Options, options, options for those exiting Year 12 – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Options, options, options for those exiting Year 12 – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

This month is a big month for Year 12 students. For example, the Higher School Certificate exams in NSW began last week. TDA wishes all Year 12 students the very best as they complete their secondary schooling.

I was very pleased to be invited by Ellen Fanning of the ABC’s The Drum to do a pre-recorded interview for last Wednesday night’s episode about options for students finishing Year 12. It was great to be able to encourage those in this cohort to consider vocational education and training and TAFE specifically.

These young people are very fortunate. They enter a tight labour market with many options for what they can do after school. As we know they can take up an apprenticeship, they can come to a course in TAFE, they can go to university, or they can secure a job. While this cohort of young people had a difficult time during COVID isolation and lockdowns during the mid-years of their high schooling, they now enter early adult years with more choice than many of their predecessors.

The Drum panel was also considering the question posed recently by the Productivity Commission as to whether student loans should be extended further into vocational education and training. As Ellen Fanning stated, ‘the current student loan system might be pushing students to a university degree rather than vocational training’.

Extending the income contingent loan system is a significant public policy debate. It must be considered within the other funding arrangements that exist in VET as well as the nature of the courses and students.  As we know, states and territories substantially subsidise certificates, and employers receive subsidies to help their apprentices pay their fees. VET funding is a more complex equation than university funding.

TDA does not consider that it is the financial costs of the course that generally stops young people coming to TAFE. The financial constraints are more likely to be the cost of reducing income from work to prioritise study or taking on an apprenticeship with its low paid conditions. Additionally for young people, the constraints can also be aspirational parents who value a university degree over the rich employment outcomes from TAFE.

The position I took on The Drum was that TAFE students are presented with extensive support and help to cover fees for Certificates now. In TAFEs this includes payment plans, concessions, and fee-free TAFE. Saddling a young TAFE student who is not taking a Diploma with an income contingent loan, when they may never reach the threshold for repayment, may also have detrimental psychological impacts of carrying that loan for many years.

There is much we need to do to support our young people to choose TAFE. Extending the availability of income contingent loans would most likely have a marginal impact.

TAFETalks webinar this Wednesday: Expert panel discusses apprentice lifecycle


Join a panel of experts this Wednesday, 19 October, to learn more about a project to improve the future apprenticeship lifecycle.

The webinar brings together two Victorian TAFEs and TDA Corporate Affiliate and technology provider ReadyTech, whose technology platform supports the management of Australian apprentices.

Presenters will discuss the results of a pioneering multi-TAFE project designed to evolve apprenticeship management, conducted by international management consultancy Nous Group.

It will explore key findings relevant for other TAFEs, as well as apprentice data insights from ReadyTech, to ask what the practical implications are for the future of apprentice management and TAFE collaboration.

See more

Be informed and inspired by an action-packed program at TDA Convention 2022


With the TDA Convention 2022 now less than a month away, we are happy to announce that registrations are reaching capacity and will be closing soon – so get in quickly if you would like to join us in Adelaide in November! To register for the event, please click here.

The theme of the TDA Convention 2022 is ‘Courage, Change and Challenge: The Future of TAFE’ and the program reflects this theme across a diverse range of topics and speakers in plenary and breakout sessions.

TDA is thrilled to announce that Kurt Fearnley AO, Paralympian, disability advocate and recently appointed Chair of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will feature as a keynote speaker, sharing his inspiring and courageous journey.

Danielle Wood, CEO of the Grattan Institute will also feature as a keynote speaker exploring the big trends in the Australian economy, the changing world of work (including the rise of digital and care jobs) and opportunities for the TAFE sector.

Sponsorship opportunities 
To discuss sponsorship opportunities, please contact tdaconvention@absoluteevents.com.au. The sponsorship prospectus is available here.

Stay up to date on convention news and program updates
For updates on convention news and programming, please subscribe to the TDA Convention 2022 e-newsletter here.

TDA looks forward to welcoming its members, partners and supporters to Adelaide in November 2022 to be part of the conversation on Courage, Change and Challenge: The Future of TAFE.

Are you going to TDA Convention 2022 in November in Adelaide?

If you will be in Adelaide on the Monday evening (14 November) before TDA Convention 2022, an Adelaide entrepreneur group is inviting delegates to a MeetUp session. If you are interested here is the link.

Also, tickets are now on sale for the 2022 Australian Training Awards in Adelaide, on Friday 18 November 2022 at the Adelaide Convention Centre. See here.

Holmesglen nursing student wins two prestigious awards

Holmesglen Institute Bachelor of Nursing student, Divyangana Sharma has won both the Premier’s Award and the International Student of the Year – Higher Education at the Victorian International Education Awards.

Divyangana – known as Divya – has notched up remarkable achievements since arriving in Melbourne from India in February 2020.

She enrolled in a Diploma of Nursing at Holmesglen’s Moorabbin campus just as COVID-19 hit. Despite limited medical experience, she immediately joined the state’s frontline health workforce at pop-up COVID-19 testing sites between classes.

Divya was the inaugural Holmesglen Student Representative Council Chair.

She is passionate about nursing, mental health and being the voice for international students, and is an advocate for LGBTQIA+ students.

“For someone like me, who is so passionate about healthcare, and now doing things that I’ve always dreamed of, it’s a very fulfilling feeling,” Divya said.

TEQSA outlines its approach to cost recovery

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) has provided advice to training providers on the transition to increased cost recovery which will commence in January.

TEQSA has issued its Cost Recovery Implementation Statement which explains how fees and charges are determined. There is also an FAQ that addresses some of the key issues.

A central element is the new annual registered higher education provider (RHEP) charge. Under the phase-in approach, the annual registration charge for 2023 will be 20 per cent of the full amount, increasing to 50 per cent from 1 January 2024 and then 100 per cent from 1 January 2025.

When the phased transition is complete in 2025, TEQSA says it will recover 90 per cent of the cost for most regulatory and quality assurance activities.

See more

Federal project to examine international education

Deakin University has been contracted by the federal government to implement the Best Practice International Student Engagement Project under the International Education Innovation Fund (IEIF).

The IEIF is a $10 million program to support the international education sector to innovate, diversify and grow.

The project aims to identify enabling and inhibiting factors in international student engagement and showcase good practice in supporting international students.

The project team has released three surveys and will be conducting a series of workshops based on key themes identified in a desktop analysis.

The Education Provider and Stakeholder Survey is for professional and academic staff working with an education provider in Australia and overseas.

The International Student Survey is for international students enrolled with an Australian education provider.

The International Graduate Survey is for international student graduates who have completed a qualification from an Australian education provider.

The project is seeking a diverse group of participants that covers all sectors, stakeholders, research, practitioners and students. Do take part!

Innovative solution to integrate face-to-face and virtual learning

The challenge of returning to face-to-face practical training has prompted TDA Corporate Affiliate, Infinispark, to develop an innovative new solution.

Hus Rupani, CEO of Infinispark, has developed the PracStreamer. It allows a presenter to show practical activities and engage viewers in both face-to-face and virtual training.

Hus said one of the biggest challenges of the COVID pandemic was teaching practical components in a virtual or remote environment.

“We realised that more work needed to be done in this space, but we didn’t recognise the problems we would face when returning to face-to-face training.

“For example, we found that people are not yet comfortable huddling around a trainer demonstrating a practical task.”

See a demonstration of PracStreamer

Hus will also present a workshop, ‘Engaging Trades Learners in a Virtual and Face-to-Face Class’, at TDA Convention 2022 in Adelaide in November, where he will demonstrate PracStreamer live.

Webinar – Learning is for everyone: How organisations benefit with inclusive learning

TDA Corporate Affiliate D2L is hosting a webinar on October 19 on the topic, Learning is for Everyone: How Organisations Benefit with Inclusive Learning.

Learning is all about people. That’s why it is critical to have a learning management system (LMS) that is accessible to all. This webinar will explain more about inclusive design principles and practices.

The panelists are:

  • Dan Casey, Capability Development Manager, Vision Australia
  • Dr Sam Chandrashekar, Global Accessibility Lead, D2L
  • Jason Staples, Senior Sales Executive ANZ (Corporate), D2L

What will you learn?

  • Gain a better understanding of inclusive design principles and practices.
  • Recognise how the practice of inclusive learning can make workplace learning accessible for all.
  • How to apply inclusive design principles in your own workplace.

See more

International education conference kicks off on the Gold Coast

International leads of TDA members will be gathering on the Gold Coast this week for the Australian International Education Conference (AIEC).

The theme ‘beyond borders’ acknowledges the imminent and anticipated return of students to Australia, while at the same time recognising that there is still work to do in breaking down other barriers to making education accessible, equitable and truly borderless for all.

This conference is a pivotal place of connection and learning for all members and we look forward to hearing more of what comes out of it via the Australian TAFE International Network (ATIN) which meets the following week.

Tackling foundation skills for apprenticeships

The growing importance of language, literacy, numeracy and digital literacy for those considering apprenticeships is the subject of a new blog by the Australian Apprenticeship & Traineeship Information Service (AATIS).

The piece covers the importance of these foundation skills and the challenges facing the apprenticeship sector including declining completion rates.

It looks at support services including the Reading & Writing Hotline, which help to improve foundational skills and reduce the stigma preventing people from reaching out for help.

See Foundational Skills in Australian Apprenticeships

Diary Dates


October 2022
More information
Australian International Education Conference 2022
18-21 October 2022
Gold Coast & Online
More information

TAFETalks: Learning from each other: A TAFE discovery project to improve the future apprenticeships lifecycle
19 October 2022
More information

D2L Webinar: Learning is for Everyone: How Organisations Benefit with Inclusive Learning
19 October 2022
More information

WAVE National Forum
21 October 2022
VET Development Centre, Melbourne
More information

2022 National VET Conference
Velg Training
3-4 November 2022
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
More information

TDA Convention 2022
Courage, Change and Challenge – the Future of TAFE
15-17 November 2022
More information

VDC Teaching & Learning Conference
VET Development Centre
17 & 18 November 2022 (Online)
More information

TEQSA Conference
23-24 November 2022
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins (and online)
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AVETRA 2023 Conference
27-28 April 2023
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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