Is there the will for the policy change that will be needed? – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Is there the will for the policy change that will be needed? – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

During the last year new thinking has been put on the table for both vocational education and training and higher education. There are a plethora of ideas floating around.

To deliver improved outcomes is going to require significant policy change. Is there genuinely an appetite for this? Are some of the changes already made locking us into less-than-optimal future policy? How will we avoid unintended consequences?

Higher education is currently focusing on the Australian Universities Accord Review (the Accord). This is the first review since the well-known Bradley review of 2008 which reviewed the focus, regulatory frameworks, and funding of Australian higher education.

The 2023 Accord Review Panel has released its Interim Report and asked for next stage submissions. Last Thursday, the TDA Board considered TDA’s draft response. TDA will meet the submission deadline of 1 September and will promulgate several policy changes. If adopted these policy changes will support increased numbers of students from equity groups into tertiary education, improved alignment between TAFE and higher education, and increased industry-university-TAFE partnerships.

Now, let’s turn to the vocational education and training sector. In VET we are plagued by the word ‘reform’. I’ve been in the VET sector for three quarters of my working life. We seem to have been reforming for all that time!

One such example is the VET qualification reform piece. Now that the Jobs and Skills Councils are in place and a new committee for designing training products is being set up (see last week’s TDA newsletter) what will VET qualification reform look like?

TDA hopes for policy that will deliver the following outcomes. Policy that recognises learners’ existing skills and knowledge, respects enrolled students right to complete the qualification they enrolled in, delivers learners with transferable outcomes for industry, provides greater autonomy to TAFEs that allows innovation in relationships between universities, industry and TAFEs to emerge, and reduces the wasted resources in the sector now on the continuous updates and processes for transition of training packages.

Both those submitting to the Accord review and those discussing VET reform are full of commendable and often bold ideas. Bold ideas though have by their very nature requirements for policy change. That’s where the various departments come in. For the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments to adopt some of these bold ideas is going to take considerable deep thinking on policy. Is there the will and the capability to take this on?

WorldSkills Australia winners announced

A total of 470 young Australians have battled it out in Melbourne across 55 skills areas over three days for the chance to be named the country’s top tradespeople, apprentices, and trainees.

The WorldSkills Australia National Championships concluded on Saturday, with the very best talent of the VET system on show to thousands of visitors to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, and a huge online audience.

The competition saw the best trainees and apprentices go head-to-head in high-pressure skills competition across areas as diverse as carpentry, cookery, fashion technology, hairdressing, Industry 4.0, cloud computing and cyber security.

The WorldSkills Australia National Championships are held every two years. The top Australian performers – the Skillaroos – will now compete against 82 member countries for the title of the world’s most skilled country at the 2024 International Competition in France.

See the results of the WorldSkills Australia National Championships

TAFETalks: Beyond Paper: The evolution of digital credentials

As digital transformation continues to take place across many aspects of life, TAFEs are at the forefront, streamlining the student experience by awarding and recognising qualifications digitally.

TDA invites you to join us for a discussion with our corporate affiliate My eQuals along with representatives from Bendigo Kangan Institute, Holmesglen and Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) to learn more about how TAFEs are digitising their credentials, and the benefits that this is bringing to students, institutions and industry alike.

The consistent approach to provisioning official credentials between VET and higher education providers also supports increasing alignment on recognition of learning between the sectors. This session will also explore the future evolution of this technology, including the movement to Self-Sovereign Identities (SSI) for individuals to securely store credentials in their digital wallet. The future of digital credentials is here!

To register click here

TAFE CEOs meet new JSC heads and hear from Professor Peter Dawkins

TDA is delighted to have met with the heads of the Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs) in Melbourne last week as part of TDA’s CEO Forum, bringing together TAFE Institute heads from across the country.

Meeting up with the new JSCs was a great opportunity to learn about the work plans that are underway, and discuss how TAFEs can maximise the chance to be involved in the important work that the JSCs will undertake in overseeing their industry sectors.

The JSCs will play a an important role in the latest evolution of the VET system through liaising with industry to improve training and assessment practices, and developing training products.

TDA extends its appreciation to the JSCs for the chance to learn, listen and engage on some of the important issues that will be on the agenda.

TDA also held a dinner for TAFE CEOs and TDA Corporate Affiliates on Thursday evening with special guest, the interim Director of Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA), Professor Peter Dawkins at William Angliss Institute’s marvellous Angliss Restaurant in Melbourne.

Professor Dawkins outlined some of the important early work of JSA, particularly in the areas of the clean energy workforce, foundation skills and on approaches to better defining the nature of skills shortages across the economy.

Professor Dawkins also addressed a number of important issues in a wide ranging Q&A with guests. TDA extends its thanks to Professor Dawkins for his time and his openness with TDA and its guests.

Also on display were the skills of Angliss Restaurant’s accomplished cookery and hospitality students who catered to 55 guests with warmth and professionalism.

TDA would like to acknowledge and thank William Angliss Institute for hosting TDA and its guests, and for giving all those present the chance to see the next generation of industry professionals in action.

Polymath and visionary, Peter Noonan, honoured with lifetime achievement award

The late Professor Peter Noonan has been awarded the Lynne Kosky Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement, honouring his significant role in shaping policy in Australia’s higher education, training and skills system for more than 25 years.

Professor Noonan, who died in April last year, was named as the recipient of the prestigious award by the Minister for Training and Skills, Gayle Tierney, at the Victorian Training Awards on Friday night.

Craig Robertson, the Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Skills Authority, told the audience it was no exaggeration to describe Professor Noonan as a “polymath of education and training”.

“He wrote incisively and with foresight over education and training participation, funding and finance and the very nature of education itself.”

Mr Robertson said it was likely that his most enduring legacy for education was his last major report – the Review of the Australian Qualifications Framework.

“The fact that ministers and public servants are struggling to bring the recommendations to life, is testament to its potential for transformation and to bridge and connect our disparate education systems,” he said

“Over his working life he was a trusted adviser – by no coincidence – to reforming state and federal education ministers.”

Mr Robertson said Professor Noonan was deeply committed, and had dedicated his professional life to building better education and training in Australia.

Image: Minister Gayle Tierney; Peter Noonan’s daughter Jess Noonan; his wife Marion van Rooden; and Craig Robertson.

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

TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) is thrilled to be hosting our second online conference for 2023, 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.

To view the full program, visit the TDA Linkages: One tertiary education system event page.

Registrations are now open for this free event. To secure your spot, click here.

Commonwealth contributes $22m to Wodonga TAFE heavy vehicle training centre

The federal government has committed $22 million towards a cutting-edge heavy vehicle training facility at Wodonga TAFE.

The Heavy Vehicle Training and Experimentation Precinct will form part of the Wodonga TAFE Logical Innovation Precinct.

It will transform the training of heavy vehicle operators and includes a heavy vehicle obstacle circuit, a repair and maintenance workshop, and a state-of-the-art cyber range for simulated courses.

The upgraded facility will enable Wodonga TAFE to expand its Heavy Vehicle Technology Program, which is expected to attract up to 1,200 students and generate more than $70 million in regional economic activity.

Wodonga TAFE Chief Executive Officer, Phil Paterson said it was a momentous milestone for Wodonga TAFE and the Logical Innovation Precinct, that would generate skills, jobs and technologies for local communities and industries.

Construction will commence in 2024 and is expected to be completed in 2026.

MYOB Partner Awards 2023 launched, with nominations now open

MYOB invites its education partners to nominate for the prestigious Education Partner of the Year and/or Educator of the Year awards this year.

This is a chance to be recognised and celebrated for the commitment and hard work, not only by MYOB but also by the wider community and our industry.

The winners of these esteemed awards will be treated to an unforgettable trip to Melbourne, where they can indulge in luxury accommodation complete with first-class amenities. The highlight of the trip will undoubtedly be the MYOB Partner Awards 2023 – a memorable dinner event hosted by MYOB CEO, Paul Robson, and General Manager – SME, Emma Fawcett.

The two-day experience will also encompass an exclusive tour of MYOB’s headquarters, a tailor-made workshop, and a glamorous award ceremony, complete with professional photo opportunities.

For all the details simply follow this link. Discover the criteria for each award and submit your nominations before the deadline on 8 September 2023.

Seize this chance to shine and let your dedication take centre stage! Your remarkable contributions deserve to be acknowledged, and the MYOB Partner Awards 2023 are the perfect platform to make it happen.

National Skills Week kicks off

This week is National Skills Week, celebrating the talents, skills and value of apprentices and trainees across Australia.

Now in its thirteenth year, National Skills Week will again set out to bring to life the positive messages and highlight the value of VET to the wider public and employers.

This year’s theme “What are you looking for?” reflects the extraordinary range of study and career choices that include VET.

There are a host of ways for training providers, employers, schools and supporters of VET to get involved in National Skills Week.

The SkillsOne website lists all the activities, as well as stories of VET success and opportunities to take part.

Free symposium to hear experts on Universal Design for Learning

The Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) has announced the inaugural tertiary education symposium on Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which will be held virtually on 5 & 7 September.

‘UDL In Action: the what, the why and the how of UDL’ will bring together experts, practitioners, researchers, and advocates from diverse fields to explore the latest developments in Universal Design for Learning.

The free symposium will feature keynote presentations, panel discussions, workshops, allowing participants to share their knowledge, exchange ideas, and collaborate on future initiatives.

The symposium will be held:

  • 5th September, 2 pm to 5 pm AEST
  • 7th September, 10 am to 1:30 pm AEST

Register here

Diary Dates

Save the Date: TDA Convention 2024, 8 & 9 May, Sydney. details coming soon.

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

TAFETalks: Beyond Paper: The evolution of digital credentials
30 August 2023, 2pm AEST
More information

NSW Training Awards
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