‘TAFE at the heart of your career’ – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

'TAFE at the heart of your career' – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

2023 opens with great news for potential students around the country. Enrolments for Free-Fee TAFE are well underway.  The Government has made 180,000 places available, the majority through TAFE, to provide opportunities for Australians across the country to “upskill quickly and hit the ground running in an in-demand industry”.

If you are from TAFE and want to get a collective view of what is available around the country go to Your Career

As the Your Career website says, “through Fee-Free TAFE, you can study an accredited diploma, certificate or a short course. These courses can prepare you for work in a fast-growing industry needing skilled workers. Fee-Free TAFE can lead you to in-demand jobs, (such as) the care sector, technology and digital, hospitality and tourism, construction, agriculture and sovereign capability.”

For those of you in TAFE who have worked furiously in the background to make this happen – well done! 2023 will be another big year for vocational education and training, and what a start it is with Free-Fee TAFE.

During the year there will be much to discuss in this newsletter. The TDA newsletter’s focus will continue to inform you of national perspectives impacting vocational education and skills, higher education, VET for schools and industry demand for skills and education.

Don’t forget to let us know about your main events and successes. If you’re a TDA member, a TDA Corporate Affiliate, a TDA associate member or a TDA partner or stakeholder we’ll share relevant bites with readers. This week we are very pleased to profile the next in our terrific TAFE and industry partnership series. Read all about the work TAFE NSW is doing with the electric bus industry.

This week is also the first in the series profiling the new Jobs and Skills Councils (JSC). We look forward to working with the Manufacturing Jobs and Skills Council – read and listen to the MJSC’s scope and priority areas in the piece below. We’ll share information about the other nine JSCs over the following weeks.

And don’t forget our first TAFETalks for 2023 is on Wednesday at 2pm (AEDT) with our guest the interim Director of Jobs and Skills Australia, Professor Peter Dawkins. Registrations are filling fast.

We’re right back into it – have a great year all!

More details on Jobs and Skills Council members

More details have been provided on the makeup of the ten new Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs) that will be the centrepiece of the industry engagement for the VET sector.

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) has updated the members of the successful entities that were announced in December.

The next stage of the process will see the newly established JSCs develop operational and delivery strategies ahead of progressing to a second stage grant opportunity.

A DEWR factsheet includes detailed information on each JSC’s sector and training package coverage.

Profiling the JSCs – the Manufacturing Jobs and Skills Council

Over coming weeks, the TDA newsletter will feature each of the ten new Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs), providing information on their approach to engagement with industry in developing their relevant training packages.

In this week’s edition, we feature the Manufacturing Jobs and Skills Council  a new way forward to deliver stronger outcomes for learners and employers.

The new Manufacturing Jobs and Skills Council is being established by IBSA to provide industry with a stronger, more strategic voice in ensuring Australia’s VET sector delivers improved outcomes for learners and employers. It will cover the industries of manufacturing and engineering, light manufacturing including pharmaceuticals, print, food and advanced manufacturing, and emerging industries including defence and space technologies.

The Manufacturing JSC will deliver a collaborative, tripartite arrangement that brings employers, unions, and governments together to address manufacturing’s skills shortages and broader workforce challenges. It also recognises the key role of training providers. This includes supporting industry and training providers to improve training and assessment practice, map career pathways across education sectors, and act as a source of intelligence on issues affecting their industries.

Overall, the new Jobs and Skills Council structure will move beyond the narrow focus on training package development, which was a feature of the SSO model, to address system-wide barriers from a labour market perspective.

IBSA is looking to deepen partnerships between industry, education and training providers to support quality, inclusive training delivery, with TAFEs playing an active role in helping develop standards and qualifications.

View the video to hear IBSA Group CEO, Sharon Robertson and General Manager Industry and Engagement, Phil Clarke, explain the highlights of the new JSC model and its benefit to TAFE and industry.

Sign up here to hear the latest developments at the Manufacturing Jobs and Skills Council.

Commonwealth's top VET bureaucrat to depart

The federal government’s most senior public servant directly overseeing the VET sector, Nadine Williams, Deputy Secretary for Skills and Training at the Department of Education and Workplace Relations (DEWR), will shortly vacate the position.

Details of the vacancy were advised on the DEWR website  before Christmas, with applications for the position closing tomorrow.

A link to recruitment firm, Executive Intelligence Group, advises: “There is an immediate vacancy for a Deputy Secretary (SES Band 3) role to lead an exciting skills reform agenda in the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations…”

A spokesperson for DEWR said that while the Department’s advertisement to fill the role closes on Tuesday, 24 January, Nadine Williams will be with the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations until 19 February.

Ms Williams commenced as Deputy Secretary with the former Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) four years ago. She has overseen a series of landmark reforms in the VET sector, many stemming from the Joyce Review. It has included the National Skills Agreement, qualifications reform, apprentice support incentives, the creation of the new Jobs and Skills Councils and agencies including the National Skills Commission, the National Careers Institute, and Jobs and Skills Australia.

TDA thanks Nadine for her leadership and very positive engagement with stakeholders across the sector over a number of years. On behalf of all TDA CEOs, best wishes Nadine for whatever is ahead and thank you for your significant contribution to vocational education and training.

Ebuses driving TAFE NSW and Volvo partnership

TAFE NSW and Volvo have partnered to lead the development of skills needed to work with zero emission buses in New South Wales.

The partnership aims to help train and certify workers in the field as the state legislates to replace diesel fleets with electric buses, over time.

The partnership focused on developing a standardised base of industry-wide training, with brand-specific additions.

Volvo’s product and technical experts worked closely with TAFE NSW designers to develop electric vehicle micro-skills which can be delivered online or in-person.

The partnership relied on collaboration, openness, and shared goals, and resulted in TAFE NSW being recognised with a ‘Great Idea’ award at TDA’s TAFE Staff Recognition Awards.

The partnership aims to serve as a model for future collaborations with other industries, such as hydrogen.

Read the full story


Register for Wednesday's TAFETalks with Jobs and Skills Australia's Professor Peter Dawkins

TDA is delighted that Professor Peter Dawkins, Interim Director of Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA), will join TAFETalks for one of his first presentations for 2023.

In this Wednesday’s webinar, TDA CEO, Jenny Dodd will facilitate a discussion with Peter on the JSA’s initial priorities.

JSA will take an economy-wide approach, and engage with stakeholders to support deeper analysis of Australia’s education and training systems and workforce challenges. Professor Dawkins was appointed by the Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor, in December as the Interim Director of JSA.

To register for this event, please click here

Jobs and Skills Australia's role to be expanded

The role of Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) is likely to be expanded to include a broader, “economy-wide” perspective, in response to initial feedback about the functions of the new agency.

The Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor, said stakeholder consultation to date has established some common themes, including involving state and territory governments as major purchasers of training; having more granular data and analysis at state and regional levels; having JSA play a central role in workforce planning and career advice; and including higher education in addition to VET.

“It is proposed that Jobs and Skills Australia’s initial set of functions be expanded to ensure that it can take a broad, economy-wide perspective in its advice,” Mr O’Connor said in a media statement calling for submissions to the JSA discussion paper.

“We need to be sure that when we’re investing billions of taxpayers’ dollars in skills training, that it is going to fill critical labour market shortages in the economy,”.

The discussion paper is open for feedback until February 10.

Report urges better funding to support regional, rural and remote VET students

A new report has identified significant funding discrepancies between the VET and higher education sectors in the way they support students in regional, rural and remote (RRR) areas.

The report, prepared by Outpost Consulting for the former Department of Education, Skills and Employment, explores the range of support services that tertiary providers currently deliver to students from RRR areas.

It finds that many providers are doing an “excellent job” of proactively supporting and including RRR students.

“However, the effort is patchy across the diverse range of providers in the tertiary sector, and many are looking for new ideas and approaches to bolster their responses and better support student success,” the report says.

It concludes that RRR students in higher education benefit from more targeted funding for support services than those in VET.

“Dual sector providers are acutely aware of discrepancies in funding to support VET and higher education students, stating that it is not possible to provide equal service for the two groups,” the report says.

It points to the cost difference between courses offered by universities with Commonwealth Support Place (CSP) funding compared with the same program offered at a TAFE higher education provider ($15,000 vs $40,000). It also highlights the 20% loan fee levied on VET Student Loans.

“VET providers reported that the funding sources they access for providing support services are inconstant and changeable as government-funded initiatives come and go,” the report says.

It says that greater parity of funding between the two sectors may help providers to deliver more consistent support services and encourage more interconnected pathway options.

See Research into support services in RRR areas – Final Report

ASQA strategic review gives the green light to online delivery of VET

A strategic review by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has concluded that online delivery of VET can be delivered effectively, but that new measures are needed to address risks.

“Quality VET can be delivered well online, taking into consideration the requirements of the training product, the student cohort, the skills of the trainer and assessor, and the tools and strategies for delivering online, the strategic review says.

“The rapid shift online by many providers during the COVID-19 pandemic, however meant that some had limited or no experience in that mode of delivery.

“This has increased the prospect of some providers operating in the market with immature risk assessment and self-assurance systems in place to assure quality outcomes for online or blended delivery,” the report says.

The review notes that on the positive side, online delivery can facilitate “new and exciting modes of communication between learners and facilitators”, but that it can also disadvantage those already isolated by distance, socioeconomic circumstance and other equity barriers.

ASQA has committed to a series of actions to address risk, and support providers to self-assure against the required Standards.

See more

Update to VSL course list for 2023

The list of courses approved for VET Student Loans (VSL) has been updated, effective 1 January 2023.

The changes see:

  • Eight new courses that meet VSL eligibility criteria
  • Thirty-seven courses that are replacement courses for currently approved courses
  • Increases in the loan cap for 18 courses and
  • Removal of 115 courses that are non-current and have an expired teach-out.

The list is updated annually to ensure that courses approved for VSL retain currency, and reflect industry and workforce needs, and that loan caps are adequate for full fee-paying students.

See VET Student loans 2023 Course List and Loan Caps

Milestone for Canberra Institute of Technology's newest campus

The next stage of the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) campus at Woden in the ACT is underway with the development application open for feedback.

The new campus will include specialist learning environments, hair and beauty training facilities, state-of-the-art cyber training and digital learning spaces and a training restaurant with a commercial kitchen.

The development application is publicly available for feedback until 31 January 2023.

See more

$2m upgrade for Central Regional TAFE's maritime training vessel

Central Regional TAFE’s maritime training vessel is undergoing a $2 million upgrade to deliver first-class learning environment for maritime

The floating specialist maritime training vessel, ‘Master Class’, is usually moored in Geraldton’s Fishing Boat Harbour, but has been dry-docked as it undergoes an overhaul that includes engines, gear boxes, hydraulic system, electrics, air-conditioning and navigational systems.

The vessel is used to deliver maritime-related training through Central Regional TAFE’s Batavia Coast Maritime Institute in fishing boat operations, boating services, and marine engine drivers.

It also supports on-water activities for components of other training programs such as aquaculture, tourism, coastal conservation, and land management in the region.

Diary Dates

TAFETalks: Jobs and Skills Australia – 2023 priorities and impact on TAFE 
25 January 2023
Wewbinar, 2.00pm AEDT
Register here

TAFETalks: The Future of Learning: ChatGPT, Edtech, and the Impact on Academic Integrity
8 February 2023
Webinar, 2.00pm AEDT
Register here

Universities Australia Conference 2023
22-23 February 2023
National Convention Centre, Canberra
More information

TAFETalks: Leadership through Crisis
8 March 2023
Webinar, 2.00pm AEDT
Register here

AVETRA 2023 Conference
27-28 April 2023
More information

World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) 2023 World Congress
23-25 April 2023
Montréal, Canada
More information

Journal of Vocational Education and Training (JVET) Conference
13-15 July 2023
Keble College, Oxford, UK
More information

32nd National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference ‘No Frills’
19-21 July 2023
RMIT University, Melbourne
More information

2023 VDC Teaching & Learning Conference
17-18 August 2023 – save the date

2023 National VET Conference
2-3 November 2023
Gold Coast
More Information