Students and industry – each need their own lens – comment by Jenny Dodd

Students and industry - each need their own lens – comment by Jenny Dodd

I’ve heard people say RTOs have a tension between having a student focus and having an industry focus. While I don’t think there is a tension, I do believe students and industry each need their own lens. We also need to make sure the investment in the national training system reforms is balanced between these two lenses.

As we know, the purpose of vocational education and training is to prepare students for jobs. In this process there is often a direct three-way partnership between student, TAFE, and employer. This partnership might also involve a financial contribution from the employer, such as an apprenticeship. There are also indirect partnerships such as work placements where the employers might use the student work placement to determine likely candidates for future employment.

However, there are a multitude of other motivations that drive students to enrol in a TAFE qualification. Sometimes that might be to grasp foundation skills or at other times it might be to gain an outcome that is about aspirations of a future career. Regardless, these students are on their way to being lifelong learners, acquiring valuable transferable skills.

As large training providers, TAFEs invest heavily in supporting diverse student cohorts and divergent student motivations. TAFEs know that it is students, generally, who make the purchasing decision. That requires a student lens. As our training system reforms continue to gain momentum, do they sufficiently recognise the importance of the student lens?

While employer engagement and industry-driven training is essential, have we moved too far in the pendulum towards industry? Is there sufficient emphasis in the reforms on the manifold number of motivations that cause a student to purchase a vocational education and training qualification? Does the system itself include a student lens or do we leave that to the provider? These are questions we should ask as we look at the investment going into these national reforms.

This week at the Australian Training Awards we will see on display fantastic partnerships and collaborations between TAFEs, students, and employers. And those partnerships will embrace the whole of Australia and will demonstrate enormous diversity. This week is about celebrating the students; TDA wishes all students great success. This is their moment in time and, we hope, one part of their commitment to lifelong learning and their investment in tertiary education.

The best of VET to be unveiled at Australian Training Awards

The biggest event on the training calendar – the Australian Training Awards – is on this Thursday evening, with a host of TAFE Institutes, students, teachers and industry partners among the finalists.

TAFE Institutes have three finalists in the Large Training Provider of the Year Award – Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education in the Northern Territory, TAFE Queensland and William Angliss Institute in Victoria.

TAFEs have two finalists in the Industry Collaboration Award category – Canberra Institute of Technology for its Renewable Energy Industry Collaboration, and TAFE SA, as part of the Diploma of Digital Technologies collaboration with Flinders University and BAE Systems.

Five outstanding TAFE teachers are in the running for the VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year Award.

A host of TAFE students, apprentices and trainees will be also vying for national honours.

TDA extends its best wishes to all these finalists.

The Australian Training Awards commence 6:00pm (formalities from 6:30 pm) AEDT, Thursday 18 November.

Watch the event here.

Wodonga TAFE’s heavy vehicle technology program a game changer

Wodonga TAFE has outlined plans to develop a state-of-the-art, heavy vehicle training and experimentation facility, which will house the future of technical training courses and a high school-to-industry pathway scheme.

The Heavy Vehicle Technology Program will provide comprehensive multi-use facilities and resources that can meet the needs of national industry, the transport sector, emergency services and education. As the only facility of its kind in the country, it will play a pivotal role in Australia’s scientific and industrial future.

The program is about more than just driver safety – it will add Australian skills, expertise and jobs through investment in advanced technical trades, as well as training ground for vehicle operators.

The initiative will creat hundreds of jobs. It will also propel Australia’s heavy and autonomous vehicle and robotics sector.

The program is ready to progress to detailed design and construction and is currently seeking federal and state funding support.

See more

WFCP issues global statement on post-COVID skills priorities

The World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) has launched its first ever ‘Global Statement’ calling on vocational and training institutions from around the world to coordinate a skills response to help speed up social and economic recovery from the COVID 19 pandemic.

The statement was launched at the TKNIKA International VET Congress in San Sebastián, Spain last Thursday by WFCP President Dawn Ward to over 1000 vocational and technical education professionals.

The statement highlights the importance of professional, technical and vocational training in reshaping economies and ensuring that a post pandemic landscape has the skills and knowledge to rebuild and increase resilience.

Ms Ward said Professional/Technical Education and Training (PTET) providers around the world can upskill and re-skill current and future workers for the post pandemic world.

“PTET is a key enabler and driver of long term prosperity, it drives innovation and develops the workforce to meet future skills needs.”

The Global Statement suggests six priority areas where PTET systems globally must adapt in their response to the pandemic and 10 recommendations for education providers, governments and other stakeholders.

See more

Last chance to register for Wednesday's TAFETalks apprenticeship webinar

Don’t forget to register for TAFETalks: Apprenticeships Part 1: Innovation, Collaboration and Acceleration, 2.00pm AEDT, Wednesday 17 November.

Guest speakers are

  • Dr Gavin Lind, CEO of the Australian Minerals and Energy Skills Alliance (AUSMESA).
  • Ms Michelle Hoad, Managing Director of North Metropolitan TAFE in Western Australia

It’s the first of a two-part series on apprenticeships which will focus on innovation in apprenticeships including industry-led proposed acceleration in the mining industry. This session will highlight the importance of collaboration with TAFEs for successful outcomes. The second session, on 1 December will focus on apprenticeships as a career and the support that is needed for students to successfully complete an apprenticeship.

Register here

TAFEs share lessons from online learning with Vietnam colleges

The final session of the Digital Transformation of TVET: sharing of best practices between Australia and Vietnam webinar series took place last Thursday.

The session concluded the DESE funded seven-part webinar series which shared the experience of 11 Australian TAFEs and TVET divisions of dual sector universities with Vietnamese counterparts. Much of the focus was on the transition to online/blended TVET delivery and design, including the implications for teacher professional development and student support .

In the first part of the session, Nick Hyland, Business Development Manager at William Angliss Institute, discussed online assessment of TVET courses. It was followed by a closing ceremony, with concluding remarks by Jen Bahen, Education and Research Counsellor at the Australian Embassy, Dr Binh, Deputy Director General of the Vietnamese Directorate of Vocational Education and Training (DVET), Vietnamese Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and two Vice Rectors of Vietnamese Vocational and Technology Colleges.

The webinar series was a success, with close to 200 participants from 44 colleges across Vietnam attending each of the seven webinar sessions.

As part of the second component of the Digital Transformation of TVET project, two TVET institutions from Australia and Vietnam will be selected to implement a pilot project in one of the topics covered during the webinar series to showcase new ways in which TAFEs and Vietnamese colleges can collaborate in the field of online TVET.

Concluding remarks by Dr Binh, Deputy Director General of the Vietnamese Directorate

Students to help fill aged care skills gap

The Human Services Skills Organisation (HSSO) has established a rapid response initiative to connect residential care providers looking for employees to a pool of students completing their qualifications.

The Aged Care Workforce Rapid Response Initiative, in partnership with the Department of Health, aims to address acute skills shortages in the sector.

The initiative will trial a streamlined approach to connect and match students undertaking a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) with residential aged care providers looking to employ personal care workers.

It will also assist students completing their studies in human services related qualifications to complete work placements and secure employment. There are no costs to students or employers for using the service.

Students who are completing a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) qualification can register their availability to undertake a paid work placement here.

Residential aged care providers who want to participate can sign-up here

See more

TAFE gets an extra voice on IEAA board

Jana Perera, the Executive Director of Commercial Business at The Gordon Institute of TAFE, has been appointed to the board of the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA).

Ms Perera has served in the Australian international education industry in marketing, business development and project management leadership roles for the past 20 years.

“IEAA has a lot to offer the international education sector in Australia and I look forward to bringing a fresh awareness and new visions to the Board, along with the voice and views of international students so that they will be heard in a systematic and consistent way at all levels of policy making, from institutional to regional, state and national mediums”, Ms Perera said.

IEAA CEO, Phil Honeywood said, “As the peak body in Australia which represents all sectors of international education, we are delighted to have Jana Perera join us. Together with our current President Janelle Chapman she will be the second current TAFE based board member. More importantly Jana brings to the board a wealth of experience of many years of leadership in different roles in our dynamic sector.”

Ms Perera’s experience with international education has been gained from her time at La Trobe University, CQUniversity, Victoria University and the Victorian TAFE sector, including The Gordon.

New chair for TasTAFE

Tasmania’s Minister for Skills, Training and Workforce Growth Sarah Courtney has announced Tim Gardner, pictured, as the new chair of TasTAFE.

Mr Gardner is currently a director of TasTAFE. He commences in the new role on 30 November.

“He brings extensive experience across a range of leadership, management and strategic development roles, including as the Chair of Stornoway and as Chair of the Metro Tasmania Board,” Ms Courtney said.

Mr Gardner takes over from Mike Blake, who joined the board in 2017.

Induction kit helps to understand apprenticeship sector

The Australian Apprenticeships and Traineeships Information Service (AATIS) has launched an induction kit for organisations in the Australian Apprenticeships space to help new staff get quickly acquainted with the sector.

The resource can also be used by seasoned staff who would like to refresh their knowledge or deepen their understanding of Australian Apprenticeships and AATIS’ resources.

The downloadable resource is also ideal for organisations with staff working remotely, as it can be shared online. To find out more and download the free kit, visit here.

AATIS regularly publishes updates and resources to the Australian Apprenticeships Pathways website. To find out more visit here.

Online college to refund hundreds of students

Online education provider Shaw Academy has agreed to refund hundreds of former students following an investigation by the ACCC.

The organisation admitted that some students experienced difficulties cancelling a free trial it offered before it became a paid subscription to an online course.

“It is important that businesses offering subscription services allow consumers to cancel with as much ease as it took to sign up, particularly when they offer a free trial,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

The ACCC said Shaw Academy offered consumers a free trial to its online education courses but then charged some of them a subscription fee even when they had cancelled or tried to cancel before the end of the trial.

Shaw Academy has agreed to refund about 450 students, totalling approximately $50,000, and committed to improving its systems to facilitate refunds to consumers.

Diary Dates

National VET PD Week
Velg Training
15-19 November 2021 (Online)
More information

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

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

OctoberVET Ballarat 2021
Beyond COVID
25 November 2021, 11.00-12.30, online

TAFETalksApprenticeships Part 2: Supporting students to complete
TAFE Directors Australia
1 December 2021, 2.00 pm AEDT

Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group Annual Conference
‘People, place and time: developing the adaptive VET teacher’.
8 December 2021, 2-6 pm (Online)
More information

TAFETalks: Academic integrity in VET and Higher Education
2 February 2022
Dr Helen Gniel, Director, Higher Education Integrity Unit, TEQSA & Sharon Waitzer, Director Engagement and Education, ASQA

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