‘Trust’ – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

'Trust' – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Curiously, during the last week in the various forums I was in or articles I read, one of the most frequently used words has been ‘trust’. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines trust as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. :one in which confidence is placed” (accessed on Friday 10/3/23).

The first-time last week I heard the word used was by a senior official. They were referring to trust in the context of reflections of the national training system some fifteen years since the last National Skills Agreement. While one of the benefits of the current national training system has been that learners have more choice, one of the downsides is that trust of quality providers has been eroded. The over prescription of training packages is an example that shows diminishing trust that quality education providers can develop courses to meet industry occupational standards.

Interestingly, that was followed by Claire Field in Campus Morning Mail on Wednesday. Claire was projecting forward, rather than looking back. She continued her exploration of the likely impact of ChatGPT. She wrote, ‘to my mind, at least in some fields of education, the VET sector is going to need to follow higher education’s lead and allow trusted providers to work directly with industry to develop and amend courses in a timely manner and be self-accredited to do so.”

The next time I heard ‘trust’ used was in a conversation about the Universities Accord. TEQSA’s approach, on the whole, fosters the assumption of trust, while still providing significant support  to providers and being realistic about risks, such as academic integrity. The discussions with the person I was talking to were on VET-HE integration and evolved around partnerships – why some work and others are not sustained. From the perspective of VET this often entails parity of esteem. That is, it is all about the respect for the contributions of trusted partners.

And then there was a meeting I was in with one of the newly forming Jobs and Skills Councils. The comment was we trust TAFE to deliver for our industry.

With so many parts of the tertiary education sector being reviewed currently, it is a good thing to remember the importance of trust. It is trust that is core to successful collaboration and partnerships.

'Systemic problem' – gender imbalance linked to skills shortages

Analysis from Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) shows that occupations with skills shortages are likely to have significant gender imbalance in their workforce, particularly in male-dominated occupations.

For more than half of occupations in national shortage, women make up less than 20 per cent of their total workforce. These occupations include metal fitters and machinists (1% female workforce), motor mechanics (2%), electricians (2%), mining engineers (14%),  construction managers (14%) and software and applications programmers (19%).

For 14% of occupations in national shortage, men make up less than 20% of their total workforce. These occupations include early childhood teachers (2% male workforce), child carers (3%) and registered nurses (12%).

The Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor said the data points to a systemic problem for workers, business, and the economy.

“It may sound obvious, but when half of the population fails to be considered, skills shortages in the workforce can be exacerbated,” he said.

“We need women to start seeing other women regularly in construction jobs and men seeing other men working in aged care facilities to encourage more people to follow that path. Because if you can’t see it, it’s hard to imagine being it.”

He said the issue is particularly relevant for the apprenticeship workforce.

“Although the proportion of women in trade apprenticeships is slowly increasing, women are under-represented in almost all traditional trade occupations, representing 12.2 per cent of all trade apprentices.”

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Profiling the JSCs – the Early Educators, Health and Human Services Jobs and Skills Council

The TDA Newsletter is profiling each of the ten new Jobs and Skills Councils. This week, we look at HumanAbility.

HumanAbility is the new Jobs and Skills Council (JSC) that will provide advice and leadership in:

  • Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Health
  • Human Services (including Aged and Disability Services)
  • Sport and Recreation.

Ten JSCs have been selected to replace the former system which was constituted of 68 Industry Reference Committees supported by a range of Skills Service Organisations (SSOs) – in the case of our sectors, SkillslQ.

The new organisation, HumanAbility is comprised of a group of Foundation Members (around 30 organisations) which are industry organisations, employers, unions and consumer organisations with a direct interest in one or more of our industries. That group of Foundation Members developed the plan for the new organisation and applied for the new role supported by a large number of other industry stakeholders.

Please see our Foundation Member Bulletins 1 and 2 which are available on our Facebook page for some more details about who we are and what we are doing to ‘stand up’ the organisation ready for the real work to begin in the 2023/24 financial year.

How do we plan to work with stakeholders and members?

We will be reaching out to members, supporters and other industry stakeholders to participate in all of our projects and work. This will see a mix of ongoing structural consultation forums as well as time limited and ad hoc consultation forums around particular projects or issues (for example a reference group about a review of a specific qualification or unit of competency).

We will, in keeping with the policy goals set out by the Minister and the Department, be seeking to work differently, with a focus on a more strategic approach to skills development and jobs, a more industry and future-focused approach to qualifications development and with an ambition of improving speed to market (within the limits of our own role and control of the system).

An Industry Advisory Committees will undertake the development of industry plans and lead projects in:

  • Children’s Education and Care;
  • Health & Human Services;
  • Aged & Disability Care and Support; and
  • Sport & Recreation.

We are also planning to create larger forums for:

  • Industry Leaders: to explore directions for our industries and discuss the potential impacts for workforce and workforce development. This provides a future-focused lens to jobs and skills and reinforces industry leadership of our plans and work.
  • Education providers: to provide feedback regarding our qualifications and the issues about from their delivery and assessment.
  • Small & Regional Service Providers: to address the specific needs of small and regional enterprises and service delivery organisations.
  • Students: to hear from students within programs for work in our industries.

If you or your organisation are interested in participating in one or more of the advisory committees when they are formed, please let us know. Pass the word to stakeholders across the industries as we are keen to ensure the widest and best possible range of voices are heard.

We will also seek to collaborate with State and Territory bodies that have similar roles so that we are able to seek their input into our national work and also assist them in meeting regional needs.

How you can contribute to our workforce planning processes

We recognise that the transition to the new JSCs and having a period of time where the former IRCs and SSO have not operated in between has been potentially disruptive to some of you and there are some critical issues that need more urgent attention. During February to April, we will be required to develop and provide to the Department initial Operational and Workforce Plans. This will take place in this first few months of the JSC’s operations, and will largely be a ‘desktop’ process reliant on existing information and reports including those in the handover reports provided to us.

The timeframes involved do not permit us to utilise the range of stakeholder engagement processes that we will use in future. However even in that first high level review, we are keen to hear from you about the must have elements of such a plan.

We have had a handover report of issues identified under the former advisory arrangements and will share these with you as we identify (draft) areas of priority in the weeks ahead. We will engage more fulsomely as the new arrangements settle into place which is expected to be in the new financial year.

As we become established there will be more structured and easier ways for you to provide input into our planning and project activities. However given the time constraints and the need to develop an immediate work plan under the new arrangements in all sectors I hope that you will take the opportunity to share your experience and advice.

We will, in turn, share with you the major themes that emerge in our work to develop the plan and seek further comment along the way.

Please send your contributions to humanability@ahha.asn.au

Rob Bonner
Interim CEO

TAFETalks: Closing the Digital Skills Gap: Industry insights and strategies for meeting Australia's growing job demand

Join TDA, the Digital Skills Organisation, Amazon Web Services and South Metropolitan TAFE to learn about the tech sector and how you can play a part in solving the Australia’s need for digital upskilling.

Do you have a favourite show on Netflix? Do you bank with NAB? Have you been a patient of Gold Coast University Hospital? Is Canva a go-to design tool for you or your students? Have you ever ordered furniture from Koala? Do you use Ticketek when booking a ticket for your favourite show? Are you a resident of New South Wales who received COVID test results from NSW Health Pathology during the height of the pandemic? Are you a citizen of Charles Sturt, South Australia?

Despite the increase of tech jobs, companies are struggling to fill tech roles and Australia’s talent scarcity is among the worst in the world. More than 62% of HR and C-suite leaders admit the talent shortage is causing problems for their organisations.

Patrick Kidd, CEO of the Digital Skills Organisation, and Melanie Botha, Head of Training and Certification for Amazon Web Services Australia & New Zealand and Julia Burns Executive Director of South Metropolitan TAFE WA, will highlight Australia’s need for digital skills and cloud training and discuss ways in which TAFE institutions can best prepare learners for the tech jobs of today, and the future.

To register for this event, please click here

More than one million students in government-funded VET

Just over one million students were enrolled in government-funded VET in the first nine months of 2022.

The vast majority (1.02 million) were in nationally recognised training, while 52,200 were in non-nationally recognised training.

The most popular level of education was Certificate III (50%), followed by Certificate IV (20%).

Of the 1.05 million students in government-funded VET, the majority (53.5%) were with TAFE, while 34.7% were at private training providers, and 4.8% at community education providers.

By field of education, Engineering and related technologies (206,085 enrolments) was the largest, overtaking Society & culture (185,410), followed by Mixed field programmes (149,220), Management and commerce (144,540), Architecture and building (122,095), Education (89,735), Food, hospitality and personal services (79,405) and Health (70,890).

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TAFE Opens Doors: A focused discussion on access and equity

TDA is thrilled to announce its upcoming virtual event, TAFE Opens Doors: a focused discussion on access and equity, on 31 May 2023 from 12pm to 5pm AEST.

This event will focus on the important themes of access, inclusion and equity in TAFE. It is aimed at educators, policy makers, and other stakeholders interested in improving TAFE education and creating opportunities. The event will be hosted on Zoom Events and is free for all participants. Sessions have been designed for both educators and corporate professional staff.

TAFE Opens Doors will feature a rich program with a variety of speakers and presentation types, including the opening keynote panel on TAFEs and First Nations Peoples. This panel will be delivered by Professor Peter Radoll, DVC of Victoria University, and Leanne Bell, Faculty Manager of TAFE Queensland and Reconciliation Action Plan Chair.

The event will be split into three streams for the remainder of the day. Participants will have the opportunity to choose between workshops, poster presentations, and facilitated discussions, providing a chance for collaboration and knowledge-sharing among peers.

TAFE Opens Doors is an opportunity to engage with experts and peers in the field, and to showcase the best practices and learnings of TAFE in promoting access, equity, and inclusion. It aims to inspire and motivate participants to champion equity and access in education and training, and to recognise the significant economic benefits that result from creating more inclusive and equitable systems. This is an opportunity to engage in Australia’s conversation and to highlight the transformative power of TAFE in providing life changing prospects for those who have had less opportunity.

Register now to be a part of the discussion.

Senior government appointments

The Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Education, Dr Michele Bruniges, has announced the appointment of Ben Rimmer as Deputy Secretary, Higher Education, Research and International Group.

Mr Rimmer is currently Associate Secretary at the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, and CEO of Homes Victoria.

Mr Rimmer was also a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and in the former Department of Human Services. He will commence his new role on 17 April.

Also, Tony Cook, who is currently Deputy Secretary becomes Secretary on Dr Bruniges retirement.

The Victorian government has appointed Tim Ada as the Secretary of the Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions (DJSIR).

Mr Ada joins DJSIR from the Department of Premier and Cabinet, where he was Deputy Secretary, Economic Policy and State Productivity. Prior to his time at DPC, he was Deputy Secretary of Jobs and Innovation at the then Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.

TDA acknowledges the leadership of Dr Bruniges, thanks her for many years of collaboration and support for TAFE, and wishes her well on her retirement.

VET data collection to be fast-tracked

The VET sector could soon receive critical data in a much shorter timeframe, following proposed changes to legislation to speed up the collection of data from training providers.

The changes are part of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator (Data Streamlining) Amendment Bill 2023 introduced into parliament last week.

“VET student activity can be 20 months old before it’s published. This is far too late,” the Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor said.

“Progressive reporting will help address these long-acknowledged issues with timeliness of information flows in the VET sector, which have put limits on our ability to be more responsive to training needs,” he said.

Australian Training Awards nominations open

Nominations for the 2023 Australian Training Awards direct entry categories are open now.

Individuals, businesses and registered training organisations can nominate directly for the following categories:

  • Outstanding Achievement in the VET and Skills Sector Award
  • Innovation in VET Award
  • Australian Apprenticeships Employer Award
  • School Pathways to VET Award
  • Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award

Finalists from these categories will join state and territory training award winners to compete for a national award title at the Australian Training Awards gala event in Hobart in November.

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VET Development Centre Industry Boost – TAFE Industry Currency Forums throughout 2023


The VET Development Centre (VDC) has partnered with TDA to deliver a national program of TAFE Industry Currency Forums in 2023.

The Industry Boost program provides a high-profile, best practice initiative, to stimulate industry currency for TAFE educators. Mapped to the VET Practitioner Capability Framework and ASQA standards, online forums will be hosted by an experienced AQTF auditor, discussing the industry currency requirements of educators.

Each online forum will include a presenter who is a leading Australian expert from the industry.  The forums will be held online from 2pm to 4.30pm AEST for the registration fee $150 inc GST. All attendees will receive a certificate of attendance.

The 10 Industry Boost forums being delivered in 2023 will focus on: aged and disabled care, child care, dental assistant, electrician, nursing, multimedia specialists, network administrators, cyber security, veterinary nursing and youth work.

For more information about the TAFE Industry Currency Forums please click here.

Registration links for the first three sessions can be found at CHILD CAREDENTAL ELECTRICAL

Extension of time to respond to VET qualifications reform

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations is extending the period for the online survey on proposed VET qualifications reform to 31 March.

The extension will give more time to respond to the online survey.

Stakeholders can also read about the proposed model prior to completing the survey.

ASQA approves training transitions

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has approved an extended transition period for PSP40116 Certificate IV in Government, for TAFE SA only, and for a specific cohort of students, specifically South Australia Police students enrolled on or before the July 2022 cadet intake. The extended transition date is 31 July 2023.

ASQA has also approved an extended transition for MSF30418 Certificate III in Glass and Glazing for delivery to currently enrolled apprentices until 31 July 2024.

Diary Dates

TAFETalks: Closing the Digital Skills Gap: Strategies for Meeting Australia’s Growing Job Demand
29 March 2023
Webinar, 2.00pm AEDT
Register here

VET Development Centre and TAFE Directors Australia
Industry Currency Forums – Online
May to June 2023
More information: Child CareElectricalDental Assistant

AVETRA 2023 Conference
27-28 April 2023
More information

World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) 2023 World Congress
23-25 April 2023
Montréal, Canada
More information

TAFE Opens Doors: a focused discussion on access and equity
VET Development Centre and TAFE Directors Australia
Industry Currency Forums – Online
31 May 2023 Online 12 – 5pm AEST
Register here

Apprentice Employment Network NSW & ACT
2023 Skills Conference
14 June 2023
Dockside Darling Harbour, Sydney
More information

Journal of Vocational Education and Training (JVET) Conference
13-15 July 2023
Keble College, Oxford, UK
More information

32nd National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference ‘No Frills’
19-21 July 2023
RMIT University, Melbourne
More information

Victorian TAFE Association State Conference
26 – 28 July 2023 – save the date
Mildura, Victoria

National Apprentice Employment Network 2023 National Conference
‘New Skills for a New World’
15-17 August 2023 – save the date
Marvel Stadium, Melbourne

VDC National Teaching & Learning Conference 2023
‘From Competence to Excellence’
17-18 August 2023 – save the date
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

WorldSkills Australia National Championships and Skills Show
17-19 August 2023
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Victoria
More information

National Skills Week
‘What are you looking for?’
21-27 August 2023
More information

Australian International Education Conference
10-13 October
More information

VDC World Teachers’ Day Event
27 October 2023 – save the date

2023 National VET Conference
2-3 November 2023
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
More Information