QLD Skills and Training Taskforce – TAFE recommendations

I promised a little while ago that I would make some comments on the recommendations made in the Queensland Skills and Training Task force in relation to TAFE in Queensland.

The recommendations that struck me most were those around the employment model for TAFE staff (Recommendation 3.5 in particular) and the ‘New TAFE Queensland recommendations (Recommendation 3.12 in particular).

Recommendation 3.5;

The Government pursue a revamped industrial relations arrangement which addresses at a minimum the following:
– the need for a wider spread of hours and contact time, including removal of the in-built systemic barriers to evening classes
– the current practice of non-attendance time becoming de facto additional annual leave
– implementation of industry competitive overtime arrangements
– the ability of management to have full discretion in engaging casual staff
– greater class size flexibility.

I was actually shocked when I saw the conditions of the TAFE Teachers’ award (and I know I am going to be criticised for these comments), while the remuneration rates are definitely on the high side particularly when you look at rates within organisations and commercial training providers, it is the conditions which strike me as way out of line with what I would consider to be reasonable and expected practice.

Teaching more that 21 hours (3 days) in a week incurring overtime payments as not more than 21 can be programmed in any one week for teaching is ridiculous.  Not that I am suggesting that you would want to have your trainers doing nothing but delivering every day of the week, for any extended period of time.  There have been plenty of occasions where I have done nothing but deliver training every day of the week for in some cases up to 4 weeks in a row.  (A major project roll out which also included substantial travel around regional areas and then assessment).

I am not even sure what ‘five weeks of non-attendance time’  even means, particularly when it is in addition to annual leave and when it ends up with the situation where ‘TAFE teachers only undertake scheduled work of 32 hours for 39 weeks a year, and less if overtime is worked’ some of the issues surrounding costs and availability to delivery become abundantly clear.  These conditions seem definitely not in line with what would be expected of a trainer/assessor with a commercial RTO or an organisational setting.

Recommendation 3.12;

The idea of rationalising TAFE campuses is also something that resonates with me, particularly within the Brisbane Metro area.  I have never understood (I know there are historical reasons) why there were some many TAFE’s and campuses in the Brisbane area all at least to some extent separately staffed and administered.  Surely a reduction in the number of campuses and a rationalisation of management structure, perhaps even administration at a regional level and regional pools of teachers available to work a multiple campus locations would have substantial effect on the level of base funding that was required to sustain the TAFE infrastructure.  The same can be said I think, but to lesser extents in other areas of the state as well.

These recommendations make sense to me, along with the other recommendations made in the report with respect to TAFE, they would allow Queensland’s TAFE system to be able to deliver, services that were more responsive to need, in a more competitive, cost-effective manner, that provided for the needs of both students, industry and Queensland.


About pauldrasmussen
Paul Rasmussen is one of Australia’s most widely read Vocational Education and Training Commentators. He provides deep, unbiased analysis and insights not only on topical issues, but also on the underlying structure and policy which supports the industry. His writing and analysis has been praised for its uncompromising and thought provoking style and its ability to focus on the issues of real importance to the sector. He has advised various government departments and ministers, training providers, public and private organisations, not for profits and small to medium enterprises on the VET sector and the issues and opportunities facing it. He is one of Australia’s most awarded learning professionals and a regular speaker at a range of conventions and forums. His extensive experience in vocational education, and learning and development coupled with formal qualifications in philosophy, ethics, business and education management allow Paul to provide a unique view of the road ahead and how to navigate it.

2 Responses to QLD Skills and Training Taskforce – TAFE recommendations

  1. Fred says:

    As a TAFE QLD teacher in IT over the past 15 years I can tell you that I and nearly all teachers I know would think a week we have worked less than 40 hours a gift. I envy your position being able to deliver training everyday for 5 weeks, you are obviosly blessed in not having the adminstrative responsability that we do.

    The non-contact time you mention is what is used for maintaining our industry currency (working in industry), maintaining our technical currency (study), developing courses and moderating these with industry. it has never been a holiday.

    Our courses change every five years however as I am sure you are aware the systems we teach eg Office, Windows and Server, change every 3 years, so rewriting courses and maintaining current in these is a constant. We have also had to learn new technologies and methods for deliveing course in the digital age. I cannot remember a single month in the past 15 years that I have not had to take work home to complete at night or even a christmas break (recreation leave) that I have not written a course.

    If you believe we are overpaid and under worked, I wonder why it is you have not applied for one of these positions?

    • pauldrasmussen says:


      As I have said previously I can only talk from my experience and the experience of others that has been related to me. I know there are a large amount of high quality TAFE teachers out there who are working hard and doing the best they can.

      I simply think the entire structure of TAFE including the award needs to be reexamined in order to make TAFE more competitive and cost effective.


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