New models with schools – comment by Jenny Dodd

New models with schools – comment by Jenny Dodd

Last week in this newsletter we talked about ‘the many faces of a TAFE student’. In September we explored the multitude of TAFE and industry partnerships.

One of the faces of a TAFE student and one of the TAFE partnerships we have not examined is secondary schools. These partnerships between TAFEs and schools have been in place for decades, and they are evolving with new approaches.

This week, TDA’s focus is on schools and vocational education and training. On Wednesday our TAFETalks webinar will welcome Professor Peter Shergold, Chancellor Western Sydney University. Peter was Chair of a well-recognised group of authors that included Professor Tom Calma, Ms Sarina Russo, Ms Patrea Walton, Ms Jennifer Westacott, Dr Don Zoellner and Mr Patrick O’Reilly, that produced the 2020 review of senior secondary education pathways Looking to the Future.

Peter will be joined by the Managing Director of TAFE NSW, Steffen Faurby who will provide insight into new models of partnering with schools by TAFE NSW.

It was also timely that NCVER released research last week, VET for secondary school students: insights and outcomes. Authors, Misko, Lees and Chew, outline the reason students in secondary schools undertake vocational education and training.

They state the reasons include ‘getting a qualification, getting a full-time job when leaving school, starting an apprenticeship or traineeship, following a personal interest, and achieving an ATAR’. They reviewed sample case studies of government and non-government schools, concluding that schools who have success ‘display a strong commitment to VET’. They also examined the problems of delivery, such as attracting and retaining industry current teachers.

One of the factors we know about schools and vocational education and training is that it is not just one model that will be successful. As Shergold et al state “a ‘one size fits all’ traditional learning environment cannot bring out the best in all young people” (p104). Successful models of partnerships between schools and TAFEs have two common factors – they place the student at the centre and they recognise the uniqueness of the location contexts within which those students live and study.

Join us for this week’s discussion!

TDA welcomes ReadyTech

A new partnership with SaaS technology company ReadyTech will provide significant benefits and insights to TDA TAFE members through leading-edge student lifecycle management support.

TDA is excited to announce a long-term partnership with ASX-listed, and Australian home-grown, technology company ReadyTech, adding to our support for TAFE members as they adapt and evolve their offerings with technology through an era of significant digital transformation change and challenge.

ReadyTech is home to a family of student management and skills assessment technologies purpose-built for TAFE. Led by next generation Student Management System JR Plus, ReadyTech’s enterprise systems help manage modern student journeys to deliver value-added outcomes for students, educators and industries.

As an established technology partner for TAFE and for the VET sector Australia-wide, ReadyTech is invested in the future of the sector. It will support TDA TAFE members with its innovative approach to education technology and its insights for managing the future student lifecycle.

In practice this means, for example, working with TAFEs to bring blended work-integrated learning into their systems and processes for digital-first student and teacher experiences – see the article further down in the newsletter on the first of many ReadyTech webinars for TAFEs, with tomorrow’s webinar on Digitising Vocational Education in a COVID World with the Canberra Institute of Technology.

ReadyTech CEO Marc Washbourne said “ReadyTech’s scale and footprint across TAFE, vocational education and apprenticeships means it is well positioned to add significant value to TDA’s TAFE members through its student management technologies as well as its insights and expertise in the sector”.

“We’ve had a strong alignment with TAFE Directors Australia and its members over many years. We’re pleased to formalise the relationship by becoming an official TDA partner, and look forward to playing our part in supporting the TAFE system and its members in the years to come.”

Industry engagement is what makes TAFEs the standout tertiary education and skill training provider of job-ready VET and higher education graduates and of apprentices for local firms and industries. ReadyTech is investing with TAFEs in the future of all our students, staff and, importantly, our local firms and industries.

Victorian skills authority gets renewable energy role as board members announced

The Victorian government has announced the advisory board members for the new Victorian Skills Authority, and has also given the body a key role in achieving the state’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.

The 15-member advisory board will be chaired by Lisa Line (pictured), who formerly held senior leadership roles at Swinburne Institute of Technology and The Gordon Institute of TAFE.

The VSA was established in July, with former TDA CEO Craig Robertson appointed as the founding Chief Executive Officer.

The Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney said the advisory board will bring rich expertise and experience and would set out a plan for the quality and relevance of Victoria’s world-class TAFE, training and higher education system.

One of the VSA’s first tasks will be to help steer Victoria’s clean energy future through the new Clean Economy Jobs and Skills Taskforce, chaired by Mr Robertson.

The 16-member taskforce comprises climate, energy and industry representatives and will develop a 10-year workforce strategy to manage renewable energy and climate change adaptation.

The Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said the taskforce will make sure Victoria has the skills to meet the massive job opportunities created by the goal of halving emissions by 2030, creating a circular economy and driving investment in clean energy.

See more

TAFE NSW wins design award for virtual reality training

A TAFE NSW virtual reality application for healthcare workers has been recognised in the prestigious 2021 Australian Good Design Awards.

The training simulation was designed by TAFE NSW, commissioned by Werfen, and developed in collaboration with NSW Health Pathology and CognitiveVR. It received an award in the Digital Design category for outstanding design and innovation.

The application aims to address the challenges in training a fast growing workforce engaged in frontline healthcare.

There are more than 40,000 NSW based healthcare workers registered as point-of-care testing operators that perform over 1.6 million pathology tests annually for conditions such as sepsis, COVID19 and heart attacks.

TAFE NSW Innovation Manager, Joe Millward, said he was thrilled that the collaborative effort has been awarded for innovation and cutting edge design.

“The point-of-care testing VR application delivers a realistic simulation of the Werfen GEM Premier 5000. This showcases the talent within TAFE NSW and the depth of our industry connections.”

The General Manager of Werfen Australia and NZ, Sally Hickman said the VR pilot is designed specifically for the GEM Premier 5000 Blood Gas Testing System, and will provide participants with hands-on skills in diagnostic testing through a simulation experience via VR headset.

TAFEs take top honours at Victorian training awards

TAFE institutes, trainers, students and industry partnerships featured in the Victorian Training Awards virtual presentation on Saturday night. TAFE winners were:

  • Apprentice of the Year: Andrew Jan, Bendigo TAFE, Certificate III in Plumbing
  • Trainee of the Year: Samantha Brown, Federation University TAFE, Diploma of Nursing
  • Vocational Student of the Year: Samantha Daly, Swinburne University of Technology, Certificate IV in Mental Health
  • School-based Apprentice of the Year: Laura Davidson, Sunraysia Institute of TAFE and Mildura Senior College, Certificate III in Hairdressing
  • Teacher/Trainer of the Year: Julie Kramer, Bendigo TAFE
  • Large Training Provider of the Year: William Angliss Institute
  • Inclusive Training Provider of the Year: Box Hill Institute
  • Industry Collaboration Award: CYP Design & Construction / Holmesglen Institute Collaboration

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists! See full details from the Victorian Training Awards.

Lessons from Australia's international VET engagement

TDA facilitated two international VET-focused sessions at this year`s Australian International Education Conference (AIEC), which took place virtually from 5 to 8 October.

During the session on ‘The role of Chisholm Institute in the Vietnam TVET reform program‘, Jennie Dehn, Chisholm`s General Manager International and Andy Bridges, Dean of Higher Education, shared Chisholm’s experience in supporting the Vietnamese Government to reform its VET system and reflected on this program as a collaboration model for Australian education providers offshore.

The second session on ‘The Challenges and Opportunities for international VET’ brought together Andrew Williamson, Executive Director, International Education and Enterprise Solutions at Holmesglen Institute, Denise O`Brien, General Manager, International Education at TAFE Queensland, and Tim Gilbert, Vice President International Development at Melbourne Polytechnic.

The three TAFE speakers discussed the challenges and opportunities for the onshore international student market, for the delivery of Australian accredited courses offshore and for the delivery offshore of non-accredited short courses/microcredentials.

They also identified the actions that could be taken at both policy and provider level to allow Australian VET to reposition itself on the international education market in the post-pandemic recovery period.

The recordings of the TDA facilitated sessions, as well as all other conference presentations, can be viewed by registered participants up to 90 days after the event.

See program or register here.

Feedback sought on mandatory work requirements in training products

Where mandatory workplace requirements are included in accredited training products, learners must complete a work placement as part of their VET course.

There is currently a lack of consistency in how these requirements are expressed in training products, and variation in how they are interpreted and implemented.

The Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment has commissioned work to explore stakeholder needs, expectations and concerns about mandatory workplace requirements.

The experiences and perspectives of training providers will be critical to this work which will inform the development of advice for training product developers.

You are invited to have your say on mandatory workplace requirements through an online survey. The survey will be open for responses until 5 November.

TAFETalks: new event on academic integrity added to program – register now!

TDA is excited to announce an additional event in the TAFETalks series on academic integrity which will take place on 2 February 2022. Further details are below.

Registration for these events is free! If you cannot attend the event live, register anyway and you will receive a link to the recording.

TAFETalks: Academic integrity in VET and Higher Education

Date:  Wednesday 2 February at 2.00pm AEDT (Canberra/Melbourne/Sydney time)
Duration: 1 hour
Guest speakers:

  • Dr Helen Gniel, Director, Higher Education Integrity Unit at the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA)
  • Ms Sharon Waitzer, Director Engagement and Education at the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)

Description: All TAFEs are concerned about the rising instance of academic cheating, in particular the rise of websites that students who want to do the wrong thing can access. The two regulators, ASQA and TEQSA, are developing strategies to minimise these risks and to exercise control in this area. Hear from ASQA and TEQSA about their actions in relation to academic integrity and what your response can be in your TAFE.

Registration: To register for this event, please click here

Last opportunity to register for 20 October TAFETalks!

If you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to register now for 20 October 2021 with Peter Shergold and Steffen Faurby for TAFETalks: Breaking down the barriers – the future of VET in Schools.

TAFETalks: Breaking down the barriers – the future of VET in Schools
Date:  Wednesday 20 October at 2.00pm AEDT (Canberra/Melbourne/Sydney time)
Duration: 1 hour
Guest speakers:

  • Professor Peter Shergold AC, Chancellor Western Sydney University
  • Mr Steffen Faurby, Managing Director, TAFE NSW

Description: Peter Shergold AC is a renowned Australian academic, company director, and former public servant. Peter has been the Chancellor of Western Sydney University since 2011. Peter has chaired and co-chaired two recent reports on education. These include Looking to the Future (2020) which was a review of senior secondary education pathways and In the Same Sentence (2021) on vocational education in NSW with David Gonski AC. Peter will reflect on outcomes and progress made since these reviews, particularly in the context of VET delivery in schools. Steffen Faurby, Managing Director of TAFE NSW will provide information about TAFE NSW’s model working with schools.

Registration: To register for this event, please click here.

To view the full program and register for upcoming TAFETalks events, please click here.

TAFE SA upskilling South Australians in digital skills through Microsoft pilot

TAFE SA in partnership with Microsoft Australia and Prodigy Learning are undertaking a pilot program to provide TAFE SA students with the opportunity to gain industry recognised certifications from Microsoft alongside their TAFE studies.

TAFE SA are delighted, through this pilot program, to embed Microsoft certifications in many TAFE SA qualifications, such as the ICT30120 Certificate III in Information Technology and the ICT40118 Certificate IV in Information Technology.

TAFE SA will share guidance and best practices with each of the other TAFEs involved in the Digital Skills through Microsoft Pilot that includes TasTAFE, Box Hill Institute in Victoria and TAFE Queensland.

The ICT30120 Certificate III in Information Technology has a focus on understanding the fundamentals of computer hardware, windows desktop, network operating systems, and utilising Microsoft Office productivity tools including Excel, Word and PowerPoint.

The ICT40118 Certificate IV in Information Technology has a similar structure with students learning content in parallel from TAFE SA and from the Microsoft certifications. Students at this level may elect to specialise in General (IT Support), Networking, Programming or Web Development and for each specialisation Microsoft certifications are available.

Frank Annese, Educational Manager IT Studies at TAFE SA, said “It is exciting to have Microsoft certifications embedded into TAFE SA studies as a huge value add for our students to increase their employability and it’s enabling our teachers to ‘Teach Once, Award Twice’, with students achieving a TAFE certificate and one or more Microsoft certifications.”

Webinar for TAFE teachers: Digitising vocational education in a COVID world

At the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, the VET sector took drastic measures to deal with the significant short-term impacts. However, now with the second wave and prolonged lockdowns, there will be unpredictable consequences in the medium and long term.

Join ReadyTech and the Canberra Institute of Technology’s (CIT) Construction Team Leader, James Folk, at 11am (ADST) tomorrow, Tuesday 19 October to uncover how CIT’s Construction Department has blended work-integrated learning into its systems and processes for digital-first student and teacher experiences.

The webinar will also look at how CIT’s Construction Department pivoted during COVID, and how it is gearing up for a post-pandemic VET sector – including apprenticeship management, workplace integration, digitisation, and compliance risks.

To register, click here. Or, if you’d like to learn more about how Ready Skills can empower your TAFE to digitise your student and teacher experiences visit

All the upcoming OctoberVET events

Each year in October the Australasian Vocational Education and Training Research Association (AVETRA) hosts a month-long series of seminars about contemporary issues in VET.

This October topics include skills reform in New Zealand; research into training packages; and applied research in TAFEs from institutes such as Holmesglen and Box Hill on VET teaching and learning; and VET and resilience. As well, experts will talk about their research on equity and access in VET. See details.

This year the event is online and there is no charge to register. However, AVETRA hopes that if people are not AVETRA members that they will join.

Summary of OCTOBERVET webinars for the second half of the month

18 October (12-1.30pm) – Dr Anne Jones and Dr Lizzie Knight, How can we make VET fairer Register here

19 October (1-4pm) – Research Today featuring Joe Pagnocoolo, Erica Smith, Thomas Dessinger, Paul Boys, Simon Bruce, Oksana Mel.k, Linno Rhodes, Lindee Conway and Karen Dymke. Register here

20 October (12-1pm) – Dr Abul Rizvi, The relationship between migration to Australia and international education – history and future directions Register here

12 November (1-3:30pm) – Box Hill Institute. 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) VET and resilience Register here

Save the date: Council of deans VET conference, 8 December

The Australian Council of Deans of Education, Vocational Education Group will be hosting its annual conference on VET teaching and VET teacher education on Wednesday December 8, from 2pm-6pm AEDT.

The conference theme is ‘People, place and time: developing the adaptive VET teacher’.

The conference will be online again this year, due to the continuing uncertainty regarding COVID-19 restrictions, and is supported by the VET Development Centre.

The conference keynote will be delivered by Professor Joy Papier, Director of the Institute for Post-School Studies, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town: ‘Taking their rightful place in South Africa: Towards the development of professional TVET teachers’.

Other highlights will include presentation of the results of an ACDEVEG survey of VET teachers’ work during COVID in 2020.

A full list of other presenters and conference details will be made available closer to the conference date, and posted on the ACDEVEG web page.

There will be a $25.00 attendance fee for the conference, and registration details will be circulated soon.

Enquiries may be made to

Diary Dates

Free online OctoberVET events

How can we make VET fairer? 
Dr Anne Jones and Dr Lizzie Knight
18 October 2021, 12-1.30pm
Register here

Research Today
Joe Pagnocoolo, Erica Smith, Thomas Dessinger, Paul Boys, Simon Bruce, Oksana Melnyk, Linno Rhodes, Lindee Conway and Karen Dymke
19 October 2021, 1-4 pm
Register here

The relationship between migration to Australia and international education history and future directions
Dr Abul Rizvi
20 October 2021, 12-1 pm

Register here

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, 1-3:30pm, Box Hill Institute
Register here

TAFETalks: Breaking down the barriers – the future of VET in Schools
TAFE Directors Australia
20 October 2021, 2.00 pm ADST
RegisterAustralian Skills Quality Authority
Understanding performance assessment webinar
21 October 2021, 2.00 -3.30pm AEDT
More informationThe role of Tertiary Education in supporting post-Covid social, environmental and economic recovery
LH Martin Institute Conference
26-28 October 2021
More informationHuman Services Workforce Forum Canberra
26 October 2021
Register your interest in attending this event via the below links:
Employers / Service Providers – 1.30pm (Online event)

WorldSkills Australia 2021 National Championships Closing Ceremony
27 October 2021
Perth, Western Australia & online
More information

Human Services Workforce Forum Canberra
27 October 2021
Register your interest in attending this event via the below links:
Training Organisations – 1.30pm (Online event)

National Indigenous Education Summit
27-29 October 2021 (Hybrid event)
Doubletree Hilton Darwin
More information

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

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