Skills for clean energy – a key theme at the Jobs and Skills Summit: comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Skills for clean energy – a key theme at the Jobs and Skills Summit: comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

The Jobs and Skills Summit included a focus on Australia’s goal of moving to clean energy. This is an emerging industry requiring new training and new partnerships to deliver the skills that are needed for the workforce.

As stated by Summit panelist, Kane Thornton, Chief Executive of the Clean Energy Council, Australia has an “extraordinary opportunity to create hundreds of thousands of clean energy jobs across regional Australia. With a strong spirit of positivity and collaboration, the outcomes from the Summit represent major progress in developing the workforce necessary to ensure Australia becomes a global clean energy superpower.”

On the Monday following the Summit, TAFE leaders from across the country met with MPs, Senators and Minister Brendan O’Connor at Parliament House in Canberra. TAFE leaders and politicians heard a dynamic presentation from Mr Daniel Kim, the Chief Executive of Ark Energy about their recent partnership with TAFE Queensland to skill their workforce. This is new fertile ground for training development that is seeing agile responses from TAFEs, as together Ark Energy and TAFE Queensland codesign training for immediate solutions. There is no third-party industry included in this partnership; it is a direct relationship between TAFE, who knows how to design learning, with an employer in a new industry who knows what they need from their workforce.

As Mr Kim stated in last Thursday’s Australian Financial Review (AFR p1), “we want to transform our trade relationships from resources and fossil fuels to green hydrogen, green ammonia’. The Queensland Government is backing this significant project. The Premier’s response as reported in the AFR was “the consortium will accelerate progress in our renewable hydrogen industry and advance green energy exports to Korea.”

The renewable energy sector, including hydrogen, offers a key example of how national collaboration is working across TAFE. There are limited nationally recognised qualifications, skill sets, short courses, or micro-credentials for this emerging industry. This has led TAFEs across Australia to partner together to address the need for an agile, national approach to filling the training void. Critical and urgent needs are driving industry towards faster and more nimble training products and Australian TAFEs are meeting the challenge.

To hear more about what TAFEs are doing in terms of skills development for hydrogen energy, join us at TDA Convention 2022 in November in Adelaide. The presentation on hydrogen training will be led by TAFE SA in partnership with their TAFE colleagues who have formed a national network to meet emerging industry needs.

TDA Convention 2022 is close to full capacity with the early bird rate finishing on Friday this week.

TAFE Staff Recognition Awards – nominations closing on 30 September


TDA is on the hunt for exceptional TAFE staff members for the inaugural TAFE Staff Recognition Awards. This is an exciting opportunity to celebrate the achievements of your dedicated staff. The awards are open to staff of all TDA member institutions (TAFE and dual sector).

The awards ceremony for winners and runners up will take place at the TDA Convention 2022 in Adelaide. Nominations close Friday 30 September. You can nominate a colleague or self-nominate. All nominations must be supported by a senior leader/executive in your institute.

There are four award categories. Further information and online nomination forms can be found here.

TAFEs shine at state training awards

As the state training awards continue around the country, TAFEs have secured an impressive array of prizes

South Australia

TAFE SA was named the Large Training Provider of the Year for the second consecutive year at the South Australian Training Awards.

In accepting the award, Chief Executive David Coltman reflected on the dedication and passion of teams across TAFE SA and thanked everyone for their hard work.

Three TAFE SA students also received the top awards in their respective categories.

The Apprentice of the Year award went to Mark Reynolds, studying a Certificate III in Electrotechnology – Electrician.

Angelina Dunnett, studying a Certificate III in Community Services was named Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year.

School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year is Sakina Qambari, studying a Certificate III Hospitality – Front of House, and attending Renmark High School.

TAFE SA lecturers Daniel Austin, Natasha Evans and Jon McKeigue were all shortlisted for the VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year Award.

See all the winners and finalists

Western Australia

South Metropolitan TAFE was named Large Training Provider of the Year at the WA state training awards in Perth last week.

The Apprentice of the Year is Megan Hazelden who is completing a Certificate III in Engineering at South Metropolitan TAFE.

The WA Cultural Diversity Training Award went to Feng Yang who enrolled in Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at South Metropolitan TAFE.

The WA International Student of the Year is Yu-Chien (Eva) Cho, studying a Diploma of Hospitality Management at South Metropolitan TAFE.

The WA School-based Apprentice of the Year is Sophia Pitaro, who completed Certificates in Events Management, Tourism and Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways, and is now completing a Certificate III in Sport and Recreation through North Metropolitan TAFE.

The WA Trainee of the Year is Brittany-Leigh Wragg, studying a Certificate III in Defence Industry Pathways Program at South Metropolitan TAFE.

See all the winners and finalists

TAFETalks: Supporting Learners Online – register now


Wednesday 28 September at 2.00pm AEST (Canberra/Melbourne/Sydney time)

Register now to join TDA in a discussion with Western Sydney University, D2L and TAFE Queensland on supporting learners online.

The session will cover the ‘pedagogy of support’ in the context of online learners including post-COVID hybrid courses and new forms of education into the future. It will also explore Learning Management System (LMS) tools and how they are being used in a TAFE setting to support learners online.

Guest Speakers:

  • Professor Simon Barrie, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President (Academic), Wester Sydney University
  • Mr Tony Maguire, Regional Director, D2L Australia and New Zealand
  • TAFE Queensland

To register for this event, please click here

Government eyeing overseas expansion of Australian VET

Foreign workers could obtain Australian qualifications in their home countries through an expansion of VET programs in Southeast Asia, under a plan being considered by the federal government.

The Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor said the system could follow that of the university sector, which had successfully forged deep relations in the Asia-Pacific, according to an article in the Weekend Australian.

“We think about how our universities have got footprints across the region and the world, particularly the region,” Mr O’Connor said.

“There’s no reason why our VET sector shouldn’t act in a forward fashion by engaging, whether it’s bricks and mortar in other countries or certainly being involved in training people.”

Under the plan, workers would obtain Australian qualifications in trades, retail, hospitality, technology, administration, health and the care industry while still living in their home nations.

India and Indonesia have been targeted as priority countries. Talks started last month with New Delhi about the development of Australian Skills Standards and Certification frame­works that could be rolled out in India.

Mr O’Connor said the Commonwealth would take national leadership in any overseas expansion. “We want to have some oversight where commonwealth money is being expended,” he said.

Health and lifestyle decline for young Australian: NCVER

The health and life satisfaction of young Australians has declined over recent years, according to a new report from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

The report, Generation Z: life at 21 examines data from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) participants who commenced the program when they were 15 years old in 2015.

When comparing 21-year-olds in 2015 with 21-year-olds in 2021, the findings show:

  • Those who felt happy about their future decreased from 88% to 79%
  • Those who were happy with their career prospects decreased from 84% to 76%
  • Those who were satisfied with the state of the economy decreased from 61% to 46%
  • Those who reported having a disability or health problem that limits the type of study or work they can do increased from 8% to 13%

Also, financial hardship was a concern, with 28% experiencing financial stress. One in eight went without meals, and one in seven did not get medicines they needed or go to the doctor.

But NCVER says the picture is not all negative. The report shows that 87% of 21-year-olds were employed in 2021, an increase of 8 percentage points compared to when they were 20 years old in 2020.

See more

TDA Convention 2022: Last chance to take advantage of early bird registration!


If you haven’t registered already for the TDA Convention 2022 in Adelaide from 15-17 November, please note that the early bird registration rate ends this Friday, 30 September.

30 September is also the final cut off date for speaker registrations and nominations for the TAFE Staff Recognition Awards.

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

Victorian government revamps key grants programs

The Victorian government has revamped two key grants programs to align them better with skills priorities in regional areas and the needs of disadvantaged learners.

The Regional and Specialist Training Fund (RSTF) enables training providers to address specific training gaps and will move from rolling applications to rounds. Under the guidelines, all Victorian training providers with a Skills First VET funding contract can apply for funding

The Workforce Training Innovation Fund (WTIF) provides grants for initiatives that will make the training and TAFE system more effective in meeting industry skill needs. Under the new WTIF guidelines, TAFES, RTOS, industry and employers can apply for funding.

More information, including information sessions, is available on both the RSTF and the WTIF.

VET becoming a niche player in higher level qualifications, report finds

The VET sector risks becoming a “niche player” in diploma and higher level qualifications as a result of long-term declines in government funded diploma places, according to a paper from the Mackenzie Research Institute by Tom Karmel.

The paper identifies big declines in VET diploma qualifications, with the exception of a handful of areas including childhood education, enrolled nursing, and beauty.

“Overall, it is a pretty bleak picture for VET if we are of the view that VET should be providing a genuine alternative to higher education,” the paper says.

“What makes it even bleaker is that government funding of diplomas has contracted in most fields”.

The paper says that since 2004, the university sector has expanded at the undergraduate level while VET sector diploma and higher qualifications have contracted.

“A broad brush conclusion is that the university sector has become the dominant player while the VET sector is becoming more of a niche player.”

Karmel believes that the VET sector will continue to decline unless there is significant structural change to make degrees an integral part of VET.

He also points to the “schism” between higher education, which is largely self-accrediting, and VET with its foundation in training packages.

“VET has downplayed the role of educators since the development of training package,” he says.

“For VET to have a better prospect of competing with the universities there would need to be more emphasis on general education so that students had multiple options to both acquire technical skills and also leave open the possibility of higher level study.”

See What about diplomas? by Tom Karmel

Update on TAE progress

TAFE members of the IRC advise that the TAE is now in the final stages of approval and they are happy where the skillsets have landed.

TAFE members of the IRC advise that the IRC has recommended the new TAE should be equivalent. It is expected that the AISC will consider the revised training product at its final meeting.

TAFETalks: Learning from each other – a TAFE discovery project to improve the future apprenticeships lifecycle


The training and management of apprentices is an important responsibility for TAFEs, as is TAFE’s mission to work more collaboratively together to improve overall training and outcomes for individuals and communities.

The October TAFETalks brings together two Victorian TAFEs with TDA Corporate Affiliate and technology provider ReadyTech, whose technology platform supports the management of Australian apprentices.

Presenters will discuss the results of a pioneering multi-TAFE project designed to evolve apprenticeship management, conducted by international management consultancy Nous Group.

It will explore key findings relevant for other TAFEs, as well as apprentice data insights from ReadyTech, to ask what the practical implications are for the future of apprentice management and TAFE collaboration.

See more

Government researching VET in regional, rural and remote areas

The Social Research Centre, on behalf of the federal Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, is conducting a research project to explore how well people living in regional, rural, and remote (RRR) locations are supported to commence, undertake, and complete vocational education and training (VET) and barriers that prevent their successful participation in the skills and training system.

The research will also look at how support services work, and the type of support that makes a difference to the completion of VET qualifications.

In October the Social Research Centre plans to conduct an online survey of TAFE representatives who have contact with or knowledge of VET participants from RRR areas.

There is also an opportunity for TAFE representatives with knowledge in this area to participate in a one hour focus group discussion or interview in the first two weeks of October. If you are interested in receiving the link for the survey or discussing your experience with RRR students more in depth, please email

Diary Dates

TAFETalks: Supporting Learners Online
28 September 2022
Register here

October 2022
More information
Reforming the Australian Qualifications Framework for the future
4 October 2022
More information

Australian International Education Conference 2022
18-21 October 2022
Gold Coast & Online
More information

TAFETalks: Learning from each other: A TAFE discovery project to improve the future apprenticeships lifecycle
19 October 2022
More information

WAVE National Forum
21 October 2022
VET Development Centre, Melbourne
More information

2022 National VET Conference
Velg Training
3-4 November 2022
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
More information

TDA Convention 2022
Courage, Change and Challenge – the Future of TAFE
15-17 November 2022
More information

VDC Teaching & Learning Conference
VET Development Centre
17 & 18 November 2022 (Online)
More information

TEQSA Conference
23-24 November 2022
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins (and online)
More information