The Jobs and Skills Summit must address TAFE funding – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

The Jobs and Skills Summit must address TAFE funding – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Last week I stated that the Jobs and Skills Summit should consider simplification of the national training system. TAFE desperately needs more flexibility to deliver training that employers need, now and for the future. To achieve this flexibility, better funding for vocational education and training is essential.

The number of government-funded students in VET has fallen from 1.54 million in 2012 to 1.19 million in 2020 – a 23% decline.

In the same period the number of government-funded students in both schools and higher education increased.

When we consider funding at the individual fulltime equivalent student level. there have been positive signs of increase during this period. However, when we consider the fulltime equivalent student funding between VET and higher education, it is substantially less. A fulltime equivalent vocational education and training student receives $3500 less than a fulltime equivalent higher education student.

Lack of funding and lack of flexibility are constraints on TAFE being able to be responsive to individual employer needs. When this lack of adequate funding for VET is combined with the level and frequency of change in the sector, it makes it even more difficult for TAFE to expand its operations, in turn making TAFE even more reliant on government funding.

Since 1998 the Australian VET sector has undergone a plethora of policy reforms, over 150 originating from the Commonwealth. TAFEs are innovative and adaptive, but the constancy of having to adapt to policy changes and lack of funding has impacted their ability to be responsive.

No other country has made changes like this. For example, Canada and Germany both have strong federal vocational education systems and much greater policy stability.

Out of this summit should be a commitment for VET funding to be increased to at least higher education funding. There must also be a commitment to the current VET reform delivering a stable and simpler national training system. And, as the heart of vocational education and training, TAFE must be given the tools to be flexible, such as self-accrediting powers. This would recognise its role and expertise in leading innovation.

TAFE is adept at being responsive. To be responsive, TAFE needs a simpler national training system, policy stability, and most importantly funding, if it is to meet Australia’s skill needs.

Business and ACTU call for improved funding for TAFEs, apprenticeships

Ahead of this week’s Jobs and Skills Summit in Canberra, key industry groups and the ACTU have issued a joint call for improved funding for TAFE and for continued apprentice wage incentives to help generate skilled workers.

The joint statement was released yesterday by the ACTU, Australian Industry Group, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Business Council of Australia.

It says governments should maintain a strong commitment to the provision of high-quality training in VET by robust, innovative and properly supported public TAFEs along with private, non-profit and enterprise training providers.

It says Australia’s apprenticeship system can be world leading but needs to be reinvigorated to meet workforce needs now and into the future, including in digital skills.

“For commencements, this should include increased wage subsidies, especially in the first year, and for completions it should consist of incentive completion payments to both employers and apprentices, as well as mentoring programs for apprentices,” it says.

“Vocational education and training (VET) is at the foundation of our broader skills system and needs to be a core part of our workforce development strategy and properly integrated into our overall tertiary education and training system,” the statement says.

See the Jobs and Skills Summit agenda

TDA urges Senate to promptly pass jobs and skills agency legislation

TDA has lent strong support to the proposed agency, Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA).

Addressing the Senate Committee reviewing the Jobs and Skills Australia legislation, TDA Chief Executive Jenny Dodd said the new agency provided a much-needed avenue for collaboration between government, industry and employers.

“We see it as a place where an authentic employer voice can be heard. We see it as a place where Commonwealth and state contributions can be brought together very effectively,” Ms Dodd told the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee.

“As the public provider, all TAFEs look forward to being at the table for the first time in a decade in decision-making and thinking.”

Ms Dodd urged the Senate to move ahead quickly with the legislation.

“This will help the sector and will give guidance, especially to some of the other reforms that are happening which we can’t lose sight of, such as the formation of the industry clusters.

“This legislation needs to go through to give clarity as to how some of that is going to roll forward, otherwise it will continue to be as piecemeal as it’s felt for some years.”

In its formal submission to the Senate Committee, TDA also calls for JSA  to be able to review the barriers to attraction and retention of the TAFE workforce.

“JSA must have a role in providing input into the Standards for RTOs if these standards are limiting TAFE ability to deliver training. More control must be given to TAFE CEOs to be able to attract industry practitioners to their workforce. This will mean a TAFE workplace will be a blend of industry specialists collaborating with professional educators,” the submission says.

See TDA’s submission to the Senate Committee

State-of-the-art TAFE trades hubs opens in Sydney

The first stage of TAFE NSW’s new state-of-the-art trades centre at Meadowbank has opened, with more than 3000 carpentry, plumbing, and electrotechnology students commencing.

The $157 million Meadowbank multi-trades hub is Australia’s largest and is expected to transform the delivery of trades skills.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet officially opened the building which will enable TAFE NSW to train an additional 1000 apprentices for in-demand jobs each year.

The 12,000 square-metre facility features dedicated plumbing pits and a large-scale, flexible space to accommodate the construction of full-scale buildings for use in carpentry and electrotechnology training.

The multi-trades hub is part of the broader TAFE NSW Institute of Applied Technology at Meadowbank, which will focus on digital technology and will be completed next year.

Don't forget TAFETalks this Wednesday: General Capabilities / Employability Skills – key to lifelong learning

Date: Wednesday 31 August at 2.00pm AEST (Canberra/Melbourne/Sydney time)

General capabilities, often referred to as employability skills are increasingly important. In the process of attaining a tertiary education qualification learners will acquire and demonstrate general capabilities. These general capabilities are fundamental for success as a lifelong learner, and they are demanded by industry as necessary for successful workforce participation. Lifelong learning has become essential as workplaces demand existing workers to continually uplift their skills.

Please join TDA and expert Sandra Milligan from the Assessment Research Centre for a discussion on current developments of general capability tertiary education frameworks and future possibilities. Following Sandra’s presentation, Megan Lilly from the Australian Industry Group will offer a perspective on their importance for industry. Jane Trewin of Box Hill Institute will conclude the session by providing examples of how one TAFE embeds them in their delivery and assessment.

Guest Speakers: 

  • Sandra Milligan, Director and Enterprise Professor, Assessment Research Centre University of Melbourne
  • Megan Lilly, Executive Director Australian Industry Group
  • Jane Trewin, Executive Director Educational Delivery, Box Hill Institute, Victoria

Registration:  To register for this event, please click here

For further information, please visit here

Register for TDA Convention 2022!


TDA is delighted that the South Australian Minister for Education, Training and Skills, Blair Boyer, pictured, will open the second day of the TDA Convention 2022 with a keynote address on Wednesday 16 November.

Minister Boyer will be followed by a panel of TAFE SA 2021 Honour Award winning students, sharing their personal stories of courage.

For further information on registration packages and inclusions, and to register for the event, please click here.

Sponsorship opportunities
The sponsorship prospectus is now available here. To discuss sponsorship opportunities, please contact

Stay up to date on convention news and program updates 
For updates on convention news and programming, please subscribe to the TDA Convention 2022 e-newsletter here.

TDA looks forward to welcoming its members, partners and supporters to Adelaide in November 2022 to be part of the conversation on Courage, Change and Challenge: The Future of TAFE.


Victoria releases its VET roadmap

The Victorian Skills Authority (VSA) has released a three-year roadmap to identify the state’s skills needs, develop training solutions for emerging industries, and build the future VET workforce.

The Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney released the Victorian Skills Plan last week at Kangan Institute’s Automotive Centre of Excellence, saying it will lead to a collaboration between TAFEs, training providers, universities, adult and communication education providers, industry and unions to deliver future jobs.

The plan identifies the need for an extra 373,000 workers across 13 key industries by 2025.

It delivers on some of the key recommendations of the Macklin Review and addresses priority issues including foundation skills, better linking VET with schools, the gender gap, identifying clean economy skills, and growing the VET workforce.

Victorian Skills Authority CEO Craig Robertson said the plan provides comprehensive, robust data and analysis to inform the targeting of funding and training activity.

“It represents a new approach to connecting industry, learner and community insights and provides evidence for the provision of training and skills across Victoria.”

In a statement, the Victorian TAFE Association (VTA) said “The VTA is encouraged to see that the plan not only articulates the challenges and opportunities ahead for TAFE and the wider vocational education sector and the actions needed but that it also identifies a range of actions that the VSA will undertake in partnership with key stakeholders.”

The plan will also see Victoria undertaking a pilot of the revised Australian Qualifications Framework to identify new and emerging skills and associated skills recognition and credit arrangements.

See the Victorian Skills Plan

New guide sets out the facts on clean energy careers

The Clean Energy Council has published the Clean Energy Careers Guide which provides a snapshot of the roles and careers that exist in areas including wind, solar, hydro and batteries.

It highlights areas where the demand for certain skills or experience is high, where a critical or niche skills gap exists, and demystifies the pathways into careers in clean energy.

The guide is designed to help those interested in careers in clean energy to discover the roles and the steps needed to begin their career journey.

Webinar: What will the Jobs and Skills Summit mean for VET?

AVETRA is holding an online panel discussion on Friday 16 September that will dissect the outcomes of this week’s Jobs and Skills Summit.

The panel will comprise:

  • AVETRA President and Senior Research Fellow with the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Kira Clarke
  • CEO of TAFE Directors Australia, Jenny Dodd
  • CEO of Bendigo-Kangan Institute, Sally Curtain
  • Adjunct Professor at Monash University, Gerald Burke

The forum will take place from 10.30 am to 11.15 am (AEST), Friday 16 September.

Register here

AISC approves training package changes

The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) has approved a series of training package updates in areas including transport and logistics, aviation, public safety, timber processing, mining and electrotechnology.

At its August 17 meeting, the AISC approved Cases for Endorsement for ten training package changes which will be referred to skills ministers for approval.

The committee also received updates on key projects in the area of Agriculture and Production Horticulture Training, Gas Training, and Silica Safety Awareness.

See the AISC Communique, 17 August 2022

ASQA approves extended transition for plumbing qualification

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has approved an extended transition for CPC32413 Certificate III in Plumbing to 31 January 2024.

It was demonstrated to ASQA that learners would be genuinely disadvantage if they were required to transition to the replacement qualification, as the significance of changes would not provide the expected outcomes for existing learners.

ASQA consulted the Victorian Registration and Qualification Authority (VRQA) and Training Accreditation Council Western Australia (TAC WA) as part of the transition request.

The extension will apply to all ASQA registered RTOs delivering the qualification.

See more

National TAFE Day – September 6

As part of National TAFE Day on September 6, the Australian Education Union will call on the federal government to implement 70% of total government VET funding to TAFE when it delivers the federal Budget in October.

It will be part of a range of lobbying and other actions organised in Canberra for the national day.

TDA lends its support to this important day and the key message that TAFE funding is so critical to Australia’s skills and workforce needs.

Diary Dates

TAFETalks: General capabilities / employability skills – key to lifelong learning

31 August 2022,
Register here
Jobs and Skills Summit
1-2 September 2022
Parliament House, Canberra
More information
Tasmanian Training Awards
9 September 2022
Wrest Point Hobart
More information

Victorian Training Awards
10 September 2022
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
More information

Community Colleges Australia National Conference
13-14 September 2022
More information

AVETRA Webinar, Jobs & Skills Summit: What does it mean for VET?
16 September 2022
Register here

NSW Training Awards
16 September 2022
Sydney Town Hall
More information

Queensland Training Awards
17 September 2022
Royal International Convention Centre, Brisbane
More information

WA Training Awards
21 September 2022
More information

October 2022
More information

Australian International Education Conference 2022
18-21 October 2022
Gold Coast & Online
More information

2022 National VET Conference
Velg Training
3-4 November 2022
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
More information

TDA Convention 2022
Courage, Change and Challenge – the Future of TAFE
15-17 November 2022
More information

VDC Teaching & Learning Conference
VET Development Centre
17 & 18 November 2022 (Online)
More information

TEQSA Conference
23-24 November 2022
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins (and online)
More information