Where to now with the Universities Accord? – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

Where to now with the Universities Accord? – comment by CEO Jenny Dodd

On Wednesday 18 October nearly one thousand people registered to be part of TDA’s online half day conference Linkages: One tertiary education system. This was a pretty big number – many more than TDA had expected when we planned this event at the start of the year.

What it shows is there is interest in a tertiary education system. From the comments in the session chats and the questions to the speakers, it appears there is an appetite for better linkages between higher education and vocational education.

Starting last Monday and over the next few Mondays, TDA will profile in the newsletter case studies of how TAFEs are creating pathways for students between the two parts of tertiary education. So far, those pathway stories demonstrate that TAFEs excel in enabling students to gain practical skills from vocational education along with knowledge from higher education.

However, it is this distinction between skills being in VET and knowledge being higher education’s domain that several speakers challenged during Linkages and is also being challenged by the Universities Accord Panel.

One of Linkages online guest speakers, the Hon Jenny Macklin, a member of the Universities Accord Panel, provided insights into the thinking the panel members have been undertaking. She identified the importance of tertiary education delivering on where Australia needed growth in higher level capability – both skills and knowledge.

Jenny’s perspectives were reinforced at the Accord Panel Steering Committee meeting last week in Rockhampton by Chair of the Universities Accord Panel, Professor Mary O’Kane. When asked what the narrative of the Accord was Mary answered, “growth for skills through equity”.

Both Mary and Jenny, and all Accord Panel members, have emphasised that growth in tertiary education acquisition will only occur when equity groups are full participants. This is a major theme of the Panel’s work and a major point of Jenny Macklin’s presentation during Linkages.

What we are also seeing emerge is a desire to enable collaboration between TAFE and higher education. TAFE Centres of Excellence, that we discussed last week, will be one place that can occur. Other suggestions exist in the Accord Interim Report.

So, what next for the Accord? Professor O’Kane is expected to deliver the Panel’s report by the end of the year. The Government’s response will be in the new year. It is reasonable to assume that better “linkages” between vocational education and higher education will be identified in some way in this final document. What we definitely know is that there will be a focus on fostering participation in tertiary education among equity groups.

'The system has failed' – shocking findings on adult literacy and numeracy

Almost 90% of respondents to a survey on adult literacy, numeracy and digital (LND) needs have identified serious gaps that result in major barriers to employment and participation in society.

The research undertaken by the Reading Writing Hotline shows that many adults face a multitude of barriers in accessing successful courses and support programs that meet their LND needs.

“Even if they can overcome their embarrassment, find a class and navigate complex enrolment processes, they may still be unable to get to class due to lack of transport, cost, carer or family responsibilities or health and wellbeing barriers,” the report says.

It makes 17 recommendations around the need to rebuild the LND workforce, increase funding and flexibility, and enhance delivery and access. It specifically calls for action to address the inequality in service delivery in remote locations and to First Nations communities.

The Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor said that the government will spend $436 million over four years for a redesigned Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program to improve access to foundation skills training.

“The system has failed people and for the sake of equity, inclusion and economic growth we are making significant reforms to remove barriers to better jobs and participating fully in society,” Mr O’Connor said.

See more

Nominations open for TAFE Staff Recognition Awards 2024

Applications for the second year of TAFE Staff Recognition Awards are now open. Nominations are encouraged from all TAFE staff. TAFE Staff Recognition Awards recognise and honour the achievements of TAFE staff across Australia.

TAFE at the Heart is the theme of TDA Convention 2024. The TAFE Staff Recognition Awards will be held at the dinner on the evening of Wednesday 8 May 2024 at Sofitel Sydney Wentworth.

Nominations are now open for the four categories: Heart of Leadership, Heart of Innovation using Technology, Heart of Inclusion and Empowerment and Heart of Student success awards.

For more information and the online application form please click here.

Recipients of the TAFE Staff Recognition Awards 2022.

Skills plan underway for critical minerals and electric vehicles

Experts on critical minerals and electric vehicles have gathered in Canberra to discuss the future of the workforce, skills requirements and the way forward.

The Critical Minerals and Electric Vehicle Skills Forum was organised by the Mining and Automotive Skills Alliance (AUSMASA), the Jobs and Skills Council for the mining and automotive sectors.

“This event played a pivotal role in shaping the future of our industries by fostering collaboration and driving innovation in skills development,” AUSMASA CEO Dr Gavin Lind said.

A 10-point action plan for AUSMASA was formulated through a series of interactive workshops.

When released, the 10-point plan will be available through AUSMASA’s newsletter, The Journey. Subscribe here

Helen Tinney, General Manager, Policy & Training Products, AUSMASA addresses the forum.

Bendigo Kangan Institute selected for new construction campus

Bendigo Kangan Institute had been selected by the Victorian government as the TAFE provider to construct and operate a new $55 million construction-focused TAFE campus in Melton.

The project, which will be delivered through the government’s Building Better TAFE Fund, is due to commence in 2028 and take about 600 student enrolments each year.

The Minister for Skills and TAFE Gayle Tierney said as Melton grows, the government would ensure people have access to great training opportunities, close to home.

Bendigo Kangan Institute Chief Executive Officer Sally Curtain welcomed the partnership.

“Our experience in the region and in delivering construction skills combined with our strong industry partnerships, means we are well positioned to provide training that will create pathways to real jobs.”

TAFETalks: Engage to Excel: Personalised student engagement strategies 15 November 2pm-3pm AEDT

TDA invites you to join us for an engaging discussion with TAFE Queensland and TechnologyOne on making learning enjoyable, discovering practical ways to support struggling students and enhance the experience of international students.

Peter Nikoletatos will discuss student engagement strategies, focusing on leveraging gamification, interactive content, and peer collaboration to tailor engagement to individual learning styles.

Emma Rice and Jo Ward will provide insights into the academically ‘At Risk’ system at TAFE Queensland, focusing on identifying struggling students and implementing appropriate intervention strategies.

Marty Lock will highlight strategies to improve engagement among international students, offering actionable approaches to create a welcoming and inclusive learning environment.

To register click here

Treat international TAFE and university student equally, parliamentary committee urges

A federal parliamentary inquiry into the tourism and international education sectors has recommended differentiating visa applications for international students who choose TAFE.

The interim report of the Trade Subcommittee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade makes 29 recommendations aimed at improving the student experience and safeguarding against exploitation.

The committee recommends the government differentiate visa applications for international students who choose to study at TAFE including disaggregating VET immigration data so that TAFE applications are reported separately.

It recommends the Department of Home Affairs applies a risk regime that recognises TAFE’s quality commitment by providing TAFEs with the same benefits and recognition as universities under the Simplified Student Visa Framework (SSVF).

It says the government should take action to address “persistent and deep-seated integrity issues” in parts of the the private VET sector.

It also recommends trialling external assessments of a random selection of students from high-risk providers to assess chronic quality issues.

See the report

ASQA raises concerns about real estate training

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) says it believes that graduates are not being properly enrolled, trained and assessed prior to applying to become licenced as real estate agents.

ASQA has raised its concerns about three qualifications:

  • CPP41419 Certificate IV in Real Estate Practice
  • CPP51122 Diploma of Property (Agency Management)
  • CPP40521 Certificate IV in Strata Community Management

See more

New data service for RTOs

Registered training organisations (RTOs) will soon have direct access to data on their organisation’s training activity, enabling them to make comparisons with other groups of RTOs.

NCVER is launching DataHub, a secure platform that provides RTOs with access to products to help them benchmark their performance and assist with business planning.

See more

Diary Dates

TAFETalks: Engage to Excel: Personalised student engagement strategies
15 November 2023
Register here

OctoberVET Ballarat
Learning Landscapes: Learning for work and life
15 November 2023
FedUni SMB Campus, Ballarat Tech Park
More information

Australian Training Awards 
17 November 2023
Hobart, Tasmania
More information

Empowered Women in Trades
Gala and Awards 2024
23 February 2024
The Trust, Melbourne
More information

TDA Convention 2024, ‘TAFE at the Heart’ – Register now!
8-9 May 2024
Sofitel Wentworth, Sydney
Call for presenters open now
Early bird registrations

VET National Teaching & Learning Conference 2024
15-16 August 2024
Save the date