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Former NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli goes back to uni. Pic: YouTube
 



Adrian Piccoli – the dumped NSW Education Minister who famously made a stand against his own party by championing Gonski needs-based school funding – will work with the University of NSW on its programs for disadvantaged students and schools.

Mr Piccoli was controversially dumped as the state's Education Minister during NSW Premier Gladys Berejikilian's Cabinet reshuffle in January and replaced with NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes.

Now the former minister has been appointed an Honorary Professor of Practice by UNSW, which will see him working with the School of Education and Arts and Social Sciences and giving guest lectures on politics and public policy while helping with the university’s suite of education initiatives, particularly those around rural and remote education.

These include:
  • Boosting the number of trainee teaching placements in rural areas
  • A partnership between UNSW and Matraville High School where undergraduate teachers run educational and fun after school workshops and support students academically while gaining valuable teaching experience.
  • ASPIRE, a program that aims to boost the numbers of children going to university in schools where numbers are low
UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs said Mr Piccoli had shown great commitment to public education, particularly around improving literacy and numeracy in rural and remote communities, and welcomed him on board. “His expertise fits perfectly with the focus of our UNSW 2025 Strategy on educational excellence and social engagement. His contribution will be of great value in our efforts to provide the highest quality education, accessible to all parts of society,” Prof Jacobs said. “I am delighted that Adrian is joining our team at UNSW and I look forward immensely to his input.” Dean of UNSW Arts and Social Sciences Professor Susan Dodds said UNSW would draw on Mr Piccoli’s practical policy knowledge and longstanding commitment to rural and remote education in the university’s research and teaching. “We have plans to continue to expand our work with policy makers, schools and communities, and his appointment will help to focus those developments. In addition, Mr Piccoli has agreed to offer some guest lectures to students in courses on politics and public policy, informed by his experience as an MP,” Prof Dodds said. Mr Piccoli said he was committed to improving the outcomes for students across NSW and Australia. “This is a great opportunity to continue making a contribution to education in conjunction with one of the finest universities in the country,” he said.   [post_title] => Piccoli takes on uni role to help disadvantaged students [post_excerpt] => Remote and rural areas focus. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => piccoli-takes-uni-role-help-disadvantaged-students [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-07 10:25:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-07 00:25:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26822 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23243 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-12-20 15:22:01 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-20 04:22:01 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_23264" align="alignnone" width="400"]Freeze2 Navigating recruitment freezes.[/caption]   External recruitment freezes have become a harsh reality of life for Australian public servants as governments seek to contain wages and make savings, but is it possible to turn a no-hire zone into something positive? The usual rules are that when a freeze is on, jobs can only be filled internally, although there are often exemptions such as some frontline staff, fixed-term positions linked to specific projects and critical or revenue-raising positions that cannot be filled internally. Responses to the hiring ban can include staff acting up or people being transferred or seconded, or the dreaded: hiring contractors. The painful Australian Public Service hiring freeze began late in 2013 and lasted until mid-2015, after more than 10,000 jobs were shed. Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett announced a six-month halt to external recruitment in December last year, after forecasting a $3.1 billion hole in the state’s finances by the end of June 2016. Karen Evans, Managing Director of talent management company Acendre, which has many public service clients, spoke to Government News about how to survive and thrive when non-essential hiring shuts down. On paper a hiring freeze might appear grim and morale sapping but it can give also managers a chance to take stock of the people and range of skills that they have and to concentrate on training, developing and promoting them. It can also force people to think more strategically and critically about how efficiently they are working and to streamline processes. Of course, it may also leave staff feeling overworked or fearful about losing their jobs in the future. Ms Evans said human resources had an “absolutely critical role” to play - even in the short term - to support staff, explain the changes and manage them through it. “HR needs to get itself geared up to support their organisation, particularly initially,” she said. “A lot of managers will be wanting to fill critical roles where they may not be able to. How does HR support them? “There are changes but there are also huge opportunities with something like this. It’s a chance to think outside the box,” Ms Evans said. “Personally, I would be saying don’t try to sit tight and just wait it out.” She suggested managers looked at the roles and skills of the staff that they do have and list the skills and roles needed within the organisation. “Put development plans in place to revise or change roles that you actually need.” The focus should then be on upskilling staff and giving them opportunities to take on different responsibilities, perform new tasks or accept leadership roles in order to drive their enthusiasm. “People can get a lot of up and cross-skilling and their engagement really lifts. Put development plans in place for individuals. [Ask] can you merge or upskill roles?” There is also the chance to work more closely with other departments and agencies and collaborate on projects or even share staff. For example, the federal government's hiring freeze, it set up a business centre made up of part-time staff and underused staff and funnelled excess work from various teams. Ms Evans said it was also important to look at staff ready to redeploy and think about how to get them working in another department or agency. It can also be useful to seek advice from other departments or the same department at a different level of government that have already been through a hiring freeze. Brisbane City Council reduced the number of contracts it had and moved functions in-house. “It was a huge saving and it really drove engagement from people within the organisation, being able to do different things and increase their capabilities. It also helped teams work together in a more effective way,” she said. Despite the opportunities available, there is no point pretending that everyone will be happy about the freeze. It could lower morale, hit productivity or lead to employees walking out the door. The key to preventing this situation is to engage staff early on, explain what the changes might mean to them and come up with a plan to mitigate the more harmful effects, said Ms Evans. "Use this as an opportunity because I do think it is one.” [post_title] => Best of 2016: How to survive and thrive under a public sector hiring freeze [post_excerpt] => Upskill, collaborate, communicate. 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The best of the best will be honoured in the annual Local Government Excellence in the Environment Awards later this month. The top two awards are for overall council performance and another celebrating the achievements of an individual council officer or councillor who has been a beacon to sustainability. Please see below for a full list of finalists. Winners will be announced at a ceremony on Tuesday 29 November 2016 at Doltone House, Darling Island Wharf, Sydney.   2016 Finalists Asbestos Management Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils - Western Sydney Asbestos Answers Facebook campaign Climate Change Action Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Holroyd, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, The Hills, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith Councils - Light years ahead Blacktown City Council - Cool streets Hunter & Central Coast Regional Environmental Management Strategy- Regional heatwave resilience project Penrith City Council - Cooling the city   Communication, Education and Empowerment   Leichhardt Municipal Council (Inner West Council) - On tour: sustainable food, fashion and fun! MIDWASTE - Frugal forest Rockdale City Council (Bayside Council) - Engaging the community: landing lights wetland restoration Waverley Council - Second Nature 'I'm in' community engagement campaign   frugal-forest_opt MIDWASTE'S Frugal Forest  Community Sharps Management City of Ryde Council – Sharps Disposal Invasive Species Management    Bankstown City Council (City of Canterbury-Bankstown) - Feral rabbit management in urban Bankstown Camden Council - Management of Australian white ibis at Lake Annan, Mount Annan Clarence Valley Council - Use community based social marketing for effective tropical soda apple management Palerang Council (Queanbeyan–Palerang Regional Council) - Weed identification and mapping from high resolution aerial photography   [caption id="attachment_25522" align="alignnone" width="500"]"Young Mountain Cottontail rabbit Sylvilagus nuttallii resting in grass. Boulder, Colorado, 2009." Former Bankstown Council has won praise for its management of feral rabbits.[/caption]   Natural Environment Policies, Planning and Decision Making     Palerang Council (Queanbeyan–Palerang Regional Council) - Remote pilot aircraft aerial imaging trial Sydney Peri Urban Network of Councils - Sydney food futures project   Natural Environment Protection & Enhancement: On-Ground Works Bankstown City Council (City of Canterbury-Bankstown) - Habitat box program Bathurst Regional Council - Restoring regent honeyeater habitat in the Bathurst region Blue Mountains City Council - Leura Falls catchment improvement project Orange City Council - Gosling Creek Reserve precinct floating island and hollows habitat Parkes Shire Council - PAC Park urban wetland construction Wagga Wagga City Council - Marrambidya Wetland Roadside Environmental Management    Ballina Shire Council - Chickiba Roadside Wetlands restoration project Lachlan Shire Council - Roadside corridor assessment and management guidelines Moree Plains Shire Council - Roadside environmental management plan Sustainable Procurement   Marrickville Council (Inner West Council) - Embedding sustainability into 'value for money'   marrickville-council-procurement_opt Former Marrickville Council's sustainable procurement campaign won plaudits   Resource Recovery    Broken Hill City Council - Increasing resource recovery for Broken Hill Campbelltown City Council - Annual free recyclables drop-off day     Waste Avoidance and Reuse    Lismore City Council - Lismore revolve shop and recycled market Parramatta City Council – The R3 program: resource, rescue and reuse Waste Education and Communication    Lachlan Shire Council - Lachlan Shire waste services rationalisation Warringah Council (Northern Beaches Council) - The Sort it Out campaign     Water Conservation Ballina Shire Council - Pressure and leakage management plan [caption id="attachment_25524" align="alignnone" width="460"]High pressure pipe leaking Finalist: Ballina Shire Council's Pressure and Leak Management Plan[/caption]     Local Sustainability Ballina Shire Council – Sustainability: serving the community of today whilst preparing for the challenges of tomorrow Camden Council - Sustainable Camden Louise Petchell Memorial Award for Individual Sustainability Winner to be announced at the Awards on Tuesday 29 November     [post_title] => Full list of finalists: NSW local government environment stars [post_excerpt] => Sharing good ideas. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => full-list-finalists-nsw-local-government-environment-stars [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-11 10:15:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-10 23:15:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25518 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25469 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-11-04 11:51:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-04 00:51:03 [post_content] =>   [caption id="attachment_25470" align="alignnone" width="387"]Eora College, 333 Abercrombie St Chippendale Sydney - 28th October 2016. Sydney TAFE & The City of Sydney celebrate the completion of the pilot phase of the Social Housing Community Leadership Program. Graduates are awarded with a certificate of participation. Graduates from the Social Housing Community Leadership
Program. Pic supplied by City of Sydney. [/caption]     Eighteen social housing tenants have just graduated from a new City of Sydney and TAFE NSW course designed to improve conflict resolution skills and teach community leadership. One of them is Charlotte Dobrovits who has lived in Redfern’s troubled McKell Tower for nine years and been a tenant representative for three years. Ms Dobrovits advocates for the rights of fellow tenants and offers support to her neighbours, including older people and those affected by domestic violence, mental illness or substance abuse. She said the two-day course taught her how to build rapport, deal with conflict and establish a connection in what could sometimes be difficult circumstances. “We have a lot of anti-social behaviour, drug and alcohol and mental health issues and domestic violence so we get the whole gamut,” Ms Dobrovits said. “We just needed the skills to be able to handle situations without being aggressive but being assertive and also [know] how to judge when someone has a drug psychosis or mental health issues.” She said the course  helped her set boundaries when dealing with people and was particularly ideal for inexperienced and younger tenant representatives elected after recent Neighbourhood Advisory Board elections. “Understanding and knowing what to say increased my confidence, self-esteem and professionalism – and also the ability to tackle sticky situations with grace and ease.” Ms Dobrovits said she loved her community and would never leave it: “I grew up on Sydney’s North Shore but I would not go back now, not in a million years. There’s so much to do and I love the people. That’s what makes me stay. Sydney Mayor Clover Moore said the program aimed to create more cohesive and harmonious communities across City of Sydney. The council has one of the largest concentrations of social housing properties of any local council in Australia with more than 9,700 properties. “It’s great to see this diverse group of graduates refine their communication skills and gain confidence in resolving conflicts, public speaking and participation in community meetings,” Ms Moore said. “These valuable skills will help them become leaders in their communities and be actively involved in decision making and I congratulate all our graduates for taking part.” The graduates were from Redfern, Camperdown, Woolloomooloo and Surry Hills. The council already does a lot of work with social housing tenants. It is the only local government in Australia to employ a dedicated social housing liaison officer and delivers and supports a range of community projects in partnership with state government and non-government agencies. These include the Redlink integrated service hub in Redfern, local community safety audits and annual events such as the Northcott Pet Day in Surry Hills, Summer on the Green in Waterloo and Redfern Neighbourhood Day. [post_title] => Social housing tenants skilled up to cope with conflict [post_excerpt] => City of Sydney pilot. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => social-housing-tenants-skilled-cope-conflict [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-04 11:51:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-04 00:51:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25469 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25442 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2016-11-01 09:14:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-31 22:14:30 [post_content] => Positive emotions of team members during staff meeting     By Tony Sandberg, Director, Solutions and Industry Marketing Asia Pacific at Polycom. I had the pleasure of hosting discussions during the OpenGov Leadership Forum in Canberra last month. It was a chance for government departments across a broad range of sectors and geographies to collaborate and share insights on how they are hoping to use technology to ‘do more with less’ – in a bid to become more collaborative, while also transforming their workspaces and culture to create a ‘workplace of the future’ today. Perhaps this need for change is not all that surprising given the Government’s current innovation agenda. Deloitte Australia also estimates that by simply collaborating more than they do right now, Australian businesses can add up to AUD$9.3 billion per year to the economy1. If this is the case, then it stands to reason that government will also reap massive rewards if they can successfully adopt a more collaborative culture inside their own departments. However, in Canberra, it became apparent very quickly that, while there is clear intent to change, there is still work to be done in order to embrace the benefits of using collaboration technologies within all levels of government. Understanding the Role of Email in the Collaborative Workspace It’s human nature. We don’t like to change and are often drawn to what’s familiar. The same applies to our technology preferences. For example, the majority of delegates said they still use email as their main collaboration tool because of its familiarity and ability to act as a record keeper of conversations and decisions. Interestingly, a recent Polycom Workplace of the Future2 survey found that, despite 97% of ANZ businesses believing technology-enabled collaboration is key to remaining competitive, most still rely on 20th century technologies such as email and phone. That said, there did seem to be a genuine desire among the government agencies present to be less dependent on emails in favour of real time communications and face-to-face collaboration. Effective Collaboration Needs ‘Location Liberation’ It was also encouraging to hear that some departments are already using collaboration tools like video to meet with their own geographically dispersed teams, other agencies, and international stakeholders. These departments already understand the benefits of using face-to-face collaboration technology to improve their service responsiveness, efficiency and productivity. Interestingly, the heavier users of video conferencing had also noticed less emails being sent and less email dependency. Today, most video collaboration within Government is still happening inside traditional meeting rooms. These spaces are often difficult to access as they are heavily booked. To overcome this meeting room bottleneck, some departments have already started using video from their desktops, mobile devices and ‘huddle rooms’ – smaller meeting spaces. For others, the need for “location liberation” was seen as key to allow them to use video more frequently outside the traditional conference room environment. Rethinking Workspace and Workplace Policies Government teams across industries and geography shared how they are starting to re-design workspaces and how workplace behaviour is also starting to adapt around them. It was no surprise that improving office design and layout was seen as an important enabler for the effective use of collaboration tools. While modern government offices have been designed with collaboration spaces in mind, many older buildings still lack the flexibility of being able to access collaboration technology outside the conference room. There was also a call for less bureaucracy and policies surrounding the use of video conferencing to move it out of the boardroom, ensuring greater flexibility and alignment with end user needs. Education Seen as a Key Driver to Workplace Adoption and Cultural Change The cultural change of using more real time communication instead of emails was recognised as one of the main hurdles to be overcome. Employee education around the ease of use was identified as a major driver for adoption. Essentially, when people start to use video collaboration and see the benefits it can drive the change in culture. One delegate summed it up by saying “people need to talk more with each other”. Over time it’s expected this work culture shift will also bring to the fore integrated solutions and workflows for ease of use such as integration with Skype for Business and Office 365. Five Key Tips for Improving Collaboration in Your Workplace Today Whether you are just starting out on your collaboration journey or actively planning the future state of your workplace, the tips below should support you on the journey:
  1. Measuring the uptake and utilisation of existing collaboration tools can help you discover quick win opportunities for improved productivity gains, e.g. number of team video conferencing meetings held in a week.
  2. Establish current collaboration usage and combine this with a strategy to address issues (such as the availability and type of tools, adoption programmes or workflows), your teams can improve their collaboration significantly.
  3. Choose a solution that is easy to use. Video collaboration adoption requires systems to be easy to use and manage, and also deliver a consistent, great experience anywhere and on any platform.
  4. Integrate and streamline, again for ease of use and quick adoption. Users need new collaboration technologies to be integrated with popular communication platforms like Microsoft Office 365 and normal day to day workflows. Choose solutions that are interoperable and provide secure access regardless of location, network or device.
  5. Work with your IT Team to update Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies to accommodate the needs of flexible workers and contract staff to ensure they remain productive and connected regardless of location.
  Looking to the Future The Australian government is in many areas ahead of other Governments within Asia Pacific in recognising the importance of collaboration tools.  Additionally and perhaps reassuringly, other governments around the world also face similar challenges in regards to cultural workplace changes, adapting policies and promoting ease of access. For now though, the focus for many Australian government departments is how to take that all-important next step for a connected workplace of the future – where internet, innovation and productivity work in unison. And, they want solutions that will improve workflow, experience and productivity – today.   About the Author: Tony Sandberg, with a background in the telecommunications / IT industry, focusing specifically on Service Providers, Enterprises and Government, is the Director, Industry Solutions and Market Development for Polycom Asia Pacific. He is a leader in collaborative workspaces and interactive videoconferencing. For two decades he has held senior roles in business development, sales and marketing, solutions management and partnerships. He holds a Master’s of Science in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Växjö Sweden.   1As summarised in their Global Human Capital Trends Report 2016. 2The Polycom Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) Workplace of the Future report captured insights from 1,500 plus employers and employees across ANZ. For many, the focus at OpenGov was on how to take that all important next step in their digital transformation. And they want organisation-focused solutions that will help them to create a true Workplace of the Future by improving workflow, experience, the workspace and ultimately, stakeholder satisfaction. [post_title] => Unlocking the benefits of collaboration for government [post_excerpt] => Shift to face-to-face technology. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => unlocking-the-benefits-of-collaboration-for-government [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-01 09:16:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-31 22:16:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25442 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25432 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-11-01 05:00:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-31 18:00:55 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_25436" align="alignnone" width="365"]See also: Estonia's capital, Tallinn.[/caption]     As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s digital transformation agenda gathers pace and renewed urgency in the wake of the botched 2016 Census and the new Digital Transformation Agency gets going, the PM would be wise to seek a meeting with government tech heads in Estonia, where 99 per cent of the country’s services are accessible online. Anna Piperal is the Managing Director of E-Estonia Showroom, a government-funded investment agency that travels the world showcasing Estonia’s digital prowess and its achievements, marking it out as one the most successful e-societies on Earth. Ms Piperal was recently a keynote speaker at Civica Expo in Sydney but took time out to speak to Government News about how Australia could learn from how Estonia has transformed itself into an exemplar of digital government. How it happened The push towards digitalisation in Estonia began in the early 1990s  after Estonia regained its independence when the Soviet Union fell in 1991. The breakaway from Communism provided the impetus to create a new government architecture from the ground up, with no legacy systems to tangle with, but hampered by having few resources and a small population. The internet had recently arrived and Estonia's leaders made a conscious decision to use it to build a more open, e-society and attempt to secure the nation's future. Project Tiger Leap began in 1996, prioritising computers and the internet in schools and other educational institutions and teaching the population IT skills. Legislation followed to create a national ID card and the X-Road, a system linking databases together. The country has since gone from strength to strength and has achieved some remarkable things. For example, a foreigner can get a digital identity and open a bank account in Estonia and then register their own company online in 18 minutes, including all background checks. Health records are all electronic; 96 per cent of the population pay their taxes online in less than three minutes; prescriptions are digital and one-third of voting is done online. In fact, Estonia was the first country to use e-voting for parliamentary elections in 2005. One of the cornerstones of the system is the compulsory national identity card, which was introduced in 2001 for all Estonians over 15 years old, and serves as the digital access card for all of Estonia’s e-services. Ms Piperal says the identity card has an encrypted chip and is a non-hackable system that everybody can use. The ID card has an impressive array of functions, for example it can be used as:
  • A driving licence
  • A virtual ticket on public transport in some parts of Estonia
  • A travel document around the European Union
  • To vote electronically from anywhere in the world
  • A health insurance card
  • For digital signatures
  • To pick up e-prescriptions
  • To access government databases, e.g. health records and taxes
  • To verify your identity when dealing with banks, e.g. when applying for a loan
To head off resistance, banks and the government made the idea of a national identity card more palatable to Estonians by offering incentives. For example, local government in Tallinn – Estonia’s capital – gave people 30 per cent off public transport fares if they used their ID card as virtual tickets and banks offered attractive rates. This built public confidence in the card. But it’s a different story in Australia, where the idea of a national identity cards has generated a storm of protest. The Australia Card was abandoned 1987 and the Access Card, ostensibly to be used to access Medicare and welfare payments, was dropped in 2007. Ms Piperal argues that having a national identity card is no more an invasion of privacy than not having one. “It doesn’t mean they [the government] won’t have data about you,” she says. “It’s just that people don’t know the data they might have.” Some Estonians are now choosing to have digital ID contained in their smartphone SIM cards so they have mobile ID. The X-Road At the heart of Estonia’s success as a digital nation is the X-Road: a secure highway for data traffic, which connects both public and private databases.  The X-Road allows people, government and companies to exchange standardised data securely and to regulate access to that data. The X-Road benefits from a complex security system with authentication, multi-level authorisation, a high-level log processing system and encrypted data traffic with time stamps. Databases are decentralised, so there is no single owner or controller and X-Road can write to multiple databases, transmit large data sets and search across several databases. Ms Piperal says it is the interoperability of the system that is critical to ensuring transparency around data. Government departments and agencies do not have to ask one another for data because it is already available. “Local government and the private sector can exchange data based on the same rules and laws. For example, population registry, tax registry, social security, e-health and mapping services,” she says. “You can regulate who sees what type of data. The police don’t see medical data, medics don’t see education data, just what they need to do their work.” E-everything This enthusiasm to finding a digital solution to social and adminstrative problems pervades every aspect of life in Estonia. The Tiger Leap project revolutionised the way Estonians viewed technology and digital government, providing Wifi and computers to every school. Under Estonia's education system, using the e-School platform, parents can access information about their children’s grades, timetables, attendance and homework and teachers can plan lessons and send notes to parents and students. Students can also create online portfolios of their best work. You can apply for university online and exam results are instant and by SMS. Ms Piperal says: The government’s mission is to make sure “services are running and available to people and that they are happy about them”. Digital lessons for Australia The e-Estonia Showroom has a useful list of do's and don'ts to replicate Estonia's success: Do – Create a decentralised, distributed system so that all existing components can be linked and new ones can be added, no matter what platform they use Don’t – Try to force everyone to use a centralised database or system, which won’t meet their needs and will be seen as a burden rather than a benefit Do – Be a smart purchaser, buying the most appropriate systems developed by the private sector Don’t – Waste millions contracting large, slow development projects that result in inflexible systems Do – Find systems that are already working, allowing for faster implementation Don’t – Rely on pie-in-the-sky solutions that take time to develop and may not work   Of course, it may not be that simple to translate Estonia's road to digital stardom to Australia. Estonia is much smaller geographically than Australia, being roughly the size of Denmark, and it is less populous, with around 1.3 million people to Australia’s 23 million, but it is also far less resource-rich than Australia and the country faced a tough time rebuilding and striking out alone after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Whatever the differences between the two countries it is clear that Australia can learn valuable lessons from Estonia. Ms Piperal says Australians should accept that the technological revolution is already here and understand that not keeping up could harm the economy. “If the government isn’t transforming the way business is then business will either leave to find easier administration or tax systems or less bureaucratic places they can operate from. It’s a global economy.” She says it is also important that Australian citizens get the benefit from digital government too, partly because this will help to build confidence in e-government and in a national identity card. “There are so many people in Australia who desire simplicity in dealing with bureaucratic institutions. “It means that the government is not spending so many resources on administration and processing. That’s old school already. It frees resources for education and social security. “It can only be done when the service really do work that people are happy about.” One of the biggest problems for Australians, says Piperal, is when people move, whether its health, education or address data. She says the key is to ensure interoperability between different databases. She dipped into the MyGov portal during her Australian visit and says the system appears “pretty challenging” for Australians, particularly because they must link different data sets, rather than have the government do it for them, as is the case in Estonia. “We would be really happy if the DTA had a closer connection with Estonia,” she says. “We are experienced in solutions that really do work and people are happy about.” It may be a while before Australians declare themselves happy with MyGov but you never know.

 

[post_title] => National identity card for Australians? Digital government lessons from Estonia [post_excerpt] => 99% of services are online in Estonia. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 25432 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-04 14:20:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-04 03:20:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25432 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25142 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2016-09-29 17:12:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-09-29 07:12:49 [post_content] => mgxry22 By Kira Clarke, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne. This story first appeared in Pursuit. Read the original article. New research shows training course providers are ill-equipped to meet complex social and learning issues facing students. Young early school leavers are increasingly enrolling in private Vocational and Education Training (VET) providers, but new research reveals these organisations are often ill-equipped to respond to the needs of this emerging cohort, many of whom are disadvantaged. This influx comes after several years of federal, state and territory governments promoting a competitive, market-based training system, resulting in private VET providers capturing a larger share of the training market. The research, released by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) and developed in partnership between researchers at the University of Melbourne, the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Victoria Institute, examined the role private VET providers play for early school leavers. Looking beyond the funding and quality assurance debates, the focus was on practice and delivery at the provider level. The researchers wanted to know how private VET providers are responding to the needs of disadvantaged early school leaver learners. For students without a Year 12 certificate, a VET course is one way they can continue their education and training. For students without a Year 12 certificate, a VET course is one way they can continue their education and training. The early school leaver cohort in VET More than 140,000 early school leavers were undertaking a VET qualification in 2015. With Australia’s average year 12 completion rate at 83%, for young people without a Year 12 or school completion certificate, the VET sector is one of the main ways in which they can continue and complete their initial education and training. The research found that early school leavers represent a growing cohort within private VET providers. More than half (59%) of the private VET providers surveyed for our research indicated they had experienced an increase in enrolments of early school leavers in the last five years. While the market share of private VET providers varies across Australia, growth has been particularly significant in Victoria (36.2% market share of 15-19-year-old early school leaver learners), Queensland (35.3%) and South Australia (23.3.%). Role of private VET providers for early school leavers School leavers are more likely to be low achieving and socioeconomically disadvantaged learners. Our research found private VET providers are generally ill-equipped to address complex personal and social barriers to learning that are common amongst early school leavers. Providers described a range of challenges facing early school leaver learners, including low literacy and numeracy skills, a lack of family support and limited clarity around career goals. Several providers also noted that welfare payment requirements were playing a coercive role in directing some early school leavers into VET programs. Australia's school dropouts: why we need to intervene Private providers also expressed concerns about early school leavers having low employability skills. This was seen as particularly problematic for young people who had exited school before completing Year 11. These provider concerns were reiterated by employer feedback that early school leavers often lacked the social skills needed in the workplace. In response to these learner needs, support offered within private VET providers was often limited to study spaces with computers and some academic skills support. While remedial literacy and numeracy programs were available in many providers, accessibility to support was inconsistent across the private VET providers consulted. Low levels of literacy and numeracy amongst early school leavers was described by providers as placing significant pressure on VET trainers. How can the role of private VET providers be strengthened? Dubious practices amongst private VET providers and accusations of poor provision have featured regularly in recent media reporting. Private VET providers faced intense criticism during the period in which this research was undertaken. Private VET providers participating in this research expressed frustration with blanket negative perceptions of private providers within the VET sector. Given this ongoing community and political focus on private VET provision, there are several policy implications that emerge from the research. Setting vocational training free Private VET providers should be regarded by governments and youth referral agencies as partners in systemic efforts to re-engage early school leavers. To support their role, changes are needed to address the limitations of private VET providers in addressing the complex needs facing these learners. The private VET providers who participated in this research considered their small-scale and relatively informal learning settings as a distinct advantage in catering to disadvantaged learners. While small and informal learning settings can work well for disadvantaged learners, there are limitations as smaller providers often lack the infrastructure and economies of scale of large TAFE institutions. In order to successfully target support where it is needed, enrolment processes need to include the gathering of data that relates to student wellbeing, and more holistic understanding of the educational and employability needs of young people. This article is drawn from research funded by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) and led by the Brotherhood of St Laurence, in partnership with the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and Victoria Institute. [post_title] => Private VET providers corner share of booming market [post_excerpt] => Education is more than a course. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => private-vet-providers-corner-share-booming-market [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-09-29 17:16:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-09-29 07:16:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25142 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24925 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2016-09-07 16:20:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-09-07 06:20:22 [post_content] => Stonefields School, Auckland, NZ. <strong>Shared spaces enable collaborative teaching and student directed learning</strong>. Architect: Jasmax. Picture: Alex de Freitas. Stonefields School, Auckland, NZ. Shared spaces enable collaborative teaching and student directed learning. Architect: Jasmax. Picture: Alex de Freitas.   By Jo Chandler, University of Melbourne Fifty years ago Wesley Imms’ classroom was a ship. The next year a spaceship. Those memories sparked his quest for learning spaces to fit the needs of 21st century schoolkids. In Ms Richmond’s Grade 2 class of ’65, East Devonport Primary School, Wesley Imms got an education that set him on course for life. His young teacher had just taken up her post in Tasmania after a sojourn in the UK, where she had soaked up some edgy educational thinking. The local schools superintendent happened to be absent, and with the principal on board, there was no one to thwart her then radical ambitions. “She decided to turn the classroom into a ship for a year, and she sailed us around the world in the SS Discovery,” recalls Associate Professor Imms, from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. Day One the kids threw streamers out the windows as their parents waved them off. “I was the quartermaster – I had a little hat and used to ring the bell.” The purser would collect all the lunches as the pupils came aboard, passing them out when they weighed anchor for lunch. Lessons waited in every port. The next year Ms Richmond transformed the classroom into a spaceship and Grade 2 spent a year on the moon. A couple of years later they ventured deep into the galaxy, inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s epic 2001: A Space Odyssey. A few years ago, Associate Professor Imms and some of his University of Melbourne colleagues went back to interview Ms Richmond, then in her 80s, and trawled through her archive of lesson plans, slides and writing samples. They surveyed some of his Grade 2 fellow travellers and confirmed what Associate Professor Imms, drawing on his vivid memories, had long suspected. “They all said they could remember almost nothing of the rest of their schooling, but that year was crystal clear,” he says. “They could remember almost every day. We had that one year where a teacher really went out of her way to manipulate the environment and to introduce a pedagogy that was much more fluid and much more interdisciplinary.”The result was some transformative deep learning.   <em>Wes Imms as Quartermaster on the SS Discovery, Grade 2 class of ’65, East Devonport Primary School. Picture: Associate Professor Wesley Imms</em> Wes Imms as Quartermaster on the SS Discovery, Grade 2 class of ’65, East Devonport Primary School. Pic: Associate Professor Wesley Imms   How and why these Grade 2 lessons became so ingrained goes to the core of what has become Associate Professor Imms’ professional and academic pursuit 50 years on. “Space matters,” he says. “But more importantly, how teachers use space is the critical thing.” Associate Professor Imms is project lead investigator of the Innovative Learning Environments and Teacher Change Project (ILETC), a $2 million Australian Research Council Linkage Project that will run for the next four years. It gears up just as another related ARC project – the Evaluation of 21st Century Learning Environments (E21LE), also overseen by Associate Professor Imms – comes to its end. These two cross-disciplinary projects bring together a University of Melbourne team of researchers from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, through the Learning Environments and Applied Research Network (LEaRN). Between them, the two enterprises aim to build tools to assess the educative value of modern, innovative classrooms; and then to challenge teachers on how they might use these spaces to their full potential. It’s an overdue investment in evaluating what works and doesn’t in the 21st century classroom – not least given concerns about Australia’s record of slow, steady decline across most educational standards. Indeed on the day Pursuit interviews Associate Professor Imms, the latest NAPLAN results reveal literacy and numeracy are stagnating and writing skills in years 7 and 9 have significantly decreased. What’s causing this shift? Do we blame the teaching, the environment, the adequacy of schools funding and resources? Digging into these questions is a central concern of Associate Professor Imms and his collaborators – educators, architects and designers – working within LEaRN. Inevitably the backlash over NAPLAN includes calls from some quarters to “sit the kids down and read and write and do sums”. “I’ve got no argument with that except where it is tied only to a didactic teaching style,” he says. “Students facing the front, the teacher lecturing, kids writing it down and memorising it and spilling it back – we need a component of that for sure.” But it needs to be integrated into a flexible suite of teaching styles and contexts if students are also going to graduate with the skills demanded in the changing workplace.  
Our Lady of Assumption Primary School, Sydney. <strong>A single classroom with moveable furniture and different types of spaces encourages student choice, playfulness and independence</strong>. Architect: BVN. Picture: John Gollings.
Our Lady of Assumption Primary School, Sydney. A single classroom with moveable furniture and different types of spaces encourages student choice, playfulness and independence. Architect: BVN. Picture: John Gollings.
  The next generation of workers, he says, “have to be collaborative, have to access information very quickly, have to work in teams, have to be very lateral in the way they approach problems, so they require a learning environment that builds those skills”. Classrooms have been transformed by shifting fashions since the 1970s – free-range layouts; learning hubs and beanbag drop zones; moveable walls, to name a few. But there has been remarkably little effort by researchers anywhere to unpick the relationships between the hardware, the software, the infrastructure, the teaching and the student report cards. This is the territory being explored by the pair of ARC projects, the information gleaned being fed back into classrooms, teacher training, and also to the professionals and companies designing, building and equipping schools.  
Marist College, Bendigo<strong>. Sliding doors, writable surfaces and adaptable furniture-</strong><strong>flexible spaces enable collaborative group learning. </strong>Architect: Y2 Architecture. Picture: Bill Conroy.
Marist College, Bendigo. Sliding doors, writable surfaces and adaptable furniture-flexible spaces enable collaborative group learning. Architect: Y2 Architecture. Picture: Bill Conroy.
  Richard Leonard, director of architecture and design firm Hayball – long-time schools specialists, and industry partners in both ARC projects – says technological drivers and shifts to collaborative teaching have thrown educational culture on its head. “The value of being involved in what is basically global, cutting-edge research is about learning what works and what doesn’t, and enables us to move forward with design based not on hope or on fashion or on a gut feel, but on rigorous research.” Governments and communities invest millions in educational facilities. “We have an obligation to make sure it works,” says Mr Leonard. “If you feel passionate about the transformative possibilities of education, then you have to be doing this sort of stuff.”  
Caulfield Grammar School, Melbourne. <strong>A shared hub with integrated technology, variety of spaces and acoustic measures to reduce noise</strong>. Architect: Hayball. Picture: Dianna Snape.
Caulfield Grammar School, Melbourne. A shared hub with integrated technology, variety of spaces and acoustic measures to reduce noise. Architect: Hayball. Picture: Dianna Snape.
  So what are we learning about what a 21st century “classroom” should look like? For a start, it’s not a classroom, says Associate Professor Imms, it’s a learning environment. “I’m still an advocate of lecture theatres and of didactic teaching spaces, because there are times where it is more efficient to teach big groups, where a teacher just has to say sit down, write this down, memorise it and give it back to me. “But then you need to move quickly into getting five kids to go and nut it out together.” Or for the walls to move to cut a space for 60 students down to groups of 20. Or for students to retreat into private cubby holes to research on their own. “So the ideal space has that flexibility.” The key development from the first ARC project – evaluating learning spaces – is an online portal that performs like a teaching tool for educators, asking them questions about their school, its structure and layout, needs, purposes, ambitions. “What they are really doing is evaluating the space in terms of the teaching and learning that happens within it,” says Associate Professor Imms. The portal then connects them to the existing information on evaluating different environments – “and there are depressingly few, which illustrates the poor state we are in internationally,” says Dr Imms. “The fact that there are almost no evaluation mechanisms out there for learning space design begs the question – why are we spending billions if we don’t know what success is?” The ARC teams are delving into resolving some of those questions, for instance by tracking teachers and students at one school across a year, surveying and comparing results in traditional, mid-level modern (student-centred, clusters of tables) and highly informal classrooms (beanbags, whiteboards around the walls, no teacher table). One interesting snapshot result is that the kids in the flexible spaces had the best outcomes in their mathematics; and one teacher who had been a die-hard opponent became an evangelical advocate. “It’s an example of the scenarios that underpin this project,” says Associate Professor Imms. “Teachers don’t quite realise the power of potential they have to use in the physical space.” The ILETC project is a massive undertaking, involving more than 6000 schools across Australia and New Zealand. Having dug into some of the environmental questions through the earlier ARC research, Associate Professor Imms says the project is moving into a much more contentious area – “challenging teachers about their own teaching in these spaces”. The first step is to explore how teachers are using these fast-proliferating innovative environments. Arguably, many are teaching just as they always have. “We believe many aren’t utilising all the benefits those spaces give, often because of their mind-frames. They have a particular view of what good teaching looks like, what works, and they refuse to deviate too far from that. “So this is an intentionally provocative project, in that we are going out to teachers and saying ‘your students might benefit from a shaking up’,” says Associate Professor Imms. “While the project is about space, it is really about our teachers adapting to change, about rethinking how they teach in light of the future needs of their students.” To find out more about this project see here. This story first appeared in the University of Melbourne's Pursuit. [post_title] => Changing the shape of teaching [post_excerpt] => Flexible classroom spaces. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 24925 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-09-16 10:44:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-09-16 00:44:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24925 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24742 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-08-17 15:35:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-08-17 05:35:38 [post_content] => High rise schools 1_opt  South Australia's first high-rise school.   As the idea of high-rise schools in Australian cities gets more popular, the South Australian government has unveiled the design for its first high-rise public high school, which should open its doors by 2019. The new $100 million Adelaide CBD High School, which will specialise in teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, will be in Adelaide Parklands and the university precinct and cater for 1250 children in years 8 to 12. The state government’s plans involve refurbishing the University of South Australia’s seven-storey Reid Building on Frome Road and connecting it to a new six-storey building by a glass atrium. The design also features outdoor landscaped terraces for learning and play. Project management company Turner & Townsend Thinc is overseeing the Adelaide school and another school in the air in Parramatta, Sydney. The company is using an innovative procurement model for the Adelaide school, where two contractors provide “early constructability, time and cost advice” during the concept and design phases at a fixed price. Nathan Hawkes, Associate from Turner & Townsend Thinc, said the procurement model was a hybrid of Competitive Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) and Design and Construct Process, which would deliver best value and certainty of cost and time to the South Australian government. “The company is pleased to secure its second future focused school project which will set new benchmarks for the education sector in Australia and provide a valuable resource for the community,” Mr Hawkes said. “We will be using our global capability and best practice work principles to deliver one of the most innovative and thought provoking projects that has ever been seen in the country.”   high rise schools 2 atrium_opt The atrium at Adelaide's new vertical school.   The school joins a number of high-rise vertical schools going up across Australia, benefitting from customised lay-outs, online delivery, flexible classrooms and inventive additions such as rooftop basketball courts and hanging gardens. The trend for schools to go up, not out, has gained traction in recent years. The first NSW high-rise public school was announced in January, a building project which will transform Parramatta Public School and Arthur Phillip High School into a learning space for 3000 high school and primary-aged children, the highest building being 17 floors. The NSW government is planning a further three multi-storey schools, which will join Sydney's three existing (private) high-rise schools in Sydney: St Andrew's Cathedral School, International Grammar and Macquarie Grammar. Plans are also afoot in Victoria to build a $40 million five-story vertical school in South Melbourne to accommodate 525 children. It makes good sense, as urban space gets tighter and population increases; whether the aim is to reduce a school’s urban footprint, for example in Sydney and Melbourne, or to cleverly fill up vacant CBD office space, like the first Western Australian vertical school, St George’s Anglican Grammar School in Perth. The concept can get children learning in the heart of busy urban communities, where they are close to facilities such as museums, galleries and churches and next to buildings they might end up working inside. It can also bring the community closer to school facilities for use after hours, such as libraries, gyms and classrooms. [post_title] => High-rise schools stack up [post_excerpt] => First ‘high’ school for SA. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => high-rise-schools-stack [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-08-18 21:24:29 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-08-18 11:24:29 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24742 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24691 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2016-08-11 11:43:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-08-11 01:43:54 [post_content] => Schoolboys   How a ground-breaking intervention program is working with families and schools to get children learning again By Dr Lisa McKay-Brown, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne For most students, the routine of going to school is a straightforward process. Get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, grab school bag and head out of the house. However, for an increasing number of young people, even thinking about school leads to headaches, stomach pains, panic attacks and arguments with parents. For some simply leaving the house is impossible. This is called school refusal. SCHOOL REFUSAL BEHAVIOURS Truancy and school withdrawal are often mislabelled as school refusal. Truancy or ‘wagging’ is when young people have unapproved absences without their parents’ consent or knowledge, and will generally stay away from the family home. School withdrawal occurs with parent consent and involves young people who may be carers or who are working to contribute to the household. School refusal is when young people ‘can’t’ rather than ‘won’t’ go to school. It is defined as a “child-motivated refusal to attend school or difficulty attending classes or remaining in school for an entire day”. It’s not gender or socio-economic specific, and occurs in up to 5 per cent of students. This increases to 8.2 per cent for students with anxiety. Researchers note that short-term effects of school refusal include poor academic performance, school dropout, family difficulties and worsening peer relationships, while long-term consequences can include academic underachievement, employment difficulties, increased risk of psychiatric illness and economic, social and marital problems in adulthood. GROUND-BREAKING INTERVENTION PROGRAM The first of its kind, the In2School intervention program uses a wraparound approach to help school refusers. Delivered in partnership with the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, the Royal Children’s Hospital Mental Health and Travancore School, a mental health-focused special school in Melbourne’s north-west, the students aged between 11 and 14 have been school refusing for between three months and two years and have diagnoses of anxiety and/or mood disorders. In2School uniquely brings teachers and clinicians together for up to six months to assess, plan and implement needs-based, personalised programs for each young person at home, in the clinic and in the classroom. Each young person undertakes individual therapy, along with parent sessions that support families to better manage the return to school process. The program is split into three phases: Phase 1 – A teacher and mental health clinician work with the family and student in home and clinic environments to conduct mental health and educational assessments, build rapport, and start the classroom transition Phase 2 – Students attend a 10-week transitional classroom to increase their stamina for learning, including building academic, social and emotional skills. The therapeutic process continues Phase 3 – Students are supported in their return to school in a mainstream setting. WINNING STRATEGY The first group of seven In2School students successfully returned to full-time mainstream schooling in term 1, 2016, after completing the program from July to December 2015, and only one student’s school attendance has since lapsed. Students’ mental health has improved dramatically, so much so that they no longer regularly see a clinician. Quality of life, including social interactions with peers and positive experiences at school all show great progress. Jo*, one of the students, said: “When I first started the program, I didn’t really have a lot of faith in it …If I’d never participated … I think I’d still be locking myself up in my room and not doing anything. It’s not only helped with my school attendance but with my emotions … some anxious, depressing thoughts, and attention problems.” The second intake of In2School students is progressing well, with students currently transitioning back to their mainstream schools with some attending up to four days a week. WORKING WITH SCHOOL REFUSAL While some school refusal intervention programs exist in Australia, few have had successful results published. Treatment generally focuses on clinical interventions, with the clinician liaising with the school to develop return to school plans. Often when a student does return, the stress of suddenly being back in the school environment can result in relapse. Responding to school refusal is time consuming, with research noting varying success rates in terms of achieving ongoing educational re-engagement. One thing is clear; interventions need to include education and allied health professionals as well as the family and young person. WARNING SIGNS FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS Research shows that early identification of warning signs is key to successful school refusal interventions. Look out for behaviour including: Complaints about attending school Frequent lateness Absences on significant days (assessments, oral presentations, physical education classes) Poor teacher-student relationships Academic difficulties Frequent requests to go home Excessive worry about a parent when at school Panic symptoms, and Threats of self-harm Parents and teachers who notice these behaviours should record increased absences or patterns, and access support if these continue. *not their real name This story first appeared in Melbourne University's Pursuit. [post_title] => Getting school refusers back to class [post_excerpt] => Groundbreaking intervention. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 24691 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-08-11 11:46:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-08-11 01:46:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24691 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24647 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2016-08-09 10:09:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-08-09 00:09:24 [post_content] =>  Women in mining   A mentoring program that helps women working in remote areas in traditionally testosterone-fuelled industries like mining and construction is gaining traction. The federal government announced a further $490,000 this week for the Australian Women in Resources Alliance (AWRA) e-mentoring program. The e-Mentoring program, an initiative of the Australian Mines and Metal’s Association (AMMA), is designed to attract and retain women in the resource, allied and construction industries by overcoming some of the disadvantages of living and working in remote regions, working irregular hours and low female representation. The money will fund an additional 100 places, some of this targeting indigenous women and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.  The nine-month program is individually tailored and works using email, chat, Skpe, phone as well as discussion forums. Mentors can be male or female, provided they have experience in resource and allied industries or construction. Training webinars guide mentees and mentors during the program and there is ongoing advice and evaluation.   Woman at the Lake Vermont Coal mine in Queensland_opt Lake Vermont coal mine, QLD.   The program’s is to help women in these industries set goals and how to achieve them, plan their careers, develop problem solving skills and boost confidence.  The federal Minister for Women Michaelia Cash announced the funding at the AMMA National Conference in Perth last week. Government funding has already supported the program to successfully match 100 pairs of mentors and mentees between 2014 and 2016. Cash said the government was committed to a range of private sector initiatives that helped women succeed in traditionally male dominated roles and industries. “The government is dedicated to encouraging women to take up positions in industries with a prevalence of men,” Cash said. “We must challenge stereotypical industries and encourage women to enter a career that is not traditionally dominated by their gender. “To truly empower women’s workforce choices, we must remove barriers preventing women entering and succeeding in traditionally male dominated industries, such as the resource industry. [post_title] => Support for women working remotely in blokey industries [post_excerpt] => eMentoring for success. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => cash-for-women-working-in-remotely-blokey-industries [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-08-09 10:39:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-08-09 00:39:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24647 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24518 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-07-25 17:50:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-25 07:50:50 [post_content] => Muslim Friday mass prayer in Turkey   A Bendigo community organisation is holding Q&A and information sessions to dispel some of the myths that surround Muslims and Islam, including beliefs that Muslim children don't go to school and Muslim men routinely hit their wives. The first mosque in Bendigo was approved in June this year after long and bitter protests from sections of the community, whose ranks sometimes swelled from far-right groups travelling in from other areas. Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services Community Development worker Diantha Vess said that the information sessions, funded by the Victorian government, would help counter far-fetched ideas about what it meant to be Muslim. The sessions also zero in on the terminology used around the religion, such as the word ‘jihad’ which means a struggle for good that exists in the soul, rather than a holy war; or why Muslims eat halal food. “We felt it was needed because there were a lot of misconceptions in Bendigo," Ms Vess said. "From our consultation we were finding all sorts of weird things being believed. “There’s a lot of information out there that’s negative and blatantly untrue.” Before conducting the events, the organisation visited schools students to find out what opinions they held about Muslims. The answers were revealing and depressing. Children asked questions like: Why don't Muslim children go to school, why do all Muslim men hit their wives and why don’t Muslim children wear shoes? After the sessions, conducted by a Muslim woman, the children's opinions had shifted markedly to hold much more informed and compassionate ideas. Ms Vess said: “It gives people the opportunity to meet the Muslims in their community, to have a rapport with them, see them standing there and be able to ask questions. Here in Central Victoria people don’t often get the chance to talk directly to people from Islamic backgrounds.” Next week’s Q&A in Bendigo is aimed at the media, to encourage more sensitive reporting around race and religion. Ms Vess said the everyday lives of Muslims did not normally make the newspapers but the atrocities wrongly attributed to the whole group of people got blanket coverage. She added that the furore surrounding the mosque being built in Bendigo had attracted some over-heated reporting over the last couple of years which could have been more responsibly done. The Q&A information session is on Wednesday August 3, from 12pm-1.30pm at Bendigo Library. Contact: Diantha Vess, Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services 03 5441 6644. [post_title] => Bendigo confronts myths about Muslims [post_excerpt] => Appeals for balance. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bendigo-confronts-myths-muslims-islam [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-07-29 09:34:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-07-28 23:34:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24518 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24060 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-06-02 14:55:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-02 04:55:57 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24061" align="alignnone" width="300"]mark scott Scott has delivered a lesson in political survival.[/caption]   You could call it the ultimate lesson in political survival: former Australian Broadcasting Corporation chief Mark Scott has been named as the new Secretary of the New South Wales Department of Education, a move certain lead to more major reforms at the giant organisation. The appointment is being billed by NSW Premier Mike Baird as a continuation of a push to recruit top leaders from both the corporate and public sectors to the highest ranks of the public service – and it effectively scotches speculation that Mr Scott left the ABC because of differences with key Coalition powerbrokers. During his term as head of the ABC Mr Scott was persistently accused by sections of the Abbott government and elements of the commercial media industry of failing to redress alleged organisation bias against the Abbott government prior to its implosion. Mr Scott succeeds Dr Michele Bruniges AM, who began her career as a classroom teacher in south-western Sydney. In a neat bit of cross-jurisdictional poaching, Dr Bruniges has been appointed the head of the federal Department of Education and Training. Like Dr Bruniges, Mr Scott also has a strong background in education and education policy having worked as a teacher at Sydney’s St Andrews Cathedral School prior to taking on senior ministerial roles with Greiner (Coalition) government under education minister Virginia Chadwick and Terry Metherell. “On leaving the ABC, I was asked what I planned to do next. I can think of no more important opportunity than working alongside the teachers of NSW and the staff of the Department to improve teaching and learning in our schools,” Mr Scott said in a statement released by Mr Baird’s office. “Mark’s appointment takes our reinvigoration of the senior executive of the NSW public service a step further,” Mr Baird said. “Along with promoting outstanding young talent from within the service, we have sought out the best and brightest from the corporate world. The appointment of a highly media savvy and digitally literate Education Secretary is also likely to provide some welcome relief for Education Minister Adrian Piccoli who has remained under sustained fire from parts of the tabloid press which have been gunning for his removal. While the Baird government’s policies of renewed investment and improving the quality of public education – especially in outer suburban and regional areas – has won widespread electoral support, the approach has rankled parts of the independent education lobby that has had to work harder to obtain government money. “I look forward to working with Mark to continue delivering the most comprehensive set of reforms of school education in a century,” Mr Piccoli said. “Our focus remains on improving student results and delivering the skills base needed to grow the NSW economy.” [post_title] => It's your public school: Former ABC chief Mark Scott to head of NSW Education Department [post_excerpt] => Lesson in political survival [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => former-abc-chief-mark-scott-made-head-nsw-education-department [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-14 10:58:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-14 00:58:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24060 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23967 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-05-25 14:39:29 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-25 04:39:29 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_23968" align="alignnone" width="287"]shrink dollar_opt Outsourcing needs a helping hand.[/caption]   Australian government agencies are facing a rapidly shrinking choice of domestic and international technology outsourcers after HP Enterprise Services announced a US$8.5 billion proposed merger with veteran player CSC, a deal that will see a new entity spun out separately from both companies. Revealed to Australian customers on Wednesday morning, the two fading giants have told customers and shareholders they expect the merger deal to be completed by March 2017 to create what is being sold as a “strategic combination of the two complementary businesses” that is anticipated to have annual revenues of US$26 billion. Under the proposed new structure both CSC and HP Enterprise Services will have equity “approximately 50 percent of shares” each, with CSC’s Mike Lawrie to become the chairman, president and chief executive of the new company, while HP Enterprise Services’ boss Meg Whitman will join the board. The deal is still subject to regulatory and shareholder approval. A major question that dozens of Australian customers are certain to be asking is what impact the transaction will have on healthcare software provider iSoft, which CSC acquired in an acrimonious on-market takeover for $460 million in 2011 that was doggedly fought by the then ASX-listed company’s head, Gary Cohen. iSoft’s customers in Australia include multiple large health services in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australian and Western Australia. Although the iSoft brand name is not specifically named in the announcement, Government News has been told by CSC that the health applications provider is definitely part of the merger and spin out as it has been fully integrated into CSC for more than four years. Also in the merger mix are government and corporate customers of former Australian IT services company UXC, which CSC acquired for $428 million in October 2015, will also be contemplating the news that their provider will undergo its second change of owner in just over 6 months. UXC’s stated public sector customer list includes the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the federal Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIIRSTE), Queensland Health, Transport for NSW, the Department of Defence and the Department of Human Services. The latest mega-transaction in what has become a challenged market for IT services comes as big players, including HP Enterprise Services and CSC, have been hit hard by successive waves of margin sapping technology consolidation, a trend that has included the rise of lower cost cloud computing and a proliferation of mobile devices that have decimated once dominant desktop and server markets. Formed following a the sale of Electronic Data Systems to Hewlett Packard in 2008 for US$13.9 billion, HP Enterprise Services never managed to regain the market share or customer footprint that was typified by big cluster or whole-of-government deals that often nudged the billion dollar mark and spanned periods as long as a decade. The extent of shrinkage and low margins in the outsourcing market was sharply underscored when Lockheed Martin departed the Australian public sector IT outsourcing market last year after initially making strong inroads at key customers including the Australian taxation Office. Meanwhile, Mr Lawrie and Ms Whitman (who was once CEO of eBay) are keenly selling the deal as a good thing for clients. “Our proposed merger with HPE Enterprise Services is a logical next step in CSC’s transformation,” Mr Lawrie said in the announcements.” “Clients are feeling the pressure to digitally transform their enterprises to meet new business demands and customer expectations. They need a partner with the innovation, scale, leadership and dependability to answer the challenge. “As a pure play, the combined company will be built to lead digital transformations using next-generation technology solutions from both companies,” Mr Lawrie continued before unbolting any connection to the former server monolith. “It will be able to operate independent of any single hardware provider, while partnering with the world’s leading technology providers, including HPE.” Meg Whitman was equally optimistic. “The ‘spin-merger’ of HPE Enterprise Services with CSC is the right next step for HPE and our customers,” Ms Whitman said. “As two companies with global scale, strong balance sheets and a focus on innovation, both HPE and the new company will be well positioned as leaders in their respective markets.” [post_title] => HP Enterprise Services + CSC ‘spin-merger’ sucks in iSoft and UXC [post_excerpt] => Incredible shrinking outsourcing market. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => csc_hp_merger [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-05-26 23:18:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-05-26 13:18:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=23967 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26822 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-05 13:01:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-05 03:01:25 [post_content] => Former NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli goes back to uni. Pic: YouTube   Adrian Piccoli – the dumped NSW Education Minister who famously made a stand against his own party by championing Gonski needs-based school funding – will work with the University of NSW on its programs for disadvantaged students and schools. Mr Piccoli was controversially dumped as the state's Education Minister during NSW Premier Gladys Berejikilian's Cabinet reshuffle in January and replaced with NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes. Now the former minister has been appointed an Honorary Professor of Practice by UNSW, which will see him working with the School of Education and Arts and Social Sciences and giving guest lectures on politics and public policy while helping with the university’s suite of education initiatives, particularly those around rural and remote education. These include:
  • Boosting the number of trainee teaching placements in rural areas
  • A partnership between UNSW and Matraville High School where undergraduate teachers run educational and fun after school workshops and support students academically while gaining valuable teaching experience.
  • ASPIRE, a program that aims to boost the numbers of children going to university in schools where numbers are low
UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs said Mr Piccoli had shown great commitment to public education, particularly around improving literacy and numeracy in rural and remote communities, and welcomed him on board. “His expertise fits perfectly with the focus of our UNSW 2025 Strategy on educational excellence and social engagement. His contribution will be of great value in our efforts to provide the highest quality education, accessible to all parts of society,” Prof Jacobs said. “I am delighted that Adrian is joining our team at UNSW and I look forward immensely to his input.” Dean of UNSW Arts and Social Sciences Professor Susan Dodds said UNSW would draw on Mr Piccoli’s practical policy knowledge and longstanding commitment to rural and remote education in the university’s research and teaching. “We have plans to continue to expand our work with policy makers, schools and communities, and his appointment will help to focus those developments. In addition, Mr Piccoli has agreed to offer some guest lectures to students in courses on politics and public policy, informed by his experience as an MP,” Prof Dodds said. Mr Piccoli said he was committed to improving the outcomes for students across NSW and Australia. “This is a great opportunity to continue making a contribution to education in conjunction with one of the finest universities in the country,” he said.   [post_title] => Piccoli takes on uni role to help disadvantaged students [post_excerpt] => Remote and rural areas focus. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => piccoli-takes-uni-role-help-disadvantaged-students [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-07 10:25:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-07 00:25:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26822 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 118 [max_num_pages] => 9 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => 1 [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => e091bb2e671b484834629702e1c5d0ec [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )

Education & Training