Tasmania Tomorrow is a Tasmanian-government initiative which aims to improve the post-secondary education experience of Tasmanians. The initiative commenced 1 January 2009, and includes restructuring Senior Secondary Colleges and TAFE Tasmania. It is anticipated that the restructuring will be complete by the start of the 2011 school year.
The institutes created by this initiative are:
- The Tasmanian Academy - focuses on academic learning, with a curriculum and academic pathway for Year 11 and 12 students seeking university entrance.
- The Tasmanian Polytechnic - focuses on practical learning, with a vocational pathway, supported by academic courses, for Years 11 and 12 and mature-age students seeking employment outcomes or university articulation.
- The Tasmanian Skills Institute - focuses on skills development for employees in enterprises, in line with the needs of industry.
A project team in the Department of Education was responsible for implementing this initiative through to the 'start up' of the three new organisations in January 2009. Members of the project team were drawn from TAFE Tasmania, the Department of Education including Senior Secondary Colleges, and Skills Tasmania.
A project steering committee was established to oversee the project. This committee was chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Education and included representatives from both TAFE Tasmania and the Department of Education.
Working groups were established to work on key issues such as educational programs, employee relations, logistics, funding and business models.
Other groups were established to provide advice to the steering committee including a leaders group consisting of all college principals and senior Department of Education and TAFE Tasmania staff, and a Guaranteeing Futures Reference Group to provide advice on issues affecting young people including transition to the new organisations.
Following the consultation period (June – October 2007), the Tasmanian government decided to transition to the Tasmania Tomorrow model. The Tasmanian Academy, Tasmanian Polytechnic and the Tasmanian Skills Institute commenced operations during January 2009.
Beginning in 2009, Hobart, Hellyer, Don and Newstead Colleges changed to the new structure. Initially all of these colleges have a campus of the Tasmanian Academy and Tasmanian Polytechnic located on site.
Other colleges will change to the new structures over the next 2 years with all colleges completing transition by 2011. TAFE Tasmania was split to create the Tasmanian Skills Institute and the Tasmanian Polytechnic.
Restructure of colleges
The Tasmanian Academy
This institute is for students aiming to go to university. It has a pre-tertiary focus where students can develop their capacity for thinking, enterprise, communication, IT and life skills. It is connected to future careers, particularly in a Tasmanian context.
The academy is governed by representation from professional bodies, university, the arts, business, industry and parents. It attracts industry and business sponsorship, and has scholarship programs to assist students, particularly those from rural and remote areas.
Restructure of TAFE Tasmania
The Tasmanian Polytechnic
The Tasmanian Polytechnic link title offers a wide range of learning and career options to prepare students for employment. Students can work towards a Tasmanian Certificate of Education, choose to go on to university or earn a nationally recognised qualification. Campuses are located throughout the state.
The Tasmanian Skills Institute
The Tasmanian Skills Institute commenced operations in 2009, and focuses on training for Apprentices/Trainees and up-skilling existing workers. The Tasmanian Skills Institute partners with businesses to provide workforce skills development and improve the productivity and prosperity of businesses.
Training is flexible, customised to specific needs and extends across all industry sectors. Workshops are held in the workplace, at a campus, or online. The Tasmanian Skills Institute also offers recognition of workers existing skills.
The Tasmanian Skills Institute supports the following industry skills groups: Allied Construction Trades, Plumbing & Gas, Automotive, Business, Construction, Cookery, Electrotechnology, Food Processing, Hair & Beauty, Community Services and Health, Licensed Skills, Metals & Manufacturing, Mining, Natural Resources, Tourism & Hospitality and Workplace Learning Services.
The Polytechnic, Academy and Skills Institute were established in a solid attempt to improve retention of students within the educational system after year 10. The old education system was criticized for not working for all students, as Tasmania has one of the lowest post year 10 and 11 retention rates in Australia.
It was considered that rapid change was required to deliver more positive outcomes for students, the local economy and Tasmania. Tasmania Tomorrow hopes to deliver an educational experience which focuses on engaging all students.
The Tasmania tomorrow program has received harsh criticism by the media and the teachers association of Tasmania. The intensity of criticism seen in the first year of reform is gaining momentum as the new system becomes shows signs that the changes have been poorly implemented.
In the second semester of 2013, the Polytechnic was dissolved and a reformed TAFE Tasmania began operating as TasTAFE.