Resetting the VET market – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Resetting the VET market – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Last week was an important week as Minister O’Connor introduced legislation into the Parliament to “improve the integrity of the nation’s vocational education and training (VET) sector”. This is a move that has been welcomed by TDA.

Back in 2017, the then Assistant Minister for VET, Karen Andrews, announced a review into the regulatory environment of the sector. This review became popularly known, by its author’s name, as the Braithwaite review.

In 2024 we see some of the recommendations of that review come into play. An example of the changes is that new registered training organisations (RTOs) must spend their initial years delivering quality outcomes in the courses and for the student cohorts they identified in their application for registration.

This legislation is but one step in resetting the VET market settings. While quality is the driver for this action, government priorities for skilling in emerging industries is by necessity also driving a different approach.

During 2023 the work of Jobs and Skills Australia highlighted the importance of emerging industries, particularly the clean energy industry. This has led to TAFEs across the country rising to that call for action and this can be seen in the final report.

TDA and its members are actively working together through networks and sharing of resources to respond to priority government and industry requirements. As an example, TDA’s newly formed Clean Energy network met last week and had representation from five states. Their conversation was about collaboration. They all recognised that there is more than enough for all, so there is no need for competition but there is a great need for sharing.

Members of this clean energy network highlighted that it is only through collaboration that TAFEs will be able to service this critically important industry. That collaboration might be in sharing infrastructure and in developing common resources. It might also entail how expertise in teaching, a skill shortage in these industries, can be harnessed for the good of every TAFE who is part of the network.

These are interesting times as the market environment transitions. What cannot be questioned is the central position of the public provider in every aspect of meeting government objectives and Australia’s skills demand.

Professor Barney Glover appointed head of Jobs and Skills Australia

TDA has welcomed the appointment of Professor Barney Glover as the new Commissioner of Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA).

The Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor announced the five-year appointment on Saturday.

Professor Glover is the current Vice-Chancellor and President of Western Sydney University. He has also served as Vice-Chancellor of Charles Darwin University, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research at the University of Newcastle, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Development at Curtin University, and Chair of Universities Australia.

A mathematician by training, Professor Glover will commence his five-year term in April.

“Professor Glover’s esteemed career includes significant dual-sector expertise and experience at the most senior levels of university management and business leadership,” Mr O’Connor said.

TDA Chief Executive Officer Jenny Dodd said Professor Glover has a distinguished record in the tertiary education sector and will bring valuable experience and insights.

“We acknowledge his dual-sector expertise, working across both vocational and higher education, as Vice-Chancellor of Charles Darwin University, and anticipate that this will facilitate growing connections across tertiary education.,” Ms Dodd said.

“Professor Glover was also a member of the 2023 Universities Accord panel where he actively engaged in exploring how closer alignment between TAFE and higher education might work.”

TDA also extended its appreciation to interim JSA Commissioner David Turvey who will remain in the role until April, and to his predecessor, Professor Peter Dawkins who helped establish JSA and led it through its critical early period.

See TDA’s media release

TDA Convention 2024 – take a sneak peek at the draft program!

The TDA Convention 2024 will take place from 8-9 May at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth Hotel, exploring the theme TAFE at the Heart. The draft program is now available to view here. Please note that the program is subject to change.

Last week we outlined what to expect on Day 1. On Day 2, we will look beyond our borders, learn from others and celebrate the power of collaboration, with keynote speakers from the UK and the Netherlands providing international perspectives on tertiary education and European Centres of Vocational Excellence (COVE). The program will also include a session on TAFE Centres of Excellence with speakers from TAFE and their industry partners. This session will explore early developments in the nationally networked TAFE Centres of Excellence which were announced as part of the National Skills Agreement.

In parallel breakout sessions, convention delegates will be able to choose from a range of presentations and workshops on a diverse set of topics including international education, leading organisational change, industry partnerships, learner access and equity and staff and student wellbeing. The TDA Convention 2024 will conclude with the Great Debate (more on that soon!) or for those interested in Sino-Australian relations, the Sino-Australian VET Forum will be run in a parallel session.

The networking function at the Sydney Opera House on the evening of Thursday 9 May will allow delegates to relax and reflect on the outcomes of the TDA Convention 2024 while forming connections which extend well beyond the convention itself.

Further information on registration is available here. Early bird registrations are open until 23 February 2024. We look forward to welcoming you to Sydney in May 2024 for TAFE at the Heart!

TAFE Staff Recognition Awards

Get involved at the TDA Convention 2024 by nominating your extraordinary staff members for a TAFE Staff recognition award.

TDA’s TAFE Staff Recognition Awards recognise and honour the achievements of TAFE staff across Australia. The awards will be held during the TDA Convention 2024 on the evening of 8 May 2024 at the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney.

See here for more information and online nomination forms. Nominations close on 1 March 2024.

TAFEs welcome steps to enhance integrity of VET

TDA has welcomed the federal government’s new legislation designed to strengthen safeguards for vocational education and training students.

Following the introduction of the bill into parliament last week, TDA CEO Jenny Dodd said TAFEs strongly support measures aimed at enhancing integrity in the VET sector by stepping up compliance and enforcement.

“We welcome these steps to identify and remove non-genuine training providers who do harm to students, as well as to Australia’s reputation for quality vocational education and training. We owe it to all students undertaking VET that they will not be misled or exploited in their endeavours to start their careers or gain vital skills for the future,”

The Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor said the new National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Amendment Bill would give the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) greater powers to identify and remove unscrupulous training providers and set higher standards for entry to the VET market.

It will see the registration of training providers automatically lapse where they have not delivered training and/or assessment for 12 months – so-called ‘dormant’ providers. It will also prevent providers from expanding course offering if they have been operating for less than two years.

The Bill gives the Minister broad power to determine that a registered training organisation (RTO) or a class of RTOs should not be registered in the event of “unsustainable influxes into the VET sector”, that could be associated with exploitative behaviour.

Mr O’Connor said the changes would not only protect students, but also Australia’s reputation for quality education and training.

“Many other countries look at our model and look to replicate it. However, there are too many dodgy providers and that’s why we need to empower the regulator, to give it the teeth to get rid of these substandard, unscrupulous, in some cases, unlawful providers,” he said.

See more on the integrity legislation

See TDA’s media release

TAFE Queensland makes history with silver rating in sustainability

TAFE Queensland’s Robina campus on the Gold Coast has become the first vocational institution in Australia to earn a Silver rating under the prestigious Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS).

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), recognised the campus for its commitment to sustainability and successful completion of the STARS reporting.

TAFE Queensland Gold Coast General Manager, Karen Dickinson said the organisation is very proud to have achieved a STARS rating for its sustainability accomplishments.

“This recognition not only reflects our commitment to sustainability but also highlights our leadership in the vocational education sector,” she said.

“We focus on managing our waste and recycling, staff consider the environment in their decision making, the campus generates its own power through solar as well as embedding the concepts of sustainability in our curriculum, just to name a few.”

The Robina campus has embraced the full spectrum of sustainability metrics, including socioeconomic, academic, health and wellness, procurement, and beyond.

TAFETalks: Overcoming skills gaps in a skills-based economy

TDA invites you to join experts from TAFE NSW and TDA Corporate Affiliate, Learning Vault, for our next TAFETalks which will tackle the pressing issue of skill shortages in our evolving economy.

Our speakers will explore solutions addressing growing skills gaps in today’s workforce, focusing on lifelong learning, upskilling opportunities, and technological advancements including digital credentials.

Participants will gain insights into navigating the shifting landscapes of employment models and career pathways, focusing on bridging the gap between education and employment in the digital age.

For further information, please click here.

Government releases progress report and new resources for disability in education

The federal Department of Education has published an implementation report on the 2020 Review of the Disability Standards for Education.

The report shows what the government has done in response to the review’s recommendations.

In addition to the report, new information resources have been released on the Standards that were co-designed with people with disability with the help of Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA). There are four new resources:

  • Advocating for your child: The early years
  • Respect at school
  • Working together: Moving through secondary school
  • Our stories: Personal experiences of young people with disability in the education system

The department is encouraging stakeholders to share these resources with people who need them, including students, their families and caregivers, as well as education providers and their staff.

A promotional toolkit with materials for use on social media and websites is also available here.

For further information, contact

Most businesses positive about clean energy transition, research finds

New research from Ai Group’s Centre for Education and Training finds most businesses feel positive about the transition to a clean economy, but many are only in the early stages of thinking about the skills and capabilities they might need.

Skills for a Cleaner Future provides insights from interviews with businesses from a broad range of industries including manufacturing, construction, engineering, health, food, electrical and packaging.

Overall, 81% of the businesses in the study saw the clean economy transition as an opportunity, with 76% seeing it as an opportunity to reach new customers.

Over three-quarters of the businesses had implemented changes as a result of the transition to a clean economy.

But when businesses were asked whether they had the skills and capabilities to successfully navigate the transition the results were mixed – 55% said yes, 45% said no.

A total of 42% expected emerging or increased skills needs over the coming year. Among those who considered that their skills needs would increase, 48% predicted this would be skills in relation to the circular economy, 45% said skills in relation to clean energy.

MYOB for Dummies now available

Kick off the year by getting your hands on a copy of the latest edition of MYOB for Dummies.

Available in print and online through Wiley, bookkeeper and MYOB Product Success Consultant Sonya Prosper has authored the ultimate guide for anyone who wants to master the business management platform.

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you’ll find real practical information to make the most of the platform.

Get your copy here.

Diary Dates

TAFETalks: Overcoming skills gaps in a skills-based economy
28 February 2024, 2-3pm AEDT
More information

TDA Convention 2024, ‘TAFE at the Heart’ – Register now!
8-9 May 2024
Sofitel Wentworth, Sydney
Call for presenters open now
Early bird registrations

33rd National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’ 
‘VET partnerships powering a dynamic workforce’
10-12 July 2024
North Metropolitan TAFE, Perth
More information

National Apprentice Employment Network
National Conference
23-25 July 2024
Location TBA
Save the date

VET National Teaching & Learning Conference 2024
‘From Competence to Excellence – Strive to Inspire’
15-16 August 2024
Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
Save the date

National Skills Week 2024
‘It’s a Game Changer’
19-25 August 2024

47th WorldSkills Competition
10-15 September 2024
Lyon, France
More information

WFCP World Congress 2024
22-27 September 2024
St James, Jamaica, West Indies
More Information

Jobs and Skills Council Events

Go to individual JSC websites for event details.
BuildSkills Australia
State & Territory Workforce Planning Roundtables
21 February-26 March 2024

Future Skills Organisation
National Forum – ‘Building a skilled workforce’
14-15 March 2024
Monash College, Melbourne

Powering Skills Organisation
Insights Update, 8 March 2024

Energy Pathway Roadshow: Collaborating for a Sustainable Tomorrow
Events in Darwin, Alice Springs, Perth, Bunbury, Sydney, Newcastle, Canberra, Hobart, Adelaide, Melbourne, Geelong and Brisbane.

State and Territory Roadshow 2024
Events in all states and territories