Pathways are on everyone’s lips – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Pathways are on everyone’s lips – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Pathways have become part of the lexicon of many groups of late. This embraces everything from providers thinking about possible micro-credential pathways, to Skills Organisations such as DSO reflecting on ‘simplified digital pathways’, to those who are consulting on how to address recommendations 11-13 of the 2019 AQF review.

‘Pathways’ is a characteristic of lifelong learning. Lifelong learning has been with us forever as a concept. However, it is finding new traction due in part to the rapid pace of change requiring constant upskilling.

Into this mix micro-credentials have appeared for the higher education sector. Sometimes a micro-credential may provide a pathway into an AQF qualification and that will necessitate agreed credit or an RPL process. While VET is required to offer RPL and is used to delivering short courses or skill sets, it is less common in higher education.

The reviewers of the AQF recommended that ‘a revised AQF should provide better guidance on how to recognise previous learning toward a new qualification to encourage and support lifelong learning’. As TAFEs we have always supported this requirement because it is good for the student and is at the heart of a competency system. You don’t redo the learning you already have.

TDA’s feedback to the consultants addressing these AQF review recommendations is ‘that it is not the AQF Qualifications Pathways Policy itself that is the barrier to improving pathways between VET and higher education. It is the different product structures and funding arrangements that are the prohibitors’. Highly prescriptive training packages, as stated several times in this newsletter, make giving credit difficult unless there is an exact match. And as we know, RPL has equally become unattractive – it’s just too hard to demonstrate all the performance requirements.

The 2019 AQF reviewers did acknowledge this when they said ‘additional measures including addressing funding and regulatory differences between the sectors and supporting innovation in design and delivery of cross sectoral qualifications will be required to improve learner pathways’. This is such a fundamental component, otherwise whatever is proposed is likely to be superficial and costly for providers to implement.

The goal of improving pathways is supported. However, there are other parts of the broader tertiary education system that are going to have to change to make this easy to embrace.

Modest gains for TAFE in Victoria's budget

Last week’s Victorian state budget provided modest support for the TAFE sector after a period of substantial investment in TAFE over recent years.

The Victorian TAFE Association (VTA) acknowledged that the main focus of the budget was on rebuilding the health sector in the wake of the pandemic.

It said the $103.1 million for the Victorian TAFE and training system certainly appeared modest alongside the challenge of meeting the skill needs of industry and the workforce.

The budget provided $83.1m directly to the TAFE system including:

  • Additional funding to transition to a new funding model for TAFEs and to support strategic projects that will enhance collaboration across the TAFE network
  • Continued funding for the co-ordination of practical work placements for TAFE students and support to apprentices
  • New funding to enhance access to TAFE for learners with disability, to embed Indigenous culture in the education system by establishing a new qualification in First Nations Languages.

A further $10m will flow through to the TAFE sector from the Skills Solutions Partnerships, a collaboration between the Victorian Government, industry, TAFEs, and dual sector universities.

There is also a target of training and hiring up to 7,000 healthcare workers, on which the TAFE sector expects to work closely with the government.

See VTA’s media release

TDA Convention 2022: Courage, Change and Challenge – The Future of TAFE


The TDA Convention 2022 will take place at the Hilton Adelaide from Tuesday 15 to Thursday 17 November.

TDA has convened a working group made up of one TDA member representative per jurisdiction to inform program development and to provide ongoing support for convention preparations. Members of TAFEs and dual sector universities wishing to discuss input and ideas for the convention can contact their state/territory representative as listed below.

South Australia: Simone Gibbs / Emily Mantilla, TAFESA, or

Tasmania: Lyndene Bowen,  TasTAFE,

NSW: Peter Buttenshaw, TAFE NSW,

Queensland: Jenni Butler, TAFE QLD,

Western Australia: Darren Channell / Vivienne Scott, North Metropolitan TAFE, or

Victoria: Frances Coppolillo, Melbourne Polytechnic,

Northern Territory: Michael Hamilton, CDU,

ACT: Angela Ryan, CIT,

TDA also welcomes input from its members and other stakeholders including industry partners via

For all sponsorship enquiries, please contact

ASQA releases draft model for self-assurance

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has released a draft model for self-assurance for training providers.

The draft model was developed through a co-design process with the training sector.

ASQA says there was strong agreement amongst most providers with ASQA’s definition of self-assurance, the principles for the co-design of a self-assurance model.

The process identified the need for the model to be flexible for all providers, to be aligned with RTO standards, focused on continuous improvement, and be simple and easy to understand.

It should avoid being overly prescriptive, encouraging providers to just ‘tick the box’, becoming an additional business process or duplicating existing requirements.

See more

CIT to retain pivotal role under ACT's skills blueprint

The ACT government has released a new skills and workforce blueprint which aims to address skills shortages and meet local industry needs.

The document, Skilled to Succeed’ is focused building workforce capability to support the growth of emerging industries.

Skills Minister Chris Steel said the government will ensure that Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) remains the cornerstone of Canberra’s training system, including through a $300 million state-of-the-art CIT campus and Youth Foyer at Woden.

The paper says the government is “advocating in the strongest terms for a good deal for the ACT under the new National Skills Agreement.”

“We will not sign up to any new agreement which undermines the role of CIT as the cornerstone of our training system, or sees student fees rise for vulnerable learners, or in core areas of current and future skills need,” it says.

“The ACT Government is open to pursuing significant reforms, like activity-based funding, in a phased and measured way. However, rapid transitions that force change on the sector before it is ready would run counter to governments’ shared ownership of the national training system and quality improvement goals,” the paper says.

See Skilled to Succeed

Next TAFETalks: Cyber security; Building capability to respond to risk

Grant Radford appointed CEO of Box Hill Institute

Senior TAFE executive Grant Radford, pictured, has been appointed CEO of Victoria’s Box Hill Institute.

Grant was previously CEO of TAFE Gippsland, and before that was Chief Operating Officer at Chisholm Institute.

He brings more than two decades of public sector experience, including executive management positions in the Commonwealth and Victorian governments.

TDA extends its congratulations to Grant on his appointment.

DSO and TAFE form community of practice

TDA member representatives have recently formed a Community of Practice with the Digital Skills Organisation to shape the DSO’s work, such as its proposed skills standard model for digital and associated programs and initiatives. The Community of Practice provides a valued forum for the DSO to hear from TDA members as the public delivery point of VET and higher education in Australia, and to hear their industry engagement insights.

One of the pleasing aspects of the TAFE Community of Practice was agreed at its second meeting last Friday, where a working group of TDA member representatives and of DSO staff was formed to examine in more detail how the DSO skills standard model for digital may be practically implemented by RTOs to meet the dual client needs of employers and of students.

The Community of Practice is also working with the DSO on its associated programs and initiatives. Members agreed last Friday that TDA members lead in their engagement with their employer partners on initiatives to meet their industry’s digital skill needs. If TDA members have examples of great work, especially where an innovative approach is being developed or applied to deliver digital skills, then DSO is keen to hear of that example. Please contact Kellie Lyons at or Geethani Nair at so they may document the example and help to promote innovative ways to deliver training to meet the digital skill needs of employers and students.

A fireside chat about micro-credentials

TDA Corporate Affiliate D2L has released an informative one-hour video featuring micro-credentials expert, Phil Long, a Scholar at the Centre for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship at Georgetown University.

He is joined by Stephen Atherton, Education Account Executive at D2L ANZ, discussing micro-credentials and their application in a range of settings. It covers the history of how micro-credentials originated and their application in a post-pandemic world.

See more

Training vacancies in the Pacific

The Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) is seeking applications from qualified, highly experienced and motivated individuals for the following roles:

  • Consultant – Disability Inclusion
  • Consultant – Timor-Leste TVET Regulatory Framework
  • Consultant – Timor-Leste TVET Plan Review

APTC is Australia’s flagship Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) investment in the Pacific. It has country offices in Fiji, Vanuatu, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. The Regional Head Office is located in Suva, Fiji.

Applications close 3pm (Timor-Leste Time) Friday 20 May.

See more

Diary Dates

VET CEO Conference
Velg Training
16-20 May 2022
More information

TAFETalks: Cyber security; Building capability to respond to risk
18 May 2022
Register here

Disability Employment Australia Conference
31 May – 2 June 2022
More information

World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics
2022 World Congress 

15-17 June 2022
Donostia-San Sebastian (Spain)
More information

Apprentice Employment Network NSW & ACT
2022 Skills Conference
15 June 2022
Dockside Darling Harbour, Sydney
More information

31st National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)
6-8 July 2022, Online
Program out, register now!
More information
ACER Research Conference 2022
Reimagining assessment
22-25 August 2022
More information

National Skills Week 2022
22-28 August 2022
More information

Community Colleges Australia National Conference
13-14 September 2022
More information

WorldSkills Shanghai 2022
12-17 October 2022
More information

Australian International Education Conference 2022
18-21 October 2022
Gold Coast & Online
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
Save the date

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