In the TAFE SA Strategic Capability Review session yesterday with Terry Moran AC and Kim Bannikoff, the key questions asked were what are the problems, what are the solutions and how would you fix TAFE SA?
Rather than going over the problems, and bearing in mind the Terms of Reference for the review, which is separate to the response to the TAFE SA Quality Review supported by the Nous Group, suggestions I’m putting forward for solutions include 15 points:
- Actively and deliberately recruit people with VET sector experience into the leadership team and onto the board;
- Align strategic goals and objectives to the priorities for South Australia post-election;
- Build new relationships, partnerships and collaborations at a local, state, national and international level matched with organisational strengths and state priorities;
- Connect into South Australia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, supporting startups, coworking spaces and activating TAFE SA sites with spaces for local business and community organisations;
- Design a new future focused vision and mission with a clear purpose statement;
- Encourage experimentation and innovation with funding, for example with something like the Workforce Training Innovation Fund from Victoria which is probably the most exciting fund currently in Australia;
- Explore alignment with the United National Sustainable Development Goals as well as national and international best practice (for example Germany, Singapore, UK, US, Canada, New Zealand, European Commission, UNESCO-UNEVOC);
- Further investigate specific areas such as Human Resources, ICT Services, Marketing, and TAFE SA International;
- Gain advice on what industry sectors, markets and locations should TAFE SA exist in with an evidence-based assessment of campus and resource utilisation;
- Identify a true point of difference that TAFE SA has compared to other public and private providers;
- Lean into a discussion about funding for TAFE SA and WorkReady with evidence, honesty and realism about sustainability;
- Listen more frequently, flexibly and openly to employer and industry workforce needs for Australian Apprentices, new recruits, existing employees, labour pool and leaders;
- Place a number 1 priority on fostering a new culture, with values, behaviours and consequences to follow across the organisation including the board;
- Review all products and services to a more refined scope meeting workforce demand and supply needs where learner aspirations are supported; and
- Undertake a workforce capability assessment and skills stock take that identifies strengths to build upon and gaps to address including possible partners with capabilities needed.
This list builds upon the videos made outlining 13 recommendations relevant to both reviews as they are so interrelated.
If TAFE SA is to continue, there should be a goal to become a World-class VET provider which means facilitating world-class teaching, learning and assessment working ahead of Training Packages/Products as well as providing workforce development services.
And actions speak louder than words here, so with a new TAFE SA structure, where at a local and industry level people have the freedom and permission to engage and build relationships, there would be much more visibility, credibility and reputation restoration.
If you were asked, how would you fix TAFE SA, what would you say?