Pivotal role for TAFEs in economic recovery – comment by Jenny Dodd

Pivotal role for TAFEs in economic recovery – comment by Jenny Dodd

One of the most popular words of the last few weeks has been ‘roadmap’. We’ve heard from several State Premiers about what needs to happen and when for restrictions to be lifted. Welcome news for the many of us who are in lockdown. And very welcome news for our economy that desperately needs skilled workers fully qualified. So many students have not been able to finalise components of their final practical assessments due to campus and workplace learning restrictions.

The role that TAFEs have played and will continue to play is pivotal. In today’s TDA Newsletter there are four stories of TAFEs designing solutions for skill demand problems. From NSW, to Queensland, to Western Australia, to Victoria – these are stories of TAFEs working collaboratively with partners including industry, and sometimes local communities, and often other education partners to find new connected skill development outcomes. (Read all about it in the section below).

These partnerships are critical in all local government areas, as both the TAFE NSW and TAFE Queensland stories show. They are also very pertinent in the economic recovery for our regions. As Jennifer Westacott, Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia in her address to the Regional Universities Network Conference last week writes:

“At the Business Council, we want to end the geographic divide and ensure people in the regions can both contribute and share the benefits of growth. … We believe one of the essential ingredients for any place to thrive is an existing university that can work with a TAFE to provide the skills and training people need throughout their lives.’

These opportunities for connected solutions for the benefit of local communities will become more likely with the new proposed training qualification design model, mentioned in the last couple of TDA Newsletters. The proposed qualification design reform is a key component that will enable flexibility. (The consultation process is still open, so have your say).

Our TAFE contribution to the economic recovery roadmap is pivotal. It is about holistic solutions, and these four TAFE stories are leading the way. However, they are just the tip of the iceberg – there are a multitude more TAFE stories of collaboration and codesign beneath the surface!

The bigger picture of TAFE-industry collaboration

As part of the TAFE and industry roundtable, four TAFEs presented excellent, diverse case studies on how they were working with industry partners, higher education providers and local communities to deliver emerging, in-demand workforce skills.

Institutes of applied technology – Steffen Faurby, Managing Director, TAFE NSW

  • TAFE NSW is developing a new tertiary model, institutes of applied technology (IAT), which feature collaboration with industry, universities, and TAFE NSW working together to respond to changes in industry demand and emerging skills needs.
  • The IATs will fully integrate the theoretical study of university with the practical training of vocational education. Students will be able to study flexibly, for example, a student can complete a Certificate IV in year one, progress to a diploma in year two and have the option of achieving a Bachelor in Applied Technology in year three.
  • IATs are being established in digital technology and construction with co-innovation in course design, and co-delivery with masterclasses, pathways and internships. Short course options and micro-credentials will be available for existing workers.
  • Co-location will be encouraged with shared spaces – TAFE NSW is looking at what industry and university partners already have, and not necessarily building new infrastructure.

Mobilising social capital to support industry needs – Darshi Ganeson, Managing Director, South Regional TAFE WA

  • Mobilising social capital is at the forefront of South Regional TAFE’s industry engagement. In the regions, connecting with industry is more organic and more relational than transactional, compared with cities.
  • High quality examples demonstrated how South Regional TAFE has helped solve local workforce needs and built social capital at the same time. These include working with farmers and the local agricultural industry to train skilled workers to harvest grain. The problem occurred because of a lack of skilled migration, and therefore local solutions had to be found. The lack of a skilled workforce because of COVID-19 continues to be a huge problem for the agricultural industry.
  • Principles for success included: connection and relationships, industry led, community supported, scalability, repeatability, commitment of immediate employment outcomes for graduates, and trainers still working in industry.
  • The second case study, Gather and Feast, highlighted how students learned to grow and source food, cook, clean and connect with community. It helped students better understand the local food culture and their community.

Training the wind energy workforce of the future – Bill Mundy, Manager Sales, Marketing and Community Engagement, Federation University, Victoria

  • A purpose-built training facility, the Asia Pacific Renewable Energy Training Centre (APRETC), was established in 2016 to address the lack of skilled workers and grow the local workforce in the emerging renewables industry. Before APRETC most workers were imported from overseas.
  • Collaboration with renewable energy partners (Vestas, ACCIONA, GPG and Tilt Renewables), as well as the Victorian Government has resulted in a $1.8 million industry investment in this project.
  • The first phase of the project is underway with the construction of a simulated 23-metre wind turbine tower. It has been designed to give students real-world experience when training to work in the wind industry, or other industries that require working at heights, such as construction and maintenance.
  • The second stage of the APRETC will include a classroom, workshop and training equipment to deliver specialised training courses, such as wind turbine maintenance and blade repair.

Autonomous vehicle mining operations and microcredentials – Tracey Singh, Director, Product Agency, and Robert Petherbridge, Executive Director, TAFE Queensland

  • Micro-credentials are emerging as potential solutions to the rapid upskilling that is required for the changing world of work. They can help address new skills to keep pace with changes in technology, systems and processes.
  • There are five types of skills required to succeed in the new world of work and these include foundational, technical, enterprise, attribute and career management skills.
  • The co-design process is very important when working with industry.
  • An excellent example is the co-design of micro-credentials for autonomous vehicle mining operations as part of the Queensland Future Skills Partnership project. Partners include BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), CQUniversity Australia and TAFE Queensland.

Watch the video

New chair and members for TAFE NSW Commission

The NSW government has appointed seven new members, including a new chair, to the TAFE Commission Board.

The Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee announced Danny O’Connor (pictured), the former CEO of the Western Sydney Local Health District, as the new Chair.

The other new members are:

  • Alison Mirams, founding CEO of Roberts Co.
  • Katrina Troughton, Managing Director IBM Australia and New Zealand
  • Isaiah Dawe, CEO of ID. Know Yourself
  • Adam Liaw, cook, writer and broadcaster
  • John Borghetti, former CEO and Managing Director of Virgin Australia
  • Dr Geoff Newcombe, CEO of the Association of Independent Schools

They join existing members, Steffen Faurby, TAFE NSW Managing Director; Georgina Harrisson, NSW Department of Education Secretary; Jessie Borthwick, former Nous Group Principal; and Kirsty Hosea, TAFE NSW Chief Delivery Officer.

Mr Lee said the new members are leaders in their fields and bring with them experience across industry sectors such as IT, education, health, aviation, hospitality, community services and construction.

“Danny O’Connor will assist TAFE NSW to meet the growing needs of our health sector, while Geoffrey Newcombe will help enhance pathways from school to VET,” Mr Lee said.

Why I am indebted to TAFE – Sonja Terpstra MP, Victoria’s TAFE Ambassador

Taking on the new role as TAFE Ambassador to champion skills and training in Victoria is exciting because I wouldn’t be where I am today without TAFE.

I went to TAFE back in high school to learn to type. By the time I completed the course and left school I found employment straight away. In fact, I was offered a few jobs at once!

TAFE opened so many doors for me. My first job in administration led me to represent working people within the union movement, before I later entered politics.

I remember my TAFE teachers telling me employers wanted recruits who could hit the ground running with practical and relevant skills. That’s what TAFE offered me back then – and it’s what TAFE is offering Victorians today.

Every year Victorian TAFE gives more than 130,000 jobseekers and those seeking a career-change the skills they need for jobs now and in the future. The training is world-class and industry relevant.

My son is a great example. He’s one of 93,000 Victorians to start a course under the Andrews Labor Government’s signature Free TAFE initiative. He will learn real-world skills, from teachers who have been on the tools, that will lead directly to secure and well-paid work in plumbing. He will avoid the anguish of applying for jobs that are scarcer than the graduates who want them. And, he won’t have a hefty study debt. In fact, Victorians saved $150 million in course fees in the first two years of Free TAFE. It’s something any parent would want for their son – and I couldn’t be prouder of him.

This is the type of life-changing opportunity every Victorian deserves and it’s what I’ll promote as TAFE Ambassador.

We’re already making training and jobs more accessible, especially to women, Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse Victorians. High on my agenda is supporting more students into TAFE courses in 2022 by holding careers fairs and visiting schools, building on the 10.5 per cent increase in commencements in the year to June 2021.

I’m looking forward to meeting with trainers and employers across Victoria, making sure TAFE is the first choice for jobseekers as well as employers looking to recruit. I’ll be exploring ways to strengthen training options for students and partnership models with stakeholders and regularly reporting back to Government. And importantly, I’ll be encouraging Victorians to share their own powerful TAFE stories.

We have already made a record $3.2 billion investment in TAFE and training – and now we’re helping more people into rewarding career pathways. It makes sense for Victorians and it makes sense for Victoria. Whether it be trades, health or education – TAFE is building our future.

TasTAFE staff, students recognised in international education awards

TasTAFE staff and students have received major honours at the Study Tasmania International Education Awards announced last week.

The annual event recognises the contribution made by international students, staff members and industry partners to the international education sector and to Tasmania’s cultural diversity.

TasTAFE staff and current and former international students were recognised with three awards:

  • International Education Staff Member of the Year Award – International Student Advisor team, TasTAFE (Angie Wu, James Field and Edgar Fergus Ho)
  • International Graduate of the Year – Huynh Van Phuong Nguyen (Anny) – TasTAFE Cookery graduate.
  • International Student of the Year for VET – Mandeep Jaiman – TasTAFE Engineering student

TasTAFE’s International Student Advisor Team has been at the forefront of helping international students through their time in Tasmania, serving as the first point of contact and an all-in-one support team for international students at TasTAFE.

Award winners (left to right), International Graduate of the Year – Huynh Van Phuong Nguyen (Anny), International Student of the Year for VET – Mandeep Jaiman, TasTAFE International Student Advisor Edgar Fergus Ho, TasTAFE CEO, Grant Dreher and TasTAFE International Student Advisors Angie Wu and James Field.

Qualifications reform survey extended

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has extended its Qualifications Reform Survey to 10am (AEST), Monday 27 September 2021.

DESE has also published responses to Frequently Asked Questions arising from recent webinars about the survey.

More information is available here.

New VET courses for Victorian secondary students

The Victorian government has announced two new vocational pathways for senior secondary students that will come into effect in 2023.

The Victorian Certificate of Education Vocational Major is a new two-year vocational pathway program that will replace Intermediate and Senior VCAL and will be embedded in the VCE system.

This will have a wider curriculum and relevant workplace experiences.

The second initiative is the Victorian Pathways Certificate which will replace Foundation VCAL and is designed to support students to transition either to the VCE or to entry level VET or employment – particularly focusing on vulnerable students.

The Minister for Education James Merlino said the new certificates will provide all senior secondary students with access to the best aspects of both VCAL and VCE – delivering high-quality vocational and applied learning opportunities to more senior secondary students.

Bolster your institution’s ability to equip the future workforce

The digitalisation of industry is bringing a shift towards skills-first recruitment practices that sees students facing greater pressure to become marketable, adaptable, and employable.

TDA’s Corporate Affiliate, Microsoft Australia is presenting an upcoming webinar that will explain how the organisation is helping students to become future-ready.

The webinar, ‘Education Reimagined: Preparing the workforce of tomorrow’ will be on Tuesday, 28 September, 12.00 pm – 1.00 pm AEST.

See more

What is the real value of microcredentials?

A new research paper from the UK aims to evaluate the benefits of microcredentials, amid the growing uptake of the learning format during the COVID crisis.

‘Micro-credentials: The new frontier of adult education and training’ by James Robson, Deputy Director of Centre for Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance at Oxford University, says emerging research suggests that those who take micro-credential courses have variable returns in the labour market.

“Evidence is mixed over the extent to which they improve employment outcomes or increase salaries, and there is significant variation across occupational levels and sectors. Importantly, there is limited evidence on the long-term impact of micro-credentials on individuals’ labour market outcomes and career trajectories,” the paper says.

“In fact, micro-credentials focus on providing individuals with specific skills, tailored to immediate employer demands to fill short-term gaps. These skills, usually technical, often relate to specific companies, tasks, tools, or digital programs and have very limited longevity and little transferability across contexts, roles or tasks.”

TDA will host a TAFETalks webinar on microcredentials in February 2022. Details to follow in the TDA Newsletter next week.

TDA welcomes MEGT as an Associate Member

TDA and its member TAFEs value working with organisations with a long-established reputation for quality across the tertiary education and skill training sector.

MEGT (Australia) Ltd. is a not-for-profit business which has been supporting Australian employers, apprentices, trainees, job seekers and students since 1982.

MEGT has more than 550 staff operating in every state of Australia, with a team of local apprenticeship experts dedicated to helping businesses, apprentices and trainees get the most from the Australian Apprenticeships program. MEGT holds Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) contracts in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia.

TAFE is MEGT’s number one provider of vocational education for apprentices and trainees, with each having a focus on delivering the highest standards of service.

As COVID-19 continues to impact, there is no better time to work together in our national interest. If you’re an education or skill training sector organisation, either Australia or globally, and you would like to become a TDA Associate Member, please feel free to contact TDA at rjackson@tda.edu.au

Spreading the word about the value of the USI

All training providers have been reminded of the many benefits to students in having a Unique Student Identifier, including having access to a verifiable online USI VET transcript that they can share with employers.

Creating a USI ensures students can access funding, receive their qualification, and it collates the outcomes of training undertaken since 1 January 2015 into a single record.

The USI External Relations team is pleased to partner with institutions to spread the word to student and alumni networks about the USI and its transcript service.

Please get in touch with Nici Perriam via stakeholders@usi.gov.au and she will support you with messaging and assets which can be included in communications.

ASQA approves extension for health and business qualifications

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has approved a series of extensions to new qualifications in the areas of health and business services.

ASQA has approved an extended transition period for six qualifications from the HLT Health Training Package until 24 December 2022.

It has also approved an extended transition for 13 BSB Business Services qualifications to 30 June 2022.

ASQA is able to consider applications for a longer transition period where it can be demonstrated that there would be genuine disadvantage to learners if the extension was not granted.

See more

Diary Dates

National Apprentice Employment Network
‘Turbocharging Skills: Industries to Watch’, live webinar
21 September 2021
More informationHuman Services Workforce Forum Adelaide
22 September 2021
Register your interest in attending this event via the below links:
Employers / Service Providers – 1:30pm (Online event)

College Development Network
Exploring the Complexities of College Governance
23 September 2021
More information

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

Human Services Workforce Forum NT
27 September 2021
Register your interest in attending this event via the below links:
Training Organisations – 9.30am
Employers / Service Providers – 1.30pm

Education Reimagined: Preparing the workforce of tomorrow
28 September 2021
More information

Free online OctoberVET events

National Skills Commission
Training Product Similarity Research using innovative advanced techniques
11 October 2021
More information

Aotearoa New Zealand’s Reform of Vocational Education and Training (RoVE)TePūkenga (NZ Institute of Skills and Technology) aspirations and promises
13 October 2021
More information

Join the authors featured in the May 2021 edition of the Research Today magazine to hear more about their research
19 October 2021
More information

The relationship between migration to Australia and international education history and future directions
20 October 2021

Australian International Education Conference 2021
5 – 8 October 2021
Gold Coast & Online
More informationHuman Services Workforce Forum Melbourne
7 October 2021
Register your interest in attending this event via the below links:
Employers – 9.30am
Training Organisations – 1.30pm

Human Services Workforce Forum Sydney
14 October 2021
Register your interest in attending this event via the below links:
Employers / Service Providers – 9.30am
Training Organisations – 1.30pm

Human 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)

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)

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

National Apprentice Employment Network
National Conference
15 – 17 March 2022
Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart, Tasmania
More information