Tools that support VET workforce quality – comment by Jenny Dodd

Tools that support VET workforce quality – comment by Jenny Dodd

The draft VET Workforce Quality Strategy, part of the proposed national training system reforms, suggests a set of assets be produced that will ‘support high quality training and assessment’.

The strategy includes developing tools, resources and guidance ‘to assist RTOs to support their workforce and help trainers and assessors in their roles.’ Much of what is proposed is currently contained within each TAFE’s approach to quality.

TAFEs invest significantly in workforce development. As an example, the  strategy highlights the usefulness of ‘Capability frameworks to support performance planning and management, professional development, workforce planning and self-assessment of performance.’ Most TAFEs have well-developed capability frameworks that are part of their internal quality frameworks.

Capability frameworks are used in the planning phase of an academic quality review cycle. They allow individuals to plot a professional development path for continuous improvement as a teacher against an identified future state. Capability frameworks that are built from within the organisation work best. They are an important tool that facilitates planning by the educator workforce to determine their priorities in accordance with the overall direction of the organisation. They thus become a valuable tool at various levels including for a whole faculty/division, department, team and individual educator.

Capability frameworks are most useful when they are informed by student and employer evaluations. This feedback allows faculties, departments, teams and individuals a reflection point from which to determine what professional development is important for continuous improvement. It means investment can be focused in areas that are likely to increase student and employer satisfaction.

Therefore, capability frameworks form part of an overall internal quality assurance framework. They are a very useful tool for planning when used with information from student evaluations or satisfaction surveys.

TAFEs have developed many of the proposed tools in the strategy as part of their commitment to quality. You can read TDA’s feedback to the draft VET Workforce Quality Strategy by downloading the submission here.

Apprentice commencements surge, but completions impacted by COVID

There was a sharp jump in apprentice commencements in the March quarter, as employers took advantage of the federal government’s employer wage subsidy.

Figures from the NCVER show commencements in the March quarter increased by 66,635 or 35.4% compared with the March quarter 2020.

Commencements increased across trade (33.3%) and non-trade occupations (37.8%) compared with the same quarter in 2020. The largest increases were for construction trades, clerical and administrative, and community and personal services.

However, the impact of COVID on training activity was evident, with completions in the March quarter down 1.2% for trade occupations and 17.5% for non-trade occupations compared with the same quarter in 2020.

The NCVER warned that unusual trends in activity during this period means these data should be interpreted with caution.

Apprentice Commencements
Source: NCVER

Stop treating VET as 'B grade': Professor Peter Shergold

One of the biggest obstacles to secondary school students pursuing vocational careers is a mindset that creates the impression that anything other than university is second rate, according to Professor Peter Shergold, Chancellor of Western Sydney University.

Speaking in the latest TAFETalks webinar last week, Professor Shergold said it was important to restore “parity of esteem” in schools, so that “skills of the hand” were as equally valued as “skills of the head”.

“What frustrates me, and I can’t put too fine a point on this, is that many students and their parents see this (VET) is for the people who can’t go to university. It’s like an A grade and a B grade and that, I think, is shocking,” he said.

“We need to stop suggesting to our senior secondary students that they’re required to choose between university, for which they will need ATAR, and bizarrely, non- university.

“It’s quite a false dichotomy and it’s usually presented in such a way that students, and particularly the parents of students, feel that one route, the academic route is educationally privileged over another route.”

Professor Shergold also weighed in on the issue of microcredentials, saying they would play an increasingly important part across the entire education and training system.

“It seems to me that for, whether it’s continuing to get trade skills or learning how to set up a small business or continuing professional development, micro credentials are going to become an absolutely key part of it.”


Don’t forget to register for the next TAFETalks webinar – Apprenticeships Part 1: Innovation and acceleration, Wednesday 17 November, 2pm AEDT.

It’s the first of a two-part series on apprenticeships featuring Dr Gavin Lind from Mining Skills Organisation Pilot and Michelle Hoad, Managing Director North Metroplitan TAFE in Western Australia. Register here.

See all upcoming TAFETalks

NSW invites training providers to tender to deliver industry-specific microcredentials

The NSW government is rolling out a pilot program to develop a range of short courses to meet the specific needs of infrastructure development in Western Sydney.

The government has issued an RFT for training providers under the New Education and Training Model (NETM) co-developed by industry, universities, VET and government.

The program is aimed at rapid upskilling of the workforce in key industry growth areas.

The pilot is offering $37 million to develop and deliver 100 micro credentials proposed by industry over the next four years to meet the needs of the Western Parkland City.

See more

How CIT went digital with Ready Skills

Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) has detailed how its construction team successfully pivoted into online delivery through COVID-19, utilising skills profiling platform Ready Skills to increase digital and real-world engagement across students, staff and employers.

In the special ReadyTech webinar, Digitising vocational education in a COVID world, CIT Construction Team Leader, James Folk, explained how a decline in student numbers in one course area led CIT to explore innovative ways of creating more integrated, engaging digital student experiences.

The result was a purpose-built, rapid deployment of Ready Skills during COVID-19 to ensure training continuity, which resulted in enhanced student and staff engagement, more streamlined skills tracking and assessment, and creativity in courseware creation for the future.

Ready Skills enables CIT to capture and track competencies from students on the job through any device, create courses that are mapped to training packages, and rolls out a system that is simple to use.

CIT has also injected new innovation into its courses, learning and assessments. One example is the addition of augmented reality through third party integration, that allows learners to view the projects in 3D.

“We wanted to create a system that is so flexible and versatile it can be used in ways we haven’t thought of yet,” James Folk said. “The future is looking uncertain and we wanted to have the tools to quickly change to meet the needs in community, whether we’re in lockdown or not.”

The General Manager, Education at ReadyTech, Trevor Fairweather said CIT has shown a commitment to innovation that allowed its construction team to experiment with creating better digital experiences for students and trainers that unlock real efficiencies across the management of courses.

“COVID-19 has been both a challenge and opportunity for TAFEs to work with technologies in new ways. As a TDA partner, ReadyTech looks forward to supporting TAFEs well into the future with purpose-built, TAFE ready cloud-based SaaS solutions they need to make a real difference for their students, their industry engagement partners, and their TAFE operations.”

Watch the webinar recording, or learn more about Ready Skills, here

Final call for nominations: WFCP Awards of Excellence

Nominations for the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) Awards of Excellence 2022 close Tuesday 2 November 2021 at 3pm AEDT (1 November, 11:59 pm Canada/US Eastern Standard Time).

The awards celebrate remarkable contributions to skills development and wider economic and social development and seek to distinguish WFCP member institutions whose exceptional initiatives are strengthening applied learning and research outcomes.

TAFEs and dual sector universities are warmly encouraged to apply in one or more of the following categories:

Individual Categories

  • Outstanding Student Achievement Award
  • Outstanding Educator Award
  • Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion
  • Lifetime Achievement Award

Organisation Categories

  • Applied Research and Innovation Award
  • Sustainable Development Goals Award
  • Cyber and Data Security and Social Engineering Award
  • Construction Award
  • Global Citizenship Award
  • Teacher Professional Development Award
  • Strategic Leadership Award
  • Indigenous Education Award

The nominations are to be submitted electronically to in PDF or Word format.

Award recipients will be informed in February and profiled through WFCP events, including the 2022 Congress in San Sebastian, Spain in June, as well as in future WFCP webinars.

Further information can be found here or by contacting Lyne Dalby at the WFCP Secretariat:

VDC Teaching & Learning Conference program announced

The program for the VET Development Centre (VDC) Teaching & Learning Conference has been released.

This year’s program focuses on the intersecting themes of creativity, connectivity and productivity and how to use these concepts to take your work forward.

While acknowledging that the sector faced uncertain times during 2020 and 2021, the VDC conference will celebrate how it managed to overcome significant challenges and looks forward to a renewed future. The VET sector has reworked teaching and business models, embraced remote learning and working, and firmly established that it is adaptive to change. VET professionals rose to the challenges with increased creativity, connectivity and productivity, finding new ways to support and engage learners.

The VDC continues to evolve its professional learning to support the sector. For the second year it has shifted the flagship Teaching and Learning Conference online. The two-day virtual conference provides attendees with the opportunity to engage in a range of presentations, explore new concepts and spark creative ideas.

Register now to attend

ASQA releases risk target areas

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has released its list of major risk areas for the VET sector, which includes aged care, online learning and VET in schools.

ASQA’s Regulatory Risk Priorities list for 2021–22 includes a number of specific qualifications – Certificate III in Individual Support, Certificate III and Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery, Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care, and Diploma of Leadership and Management.

“We will be engaging with the sector continuously throughout this year and sharing more detail progressively as regular ‘Risk Insights’,” ASQA said.

Other key areas of risk include self-assurance, trainer and assessor capability, COVID-19 responses and areas of  the VET sector that have received increased funding.

See more  

Regional and remote scholarships up to $18k each available

Scholarship worth up to $18,000 each are now available to regional and remote students to support their tertiary education.

Round 5 of the Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships is open and will support eligible students to undertake courses from Certificate IV to PhD level.

The scholarships support flexible study arrangements, and are available to eligible students commencing a new course of study in 2021, studying on campus, online or via distance education, and studying from six months full-time up to eight years part-time.

See more

Diary Dates

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)

WorldSkills Australia 2021 National Championships Closing Ceremony
27 October 2021
Perth, Western Australia & online
More information

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 Indigenous Education Summit
27-29 October 2021 (Hybrid event)
Doubletree Hilton Darwin
More information

OctoberVET: VET and resilience
Dr Karen O’Reilly-Briggs, Dr Karen O’Reilly-Briggs (Box Hill Institute), Dr Rochelle Fogelgarn (La Trobe University) and Dr Jacolyn Weller (La Trobe University) Annemaree Gibson, (Box Hill), Stephanie Cunningham (Box Hill), Mark Jordan (Holmesglen)
12 November 2021, 1-30-3.00 pm
Register here

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 AEDT

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 AEDT

Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group Annual Conference
‘People, place and time: developing the adaptive VET teacher’.
8 December 2021, 2-6 pm (Online)
More information soon

TAFETalks: Academic integrity in VET and Higher Education
2 February 2022
Dr Helen Gniel, Director, Higher Education Integrity Unit, TEQSA & Sharon Waitzer, Director Engagement and Education, ASQA

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