2016 Conference Reading List

The CCA 2016 Conference Pre-Reading List

This year CCA is developing a “Conference Pre-Reading List”, for conference participants to delve into the program topics and themes prior to meeting up on 18th, 19th and 20th October.  Our speakers have been asked to provide reading (and viewing) recommendations, ones that you will find both stimulating and cracking good reads.

The initial Reading List is below, which will grow as our speakers add their recommended reading, viewing and listening.


The Future: Understanding It and Shaping It

Digital Life in 2025: 15 theses about the future, produced by the Pew Research Center in the USA.

The world is moving rapidly towards ubiquitous connectivity that will further change how and where people associate, gather and share information, and consume media. A canvassing of 2,558 experts and technology builders about where we will stand by the year 2025 finds striking patterns in their predictions.

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Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2016, by Daphne Kasriel-Alexander, Euromonitor, UK.

Global consumption in 2016 will see a blend of established, new and counter trends, challenging the way consumers live and shop. From millennials, single spenders, change-makers, gender-nonconformists, the health conscious, the brand-agnostic and over-connected consumers to a focus on greener food and mental wellbeing, this report analyses prevalent trends, consumer attitudes and purchasing decisions across consumer types, industries and countries.


The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was.  The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives. Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur?  Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities.  We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don't know.  We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the "impossible."

Quotes:  “Read books are far less valuable that unread ones.”  “We overestimate what we know – we underestimate uncertainty.”

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Young People, Education and Work

Innovative Partnerships for Youth Engagement in Education and Work, Centre for Vocational and Educational Policy, University of Melbourne, just released (26 August 2016).

The findings of this study confirm the changing nature of secondary school programs in recent years. Teaching and educational provision no longer remain exclusively linked to onei institution, and new and innovative programs are being implemented to involve the wider community in learning and skills development.

The New Work Order: Ensuring young Australians have skills and experience for the jobs of the future, not the past, prepared for the Foundation for Young Australians by AlphaBeta.

The future of work is changing. It’s a reality governments, industry and communities are all grappling with. We will need an innovative and entrepreneurial generation of young people to maintain our standard of living.  This report shows that more issues are ahead for young people as the most significant disruption in the world of work since the industrial revolution begins to have an impact in the next decade. Economic changes are transforming work through automation, globalisation and more flexible work. This could bring opportunity. But it could also further disadvantage young people in labour markets. For example, the report shows currently around 70% of young Australians are getting their first job in roles that will either look very different or be completely lost in the next 10 to 15 years due to automation.  Nearly 60% of Australian students (70% in VET) are currently studying or training for occupations where at least two thirds of jobs will be automated.


“To get young people into work, we first need to understand how the workplace is changing”, by Associate Professor Lucas Walsh, Monash University, The Conversation, 14 September 2016.

The article discusses the release of the OECD report, Investing in Youth - Australia, which highlights persistent struggles faced by many young people in Australia.  “This analysis of youth policies related to education, training, social and employment has wide ranging implications, which can be unpacked by considering three basic questions: Where are young people at? Where are young people going? And how will we know if they have got there?”


Australia’s Youth Unemployment Hotspots Snapshots, March 2016, Brotherhood of St Laurence

The report card on youth unemployment in Australia shows a mixed result.  While there has been improvement in the overall rate, the national figures also mask the reality that clusters of high youth unemployment persist – stubbornly and unevenly – across the country. The malaise of unemployment particularly persists in many rural and regional locations. This analysis identifies 20 regional areas where youth unemployment rates are particularly high, including the mining hub of Mount Isa (reaching 28 percent), Hunter Valley (NSW), Wide Bay (QLD), Cairns, southeast Tasmania, Mid North Coast of NSW, Barossa-Yorke (SA), New England and Northwest NSW, and Townsville (QLD).


Investing in Youth: Australia, by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, September 2016.

Australia should follow up on the reform of its vocational education system by improving quality control in the VET sector and step up career guidance for young people to boost young people’s job prospects and reduce the share of under-30-year-olds who are not in employment, education or training. One in five Australian youth spend at least 12 months out of employment, education or training between the age of 16 and 24, with associated total earnings lost to society amounting to 1% of GDP or more than $16 billion each year. Read the press release here.


“Australia didn't have a 'great recession'? Tell that to young people”, by Greg Jericho, The Guardian Australia, 15 September 2016.

This article discusses the OECD report Investing in Youth: Australia, which documents a rise in Austrailan youth not in employment, education or training since 2008. While historically the rate isn’t high, benefits are so low that youth are now more likely to be living in poverty.  The article includes excellent interactive charts, with data sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that shows graphically how youth employment has lagged so dramatically in Australia, especially since 2008.


The Future of Vocational Education and Training

The VET Era

The VET Era: Equipping Australia's workforce for the future digital economy, a report for TAFE Queensland by CSIRO, June 2016.

Vocational Education and Training has played a critical role in building Australia's workforce over many decades and ensuring that the nation's workforce has the skills to support the shifting economy as it has transitioned from a focus on agriculture, to manufacturing, to mining, and now to the service and health industries.

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VET: Securing Skills for Growth, Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), published August 2016.

While Australia has historically had a comparative advantage in its highly-educated workforce, this is being eroded. This report asks the questions: (1) What is the role of VET within the broader education strategy of Australia? (2) What role does VET play in securing Australia's future skills? (3) What outcomes do we want from the VET system?  Contributors include Dr Damian Oliver, University of Technology Sydney Business School; Linda Simon, Charles Sturt University; Rod Camm, CEO, ACPET; Megan O’Connell, Policy Program Director, Mitchell Institute; Martin Riordan, CEO, TAFE Directors Australia; and Professor Gerald Burke, Monash University

Linking quals report cover

Australian VET

Australian VET: The Now and Then

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Total VET students and courses 2015, from the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research (NCVER)

Total VET activity video (1.31 mins) explains what total VET activity is, and provides an overview of how the data can be used to inform policy and practice.

Total VET students Infographic provides a pictorial summary of 2015 nationally accredited training.

Making sense of total VET activity: an initial market analysis, by Alison Anlezark and Paul Foley, 2016.


VET funding in Australia: Background, trends and future directions, by Professor Peter Noonan, The Mitchell Institute, March 2016.

The paper summarises the evolution of the VET shared funding model and assesses its effectiveness over time in terms of funding, participation and enrolments and the changing shares of Commonwealth and state funding particularly through VET FEE-HELP.   It concludes by outlining, in broad terms, options for future funding responsibility for VET.  Provides a useful historical timeline for those new to the VET system.


Not-For-Profit Governance


Charity Sector Complexity Not to Be Ignored by Lina Caneva

This article summarises the key findings of the ACNC Australian Charities 2013 Report by Curtin University, stating that it is clear that it is an over simplification and inappropriate to treat Australian charities as a single sector.  It suggests that tactical approaches to the development of policies that use an evidence-based approach to identifying the issues and needs of individual sub-groups within the sector is necessary.


ACNC Australian Charities 2013 Report by Curtin University

This report summarises the information collected from the first Annual Information Statements (AIS) submitted by charities to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) for the 2013 financial year. The report stresses that there is a wide spectrum of activities’ and beneficiaries in the NFP sector and that there is a need to understand the diversity and complexity of the organisations within the sector in formulating policy and governance standards.


Summary of Key Finding of the ACNC Australian Charities 2013 Report by Curtin University

This document gives a one-page summary of the findings of the ACNC Australian Charities 2013 Report by Curtin University.


Introduction to Not For Profit Governance by the Institute of Community Directors Australia

This report provides an overview on governance standards and different models of governance, including their effectiveness, in the NFP sector.  The report also provides guidance on key factors that determine the success or failure of different governance models.


A Delicate Balancing Act: Board Effectiveness in the Not-For-Profit Sector

This report outlines the challenges faced by the NFP sector and what board effectiveness means in the NFP context.  It also provides a useful framework for the development of Boards in the NFP sector.


Preparing for the Future: Do or die for non-profit boards, by David Knowles, Koda Capital, March 2016.

Extract from the Introduction: “The most important task of a non-profit board is to prepare its organisation for the future. Life for non-profits is changing rapidly, and in many ways dramatically. Non-profit boards face a future that looks nothing like the past -one in which they must deal with changes in government policy, increased regulation and accountability, rising costs, higher funder expectations, the need to prove impact, systemic change, tougher competition and the impact of digital innovation.”


“Profit is not a dirty word”, article by and video interview with Phil Butler, NFP Section Leader, Australian Institute of Company Directors, 14 September 2016.

The idea that not-for-profits (NFPs) cannot make a profit is damaging the sector. This article and video explains why NFPs must make a profit if they are to keep delivering on their vital missions. This is directly contrary to the long-standing perception that the NFP sector is in a constant state of financial distress. And his is not just a view that's held by outsiders, but by members of the not-for-profit community themselves.


2016 NFP Governance and Performance Study: Raising the Bar, Australian Institute of Company Directors, September 2016

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) has released the 2016 NFP Governance and Performance Study . The 2016 Study, entitled Raising the Bar, highlights the key themes, challenges and opportunities the not-for-profit sector is currently facing.


Rural and Regional Issues


“Youth unemployment: local communities essential for helping young people find work,” by Dr David Farrugia, University of Newcastle, The Conversation, 27 April 2016.

This article discusses now “rural and regional areas are among the hardest hit” by economic and social changes, with “places such as outback Queensland and the New South Wales Hunter Valley hav[ing] youth unemployment rates of 28% and 22% respectively.”  The article states that, “education and training programs must work with local communities alongside investment in regional economies aimed at creating new employment opportunities when established industries leave.”



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“VET FEE-HELP reforms will merely paper over the cracks of a system prone to abuse”, by Peter Noonan, Mitchell Professorial Fellow, Victoria University, The Conversation, 26 August 2016.

This article analyses the current situation of VET FEE-HELP issues, and concludes that a new VET financing system is required: one that would encompass both state funding and VET FEE-HELP with clear roles for the Commonwealth and the states.  The system should include agreed pricing, quality assurance requirements, eligibility criteria and oversight in each state and an agreed commitment to the future resourcing requirements for VET.


Redesigning VET FEE-HELP Discussion Paper, Australian Government Department of Education and Training, 27 April 2016.
This discussion paper seeks to promote public discussion and inform the redesign of the VET FEE-HELP scheme, as part of the Government’s plans to reconstitute the scheme. Although VET FEE-HELP is only a small part of the VET sector, the problems in this program have had an major impact across the whole sector, both in terms of impacts on students and providers, and reputation more generally.


“Regulator 'flying blind' in widely-rorted vocational education loans scheme”, by Paddy Manning, ABC Radio National Background Briefing, 26 February 2016.

ABC Radio National program on the rorting of the VET FEE-HELP program, including a full audio podcast download of the program.


Bookshelves, Book Lists and Bibliographies


“Silicon Valley’s Secrets Are Hiding in Marc Andreessen’s Library”, by Cade Metz, Wired, 14 September 2016.

Books still have power.  Did you know that the Silicon Valley venture capital company Andreessen Horowitz has a carefully curated library of 800 books in its waiting room?  A lot of people do now, because of this article in Wired magazine.  Each of the books has been selected and placed there by Marc Andreessen, the firm’s co-founder (and one of the original Internet browser inventors through Netscape).  The collection – focussing on Hollywood, Silicon Valley and computer programming – is so legendary that “as authors and publicists come through, many of them slot in their own books—sometimes in bulk”, Metz writes.  “Andreessen is the room. And the room still has the desired effect: It makes you want to talk to the people inside.”  Look carefully at the photograph to the left and you can see a book about Alan Turing, the American computer scientist whose quote we are using:  “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”