TDA Convention 2024 – Registrations open on 23 October – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

TDA Convention 2024 – Registrations open on 23 October – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

TDA is excited to announce that the TDA Convention 2024TAFE at the Heart will take place at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth Hotel from Wednesday 8 – Thursday 9 May 2024. Please save the date in your diaries!

We warmly invite you to join TDA, our host partner TAFE NSW, and Diamond sponsor ReadyTech to explore TAFE’s role at the heart of vocational education and skills development.

As educational entities, TAFEs place learners at the centre. TAFE at the Heart will delve into TAFE’s commitment to access and equity, empowering its students to bridge the gap between opportunity and aspiration. TAFE at the Heart will also examine TAFE’s role at the heart of student success, skills transformation, technological integration, community and regional development, national collaboration and innovative industry partnerships.

The TDA Convention 2024 program will offer opportunities to share practice. Innovation in learning and teaching will be paramount, along with how TAFE supports communities and drives economic growth.

The two-day TDA Convention 2024 provides numerous networking opportunities including a networking reception at the Sydney Opera House on the evening of 9 May sponsored by Adobe.

The TAFE Staff Recognition Awards will be a feature of the dinner at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth Hotel on the evening of 8 May with Diamond sponsor, ReadyTech and Gold sponsors, including TechnologyOne each presenting an award.

Registrations and the call for presenters open on Monday 23 October 2023.

The sponsorship prospectus is available from end of this week. For a discussion on sponsorship opportunities, please contact TDA’s Sponsorship Manager at ASN Events, Chad Murphy at or on 03 8658 9530.

TDA Convention 2024 news and program updates will be provided through the TDA newsletter. We look forward to seeing you in Sydney on 8-9 May 2024!

Skills Minister O'Connor sets out path to 'new era of industry engagement'

The Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor has issued a ministerial statement heralding a new era of industry engagement through Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) and ten new Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs).

“They are strategically linked to provide effective, structured, national and sector-based planning to develop skills that are needed for a modern economy,” he told parliament.

Mr O’Connor said he would soon appoint a Ministerial Advisory Board to inform JSA’s work priorities, strategies and governance.

“The Board will include two representatives of States and Territories, four unions and four employer representatives, and up to four additional experts, at least one of which may be a person with lived experience of facing barriers to the labour market,” he said.

Mr O’Connor said that JSA will deliver, next month, its Clean Energy Capacity Study, while it is also preparing its 2023-24 work plan and focussing on digital skills, the development of higher apprenticeships and qualifications reform. JSA will have input into the five-year National Skills Agreement and the upcoming Employment White Paper.

Mr O’Connor said the first major task of each JSC will be to consult across their industry sectors to develop workforce plans that address both existing and emerging skills needs.

“Communication across JSCs will be vital to ensure a coherent training landscape,” he said.

“For too long industry training bodies have operated in silos, leading to duplication and inefficiency. Collaborating and sharing ideas across sectors will see benefits economy-wide that are greater than the sum of its parts.”

See Ministerial Statement – Revitalising National Planning in Vocational Education and Training

Don't overlook role of VET in University Accord - panel discussion

The place of VET in the Australian Universities Accord will be the feature of a panel discussion as part of upcoming OctoberVET activities.

TDA CEO Jenny Dodd will join in a panel with the former CEO of Skills Australia, Robin Shreeve and the CEO of Claire Field & Associates, Claire Field, facilitated by Natasha Arthars, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Queensland University of Technology.

The panel will discuss the Accord, in particular, how to ensure that the distinctive strengths of VET “aren’t overshadowed or misunderstood by the traditionally university-focused discourse.”

“This panel discussion seeks to spotlight VET’s strengths, challenging potential biases and gaps in the current dialogue.”

Title: Reimagining Education: Where Does VET’s Strength Lie in the Accord Conversation
Date: Friday, 13 October 2023
Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm (NSW/VIC time)
Location: Online

See all OctoberVET events

Register for TDA's online conference – Linkages: One tertiary education system, 18 October 2023

Registrations are open for TDA’s free online conference, Linkages: One tertiary education system, which will explore the policy and practice of better alignment between higher education and vocational education and training.

The online conference will take place from 1.00 pm to 4.30 pm AEDT on Wednesday 18 October and features a range of high profile speakers from vocational education and training, higher education, government and industry.

Some of our high profile speakers include the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, Minister for Skills and Training who be providing an opening address at the conference. The Hon Jenny Macklin, Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow, University of Melbourne and Panel Member Australian Universities Accord will be discussing the Australian Universities Accord Interim Report.

Members of the 2019 AQF Review, Professor Sally Kift, President of Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows and Vice Chancellor’s Fellow, Victoria University, and Megan Lilly, Executive Director, Centre for Education and Training, AiGroup will be speaking on the proposed changes to the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) reform.

View the full program and register here

TAFE success at state and territory training awards

The season of state and territory training awards is now largely finalised, with a host of outstanding TAFE students, teachers, institutes and industry partners emerging as winners.

Congratulations to all these remarkable achievers!

It is always a great showcase of the depth and breadth of the TAFE footprint across the country and the extraordinary individuals that make TAFE such an important part of Australia’s skills and education system –  a testament to the #POWEROFTAFE.

We now look forward to the Australian Training Awards in Melbourne in November.

TEQSA says more work needed to address sexual harm

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) has welcomed the release of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee’s report into current and proposed sexual consent laws.

TEQSA Acting Chief Executive Officer Dr Mary Russell said the report brings into clear focus the lived experience and trauma of students who have experienced sexual harm.

“Many feel that higher education providers and the regulator have failed them when they have asked for help. We acknowledge the commitment and courage of those who shared their stories to help improve things for all students,” Dr Russell said.

“We agree that there is much more work to be done and will continue to engage with students, experts, advocates and higher education providers to help make higher education a safer place.

“We also acknowledge that more significant progress is needed. That’s why we’re working to improve our regulatory response to the risks and responses to sexual harm across higher education, with a view to having stronger measures in place in time for the start of classes in 2024.”

See more

Agriculture workforce study given the go-ahead

Jobs and Skills Australia will start work on a food supply chain workforce capacity study with the aim of identifying the best opportunities to grow a targeted workforce in the agriculture sector.

The Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor announced the new study on Friday at the final meeting of the Agricultural Workforce Working Group, which was establishment at the Jobs and Skills Summit last year.

The study will be undertaken between January and June 2024.

“The capacity study will inform how the training, education and migration sectors can best work together to meet the workforce needs of agriculture and the food supply chain,” Mr O’Connor said.

National Farmers Federation CEO Tony Mahar described the challenges for the agricultural workforce as “significant and longstanding”.

“To truly move the dial a collaborative approach is best and that’s what the working group has sought to do.”

See more

'Credential inflation' harming jobs and productivity

Australia is experiencing an explosion in the number of people with higher end tertiary education credentials, with adverse impacts for many VET graduates and with no productivity benefits, according to two VET sector leaders.

Tom Karmel, director of the Mackenzie Research Institute at Holmesglen TAFE and Bruce Mackenzie, former chief executive of Holmesglen TAFE, argue that growth in credentials has far outstripped that which is needed to cater for the amount of occupational change during the past decade, suggesting a large element of credentialism.

Writing in The Australian, they say “we are seeing a negative impact on career opportunities for those holding VET (vocational education and training) qualifications.”

The paper says there are now significantly more people in the workforce with bachelor degrees than with certificate III/IV qualifications, and job opportunities for people with certificate I/II qualifications, or without post school qualifications, have been in rapid decline across the decade.

“Credential inflation combined with poor-quality teaching will ultimately undermine Australia’s tertiary education system. Confidence is already in decline,” it says.

“We need to change the mix by rebuilding our VET system, broadening VET qualifications in scope and level. We should create from our TAFE system some applied universities offering applied qualifications from certificates to degrees.”

TDA applauds the work of the Mackenzie Research Institute across the VET sector, and while it may not agree with all the conclusions of this latest work, it supports wide-ranging debate from esteemed researchers on these important topics.

See VET and the changing labour market

Diary dates

Community Colleges Australia (CCA) Annual Conference
Building ACE Futures
10-11 October 2023
More information

Australian International Education Conference
10-13 October
More information

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

TDA online conference – Linkages: One tertiary education system
18 October 2023, 1 pm AEDT
See more and register here

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