TDA networks and their role in supporting a national response – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

TDA networks and their role in supporting a national response – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

As we draw to the end of the year, I want to publicly thank those members of the national TAFE workforce (including our dual sector universities) who have been active members of TDA networks and communities of practice.

Many members of the TAFE workforce chair these networks / communities of practice – huge thanks for going over and above in leading national policy and practice. Others of the TAFE workforce are active participants – thank you also for your significant contributions.

This week there will be final meetings of several networks including the well-established Quality, Regulatory and Compliance network, the relatively new Foundation Skills network, and the TAFE Australia Product Network. That caps off final meetings by other networks during the last couple of weeks such as the National Enrolled Nursing Network, the Higher Education Provider Network, the Dual Sector Network, the Allied Health Network, and the Australian TAFE International Network.

Then there are communities of practice that are leading innovation thinking and discussing what is good learning and teaching practice. Examples include the Immersive Learning Network and NVEDN (educator developer practitioners) and a new group, TAFE Generative AI group – all doing great work to demonstrate the power of TAFE is stronger when we come together.

The work that TAFEs have established through these networks and communities of practice will support the execution of an aspect of the National Skills Agreement (NSA). Now that the NSA is a public document it is worth teasing out the proposed National TAFE Network.

The NSA states the National TAFE Network will:

  • pilot the development and support of the TAFE workforce and education practice, including through communities of practice organised around specific topics
  • develop curriculum and course materials and share these among TAFEs and public training providers
  • pilot new or innovative approaches in teaching and learning practice, and provide a mechanism for employers, unions, Jobs and Skills Councils, universities, TAFE Centres of Excellence and others to engage with TAFEs and public training providers piloting new or innovative approaches in teaching and learning practice, and
  • provide a mechanism for employers, unions, Jobs and Skills Councils, universities, TAFE Centres of Excellence and others to engage with TAFEs and public training providers.

As TAFEs, we are already working together to achieve most of these outcomes. Although there are new dimensions, such as the TAFE Centres of Excellence, the power of TAFE has been evident for many years in our national networks and communities of practice. Thank you all – the TDA secretariat has enjoyed supporting and facilitating the outcomes of your collective hard work.

Federal government set to announce crackdown on international students

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has foreshadowed a crackdown on the number of international students coming to Australia to stop abuse of the tertiary education system.

The government is expected to announce today a cut to migration numbers, following the Parkinson review into the migration system.

In addition to a cut to the overall migrant intake, there is expected to be a significant re-focus on the criteria for international students, who currently generate about $26 billion for the university and VET sector.

“People are coming here enrolling in courses that don’t really add substantially to either their skills base or to the national interest,” Mr Albanese said on Saturday.

“So, it’s not in the interests of our neighbours, nor in the interest of Australia, that there not be a crackdown on this – we’re determined to do that,” he said.

Mr Albanese said many people were coming to Australia on student visas and remaining here.

Dr Martin Parkinson’s Review of the Migration System raised the idea of setting targets and stricter eligibility requirements aimed at “improving the quality of the student pool”.

Christine Nixon’s Rapid Review into the Exploitation of Australia’s Visa System found evidence of criminal exploitation of the student visa system and recommended a crackdown on high-risk VET providers and courses.

TDA Convention 2024 – get involved!

There are many ways to get involved with the TDA Convention 2024, which will explore TAFE’s role at the heart of vocational education and skills development in Australia.

Submit a proposal to present or facilitate a workshop: If you would like to be a part of the program, TDA invites you to share your knowledge, research and experience on a range of topics which align to the overarching theme of TAFE at the Heart. The submission guidelines and portal can be accessed here. The call for proposals closes on 23 January 2024.

Register: The TDA Convention 2024 commences with an optional site visit to TAFE NSW’s Meadowbank campus on the afternoon of Tuesday 7 May. The program continues over two full days on 8-9 May 2024 at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth Hotel. Delegates can take advantage of numerous networking opportunities including the convention dinner on 8 May at the Sofitel and a networking reception at the iconic Sydney Opera House on 9 May. Early bird registrations are open until 23 February 2024. Further information on registration is available here.

Sponsorship and exhibition: Align your brand with ours through exclusive sponsorship and exhibition opportunities enabling you to connect and engage with convention delegates. For a discussion on sponsorship opportunities, please contact TDA’s Sponsorship Manager Chad Murphy at ASN Events at or on 03 8658 9530.

We look forward to welcoming you to Sydney in May 2024 for TAFE at the Heart!

Generative AI to reshape the economy and labour market, new report says

A host of occupations across business services, finance and ICT are likely to face significant impacts from the explosion of generative AI, according to a new report from the Future Skills Organisation (FSO).

The report says generative AI could usher in new business models, shift labour markets as certain tasks become automated, augmented or adapted, and lead to societal shifts.

It concludes that higher level qualifications are likely to have greater AI exposure because they rely more on cognitive and sensory skills.

“There’s no doubt that generative AI is having a significant impact on our world, including what we learn and how we train,” the Chief Executive Officer of FSO Patrick KIdd said.

“This report is the first of its kind that examines the exposure of various training products to generative AI.”

Within the VET system, graduate certificates and diplomas face greater AI exposure as they tend to be additional qualifications in management for AI-exposed occupations such as auditing and administration.

Overall, occupations with more cognitive and less physical skills, that have higher required skill levels are more likely to be impacted by generative AI.

“The primary impact on the training system will be at the university level as occupations that generally require university qualifications typically have greater exposure to generative AI,” the report says..

Across the three training packages administered by FSO, the greatest exposure is likely in the Financial Services training package, followed by ICT and Business Services.

ASQA's stakeholder performance ratings improve

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has enjoyed improved overall ratings from its latest stakeholder survey.

The ASQA Provider & Course Owner Survey 2022-23 Report showed improved ratings in key areas over the past year.

Importantly, ASQA’s top strategic objective – that its regulatory approach promotes a culture of self-assurance and continuous quality improvement – recorded the strongest improvement, with 81% of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing, up from 76%.

“Most other strategic objectives recorded slightly improved ratings and are now rated favourably by 64% to 73% of providers and course owners,” the report says.

The survey was conducted in May and June and surveyed over 3950 providers and course owners, and attracted 1438 responses.

There are also areas where ASQA says it needs to improve, including through better communication and updates, and more timely and efficient responses to inquiries and requests for support.

Almost half a million government-funded VET students with TAFE

The number of students in government-funded VET rose 4% to 911,180 in the six months to June, compared to the same period in 2022, according to the NCVER.

TAFE institutes undertook the majority of government-funded training, with the number of TAFE students up 1.8% to 479,805.

New South Wales had the largest number of government-funded students, rising 2.3% to 324,955. The number of students in Victoria rose 5.2% to 220,795, with Queensland up 2.7% to 182,105, Western Australia up 9% to 85,200, South Australia up 9.5% to 54,665, Tasmania up 4.4% to 20,570, and ACT down 7.9% to 12,115.

The most popular level of education was Certificate III (441,870 or 49.3%), followed by Certificate IV (191,245 or 21.4%).

See more

English Australia appoints new CEO

English Australia has announced the appointment of Ian Aird, pictured, as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Ian brings over 20 years’ experience in the international education industry, having served as Managing Director of Universal English College (UEC) a stand-alone ELICOS centre in Sydney.

Ian was Deputy Chair of English Australia and also served on the board of StudyNSW.

TDA extends its congratulations to Ian, and its appreciation to Brett Blacker who has been an outstanding partner with the TAFE sector.

Add your event to Jobs and Skills Council calendar!

With all ten Jobs and Skills Council (JSC) now established, the TDA newsletter will aim to provide timely updates of key JSC events.

A dedicated section on JSC events now features immediately after Diary Dates at the end of the newsletter., where summary information will be available on webinars, conferences and consultations.

Brief information for this section can be emailed to

Diary dates

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

TDA Convention 2024, ‘TAFE at the Heart’ – Register now!
8-9 May 2024
Sofitel Wentworth, Sydney
Call for presenters open now
Early bird registrations

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

47th WorldSkills Competition
10-15 September 2024
Lyon, France
More information

Jobs and Skills Council Events

For all upcoming Jobs and Skills Council (JSC) events, including webinars and consultations, please go direct to the relevant JSC website.

Industry Skills Australia
Maritime: Monday 11 December 1-2 pm AEDT

Powering Skills Organisation
Electrotechnology: Monday 11 December 2-3 pm AEDT
Electricity supply generation: Tuesday 12 December 11am-12 pm AEDT
Gas: Tuesday 12 Dec 3-4 pm AEDT
Transmission Distribution & Rail: Wednesday 13 December 12-1 pm AEDT