Support “to get stuff done” – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Support “to get stuff done” – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Barack Obama, in a Youtube presentation aimed at young people, says ‘just learn how to get stuff done”. The ability ‘to get stuff done’ is what marks TAFEs as distinct in the tertiary education landscape.

The applied learning that occurs in TAFE is about ‘getting stuff done”. The way in which teaching and learning occurs in TAFE is practical, workplace orientated, and delivers students who both know things and can do “stuff” as a result.

TAFEs are good at dealing with all sorts of students – from those who are aspiring to higher education, to those who enter at Certificate II, to those returning to study, to those who are apprentices or trainees, to those from equity groups, and the list goes on. I was asked recently to describe a TAFE student – what an impossible question that is given the diversity of our student population and the courses they are studying.

The purpose of TAFEs is a simple purpose – to teach and equip students with skills and knowledge for work and for their lives. In so doing TAFEs deliver people into local economies and workplaces who have both skills for now and transferable skills for the future. Along the way TAFEs also try to help students acquire the right attitudes, such as developing with them appreciation of a culture of respect and safety.

To do that requires extensive student support and the ability to insert into learning generic knowledge and attitudes. TAFEs have always invested in counsellors, advisors, equity support mentors, and tutors to help individual students reach their goals. TAFEs have also always run programs, such as cultural awareness and safe relationships, to help students become respectful and respected citizens. Both components need to be recognised, and most importantly, funded if we are to really help students to succeed.

Recent feedback given by senior members of the TAFE workforce to Treasury, as Treasury prepares the Employment White paper, was that our practical “get stuff done” approach needs to be supported by adequate funding for wrap around services. If we are going to ensure students from equity groups succeed, then we must fund these support services. If we are going to help TAFE students be strong members of families and communities, those other components of learning that are much more than just the task driven approach of current national training packages also must be funded.

So, whether young or not so young, a TAFE learning experience will help students learn how to “get stuff done”. For TAFEs to be even better at what we do, we need investment that will allow us to help students manage their life issues and to lead conversations about how to be a good member of a community.

Shock departure of NSW skills minister

The wide-ranging review of the NSW vocational education and training system will now proceed under a new minister following the shock departure of former Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education and Minister for the Hunter, Tim Crakanthorp.

Premier Chris Minns last week sought the minister’s resignation and referred him to the Independent Commission Against Corruption after becoming aware of a potential conflict of interest relating to property interests of members of his family.

“Mr Crakanthorp’s failure to comply with the letter and the spirit of the Ministerial Code of Conduct has caused me to lose confidence in his ability to discharge his duties as a Minister,” Mr Minns said.

As minister, Mr Crakanthorp had commenced a comprehensive review of the VET system, with a particular focus on rebuilding TAFE.

The review panel is headed by former senior Commonwealth and state official, Dr Michele Bruniges.

Deputy Premier Prue Car will become the interim Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education and Training, pending a permanent replacement.

TAFETalks: Using immersive technologies to enhance learning 9 August 2pm AEST

Join TDA’s TAFETalks webinar, where TAFE Queensland and TAFE NSW will demonstrate how they are integrating immersive technologies to achieve improved learning outcomes, in high risk and high-cost training. This session will explore how augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can improve learner outcomes, using examples from the construction industry.

Lee Webster from TAFE Queensland and John O’Brien from TAFE NSW will show the effectiveness of VR in improving student outcomes in courses such as working at heights. They will share how simulating real-life situations is effective at enabling learners to gain deep skills before entering the real environment. Tony Maguire from D2L will offer reflections and insights on leveraging Learning Management Systems to enhance the incorporation of immersive technologies in teaching and learning.

The collaboration between TAFE NSW and TAFE Queensland in immersive technologies has grown because of TDA’s Immersive Learning Network (TILN). TILN facilitates knowledge exchange among TAFEs, focusing on AR/VR and related technologies that have the potential to enhance TAFE’s educational delivery.

To register, please click here

Terry Durant, MD of South Metropolitan TAFE, announces her resignation

Terry Durant has announced her resignation as Managing Director of South Metropolitan TAFE (SMT) in Western Australia, after eight years in the role.

Terry, who is also a valued TDA Board member, will finish up on September 15, before moving to the role of Group Executive, Social & Community Impact with the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia.

In a note to colleagues, Terry said it had been a privilege to lead such a talented and dedicated team of people across SMT.

“Your dedication, innovation and passion has ensured that thousands of West Australians have achieved their goals through training and I am proud to have been part of that.

“Together we have created a great College, recognised nationally for our agility and ability to meet the needs of our community and State. SMT is in great shape to continue on this path,” Terry said.

Terry has been an extraordinary member of the TDA Board and her contribution will be greatly missed. TDA extends its profound thanks to Terry, and wishes her the best for her new endeavour.

John Tucker named CEO of TAFE Queensland

The Board of TAFE Queensland board has appointed John Tucker as the Chief Executive Officer of TAFE Queensland.

John brings a wealth of experience to the position, having undertaken a number of senior educational and management roles within the VET sector, including his role of General Manager, TAFE Queensland SkillsTech.

John will also be the Queensland representative on the TDA board.

TDA extends its congratulations to John on his appointment.

John’s appointment follows the retirement of former CEO, Mary Campbell, in June.

Sharp fall in apprentice commencements as wage incentive ends

The ending of generous employer incentives led to a sharp fall in new apprentice commencements at the end of last year, according to the latest data from the NCVER.

Apprentices and trainees 2022 December quarter figures show that commencements fell 33.5% or 33,745, from the December quarter in 2021. Trades commencements were down 23.2% and non-trades down 40.6%.

Despite the slump in commencements, the total number of apprentices ‘in training’ stood at 377,665, up 8.1% from a year earlier.

NCVER Managing Director Simon Walker said the decline in commencements coincided with the end of the Boosting Apprenticeships Commencements scheme, which ceased for new apprentices on 30 June 2022.

There was good news, with a big fall in apprentice and trainee cancellations and withdrawals – down 10.2% between the September and December quarters – the first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

Apprentice completions were also stronger, up 18.8% over the year, with trades completions up 25.3% and non-trades up 13.5%.

See Apprentices and trainees 2022 December quarter

TAFETalks: Beyond Paper: The evolution of digital credentials

As digital transformation continues to take place across many aspects of life, TAFEs are at the forefront, streamlining the student experience by awarding and recognising qualifications digitally.

TDA invites you to join us for a discussion with our corporate affiliate My eQuals along with representatives from Bendigo Kangan Institute, Holmesglen and Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) to learn more about how TAFEs are digitising their credentials, and the benefits that this is bringing to students, institutions and industry alike.

The consistent approach to provisioning official credentials between VET and higher education providers also supports increasing alignment on recognition of learning between the sectors. This session will also explore the future evolution of this technology, including the movement to Self-Sovereign Identities (SSI) for individuals to securely store credentials in their digital wallet. The future of digital credentials is here!

To register click here

Listen to NCVER's 'reimagining tertiary education' podcast

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) has made public its recent podcast, Vocational Voices: Reimagining the tertiary education system.

It features Steve Davis, Simon Walker, Tom Karmel and Jenny Dodd, and explores potential reforms to universities, their missions, and structures, while considering the role of VET.

Listen here

Federal opposition convenes 'skilling our heroes' roundtable

The Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Skills and Training, Sussan Ley, held a roundtable meeting at Parliament House last Friday to discuss the funding and skills needs of volunteer run organisations.

The ‘Skilling Our Heroes Roundtable’ discussed the challenges that organisations face in recruiting, developing, and retaining skilled volunteers and staff.

TDA attended the meeting, along with Surf Lifesaving Australia, ITECA, Volunteering Australia, Australian Red Cross Society, Australasian Fire Authorities Council, UnitingCare, Parkrun Asia Pacific, The Salvation Army, and St Vincent De Paul Society.

“We simply cannot, and should not, take these iconic volunteer run organisations for granted, nor can we take for granted the effort needed to skill up the millions of Australian volunteers,” Ms Ley said.

Welcome to National Student Volunteer Week 2023

This week, 7-13 August, is National Student Volunteer Week.

It is coordinated and delivered nationally by Volunteering Queensland and supported by Volunteering Australia and all State and Territory Peak volunteering bodies.

National Student Volunteer Week 2023 (#NSVW23) acknowledges and celebrates student volunteers and promotes volunteering to students and young people across Australia.

All education providers, volunteer organisations and students across the country are invited to participate.

See here for more about volunteer events and campaigns, and hear from the 2023 Queensland Youth Volunteer of the Year Award recipient Jasmine Renny about National Student Volunteer Week 2023.

Diary Dates

SAVE THE DATE – TDA Convention 2024 – 8 and 9 May, Sydney – details coming soon!


TAFETalks: Using immersive technologies to enhance learning
9 August 2023, 2pm AEST
More information

National Apprentice Employment Network 2023 National Conference
‘New Skills for a New World’
15-17 August 2023
Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
More information

VET National Teaching & Learning Conference 2023
‘From Competence to Excellence’
17-18 August 2023
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
More information

WorldSkills Australia National Championships and Skills Show
17-19 August 2023
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Victoria
More information

Victorian Training Awards
18 August 2023
More information

National Skills Week
‘What are you looking for?’
21-27 August 2023
More information

TAFETalks: Beyond Paper: The evolution of digital credentials
30 August 2023, 2pm AEST
More information

NSW Training Awards
September 2023
Sydney Town Hall
More information

Community Colleges Australia (CCA) Annual Conference
Building ACE Futures
10-11 October 2023
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Australian International Education Conference
10-13 October
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TDA online conference – Linkages: one tertiary education system
18 October 2023, 1 pm AEDT
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VDC World Teachers’ Day Event
27 October 2023 – save the date

2023 National VET Conference
2-3 November 2023
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
More Information

Australian Training Awards 
17 November 2023
Hobart, Tasmania
More information

TDA Convention 2024
8-9 May 2024
Sofitel Wentworth, Sydney
Save the date