Industry Cluster model approved for 2023 start – comment by Jenny Dodd

Industry Cluster model approved for 2023 start – comment by Jenny Dodd

TDA welcomes the Ministerial statement outlining ‘stronger industry leadership and engagement’ to deliver a VET system ‘that can respond rapidly to changes in Australia’s economy and build a resilient workforce that delivers on industry’s needs.’

To achieve these outcomes nine Industry Clusters will be established and operational from 1 January 2023. The Industry Clusters will have responsibility for workforce planning and skills development. They will also design the training required by industry, and implement, promote, and monitor it. That is, Industry Clusters will have more of an end-to-end process than currently exists.

These arrangements will see the abolition of the multitude of Industry Reference Committees which currently have responsibility for the development of training packages. The Industry Clusters will replace the current Service Skills Organisations, and the more recent three Skills Organisations. The Industry Clusters are as follows:

  • Agribusiness and Food Production
  • Early Educators, Health and Human services
  • Manufacturing, Print and Textiles
  • Arts and Personal Services
  • Finance, Technology and Business
  • Mining, Resources and Energy
  • Building, Construction and Property
  • Wholesale, Retail, Transport and Logistics
  • Government, Education and Public – This is where the VET workforce is located.

These new industry engagement arrangements resulted from advice by industry stakeholders who were known as the Transition Advisory Group (TAG). I referred to TAG in my newsletter of Monday 13 September.

In considering the TAG advice, TDA submitted a series of comments to the Department of Education Skills and Employment (DESE). The TDA submission is here on the TDA website.

I will specifically mention two of TDA’s comments in the light of the Ministerial statement. TDA highlighted the issue of lack of accountability in the current system and is pleased to see this has been addressed in the new arrangements. The Ministerial Statement includes a section ‘Setting clear expectations for system performance’. It states that ‘Industry Cluster performance will be monitored through a performance framework to ensure they are delivering strong outcomes for learners and employers …’.

TDA also commented that success of this new model will occur when co-design between TAFEs and industry occurs early in the design phase. While not specifically mentioned in the Ministerial Statement, TDA continues to promulgate this position. These new arrangements offer the opportunity for Industry Clusters to engage with educators early in the design phase. If co-design is genuinely embraced, then both students and industry will be the winners.


Strong apprentice growth forecast to continue into next year

Approximately 165,000 apprentices have been signed up under the federal government’s employer wage subsidy program, and officials expect strong growth to continue into next year.

Officials from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment told Senate Estimates last week that the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements (BAC) program has contributed to strong apprentice uptake over the past year.

“The BAC is tracking exceptionally well, the uptake numbers are very high and we’re expecting that demand for the program will continue until the end of the program at the end of March 2022,” one official said.

The department said there were currently a total of 348,000 apprentices ‘in-training’ at the end of June, almost 80,000 more than a year earlier.

Bendigo Kangan Institute awarded grant to link international qualifications

The Victorian Government has awarded Bendigo Kangan Institute a grant to research qualification recognition opportunities between Australia and Chinese vocational training institutes.

The research will be performed by VETASSESS, the assessment arm of Bendigo Kangan Institute, and is funded by a grant through the Study Melbourne Research Partnership Program (SMRP), delivered by veski, who drive programs and initiatives to inspire innovation.

The research has the potential to support Victoria’s education sector by assisting Chinese students to find study pathways in Victorian technical institutes and universities.

VETASSESS will partner with the Chinese Testing, Inspection and Certification Education Association (CTICEA), in China to explore and inform cross-border qualification recognition opportunities by mapping Chinese vocational qualifications to Australian standards in select fields of study.

Bendigo Kangan Institute CEO Sally Curtain said that the research to map qualifications will provide study pathways for students which in turn has the potential to support Victoria’s tertiary education sector and boost the local economy.

“This funding will provide significant opportunities to explore and align cross-border qualifications in particular fields of study as well as enhance connections and collaborations with leading international institutions and industry. Through the success of this work we will be able to attract more students to Victoria,” Ms Curtain said.

VETASSESS Executive Director Rob Thomason said that the research focuses on developing skills and mapping Chinese qualifications to the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) in the fields of chemical technology and environmental monitoring and control technology.

“CTICEA consists of more than 150 scientific research institutes, 80 vocational colleges, trade associations and enterprises in the field of testing, inspection and certification (TIC) in China. CTICEA’s member colleges educate students who are highly sought after by Chinese industries,” Mr Thomason said.

The VETASSESS-Bendigo Kangan Institute grant was one of 15 made by veski and Study Melbourne.

veski MD and chief executive Julia L Page said that the projects will drive international research collaboration, deepen strategic offshore partnerships, strengthening the prestigious global rankings and reputation of Victoria’s public universities and TAFEs.

Latest industry training hub completes the national rollout

The federal government has completed its rollout of ten Industry Training Hubs with the launch of the latest hub in Alice Springs.

It adds to the existing network of training hubs operating in Burnie (Tas), Townsville (Qld), Maryborough (Qld), Port Pirie (SA), Shepparton (Vic), Armadale (WA), Gosford (NSW), Wanneroo (WA) and Grafton (NSW).

The government committed $50.6 million to trial the hubs in ten regions with the aim of improving opportunities for young people in regions with high youth unemployment, targeting Year 11 and Year 12 students.

Each hub is managed by a full-time career facilitator who establishes connections between local stakeholders to create employment opportunities.

See more

Register for TAFETalks Apprenticeship webinar, Wednesday 17 November

Don’t miss the upcoming TAFETalks: Apprenticeships Part 1: Innovation, Collaboration and Acceleration, Wednesday 17 November at 2.00pm (Canberra/Melbourne/Sydney time).

Guest speakers are

  • Dr Gavin Lind, General Manager Safety, Workforce, Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) and Chair of the Mining Skills Organisation Pilot (MSOP)
  • Ms Michelle Hoad, Managing Director of North Metropolitan TAFE in Western Australia

It’s the first of a two-part series on apprenticeships which will focus on innovation in apprenticeships including industry-led proposed acceleration in the mining industry. This session will highlight the importance of collaboration with TAFEs for successful outcomes. The second session, on 1 December will focus on apprenticeships as a career and the support that is needed for students to successfully complete an apprenticeship.

Dr Gavin Lind will share his insights on proposed accelerated apprenticeships.

Michelle Hoad will provide a holistic overview of Western Australia’s approach to apprenticeships, drawing on innovative practices from across the state.

Register here

Tech Council of Australia aims for 1 million-strong tech workforce by 2025

The recently formed Tech Council of Australia (TCA) has outlined its plan to attract an extra 286,000 workers to the tech sector over the next four years to meet acute skills needs.

TCA Chief Executive Officer Kate Pounder told ABC’s Geraldine Doogue that the sector is aiming for a workforce of one million by 2025, requiring re-skilling, upskilling and new entrants to the workforce.

“We calculate that in order to have one million people in tech related jobs by 2025, we’re going to need an extra 286,000 people to come into the sector in the next four years, and that’s both because we’re creating more jobs, but also because people are retiring,” Ms Pounder said.

The TCA is pushing for added training to generate the skilled workforce, and is urging more women to consider tech careers.

“We know from our research that the average age that a woman comes into the sector is 25 to 30, and she usually does it as a transition from a first career, so we see that as a huge opportunity for us as a sector to get more women into tech jobs.”

TDA welcomes the creation of the TCA. It follows TDA’s collaboration with Cisco and Optus and the August 2020 report, Critical Role of Blue Tech and Digital Skills in Australia’s Economic Recovery.

See TCA’s report, How To Deliver One Million Tech Jobs By 2025, or listen to the ABC interview with Geraldine Doogue.

Online OctoberVET event ‘Beyond COVID’, 25 November

‘The Beyond COVID OctoberVET’ will be presented by Federation University’s research group RAVE (Researching Adult and Vocational Education and Training), online on Thursday November 25 from 11.00am-12.30pm AEDT.

There are short research-based presentations on a range of COVID-related and other issues in VET and adult education, including new research projects at Fed Uni and a new concept: ‘Women’s Sheds’, as well as a keynote speech on apprenticeships, by Gary Workman of the Apprenticeship Employment Network.

Please register here

The RAVE research group’s web page is here and the program will be available at the ‘VET research events’ link.

OctoberVET is an initiative of the Australian VET Research Association, and other events are viewable at

Cyber security innovation fund opens

The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources is accepting applications for the second round of the Cyber Security Skills Partnership Innovation Fund.

A total of $60 million is available to support innovative projects to increase the quantity and quality of the cyber security workforce. The fund’s main objective is to increase the quality and quantity of cyber security professionals in Australia.

There is a focus on projects that will boost the participation of women, Indigenous Australians, people in regional and remote areas and those with neurodiverse backgrounds.

Successful applicants will receive grants from $250,000 to $3 million. Applications close 6 December 2021.

See more

National Careers Institute's new grants focus on opportunities for women

Project grants of up to $350,000 are available under the latest National Careers Institute Partnership Grants program.

The funding for this round has a focus on career pathways and career information for women, particularly in non-traditional industries and occupations.

Grants range from $20,000 to $350,000 and will be funded for a maximum of 12 months.

See more

Diary Dates

OctoberVET: VET and resilience
Dr Karen O’Reilly-Briggs, Dr Karen O’Reilly-Briggs (Box Hill Institute), Dr Rochelle Fogelgarn (La Trobe University) and Dr Jacolyn Weller (La Trobe University) Annemaree Gibson, (Box Hill), Stephanie Cunningham (Box Hill), Mark Jordan (Holmesglen)
12 November 2021, 1-30-3.00 pm
Register here

National VET PD Week
Velg Training
15-19 November 2021 (Online)
More information

TAFETalksApprenticeships Part 1: Innovation and acceleration
TAFE Directors Australia
17 November 2021, 2.00 pm AEDT

Australian Training Awards
18 November 2021
Perth, Western Australia
More information
2021 VDC Virtual Teaching & Learning Conference
VET Development Centre
18-19 November 2021 (Online)
More information

OctoberVET Ballarat 2021
Beyond COVID
25 November 2021, 11.00-12.30, online

TAFETalksApprenticeships Part 2: Supporting students to complete
TAFE Directors Australia
1 December 2021, 2.00 pm AEDT

Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group Annual Conference
‘People, place and time: developing the adaptive VET teacher’.
8 December 2021, 2-6 pm (Online)
More information soon

TAFETalks: Academic integrity in VET and Higher Education
2 February 2022
Dr Helen Gniel, Director, Higher Education Integrity Unit, TEQSA & Sharon Waitzer, Director Engagement and Education, ASQA

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