Big announcements this week! – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Big announcements this week! – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Let’s begin today’s newsletter with a couple of big announcements about what are bound to be exciting and rich future TDA events.

TDA Convention 2024, our next face to face event, will take place on Wednesday 8 and Thursday 9 May next year at the Sofitel Wentworth Sydney. Mark the dates in your diary and keep reading the TDA Monday newsletter to find out more!

Before then, TDA will hold its second online conference for 2023 on Wednesday 18 October titled Linkages: one tertiary education sector. Like the previous TDA online conference TAFE Opens Doors held on Wednesday 31 May 2023, Linkages: one tertiary education sector will be a half day online conference starting at 1pm AEDT on Wednesday 18 October.

Read the TDA newsletter and website to find out more as the program develops. We aim to profile some of the great linkages TDA members from our Higher Education Provider and Dual sector networks already have in place between their higher education programs and their VET courses. We will explore the benefits for students of these linkages and pathways. We will also discuss the advantages for Australian industry of a more ‘harmonised’ tertiary education sector.

One of the first of TDA’s TEN BIG ideas (see TDA’s April submission) to the Universities Accord panel was support for developing one tertiary education system. If we are to do the best for students and industry, we need to look at the uniqueness of VET compared to higher education, but also how learners can grab from both to gain what they need for the future. To achieve those ends TDA has long advocated that TAFEs must be freed to be more agile, and that comes with freeing up the constraints of the current VET system in particular.

It is worth reflecting on the thinking of Dr Craig Fowler in his piece last Wednesday for Future Campus about the Accord interim report. Dr Fowler, in a thought provoking article titled cleverly, VET is VET and HE is HE – So How can O’Kane meet the Twain states, “the sectors serve, certainly at their more extremes, very different purposes. It’s the tertiary system policy scaffold and architecture that’s being critiqued.” A more connected VET and HE environment will need system change if this goal is to be realised.

We look forward to seeing how the Accord panel has digested all the various submissions they received when Minister Clare releases the interim report on Wednesday. We will aim to reflect on the report next week in the TDA newsletter.

A further five Jobs and Skills Councils established 

All but one of the ten new Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs) are now officially up and running after a further five were established last week.

The Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor announced the latest five JSCs which comprise employers and unions and will address workforce and skills needs in their sectors.

The latest five JSCs are:

Earlier the government had established:

The tenth JSC, BuildSkills Australia, (building, construction and property) will be fully operational in coming months, Mr O’Connor said.

“I’m proud we’ve delivered these vital councils that bring together employers, unions and government to collaborate to develop solutions to our skills challenges,” Mr O’Connor said.

See more

TAFETalks: Using immersive technologies to enhance learning 9 August 2pm AEST

Join TDA’s TAFETalks webinar, where TAFE Queensland and TAFE NSW will demonstrate how they are integrating immersive technologies to achieve improved learning outcomes, in high risk and high-cost training. This session will explore how augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can improve learner outcomes, using examples from the construction industry.

Lee Webster from TAFE Queensland and John O’Brien from TAFE NSW will show the effectiveness of VR in improving student outcomes in courses such as working at heights. They will share how simulating real-life situations is effective at enabling learners to gain deep skills before entering the real environment. Tony Maguire from D2L will offer reflections and insights on leveraging Learning Management Systems to enhance the incorporation of immersive technologies in teaching and learning.

The collaboration between TAFE NSW and TAFE Queensland in immersive technologies has grown because of TDA’s Immersive Learning Network (TILN). TILN facilitates knowledge exchange among TAFEs, focusing on AR/VR and related technologies that have the potential to enhance TAFE’s educational delivery.

To register, please click here

Levy on overseas students would undermine Australia's reputation: IEAA

Australia’s reputation as a destination for international students is being placed at risk as a result of moves to impose a levy on overseas students, according to the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA).

IEAA CEO Phil Honeywood said the international education sector needs to push back against efforts to treat overseas students as “just as a source of labour hire or a convenient group on which to impose another tax.”

“Powerful industry bodies are demanding that the government reinstates uncapped work rights for students who are supposedly here to study full-time, Mr Honeywood writes in the Financial Review.

“Certain education leaders are calling for a new tax impost on any overseas student who chooses to study here.

“There is a danger in all of this that Australia will yet again be seen by our neighbouring countries as primarily focused on making as much money as possible out of their young people,” he said.

“To potentially add to the financial burden on our neighbouring countries’ young people by imposing a new levy or tax should be absolutely resisted.”

Thousands of students facing uncertainty months after collapse of Inspire Education

There are calls for better oversight of some training colleges after students have been left stranded following the collapse of Inspire Education.

The ABC reports that students are facing having to redo course units they had completed, after Inspire Education went into liquidation last year, leaving some 13,000 students facing uncertainty.

One student, 34-year old Lorena Ramos Maldonado, submitted the final assessment for her Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care last October, just a day before Inspire collapsed.

“I thought, surely they are not going to leave me like this. I mean I have finished, I am done.,” she said.

“I didn’t know what to do, where to go, who to call to, as they closed the phone line and they closed the student platform.”

Nine months since the collapse, there is much uncertainty. Inspire Education’s business and assets were later sold to another training provider, Shafston International College.

In Ms Maldonado’s case, she has been required to pay up again and effectively start over.

Shafston International College said it initially contacted students of Inspire with a view to easing their concerns, updating them on the status of their studies, and offering ongoing study options where Shafston could facilitate by way of its own scope of registration.

A spokesperson for the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), said it had worked with the liquidator to retrieve and update student records, but units could not be credited where Inspire had not graded or processed assessments.

VET consultant Claire Field said the case highlights the need for tougher oversight of RTOs, noting Inspire Education had only recently been audited.

“This is a training provider that only a few months earlier was given the tick of approval from the regulator,” Ms Field said.

Mitchell Institute director Peter Hurley said the challenge for the regulator was in having effective oversight over thousands of providers.

“I think we need to look at this system and what’s going on. The regulator is doing the best it can, but is it really in our interest to really have 4,000 registered training organisations?”

TAFEs band together to lead cyber security skills

TAFEcyber, a consortium of 11 Australian TAFE institutes, is leading the way in providing job-ready cyber security professionals. With a practical and skill-based learning approach, TAFEcyber has established itself as a major supplier of graduates to the cyber security workforce.

The consortium, led by South Metropolitan TAFE in Western Australia, collaborates closely with industry to ensure graduates possess up-to-date technical skills and are well-prepared to work in teams and handle real-life incidents.

TAFEcyber delivers around 3,000 graduates per year with diplomas and advanced diplomas in cyber security, thanks to its partnership with industry since its inception in 2018. This industry collaboration has been instrumental in aligning the curriculum with industry needs and producing graduates who are immediately employable.

The consortium’s success has attracted widespread attention, with businesses actively seeking to engage as learning partners and benefit from the high calibre of TAFEcyber graduates.

Read full story here

Fresh approach to building safe and respectful workplaces in the mining industry 

TDA members are invited to contact the Mining and Automotive Skills Alliance (AUSMASA) to be part of a new program for the mining and resources industry.

Building Safe and Respectful Workplaces (BS&RW) is a high-impact and innovative social awareness learning program.​

AUSMASA is seeking expressions of interest from appropriately qualified and experienced practitioners to facilitate the BS&RW program, nationally. Following an application and interview process, a pool of candidates will be invited to attend a Train the Trainer program where they will be trained to deliver the BS&RW program, in a trauma-informed way, using a suite of learning resources.

This pioneering program has been created by a collaboration of leaders in Australia’s mining and resources industry including Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue, along with Griffith University and AUSMASA.​ With input from some of Australia’s leading experts on the impacts of sexual harassment, bullying and racism in the workplace, the program is geared towards new entrants to the mining and resources sector.

It is anticipated that the training course will also be made available to other sectors in the future.​ Please contact Helen Tinney or Donna Dejkovski for details on: or

Victorian TAFEs host educator passport mini-summit

Thanks to everyone who attended the Educator Passport Mini Summit hosted by Chisholm’s Professional Educator College, Kangan Institute, SuniTAFE and TAFE Gippsland on Thursday 29 June.

The theme for this year’s summit, which was held virtually, was Connecting with our Learners and an impressive lineup of speakers including Andrew Douch, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, John Blake and Kent Martin spoke on the topic.

When educators were asked how they would apply what they had learnt over the day, educators indicated that they were keen to improve their overall teaching practices, understand their students better, make better connections with them and use technology to engage their students better.

The Educator Passport partners – Chisholm, TAFE Gippsland, Bendigo Kangan and Sunraysia are committed to building Educator capability in the sector and building strong collaboration amongst partner TAFEs.

Grants available to support students in regional Australia

Applications are open for the Destination Australia Program which provides scholarships to domestic and international students in regional areas.

Scholarships are valued at $15,000 per student, per year, and will be available for students undertaking a Certificate IV through to PhD for the duration of an eligible qualification between one and four years.

The 2024 round will support up to 551 new scholarships. Grant funding will be prioritised for tertiary education providers offering scholarships to domestic students and international students studying in areas of skills need, aligned with the Australian Government’s National Skills Priority List.

In addition, providers will be expected to award scholarships to domestic students from underrepresented groups, such as low-socioeconomic status, those who are first in family to tertiary study, those living with disability and First Nations people.

Applications close 10 August 2023.

For further information including eligibility visit the website or contact Destination Australia at

Diary Dates

32nd National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference ‘No Frills’
19-21 July 2023
RMIT University, Melbourne
More information

Victorian TAFE Association State Conference
TAFECreates 23
26 – 28 July 2023
Mildura, Victoria
More information

TAFETalks: Using immersive technologies to enhance learning
9 August 2023, 2pm AEST
More information

National Apprentice Employment Network 2023 National Conference
‘New Skills for a New World’
15-17 August 2023
Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
More information

VET National Teaching & Learning Conference 2023
‘From Competence to Excellence’
17-18 August 2023
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
More information

WorldSkills Australia National Championships and Skills Show
17-19 August 2023
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Victoria
More information

Victorian Training Awards
18 August 2023
More information

National Skills Week
‘What are you looking for?’
21-27 August 2023
More information

NSW Training Awards
September 2023
Sydney Town Hall
More information

Community Colleges Australia (CCA) Annual Conference
Building ACE Futures
10-11 October 2023
More information

Australian International Education Conference
10-13 October
More information

TDA online conference – Linkages: one tertiary education sector
18 October 2023, 1 pm AEST
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VDC World Teachers’ Day Event
27 October 2023 – save the date

2023 National VET Conference
2-3 November 2023
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
More Information

Australian Training Awards 
17 November 2023
Hobart, Tasmania
More information

TDA Convention 2024
8-9 May 2024
Sofitel Wentworth, Sydney
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