Excellence on display at Parliament House – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Excellence on display at Parliament House – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Last Wednesday TAFEs around the country celebrated the contribution of TAFE educators as part of National TAFE Day. National TAFE Day recognises the amazing vocational education educators who work in our TAFEs.

TDA adds its recognition of all TAFE teachers – thank you for making the words #THE POWER OF TAFE be meaningful for all the students you teach and support.

National TAFE Day is an Australian Education Union (AEU) event which has been happening for many years. However, this year marked a wonderful new element.

I was very honoured to be asked by the AEU to be a judge of their inaugural TAFE life on campus photography competitionThis competition had been conceived in 2019 but due to restricted access to campuses for several years it only took off this year.

Students from the multitude of TAFE campuses around the country were invited to submit a photograph depicting the many perspectives of TAFE and life on campus. The AEU leadership of each State and the ACT then determined the finalist from all the outstanding student photographs submitted within their jurisdiction. Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor, Correna Haythorpe, AEU Federal President, and I judged the finalists. We had the difficult task of finding an overall winner and runner up from the seven jurisdictional winners.

Congratulations to Mei Ho of SuniTAFE in Victoria who was the winner (see photos below). Congratulations also to all the finalists as all entries were fabulous, depicting the diversity of people who make up TAFEs.

What was most amazing about this event was the AEU brought all seven finalists to Parliament House in Canberra. They had the chance to meet each other, mingle with the AEU executive and members, hear from Minister O’Connor, and be congratulated by a terrific line up of AEU speakers.

Maxine Sharkey the General Secretary of the NSW Teachers Federation said, “TAFE teachers change lives” and Kevin Bates Federal Secretary AEU reminded everyone this event demonstrates it is all about the students. The Presidents, Correna Haythorpe AEU, and Michele O’Neil Australian Council of Trade Unions, both emphasised the importance of National TAFE Day and that everyone knows that it is a celebration of TAFE staff and the accessibility of public education for delivering opportunity for all.

So, congratulations to all our talented and passionate students. And thank you again to all our amazing TAFE staff. The photography competition was a great way to celebrate the learners in our TAFEs and the support of their teachers – bring on 2024 – I’m sure it will be bigger and even more impressive!

From left, TAFE life on campus competition finalists with Minister O’Connor; Australian Education Union Federal President Correna Haythorpe; and competition winner Mei Ho with Minister O’Connor.

TAFETalks: Creativity and digital fluency in the GenAI era, this Wednesday


TDA invites you to join us for an engaging discussion with our corporate affiliate, Adobe, on the intersection of creativity, digital fluency and generative artificial intelligence (GenAI), from a pedagogical perspective.

The conversation will be led by Manuela Franceschini, Adobe Pedagogical Evangelist and Senior Strategic Development Manager for Higher Education.

Manuela will be joined by representatives from TAFE NSW who will discuss the need for upskilling to adapt to the GenAI era, particularly in the context of NSW’s Institute of Applied Technology – Digital; and the exposure of students to digital tools, including GenAI as a strategy for enhancing teaching and learning.

Jason Grant (Solutions Consultant, Adobe) will also demonstrate Adobe Firefly, the new GenAI from Adobe.

Please join us for an inspiring conversation at the cutting edge of creativity, technology and innovation!

To register, please click here

Minister announces 300,000 additional fee-free TAFE places

The Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor used National TAFE Day to announce another 300,000 fee-free TAFE places starting next year.

It follows the target of 180,000 fee-free places for the current year – ultimately reaching 215,000 places in the first six months.

“University is important, but no more important than TAFE, Mr O’Connor said.

“We need to support both to keep up with skills needs that are growing faster than ever and have the skilled workforce to best face the national challenges of our time.“

Mr O’Connor said data shows the current fee-free TAFE enrolments included 50,849 job seekers, 15,269 people with disability and 6,845 First Nations Australians.

There have been more than 51,000 enrolments in the care sector, 16,700 in the technology and digital sector, and almost 21,000 in construction.

Women make up over 60% of enrolments, and approximately 34% are in inner and outer regional locations.

Apprentice and trainee completion rates down in 2022

Individual completion rates for apprentices and trainees who commenced training in 2018 decreased to 55.8%, down 0.8 percentage points compared with those commencing in 2017, according to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

Completion rates for trade occupations went down 2.5 percentage points to 53.4% for 2018 commencements, when compared to 2017 commencements. Non-trade occupations went up by 1.2 percentage points to 58.2%.

NCVER says the COVID-19 pandemic may have affected apprentice and trainee completion rates.

NCVER applies a “life tables” methodology to project future completion rates, which it anticipates will lift for those that commenced in the December quarter 2022.

See Completion and attrition rates for apprentices and trainees 2022

Register for TDA's online conference – Linkages: One tertiary education system, 18 October 2023

Registrations are open for TDA’s free online conference, Linkages: One tertiary education system, which will explore the policy and practice of better alignment between higher education and vocational education and training.

The online conference will take place from 1.00 pm to 4.30 pm AEDT on Wednesday 18 October and features a range of high profile speakers from vocational education and training, higher education, government and industry.

Some of our high profile speakers include the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, Minister for Skills and Training who be providing an opening address at the conference. The Hon Jenny Macklin, Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow, University of Melbourne and Panel Member Australian Universities Accord will be discussing the Australian Universities Accord Interim Report.

Members of the 2019 AQF Review, Professor Sally Kift, President of Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows and Vice Chancellor’s Fellow, Victoria University, and Megan Lilly, Executive Director, Centre for Education and Training, AiGroup will be speaking on the proposed changes to the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) reform.

View the full program and register here

ASQA explains how new ‘fit and proper person' test for RTOs will work

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has outlined a series of key changes that are now in place under more rigorous ‘fit and proper person requirements’ for registration of training providers.

The new measure extends the fit and proper person requirements beyond CEOs and senior executives to any person who exercises a degree of control or influence over a Registered Training Organisation.

The definition of “person” includes a body politic or corporate as well as an individual.

In assessing a person’s compliance, ASQA is able to consider any situation where an offence has been committed regardless of whether a conviction was recorded.

The Instrument, which came into effect on August 31 also says ASQA may consider whether a person has engaged in conduct “that reasonably suggests a deliberate pattern of unethical behaviour” or “any other matter it considers relevant”.

See more

AVETRA seeking expressions of interest in VET research projects

AVETRA, representing Australia’s independent VET research community, is calling for expressions of interest in two new research projects as part of a partnership with the Victorian Skills Authority (VSA).

AVETRA has been engaged by the VSA for a two-year program to commission Australian VET researchers to produce ‘Research Insights’, exploring issues aligned with the strategic objectives of the Victorian training system.

Calls for expressions of interest are open in two areas – incorporating a student voice in into education and training design, and the role of industry in teaching and learning.

The two EOIs close 18 September.

See more

Free career fair for net zero economy

Anyone who wants to learn more about the knowledge and skills needed for the clean economy is invited to attend the ‘Careers for Net Zero’ fair in Melbourne on 26 October.

Presented by the Clean Energy Council and EEC, the fair will launch a national campaign showcasing the many exciting career opportunities available to those wanting to deliver an equitable, prosperous and net zero Australia.

The free event is for those working in every part of the economy, as well as students, educators, career advisors, and policy makers.

Running alongside All-Energy, the fair will be launched by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Co-CEO of Atlassian and Chair of Boundless Earth Mike Cannon-Brookes.

See more

Good practice guide to help ease the burden of digital skills support

The challenge of digital skills for some learners and educators is addressed in a new report that aims to introduce a series of guidelines to aid digital skills support.

Researcher and educator, Dr Deniese Cox, has been researching the issue for two years, and found that up to 87% of teaching workload in some weeks is being spent on providing remedial digital skill support.

She says that educators reported that support provision is outside their job role, their expertise, and the scope of content assigned for them to deliver.

To address these learner and educator challenges, Dr Cox has released ‘Digital skills for education and training: A good practice guide.’

The free publication is based around research that included focus groups and interviews with educators and learners, field testing of intervention strategies, and a review of several leading digital testing and teaching tools in consultation with expert advisors.

Download ‘Digital skills for education and training: A good practice guide’

Diary Dates

SAVE THE DATE – TDA Convention 2024 – 8 and 9 May, Sydney – details coming soon!


TAFETalks: Creativity and digital fluency in the GenAI era
13 September 2023
Register here

NSW Training Awards
15 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 system
18 October 2023, 1 pm AEDT
See more and register here

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
Save the date