TAFE: Foundation educator joint statement on the way
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 1, 12 February 2021, page no.23
Beginning educator training was a key component of the QTU log of claims going into the last round of enterprise bargaining for the 2019 TAFE Queensland certified agreement, resulting in the establishment of the foundation educator classification
The aim of this new classification is to establish a position enabling prospective educators to be trained inhouse by TAFE Queensland, with the aim of appointing them to higher level educator roles upon successful completion of a structured program.
The details of the role’s working conditions and the expectations of those employed have been the subject of subsequent negotiations, with the aim of producing a binding joint statement. While COVID-19 interfered with the implementation, discussion has been ongoing, including the applicability of certain educator entitlements. This has resulted in a generally accepted position that some changes are required, although the quantum of the entitlements should be preserved. The aim of any revised working conditions is to ensure that foundation educators have enough time to observe and learn from mentors and supervisors and complete a course of structured formal instruction.
It is proposed that there will be direct supervision and mentoring of the foundation educator by appropriately qualified and experienced teachers. The formal instruction is to be based around delivery by TAFE Queensland of the Certificate IV TAE, the minimum qualification required to work within the national vocation education and training system.
TAFE Queensland Educational Quality has been intimately involved in the design of the program and discussion of working conditions, to ensure an appropriate structure with adequate timelines for completion. To facilitate successful completion, it is proposed that the appropriate conditions of employment will be described within a joint statement.
The foundation educator program will allow for an increasing level of responsibility and engagement in TAFE Queensland’s mainstream educational processes as the incumbent’s skills and knowledge develop and are recognised through completion of Certificate IV skill sets. This is in accordance with the requirements of national regulation. It is proposed that the foundation educator will only be employed as such for a period of 12 months, and upon successful completion of the program will be appointed to a tutor or teacher role. They may not be employed in the capacity of foundation educator as either a casual or on a permanent basis.
The working conditions under negotiation are aimed at ensuring successful completion of the program in order to establish the core of TAFE Queensland’s educational staff for the next decade. This is an exciting development and proposal that promises to provide well prepared and confident educational staff for TAFE Queensland and a viable model for other public providers across the country.
At the time of writing, the joint statement is in draft form and is awaiting approval.
Details of the foundation educator position (including role, duties, and qualification and experience prerequisites) can be found in the TAFE Queensland Educators Certified Agreement 2019 (https://www.qtu.asn.au/tafeca2019) at Appendix 2.