Students benefit from choice of higher education provider – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Students benefit from choice of higher education provider – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

TDA congratulates the Hon. Brendan O’Connor MP and the Hon. Jason Clare MP who have been appointed to lead the skills and training, and education portfolios respectively.

Separating out vocational education and training from the broader education department will enable skills and training to have their own priority. Brendan O’Connor brings experience in the complex world of vocational education and training under previous Labor governments.

In terms of TAFE’s business in international and higher education, these areas will remain with Minister Clare. For example, the finalisation of the review of the ESOS Act will be led by the Department of Education.

Over half of TDA members are higher education providers, either as dual sector or non-university higher education providers. Therefore, TDA will continue to highlight the value of the TAFE approach and the importance of an even playing field such as Commonwealth Supported Places for TAFE higher education students.

TAFE higher education courses meet a specific need in the market. They are always applied learning experiences and are generally delivered to smaller groups. Our courses have a strong focus on problem solving and project-based learning. With their industry alignment, TAFE academics pivot the degrees or associate degrees quickly to be responsive to local industry advisory groups.

TDA looks forward to working with the new government to demonstrate the power of TAFE in delivering great outcomes in both vocational and higher education.

Key ministers appointed to education and training

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has appointed ministers to the key portfolios covering education, skills and training.

Jason Clare who served as Labor spokesman during the election campaign has been appointed Minister for Education, replacing Tanya Plibersek who held the portfolio in Opposition and now moves to Environment and Water.

Senior Labor frontbencher Brendan O’Connor has been appointed Minister for Skills and Training.

The skills and training portfolio will be part of the new Department of Employment and Workplace Relations under Minister Tony Burke.

Richard Marles who held the Employment portfolio in Opposition becomes Defence Minister.

Both Mr Clare and Mr O’Connor are experienced former ministers in the Rudd and Gillard governments.

Mr Clare served as Minister for Defence Materiel, Minister for Home Affairs, and Minister for Justice. Mr O’Connor served in a range of portfolios including Housing, Immigration and Citizenship, Small Business, Employment, Human Services, Home Affairs, and Skills and Training.

Ed Husic is the new Minister for Industry and Science. West Australian Anne Aly has been appointed Minister for Early Childhood Education and Minister for Youth. Senator Anthony Chisholm becomes Assistant Minister for Education and Assistant Minister for Regional Development.

See the full Albanese Ministry.

Yesterday, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton announced his shadow ministry.

Alan Tudge who stood down from the Cabinet last December returns as Shadow Education Minister.

Sussan Ley, who was last week elevated to Deputy Leader of the Opposition, has been named Shadow Minister for Industry, Skills and Training.

Senator Michaelia Cash is Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations. The Shadow Minister for Regional Education is Andrew Gee.

See the full Shadow Ministry list.

TDA extends its congratulations to all the new ministers and shadow ministers.

Two new departments to oversee education and skills portfolios

Many in the VET sector will now be dealing with two separate departments under the latest Machinery of Government changes which effectively split responsibility for education and skills.

Two new departments – Education, and Employment and Workplace Relations – will replace the current Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

The Department of Education will be responsible for areas including school education, youth affairs and transitions, higher education, international education, research grants, and early childhood education.

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations will look after areas including employment policy, labour market programmes, skills and vocational education policy regulation and programmes, vocational education and training in schools, apprenticeships, training and skills assessment, and foundation skills for adults.

Former senior public servant and Professor of Public Policy at the ANU, Andrew Podger said the new arrangements are “a considerable improvement on the structures the Morrison Government used, but they could have been much better.”

“While there are not so many departments with multiple cabinet ministers nor so many cabinet ministers with responsibilities across portfolios as under Morrison, seven departments have multiple cabinet ministers and five cabinet ministers have responsibilities beyond their main portfolio,” he writes in Pearls and Irritations.

The new Administrative Arrangements Order takes effect on I July.

See the Albanese government’s Administrative Arrangements Order

See Andrew Podger’s article, The Administrative Arrangements Order of the Albanese Government – a curate’s egg

A watershed moment for the public service

A landmark change has come over the Commonwealth public service with the appointment of Professor Glyn Davis as the new Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

He commences in the role today after serving as CEO of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, and in the wake of an eminent career in academia and government.

“Professor Davis will bring to the role of Secretary a deep understanding of public policy and will work with my Government in bringing about positive change for the Australian people,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said.

Professor Davis was Director-General of the Queensland Department of Premier and Cabinet, before serving as Vice-Chancellor at both Griffith University and the University of Melbourne.

But his credentials go further. He sat on Paul Keating’s committee charged with devising options for an Australian republic.

His first full time job was as a journalist with ABC radio Canberra, following in the footsteps of his father, Pedr, a noted motoring journalist, mother Dolores, a writer, and brother Tony who works at the Sydney Morning Herald.

He was educated at Marist Brothers’ College in the Sydney suburb of Kogarah that produced Labor luminaries Graham Richardson and Stephen Loosely.

Every boy’s dream was to play first grade rugby league for St George, he told The Age in an interview in 2005. “If you couldn’t do that, you wanted to become a NSW Labor senator, as a number of them did, he said. “If all that failed, then I guess you could go to university,” he joked.

Professor Davis’ focus on innovation and his background in higher education offer real opportunities for a sharper focus on the role of tertiary education in delivering the skilled labour force that Australia needs.

Also, his support for a more integrated VET and higher education system could add momentum to a much-needed re-shaping of the binary approach of the past.

TDA welcomes this appointment and extends its congratulations to Professor Davis.

TAFETalks: Register for a discussion, Wednesday 15 June, Self Assurance: what does it really mean?


Date: Wednesday 15 June at 2.00pm AEST (Canberra/Melbourne/Sydney time)

Following the recent release of ASQA’s draft model for self-assurance, please join TDA for an in-depth discussion on self-assurance and what it means for the vocational education and training (VET) sector.

Christina Bolger, Deputy CEO at ASQA will introduce the concept of self-assurance, followed by Jackie Wilson, a Partner at ORIMA Research who worked closely with ASQA to develop the draft model. Jackie will be joined by representatives from TAFE SA to discuss their self-assurance model in practice. Sue Crew, Interim Director, Strategy Management, University of New England (UNE), Armidale will also provide reflections from a VET and higher education perspective on the proposed model and the implications it may have for the pursuit of quality in the VET sector.

Guest speakers will include:

  • Christina Bolger, Deputy CEO, ASQA
  • Jackie Wilson, Partner, ORIMA Research
  • Penny Johnston, Executive Director, Academic Development, TAFE SA
  • Mark Croft, Director, RTO Quality and Compliance, TAFE SA
  • Sue Crew, Interim Director, Strategy Management, University of New England (UNE), Armidale

Registration:  To register for this event, please click here

AND for your diaries…

TAFETalks: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
Date: Wednesday 27 July at 2.00pm AEST (Canberra/Melbourne/Sydney time)

TDA is delighted to announce that we will be joined by Professor Sally Kift for a panel discussion on the scholarship of teaching and learning. Sally is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA), a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law (FAAL) and President of the Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows (ALTF). Sally is a renowned higher education expert and academic and has published widely on transition pedagogy, legal education and student transition. Sally was a member of the Australian Qualifications Framework Review Panel that reported to Government in September 2019. Sally’s role will be to reflect on the discussions of our TDA members including:

  • Associate Professor Melanie Williams is Associate Dean (Scholarship) at William Angliss Institute, where her primary role is to lead and support vocational and higher education teaching staff in taking a scholarly approach to improving their learning and teaching practice.
  • Dr Fiona Wahr, Senior Lecturer, Applied Research and Scholarship, Melbourne Polytechnic. Fiona led the revised scholarship model introduced at Melbourne Polytechnic
  • Vanessa Crawford, Associate Dean, Higher Education, TAFE Queensland. Vanessa will reflect on TAFE Queensland’s practices related to the scholarship of teaching and learning. Vanessa is also the chair of TDA’s Higher Education Provider network.

Registration:  To register for this event, please click here
For further information, please visit:

70,000 new fee-free training places for NSW

The NSW government has announced an extra 70,000 fee-free training places as part of a renewed effort to boost the state’s skills-led recovery.

Treasurer Matt Kean said the state budget in just over a fortnight would include $82.7 million over four years to help accelerate the skills boom.

“This investment will deliver tens of thousands of new apprentices, trainees and full qualifications to help people get skilled for in demand jobs such as builders, hairdressers, carpenters, chefs, electricians and in the critical early childhood, aged care and disability care sectors,” Mr Kean said.

“This new investment in fee-free training is on top of 100,000 fee-free apprenticeships and 70,000 fee-free traineeships already being delivered by the NSW Government,” he said

Training survey to canvass one million people


Almost a million people who completed training last year are about to be contacted as part of the National Student Outcomes Survey being undertaken by NCVER.

About 930,000 domestic students and 68,000 international students will be asked about post-training outcomes and satisfaction with training.

There will also be questions about the impact of COVID-19 on students’ training experiences, including the effects of online delivery, and the impact on apprentices and trainees.

RTOs with enough survey responses will receive a free report that compares the satisfaction and outcomes of their students with students nationally.

NCVER will be emailing RTOs to advise them about a promotional kit to help encourage student responses.

Results from the 2022 survey will be publicly available mid-December.

See more

SA state budget outlines fresh skills priorities

The South Australian state budget last week fleshed out the details of Labor’s plans for TAFE and skills that were central to its policy agenda at the March state election.

The 2022-23 budget includes:

  • $208.8 million for five new technical colleges
  • $12.7 million in to enable TAFE SA to return to delivering training in aged care, disability and early childhood
  • $11.9 million in additional investment in skills and training system
  • $8.8 million to fund courses where industry has identified skills shortages
  • $6.7 million in JobTrainer initiatives
  • $5 million to upgrade Mount Gambier TAFE SA campus
  • $4 million in adult and community education
  • $1 million in trades outreach to schools

The Minister for Education, Training and Skills Blair Boyer said the government will build five government technical colleges, three in metropolitan Adelaide and two in regional South Australia that will connect to existing secondary schools and be associated with a TAFE campus.

New MD appointed at WA's Central Regional TAFE

The former Director of Training Services at Western Australia’s Central Regional TAFE, Jo Payne, has been appointed Managing Director.

The Minister for Education and Training Sue Ellery said Ms Payne’s extensive regional experience in the training sector will be invaluable in the role.

“Ms Payne has demonstrated strong commitment to working with regional stakeholders to ensure training meets the needs and expectations of students, industry and the community.

Ms Payne has more than 32 years of experience working in vocational education and training in the region, bringing extensive local and regional knowledge, and strong relationships with industry, community and stakeholders.

The college has recently seen a 23 per cent increase in course enrolments and a 26 per cent jump in apprentice and trainee commencements.

TDA extends its congratulations and best wishes to Jo on her appointment.

Interim CEO appointed at TAFE Gippsland

Linda Austin has been appointed Interim Chief Executive Officer of TAFE Gippsland.

She is currently the Director, Educational Delivery at TAFE Gippsland. Previously, she spent eight years at Federation Training, before which she was a hospitality teacher at TAFE Gippsland.

TDA extends its congratulations to Linda.

New aids for blind or vision impaired students

Two new resources have been developed to assist students in the VET and university sectors who are blind or have a vision impairment.

The e-Learning module and Guidelines have been developed by the National Disability Coordination Officer Program and the Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET).

“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for accessible online learning so all students could continue with their studies,” ADCET Manager Darlene McLennan said.

“We need to do a lot more to make universities and VET inclusive of people who are blind or vision impaired. The new guidelines are a practical tool for teaching staff to make their online lectures and other learning resources accessible and inclusive of all students,” Ms McLennan said.

See the Online Access for Tertiary Students who are Blind or Vision Impaired Guidelines and complete the free e-Learning module to increase understanding of developing and facilitating teaching practice.

TAFE SA receives award for accessible teaching

TAFE SA’s Teaching and Learning Team has been recognised with a national award for their work in making online learning more accessible and usable for students.

The team received an Accessibility in Action Award from ADCET for a person, team or project that “actively improves accessibility for students and staff”.

In response to the pandemic, TAFE SA’s Teaching and Learning Team responded with a range of measures to improve accessibility, including tools and resources for educators to enhance their online content.

Team member Marika Leopold said, “We fashioned a motto to support our approach – Fix, Flag, Future. Fix what you can now, flag what to fix soon, and identify what to address in the future.

“We’ve created a shared language across the organisation, emphasising accessibility as a critical element of inclusive education and a pillar of educational design.”

TAFE SA educators have access to a newly developed Digital Tool Kit, Learning Design Planner and Resources Style Guide to ensure accessibility is factored into the course design process.

Trade centre opens at Chisholm Institute, Dandenong

A new Trade Centre and a Student Support Hub at Chisholm Institute’s Dandenong Campus were officially opened last week.

Five buildings erected in the 1980s have been transformed to create the $6 million trade centre for plumbing, carpentry and electrical training.

The $1 million Student Support Hub offers students a new lounge area, amenities for disabled students, plus an Indigenous engagement unit.

The development was opened by the Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education Gayle Tierney and the Member for Dandenong Gabrielle Williams.

Image: Chisholm building and construction students with the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Prevention of Family Violence and Women, and Member for Dandenong, Gabrielle Williams; Chisholm Institute CEO, Stephen Varty; Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney; and Chisholm Institute Chair Stephen Marks.

$8k scholarships for work experience abroad

Applications open today for the Global Footprints Scholarships which provide an $8,000 grant to young Australians to travel abroad for work experience in areas of sustainability.

It gives young Australians with VET backgrounds, aged 18-23, the opportunity to travel the world, learn about sustainability and work in areas that shape a better future.

The scholarships are available for agriculture, horticulture and trades in the areas of manufacturing, construction, transport and logistics, and hospitality.

Applications close 10 July.

See more

Next week's TDA newsletter

Next week’s TDA newsletter will be published on Tuesday 14 June owing to the Queen’s Birthday public holiday in many states and territories on the Monday.

Also, in next week’s newsletter, registrations will open for TDA Convention 2022 ‘Courage, Change and Challenge – the Future of TAFE’ on 15-17 November 2022 in Adelaide.

TAFETalks: Self Assurance: what does it really mean?
15 June 2022
Register here

World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics
2022 World Congress 

15-17 June 2022
Donostia-San Sebastian (Spain)
More information

Apprentice Employment Network NSW & ACT
2022 Skills Conference
15 June 2022
Dockside Darling Harbour, Sydney
More information

31st National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)
6-8 July 2022, Online
Program out, register now!
More information

TAFETalks: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
27 July 2022
Register here

ACER Research Conference 2022
Reimagining assessment
22-25 August 2022
More information

Victorian TAFE Association
State Conference
24-26 August 2022
Save the Date

National Skills Week 2022
22-28 August 2022
More information

Community Colleges Australia National Conference
13-14 September 2022
More information

WorldSkills Shanghai 2022
12-17 October 2022
More information

Australian International Education Conference 2022
18-21 October 2022
Gold Coast & Online
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)
Save the Date