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The VET Sector News

Unions fuming over training panel snub

Unions are urging Scott Morrison to overturn a decision to sideline them from a panel overseeing the government's plan to boost vocational education and training.

Skills Minister Michaelia Cash has announced a 19-member panel to guide the $525 million reform package. 

The panel will include the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Industry Group and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

For more information please visit here


Charles Darwin University tops rankings of highest graduate salaries in the country

Charles Darwin University recorded a median salary of $65,200 in the latest Good Universities Guide, alongside the University of Southern Queensland graduates which shared top spot.

CDU was also ranked second of all universities in Australia in the number of its graduates who secure full-time employment.

For more information please visit here.


An 'Australia-style' points based immigration system has been proposed again for the UK, but we already have a version of it

The cut-through phrase ‘Australian style points-based system’ was in the news again this week after Home Secretary Priti Patel offered as it her main policy proposal for Britain’s post-Brexit immigration system. 

The Australian-style system is an old idea, one that’s been reheated by everyone from New Labour ministers to Nigel Farage for more than a decade. It’s the one immigration idea that politicians love to talk about – but what does it really mean?

For more information please visit here.


How the university entrance process has failed future generations

Everything is changing.

Once upon a time a university degree secured future employment. These were the days when we would set our career goals early in life. We would follow a specialised career path and enter an industry that would become our home until retirement. Learning had an end point, namely university graduation. Knowledge was static; facts were facts and they endured. What we learned at university would last a lifetime in the workplace.

For more information please visit here.


‘Level of uncertainty’: Regional migrant push probed in Senate inquiry

Migrants are being encouraged to settle in rural areas under new targeted visa schemes, but there is uncertainty over whether the plan could help or hinder regional migration.

Business and community stakeholders have brought attention to the potential challenges posed to migrants and examined the visas' provisional nature, in submissions to a Senate inquiry on the matter.

The regional visa pathways to be introduced in November are aimed at getting skilled workers to fill skill shortages and boost rural economies in the regions.

For more information please visit here.


Leadership – a key focus for this year’s Australian International Education Conference

‘Leading the way’ will be the key focus for the Australian International Education Conference (AIEC) in Perth this year.

Hosted by IDP Education and the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA), the conference will explore how sectoral and industry leaders navigate through increasing disruption, technological developments, policy changes, and changes in international student demand.

The conference will provide a platform for leading experts to showcase the people, practices and nations that are driving change and showing leadership in the sector through new approaches to international education, technology and research

For more information please visit here.


Why the youth should embrace vocational, technical training

The government has made efforts to improve technical and vocational education and training (TVET). However, more needs to be done to ensure TVET becomes attractive to young people.

The most affected are vocational training centres, which continue to suffer due to poor funding.

Little career guidance has been done to students joining the institutions, with some courses attracting no student. For instance, a study conducted by ZiziAfrique Foundation’s Ujana 360 project revealed that there are courses reserved for female and male students.

Courses such as building technology, metal processing and carpentry only attract male students while female students are only keen to study courses such as fashion design and hairdressing. This needs to change.

For more information please visit here.


India, Nepal and Pakistan rated 'high risk' for universities

The $36 billion international education market has been hit by the Home Affairs department decision making it more difficult for students from India, Nepal and Pakistan to get visas for Australia.

For more information please visit here.


'Perverse' loan incentive funneling students into uni rather than TAFE

The NSW Skills Minister has called on the federal government to extend the HECS tertiary loan system to TAFE, arguing there is currently a “perverse incentive” for students to choose university over a trade because there is no up-front cost.

Concerns over the decline in vocational education and a funding disparity with the higher education sector was raised by state ministers during the Skills COAG held in Melbourne on Friday.

For more information please visit here.


Training for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Vocational education and training (VET) has an important role to play in equipping Australia’s workforce with the skills it will need to address the impact of disruptive technologies, according to a new report released today by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

The Fourth Industrial Revolution — implications of technological disruption for Australian VET shows that while demand for specialist digital skills is expected to rise, it is generic and non-technical skills like team-work, problem solving, creativity and continuous learning that will also be integral to the successful implementation of disruptive technologies in the workplace.

"There has been much discussion and speculation about the type and level of impact that disruptive technologies will have on the Australian workforce," said Dr Mette Creaser, Interim Managing Director, NCVER.

For more information please visit here.


Jobs are changing, and fast. Here’s what the VET sector (and employers) need to do to keep up

Technological developments are expected to majorly, and rapidly, disrupt or change the nature of employment. The multiplier effect of these disruptions interacting with each other has led to what has been termed the fourth industrial revolution (i4.0).

The first industrial revolution took us from agrarian to industrial economies and the second used resources like electricity and steel to create mass production. The third refers to technology advancing from analog and mechanical devices to the digital technology available today.

The fourth industrial revolution represents ways technology has become embedded in societies by the fusion of technologies, or what is known as cyber-physical systems. For example, 3D printing needs advanced materials with printers linked to the internet, which are increasingly intelligent and autonomous.

The consensus among experts is that our training providers and employers aren’t adapting fast enough to meet the skill needs of the fourth industrial revolution. This is reflected in a growing technological and digital skills gap. But there are some things the sector can do to catch up.

For more information please visit here. 


Why Skills Training Can’t Replace Higher Education

Much of the current media-reported posturing by policy makers and pundits about the failure of U.S. colleges and universities to adequately prepare people for the 21st workplace is either ill informed or misguided, in my opinion.

One of the dominant narratives in the media is that we need to produce more workers now who can do whatever is needed now, using short-term postsecondary certification programs. The focus is typically on “vocational” skills, contrasted with what too often are characterised as relatively useless liberal education outcomes, including knowledge of world history and cultures and other “indulgences” such as crafting understandable prose and judging the veracity and utility of information.

For more information please visit here.


Are stereotypes about international students actually harmless?

The phrase ‘international student’ often evokes an image of Gucci-clad young adults rocking up to 9 am lectures, or introverts isolating themselves in their dorm rooms. These common, reductive stereotypes are perpetrated in universities across the UK, but little acknowledgement is given to those of us who are struggling to reconcile our backgrounds with distinct and different local student cultures.

While it appears to be true that there are ‘shy types’, Aniqah Chen, a second-year Sociology student from Malaysia, suggested: “the effect of colonisation is that we view British people as being superior, and many of us are far too aware of the generalisations made about pan-Asians, so knowing we’re too different, even just subconsciously, makes us feel less inclined to even begin integrating.” It appears that being antisocial is not the intention of many international students; instead, it often stems from anxiety about how we are being perceived. As a result, many feel that such stereotypes are inescapable, and not worth trying to subvert.

For more information please visit here.


UNE student Amrit Pal Kaur is NSW International Student of the Year

Amrit Pal Kaur, a PhD student at the University of New England, was named NSW's International Student of the Year in Sydney last week.

The Indian insect ecologist came to Armidale in 2016 to study dung beetles, but has dedicated her time away from the lab to volunteering in her new community - sharing Indian dance and food, helping students, teaching children, and winning sports tournaments.

The state governor, the Hon. Margaret Beazley, presented Amrit the prestigious award at a ceremony at Government House in Sydney on Wednesday, October 2.

"I'm pretty honoured with such a huge recognition at this level," Amrit said.

The award, Study NSW's website reads, recognises international students' outstanding contributions to NSW communities, and celebrates excellence in international student community engagement.

For more information please visit here.


Australian unis’ escalating crisis over international students

The Australian university education sector is facing an existential crisis; its reliance on China, for about 30% of crucial international student revenue, is finally turning sour.

Chinese enrolments next year are expected to be down by about 10%, with some institutions facing double that fall. Normally, countries like India, Nepal and Pakistan would be seen as low-hanging fruit to make up any shortfall, but they have quickly emerged as highly problematic markets following reports of "non-genuine" students using loopholes to obtain student visas. Some institutions are now reportedly cracking down on students from India.

For more information please visit here.


Our 'cruisy' education system is letting down high achievers

I recently met many of the school principals in my electorate. I discussed with them the need for an update of the Melbourne Declaration, which for a decade has provided a strong foundational framework for our nation's educators, but which now requires a rethink as we move into the next century and changing job environment.

The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, published in 2008, has two primary aims. The first, that Australian schooling promotes equity and excellence. The second, that all young Australians become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, active and informed citizens. Both excellent goals. But somewhere along the way these goals have not translated to the outcomes we might wish for.

Australia spends significantly more per student than the OECD average and even more than other high-performing countries such as Finland. Despite significant and increasing investment from Federal and State and Territory governments, our benchmarking data – both nationally through NAPLAN and internationally through PISA - is showing a decline in educational standards.

For more information please visit here.


Australia Talks National Survey reveals what Australians are most worried about

The Australia Talks National Survey has unlocked a fascinating insight into the Australian people: we have more faith in our own ability to deal with problems than we do in our country's — or indeed the world's.

Of more than 50,000 Australians who participated in the mammoth study, most — 78 percent — were optimistic about their own futures.

But they were much less hopeful for the future of the nation at large (51 per cent optimistic), and frankly despairing about where the world's headed, with only 30 per cent hopeful for the future of the globe.

In a hyperactive and increasingly tribalised world, it seems the fear of what lies outside our own sphere of control is far worse than the adversity we face personally.

For more information please visit here.

How AI is transforming education and skills development

Artificial intelligence can help us to solve some of society’s most difficult challenges and create a safer, healthier and more prosperous world for all. The exciting possibilities in the fields of healthcare and agriculture have already been shared in previous posts. But there may be no area where the possibilities are more interesting – or more important – than education and skills. From personalised learning that takes advantage of AI to adapt teaching methods and materials to the needs of individual students, to automated grading that frees teachers from the drudgery of assessing tests so they have more time to work with students, to intelligent systems that are transforming how learners find and interact with information, the opportunities to improve education outcomes and accessibility will be truly transformational.

There are many classrooms around the world where educators teach very diverse groups of students from different cultures, who speak multiple languages. Take The Dhour Shweir Public Secondary School in Lebanon, for example. It improved the academic interaction between students and educators through applications like OneNote and Microsoft Teams which provides real-time language translation, allowing students who speak different languages to communicate with one another. The tools not only promote better collaboration and productivity, but also enhanced interaction between the students and their teachers.

For more Information please visit here.


Experts say sex education isn't keeping up with technology

Last month, SA Police seized several phones from a school in South Australia's Riverland region following allegations of sexting, and many young people are being hauled before the courts amid a widespread 'misunderstanding' about what is consensual and legal.

SA Police Detective Chief Inspector Richard Lambert said people were often pressured to send nude photos, received unwanted nude photos or had their private nude photos shared with others, particularly after a break-up.

Possessing a naked photo of a child under the age of 18 can be classified as child exploitation material and is deemed a serious criminal offence.

For more Information please visit here.


Most uni graduates in work by three years

Nine out of 10 Australian university graduates are working full-time three years after finishing their degree.

The 2019 graduate outcomes survey received responses from more than 40,000 people who completed degrees in 2016 and tracked them three years later.

Four months after graduating, 72.6 percent were working full time, with that figure rising to 90.1 three years on in 2019.

Graduates started off with an average starting salary of $58,700, rising to $72,800 after three years in the workforce.

For more Information please visit here.


The UK is getting advice from Australia on a points-based immigration system, says Priti Patel

The UK is getting advice from Australia on a points-based immigration system that could be put in place after Brexit, Home Secretary Priti Patel has said.

Ms Patel told the Sunday Telegraph she had discussed the scheme with her Australian counterpart Peter Dutton when she was in the US last week.

She told the newspaper: "Peter Dutton is leading a department in Australia that's only been around for two years but they are engaging with us on the points-style immigration system discussion, something which we will be basing our own future immigration system on, to create a compassionate environment and ensure we allow the brightest and best to come to the United Kingdom in the future."

For more Information please visit here. 


New boss at training regulator has massive job ahead

The electrical trades industry says it could take on "vastly more" apprentices but not enough school leavers are aware of the training possibilities, mainly because industry regulators have been "missing for ages".

For more Information please visit here.


Artificial intelligence on Google’s list

It’s known as “Project Euphonia”, named after a group of neotropical birds in the finch family.

“The name was the codename for the project and our publicity people usually change the name when a project goes public, but we liked it so much, we kept it,’’ Julie Cattiau said of the project she is running at Google’s global headquarters outside San Francisco, building technologies that can help people with speech impairments communicate more easily.

The Google artificial intelligence product manager is also working on a project that takes underwater data from whale species and works with shipping companies to try to avoid collisions with marine life such as humpback whales. Both projects are part of Google’s “AI for Social Good” program, which is tackling issues in areas such as healthcare, environmental conservation, agriculture and accessibility.

For more Information please visit here.


UniSA tops state for ratings in the Good Universities Guide

UniSA students are the most likely in the state to gain full-time jobs quickly, the most satisfied with their education, most engaged with their peers and have the best learning resources, national ratings find.

It also receives a five-star rating for social equity for the high proportion of students enrolled from low socio-economic or disadvantaged backgrounds.

And Uni­SA students are by far the most likely to be the first in their immediate family to go to uni.

The Good Universities Guide says 71.9 percent of UniSA graduates are employed full-time four months later, compared to 65.4 per cent for Flinders University and 63.9 percent for Adelaide University. UniSA’s rating for “overall experience” of 80.5 percent, another five-star rating, was slightly ahead of its local rivals.

It topped the state for skills development, measuring student satisfaction with how their studies built their critical thinking skills, problem-solving, communication and collaborative abilities.

For more Information please visit here.


Four Corners whistleblower sued by Murdoch University after raising concerns about international students

A university academic who spoke out about international student admission standards and welfare is being counter-sued for damages by his employer after appearing on a Four Corners program.

Federal Court documents reveal Murdoch University in Western Australia is seeking compensation from Associate Professor Gerd Schroder-Turk, claiming it has lost millions of dollars in revenue due to a reduction in international student numbers since the program aired.

Dr Schroder-Turk was one of three Murdoch academics who told a Four Corners investigation in May that they were concerned for the welfare of a group of Indian students who were failing courses in higher than normal numbers.

Four Corners found Murdoch University was one of a number of Australian universities admitting international students below its own published English standards, or through other means without taking an independent English test.

Dr Schroder-Turk, who also sits on the university's senate, commenced legal action in the Federal Court under the Fair Work Act, seeking compensation and an injunction to stop the university taking disciplinary action against him.

For more Information please visit here.


We the Cash Cows

Australia Broadcast Company recently released a documentary titled “Cash Cows: Australian universities making billions out of international students.” The documentary attempts to shed light on the problem of universities in Australia that waive English and other academic requirements for international students. In response to the funding cuts for public Australian universities, universities are attempting to recruit more international students.

According to the documentary, numerous Australian professors voiced their unease with some international students’ questionable academic ethics (usually in the form of plagiarism). Australian students are also concerned with the English proficiency of some of their international peers. One student recalled his experience of working in a student group in which he was the only Australian and others were “from the same place, [and they] all [spoke] their native language to each other.” In 2017, an Australian professor stated his opinion on Chinese students in his class explicitly by writing, “I will not tolerate students who cheat” in English and Chinese on his PowerPoint, even though there were students from other countries present in the class.  

For more Information please visit here.


Offshore delivery of Australian VET courses in 2018 snapshot released

The Department of Education has released a snapshot that looks at available data for the offshore delivery of Australian VET courses in 2018. This snapshot provides an overview of vocational education and training delivered offshore by Australian training providers in 2018. This information is sourced from national data reported to the National Center for Vocational Education Research by Australian training providers.


For further information, please refer to the Department of Education’s International Education website.

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