We need investment in capability building if we are to achieve quality – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

We need investment in capability building if we are to achieve quality – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

For the last couple of years, as part of the vocational education and training (VET) reform agenda, there has been discussion about VET quality. This is now being pursued through the VET workforce blueprint which is looking at the critical skill shortage needs of our own industry.

Several immediate solutions are being proposed, but it is TDA’s view that short term solutions for such an important area are never going to hit the mark. Only with investment in vocational education and training pedagogy and funding for teachers and trainers to develop teaching and learning skills will quality be guaranteed.

Last Wednesday, TDA ran TAFE Opens Doors: A focused discussion on access and equity. Over 700 people registered to be part of TDA’s 2023 conference – our first foray into an online conference. We explored the important themes of access and equity. Why? Understanding access and equity informs the delivery of teaching and learning. It also informs the interactions TAFEs have internally with their people and students, and externally with their communities and industry partners. Wednesday’s conversation was an important opportunity to strengthen teaching and learning capability. Understanding how to tailor learning to ensure inclusion for all is fundamental to being a quality VET leader or practitioner.

In the keynote session on Indigenous Perspectives on TAFE, Leanne Bell from TAFE Queensland explored what we can do to create culturally safe learning and working environments. Leanne said, “Lots of our students are very shy and lack confidence … how do we embed First Nations perspectives into TAFE Queensland training … (TAFE Queensland) teachers often say they learn more from their ranger group than they teach … how can staff be aware of these perspectives?” This highlights the importance of anchoring the learning to individuals, so that it works for different cohorts. That is not easy – it requires high level capability.

In the many presentations that occurred last Wednesday afternoon most identified the importance of the influence of an individual for sparking student success. This is not new information, but it reminds us how much more important it is for students from diverse backgrounds to have those champions and those who can help them learn in ways that they need to learn. As Peter Radoll from Victoria University said in the keynote, “one person can change your life”. That person is often the key person at TAFE that students from diverse backgrounds engage with.

In one of Claire Field’s recent podcasts ‘What now, what next’ she interviews TAFE Adjunct Professor Robin Shreeve. Robin is known to many of us for the depth of his experience in TAFE NSW and UK Colleges. One of the many interesting things in Claire’s and Robin’s podcast was Robin’s reflection on the UK system. Robin stated that VET completions are higher in the UK because there is investment in the VET workforce in teaching and learning capability building.

Substantial investment in teaching and learning for VET has been long absent in our system. In the 2000s national funding was available for developing our workforce. As examples, there was funding in Framing the Future and the Australian Flexible Learning Framework that allowed individuals and teams to develop pedagogical skills to deepen their capabilities in teaching, learning and innovation.

TAFE Opens Doors explored the importance of bringing access and equity to the forefront so that all students receive the learning they need. If we are to be good at that, a long-term strategy that will develop the capability of our VET workforce is needed.

The first JSC is up and running, all ten due within weeks

The first of ten new Jobs and Skills Council (JSC) has been established, with agribusiness sector finalising its tripartite structure.

Skills Insight, the agribusiness JSC, will support collaboration between industry and training providers and serve as a source of intelligence on issues affecting agribusiness.

Skills Insight will be responsible for primary producers, textiles, clothing and footwear, forestry, timber and furnishing.

One of its first priorities will be the development of an initial workforce plan for Its industry sectors.

Officials from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) told Senate estimates last week that establishing the ten JSCs was a “hugely complex” process, but that two more JSCs are about to launch, and all ten are expected to be finalised by July.

More than 700 tune into TDA's first online conference

TDA is thrilled to advise that its first online conference was an absolute success, with more than 700 registrants, 24 amazing speakers, and ten fascinating sessions.

The theme, “Access and Equity,” aimed to shed light on the importance of providing equal opportunities for all individuals to access quality education and skills training. We firmly believe that education should be a door that opens to everyone, regardless of background or circumstances.

TDA extends heartfelt gratitude to all participants and presenters who made this conference a resounding success. Your active engagement, insightful discussions, and diverse perspectives created an enriching environment for all attendees.

Once again, thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of TAFE Opens Doors. Let’s keep the conversation going and work together towards a more inclusive and equitable education system.

First Nations students exemplify success and resilience

TDA has curated a story collection, ‘First Nations Focus’, to recognise and celebrate the vital work that members, nationwide, do with First Nations students and communities.

Australia’s First Nations people are renowned as story tellers. The power of story has been used for over 65,000 years to share culture, and the challenges and triumphs experienced.

TDA members in every state and territory contributed to the First Nations Focus story collection. All the stories are owned by TAFEs and republished by TDA with their permission.

We launched the first two stories last week and will be highlighting two stories each week until NAIDOC week in early July.

This week we are looking at Carley’s Journey to Success and the Sea Rangers program in Western Australia. Both stories highlight the transformative power of First Nations education in empowering individuals to overcome challenges, pursue their passions, and make a positive impact within their communities.

“Carley’s Journey to Success” – in this inspiring story from the Canberra Institute of Technology’s Yurauna Centre, Carley shares her personal journey overcoming trauma and finding support through First Nations education. With the help of dedicated teachers, a nurturing environment, and on-site childcare, Carley accessed the education she needed to thrive.

Through her hard work and dedication, she successfully completed a Certificate III in Community Services and received the Excellence Award. Carley now serves as a valued employee in an Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisation. Watch Carley’s journey to success in the video.

“Sea Rangers – Traditional Knowledge and Science Working Together” – the Sea Rangers program, a collaboration between Bundi Yamatji Aboriginal Corporation, Yamatji Southern Regional Corporation, Central Regional TAFE, Parks Australia, and the University of Western Australia, is empowering 12 Indigenous Australians to combine traditional knowledge with scientific principles in conservation and land management.

Led by Maryke Gray, a Conservation and Ecosystem Management Lecturer at Central Regional TAFE, the program supports Yamatji people in actively managing their sea country.

Through marine surveys and practical projects, the Sea Rangers are learning technical and soft skills, gaining industry knowledge, and blending traditional and contemporary expressions of Yamatji culture. The program not only benefits the natural environment but also provides passionate Indigenous students, like Destiny McIntosh, with valuable experiences and connections to land and culture. Read more about the Sea Rangers story.

Number of students caught by VET loan IT glitch reaches 20,000

Almost 10,000 additional students will shortly have historic VET student loan debts recorded with the Australian Taxation Office, taking to 20,000 the total number who have been unexpectedly caught out by a departmental IT failure.

Last August, the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations identified 10,252 students whose loan debts had been stuck in the Commonwealth payment system and not formally recorded with the ATO. The debts go back as far as 2017.

DEWR officials told Senate estimates last week that an additional 9,839 students have had debts identified and these will shortly be transferred to the students’ ATO accounts.

The department says it is working to notify  students and working with training providers to assist students.

There will be no indexation of past debts.

TAFETalks: Skills development for the clean energy economy, Wednesday 21 June 2pm AEST

TDA invites you to the next TAFETalks, which will focus on skills development for the clean energy economy.

TDA will be joined by Eleanor Newby from Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA), who will provide an overview of JSA’s clean energy workforce capacity study which will support Australia’s transition to net zero as well as some early reflections from JSA’s interim report to government.

We will also hear from three TAFE speakers – all experts in their field – who will present on the vital role that TAFE is playing in partnership with industry, in skilling the clean energy workforce. Ross Digby from Holmesglen Institute, Bill Mundy from Federation University and Shawn O’Sullivan from TAFE Queensland will discuss the barriers and enablers for TAFEs in terms of skills development to support Australia’s ambition of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and perspective in this fast-evolving field.

To register, please click here.

Register for MYOB free online showcase

Discover the latest product updates from the past 90 days, designed to enhance your product knowledge to provide up to date training to students. Explore additional resources like product demos, video content, guides, and much more.

The MYOB Showcase will be on Thursday June 8 at 12pm AEST.

The agenda includes exciting sessions such as an executive update, partner program and community relations update, MYOB Business Education, Practice BAS, Flare – Employee Benefits Program, GreatSoft Updates, MYOB Advanced Professional Services, and more. Participate in live Q&A sessions and stand a chance to win exciting prizes.

To register please click here. To learn more about MYOB Educator Certification, please click here.

National VET student survey about to roll out

TAFE institutes are encouraged to help promote to their students details about the upcoming National Student Outcomes Survey being conducted by NCVER.

It is Australia’s largest survey of VET students, and collects information about post-training outcomes and satisfaction with training. Almost a million people who completed training in 2022 will be contacted. The survey begins this month and runs until mid-August.

NCVER is emailing RTOs to let them know about the survey and that some of their students will be invited to participate.

NCVER has produced a promotional kit to help RTOs promote the survey to their students. TDA encourages TAFE institutes to use this kit which contains the survey logo, newsletter text and graphics.

Registered training organisations with enough survey responses will receive a free report that compares the satisfaction and outcomes of their students with students nationally. Results from the 2023 survey will be publicly available from the NCVER Portal in mid-December.

For further information, please contact Davinia Blomberg on 08 8230 8409 or daviniablomberg@ncver.edu.au

Final week to apply for $8k overseas scholarships

Applications for the 2023 Global Footprints Scholarships are open for one more week and organisers have clarified a few issues that arose during a recent online information session.

What if an applicant doesn’t quite fit into any of the categories? What if the minimum qualifications don’t quite match what is done in a particular state or territory?

The answer is simple, says Global Footprints Scholarships CEO Suellen McCaffrey: “Shoot us an email and just ask. All the examples that people shared in the session were actually eligible, and I very much hope those people will apply.”

The scholarships offer a number of $8000 grants to travel overseas for industry experience and learn about sustainability across areas such as agriculture, horticulture and trades.

Applications are open until Monday June 12 at www.globalfootprints.org.au

Draft national care strategy open for feedback

The federal government has released its draft National Care and Support Economy Strategy for public consultation.

The strategy addresses the provision of paid care and support services across aged care, disability support, veterans’ care and early childhood education and care.

People can have their say through a short online form or by uploading a submission on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s consultation page.

Don't miss the dental industry currency forum!

Registrations are open for the upcoming TAFE Dental Assistant industry currency forum.

The industry expert for the Dental Assistant forum Jill Ford, is President of the Dental Assistants Professional Association. Jill completed her TAE qualification and delivered Certificate III in Dental Assisting after developing an interest in education.

The association works to find pathways to encourage Dental Assistants to pursue their careers both in and out of the clinical dental practice with continuing professional development. Jill has been managing a dental traineeship program in TAFE for the past seven years and looks forward to discussing current industry practice and delivery of programs with TAFE educators.

The online forum will be held on Friday 16 June from 2pm to 4.30pm AEST for the registration fee $150 inc GST. Further details can be found at TAFE Industry Boost – VDC. All attendees will receive a certificate of attendance.  Register Now!

TAFE automotive apprentices receive top motorcycle awards

Three TAFE-trained apprentices have been named the national and regional winners of the Ulysses Motorcycle Club’s annual apprentice of the year competition.

Steven Hansen, employed by Work Rest Play at Dubbo, and trained at TAFE NSW, was named the Ulysses Motorcycle Apprentice of the Year.

Bailey Rice, employed by Bike Therapy and trained at TAFE Queensland, was the Queensland/Northern Territory regional winner.

Sam Butler, employed by Yamaha World and trained at TAFE SA, was the South Australian/Western Australian winner.

The Ulysses Club is a social club for motorcyclists over the age of 40 years and says it is the largest social club in Australia.

Thanks to TAFE Queensland Automotive teacher, Jeff Morris, for the update.

From left, award winners, Sam Butler, Steven Hansen and Bailey Rice.

Diary Dates

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

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

TAFETalks: Innovations in Clean Energy
21 June, 2 pm AEST
Register here

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
TAFECreates 23
26 – 28 July 2023
Mildura, Victoria
More information

National Apprentice Employment Network 2023 National Conference
‘New Skills for a New World’
15-17 August 2023
Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
More information

VET National Teaching & Learning Conference 2023
‘From Competence to Excellence’
17-18 August 2023
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
More information

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

Victorian Training Awards
18 August 2023
More information

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

NSW Training Awards
September 2023
Sydney Town Hall
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

Australian Training Awards 
17 November 2023
Hobart, Tasmania
More information