So Long, Farewell

So Long, Farewell

Most of you will have now heard the news that TDA’s Chief Executive Officer Craig Robertson has stepped down from TDA.

After more than four years leading TDA, Craig has left TDA in order to take up the appointment of the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Skills Authority (VSA). Craig will take up his position with the VSA on 23 August.

For long time readers of the TDA newsletter and Craig’s column, you will know that he has a penchant for putting VET commentary to song. If you missed his Christmas Ode to Vocational Education and Training in Australia for 2019 to the tune of Jingle Bells, it has been preserved for posterity here – and it is sure to bring a smile to the face of even the most hardened VET warrior.

It seems fitting then, that we should bid Craig farewell in song. For The Sound of Music fans, the song ‘So Long, Farewell’ will be familiar to you, but if you haven’t seen or heard of it, you may wish to view it here first.

From all of the staff at TDA, this song is dedicated to Craig.

So Long, Farewell

There’s a sad sort of clanging at T-D-A
And the halls of C-I-T too
And down in Victoria the V-S-A
Is popping out to say “cuckoo”


Regretfully they tell us
But firmly they compel us
To say goodbye to you.

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night
We promise to keep up the thrilling fight

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu
We can’t deny we feel a little blue

So long, farewell, au revoir, auf wiedersehen
We know that CBT made you insane

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye
The Monday morning news will be so dry

We’re glad for you, we cannot tell a lie
You’ll flit, you’ll float, you’ll make Victorians fly

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye
With VET reform, we know it’s do or die

Good luck, good times, goodbye!


Appointment of Interim CEO – statement by TDA Board Chair, Mary Faraone

I am pleased to advise that experienced TAFE senior executive Jenny Dodd, pictured, has been appointed as the interim CEO of TAFE Directors Australia.

Jenny will fill the role until a permanent CEO is appointed. It follows the resignation of CEO Craig Robertson who finished on Friday and will take up the position of inaugural CEO of the Victorian Skills Authority.

I am delighted that Jenny will fill the position at this time. Jenny is a dedicated professional who was CEO of TasTAFE in Tasmania for three years from 2018 to 2020.

Previously, Jenny was with TAFE Queensland where she was General Manager Gold Coast and later Chief Academic Officer.

Prior to that she was with the Canberra Institute of Technology where she held a number of positions including Director of Marketing and Deputy CEO.

Jenny also served on the Board of TDA and is currently on the Board of IBSA.

I extend my appreciation to Jenny and, on behalf of the Board and TAFE colleagues around the country, welcome her to the role.

TDA joins consortium pledging to tackle youth unemployment

TDA is proud to be part of a new initiative, the Youth Employment Consortium, which has pledged to place 5,000 unemployed young people into jobs.

The initiative was launched online last Thursday – International Youth Day – by the Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services Luke Howarth.

Jobfind, part of the Angus Knight Group, has been the force behind the creation of the consortium of employers, educators and not-for-profit organisations committed to tackling youth unemployment.

The other consortium partners include the Australian Retailers Association, Angus Knight Institute, Future Minds Network, Ladder, MAS National, MEGT, Mission Engage, Programmed, Real Futures, Squad, WPC Group, Youth Development Foundation and Youth Junction Inc.

AngusKnight CEO Cameron Judson described youth unemployment as Australia’s most serious social and economic challenge, and said that under Jobfind CEO Karena Newland, the consortium was in a position to deliver “real hope, skills and employment outcomes for young people”.

Mr Howarth noted that “…young people have been hard hit by the pandemic, and as we emerge, though, I’m confident that the strength of our youth to fill their potential going forward and make a real contribution to the recovery. The time is ripe for that – there’s a real opportunity.”

The 2021 Young Australian of the Year Finalist and CEO of Future Minds Network, Nathaniel Diong is the consortium’s first youth ambassador. He highlighted the scale of the youth employment challenge, noting that 85 per cent of the jobs young people will work at in 2030 don’t even exist yet.

“Above all, we need to equip young people with the skills to adapt to uncertainty – and we can do that through entrepreneurship education,” he said.

See more

More than 180,000 apprentices signed up under wage subsidy scheme

The number of apprentices and trainees signed up under the federal government’s Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements (BAC) wage subsidy program has reached more than 180,000.

In the Senate last week, Senator Michaelia Cash provided the latest enrolment numbers under the program, which provides a 50 per cent wage subsidy for employers who take on new apprentices or trainees.

Officials from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment told a Senate Estimates hearing in June that enrolments under the BAC program had reached 153,770 at the end of May.

The latest update from Senator Cash shows more than 26,000 enrolments in about two months, indicating continued strong  take-up.

The BAC program commenced last October and will run, uncapped, until March next year. Under changes announced earlier this year, employers who engage eligible apprentices and trainees will be paid the wage subsidy for a full 12 months from the time of sign-up.

Skills commissioner Adam Boyton to outline key VET priorities

TDA is pleased to be sponsoring a live webinar this Thursday, hosted by the National Apprentice Employment Network (NAEN), featuring National Skills Commissioner Adam Boyton in discussion with Claire Field.

The webinar is part of NAEN’s ‘Ideas, Information and Inspiration’ series and will run 11 am to midday AEST, Thursday 19 August.

The National Skills Commission is leading a series of critical areas of work in the VET sector including the Skills Priority List, efficient prices for VET qualifications, the Australian Skills Classification, and undertaking a study of the care workforce labour market.

See more


AISC releases industry insights report

The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) has released its National Industry Insights Report – a collection of skills, training, employment and labour market information across the economy.

The report includes analysis by industry sector as well as a National Skills Overview which examines cross-industry insights.

One of the key findings is the strong industry demand for cross-sector skills such as adaptability, analytical, digital, and collaboration skills.

See more

Chance to have a say on assessment practices in VET

The Ithaca Group, along with the VET Development Centre, is leading a series of conversations with VET practitioners to share current thinking on assessment validation, recognition of prior learning and other common assessment challenges.

The aim is to test research findings with practitioners and explore perspectives on what constitutes high quality assessment practice.

Insights from the process will inform work on quality reform by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment. This is particularly designed for VET coordinators, assessors and quality managers.

Participants with receive a certificate of participation for practitioner professional development. The sessions are:

  • Affirming RPL Practices, Wednesday 18 August 3.00-4.30pm (AEST): register
  • Affirming Validation Practices, Tuesday 24 August 2.00-3.30pm (AEST): register
  • Addressing Common Challenges in Training and Assessment Practice, Wednesday 25 August 2.00-3.30pm (AEST): register

Digital skills webinar now available online

The Digital Transformation Skills Strategy webinar hosted by Australian Industry Standards in July is now available online.

The webinar focussed on the work of the Expert Panel that was established to provide advice on how Australia’s VET system can most effectively respond to digital change. A key feature was its recently released Digital Transformation Skills Strategy, ‘The Learning Country’.

Three members of the panel, Dr Claire Mason, Professor Aleksandar Subic and Mark McKenzie outlined the key issues and some of the critical proposals in the strategy.

A recording of the webinar is now available here on the panel’s website.  Alternatively, you can head straight to the highlight’s page and choose which question you’d like to hear answered by the panel members.

Diary Dates

National Skills Week
23 – 29 August 2021
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WorldSkills National Championships & Skills Show
25 – 29 August 2021
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2021 National VET Conference
Velg Training
9 – 19 September 2021
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
More information

Victorian TAFE Association
2021 State Conference: ‘Connecting the Dots’
16 – 17 September 2021
William Angliss Institute. 555 La Trobe St Melbourne
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National Symposium on the Student Experience
University of Melbourne
17 September 2021
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Australian International Education Conference 2021
5 – 8 October 2021
Gold Coast & Online
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Australian Training Awards
18 November 2021
Perth, Western Australia
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2021 VDC Virtual Teaching & Learning Conference
VET Development Centre
18 – 19 November 2021 (Online)
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National Apprentice Employment Network
National Conference
15 – 17 March 2022
Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart, Tasmania
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