Responding to future skills – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Responding to future skills – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Last week, the Jobs and Skills Australia Bill was the first legislation before the 47th Parliament. This highlights the importance the Albanese Government is placing on how we better align the demands of the emerging labour market with “current, emerging and future skills and training needs and priorities.”

One of the key messages that TAFE Directors Australia and its members make to Jobs and Skills Australia is when a future skill need is identified, TAFEs must be able to respond quickly. We must also be able to customise training products with a local solution.

States and Territories are best placed to know what levers they need to pull to deliver outcomes for their economies. TAFEs are State and Territory owned. Therefore, TAFEs are part of the local solutions for delivering the skills and training needs for emerging and future skills.

Future skills have numerous dimensions. Future skills can be demanded by emerging industries, such as the hydrogen industry. Future skills can also apply to an existing job, such as new functional digital skills to deliver the outcomes in a different way than ever before.

TAFEs, regardless of their organisational construct, are local. They work with local employers, and they develop local intelligence about what employers need. They look for solutions for the employer who has a future skill need now. That local intelligence and responsiveness must be enabled.

Our current national training system has not prioritised future skills nor local solutions. It has not fostered speed to market. Current demand for skills is created by retrospective reviews. That has been the dominant mechanism for determining training investment. That will change with Jobs and Skills Australia as the qualitative intelligence gathered through partnerships delivers new priorities.

TDA and its members welcome the establishment of Jobs and Skills Australia. We see this as a vital body to support where training investment must occur. We look forward to being part of the local solutions that are needed to meet “the current, emerging and future skills and training needs and priorities.”

Flying start for new jobs and skills agency

The Albanese government’s new agency, Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA), will commence promptly under an interim director before decisions are made about its permanent structure and functions.

Introducing the legislation for JSA, the Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor said the independent body will work closely with state and territory governments, industry, employers, trade unions and training providers.

JSA will play an active role in workforce planning, including undertaking capacity studies for new and emerging industries, effectively replacing the National Skills Commission which will be wound up.

“JSA will build on the work started by the National Skills Commission, but with a much broader remit to address issues in the skills and training sector, while forging closer partnerships with key stakeholders,” Mr O’Connor said.

The government will appoint an interim director to get the agency up and running and plans to engage in wider consultation, including as part of the Jobs and Skills Summit in September, to determine its functions, structure and governance.

“Establishing an interim Jobs and Skills Australia Director will enable its critical work to commence quickly, while extensive consultation on the ongoing functions and structure of JSA occurs,” Mr O’Connor said.

In a statement, the National Skills Commission said’ “We will continue to provide updates on the implementation and consultation period of Jobs and Skills Australia and look forward to working with you and your networks to ensure we deliver the best advice to inform Australia’s skills system.”

PM’s first priority was to visit TAFE, skills minister tells parliament

The Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor has shed light on Prime Minister Albanese’s personal commitment to revitalise TAFE and make it the centrepiece of an ambitious skills agenda.

“TAFE has been under-resourced, has been unrecognised and, in many cases, has been neglected by the previous government,” Mr O’Connor told parliament last week as he introduced legislation to create Jobs and Skills Australia.

“I just remind people of this – the first visit in Victoria made by Prime Minister Albanese after the election was to a TAFE college. That says everything about the priorities of the Prime Minister and this government about addressing these skill shortages in this country, and we need to do a lot more.

“There are shortages of course, and many people know where these are. There are shortages in aged care, disability care, children’s services – the care industries generally are really in need of skills and labour.

“The OECD says we have the second-highest labour shortage in the developed world, so this is a job that needs to be tackled immediately,” he said.

TDA Convention 2022: Last chance to submit your presentation – deadline extended until 8 August!


For anyone who would like to present at the TDA Convention 2022, the deadline for submissions has been extended until 9am on Monday 8 August.

This is an opportunity for TDA member staff and key stakeholders of TAFE including community, university, industry and government partners to share their stories and experiences of courage, change and challenge. Please click here for more information and to download the presentation guidelines.

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to collectively shape the future of TAFE and the tertiary education sector in Australia – submit your presentation now!

Delegates at the TDA Convention 2022 will be informed and inspired by courageous stories and innovative practices. Presentations will highlight the power of collaboration with colleagues, community and industry. The TDA Convention will bring together different perspectives including from students, staff, employers, industry, community and government.

For further information on registration packages and inclusions, and to register for the event, please click here.

Sponsorship opportunities
The sponsorship prospectus is now available here. To discuss sponsorship opportunities, please contact

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.

TAFE Queensland energy partnership to boost hydrogen industry

Townsville’s bid to become a renewable hydrogen powerhouse has been strengthened with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between TAFE Queensland and Ark Energy Corporation.

The partnership will see TAFE Queensland deliver training for Ark Energy’s workforce and its affiliated companies, including Sun Metals and Townsville Logistics.

The training will focus on the safe production, handling and use of hydrogen across various applications in the energy transition and in particular in ultra-heavy transport to reduce CO2 emissions.

Ark Energy is one of the first movers in hydrogen industry, and the training is part of a broader objective that aims for Queensland to reach 50% renewable energy by 2030.

Ark Energy believes Townsville can grow a strong domestic and globally competitive hydrogen industry. TAFE Queensland will support this with quality, innovative and progressive training and facilities.

Ark Energy CEO Daniel Kim and TAFE Queensland Chairperson Jane Seawright sign the training agreement.

Clock ticking on VET FEE-HELP redress measures

The final chapter in the decade-long VET FEE-HELP saga is approaching, as students who were affected by unscrupulous training providers have less than six months to seek redress.

The Commonwealth VET Ombudsman’s latest report shows a 39% fall in complaints in the six months to March, in line with the gradual decline since the start of the redress measures in 2019.

The Ombudsman finalised 595 complaints in the six months, a 12.5% decrease compared to the 680 complaints finalised in the same period last year.

The student redress measures will end on December 31, giving anyone affected less than six months to lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman’s office.

The Ombudsman says the current caseload includes a high proportion of complaints (39%) about providers who are still operating, which means they are more complex and take longer to finalise.

See the VET Ombudsman’s quarterly update

TAFETalks - Employability skills - 31 August

Don’t miss the next TAFETalks on the topic: General capabilities (employability skills) – current developments, their importance for industry, and future possibilities.

Date: Wednesday 31 August at 2.00pm AEST (Canberra/Melbourne/Sydney time)

Guest Speakers: 

  • Sandra Milligan, Director and Enterprise Professor, Assessment Research Centre, University of Melbourne
  • Megan Lilly, Executive Director, Australian Industry Group
  • Jane Trewin, Executive Director, Educational Delivery, Box Hill Institute

To register for this event, please click here

AVETRA OctoberVET call for events

The Australasian Vocational Education and Training Research Association (AVETRA) is calling for proposals from people who wish to run an OctoberVET event in 2022.

OctoberVET is a season of presentations, discussions and workshops coordinated by AVETRA. The goal is to showcase, disseminate and debate vocational, adult and technical education research.

OctoberVET events can be large or small, formal or informal, online or face-to-face. They can be about showcasing VET research (underway or completed). They can be conversations around research that should be done in the VET sector. They can focus on how to apply VET research. An OctoberVET event can be any or all these things!

For more information and to register your OctoberVET event, see here.

Education ministers gather to tackle teacher shortage

Commonwealth, state and territory education ministers will meet in Canberra next week with a focus on tackling an acute teacher shortage.

The first half of the meeting on August 12 will be a Teacher Workforce Roundtable which will include principals, teachers and education experts, with ideas generated being fed into the Jobs and Skills Summit in September.

The Minister for Education Jason Clare said there is an urgent need to fix the teacher shortage right around the country.

“Not enough young people are becoming teachers when they leave school and lots of teachers are leaving the profession burnt out,” Mr Clare said.

An issues paper will be published shortly to form the basis of the discussion.

Diary Dates

10-11 Aug 2022
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ACER Research Conference 2022
Reimagining assessment
22-25 August 2022
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Victorian TAFE Association
State Conference
24-26 August 2022
Registrations open

National Skills Week 2022
22-28 August 2022
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TAFETalks: General capabilities (employability skills) – current developments, their importance for industry, and future possibilities
31 August 2022,
Register here

Community Colleges Australia National Conference
13-14 September 2022
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October 2022
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Australian International Education Conference 2022
18-21 October 2022
Gold Coast & Online
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2022 National VET Conference
Velg Training
3-4 November 2022
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
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TDA Convention 2022
Courage, Change and Challenge – the Future of TAFE
15-17 November 2022
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VDC Teaching & Learning Conference
VET Development Centre
17 & 18 November 2022 (Online)
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