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Event Details

The current social settlement in vocational education in Australia is broken, and a new social policy is needed to reimagine the role of TAFE.

This national conference will begin the process of reimagining TAFE’s future as anchor institutions in their communities that support individuals to realise their aspirations; communities to be resilient, strong and socially inclusive, and, industries to be sustainable and innovative and ensure people have access to decent jobs.

This conference will contribute to the development of new social policy in vocational education as the basis for a new social settlement. In particular, it will begin the process of developing TAFE’s mission. It will consider what TAFEs should look like and what they should do, including the qualifications that they deliver, and the curriculum and pedagogy that underpin them.

It will bring together academics, researchers, policy makers, teachers and unions, and will be important for the professional development of TAFE teachers

TAFE, more than any other sector of education, provides opportunities for a range of students, no matter what their cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. It is vital to the economy and the community, assisting in the development of skilled workers across many employment sectors. It can and must contribute to innovation and sustainability and the development of decent jobs. A commitment to this public provision is vital to sustain growth and confidence in a sector that has long been held up as a beacon for training of workers across every industry in the Australian economy, the provision of opportunities to access work and further education for young people leaving school, and opportunities for those seeking to retrain and re-enter the workforce.

A vibrant TAFE sector must be based on a highly qualified and experienced workforce of teachers and educational leaders who have the security of resources to plan and provide vocational education in an uncertain and dynamic environment.

The last few years have seen TAFE systems decimated through cuts to funding, thousands of retrenchments of teachers (and loss of institutional memory and capacity), campus closures, ever diminishing range of courses, and fee increases for students that exclude those most in need.


Professor Leesa Wheelahan
Professor Wheelahan is the William G Davis Chair in Community College Leadership at the University of Toronto. She has published widely on lifelong learning, tertiary education policy, student equity, recognition of prior learning, credit-transfer and student articulation between the sectors of post-compulsory education and training, cross-sectoral relations between the VET and higher education sectors, and the role of theoretical knowledge in curriculum. Leesa has taught in tertiary education for approximately 22 years, which includes time as a TAFE teacher in policy development, an academic developer at a dual-sector university and as a higher education teacher in adult and vocational education teacher preparation programs.

Dr Jim Stanford
Dr. Jim Stanford is Economist and Director of the Centre for Future Work, based at the Australia Institute. Prior to his move to Australia, he served for over 20 years as Economist and Director of Policy with Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector trade union.

Professor John Buchanan
Professor John Buchanan is Chair of the Discipline of Business Analytics at the University of Sydney Business School. Previously, between 1988 and 1991 he was part of the team that undertook the first Australian Workplace Industrial Relations Survey (AWIRS). In 1991, he joined the Workplace Research Centre (formerly acirrt) and served as its Director from 2005-2014.

Professor Valerie Braithwaite
Professor Valerie Braithwaite holds a professorial appointment in the Regulatory Institutions Network (ANU) where she studies psychological processes in regulation and governance. Valerie is an interdisciplinary social scientist with a disciplinary background in psychology.

Professor Anne Jones
Professor Anne Jones joined Victoria University in November 2005 and became an Emeritus Professor in 2015. She has extensive senior leadership experience in tertiary education with particular focus on increasing participation and improving outcomes for diverse groups of students. Before coming to Victoria University Anne was Executive Director Academic Affairs at Box Hill Institute Melbourne.

John Pardy
John Pardy is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Monash University. John researches technical, vocational and applied learning in schools and tertiary contexts using socio-historical and neo-institutional perspectives. John also leads the pathways courses at Monash University and teaches into the pre-service teacher education programs and the Masters of Education. John has supervised doctoral students who have researched apprenticeship learning, learning in the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) and TAFE. In addition to this John has conducted commissioned research for the Victorian Department of Education and the Catholic Education Office of Victoria.

NSW Teachers Federation Conference Centre

33 Reservoir Street Surry Hills Sydney 2010, Australia

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Organiser Information

Rosie Scroggie
NSW Teachers Federation
03 9693 1800

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