TAFE a pathway to equal opportunity for women – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

TAFE a pathway to equal opportunity for women – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

A key theme of the Jobs and Skills Summit two weeks ago was equal opportunities and pay for women. An important contribution to improved pay is the link with qualifications. Skills and qualifications generally allow entry to better-paying careers.

TDA has welcomed the additional fee-free TAFE places for 2023 which are important for improving access to study, including for women.

On average in TAFEs, about 51% of enrolments are male and 48.5% female. However, up until 30 years of age, the aggregate across Australia of TAFE enrolments tends to be nearly 60% male compared with just under 40% female.

So, what does the enrolment profile look like for women? Once women reach 30 years of age, the average number of female TAFE enrolments shifts dramatically. In the age group of 30 – 39 years, 55% of enrolments are women and in 40 years and beyond, female enrolments increase even further to over 60%.

This shows that many women start to appreciate the importance of studying at TAFE for achieving career aspirations in their 30s. As reported by the National Skills Commission 2022 Employment outlook, approximately 40% of new jobs created out to 2026 will require a vocational education and training qualification. Therefore, by enrolling in TAFE, women in their 30s and 40s are equipping themselves with career options for these jobs of the future. They have embraced the message of lifelong learning.

However, what does it say for younger women? And does this give us any clues how to address the gender imbalance in trades?

The issues of apprenticeships including completions and gender balance continue to be critical in the discussions. Trades are generally undertaken by those under 30 years of age. As we know, female enrolments in trades apprenticeships remain low.

Are we selling this right? Are we trying to attract young women into trades, when indeed the propensity for women to embrace a TAFE qualification increases with age? Should there be deliberate incentives for 30 years plus women to be able to access women-only trades apprenticeships?

This is a shared problem between TAFEs and trade employers. If we are to address both the issue of low numbers of women in trades and equal opportunities for women, then should we be shifting our promotion for women into trades apprenticeships to focus on those who are more mature?

TDA will contribute these thoughts to the upcoming Employment White Paper.

TAFE leaders meet Parliament

TAFE CEOs, managing directors and board members mingled with federal Ministers, Shadow Ministers, MPs and Senators for the first time in three years at the TAFE Meets Parliament event in Canberra last week.

TDA was honoured to have the Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor as the keynote speaker on Monday evening.

Mr Daniel Kim CEO of Ark Energy in Townsville Queensland travelled to Canberra and spoke about the important partnership Ark Energy has established with TAFE Queensland to develop training for their workforce in hydrogen energy to power their zinc mine.

Guests also heard from two inspiring students, Rei Edge from Canberra Institute of Technology, and Kade King from TAFE NSW.

The event is an opportunity for TAFE senior executives and board directors to exchange ideas with MPs, and to hear many of the wonderful stories from electorates around the country.

TDA extends its appreciation to the Members and Senators who gave their valuable time in a busy week in federal parliament, and to the TAFE representatives who travelled from around Australia to share their insights.


Left to right: TDA CEO Jenny Dodd, TAFE NSW student Kade King, CIT student Rei Edge, and the Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor.



Launch of inaugural TAFE staff recognition awards 2022 – nominations now open!

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 open on Monday 12 September and 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.

Pass Jobs and Skills Australia legislation, Senate committee urges

A Senate Committee report into the proposed new agency, Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA), says legislation to establish the body should be passed.

“Based on the evidence presented to the committee, the overwhelming stakeholder support for the bills is underpinned by a clear need for change,” the report of the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee said.

“The committee also accepts evidence by a range of submitters that the previous government’s decision to direct more resources to private Registered Training Organisations at the expense of TAFE colleges has been detrimental to the quality of vocational education and training (VET) services. The committee agrees with submitters that TAFE must play a central role in the VET system,” the report says.

It notes that multiple participants spoke about the inability of the current training system to meet workforce needs and respond to economy-wide challenges.

“To this end, the committee believes it will be important for JSA to have clear and measurable objectives to guide its activities. However, it will also need to retain enough flexibility to respond quickly to changing conditions.

“For this reason, the committee is reassured by the two-stage approach to establishing JSA, which will allow JSA to hit the ground running but will also ensure that a broad range of stakeholder views are considered in its final design.”

Announcement of keynote speaker for TDA Convention 2022

Fresh from the Jobs and Skills Summit in Canberra, TDA is excited to announce that Danielle Wood, Chief Executive Officer of Grattan Institute will be the keynote speaker at the TDA Convention 2022 in November in Adelaide.

As CEO at Grattan Institute, Danielle heads a team of leading policy thinkers, researching and advocating policy to improve the lives of Australians. She also leads Grattan’s Budgets and Government Program.

Danielle has published extensively on economic reform priorities, budgets, tax reform, generational inequality, and reforming political institutions. Danielle is a passionate advocate for women in economics and was the co-founder and first Chair of the Women in Economics Network.

Register now!
Registration for the TDA Convention 2022 is open now. For further information on registration packages and inclusions, and to register for the event, please click here.

Sponsorship opportunities
The sponsorship prospectus is now available here. To discuss sponsorship opportunities, please contact tdaconvention@absoluteevents.com.au

Stay up to date on convention news and program updates 
For updates on convention news and programming, please subscribe to the TDA Convention 2022 e-newsletter here.

TDA looks forward to welcoming its members, partners and supporters to Adelaide in November 2022 to be part of the conversation on Courage, Change and Challenge: The Future of TAFE.

140th birthday for TAFE Queensland

TAFE Queensland is celebrating a mammoth milestone, blowing out the candles on 140 years of quality vocational education and training.

From humble beginnings in 1882, with a class of 12 industrial arts students in the attic of the North Brisbane School of Arts, TAFE Queensland now supports more than 120,000 students each year, studying around 500 qualifications at more than 60 campus locations.

TAFE Queensland CEO Mary Campbell said the organisation has many incredible achievements to commemorate – but promised the training provider was only just getting started.

“Over the past 140 years we’ve helped people build things, make things, and fix things. We’ve helped people to heal, helped people to grow, and helped people to gain the skills they need to do extraordinary things,” Mrs Campbell said.

Mrs Campbell attributed much of TAFE Queensland’s success to its close work with government and local industry, which enable them to ensure their training programs are tailored to the needs of business and community, and that their students graduate confident, capable, and ready to help drive the success of their industry.

TAFETalks: Supporting Learners Online - registration now open

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

CDU celebrates at NT training awards

Students from Charles Darwin University (CDU) are celebrating individual category wins at the Northern Territory Training Awards.

Twenty-five-year-old CDU student Mary Coulter was awarded the prestigious Austin Asche Apprentice of the Year award.

Bella Faull was awarded the School Based Apprentice of the Year Award.

CDU, Territory Generation and Gastrain were awarded the Industry Collaboration of the Year Award for the GAS Type B project.
CDU was also runner up in the Large Training Provider of the Year category.

Students Edward Clarke, Lachlan Foweraker and Kyle Bambra were runners up in the Austin Asche Apprentice of the Year award, VET in Schools Student of the Year award and Vocational Student of the Year award respectively.

TAFE cements its partnership with adult community education

As part of Adult Learners Week (1-8 September) TAFE Directors Australia and Adult Learning Australia (ALA) issued a joint statement of common interest, reflecting the strong partnership between TAFE and Adult Community Education.

“TDA acknowledges the important work of ALA and their members in enabling adult learners to gain foundation skills that prepare them for study at TAFE. Strong foundation skills are critical to assist learners in their TAFE courses,” Jenny Dodd, TDA CEO said.

“An effective working relationship between ALA and TDA that recognises their specific and complementary roles is vital for equitable access to education and training for all Australians,” Jenny Macaffer, ALA CEO said.

The two organisations recognise that a strong partnership between TAFE and Adult Community Education providers helps to reduce the barriers to education and training and promotes a culture of lifelong learning.

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National skills standards for navigating water markets now published

National VET skills standards have been developed to support farmers and those with water entitlements to navigate Australia’s complex water markets.

Over the past 12 months, industry experts with experience in the water trading sector have participated in a project to develop the standards.

Three units and two skills sets have been created to capture the practical skills required to trade water and understand the intricacies of Australia’s trading market.

This will support the next generation of farmers and others with water entitlements to effectively navigate Australia’s various water markets.

The new units and skill sets are now published on the national training register training.gov.au.

ASQA approves extended transition for bread baking and food processing qualifications

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has approved extended transition periods for two qualifications in the Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical training package.

The transition for FBP30417 Certificate III in Bread Baking and FBP20117 Certificate II in Food Processing have each been extended to 31 July 2023 for ASQA registered RTOs.

Diary Dates

Community Colleges Australia National Conference

13-14 September 2022
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AVETRA Webinar, Jobs & Skills Summit: What does it mean for VET?
16 September 2022
Register here

NSW Training Awards
16 September 2022
Sydney Town Hall
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Queensland Training Awards
17 September 2022
Royal International Convention Centre, Brisbane
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WA Training Awards
21 September 2022
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TAFETalks: Supporting Learners Online
28 September 2022
Register here

October 2022
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Australian International Education Conference 2022
18-21 October 2022
Gold Coast & Online
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2022 National VET Conference
Velg Training
3-4 November 2022
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
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TDA Convention 2022
Courage, Change and Challenge – the Future of TAFE
15-17 November 2022
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VDC Teaching & Learning Conference
VET Development Centre
17 & 18 November 2022 (Online)
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TEQSA Conference
23-24 November 2022
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins (and online)
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