And there is more! – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

And there is more! – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

If you read my piece last week, you’ll know that this week is about the next five big-ticket national agenda items for 2024.

Let’s begin by looking at the important work of Jobs and Skills Australia and the Jobs and Skills Councils (points 6 and 7).

Point six highlights the importance of Jobs and Skills Australia’s role. Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) is now well established. They did some great work in 2023. An example of a useful data gathering and analysis was the capacity study of the skills and capabilities the workforce needs as Australia transitions to a net zero economy. In 2024 JSA will turn its attention to other capacity studies of vital Australian industries. Last week I mentioned foundation skills is one and early childhood education and care is another focus. Both are underway. It is important to note that JSA has an eye to migration as a workforce solution as well as to domestic solutions.

Providing input into JSA from the lens of ten industry areas will occur through the Jobs and Skills Councils (JSC). 2023 was a year of establishment for JSCs and they are all now up and running. JSCs are entities owned by industry. Their deliverables include workforce planning along with training product development and industry stewardship. They are vital partners with TAFE in the delivery of qualifications for their industries. TDA is delighted that nine of the JSC CEOs will be on a panel at TDA Convention 2024 in May. TDA will also continue to share information through this newsletter on what is happening in “JSC land”.

Point number eight is an area that many of you have expressed angst about and that is the new RTO standards. 2024 is a period for piloting the draft revised standards. Many TDA members are part of the pilots. TDA will be gathering those members together to explore their feedback regularly throughout 2024.

Inevitably this leads to point number nine which is ASQA and the role they play in regulating to the RTO standards and the sector overall. ASQA’s role has become enormous with the new increased responsibility they now have for ensuring integrity of the sector. Many TAFEs have successfully experienced ASQA’s (relatively new) self-assurance process.

And finally, to end on a note of innovation, the tenth point is the much-anticipated work of the Qualification Reform Committee that is expected to enable innovation. TDA continues to advocate for much greater flexibility and local responsiveness for TAFEs to meet their community and industry needs.

Is there more than these then – well yes there is, such as the Government’s response to the not publicly released Universities Accord report, the investigation into a skills passport, the budget allocation for a review of the apprentice system, the future of the FSK training package and foundation skills, to name just four. We’ll keep you updated as details emerge.

Most new training providers struggle to meet strengthened standards

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has revealed that around 90 per cent of applications by training providers for registration have been initially rejected, following tougher requirements including a strengthened ‘fit and proper person’ test.

Since the new requirements came into effect in November, ASQA says it has applied a rigorous assessment to applicants seeking to enter the VET market.

“Since the updates were implemented, around 90% of registration applications checked have been found to be incomplete on submission. We do not accept these applications, and applicants are provided with 3 days to address the gaps in their application,” ASQA says.

ASQA also released its inaugural Regulation Report which shows activity from July to December 2023. It shows the new VET tip-off line had received 542 contacts since being established in October – 84 per cent of which were anonymous. About half of all tip-offs related to non-compliance, while about 150 were about falsification of student records.

ASQA says that in the first half of 2023-24, “contemporary intelligence, enabled us to monitor provider performance, completing 182 performance assessments, of which 115 resulted in a finding of non-compliance with the law or regulatory standards.”

During the period, ASQA cancelled the registration of 35 providers, suspended the registration of eight, and imposed nine conditions on registration.

“We are also contributing intelligence about VET to support a broader multi-agency response through Operation Inglenook. We continue to work with our partner state and federal law enforcement agencies and the Department of Home Affairs to crack down on non-genuine providers and criminal conduct,” ASQA says.

TDA Convention 2024: TAFE at the Heart – less than 100 days to go!


With less than 100 days to go, TDA and its members are gearing up for an exceptional program at the TDA Convention 2024. Join us from 8-9 May at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth Hotel to explore the theme TAFE at the Heart.

The opening keynote panel will provide their insights into the latest developments in tertiary education policy in Australia. This session will explore what the Jobs and Skills Australia data is saying about workforce needs as well as the implications of recent government reviews and policy direction.

We will hear the voice of industry through a dynamic conversation with the CEOs of Jobs and Skills Councils on solutions to skills and workforce challenges. We will be inspired by some of the best educators from TAFEs across Australia who will outline their teaching techniques for those industries and for all learners.

Convention delegates will also be able to choose from a wide range of presentations and workshops on topics such as learner access and equity, industry partnerships, technological innovation in learning or business, international education, staff and student wellbeing and leading organisational change. And that’s just the first day!

Further information on registration is available here. Early bird registrations are open until 23 February 2024.

Sponsorship and exhibition: Align your brand with ours through exclusive sponsorship and exhibition opportunities enabling you to connect and engage with convention delegates. For a discussion on sponsorship opportunities, please contact TDA’s Sponsorship Manager Chad Murphy at ASN Events at or on 03 8658 9530.

We look forward to welcoming you to Sydney in May 2024 for TAFE at the Heart!

TAFE Staff Recognition Awards

Get involved at the TDA Convention 2024 by nominating your extraordinary staff members for a TAFE Staff recognition award.

TDA’s TAFE Staff Recognition Awards recognise and honour the achievements of TAFE staff across Australia. The 2024 awards will be held during the TDA Convention 2024 on the evening of 8 May 2024 at the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney.

See here for more information and online nomination forms. Nominations close on 1 March 2024.

More courses added to Victoria's Free TAFE

The Victorian government has added four new courses in hospitality, youth work, kitchen management and tourism to its Free TAFE program for 2024.

The Minister for Skills and TAFE Gayle Tierney said the program, introduced in 2019, has grown to include more than 80 TAFE qualifications and short courses and has helped more than 156,000 students.

There is also a strong focus on clean energy skills and courses through the $50 million Clean Energy Fund, including projects at Federation TAFE in Ballarat, TAFE Gippsland in Morwell and South West TAFE in Warrnambool.

See more

150 NSW apprentices awarded Bert Evans Scholarships

One hundred and fifty apprentices from NSW have been awarded Bert Evans Apprentice Scholarships, which provide crucial support to individuals who are facing hardship.

The $15,000 scholarship, spread across three years, aims to provide vital support to individuals who have demonstrated a strong aptitude for VET in difficult circumstances.

The scholarship is named after former NSW Board of Vocational Education and Training chair, Bert Evans, who developed a strong appreciation for apprenticeship training after beginning his career in the manufacturing industry.

The recipients include 45 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander apprentices, 67 learners with disabilities, 46 women excelling in non-traditional trades, and 64 mature-aged apprentices, with 116 of the recipients coming from regional NSW.

Mary Campbell recognised in Australia Day Honours

The former CEO of TAFE Queensland, Mary Campbell, has been awarded the Public Service Medal (PSM) in the Australia Day Honours for outstanding public service to vocational education and training in Queensland.

After starting as a teacher in the School of Business at the former Moreton Institute of Technical and Further Education in 1987, Mary has dedicated her 36-year career in the VET sector.

The Australia Day citation notes that Mary has been acknowledged by staff, peers and external stakeholders for her collaborative and inclusive leadership style, for building relationships and trust, and as a person of integrity.

“Her many years of experience, wealth of knowledge and exceptional leadership skills have enabled her to overcome major organisational and cultural challenges to implement substantial advancements in VET practice and improve student and employer outcomes,” it reads.

TDA extends its congratulations to Mary Campbell on this well-deserved recognition.

Former TAFE SA executive to head Unique Student Identifier register

The former head of business and IT at TAFE SA has been appointed as the new head of the body that operates the Unique Student Identifier (USI).

Craig Ward (pictured), who was previously Director of Business and Information Technology at TAFE SA is the new Student Identifiers Registrar.

In the role, he is responsible for administering the creation, storage, and use of over 15 million USIs and is supported by the Office of the Student Identifiers Registrar (OSIR) and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.

“Craig remains dedicated to keeping the needs of students and providers at the forefront, committed to delivering a simple and secure customer experience, prioritising students’ privacy, and ensuring individuals have control over who can access their personal information,” a statement from USI says.

A new name for SkillsEQuipped

The Jobs and Skills Council for the arts, personal services, retail, tourism and hospitality, previously known as SkillsEQuipped, has a new name – Service and Creative Skills Australia (SaCSA).

SaCSA says that feedback over recent months indicated that the SkillsEQuipped brand and the visual identity “did not resonate with our audiences”.

“Over a series of brand development workshops, and stakeholder testing sessions, the name SaCSA, and accompanying brand visuals, garnered resounding support from stakeholders in both official and anecdotal testing,” SaCSA says.

German VET expert to examine impact of Industry 4.0 on skills training 

The arrival of Industry 4.0 and the implications for VET will be the subject of a presentation by global expert, Professor Michael Gessler (pictured) at a seminar in Ballarat next week.

Professor Gessler is Chair of VET at the University of Bremen, Germany, and Director of the Institute of Technology and Education. He is also editor-in-chief of the International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training (IJRVET).

The seminar is hosted by RAVE (Researching Adult and Vocational Education) and will be held at Federation University campus, Ballarat on Friday 16 February.

Professor Gessler will discuss the challenges and developments associated with Industry 4.0, how the German VET system has responded, and the trends in VET emerging in Germany and Europe.

See more

Diary Dates

TDA Convention 2024, ‘TAFE at the Heart’ – Register now!
8-9 May 2024
Sofitel Wentworth, Sydney
Call for presenters open now
Early bird registrations

33rd National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’ 
‘VET partnerships powering a dynamic workforce’
10-12 July 2024
North Metropolitan TAFE, Perth
More information

National Apprentice Employment Network
National Conference
23-25 July 2024
Location TBA
Save the date

VET National Teaching & Learning Conference 2024
‘From Competence to Excellence – Strive to Inspire’
15-16 August 2024
Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
Save the date

National Skills Week 2024
‘It’s a Game Changer’
19-25 August 2024

47th WorldSkills Competition
10-15 September 2024
Lyon, France
More information

WFCP World Congress 2024
22-27 September 2024
St James, Jamaica, West Indies
More Information

Jobs and Skills Council Events

Go to individual JSC websites for event details.

Future Skills Organisation
National Forum – ‘Building a skilled workforce’
14-15 March 2024
Monash College, Melbourne

Powering Skills Organisation
Energy Pathway Roadshow: Collaborating for a Sustainable Tomorrow
Events in Darwin, Alice Springs, Perth, Bunbury, Sydney, Newcastle, Canberra, Hobart, Adelaide, Melbourne, Geelong and Brisbane.

State and Territory Roadshow 2024
Events in all states and territories