The long silence – comment by CEO Craig Robertson

The long silence – comment by CEO Craig Robertson

Today, this time that you read this newsletter, is time for quiet reflection.

We must pause for those in all places across the globe and within our neighbourhood, street or apartment block whose rhythm of life has been so cruelly disrupted. In our mind we need to thank those whose way of living has been put on hold so societies can beat down a virus they cannot see.

Commentary is emerging that the human cost of this economic quick freeze could be more costly in human lives than from COVID-19 – the so-called herd immunity position. This incredible moral dilemma is why we must heed the advice of the experts. For Australia our leaders have chosen to ‘flatten the curve’ through distancing and personal hygiene. Counter selfish behaviour by one person is reckless behaviour toward all.

The dilemma this past week has been the fate of many international students in our midst. They have also been stood down from jobs but do not have access to the Australian welfare net. Maybe the wage subsidy scheme expected to be announced this week will be extended to these students.  Who knows? But please keep an eye out for them. Wouldn’t it be great in the spirit of the original Colombo Plan that Australian families reached out to these students to check that they are OK, to help them weather the storm.

For now, silence. Lessons to be preached or advocacy for responses for the other side can wait.

More TAFEs shut down as COVID-19 restrictions tighten

TAFE institutes across Australia are gradually ceasing face-to-face course delivery and temporarily closing campuses as governments tighten restrictions on public gatherings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

TAFE NSW is pausing all training and educational delivery starting today.

During the temporary pause, teaching teams will be working to get everything ready for classes to recommence on 27 April including preparing to use connected online learning where possible.

Exceptions to the pause include TAFE Digital courses and the delivery of training for critical skills areas, such as aged care and enrolled nursing for students who are due to complete before the end of the first term.

When classes recommence on 27 April, it will be through connected and blended delivery, which may include face-to-face delivery where necessary and where adequate social distancing measures can be implemented. Teachers will be working on these arrangements with students over the coming weeks.

More information

TAFE Queensland will pause all training and educational delivery from today and recommence after the Easter break.

TAFE Queensland has been continuing to implement a range of proactive measures to limit the impact of COVID-19 and to support students.

There will be some exceptions to the pause for critical skills areas. Teachers will work directly with students to ensure progression and completion during this time.

TAFE Queensland will maintain a wide range of student support services. 

More information


In the ACT, Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) has decided to extend the planned one-week pause in classes it commenced last Monday.

“With so much uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 situation, CIT has made the decision to continue the pause of classes until the scheduled CIT Easter break (Friday 10 April),” CIT said.

CIT had its first confirmed COVID-19 case with a staff member on the Reid campus.

CIT says the staff member has self-isolated and had minimal contact with other staff and students, due to social distancing measures.

ACT Health has contacted people who had close contact with the staff member and CIT is liaising directly with ACT Health.

More information



TAFE SA will be extending its mid-semester break (previously 9 to 27 April) to start today, with classes resuming 27 April.

The additional non-teaching time will allow staff to work on new delivery methods and models.

“TAFE SA understands the continued need for skilled workers, apprentices and trainees, and we know we can deliver this training to support our students, industries and communities in these extraordinary times,” it’s website advises.

For general enquiries or to speak to a TAFE SA counsellor, please contact the TAFE SA Customer Support Contact Centre on 1800 882 661 or email

More information

In Western Australia, TAFE institutes will today implement a temporary pause in face-to-face delivery of most courses and move to new models of training delivery.

The pause will be in place until April 9. From Term 2, the blended style of delivery will include learning via online and interactive technologies, and face-to-face delivery where necessary and where adequate social distancing measures can be implemented.

Face-to-face training in essential service courses such as enrolled nursing and aged care will continue. There will also be practical assessments for hospitality/cookery students and final stage apprentices who need to be assessed in a practical workshop. Arrangements for these courses will be modified to ensure safety.

Colleges will stay open and essential student services including student resource areas will remain available with social distancing measures applying.

Students are being emailed and/or sent a text message informing them how they will be affected by the changes.

The new measures will allow lecturers and non-teaching staff to continue to prepare to move to the new style of training in Term 2 which starts on April 28.

Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said “The new blended delivery model will be flexible, nimble and adaptable in training people for jobs that will be needed during the pandemic and for those jobs that will have a massive role in the recovery process.”

More information

In Victoria, the government has announced the shutdown of many non-essential services, but, at present, this does not include TAFEs, Learn Locals or training organisations.

The Department of Education and Training has urged all TAFEs and training organisations to increase their ability to deliver training remotely or online where possible.

“We understand that this may be difficult for some courses, such as trades. Where activities continue to occur on campus, it is critical that social distancing guidelines are strictly followed in line with advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer,” the department advises.

It also says that any staff who can work from home should now be working from home.

More information

In Tasmania, TasTAFE courses have been deferred temporarily to allow teaching staff to prepare course content for online delivery.

From today, TasTAFE will only be open for the purpose of attending scheduled classes and prac sessions, or using pre-booked resources. Students should attend scheduled sessions as instructed by their teachers and then leave the campus immediately.

Libraries will be closed from today except for pre-booked campus computers for study or online learning. Common areas on campus, including student lounges and common rooms will be closed.

TasTAFE will observe the required Easter break as usual, from 10 to 19 April, with classes beginning on Monday 20 April.

More information

ASQA loosens compliance requirements

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) recently approved an extended transition period for 51 qualifications due to expire between 17 March and 15 July 2020.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, ASQA has now decided to expand this decision and extend the transition period of a further 90 superseded qualifications by six months.

ASQA and the higher education regulator, TEQSA, have also jointly agreed to be more flexible in dealing with training and assessment requirements in the current environment.

Productivity Commission delays VET funding inquiry

The Productivity Commission’s wide-ranging inquiry into the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development (NASWD) has been delayed.

The Commission advised last week that the interim report of the review has been delayed and a revised release date will be announced.

The NASWD provides financial support to the states and territories to support VET and outlines agreed goals and targets in the areas of skills and workforce development.

See TDA’s submission to the review

Anxiety and stress common among youth trying to figure out their future, new report finds

Two-thirds of Australian youth say they have suffered anxiety as a result of being stressed about their future career, according to the latest youth survey conducted by Year13.

The study, After The ATAR III, examines the role of passion and purpose for young people in connecting them to meaningful education and employment.

It shows that family and friends are the greatest source of support for youth, with 81% of respondents saying their parents/caregivers support them in pursing their passions, while three quarters say they are supported by their friends (75%).

“Less than half of Australian youth believe that their school supports them in what they are passionate about (45%), meaning the majority of students feel that they are not having their passions fostered by the institution aimed at preparing them for post-school life and their future careers,” the report says.

When asked about their biggest struggles, the most common answer was “figuring out my future” (51%), followed by money and finances (43%), studies (39%) and mental health (34%).

“Concerningly, as a result of being stressed about figuring out their future career, a whopping 66% of Australian youth say they have suffered anxiety, 61% have experienced sleep disturbances and 61% have experienced feelings of insecurity and inadequacy,” the report says.

A further 45% have experienced social isolation and 42% felt the effects of depression.

More information

Diary Dates

YES2020 (postponed)
Year13 Youth Engagement Summit
19 March 2020
The Venue, Alexandria, Sydney
More information

Youth Futures Summit (postponed)
20 – 21 April 2020
Melbourne Cricket Ground
More information

AVETRA Conference (postponed)
20/20 vision for VET: Research at the centre of future policy and practice
23 – 24 April 2020
More information

2020 VET CEO Conference (postponed)
Velg Training
15 May 2020
QT Gold Coast Hotel, Surfers Paradise, Queensland
More Information

Apprentice Employment Network NSW & ACT (postponed)
Annual 2020 Skills Conference
11 June 2020
More information

National Manufacturing Summit 2020 (cancelled)
Manufacturing a Sustainable Future
6 & 7 July 2020
Gold Coast, Queensland
More information

‘No Frills’ 2020, 29th National VET Research Conference (cancelled)
NCVER co-hosted with TAFE WA, North Metropolitan TAFE
8 – 10 July 2020
Perth, Western Australia
More information

TAFE Directors Australia Convention 2020 (cancelled)
12 – 14 August 2020
Westin Hotel, Perth
More information

Worldskills Australia
12 – 15 August 2020
Perth Exhibition and Convention Centre
More information

National Skills Week
24 – 30 August 2020
Various locations
More information 

2020 National VET Conference
Velg Training
17 – 18 September 2020
Gold Coast Convention and Exhitbiton Centre, Broadbeach, Queensland
More Information

World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics
2020 World Congress

14 – 16 October 2020
Donostia – San Sebastian, Spain
More information

VDC 2020 Teaching & Learning Conference
Postponed to November 2020
RACV Torquay Resort, Great Ocean Road, Victoria
New Date to be Advised Soon

Australian Training Awards
20 November 2020
More information