TAFEs must be able to self-accredit to avoid redundant qualifications – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

TAFEs must be able to self-accredit to avoid redundant qualifications – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

For some time TDA has been calling for TAFEs to have the ability to self-accredit. Self-accreditation will mean that when TAFEs work collaboratively with employers, they can get a training product to market quickly, just like universities. This week that view received significant support from an unlikely source – ChatGPT! Well, Claire Field to be precise.

TDA thanks Claire Field for her excellent exploration of ChatGPT at last Wednesday’s TAFETalks. As expected, Claire spent time defining what ChatGPT is and discussing the opportunities ChatGPT brings and the risks that need to be managed.

Many of the 594 people who registered for this session talked about the importance of authentic and multiple assessment forms, common in VET, that would help mitigate those risks. This discussion was rich and thoughtful.

But the very interesting and less expected comment that Claire made was in relation to the BSB training package. Claire reminded us there are 29 TDA members and over 3,290 RTOs with the BSB training package on scope – this is huge. As we know BSB is at the heart of RTO delivery. So, what will be the impact of ChatGPT?

The essence of this relates to speed to market. The current training package structure, even with its proposed reforms, will not be able to keep up with the changes that artificial intelligence brings. Most impacted will be qualifications in technology and business. Training packages will end up exiting students that do not have contemporary skills for their industry, because the training product has not been able to adapt quickly to the change.

That leads back to my comments from two weeks ago when I quoted Bill Gates in the Australian Financial Review. He said ChatGPT will predominantly impact white collar workers. Claire’s point was that the training package consultation process is too slow in a world where artificial intelligence is impacting those jobs. Therefore, the training packages that cover business, management and technology will all become redundant very quickly.

This persistence with one solution for vocational education and training, the training package solution, fails to recognise the impact of artificial intelligence on these industries. TDA looks forward to building on our already strong relation with the Digital Skills Organisation (DSO), the Jobs and Skills Council for tech and business, to address new solutions. And although outside DSO’s control, one of those solutions must be self-accreditation for TAFEs.

New head of TAFE at Charles Darwin Uni

Michael Hamilton has been appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive, TAFE, at Charles Darwin University.

Michael was previously Director VET Strategy & Growth at CDU, and also served as Acting Dean, VET Division, at Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education.

Michael also replaces Sam Jacob as the Northern Territory representative on the TDA Board.

TDA extends its congratulations to Michael on his appointment to this exciting new role and conveys its appreciation to Sam for her valuable contribution to the work of the TDA Board.

CDU will officially launch its TAFE division on February 27.

Industry, community and TAFE co-operation vital to student success, TDA says

TDA Board Chair Mary Faraone has urged training providers, industry and the community to work together to ensure that increased TAFE enrolments convert into job outcomes.

Speaking on Friday’s episode of ABC TV’s The Drum, Ms Faraone said there has scarcely been a better time to take up vocational education, including apprenticeships.

“The government has put so much money into incentivising people to get into education and training, and I know first-hand from the work that I and all my staff do that education and training changes people’s lives.

“But it has to be linked to employment and that’s where apprenticeships are so important as a way of earning while you learn,” she said.

“On our own, as a TAFE college, offering a course is fantastic. Some students will get through and get jobs, but I think the system needs a lot more interaction between industry, employers and providers to be really successful.”

“The message is getting out there to take the opportunity of fee-free TAFE. It’s in a whole lot of priority areas and there’s great excitement about it.”

There was a  similar message regarding the national free-fee TAFE initiative from TDA CEO Jenny Dodd on Channel Nine News, where the Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor highlighted the benefits of the program during a visit to Canberra Institute of Technology.

Ms Dodd said many people who might have seen fees as an obstacle to study now had the opportunity to obtain the skills to start their career.

“This isn’t just about getting people in, it’s about helping people to succeed.”

NCI releases Australian jobs report

The National Careers Institute has released Australian Jobs 2022, which provides an overview of trends in the labour market.

The report is designed to support job seekers, employment service providers, career advisers, and those interested in labour market issues.

The publication pulls together data from a range of sources including the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, the Department of Education and the National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

See Australian Jobs 2022

TAFETalks: Women’s Leadership in Times of Crisis

Join TDA for a special episode of TAFETalks as we celebrate International Women’s Day and the important role of women in vocational education and training (VET). Hear Kit McMahon share insights on the challenges and opportunities facing women in the current VET system.

Additionally, Mish Eastman from RMIT and Sally Curtain from Bendigo Kangan Institute (BKI) will discuss how they have developed leadership in times of crisis, including RMIT’s innovative response to the pandemic and BKI’s unique program to transform their systems for better student-centered training.

To register for this event, please click here

Education forum attracts local and international speakers

Local and international speakers will join in Melbourne (and online) this week for a policy forum, ‘Transforming Education and Training in Australia: Challenges and Opportunities’.

The free event on Wednesday at RMIT University will look at national and global policy debates around education and training, and inter-connected themes of lifelong learning and the role of adult learning, community education and VET. See the forum flyer.

Speakers include the Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor; WAVE Ambassador Elaine Butler; TDA CEO Jenny Dodd; Adult Learning Australia CEO Jenny Macaffer; Executive Director Literacy for Life Foundation Professor Jack Beetson, the University of Glasgow’s Michael Osborne;  Principal Policy Officer, Victorian Department of Education & Training, Sally Thompson; Women’s Health in the South East CEO Kit McMahon; and Acting Professor Jose Roberto Guevara and Professor Bruce Wilson, both from RMIT University.

Register here

Digital literacy study probing impact on frontline teachers and learners

One of the most active online VET researchers, Dr Deniese Cox, has turned her attention to the hot-topic issue of digital literacy.

Through her research, Dr Cox gets to meet large numbers of diverse learners, and this new project was triggered by educator and learner stories.

“I’ve met learner after learner who is dropping out of education saying ‘I guess learning isn’t my thing’ when in reality the barrier is digital literacy,” Dr Cox said.

“We can’t ignore the long-ranging impact this is having on those individuals and their families. We also can’t ignore the impact these challenges are having on frontline educators and even other learners”.

The project has so far seen 200 VET educators maintain a daily record of the hours spent on remedial digital literacy (rather than teaching their units at hand).

The data from last semester is currently being analysed. Dr Cox says “it is both surprising, yet perhaps not surprising.”

The project also captured learner perceptions about participating in digital literacy screening at enrolment stage. Dr Cox is now working with a panel of expert advisors to evaluate established digital literacy testing and training products.

A larger scale TAFE-hosted pilot that will monitor changes in learner outcomes is planned next.

Insights from this work are intended to be developed into guidelines. Although this is a self-funded project, Dr Cox has the support of the Digital Skills Organisation and other experts who are keen to move the digital literacy conversation forward in meaningful, practical ways.

VET research updates in RAVE news

The latest edition of the RAVE (Researching Adult and Vocational Education) newsletter is now available.

It includes an update from the successful OctoberVET event in Ballarat, details of new funded RAVE research projects, a study by Professor Erica Smith on the benefits and challenges of TAFE teachers undertaking research projects, and latest books, journal and conference papers produced by RAVE members.

See the latest RAVE News 

Diary Dates

Transforming education and training in Australia: challenges and opportunities
15 February 2023
More information

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

TAFETalks: Women’s Leadership in Times of 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

Apprentice Employment Network NSW & ACT
2023 Skills Conference
14 June 2023
Dockside Darling Harbour, Sydney
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

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

VDC World Teachers’ Day Event
27 October 2023 – save the date

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