Responding to employer needs requires industry connected educators – comment by Jenny Dodd

Responding to employer needs requires industry connected educators – comment by Jenny Dodd

Today we continue our theme of the last few weeks of showcasing the partnerships TAFEs have with industry.

Last week Sally Curtain, CEO of Kangan-Bendigo Institute in Victoria was interviewed by Claire Field as part of Claire’s podcast series ‘What now? What next? Insights into Australia’s tertiary education sector’.

Sally willingly admits that she has not been part of the tertiary education sector for a long time. However, what she shared was a strong view that partnerships with industry are possible because of the industry connectivity of our TAFE educators.

In the podcast Sally describes several industry collaborations that Kangan-Bendigo Institute is involved with – go and have a listen. It is Sally’s words about the TAFE teaching workforce that I want to draw on specifically today.

Sally states that TAFE educators maintain strong industry connections. It is those industry connections that our educators have that make for the rich industry partnerships that are possible. As Sally says, the educators’ passion is what is ‘driving change from the bottom up’.

TAFE educators have very demanding roles that require multi-faceted skills and knowledge. They are enabling students from 16 to 60 to learn through sophisticated teaching approaches that recognise the difference in learning styles in this broad group and they are transforming their delivery to embed digital means as they facilitate that learning. (As we know digital capabilities have accelerated over the last 18 months).

And thirdly, and perhaps most importantly for our message over the last few weeks, they are embedded within their industries, often continuing to work within their profession and always remaining very connected. When those three parts come together for a TAFE educator, that is, expert facilitation of learning, digital capability and industry connectivity, innovation can and does occur.

This means that codesign for local solutions is happening now. In greater Melbourne’s Cremorne area, Kangan-Bendigo is addressing the digital skills shortage of the Cremorne tech precinct. The feature of this innovation is the involvement of local employers. Together Kangan-Bendigo and the employers are developing bespoke syllabus to best suit these local employers’ needs.  This project is a pilot of the Digital Skills Organisation (DSO) – more on the DSO pilots in the future.

None of these collaborative projects between TAFEs and industry would be possible without the passion and industry connectivity of great TAFE educators!

National skills agreement delayed

Work on progressing the new National Skills Agreement has been delayed and is now expected to be completed in the first half of next year.

Department officials advised stakeholders of the revised timeline last week.

Governments at state, territory and Commonwealth levels have been working to progress a new National Skills Agreement since the signing last year of a Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform.

“This work is continuing on a revised timeline with the new Agreement expected to be finalised in the first half of 2022,” the official advice says.

The original timeline was for the Agreement to be finalised by August 2021, with a transition period commencing from January 2022, covering a five year period to 2026-27.

The key elements of a new national agreement are to include a new VET funding model, development of accredited micro-credentials, stronger VET pathways for secondary school students, contestability in VET markets, and increased investment in VET.

Federal government extends apprentice wage subsidies

The Commonwealth government has announced an extension to its Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements (BAC) wage subsidy program to help apprentices and trainees to complete their training.

The new $716 million Completing Apprenticeship Commencements (CAC) program will provide a 10 per cent wage subsidy in the second year of the apprenticeship up to a maximum of $1,500 a quarter, and a 5 per cent wage subsidy in the third year up to a maximum of $750 a quarter.

The BAC program provides a 50 per cent wage subsidy for the first 12 months of the apprenticeship. It commenced in October last year and will run until March next year, and is expected to support 270,000 commencements.

See the new Completing Apprenticeship Commencements program

NSW releases 'return to VET' guidelines

The NSW government has released a detailed plan to enable the state’s VET sector to return to more normal training activity, once NSW reaches key vaccination thresholds.

The Return to VET Guidelines provide information for training providers in preparing for the resumption of face-to-face training delivery.

For training providers, the guidelines cover COVID-19 safety plans, QR code sign-in processes, use of a planned vaccination tracker, masks, ventilation, staggered break times, and arrangements for staff, students and visitors who are unable to be vaccinated.

“Providers may choose not to permit unvaccinated individuals into a VET facility and should seek legal advice to support this decision,” the advice says.

It says providers will need to have procedures in place to support students who cannot be vaccinated because of medical reasons and will need to consider alternate methods of training delivery.

Reminder: TAFETalks VET-in-schools webinar, October 20


Don’t forget to register for the next TAFETalks: Breaking down the barriers – the future of VET in Schools, Wednesday 20 October at 2.00pm ADST.

The one-hour session features Professor Peter Shergold, Chancellor Western Sydney University and Steffen Faurby, Managing Director, TAFE NSW. Register here

Upcoming TAFETalks events 

Apprenticeships Part 1: Innovation and acceleration, Wednesday 17 November at 2.00pm ADST.

This is the first part of a two-part series on apprenticeships. Join Dr Gavin Lind from Mining Skills Organisation Pilot and Michelle Hoad, Managing Director North Metroplitan TAFE in Western Australia to talk about innovation and acceleration of apprenticeships. Register here

Apprenticeships Part 2: Supporting students to complete, Wednesday 1 December at 2.00pm ADST.

This is the second part of a two-part series on apprenticeships. Join the National Careers Institute (NCI), Dianne Dayhew, Ben Bardon, and Grant Dreher, CEO TasTAFE for an in-depth discussion on strategies for supporting students to improve apprenticeship completions. Register here

Micro-credentials: developing with and for industry, Wednesday 16 February at 2.00pm ADST .

Micro-credentials are on everyone’s lipsJoin renowned expert Beverley Olivier and representatives from TAFE Queensland and TAFE NSW to further your understanding of micro-credentials and how two leading TAFEs are working with industry to develop micro-credentials for their needs. Register here

Victoria's TAFEs spearheading tech-in-schools program

TAFEs in Victoria will be providing a series of tech-focussed courses to the state’s senior secondary students as part of a new plan to expand technology skills.

The Head Start Tech Futures pilot will commence in Term 4 and will combine new tech skills with on-the-job training for students while completing their VCE or VCAL. It aims to promote employment in areas such as coding, cybersecurity, web development, robotics and telehealth administration.

The new curriculum is part of the Head Start School Based Apprenticeship and Traineeship program, with funding of $4.7 million over four years. It has seen two existing courses modified to incorporate additional digital and technology skills.

The Certificate II in Integrated Technologies has been revised by Swinburne Institute of Technology to include a new traineeship option, allowing students to be employed in the technology field while completing their studies – while Chisholm TAFE has revised the Certificate III in Business.

Two new tech-specific Certificate III courses are also being developed by The Gordon TAFE and Holmesglen, to be piloted from February.

The four courses will initially be available to students in selected Head Start schools as part of the pilot before being rolled out across the state, with potential for uptake by adult learners in future.

TAFEs share best practice in tech-enabled caregiving with APEC partners

Carina Robinson, Program Lead with the Aged Care Centre of Excellence at TAFE NSW and Chair of the TAFE Aged Care Taskforce, represented TAFEs at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) virtual workshop on caregiving through digital upskilling on 23 September.

The workshop was part of the Promoting APEC Innovative Caregiving through Digital Upskilling project launched by the Taiwanese Workforce Development Agency within the APEC regional cooperation platform.

Experts from Taiwan, Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and Peru exchanged approaches and best practice in developing digital solutions for home care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics included the gaps between technology’s transformative potential and caregivers’ ability to use technology for wide-scale adoption, and the ability to enhance digital skills of caregivers in a tech-enabled workplace.

The workshop allowed for the exchange of experiences and policy practices in a rapidly changing workforce, with Australia`s contribution raising significant interest. Workshop participants also developed regional connections in digital enhanced caregiving across the APEC region.

A recording of the workshop is available here, with Carina’s presentation starting at the 1.39.30 mark.

Digital transformation webinar series launches in Vietnam

A webinar series on digital transformation of TVET, funded by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, was launched last Thursday in Vietnam.

The aim of the series is to share experiences of Australian TAFEs and TVET divisions of dual sector universities in their digital transformation journey. It also provides a timely opportunity for dialogue and exchange between Australia and Vietnam.

The first session was officially opened by Jen Bahen, Counsellor Education and Research at the Australian Embassy in Vietnam and Dr Binh, Deputy Director General of the Vietnamese Directorate of Vocational Education and Training (DVET).

The launch was followed by a keynote presentation providing an overview of online/blended learning in TVET by Julie Healy, Executive Director Vocational Education and RTO Manager at TAFE Queensland, and Sam Crowe, Senior Advisor, Educator Capability at the Centre for Learning and Teaching, TAFE Queensland.

The first webinar was attended by more than 200 participants, including senior officials from the DVET as well as rectors, vice rectors and senior trainers from 44 colleges from across the country.

The webinar series will take place until mid-November and will cover various aspects of the digital transformation of TVET, including the transition to online/blended learning, the design and delivery of online/blended TVET courses, teacher professional developmentstudent support and engagement, and assessment of skills and knowledge.

TasTAFE partners with Microsoft and Prodigy Learning on digital skills

TasTAFE has partnered with Microsoft Australia and Prodigy Learning to offer a pilot course that allows participants to gain new digital skills, together with a globally recognised Microsoft Certification.

Under the program, participants completing TasTAFE’s Digital Productivity short course can also gain a Microsoft Office Specialist: Word Associate Certification.

TasTAFE Executive Director, Students and Education, Kerryn Meredith-Sotiris, said digital skills have never been more important, and the partnership will provide new learning opportunities for office professionals and administrative staff.

Digital Productivity is one of a suite of TasTAFE courses and skill sets designed to help Tasmanians acquire new skills. There are 40 places on offer, aimed at administrative or management personnel wanting to increase their digital literacy.

At the end of the six-week online course, participants undertake an on-campus practical assessment to gain Microsoft Certification.

TasTAFE is also partnering with Prodigy Learning to offer Microsoft Certification to interested students currently undertaking its Certificate IV or Diploma in Finance and Accounting, with 12 of these students also currently enrolled in the Microsoft Certified Fundamentals certification. This certification relates to cloud-based computing, which many students are familiar with as part of finance and accounting software.

Experts to examine post-COVID tertiary sector

Many of the issues facing the higher education sector in building partnerships between industry, government and higher education providers will be examined at an LH Martin Institute conference later this month.

‘The role of Tertiary Education in supporting post-COVID social, environmental and economic recovery’ will take place online, 26-28 October.

Speakers and panellists include Professor Jane den Hollander, former Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University; Professor Stephen Parker, Principal with the Higher Education and Research Group; Professor Zlatko Skrbis, Vice-Chancellor and President of Australian Catholic University; Professor Bruce Wilson, Director of the European Union Centre of Excellence at RMIT, and Mary Faraone, Chief Executive of Holmesglen Institute and Chair of TDA.

See more

Free training places on offer in psychosocial disability support

Applications for up to 1,000 limited free Psychosocial Learning Hub places are now open nationally.

The places are open to TAFE teachers that may be educating the future NDIS workforce, as well as support workers and support coordinators (and supervisors) who are new to providing supports to NDIS participants with psychosocial disability, mental ill health and/or dual disability.

Applications must be submitted to Mental Health Victoria via this SurveyMonkey link (3 minutes).

The Mental Health Victoria learning program will include one foundational course valued at $132 per person. The course will run from 11 October to 8 November 2021. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.

Applications close this Wednesday 6 October. This project is funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Social Services (DSS) as part of its Jobs and Market Fund.

Adrienne Nieuwenhuis appointed TEQSA commissioner

The Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge has appointed Adrienne Nieuwenhuis as a Commissioner of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).

“Working closely with existing Chief Commissioner Professor Peter Coaldrake AO and
Commissioner Emeritus Professor Joan Cooper, Ms Nieuwenhuis will help oversee
TEQSA’s strategic directions, governance, financial management and performance,” Mr Tudge said.

Prior to the appointment, Ms Nieuwenhuis was Director of the Office of Vice Chancellor at the University of South Australia. She also served as Director of Quality, Tertiary Education, Science and Research in the South Australian Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology.

Ms Nieuwenhuis is a member of the South Australian Skills Commission and the Australian Industry and Skills Committee.

TasTAFE future model open for consultation

The Tasmanian government has released draft legislation for its new model of governance for TasTAFE.

It follows the recommendations of the Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council earlier this year.

The Minister for Skills, Training and Workforce Growth Sarah Courtney said that under the transition plan, TasTAFE will be given more autonomy and flexibility, and will have its own employment powers, with staff covered by the Fair Work Act 2009.

The draft legislation can be viewed here and is open for consultation until October 18.

VET assessment in the spotlight

Not many issues in VET arouse as much interest as that of assessment.

ASQA’s latest Spotlight On series on Assessment, aims to assist providers to create a high-performing assessment system to deliver best-practice training outcomes.

ASQA’s, Associate Director, Engagement and Education, Courtney Smith is hosting a 90-minute expert panel discussion on assessment this Thursday 7 October at 2:00pm ADST.

ERTOA Executive Officer Gabrielle Deschamps will participate on the expert panel, along with Paul Pellier of training provider Accellier, and two ASQA Quality Assessment team representatives.

The expert panel will explore various topics about assessment and provide a live forum to assist providers to better understand their compliance requirements.

Register here

Diary Dates

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

TAFETalks: Breaking down the barriers – the future of VET in Schools
TAFE Directors Australia
20 October 2021, 2.00 pm ADST

The role of Tertiary Education in supporting post-Covid social, environmental and economic recovery
LH Martin Institute Conference
26-28 October 2021
More information

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)

TAFETalksApprenticeships Part 1: Innovation and acceleration
TAFE Directors Australia
17 November 2021, 2.00 pm ADST

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 ADST

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