RTO standards will encourage industry expertise – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

RTO standards will encourage industry expertise – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

During the last month DEWR has consulted extensively on the proposed changes to the Standards for RTOs. One of the very pleasing areas of change is the proposal to strengthen experts who can be part of the learning and assessment of students.

TAFEs and all RTOs have always used industry experts to inform learning. This may be during student work placements or a part of delivery. However, the current standards have prohibited experts from being actively involved, especially in assessment.

While many in the sector may be concerned about the requirement to hold the Certificate IV, there have been challenges for every RTO in recruiting qualified staff in many industries. This new model will allow experts, be they from industry or with some other area of subject expertise, to work hand-in-hand with professional educators to deliver learning and assessment. This is a good thing, not only does it address the recruitment issues, but it also has the potential to foster innovation through mixed teams of experts.

As we know there are many industry experts who wish to contribute to the next generation of learners, but do not wish to change careers to become educators. They now have a role. Thus, teams will have multiple perspectives, through many levels of expertise, that can enrich a student’s learning and outcomes.

This model has the potential to further professionalise the educator. It is the educator who will bring expertise in learning design and assessment to the team solutions. That is not to say, of course, that industry experts should not become educators and acquire the mandatory training and assessment qualifications should they wish to do so. But this new standard produces much needed options that remove current barriers to business operations. These options will foster many different learning and assessment contexts, including higher levels of workplace delivery and potentially higher amounts of RPL.

The new ASQA model of self-assurance makes it a requirement for RTOs to ensure that this model, that includes experts, delivers quality outcomes for students. By the very nature of teams working together, improvements in the learning experiences of students are likely.

The ASQA self-assurance model has also been a strong improvement for vocational education and training this year.

With these positive changes in place, we conclude our TDA newsletters for 2022. To all our readers, have a safe and relaxing break – the TDA newsletter will be back on Monday 23 January 2023.

National skills agreements signed with NSW, Tasmania and ACT

The federal government has signed further 12-month skills agreements to provide fee-free training with three jurisdictions – New South Wales, Tasmania and Australian Capital Territory.

New South Wales – the $319 million NSW agreement will provide 120,000 fee free TAFE and VET places in 2023.

The course list will see approximately 40,200 fee-free places in the care sector (including approximately 10,000 in Early Childhood Education and Care), 9,900 in technology and digital, 6,900 in agriculture, 5,200 in construction, 5,000 in hospitality and tourism, 1,200 in sovereign capability, and 51,400 in other priority sectors including foundation skills.

The agreement also includes $7.5 million from the Commonwealth TAFE Technology Fund to upgrade TAFE facilities.

Tasmania – the $23 million agreement will provide 3,800 fee-free places in 2023, with nearly all to be delivered by TAFE.

It will include about 1,000 places in the care sector, including 850 in aged care, 450 in hospitality and tourism, 350 in agriculture, 250 in technology and digital, 200 in construction, 150 in sovereign capability, and around 1,400 in other priority sectors including foundation skills.

A further $2.5 million will go to upgrading training facilities.

ACT – the $16.5 million agreement will deliver approximately 2,500 fee-free TAFE places at Canberra Institute of Technology in 2023.

It will see approximately 840 places in the care sector, 600 in hospitality and tourism, 400 in technology and digital, 50 in construction, 40 in sovereign capability, including space trades, and 600 in other priority sectors including foundation skills.

A total of 46 qualifications and pre-apprenticeships at CIT will be available fee-free, including Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, Certificate III in Hospitality, Certificate IV in Mental Health, Certificate II in Electronics, and Certificate II in Construction Pathways.

Register for the first TAFETalks of 2023 - Jobs and Skills Australia - 2023 priorities and impact on TAFE

TDA is delighted to announce that Professor Peter Dawkins, Interim Director of Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA), will join TAFETalks for one of his first presentations.

In this webinar, TDA CEO, Jenny Dodd will facilitate a discussion with Peter on the JSA’s initial priorities.

The Australian Government has established JSA to provide expert advice to government on Australia’s skills, labour market and workforce needs and priorities.

JSA will take an economy-wide approach, and engage with stakeholders to support deeper analysis of Australia’s education and training systems and workforce challenges. Professor Dawkins was appointed by the Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor, as the Interim Director of Jobs and Skills Australia.

To register for this event, please click here

Skills shortage might be solved by removing gender bias, new head of JSA says

The new interim head of Jobs and Skills Australia, Professor Peter Dawkins has raised the question of whether some of the most chronic skills shortages are in industries with the worst gender imbalance.

In an interview in the Weekend Australian, Professor Dawkins poses the issue of whether a solution to skills shortages might lie in fixing the gender bias.

“It turns out in the trades where there tends to be more persistent shortages, they tend to have a gender bias and so it’s particularly those male-dominated trades where the proportion of women is very low,” Professor Dawkins said.

“I think it’s also true that there are issues in female-dominated ones as well.

“It’s an interesting hypothesis that one of the potential solutions to fixing the trades issues is less gender bias and more diversity in the trades.”

Professor Dawkins also said more needs to be done to address the status of VET.

“In Australia, we tend to have a two-class view where higher education is seen as superior to technical professions,” he said.

“We need to raise the status of these occupations like trades and also see very strong career paths into master trades, or high-level trades, advanced trades, and on into engineering and so on, and then pathways from VET to higher education and vice versa, and joint qualifications between VET and higher ed that raise the status of these kinds of roles.”

Departmental switch for skills in Victoria

Responsibility for training, skills and higher education will switch departments under the ministerial changes announced by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews following his election win.

Minister Gayle Tierney remains Minister for Training and Skills and Minister for Higher Education and Minister for Agriculture.

However, a Machinery of Government (MoG) change will transfer responsibility for the Training and Skills and Higher Education portfolios from the Department of Education and Training to the renamed Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions (formerly Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions), effective from 1 January 2023.

The change is intended to achieve better alignment between skills, jobs and industry as part of the government’s economic development agenda.

The MoG change includes all the divisions in the Higher Education and Skills Group and the Office of TAFE Coordination and Delivery, as well as the Victorian Skills Authority. It also includes their portfolio entities, the Adult, Community and Further Education Board and the VET Development Centre.

TDA congratulates Minister Tierney on her re-appointment.

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Professor Helen Huntley retires from CQU

Professor Helen Huntly of TDA member Central Queensland University has spent her career contributing to the delivery of education in regional Australia.

Involved in teaching, academia, and research for four decades, Helen has taught and shared her expertise at secondary, vocational and higher education levels.

She has been an employee of CQUniversity for more than 35 years and in 2017 was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to tertiary education in Central Queensland.

Helen has been committed to VET and TAFE at CQUniversity. Having spent her entire career as an educator in regional Queensland, Helen has been a strong champion of rural and regional education delivery and improving participation and access for students.

TDA wishes Helen all the best for her retirement.

Parliamentary inquiry to examine perceptions of VET

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training has commenced a new inquiry into vocational education and training.

The inquiry will examine and report on the perceptions and status of VET in Australia, and how this is affecting the choices of students, employers and educators in choosing a post-secondary schooling pathway to employment.

Submissions to the inquiry are due by 1 March 2023.

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Tech expo proves a hit

The Digital Skills Organisation reports that its recent Tech Expo, in partnership with Year13, demonstrated the enormous appetite for information on digital skills and tech careers among Australia’s youth.

The expo resulted in more than 14,600 unique visitors to the site while the campaign delivered an enormous 5.2 million impressions.

Research by Year13 showed that 63% of the youth in their network would consider the industry, had they known about the tech shortages, rising salaries and additional perks.

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Online survey to seek views of VET qualifications reform

The Department of Employment and Workforce Relations is inviting feedback via an online survey on the proposed new model of VET qualifications.

It follows recent consultations around the proposed change to the structure of qualifications.

The survey will remain open until 5pm AEDT, 17 March 2023.

See the survey.

WFCP awards deadline extended

The deadline to submit a nomination for the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) Awards of Excellence has been extended until 16 January 2023.

The Awards of Excellence recognise excellence of both individuals and institutions/associations in thirteen categories reflecting core values and strategic objectives of WFCP.

Award recipients will be announced at the ceremony, which will take place in Montreal, Canada at the 11th World Congress, from April 23 –25, 2023.

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Career opening in PNG

The Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) is seeking applications for the role of Regional Operations Director, based in Port Moresby, PNG.

The Regional Operations Director has accountability for the fiduciary oversight and management of legal, contractual and risk management functions and operations of the APTC.

This includes providing high level financial advice and reliable information to senior management and ensuring APTC complies with all statutory, legal and audit requirements and that internal and external audit processes are managed appropriately.

Applications close 9:59pm PNG Time, Wednesday 21 December 2022.

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Diary Dates

AVETRA 2023 Conference
27-28 April 2023
More information

World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) 2023 World Congress
23-25 April 2023
Montréal, Canada
More information

Journal of Vocational Education and Training (JVET) Conference
13-15 July 2023
Keble College, Oxford, UK
More information

32nd National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference ‘No Frills’
19-21 July 2023
RMIT University, Melbourne
More information