How do we turn the dial to increase diversity? – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

How do we turn the dial to increase diversity? – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Are you a trades teacher/lecturer, corporate staff member supporting the trades areas in your TAFE, or a TAFE leader? Have you got it right in terms of creating safe and appropriate learning experiences for women? Are you conscious of what your team can do to support diverse and vulnerable apprentices to succeed in their chosen careers? Is your TAFE turning the dial to improve access for students who are diverse, First Nations students, and women to want to take on careers in traditional male industries?

This is such an important discussion. One that was central to the Commonwealth budget released just under two weeks ago. As an example, the budget specifically identified incentives and targets to support increasing women in large government construction and technology projects.

With skill shortages so poignant in many industries such as construction and with demand so high in new areas such as preparing for net zero, the mix of apprentices needs to change. No longer can we accept that those who come from trades families and are predominantly male and between 16-22 years of age can continue as the dominant profile of these workers.

TAFE leaders across the country met with Jobs and Skills Australia staff a few weeks ago to identify how they are addressing skills development as we shift our energy sources. They talked about how we need to broaden the skills base. As most of these jobs will be in the regions, there is even a greater need to open opportunities for First Nations people and those living in regional communities to gain qualifications for high skilled jobs for this transition.

This question of diversity is also a discussion we have been having for a long time. Some workplaces are succeeding – what is that they are doing to make it work? What do we need to do in TAFE to foster this success in our learning environments?

On Wednesday 31 May TDA is delighted to welcome the 2022 apprentice of the year and the runner up apprentice of the year, both women, to be part of a panel on TAFE Opens Doors: A focused discussion on equity and access addressing this topic. This one-hour conversation about trades will also include employer and union perspectives of the small changes that can make a huge difference. Three teachers from three different TAFE jurisdictions (NSW, Victoria and the ACT) will also contribute to the discussion.

Get your trades staff involved. Join the panel discussion Trades: Breaking through stereotypes and creating a safe workplace and learning environment on Wednesday afternoon next week (31 May) – a great opportunity to learn from others to help broaden opportunities for all in these industries. Register here!

Skills and training ministers progress national skills agreement

Federal, state and territory skills and training ministers met in Darwin on Friday to progress negotiations towards a new National Skills Agreement due to commence in January.

Issues discussed included:

  • All governments will coordinate with Indigenous peak bodies, community-controlled RTOs and other stakeholders to co-design Closing the Gap initiatives that will be part of the skills agreement.
  • Ministers noted the strong uptake of the 180,000 Fee-Free TAFE and VET places since January, with more than 146,000 enrolments in priority skills in the first quarter of the year.
  • Ministers are working on projects to be funded under the TAFE Technology Fund, with $28.2 million already committed to 14 priority projects.
  • Skills Ministers received a briefing from the chair of the Australian Universities Accord Professor Mary O’Kane and discussed opportunities for greater alignment between the VET and higher education.
  • There was discussion about the National VET Completion Project being led by South Australia, aimed at understanding the factors impacting completion rates, key intervention points, solutions, and national and international best practice.
  • Ministers discussed progress on the VET Data Streamlining program which aims to modernise the collection and use of VET student activity data, with the first iteration to be released later this year.
  • There was also a report on the Northern Territory’s recent professional development training and work placements program for students from Timor-Leste in agriculture, hospitality, aged care and construction.

See the Communique.

Profiling the JSCs – the Mining and Automotive Skills Alliance

The Mining and Automotive Skills Alliance is currently establishing as the Australian Government Jobs and Skills Council (JSC) for the mining and automotive industries. 

We are a leading national organisation that has been tackling skills shortages across Australia since our inception. Our journey began in 2020 as the Mining Skills Organisation Pilot, a project under the Minerals Council of Australia, which evolved into the Australian Minerals and Energy Skills Alliance (AUSMESA).

In late April this year, we launched as the Mining and Automotive Skills Alliance, a rapidly expanding organisation with headquarters in Melbourne, and offices in Perth and Brisbane. Our Board of Directors and Executive Team possess a wealth of experience from both national and international spheres across industry, unions, Government, and the education sector.

As the Mining and Automotive Skills Alliance, we are an independent voice to government, representing industries involved in mineral exploration and extraction operations, as well as emerging industries covering driverless automotive technologies.

The mining and resources industry has long been the backbone of our nation’s prosperity and will continue to play a crucial role for many years to come. As the world seeks to decarbonise, the demand for critical minerals will only increase.

Likewise, our automotive industry will play a key role, with reducing automotive emissions a top priority for Australia to achieve its net-zero goals.

We recognise the importance of training reform and alleviating workforce shortages in both industries. Our strategy is centered around these key objectives.

Our work will centre on four key areas including workforce planning; training product development; implementation, promotion, and monitoring; and industry stewardship. The nationally recognised training products we are responsible for include:

  • RII Resources and Infrastructure Industry (mining)
  • AUR Automotive Retail, Service and Repair (service & repair)
  • AUR Automotive Retail, Service and Repair (retail qualifications only)
  • AUM Automotive Manufacturing

Our team has been proactively engaging with industry and education leaders across the nation to further our relationships and build upon our past successes.

As we look towards the future, we will be attending a variety of conferences and events throughout Australia and we eagerly anticipate the opportunity to engage with many of you there.

As opportunities for stakeholder engagement and consultation arise, we will ensure to effectively communicate them and we encourage you to provide us with your valuable feedback at that time.

We are thrilled to introduce you to the Mining and Automotive Skills Alliance and to extend an invitation to get involved by visiting our Website, exploring the benefits of free Membership, following us on LinkedIn and Facebook, or Subscribing to our newsletter.

Dr Gavin Lind

Just over one week to register for free online event, TAFE Opens Doors: A focused discussion on access and equity

The countdown is on for the free upcoming event, ‘TAFE Opens Doors: A focused discussion on access and equity,’ on Wednesday 31 May from 12-5 pm AEST. This event promises to be an enlightening and informative experience, featuring a variety of sessions that delve into crucial topics surrounding access and equity in education.

Among the line-up of engaging sessions, we would like to draw your attention to two impactful discussions:

STREAM 1A – Women, Money & Work
Wednesday 31 May 1:30 – 2:30 PM

Kit McMahon, National Co-Convenor of Women in Adult and Vocational Education (WAVE), will explore the link between the gender pay gap and vocational education and training (VET). By examining the factors that contribute to this gap and the data used to measure it in Australia, participants will gain valuable insights into how VET can address inequity in the economy. Dr Tracey West, a Lecturer at Griffith University, will focus on the gender gap in financial literacy and wellbeing, providing participants with awareness of the contributing factors, and empowering them to support gender equity measures in their workplaces and communities.

STREAM 3B – Be the Change – getting the most out of your disability action plan
Wednesday 31 May  4:00 – 5:00 PM

In this session, a panel of experts, including Jodie Hoger, Manager of Disability and Access Services at TAFE NSW, Dr Jill Duncan, Deputy Chair of Disability Council NSW, and Darlene McLennan, Manager and NDCO at the Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET), will share strategies to optimise Disability Action Inclusion Plans (DAIPs). By addressing barriers to inclusion, promoting diversity, and empowering individuals with disabilities, TAFE institutions can create inclusive environments that meet the needs of all students. Attendees will leave with the tools and knowledge necessary to drive meaningful change in their communities.

These sessions, along with a wide range of other thought-provoking discussions at ‘TAFE Opens Doors: A focused discussion on access and equity,’ will provide attendees with valuable insights and practical solutions to address critical issues in education and beyond.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to learn, grow, and contribute to the pursuit of access and equity. See the full program and register here.

Too many university students; not enough VET graduates, former vice chancellor says

One in five university graduates would be better off financially by skipping university and going straight into work, according to Emeritus Professor Steven Schwartz, the former vice chancellor of Macquarie and Murdoch universities.

He says the explosive growth in universities over the past 20 years has seen them “continue to churn out more degrees, each worth less than the previous one.”

“As a result, VET is now stigmatised as a second-class education option, and employers demand university credentials for jobs that formerly did not require them.

“This credential inflation severely disadvantages those who have the ability and experience to perform a job but, for one reason or another, were unable to study at a university,” he writes in a paper for the Centre for Independent Studies.

“Parity of esteem between higher and vocational education would be easier to achieve when the same institutions offer both vocational and higher education.

“There are already several universities in Australia that offer both, but there should be many more. In addition, higher education students should be able to include vocational subjects in degrees and vice-versa,” he argues.

Brisbane private hospital and TAFE Queensland building the nursing pipeline

Greenslopes Private Hospital in Brisbane and TAFE Queensland are celebrating a 15-year partnership that has seen more than 900 nursing graduates enter the workforce.

The collaboration was prompted by a shortage of enrolled nurses, together with the challenge of training new graduates in the hospital’s specific methods.

In response, the hospital joined with TAFE Queensland to develop the “Grow Your Own Workforce” program.

It offered on-site training for enrolled nurses, with an impressive completion rate of 83.7%, student satisfaction of 92.1%, and an employment rate of 98.2% upon course completion.

The program’s success is due to several factors, including the integration of students into the hospital team, the extensive exposure to real hospital environments, and the use of high-fidelity simulation labs.

The program has been praised by accreditation bodies and is seen as an outstanding model for addressing nursing shortages – one that has the potential for replication in other healthcare institutions.

See more.

HSSO launches work placement video platform

The Human Services Skills Organisation (HSSO) has launched a new work placement video platform which provides RTOs, students and employers free access to a series of resources that help those undertaking the Certificate III in Individual Support during their mandatory work placements.

The videos, accessed via mobile devices, help users understand what they should and shouldn’t be doing during placement, what host organisations expect, and individualised plans, policies and procedures.

Each video covers one or more key concepts from the Certificate III in Individual Support.

To register for the platform, please submit an expression of interest to the HSSO which can be found here.

For more information about the resources, please click here. 

Upcoming TAFE industry currency forums


Don’t miss out on the VET Development Centre’s Industry Boost program, in partnership with TAFE Directors Australia.

Join us for the VET Electrical Industry Forum on 2 June and learn from industry experts Gideon Perrott, CEO of NECA Education & Careers, and Chris Stark, Head of Strategy & Commercialisation, about the current and future needs of electrical contractors, as well as career opportunities that can be achieved through short courses.

Mapped to the VET Practitioner Capability Framework and ASQA standards, this forum will also discuss industry currency requirements for educators and prepare you to better equip your VET students for the future of work in the electrical industry. Register now.


Registrations are open for the upcoming TAFE Dental Assistant industry currency forum.

The industry expert for the Dental Assistant forum Jill Ford, is President of the Dental Assistants Professional Association. Jill completed her TAE qualification and delivered Certificate III in Dental Assisting after developing an interest in education.

The association works to find pathways to encourage Dental Assistants to pursue their careers both in and out of the clinical dental practice with continuing professional development. Jill has been managing a dental traineeship program in TAFE for the past seven years and looks forward to discussing current industry practice and delivery of programs with TAFE educators.

The online forum will be held on Friday 16 June from 2pm to 4.30pm AEST for the registration fee $150 inc GST. Further details can be found at TAFE Industry Boost – VDC. All attendees will receive a certificate of attendance.  Register Now!

Online information session for Global Footprint Scholarships

The Global Footprints Scholarships are now open, and the organisers are offering a drop-in zoom information session for applicants and their supporters.

The scholarships offer a number of $8000 travel grants to travel overseas for industry experience and learn about sustainability. The scholarships are available for Agriculture, Horticulture and many Trades.

The zoom information session is on 25 May at 1.00 pm Sydney time. It is open to applicants and their supporters, families, teachers and employers.

Email by COB 23 May to register for this session.

Applications for the scholarships close 12 June.

Cloud skills for TAFE by Amazon Web Services: Part 3 TAFE students success stories

Join AWS in the next web series on practical advice and success stories from former TAFE students who now work at AWS. This webinar will be held on Thursday, 1 June at 3PM AEST.  For more information, please click the link and view webinar details at the bottom of the page.  To register for any of the webinars, please complete this form.

Please be sure to read the form directions before submission.  Note that on the first page of the form you will need to click “yes” and include your name and email for AWS to be able to invite you to your preferred events. If you have questions, you can reach the AWS Skills to Jobs team at

TAFEs able to apply for Australian export awards

TAFEs are now eligible to apply for the Australian Export Awards which are open to all exporting businesses across 13 categories.

Applications close in June, with winners to be announced at the Australian Export Awards national ceremony at Parliament House later this year.

See more.

Farewelling one of our TAFE leaders

TDA thanks Dianne Semmens, recently Deputy Vice Chancellor of Victoria University, for her very significant contribution to TAFE.

Over ten years ago Dianne joined Melbourne Polytechnic as a TAFE teacher following a career in community services and family violence work. Dianne expanded her TAFE experience at Bendigo Kangan Institute and in 2015 moved to dual sector university, Victoria University.

Dianne has always been a strong advocate for TAFE and an active member of TAFE national networks. We wish Dianne well for the next phase of her career.

Executive vacancy at Canberra Institute of Technology

The Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) is seeking an experienced and innovative vocational education and training professional to fill the newly created role of Executive Director, Education Futures and Students.

The position is a unique opportunity to design and deliver a suite of student and employer focussed education and training programs and initiatives, aligned to the strategic aspirations and future direction of CIT.

A major focus will be the integration of leading-edge education design and delivery technologies, facilitated through digitally enabled learning and innovation spaces and teaching methods.

Applications close May 29.

See more.

Diary Dates

VET Development Centre and TAFE Directors Australia
Industry Currency Forums – Online
May to June 2023
More information: ElectricalDental Assistant

TAFE Opens Doors: a focused discussion on access and equity
31 May 2023 Online 12 – 5pm AEST
Register here

Apprentice Employment Network NSW & ACT
2023 Skills Conference
14 June 2023
Dockside Darling Harbour, Sydney
More information

TAFETalks: Innovations in Clean Energy
21 June, 2 pm AEST
Register here

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

Victorian TAFE Association State Conference
26 – 28 July 2023 – save the date
Mildura, Victoria

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

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

Australian International Education Conference
10-13 October
More information

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