Two great webinars and some common themes – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Two great webinars and some common themes – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Last week over 900 people registered for one or both webinars hosted by TDA on Wednesday and NCVER on Thursday. Jodi Schmidt of HSSO, Paul Walsh of AIS and Philip Clarke of IBSA joined TDA for TAFETalks: Imaging an integrated VET and HE future. They provided a perspective on this topic from the viewpoint of industry. The following day, at the invitation of NCVER, I joined Andrew Shea of Builders Academy to reflect on the presentations by researchers Melinda Waters and Hugh Guthrie about their findings in: Making delivery better: Perspectives from RTOs.

While these two webinars were on very different topics and were from quite different perspectives, a few interesting themes emerged. I’m going to detail five reflections on common themes I have drawn out.

Underpinning our ability to be responsive to students and industry is the importance of the policy settings. As our industry speakers stated, industry wants higher education and VET to come together, including around pathways. To achieve this goal, funding and regulation must be supportive. Our NCVER researchers also found there was a desire within RTOs for the regulatory environment to be supportive of quality. There were comments including around increasing trust for those RTOs doing the right thing, fostering teacher and trainer professional judgement, and increasing funding to support quality. Therefore, policy settings affect our aspirations, whether they are in RTOs whose focus is on student learning, or among industry leaders whose focus is on meeting skill shortages. For both to be achieved funding and regulation must be supportive.

A flow-on theme in both webinars was the importance of continuous improvement. As Melinda Waters said, their research found that RTOs saw ‘high quality delivery adapts to changes’. This then is part of a continuous improvement cycle. Similarly, although with a different lens, our industry speakers outlined that market forces will impact their workforce planning focus, resulting in innovation in training product development.

This brings me to the third theme – one size does not fit all. There was discussion in the TDA industry webinar about diplomas. The perspective of our TAFE respondent, CEO of Holmesglen Institute, Mary Faraone, is that training packages may not be right for Diplomas. Last year I wrote about one size does not fit all in a TDA newsletter and stated, ‘that training packages begin to diminish in value at these levels of the AQF’. Once a student is studying a Diploma or an Advanced Diploma, they should be able to be assessed in a holistic manner. Thus, we need to have different training product solutions for specific outcomes. Although a different discussion, in the NCVER webinar, it was said RTOs never rely on one size to fit all in their delivery. They all used many tools to deliver and to gauge how students are learning.

The fourth theme, regardless of whether we are focusing on ‘making delivery better’ or an ‘integrated VET and HE future’, was the importance of networking and collaboration. All five presenters at various times and in different ways talked about the value of networking between peers and collaborating between industry and RTOs.

And finally, the last theme is not about content but about the value of webinars.  I reflected that one of the positive aspects of our last two years is the ready availability of professional development for all people without leaving their desk. Both these webinars were free of charge – part of the thought leadership of both TDA and NCVER. Access to great researchers like Hugh and Melinda and terrific industry leaders like Jodi, Paul and Phil has never been easier. While it is wonderful to be able to make those connections online there is still place for the face to face. So, don’t forget to put in your diary the TDA convention in November in Adelaide! Read about it in this newsletter.

It is Easter next weekend and the TDA newsletter will be having a break – Have a good week and a safe Easter weekend.

TDA Convention 2022: Courage, Change and Challenge – The Future of TAFE

We are pleased to announce that the venue for the TDA Convention 2022 will be the Hilton Adelaide from Tuesday 15 to Thursday 17 November.

TDA has convened a working group made up of one TDA member representative per jurisdiction to inform program development and to provide ongoing support for convention preparations.

Members of TAFEs and dual sector universities wishing to discuss input and ideas for the convention can go to their state/territory representative or contact TDA directly at Input from all stakeholders including our industry partners is welcome via

For all sponsorship enquiries, please contact

Skills organisations had to overcome 'confusion' about their role, report says

The establishment of the Skills Organisation (SO) Pilots ahead of a broader direction for VET reform meant that they were forced to operate without clarity about their long-term role in the VET system, according to the first review of the project.

The first stage of a two-part review, the Skills Organisation Pilots Evaluation Project 1 – Implementation Review Report has been released.

The review said that establishing the pilots in the areas of mining, digital and human services, ahead of clearly articulating the next stage of reforms created confusion for some, particularly in relation to the long-term role of the SOs in the system and their relationship with existing VET infrastructure.

It says these uncertainties have been resolved with the announcements regarding Industry Clusters.

The review said the SOs are currently operating with small, agile teams, who work with sub-contractors and through partnership arrangements to deliver their work programs.

“Pilot projects are mainly being delivered with third parties because the SOs recognise the skillsets and capabilities that others can bring and the diversity of projects,” the review said.

The review is being undertaken for the Department of Education, Skills and Employment by a consortia comprising Urbis Pty Ltd and ARTD Ltd and is being progressed through two separate but interrelated projects.

TAFETalks: Cyber security; Building capability to respond to risk

Australia and Bhutan share lessons from Covid-hit tourism

A webinar titled “International tourism and the COVID-19 pandemic: sharing of lessons between Australia and Bhutan” took place last Thursday.

The webinar brought together the Tourism Council of Bhutan, the Queensland Tourism Industry Council, and the Royal Institute of Tourism and Hospitality, and was facilitated by TAFE Queensland. It also heard discussion about changes brought by the pandemic and the role of VET.

The webinar concluded the Australia-Bhutan TVET Sector Reform Project, which was launched in March 2021. The project activities included capacity building in competency-based training and OHS, curriculum development and peer to peer engagement between TAFEs and Bhutanese training providers. The project was delivered by TAFE Queensland and Melbourne Polytechnic and coordinated by TDA.

The project was an excellent illustration of the impact that can be achieved through collaborations between TAFEs in the international space.

Thank you to Ewa Filipiak who expertly led the Bhutan project. Ewa finished with TDA last Friday. On behalf of TDA members we extend our thanks to Ewa for her leadership of international engagement and we wish Ewa all the best for the future.

WorldSkills works to change attitudes among youth, report finds

The WorldSkills program has proven a powerful motivation to students to complete their studies and progress their vocational careers according to a new report prepared by WorldSkills Australia.

The reportSupporting Our Youth to Thrive, found that 87.5% of respondents attributed their motivation to finish their current education to their involvement in the WorldSkills program.

It also found that the program helped change the perception of VET amongst secondary students, and their family and friends, with 89% reporting that witnessing the event had positively changed their perception of VET and 93% saying they were inspired to tell others about the power of VET.

“We’re incredibly proud of these results, which are testament to not only the strength of the program itself, but also the quality and passion of our volunteers, the participants, their employers, and the extended team including the training providers and industries who partner with us,” WorldSkills Australia CEO Trevor Schwenke said.

The study explored the views and attitudes of over 400 young apprentices, trainees, VET students, and their mentors, to better understand what motivates them.

$8m opportunity to develop micro-credentials for global market

The federal government has approved the establishment of an $8 million competitive fund for industry to develop up to 70 micro-credentials for international delivery.

These micro-credentials will encourage interest in further study of an Australian education offering and provide a pathway for international students and overseas workers to blended education delivery options, both online and offshore.

Industry, commercial and professional bodies will be able to apply for funding to develop the micro-credentials through procurement processes to be held throughout 2022 and 2023. The industry-led approach is aimed at ensuring the micro-credentials meet industry standards and address global skills needs.

The first approach to market to develop the micro-credentials was published on Austender on 1 April 2022 and closes 23 May 2022.

Executive leadership roles in the Pacific

The Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) is seeking applications from qualified, highly experienced and motivated individuals for the following roles:

  • Director Academic (TVET) PNG
  • Senior Skills Manager, Mt Hagen, PNG
  • Skills Adviser, Mt Hagen, PNG

APTC is a centre for training excellence providing Australian standard training qualifications and skills across the Pacific region. As Australia’s flagship Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) investment in the Pacific, APTC works collaboratively with TVET stakeholders to achieve training delivery outcomes and reforms to Pacific TVET systems.

APTC has country offices in Fiji, Vanuatu, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. The Regional Head Office is located in Suva, Fiji

Applications close 9:59pm PNG Time, Sunday 24 April 2022.

See more

The TDA newsletter is having a break next week for Easter

Diary Dates

AVETRA 2022 Conference
Are we there yet? Building a research community to share VET’s future
28-29 April 2022
More information

VET CEO Conference
Velg Training
16-20 May 2022
More information

TAFETalks: Cyber security; Building capability to respond to risk
18 May 2022
Register here

Disability Employment Australia Conference
31 May – 2 June 2022
More information

World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics
2022 World Congress 

15-17 June 2022
Donostia-San Sebastian (Spain)
More information

Apprentice Employment Network NSW & ACT
2022 Skills Conference
15 June 2022
Dockside Darling Harbour, Sydney
More information

31st National VET Research Conference ‘No Frills’
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)
6-8 July 2022, Online
Program out, register now!
More information
ACER Research Conference 2022
Reimagining assessment
22-25 August 2022
More information

National Skills Week 2022
22-28 August 2022
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WorldSkills Shanghai 2022
12-17 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
Save the date

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