TAFE & Adult Provision Mapping out a plan for TAFE in Victoria

The new Victorian Skills Authority is well underway in developing a Victorian Skills Plan. This plan will set out the training needs for communities and industries, focusing on areas of economic growth and identifying workforce trends, challenges and opportunities. Consultation is currently underway on a final draft of the plan.

There are a range of issues the AEU is raising in our feedback, including ensuring the plan contains clear recommendations for action, recommendations that deal with current challenges; uses up-to-date and relevant data; and ensures those with knowledge of the sector are heard.

Legislation changes for TAFE in Victoria

The department’s Office of TAFE Coordination and Delivery (OTCD) is continuing its work after initial consultation on modernising the Education Training and Reform Act (ETRA), which provides the legislative framework for the governance of Victoria’s TAFEs. We expect any changes to centre on the genuine development of the TAFE network, with the priorities and role of TAFE clearly articulated. In a further move away from competition, the AEU wants to see the network approach improve quality, workload, collaboration on the design of curriculum, with greater consistency, alongside improved data collection and analysis.

These changes do not involve an increase to the Student Contact Hour funding, which remains one of the lowest in Australia.

Importantly, the OTCD is implementing a new TAFE funding model that recognises the additional costs associated with TAFE being the public provider. This model will comprise the Victorian Training Guarantee (VTG) – the funding provided to all TAFEs and eligible RTOs); the TAFE Service Fund – targeted to deliver on the specific services and requirements of the public provider; and the TAFE Network Improvement Fund – targeted initiatives providing specialist capability to support TAFE collaboration. Unfortunately, these changes do not involve an increase to the Student Contact Hour (SCH) funding, which remains one of the lowest in Australia; this will be a key focus of our campaigning leading up to the state election.

TAE upgrade

The AEU federal has been asked to join the Education Industry Reference Committee to participate in the review of the TAE Training and Education Training Package including: Certificate IV in Training and Assessment; Diploma of Vocational Education and Training; Diploma of Training Design and Development; and the TAE units of competency listed in the above qualifications.

The AEU’s position on the effectiveness of the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment remains unchanged. We believe it does little to prepare industry professionals to become TAFE/VET teachers, and has resulted in many new teachers returning to industry in their first year.

The Certificate IV is ASQA’s minimum VET teaching requirement, but it has proven challenging, and requires continual upgrades.

We are recommending explicit acknowledgment that the current Certificate IV is an entry-level course and so the units requiring design and development of resources should be removed.

Those who hold the current Certificate IV in Training and Assessment or its predecessor do not need to upgrade, as these qualifications exceed those of the proposed new qualification. The current two diploma courses are being combined into one course with a choice of electives. The key concern raised by the AEU is that the content requirements have increased significantly.

Staff shortages and workload issues

Due to staff shortages, many TAFE teachers have experienced dramatic, unsustainable increases in workloads, working well over contracted hours.

Many teachers are employed on a time fraction too low to teach the programs and then expected to agree to excessive Excess Teaching Duty Hours.

AEU reps at several TAFEs were contacted by members who were not being paid correctly for the additional hours worked, and whose workloads had become unsustainable, greatly impacting on their health. These AEU reps have advocated to management, resulting in backpay ranging from $10,000 to over $31,000.

Many teachers are employed on a time fraction too low to teach the programs and then expected to agree to excessive Excess Teaching Duty Hours.

Teachers have also not been allocated their entitlement of a half-hour for planning and preparation for every teaching hour, with some managers expecting the additional work to be squeezed into teaching hours or completed in unpaid time.

The AEU requested an audit in these areas and identified additional non-member employees in similar situations, who have since joined the union. The outcome was an increase in time fractions to ensure correct entitlements such as annual leave and sick leave, and employees receiving the required half-hour of planning time for every hour of teaching.

Many AMEP teachers are employed on lesser time fractions, required to teach excessive ETDH with no decrease in teaching duties and without the half-hour of planning and preparation time required for every hour of excess teaching.

This exploitation is in breach of the agreement. If this is happening to you or someone you know, contact your rep or MSC on 1800 238 842 or [email protected].

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