Celebrating learner success – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Celebrating learner success – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

From LinkedIn to traditional media, the last couple of weeks have been dominated by stories highlighting learner success. For the TAFE calendar, November is a very important month as teachers and learners come together at either organisational events or in small groups to celebrate the achievements of learners.

It is one of the best times of the year. TAFE CEOs, Executives, and teachers consider it a privilege to award a learner a qualification. Many TAFEs have formal graduation ceremonies where there is the public recognition of what students have achieved. Other groups celebrate in small events, often with family invited. For many TAFE students this can be the first time they have successfully completed a qualification. It is a big deal for them, their families, and TAFE teaching teams.

This is the important access story of TAFE. It is also the story of how vocational education and training is integral to tertiary education. At the TEQSA conference last week Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, Senior Principal Scientist, Strategy and Foresight at the  CSIRO made the comment that ‘education is more than just training’. This is what industry expects of the graduates it employs. Given the context in which these comments were made, i.e. the TEQSA conference, this is what industry expects of higher education graduates and it is equally true of those graduating from vocational education.

TAFE educators celebrate the education success of their learners. This success is about the training they have received. It is also about the way in which the individual learner has embraced an education experience. Of course, different individuals will engage with their education experience in different ways. TAFEs are education entities where the focus has always been to deliver credentials that are nationally recognised, while educating our learners broadly for life and career opportunities.

So, once learners have received that education outcome from TAFE, what next? During the last year in this newsletter, we have discussed that vocational education is a destination and can also be a pathway to further learning. One of the directions for 2023 will be to consider whether we have the right settings for these pathways.

However, for today, let’s celebrate those receiving an award. Congratulations to our TAFE students and thank you to the TAFE staff who have enabled their education.

Professor Peter Dawkins appointed interim head of Jobs and Skills Australia

Professor Peter Dawkins, the former vice chancellor of Victoria University, has been appointed by the federal government as the Interim Director of Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA).

He was Professor of Economics at Curtin University from 1990 to 1995 and the Ronald Henderson Professor and Director of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne from 1996 to 2005.

From 2005 to 2010 he held senior positions in the Victorian Public Service, including Deputy Secretary of the Department of Treasury and Finance and Secretary of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

Professor Dawkins says in the Financial Review today that JSA will commence with work into a decarbonised economy, adult literacy, digital skills and skilled migration.

‘‘In the early period, we will undertake a study on the clean energy workforce and take a deep dive in this critically important area of training for the economy as we decarbonise it and eventually become a renewable energy superpower,’’ Professor Dawkins said.

The CEO of TDA Jenny Dodd warmly welcomed Peter’s appointment.

“Peter’s experience in leading a dual sector university provides him with deep insight into vocational education and training.

“Peter has always facilitated partnerships with industry and he will bring that to this new interim role, along with his deep commitment to quality outcomes for students.

“TDA looks forward to working closely with Peter during this first year of JSA’s formation,” Ms Dodd said.

A parting message from the AISC to new Industry Clusters: form strong partnerships, consult early

The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) has drawn on its experience overseeing the national training system for the past seven years to issue advice and a warning to the incoming Industry Clusters.

With the work of the AISC to end on December 31, the agency has published the AISC Reflections and Opportunities Paper.

It aims to pass on some of the knowledge and experience it has gained, including examples of good practice and innovation, as well as some of the challenges for the future.

AISC Chair Emeritus Professor Tracey Horton says a critical lesson has been that all
stakeholders need to work collaboratively and consult early and effectively to reach good outcomes.

“While the Committee has worked to bring together diverse perspectives, this has been difficult at times and will remain a challenge going forwards, particularly in the absence of clearly defined objectives to ensure a shared and united focus on the common good,” Professor Horton said.

“It will be vitally important for Industry Clusters to have strong, collaborative and transparent relationships,” she said.

The paper includes case studies of some of the most “complex and contentious training package updates”, touching on thorny issues such as reaching consensus, managing conflicts of interest, and aligning training and regulation.

It discusses AISC’s experience with the MEM Manufacturing and Engineering Training Package, the CPC Crystal Silica Safety Awareness project, TLI High Risk Work Licences, the TAE Training Package, and the CHC Early Childhood Education, and Aged and Disability Care qualifications.

Since it started in 2015, the AISC has overseen around 330 Cases for Endorsement for skills ministers.

It says more needs to be done to reduce the size and complexity of training packages, but the total number of units of competency has decreased by 2018 or 12 per cent since the AISC began.

WA signs up to national skills agreement

The West Australian government has signed up to a 12-month skills agreement with the Commonwealth to deliver about 18,800 fee-free training places worth more than $112 million.

The funding supports the new FREE IN ’23 initiative, which covers course fees for 58 full TAFE qualifications and course fees and resource fees for 56 skills sets.

The course list is estimated to see approximately 8,500 fee free places in the care sector, 2,400 in technology and digital, 1,900 in agriculture, 1,500 in construction, 1,400 in hospitality and tourism, 300 in sovereign capability including manufacturing, and around 2,800 in other sectors including foundational skills.

The 12-month agreement includes $8.2 million for the TAFE Technology Fund including:

  • $3.24 million to transform Midland TAFE into a renewables jobs and training hub,
  • $2 million for a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen at the Bentley Pines Training Restaurant, and
  • $3 million to establish a Trade Training Centre at Ellenbrook Secondary College.

Register now for the last TAFETalks of 2022!


TDA would like to invite you to join us for the final TAFETalks of the year at 2pm AEDT on 7 December. It will be a panel discussion reflecting on the year that has been, and will be a great opportunity to get up to speed on all of the changes impacting Australia’s skills, vocational education, and higher education policy environments.

Our TAFE world will be impacted by the new Industry Clusters, qualification reform, the formation of Jobs and Skills Australia, and the higher education Accord…get the low down on all these developments in one hour! The panel will also look ahead at what’s in store for TAFE in 2023 and will be taking questions from participants.

Panel members include:

  • Mary Faraone, TDA Board Chair and CEO of Holmesglen Institute
  • Grant Dreher, TDA Board Member and CEO of TasTAFE
  • Margot McNeill, Chief Product and Quality Officer at TAFE NSW
  • Jenny Dodd, CEO of TDA

Please register here and circulate within your networks to those who may benefit from this discussion.

ASQA warns colleges exploiting international students

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (AASQA) has issued a warning to training providers about exploitation of international students by criminal syndicates

In a statement, ASQA warns of “poor quality practices by a small number of providers” and identifies courses where international students may be susceptible.

ASQA says a range of regulatory activities are in progress, including participation in a nationally coordinated, multi-agency response to the exploitation of Australia’s visa programs by criminal syndicates based in Australia.

“We work closely together to detect, disrupt and prevent risk to the international VET,” ASQA said.

ASQA says it keeps a close eye on colleges delivering English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students and on six qualifications with the highest levels exposure to international students:

  • CHC33015 – Certificate III in Individual Support
  • CHC50121 – Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
  • CHC30121 – Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
  • CHC43015 – Certificate IV in Ageing Support
  • CHC52015 – Diploma of Community Services
  • RII60520 – Advanced Diploma of Civil Construction Design

TAE training package finally gets the green light

After a lengthy process, state and territory skills ministers have approved the newest TAE Training Package.

The TAE Training Package was approved by the Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) on 8 November and endorsed by skills ministers on 18 November.

The qualifications approved include:

  • TAE40122 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
  • TAE50122 Diploma of Vocational Education and Training (including specialisations of Advanced Training and Assessment, Design and Development, VET Leadership)

All Industry Reference Committee (IRC) recommendations were accepted including the deeming of the TAE40122 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment as both “equivalent to”, and the “successor of” the TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

Importantly, this will mean existing qualified Trainers and Assessors will not be required to complete any qualification upgrades.

Also, the Certificate III in Individual Support was endorsed by skills ministers.

Consultations open on new model for VET qualifications

Federal, state and territory governments have opened a consultation process on the proposed new model of VET qualifications that is being publicly canvassed.

There is an online survey that covers 14 questions on areas such as training product design, terminology, training delivery and approaches, collaboration and engagement, and implementation and transition.

The survey will be open until 17 March 2023.

Diary Dates

TAFETalks: Highlights of 2022 and what’s coming up in 2023
7 December 2022
More information

Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group (ACDEVEG)
A new focus on VET teachers: 8th Annual Conference on VET Teaching and VET Teacher Education
8 December 2022 (Online)
More information

AVETRA 2023 Conference
27-28 April 2023
More information

World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) 2023 World Congress
23-25 April 2023
Montréal, Canada
More information

Journal of Vocational Education and Training (JVET) Conference
13-15 July 2023
Keble College, Oxford, UK
More information

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