between VET and universities in the tertiary education sector.

In an article ‘It’s time to ditch the hierarchy of tertiary education’, in Pearls and Irritations, Ms Beddie says the pandemic showed us how essential are non-university-trained workers − in aged care, hospitals, retail and warehouses − and how much we rely on importing skills.

“It also demonstrated the power of breaking down institutional silos to solve complex policy problems, just as the bushfires and floods underlined the necessity for collaboration across government and community agencies,” she said.

“The nature of knowledge acquisition is changing; the value of a degree is declining; and lifelong learning is now a necessity.”

She argues that these trends require a change to a system that positions a vocational education as “a poor second option” and sees research as the preserve of universities.

Diary Dates

31st National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)
6-8 July 2022, Online
Program out, register now!
More information

TAFETalks: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
27 July 2022
Register here

ACER Research Conference 2022
Reimagining assessment
22-25 August 2022
More information

Victorian TAFE Association
State Conference
24-26 August 2022
Save the Date

National Skills Week 2022
22-28 August 2022
More information

Community Colleges Australia National Conference
13-14 September 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
More information

VDC Teaching & Learning Conference
VET Development Centre
17 & 18 November 2022 (Online)
More information