Welcome students! From fee-free to international – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Welcome students! From fee-free to international – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

At the start of the academic calendar year, it is fantastic to see our TAFEs come alive with students.

Welcome to all those students who might be undertaking a fee-free TAFE course. For some of those students they might not have studied for a while or this might be their first step into tertiary learning. Reports from TAFEs across the country are that fee-free TAFE is making a difference to many students, including those from equity groups. That is a great outcome!

To our apprentices and trainees beginning or continuing the learning part of their learn-while-you-earn job, that commitment to a career and TAFE skills acquisition, in very vital industries for Australia, is to be celebrated.

TAFE is a great place for school leavers as they continue to acquire the skills needed for their years of employment ahead. TAFE adult academic learning environments are great places to get that supported next step.

To those already in employment taking on new study for better skills or a career transition – good on them. This can be a huge undertaking. As we know, the juggle to manage existing jobs, families and learning cannot be underestimated.

A big welcome finally to the international students who have selected TAFE, or a dual sector university, for their vocational education and training experience. As we all know, the last few years have contained lots of uncertainty for this cohort of students. It is wonderful to see the diverse groups of international students returning to be part of all TDA member institutions.

Continuing to challenge many of these students was the recent announcement by China that students had to be on campus for the start of semester. Thanks to those in government who took an active role in negotiating flexibility to this announcement. TAFEs will continue to support all their international students with quality learning experiences.

So, there it is – another academic year begins that will see all sorts of people acquire new skills, new knowledge and new ability to contribute to our economy and society. Best wishes to all our students for 2023.

New head of Commonwealth Department of Education

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced the appointment of Tony Cook, pictured, as the Secretary of the Department of Education.

Mr Cook is currently Deputy Secretary, Higher Education, Research and International at the Department of Education.

He has held a range of senior public servant positions at the Commonwealth and State levels, including as Director-General of the Queensland Department of Education, and Deputy Secretary at the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. He is also a former teacher.

Mr Cook replaces Dr Michele Bruniges who retires in April.

The Minister for Education Jason Clare said, “Mr Cook is an outstanding person and I’m very happy that he has been chosen to lead the department as we work to build a better and fairer education system.”

Mr Clare described Dr Bruniges as an “extraordinary public servant” who has dedicated more than 40 years to education as a teacher and policy maker.

“She will go with my gratitude and the respect of all the Ministers she has worked with over her distinguished career,” Mr Clare said.

Mr Cook’s five-year appointment commences on April 4.

TDA extends its congratulations to Tony Cook on his appointment and offers the very best wishes to Dr Bruniges on her collaboration and contribution to the sector over many decades.

Profiling the Jobs and Skills Councils – Transport and Logistics

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

At Industry Skills Australia (ISA), formerly known as Australian Industry Standards, we’re working to establish the Jobs and Skills Council (JSC) for Transport and Logistics which includes aviation, logistics, road transport, rail and maritime sectors, and the emerging industries of omnichannel logistics and space transport.

For many stakeholders, the difference between the previous Skills Service Organisations and JSCs is not too clear, so we thought a good place to start on our profile article is to set out some of the key points of difference between the two.

The four JSC roles enable us to work within the full skills ecosystem – schools, VET, Higher Education and industry – and right along the student journey.  In doing so, we can apply our resources and collaborate with stakeholders who share industry’s priorities and passion, and who want to be part of the solution.  We’ll be working with employers, unions, industry bodies, communities, training providers, universities, schools and the innovation sector.  We’ll also be working closely with each state and territory training authority and Jobs and Skills Australia.

So what are the four roles of JSCs?  The first is ‘industry stewardship’ which involves gathering industry intelligence to reliably represent the views and needs of industry back to the system and its decision-makers.  From that flows the ‘workforce planning’ role which, drawing on industry intelligence and anchored in hard data, will see industry prioritise its skills needs into Workforce Plans.  From that advice comes the third role, the development of training products and other workforce development solutions in response to industry’s skills needs.  Our fourth and final role involves ‘implementation, promotion and monitoring’ where we’ll be working on the ground to support training providers, promote careers and monitor just how well the system is meeting the needs of industry and learners.

Owned and led by industry, ISA is committed to a ‘people first’ culture where a skilled workforce enables better jobs, increased productivity and real opportunity.  With an operating model designed around this ethos of jobs, productivity and opportunity, stakeholders will have a wide range of opportunities to get involved through initiatives such as:

  • RTO Capability Building Program which will build practitioners’ vocational currency,  professional capability and grow communities of practice
  • Regional Fora in priority locations across the country which will build enterprise capability in workforce development and broker partnerships between stakeholders
  • Technology Futures Taskforce which will identify the implications of cutting-edge technologies on skills and jobs, and through world-class training products, enable the rapid adoption of new technologies at scale by the Australian workforce.

We believe that great ideas can come from anyone and anywhere. Whether you’d like to collaborate with us, share your ideas, get involved in our activities or simply stay informed, we’re encouraging people to get in touch now and join us on the journey.
If you would like to know more about:

  • ISA establishment and activities – visit us here and subscribe to our mailing list to stay informed
  • Opportunities for collaboration – email us at enquiries@isajsc.org.au and include a short outline on your organisation and the jobs and skills issues you are keen to address
  • Career opportunities – follow us on LinkedIn for the latest vacancies.

End of an era as Mary Campbell retires from TAFE Queensland

Mary Campbell, the CEO of TAFE Queensland and a distinguished figure in the VET sector, has announced her intention to retire in June.

Mary, who is also a TDA Board member, advised her colleagues at TAFE Queensland last week of her decision.

“It has been an absolute privilege for me over the last 36 years to have played a part in serving and leading this incredible intergenerational asset that underpins the economic and social prosperity of the communities of this state,” her message reads.

“I know that I will deeply miss the daily interactions and collaborations with you all. I am incredibly proud of the progress we have made together and the positive impact we have had on the lives of so many.”

Mary started her career in 1987 teaching in the business management faculty at the former Moreton Institute of TAFE.

She has held senior management positions across a number of TAFE institutes in Queensland including SkillsTech Australia, Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE and Moreton Institute.

In 2018, as training partner for the Commonwealth Games, Mary led TAFE Queensland’s delivery of 360,000 hours of training to 15,000 volunteers for 200 games roles.

In 2020, Mary was presented with the Australian Training Awards Lifetime Achievement Award.

TDA extends its congratulations to Mary at the culmination of this extraordinary lifetime of achievement in TAFE. Her passion, knowledge and invaluable contribution to TAFE Queensland and the wider TAFE community has been immense and will be greatly missed.

TAFETalks: The Future of Learning: ChatGPT, Edtech, and the Impact on Academic Integrity

Join TDA this Wednesday for an exciting TAFETalks webinar on ‘The Future of Learning: ChatGPT, Edtech, and the Impact on Academic Integrity.’ Learn about ChatGPT, a large language model developed by OpenAI, its capabilities, potential future developments, and its incorporation in education.

We’ll also discuss affordability issues, privacy concerns, and the impact on the workforce and skills development with a focus on the role of Jobs and Skills Councils. Plus, find out how AI is being used for personalised learning and assessment in vocational education and training, with a sneak peek of the latest advancements in AR/VR technology.

To register for this event, please click here

SA skills commissioner steps down to support her family

South Australia’s inaugural Skills Commissioner, Renee Hindmarsh, has advised the state government that she intends to stand down from the role due to family reasons.

The Minister for Education, Training and Skills Blair Boyer said Ms Hindmarsh had advised him that she is unable to continue in the position and will be moving to the east coast to support her family.

Ms Hindmarsh was appointed to the role in 2021 and saw her deliver the Commission’s inaugural strategic plan that was focused on a connected and responsive skills system, and a world-class apprenticeship and traineeship system.

Ms Hindmarsh said she is proud of the work the Skills Commission has achieved since its creation.

“I love this demanding role, but family must come first. It’s been a difficult but necessary decision for me to step back from the Commission and to focus on their needs,” she said.

Ms Hindmarsh will finish on March 31 and the government will start recruitment for a new skills commissioner.

TAFETalks: Women’s Leadership in Times of Crisis

Join TDA for a special episode of TAFETalks as we celebrate International Women’s Day and the important role of women in vocational education and training (VET). Hear Kit McMahon share insights on the challenges and opportunities facing women in the current VET system.

Additionally, Mish Eastman from RMIT and Sally Curtain from Bendigo Kangan Institute (BKI) will discuss how they have developed leadership in times of crisis, including RMIT’s innovative response to the pandemic and BKI’s unique program to transform their systems for better student-centered training.

To register for this event, please click here

JSA starts review of Australian Skills Classification

Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) has commenced an update of the Australian Skills Classification (ASC) which will include a range of both new and revised occupation profiles.

JSA now manages the ASC, which provides the skills profiles for more than 1,100 occupations, along with information on similarities between occupations and also skills transferability.

The update is due mid-year. JSA invites feedback about the draft profiles which can be seen at the JSA Consultations page.

The consultation period closes March 1. To discuss or for more information, email: SkillsClassification@jobsandskills.gov.au

Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has opened the first round of consultation into a review of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).

This round will cover areas including computer system design, welfare and social assistance, education and training, aged care and disability services, management and related consulting services, and childcare services.

After consultations during 2023 and 2024, the ABS expects to release the updated classification in time for the 2026 Census.

See more

Incentive bonus of up to $15k for regional WA TAFE teachers

New and existing regional TAFE teachers in Western Australia’s Pilbara, Kimberley and Kalgoorlie regions will be eligible for a one-off incentive payment under the state government’s new  $2.9 million Temporary Regional Incentive program.

Eligible teachers will receive up to $15,000 in the Pilbara and Kimberley, and $10,000 in Kalgoorlie. The payment is on top of existing incentives for working in regional areas.

Training Minister Simone McGurk said the incentive ensures regional TAFEs continue to support local students, employers and industries through course availability and access to training.

See more

Diary Dates

TAFETalks: The Future of Learning: ChatGPT, Edtech, and the Impact on Academic Integrity
8 February 2023
Webinar, 2.00pm AEDT
Register here

IEAA Symposium 2023: Global Competitiveness and Growth
9-10 February 2023
Symposium sold out but Friday (10th) session streaming online
More information

Centre for the Study of Canadian and International Higher Education
Eroding the Social Role of Vocational Education in Australia
10 February, 2023, 8:00 – 9:30 AM AEST (QLD)
More information

Transforming education and training in Australia: challenges and opportunities
15 February 2023
More information

Universities Australia Conference 2023
22-23 February 2023
National Convention Centre, Canberra
More information

TAFETalks: Women’s Leadership in Times of Crisis
8 March 2023
Webinar, 2.00pm AEDT
Register here

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

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

2023 VDC Teaching & Learning Conference
17-18 August 2023 – save the date

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

2023 National VET Conference
2-3 November 2023
Gold Coast
More Information