Innovation and trusted partnerships on display last week – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Innovation and trusted partnerships on display last week – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Adelaide hosted over 470 delegates to the TDA Convention 2022 last week which was followed by the Australia Training Awards on Friday night. The week was full of examples of individual innovation and stories of trusted partnerships.

The TDA Convention 2022 was packed with people and rich in diversity of presentations. Following the amazing keynote presentations that covered a stimulating presentation by Danielle Wood of the Grattan Institute on Australia’s economic context for skills development, reflections from six industry leaders on their skills priorities and what they need from TAFE, insights from the European Commission, UK and Canada, and Kurt Fearnley’s inspiring story of courage, change and challenge, delegates could choose from over 90 presentations.

The themes of the breakout sessions covered learner engagement, access, equity and pathways, community development, solutions for attracting and retaining the TAFE workforce, the student voice, educational design, future health skills need, data, forecasting skills, and lots on partnerships.

There were several stimulating sessions on how TAFE is delivering for industry. This started with a terrific presentation by BAE Systems and TAFE SA, followed by the very successful story of the Queensland Future Skills partnership (which is featured on the TDA home page, and a dive into the award winning innovative Defence Industry Pathways program developed by South Metropolitan TAFE in WA.

Wednesday afternoon continued the theme of industry partnerships by turning to emerging industries. This session included skills development for the cyber security industry, space and defence industries, and a case study of hydrogen. All three were stories of how TAFE is meeting the needs of these fast-paced emerging industries.

Perhaps the stars of both the convention and the training awards were the students. Throughout the week delegates met and heard fabulous student stories. Stories about how their TAFE experiences had been life changing.

TDA extends its thanks and congratulations as follows. Firstly, congratulations to the TAFE staff who were recognised in the inaugural TAFE Staff Recognition Awards last Tuesday night. Secondly, thank you to the TDA Board, TAFE SA colleagues, the TDA Convention 2022 Advisory Committee, and all others who supported TDA Convention 2022 in the lead up and during the event. Finally, congratulations to the finalists and winners of the Australian Training Awards, especially acknowledging those from TDA member organisations.

What a week it was – vocational excellence demonstrated!

A big night for TAFE at national training awards

It was a spectacular night for TAFE students, teachers, institutes and industry partners at the Australian Training Awards gala dinner in Melbourne on Friday.

The Apprentice of the Year Award went to Jennah Halley (pictured with Skills Minister Brendan O’Connor) who completed a Certificate III in Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration at TAFE Queensland and is employed by Messina Airconditioning and Refrigeration.

The Gold winner of the Large Training Provider of the Year Award was Bendigo TAFE and Kangan Institute. The Bronze went to Canberra Institute of Technology.

The Silver in the Industry Collaboration Award went to the Queensland Future Skills Partnership, a collaboration between the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance, CQUniversity Australia and TAFE Queensland which delivers fast-tracked accredited training in automated technology for open-cut mining operations.

The VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year Award went to Canberra Institute of Technology’s Richard Lindsay, an automotive teacher who, during COVID, implemented an innovative online platform that is now used by Toyota and Tesla Australia. The Runner-up was Rebecca Toleman from South West TAFE. Rebecca brought her experience from a family farm to SWTAFE in 2018 with a course comprising 30 enrolments and two fulltime teachers. It has now expanded to 370 students, with eight teachers, across 10 programs.

The Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award went to Susan Shaw who brings her passion to teaching English as a second language to refugees and migrants at Kangan Institute.

The Small Employer of the Year Award went to Regional Anangu Services Aboriginal Corporation which delivers services across the APY lands in the far northwest of South Australia, in collaboration with TAFE SA.

The Bronze award for Innovation in VET was awarded to Box Hill Institute for its Augmented Reality in Construction initiative.

The Apprentice of the Year Runner-up was Chhunly Taing who is studying a Certificate III in Civil Construction at Holmesglen Institute and is employed by John Holland.

The Trainee of the Year is Brittany-Leigh Wragg who undertook a Certificate III in the Defence Industry Pathways Program at WA’s South Metropolitan TAFE and is employed by Programmed Training Services.

Angelina Dunnett was the Runner-up in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Award. Angela studied a Certificate III in Community Services at TAFE SA and is employed by the Regional Anangu Services Aboriginal Corporation.

The winner of the Australian School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year was Sakina Qambari, studying a Certificate III in Hospitality, Front of House with TAFE SA. Sakina is employed by MAS National Apprenticeship, hosted by Renmark Club and attends Renmark High School.

The Vocational Student of the Year is Caitlin Cook, studying a Diploma of Nursing at South West TAFE and employed by Simply Seniors in Home Care.

The Outstanding Achievement in the VET and Skills Sector Award recognised Rob Bonner for his achievements in VET and skills over 32 years.

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists!

The organisers announced that the 2023 Australian Training Awards will be in Hobart.

See all the winners and finalists.

Skills ministers agree on major VET reform steps


Federal, state and territory skills ministers have agreed to measures to strengthen the VET workforce, prepare for the new Industry Clusters, and address apprentice completions at their meeting on Friday.

Key steps included:

  • “Urgent action” to address widespread skills shortages including finalising a 12-month Skills Agreement to deliver 180,000 fee-free TAFE and VET places from January 2023;
  • Agreed on updates to the Training and Education and Community Services Training Packages, which strengthens the VET workforce and addresses findings from the Royal Commission into Aged Care;
  • In preparation for the Industry Clusters from January 2023, agreed to update the Training Package Organising Framework as a first step to a new model of qualifications;
  • Committed to work in partnership to improve the apprenticeship support system and completion rates.

See the Communique

TAFE staff recognised for exceptional service

TDA’s inaugural TAFE Staff Recognition Awards winners were announced last week at the TDA Convention dinner.

There were four categories: ‘Great ideas’ Award: Embedding technology to enhance organisational outcomes (team or individual), TAFE Collaboration Leader Award, TAFE Services or Support Leader award and TAFE Educational Leader Award. TDA was delighted to have received over a hundred nominations. The finalists were selected by TDA Board members and tiered into Gold, Silver and Bronze by TDA CEO Jenny Dodd and award sponsors.

‘Great Idea’ Award sponsored by Diamond sponsor TechnologyOne
Gold: TAFE NSW’s Electric Bus Micro Skills Program: Mika Langdon, Chris Greentree, Jeremy Lutvey, Lisa Rodrigues, Niel Sharma, Phillip Barbieri and Samar Farhat
Silver: TAFE Queensland International Education Marketing Team: Marty, Marcelo Zacarias Vieira, Mel Nair, Catherine Carruthers-Qua, Jacqueline McCarthy
Bronze: Bernie Slater, Canberra Institute of Technology

Collaboration Leader Award sponsored by Gold sponsor Adobe
Gold: Garry Hargreaves, TAFE Queensland
Silver: Mark Thompson, TAFE South Australia
Bronze: Rachel Wassink, RMIT

Services or Support Leader Award sponsored by Gold sponsor ReadyTech
Gold: Elana Agnew, South West TAFE, Victoria
Silver: Libby Bailey, Canberra Institute of Technology
Bronze: Zac Ekandi, TAFE NSW

Educational Leader Award sponsored by Gold sponsor TotalVET Training resources
Gold: Holly Gudsell, North Metropolitan TAFE, WA
Silver: Peter Heilbuth, Central Queensland University
Bronze: Amy Nussio, Canberra Institute of Technology


Apprentice review process takes shape

Measures to boost apprentice completions, improve diversity and make the system easier to use are key elements in a federal government discussion paper aimed at reviewing the apprenticeship system.

The paper is part of a review by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations into the effectiveness of non-financial supports.

The paper notes that completion rates have been declining steadily over time.

It says that over half of employers (54%) say hiring an apprentice is more complicated than hiring others. The process of preparing for and attending a sign-up takes employers and apprentices a combined total of 11.8 hours.

Diversity is also an issue. First Nations people represent just 5.4% of all apprentices in training. Women are underrepresented in non-traditional trade occupations, making up only 8.2% of current trade apprentices

A review of financial supports will be undertaken in late 2023.

Submissions to the discussion paper are due by December 16.

See more

SA first out of the blocks with skills agreement

South Australia has become the first state to sign a new 12-month skills agreement with the Commonwealth and will deliver 12,500 fee-free TAFE and VET places in 2023.

TAFE SA will deliver approximately 10,500 of the training places.

The agreement will see approximately 4,000 places in the care sector, 3,000 in hospitality and tourism, 2,500 in construction, 1,000 each in technology/digital and agriculture, and 500 in sovereign capability including manufacturing. There will also be places in education, foundation skills and creative industries.

The agreement was announced last week by the Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor and South Australia’s Minister for Education, Training and Skills Blair Boyer during a visit to the Tonsley Innovation Precinct in Adelaide.

See more

Business survey shows strong demand for trades skills

There is a widespread increase in business demand for skilled labour, with the most acute shortages in technical and trade areas, according to a new Ai Group skills survey.

It shows that 69% of businesses said their skill needs had increased in relation to Technicians and Trades Workers, 45% in relation to Professionals, 43% for Managers, 38% for Machinery Operators and Drivers and 37% for Labourers.

The report, Listening to Australian businesses on skills and workforce needssurveyed almost 350 business leaders across Australia.

  • 71% of businesses reported difficulty meeting their requirements for Technicians and Trades Workers;
  • Around a quarter (24%) reported either emerging or increased skill needs as a result of the transition to a clean economy;
  • 82% plan to either maintain or increase the amount they spend on staff training and development in the next 12 months;
  • 74% expressed interest in employing university or TAFE students as higher-level apprentices or cadets.

Ai Group Chief Executive described it as a “call to arms”.

“We need to start rebuilding our workforce at home as a matter of urgency. It is a huge national challenge.”

TechnologyOne platform to power Victorian TAFEs

More than 57,000 students across a further seven Victorian TAFEs will soon benefit from TechnologyOne’s educational platform, meaning all 12 TAFEs in the state will be using the service by the end of 2023.

Box Hill Institute is one of the seven higher education institutions investing in TechnologyOne’s OneEducation SaaS. It will join the five existing TechnologyOne TAFE customers in Victoria that have already completed the transformation to SaaS.

TechnologyOne Industry General Manager for Education, Peter Nikoletatos said Victoria was leading the way and the company was delighted to be the technology provider of choice for all 12 TAFEs across the state.

“Our platform is used by two out of every three Australian TAFEs, and a third of Australian universities. It’s uniquely designed to meet the needs of a cloud-first, mobile-first world, to deliver a world-class student experience,” he said.

TAFE Directors Australia CEO Jenny Dodd said that technology was central to the national jobs, skills and labour debate, and that institutions who are investing in their technology will benefit from the overall student experience they offer.

Microcredentials comparison site set to launch

The federal government is on schedule to release the new MicroCred Seeker website in December.

MicroCred Seeker, previously the Microcredentials Marketplace, is a nationally consistent platform that will provide learners with a range of course-specific information, enabling the comparison of microcredentials offered by tertiary education providers and facilitating their lifelong learning journey.

All Higher Education Providers registered under TEQSA are eligible to sign up and list their microcredentials on the website, with onboarding currently underway. Anyone interested in participating should contact

For further information please contact

Diary Dates

OctoberVET 2022 Ballarat: Inclusivity and the future of VET
23 November 2022
FedUni SMB Campus, 136 Albert St, Ballarat
More information

TEQSA Conference
23-24 November 2022
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins (and online)
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

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