Redefining the Mainstream: Local Government, Inclusive Communities

The Second National Conference on Reconciliation, Multiculturalism, Immigration and Human Rights


Jenny Howard
Senior Education Officer Access and Equity, TAFE NSW Sydney Institute

Planning for Diversity

TAFE NSW Sydney Institute is the largest provider of vocational education and training in Australia with over 60,000 enrolments.

The institute is also the most diverse culturally and socially VET institution of its kind in Australia taking in an annual enrolment of approximately 38% NESB, 1. 7% ATSI, 4% People with disability, 46% women. Within these target groups, there are also widely varying social and learning needs.

The challenge for Sydney Institute is: how do we plan for courses and support services that would meet the teaching and learning needs of such a diverse students groups? And how do we know that we are on track in meeting these goals? Beyond the policies and strategic intentions how do we implement the delivery?

The term access and equity is used in policy and planning terms to cover the NESB, ATSI, People with disability, women and other socially disadvantaged groups. It is the term I will use in this presentation to refer to diversity in its broadest sense to include the abovementioned target groups.

In 1999 the Institute conducted a review of its access and equity practices and achievements. A key outcome of this review was the development of eight key performance indicators for access and equity which allow the Institute to analyse student performance and participation data in terms of their enrolment rates, course and module completion rates, attrition rate, pathways, participation in award streams.

These were then used in the Institute planning process to set targets, identify opportunities for improvement and build on successful strategies that would deliver the maximum learning outcomes for these students.

This presentation focuses on how the Institute used these performance indicators to analyse performance and outcomes of its students to get some indication of how they performed in different areas in 2000. Th results of this analysis also gave us some indication of where we need to make improvements, target more resources and set targets for improvement for 2001.

It is by no means a perfect process and there are questions about how data is used and how valid and reliable the performance indicators are. The Institute will continue to use them as a tool in its planning process and will review its effectiveness at some stage.

Finally in relation to the theme of this conference, this workshop paper presents an example of how a large tertiary/VET institution deal with diversity through its planning process to ensure that it builds on: its inclusive strategies, its social, linguistic and cultural diversity and its educational pathways available to the most disadvantaged in the community.

Jenny Howard has spent the past 16 years working in the education field in varied and eclectic capacities: teaching, policy and planning, curriculum development, resource development, staff development and learning, promotions, workforce planning and managing various national projects. She spent six years working in the multicultural education field in TAFE NSW.

This also included a two year stint as manager of a national research and consultancy centre in productive diversity, the Centre for Workplace Communication and Culture which is now located at RMIT in Melbourne.

More recently Jenny was seconded to manage a training team which developed and delivered the job specific training for the volunteers and staff working with the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

She is currently the Senior Education Officer for Access and Equity at TAFE NSW Sydney Institute where she coordinates several special funded programs which deliver courses for NESBs, youth at risk, long term unemployed and those with language and literacy needs. She is a member of the Institute's Strategy Directorate team providing policy and planning advice on access and equity.

List of Publications:
1. TAFE NSW Quality Awards ­ Guidelines for preparing your entry. Jenny Howard, NSW DET 2000
2. Report on the Review of Migrant Skills and Qualifications. New South Wales Department of Education and Training. Dr Bill Cope, Jenny Howard, Assoc. Prof. Peter Kell of the Centre for Workplace Communication and Culture, 1998.
3. Report on the Review of the Overseas Qualifications Unit. EmploymentVictoria Department of State Development. Dr Bill Cope, Jenny Howard, Assoc. Prof. Peter Kell of the Centre for Workplace Communication and Culture, July 1998.
4. Productive Diversity in the Workplace: A Training Resource Kit for Union Officials. Jenny Howard, Dr Bill Cope for Workplace Communication and Culture, July 1998
5. Evaluation of the Queensland Adult English, Language, Literacy and Numeracy Policy for the Queensland Department of Employment and Industrial Relations. Peter Kell, Bill Cope, Angela Hill and Jenny Howard, April 1997.
6. Multicultural & Anti-Racism Education: Elements of an Inclusive Approach. Occasional Paper No 22. Mary Kalantzis, Bill Cope and Jenny Howard 1997.
6. Education for Cultural Diversity, A Professional Development Program. Centre for Workplace Communication and Culture. Mary Kalantzis, Bill Cope, Scott Poynting and Jenny Howard 1997
8. Best Practice in Communication with NESB Customers in TAFE NSW . Jenny Howard for ANTA 1997

Presentation Type
30 min. Paper


Deakin Woolstores Campus, Geelong Waterfront
30 November - 1 December 2001