The many faces of a TAFE student – comment by Jenny Dodd

The many faces of a TAFE student – comment by Jenny Dodd

Recently TAFE SA welcomed people from Afghanistan who are studying English while they settle into their new lives in Australia, and shortly TAFE NSW will welcome back international students. These are but two of the many faces of TAFE students.

TAFEs graduate over 50% of the Enrolled Nurses in Australia and prepare thousands of workers for other aspects of the health care industry from aged care to dental assisting. TAFEs supply a critical workforce for community services, early childhood, and the growing area of disability services.

TAFEs are one of the main providers in the building and construction industry. TAFEs train a wide array of apprentices from cabinet makers to electricians, bricklayers, tilers and plumbers. TAFES also offer engineering and post-trade qualifications, and many have pivoted to meet the growing demand of emerging industries such as renewable energy.

As those of you on the East Coast resume post-lockdown life, you’ll chat to your hairdresser or the person who serves you in a restaurant. More times than not, they will be TAFE-trained chefs and hospitality workers, hairdressers and beauty practitioners.

If you live in rural Australia, you know that the agriculture and horticulture industry as well as the automotive heavy and light industries rely on TAFE students for their workforce.

TAFEs also supply individuals for the creative industries – those who make films, prepare graphics and drawings, and design websites.

Students are often studying to extend themselves or to gain critical foundational knowledge or digital skills. In addition, many TAFEs provide an alternate to university for students wishing to attain a degree.

During September we have focused in these newsletters on the innovative TAFE industry partnerships occurring right across the country. Today is about highlighting the many faces of a student. While sometimes students are already employed, such as apprentices, hundreds of thousands of TAFE students across the country are studying their qualification to enter their chosen career or to gain new skills and knowledge for effective participation in both the workforce and life.

TAFEs share in $5.8m career guidance funding

Three TAFE institutes are part of groups that have been awarded funding in the $5.8 million second round of the National Careers Institute’s Partnership Grants program.

Funding has been provided for 16 projects aimed at improving the delivery of career guidance to a wide range of people at various stages of their careers.

  • Wodonga Institute of TAFE and the Albury Wodonga Careers Advisers Association have received funding to deliver a careers program for junior students in isolated secondary schools in north-east Victoria and the southern NSW Riverina.
  • Holmesglen Institute will develop interactive career tours, career pathway documentation and a mentoring platform for those interested in the tunnel construction and tunnel operation industries in Victoria.
  • Glenelg & Southern Grampians Local Learning & Employment Network will partner with schools, Rotary and the South West TAFE in south-west Victoria to recruit Rotary host families to billet rural students for industry placements.

The Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, Stuart Robert said the successful projects include face-to-face careers guidance sessions, hands-on industry and work experience, careers resource development and career mentoring.

Mr Robert said the $10 million third round of applications will open on October 20, with a focus on improving career pathways and information for women, particularly in non-traditional industries and occupations.

See more

TEQSA wins court bid to block cheating website

TEQSA has obtained a Federal Court order that requires carriage service providers to block access to the website

TEQSA lodged the application in July, seeking an injunction requiring 51 carriage service providers to take steps to disable access to the website.

Last Thursday, the Federal Court found that the website contravened the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011. It ordered that the 51 carriage service providers block access to the website within 15 business days.

This is the first time TEQSA has exercised its power to apply for an injunction under the amendments made by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Amendment (Prohibiting Academic Cheating Services) Act 2020.

TEQSA Chief Executive Officer Alistair Maclean said “This decision supports TEQSA’s ongoing work to reduce the risk posed by commercial academic cheating services to student interests and the reputation and standing of Australian higher education.”

TEQSA will join ASQA in February for a TAFETalks on the strategies the regulators are using to combat organisations trying to undermine academic integrity. This session will be advertised in the newsletter soon and will be open for registrations.

TAFE winners announced at NSW training awards

A host of standout students and organisations were honoured in the 2021 NSW Training Awards virtual event on Saturday night. The winners included:

  • Apprentice of the Year: Troy Harris, TAFE NSW, Certificate III in Plumbing, employed by A P Bathrooms
  • Trainee of the Year: Megan Cox, TAFE NSW, Certificate IV in Information Technology, employed by PwC Services
  • Vocational Student of the Year: Gabriella Adeline, TAFE NSW, Certificate IV in Patisserie, employed by Icebergs Dining Room and Bar
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year: Adam Hansen, TAFE NSW, Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, employed by 3Bridges Community
  • Special Award for a Woman in a Non-Traditional Trade or Vocation: Althea Kruizinga, TAFE NSW, Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician, employed by HVTC, hosted by BlueScope Steel
  • Encouragement Award: Rhiannan McDonald, TAFE NSW, Certificate III in Individual Support

There were also a number of People’s Choice Awards:

  • Apprentice of the Year: Benjamin Lye, TAFE NSW, Certificate III in Parks and Gardens, employed by Tamworth Regional Council
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year: Maddison Peisley, TAFE NSW, Certificate III in Business Administration, employed by Southern Youth and Family Services
  • School Based Apprentice/Trainee: Tyler Pockran, TAFE NSW, Certificate III in Commercial Cookery, Blaxland High School, employed by Tetsuya’s Restaurant.

See full details of the 2021 NSW Training Awards

Box Hill Institute represents Victorian TAFEs in Microsoft pilot

Box Hill Institute has joined with Microsoft Australia in a pilot program where students will undertake online training to gain Microsoft certifications as a part of their TAFE education.

Executive Director of Educational Delivery at BHI, Jane Trewin, and Future Skills Lead at Microsoft, Yasminka Nemet, have presented the pilot program at conferences and to educational leaders in the TAFE sector.

BHI has been selected by Microsoft Australia and TAFE Directors Australia to represent the Victorian TAFE system in the pilot digital training program, along with TAFEs in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania.

Fifty BHI students will be using the online Prodigy Learning platform to learn critical Microsoft skills needed in digitised economy.

Across the four TAFEs involved, the pilot aims to teach students about specific Microsoft tools identified from 55 courses out of eight categories. It also explores how these tools can be incorporated into their learning and training, with a view to improving employability.

BHI has two groups of students involved in the pilot. Cybersecurity and IT students will complete the Azure Fundamentals online course, and Mental Health and Creative students will complete the PowerPoint online course.

Ms Trewin said the program is getting students ready for the new digitally enhanced work environment.

“Increased digital skills help to give our students an edge when applying for jobs. BHI is really excited about the opportunity this pilot presents for our students and staff.”

Upon completing the Prodigy Learning four stage learning pathway, students will receive a Microsoft certification that can be displayed as a digital badge.

All the TAFEs involved will analyse their students’ feedback to determine how to incorporate the findings into regular course offerings.

Don't forget to register! TAFETalks VET-in-schools webinar, Wednesday 20 October


Don’t forget to register for the next TAFETalks: Breaking down the barriers – the future of VET in Schools, Wednesday 20 October at 2.00pm ADST.

The one-hour session features Professor Peter Shergold, Chancellor Western Sydney University and Steffen Faurby, Managing Director, TAFE NSW. Register here

And, dont forget upcoming TAFETalks events… 

Apprenticeships Part 1: Innovation and acceleration, Wednesday 17 November at 2.00pm ADST.

This is the first part of a two-part series on apprenticeships. Join Dr Gavin Lind from Mining Skills Organisation Pilot and Michelle Hoad, Managing Director North Metroplitan TAFE in Western Australia to talk about innovation and acceleration of apprenticeships. Register here

Apprenticeships Part 2: Supporting students to complete, Wednesday 1 December at 2.00pm ADST.

This is the second part of a two-part series on apprenticeships. Join the National Careers Institute (NCI), Dianne Dayhew, Ben Bardon, and Grant Dreher, CEO TasTAFE for an in-depth discussion on strategies for supporting students to improve apprenticeship completions. Register here

Micro-credentials: developing with and for industry, Wednesday 16 February at 2.00pm ADST .

Micro-credentials are on everyone’s lipsJoin renowned expert Beverley Olivier and representatives from TAFE Queensland and TAFE NSW to further your understanding of micro-credentials and how two leading TAFEs are working with industry to develop micro-credentials for their needs. Register here

Canadian edutech leader selects Holmesglen, APAC base

Leading Canadian edutech company Lighthouse Labs has entered a partnership with Holmesglen Institute and will establish its Asia Pacific base in Melbourne.

The five-year partnership will see Lighthouse Labs, in partnership with Holmesglen, offer a 12-week Bootcamp program in web development and data analytics, beginning in February.

Lighthouse Labs was created in 2013 by a team of software developers with a passion for code, mentorship, and education. It has trained and introduced more than 30,000 students to the practice of coding and has launched Bootcamp students into careers in the tech industry, with a 99 per cent employment rate.

The Chief Executive of Holmesglen Mary Faraone said the alignment between Holmesglen and Lighthouse Labs was clear from the very beginning.

“Both organisations share a commitment to skill up the next generation of digital experts through the provision of student-oriented, personalised learning programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.”

The co-founder and CEO of Lighthouse Labs Jeremy Shaki said Australia and Canada have similar technology ecosystems, and the partnership will empower students to contribute to the incredible growth of Australia’s tech industry and digital economy.

TasTAFE non-executive board vacancies

TasTAFE is transitioning to be more responsive to the needs and expectations of Tasmanian learners, employers and industries.

The TasTAFE Board is seeking three Non-Executive Directors. These Non-Executive Directors should be strategic and forward-looking leaders who can contribute to transformative organisational and cultural change.

If you are interested in contributing to TasTAFE through one of these non -executive Board positions, please contact Lynne Chapman at for a confidential discussion or to request a copy of the role statement.

Call for applications: creative thinkers to lead a CIT college

Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) is looking for creative thinkers who can help design and manage within an organisation that is changing to meet the needs of tomorrow’s students.

In this role you will lead a CIT College and actively deliver against CIT’s Strategic Compass through its Evolving Together framework. The position description and details are available here.

For more information, please contact Andrew Whale,

Applications close Wednesday 27 October.

Pilot program set to transform digital skills training

There is much anticipation among TAFEs at the opportunities flowing from the work of the Digital Skills Organisation – one of three Commonwealth-funded Skills Organisation Pilots.

The DSO is developing new approaches to digital skills training that meet the needs of employers and employees across all industry sectors – tech and non-tech.

Based on the urgent need for more flexible, up-to-date training products and clear digital pathways, the DSO model encompasses three main elements:

  • Employer-led Digital Skills Standards which engender confidence in the people who have attained the standard,
  • Digital Career Pathways which provide a common language to help explain options for investment in digital skills, and
  • Digital Centres of Excellence which focus digital knowledge, expertise and training support to help uplift capability across registered training providers.

Some of the key projects being undertaken by DSO include:

  • Kangan-Cremorne Project, a partnership with Kangan Bendigo Institute and five prominent employers (Carsales, Livetiles, MYOB, REA and Infoex) to pilot a skills-based program to meet the needs for entry level digital professionals in the Cremorne, Melbourne tech precinct.
  • Train 100 Data Analysts, a market-driven solution to rapidly train and employ 100 data analysts, in partnership with TAFE Queensland, General Assembly and Goanna Solutions.
  • Qualification Design Trial, engaging with a wide range of employers to develop new approaches to design qualifications for digital occupations, with a focus on data analytics.
  • Digiskills Academy (Year13 partnership project), developing a curated pathway for high school leavers for post-high school digital roles.
  • Digital ToolBox, assisting employers through access to useful online tools to support their organisation in understanding and developing digital skills – to be launched in November.

Over the next 18 months many more employer-led digital upskilling opportunities will be available for the TAFE sector to partner with DSO.

Chisholm Institute extends delivery of Australian qualifications in Qatar

Chisholm Institute has signed an extension to its education partnership with Qatar’s Ministry of Education and Higher Education for further three years.

The partnership will continue to support the development of Qatar Technical School’s teaching staff, to ensure consistent high quality training and resources, and ensure students of QTS have the preparatory skills and knowledge to pursue further studies in their chosen fields.

Qatar Technical School for Boys under the auspice of Chisholm Institute, has delivered a range of Certificate II qualifications since 2018, including Engineering, Sampling and Measurement, Process Plant Operations and Public Safety.

The recent agreement extends the partnership to include the inception of Qatar Technical School for Girls (QTSG). Students from QTSG will be able to initially undertake technical specialisation study areas of sampling and measurement and electrical engineering.

The agreement was signed virtually by Chisholm CEO Stephen Varty and Ms Fawzia Al-Khater, the Assistant Undersecretary for Educational Affairs of Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

The close of a chapter in tuition protection

An important chapter in Australia’s tuition protection arrangements has come to an end, with the Director of the Tuition Protection Service (TPS), Vipan Mahajan, finishing up in the role last week.

Vipan was appointed as the Director of the TPS in 2012.

Over the past decade, he has overseen the establishment and successful operation of the TPS for eligible international and domestic students in circumstances where providers have been unable to fully deliver courses.

Vipan’s background in financial management and his understanding and experience in the international education and training sector, particularly around consumer protection, has served Australia well.

TDA has worked closely with Vipan over this time and remains grateful for his openness and willingness to engage. We extend our best wishes for the future and look forward to working with Ben Houston as TPS Operations Director.

In September the federal government announced a review of the TPS to be undertaken by the Nous Group.

The aim of the review is to consider the suitability of current tuition protection arrangements and to identify any areas for improvement. Importantly, it will also consider the feasibility of expanding the TPS across the VET sector to fee paying students.

ASQA issues training provider communique

The Australian Skills Quality Authority has published the Communique from its most recent training provider roundtable in September.

The Communique covers areas including cost recovery, a review of registration models, and regulatory risk priorities.

See the September Communique

Diary Dates

Free online OctoberVET events

National Skills Commission
Training Product Similarity Research using innovative advanced techniques
11 October 2021
More information

Aotearoa New Zealand’s Reform of Vocational Education and Training (RoVE)TePūkenga (NZ Institute of Skills and Technology) aspirations and promises
13 October 2021
More information

Join the authors featured in the May 2021 edition of the Research Today magazine to hear more about their research
19 October 2021
More information

The relationship between migration to Australia and international education history and future directions
20 October 2021

Human Services Workforce Forum Sydney
14 October 2021
Register your interest in attending this event via the below links:
Employers / Service Providers – 9.30am
Training Organisations – 1.30pmTAFETalks: Breaking down the barriers – the future of VET in Schools
TAFE Directors Australia
20 October 2021, 2.00 pm ADST

The role of Tertiary Education in supporting post-Covid social, environmental and economic recovery
LH Martin Institute Conference
26-28 October 2021
More information

Human Services Workforce Forum Canberra
26 October 2021
Register your interest in attending this event via the below links:
Employers / Service Providers – 1.30pm (Online event)

Human Services Workforce Forum Canberra
27 October 2021
Register your interest in attending this event via the below links:
Training Organisations – 1.30pm (Online event)

National VET PD Week
Velg Training
15-19 November 2021 (Online)
More information

TAFETalksApprenticeships Part 1: Innovation and acceleration
TAFE Directors Australia
17 November 2021, 2.00 pm ADST

Australian Training Awards
18 November 2021
Perth, Western Australia
More information
2021 VDC Virtual Teaching & Learning Conference
VET Development Centre
18 – 19 November 2021 (Online)
More information

TAFETalksApprenticeships Part 2: Supporting students to complete
TAFE Directors Australia
1 December 2021, 2.00 pm ADST

National Apprentice Employment Network
National Conference
15 – 17 March 2022
Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart, Tasmania
More information