TAFE Centres of Excellence part of the National Skills Agreement – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

TAFE Centres of Excellence part of the National Skills Agreement – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

As discussed last week, an important change in the new National Skills Agreement from previous agreements is the focus on national priorities and national responsiveness. To give an example, the establishment of the TAFE Centres of Excellence is about national networks of TAFEs working in partnership with industry and universities to deliver new networked solutions for skills shortages in critical industries.

There is a short fact sheet on the DEWR website outlining TAFE Centres of Excellence. It states, “TAFE Centres of Excellence will:

  • provide national leadership in the delivery of skills, education and training
  • bring together employers, unions, universities and other education and training providers to develop and implement real work and practical solutions to meet skills needs
  • support industry and enrich students’ learning experience through applied research and problem solving programs
  • innovate the delivery of tertiary education, such as the development and delivery of higher apprenticeships in areas of high skills need
  • disseminate best practice across the TAFE network
  • enable organisational innovation and teaching and training excellence.”

TAFE Centres of Excellence were also mentioned in the Employment White paper, which we have been exploring in these Monday newsletter pieces. The Employment White paper identified $32 million to turbo charge six TAFE Centres of Excellence that were specifically in the care economy, net zero and digitisation. You can download the Employment White paper here

The Employment White paper states “The transformation to net zero provides an opportunity for specific collaboration across the tertiary sector and with industry and governments. Dual-sector tertiary providers and the TAFE Centres of Excellence, proposed under the upcoming National Skills Agreement, are two mechanisms for addressing the net zero transformation collaboratively. Centres of Excellence could develop deep expertise in wind, solar, smart energy systems or hydrogen, and build partnerships with industry to develop innovative training courses. The pace of the transformation means new models of course design and new types of qualifications should be prioritised.” (p114)

Through the NSA, TAFE Centres of Excellence will be funded at $325 million from the Commonwealth and more from States and Territories over five years. While the initial six will receive accelerated funding, the notion of TAFEs Centres of Excellence will develop over the five years of the NSA with many more coming on stream during the course of the agreement.

What is critically important and different is these TAFE Centres of Excellence, although part of a particular State / Territory, will be nationally networked. As Minister O’Connor’s media release stated they “will strengthen the relationship between TAFEs, universities and industry”.

TAFE Centres of Excellence are but one of the many flexible components of this important NSA. They are also a specific example of how this agreement is providing funding to support skills development in national priority industries.

Victorian skills plan to steer creation of 350,000 new jobs

The Victorian government has released the state’s latest skills plan which outlines a pathway to create some 353,000 new jobs across 19 key industries over the next three years.

More than 83,000 jobs will be created in health care and social assistance, while 46,000 people will begin work in the education and training sector.

The professional, scientific and technical services sector will see 35,000 people join the workforce and the hospitality industry will create approximately 32,000 new jobs over the next three years. There are 25,000 new jobs expected to be created in the manufacturing sector.

There are forecast to be 277,000 new workers in metropolitan Melbourne and 75,000 in regional Victoria.

The plan was prepared by the Victorian Skills Authority in consultation with industry, employers and unions, and was launched at Holmesglen TAFE in Moorabbin.

See the Victorian Skills Plan for 2023 into 2024

Microsoft and TAFE NSW to create data centre academy

A new Microsoft data centre academy will open in 2024 in in partnership with TAFE NSW at its Meadowbank campus, focusing on applied data centre skills.

The academy, which was jointly announced by Microsoft Australia-NZ Managing Director Steven Worrall while in Washington with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, will take enrolments from early 2024 and train 200 students in its first two years of operating. It will also focus on under-represented groups including women and Indigenous Australians.

Microsoft will make an additional $5 billion investment in Australia and committed to support programs to train an additional 300,000 Australians through its global skills program.

Microsoft will also collaborate with the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) on the Microsoft-ASD Cyber Shield to harden Australia from cyber threats.

See the PM’s statement

TDA Convention 2024 - Registrations and Call for Proposals now open!

The TDA Convention 2024TAFE at the Heart will take place at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth Hotel from Wednesday 8 to Thursday 9 May 2024. Please join TDA, its host partner TAFE NSW and diamond sponsor ReadyTech in Sydney to explore TAFE’s role at the heart of vocational education and skills development in Australia.

Early bird registrations are now open
TDA is excited to announce that early bird registrations are now open for the TDA Convention 2024. Further information on registration packages is available here for TDA members and non-members. The early bird rate closes on 23 February 2024 or until all tickets are sold, so please get in early to avoid disappointment!

TAFE at the Heart will run over two full days. It will offer opportunities to share knowledge and experience to ensure that TAFE remains a powerful force that nurtures talent, empowers individuals, supports industry and drives Australia’s economic growth. The event will also provide numerous networking opportunities including the convention dinner on 8 May where the TAFE Staff Recognition Awards will be presented and a networking reception at the Sydney Opera House on 9 May.

For all registration enquiries, please contact our event organisers at maryanne.m@asnevents.net.au.

Call for proposals also now open
If you would like to be a part of the TDA Convention 2024 program, the call for proposals is now open. The deadline for submissions is 23 January 2024.

TDA invites proposals that will contribute to the thought provoking program through presentations and interactive workshops which align to the overarching theme of TAFE at the Heart in the following areas: excellence in teaching and learning; learner access and equity; student success; TAFE Centres of Excellence; industry partnerships and stakeholder engagement (including emerging industries); higher education and vocational education alignment; community and regional prosperity; technological innovation in learning or business; international education; staff and student wellbeing; managing staff attraction and retention;  and leading organisational change.

We welcome proposals which highlight different perspectives including students, staff, employers, industry, community, stakeholders and government.  We welcome proposals which highlight solutions and cutting edge practices, which challenge the status quo and which demonstrate TAFE as educational entities at the heart of skills and tertiary education now and into the future. Further information on submitting a proposal is available here.

Sponsorship opportunities
For a discussion on sponsorship opportunities, please contact TDA’s Sponsorship Manager Chad Murphy at ASN Events at chad.m@asnevents.net.au or on 03 8658 9530.

TDA looks forward to welcoming you to Sydney in May 2024 for TAFE at the Heart!

Report targets key reasons for VET non-completions

A total of 17 recommendations have been made to improve VET completions, as part of the National Vocational Education and Training Completions Report, released last week.

The South Australian Minister for Education, Training and Skills, Blair Boyer and the South Australian government led the project with support from the National VET Completions Taskforce, of which TDA was a member.

The report identified the three main factors that impact learner outcomes and completion rates –  the purpose of study, the VET system, and the learner’s characteristics.

Learner motivations such as the reason for undertaking training and the stage of the learner’s career journey drive choices, with many learners satisfied with their training and stating that they achieved their main reason for training, even if they did not complete.

VET system factors include whether the course is delivered as an apprenticeship or traineeship, the mode of delivery, and the quality of training.

The report considers the system and learner factors known to negatively impact completion rates. It identifies systemic mechanisms and enablers to improve completion rates and learner outcomes, particularly where the expectations of learners and employers do not align.

The report notes examples of good practice already underway, and says there is an opportunity to build on these to improve VET system settings, measure completion rates, and offer support for learners.

Also, a Good Practice Guide is to be developed as a next step and will provide insights and suggestions to guide the implementation of the recommendations.

Stories to feature the paths from TAFE to university

Building on the success of TDA’s online conference Linkages: One tertiary education system, TDA has curated a story collection to share case studies and best practice examples of pathways and transitions between vocational education and training (VET) and higher education.

While the primary business of TDA members is VET, over half of TDA members also deliver higher education. The stories will explore current pathways as well as highlight how better alignment is being achieved between VET and higher education.

The first featured story, TAFE is a great pathway to university, is from Federation TAFE and shares the story of students Erin Connor and Rhys Martins who studied the Certificate III and Diploma of Conservation and Land Management, before enrolling in the Bachelor of Environmental and Conservation Science at Federation University.

At TAFE they gained practical knowledge and hands-on experience that, on moving to the bachelor’s degree, put them at a distinct advantage over students going straight into higher education, and learning theory for the first time with no real-world experience.

Chisholm celebrates 75 years of adult migrant English

Chisholm Institute has hosted a celebration of 75 years of delivery of the Adult Migrant English (AMEP) program at its Dandenong campus.

Chisholm runs more than 80 AMEP classes a week, supporting students from over a hundred different nationalities.

The long running delivery of AMEP at Chisholm centres on students’ lived experience, ensuring that English is taught within the context of Australian culture and life.

The program makes a huge difference to the lives of many newly arrived citizens and creates opportunities to meet other new arrivals.

The event was attended by Lee Tarlamis, the state Member for Southern Eastern Metropolitan, Julian Hill, the federal Member for Bruce, and Councillor Rhonda Garad from the City of Greater Dandenong.

TAFETalks: Engage to Excel: Personalised student engagement strategies 15 November 2pm-3pm AEDT

TDA invites you to join us for an engaging discussion with TAFE Queensland and TechnologyOne on making learning enjoyable, discovering practical ways to support struggling students and enhance the experience of international students.

Peter Nikoletatos will discuss student engagement strategies, focusing on leveraging gamification, interactive content, and peer collaboration to tailor engagement to individual learning styles.

Emma Rice and Jo Ward will provide insights into the academically ‘At Risk’ system at TAFE Queensland, focusing on identifying struggling students and implementing appropriate intervention strategies.

Marty Lock will highlight strategies to improve engagement among international students, offering actionable approaches to create a welcoming and inclusive learning environment.

To register click here

Three TAFE Institutes in the running for national industry collaboration award

Three TAFE institutes will be vying for national honours in the Industry Collaboration category at the Australian Training Awards, to be announced in Hobart in November.

Holmesglen is in a collaboration with the Victorian Electrical Trades Union, Trades Hall Council, Australian Women in Solar Energy, and the Victorian Department of Education and Training as part of The Women in Apprenticeship Victoria Electrical (WAVE) Project.

Another finalist is the National Energy Technician Training Scheme (NETTS QLD), a collaboration between CQUniversity, the Australian Centre for Energy and Process Training at South Metropolitan TAFE, Programmed Training Services, Shell’s QGC business, ConocoPhillips Australia, and Santos.

Also in the running is South Metropolitan TAFE, with the Department of Defence, as part of the Defence Industry Pathways Program in Western Australia.

VET increases job prospects for First Nations people

Latest research from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) has found that vocational education and training (VET) increases chances of achieving sustainable employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The report, From VET to sustainable employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, found that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who commenced a VET program in 2016 were at least 19% more likely to achieve sustainable employment than those who did not commence a VET program.

Those who partially completed a VET program still had an increased chance of sustainable employment compared with those who did not commence a VET program.

Students who were enrolled in Certificate IV qualifications were 100% more likely to achieve sustainable employment than those who were enrolled in Certificate II or Certificate III qualifications.

VET students who were enrolled at universities or TAFE institutes were 30% and 20% more likely, respectively, to achieve a sustainable employment outcome than those enrolled at private training providers or community education providers.

Students aged between 20 and 44 years made up more than half of VET commencements (56%) in 2016, however, they were less likely to achieve sustainable employment than those aged 15 to 19 years.

OctoberVET Ballarat program out now

RAVE (Researching Adult and Vocational Education) has released a draft program for Ballarat’s annual OctoberVET event, being held on Wednesday 15 November.

Each October or November, RAVE hosts an OctoberVET event open to all members of the community.

This year OctoberVET Ballarat will be from 2.00pm to 5.00pm in Building T at FedUni SMB Campus (Level 1), 107 Lydiard St South, Ballarat Central (Ballarat Tech Park). There is a minimal registration fee, to cover catering and other costs. Afternoon tea will be provided.

See the draft program and register

Diary Dates

OctoberVET 2023
October 2023
On-line and face-to-face
See all events

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

TAFETalks: Engage to Excel: Personalised student engagement strategies
15 November 2023
Register here

OctoberVET Ballarat
15 November 2023
FedUni SMB Campus, Ballarat Tech Park
More information

Australian Training Awards 
17 November 2023
Hobart, Tasmania
More information

Empowered Women in Trades
Gala and Awards 2024
23 February 2024
The Trust, Melbourne
More information

TDA Convention 2024, ‘TAFE at the Heart’ – Save the date!
8-9 May 2024
Sofitel Wentworth, Sydney
More information and registration

VET National Teaching & Learning Conference 2024
15-16 August 2024
Save the date