Businesses contributing to lifelong learning – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Businesses contributing to lifelong learning – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

PwC Australia’s 25th CEO Survey and AiGroup’s CEO Business Prospects Survey, both released in the last two weeks, indicate that businesses will invest significantly in training during 2022.

This is lifelong learning in action. In 2022 the productivity imperatives of businesses will require that they skill their workforces to be digitally capable and responsive to environmental changes. As businesses develop their workforces through training, so they become a partner in an individual’s lifelong learning.

Where does vocational education and training (VET) fit into that picture? In 2019 NCVER published ‘The student journey: skilling for life’ by Kristen Osborne, Phil Loveder and Genevieve Knight. In that publication they report on the reasons students gave for enrolling in VET subjects in 2017. While one quarter stated it was to get a job, nearly 35% stated it was a requirement of their job or they needed extra skills for their job.

As Claire Field reported in Campus Morning Mail on 9 February when she quoted from Professor Lorna Unwin of University College London, ‘vocational education and training needs to shift our thinking from being institutionally focused … to a broader focus on developing a learner’s expertise throughout their life.’

Last Wednesday’s very popular TAFETalks was on the contribution of micro-credentials to lifelong learning –  individuals using micro-credentials to acquire the skills they need at the moment they need them by completing a micro-credential. These micro-credentials have been developed by TAFEs in partnership with industry.

We generally understand that lifelong learning is successful because an individual is self-motivated to seek improvement for personal or professional reasons. What we are currently seeing is the supportive environments that will exist during 2022 as businesses assist in this skill development.

TDA members are in the business of skills development. We applaud the renewed focus on lifelong learning.

TDA welcomes new Corporate Affiliate, D2L

TDA is delighted to announce a new Corporate Affiliate – D2L, a global learning innovation company that is helping organisations reshape the future of education and work.

D2L is driven by the belief that everyone deserves access to high-quality education regardless of ability or education. This is encapsulated in its powerful purpose statement ‘Transforming the way the world learns’.

Corporate Affiliates are vital for the delivery of services by TDA to the education community.

D2L joins a trusted group of organisations committed to supporting TDA’s mission and values.

D2L was established just over 20 years ago and has a team of more than 1,000 employees around the world, with headquarters in Kitchener, Ontario, and satellite offices around the world.

Its technology is currently being used by customers in K-12, tertiary education, associations and the corporate sector.

It was a pleasure to have two D2L senior executives – Tony Maguire, Regional Director, Australia and New Zealand, and Stephen Atherton, Senior Account Executive, Australia and New Zealand – participate with valuable insights in last week’s TAFETalks on the topic of micro-credentials.

TDA welcomes D2L and looks forward to mutually rewarding partnership.

See more about D2L

National skills agreement on track for June deadline

A new National Skills Agreement between the Commonwealth, states and territories is still on track to be finalised by the revised deadline of June.

Last week’s Senate Estimates committee heard that states and territories have been provided with draft ‘efficient’ prices for VET courses that have been developed by the National Skills Commission, and that negotiations over the prices are continuing.

A new NSA was originally due to be finalised by August last year but was extended following a request from states and territories for more time.

The Deputy Secretary with the Department of Education, Skills and Employment Nadine Williams said that the Commonwealth’s position is that fees for students should not increase under the new NSA, but that there should be a greater consistency in prices across the country.

“This is a big agreement, it’s important and sets the future direction for the skills system going forward, and ministers collectively came to the view that they needed more time to work through the details and to get it right,” Ms Williams said.

Cost of student loan scandal could hit $4.6 bn

The cost of repaying students scammed by disreputable colleges in the VET FEE-HELP scandal has soared to $3.3 billion, and could reach $4.6 billion, the federal government says.

The Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, Stuart Robert said that more than 180,000 students have had their VET FEE-HELP debts re-credited since 2016.

Mr Robert said, “dodgy providers specifically targeted people living in public housing, people with disability, people with substance abuse issues and non-English speakers with offers of free laptops and other incentives”.

Mr Robert said that modelling by the Australian Government Actuary shows that the total value of re-credits for VET FEE-HELP students could reach between $3.8 billion and $4.6 billion.

The government says there are likely to be many students who do not yet realise they have a debt under the failed scheme.

The VET FEE-HELP scheme was closed to new enrolments in 2016 and replaced in 2017 by the VET Student Loans program.

Refunds under the VET FEE-HELP Student Redress Measures were introduced in 2019 and will run until next December.

Senate estimates heard last week that only about $700 million had been recovered from the colleges responsible for the rorts, many of which have gone into liquidation.

Historic TAFE campus to see new era of agriculture training

South West TAFE’s historic Glenormiston campus will be the centrepiece of a new era of agriculture training, following a multi-million dollar redevelopment unveiled last week.

Victoria’s Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney visited Glenormiston to officially open the $2 million redevelopment.

The upgraded campus features horticulture and agriculture centres, refurbished on-site accommodation (including short-stay options for students and staff), a new hothouse, garden beds, workshop, refurbished classrooms and new technologies to deliver world-class education to Victoria’s future primary production workforce.

Training will be increased at the site, with Certificate II and Certificate III Horticulture courses to be offered from Term 3. As part of these courses, students will be invited to contribute to the care and conservation of the picturesque homestead gardens and pastures.

New portal will capture human services workforce initiatives

The Human Services Skills Organisation (HSSO) has launched a workforce initiatives portal which is designed to collect valuable information and provide an insightful decision-making tool for the sector.

The HSSO developed the portal to make it easier to source and understand the multitude of workforce development and training programs in the sector, as well as information on new pilots which are underway.

HSSO CEO Jodi Schmidt said the Workforce Initiatives Portal was designed to be a national single point of reference on projects, research, and initiatives.

“We are encouraging all stakeholders to submit their workforce development initiatives for inclusion via the ‘Add Project’ feature on the site,” she said.

“This allows additional resources to be added to the collection, subject to a HSSO suitability review process, for sharing learnings and opportunities across the sector”.

Ms Schmidt said she encouraged all sector stakeholders to explore the site and, if relevant, contribute their initiatives to the portal to make the information available as comprehensive as possible.

“Currently, having to navigate the volume of information across all sectors can be complex and time consuming,” she said.

“Additionally, there is the risk of duplication of effort for those organisations and individuals trying to solve workforce issues. The creation of the portal means that we can learn from the past and better plan for the future.”

The Workforce Initiatives Portal is here on the HSSO website.

TAFETalks: Register now for international education forum, 16 March

TAFETalks: The future of international education in Australia: what opportunities for TAFEs?

Date: Wednesday 16 March at 2.00pm AEDT (Canberra/Melbourne/Sydney time)

Description: Please join Janelle Chapman for a conversation on the future of international education in Australia and opportunities for TAFEs. Janelle is the Executive Director at the Australia Pacific Training Coalition, VET Expert member on the Council for International Education and President of the International Education Association of Australia.

Janelle will be joined by:

  • David Atkins, Assistant Secretary, Quality Branch, International Division, Department of Education, Skills and Employment
  • Helen Kronberger, Manager, International Education, Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade)
  • Andrew Williamson, Executive Director, International Education and Enterprise Solutions, Holmesglen Institute

Registration:  To register for this event, please click here

New education and skills minister appointed in Tasmania

Tasmania’s Premier Peter Gutwein has announced Roger Jaensch, pictured, as the new education minister, replacing Sarah Courtney who resigned from parliament.

Mr Jaensch will become Minister for Education, Children and Youth, as well as the Minister for Skills, Training and Workforce Growth, Aboriginal Affairs, and Environment.

Mr Jaensch was first elected to the Tasmanian Parliament in 2014. He grew up in outer suburban Victoria and, after completing his secondary schooling, spent time working and travelling in southern Africa.

Returning to Australia, he studied Science at Monash University, focusing on land use and management in semi-arid areas of Australia.

He worked in the remote Gascoyne region of Western Australia where he helped to pioneer tourism, horticulture and sheep and goat meat enterprises.

Diary Dates

National Apprentice Employment Network
National Conference
15-17 March 2022
Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart, Tasmania
More information

TAFETalks: The future of international education in Australia: what opportunities for TAFEs?
16 March 2022

CCA National ACE Summit
5 April 2022
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VET CEO Conference
Velg Training
19-20 May 2022
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World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics
2022 World Congress 

15-17 June 2022
Donostia-San Sebastian (Spain)
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Apprentice Employment Network NSW & ACT
2022 Skills Conference
15 June 2022
Dockside Darling Harbour, Sydney
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31st National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)
6-8 July 2022, Melbourne
Call for abstracts open now!
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WorldSkills Shanghai 2022
12-17 October 2022
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Australian International Education Conference 2022
18-21 October 2022
Gold Coast & Online
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2022 National VET Conference
Velg Training
3-4 November 2022
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
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VET Development Centre
VDC Teaching & Learning Conference
17 & 18 November 2022 (Online)
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