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New boss for TAFE SA


The State Government has appointed a permanent CEO to TAFE SA for the first time since former head Robin Murt resigned more than a year ago, after enrolments were suspended in a raft of underperforming courses.

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David Coltman, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Pathways and Vocational Education at Melbourne’s Swinburne University of Technology, has been appointed to the role, starting in mid-April.

He’ll replace bureaucrat Alex Reid, who has served as interim chief since Murt’s departure in December 2017.

Coltman said he was “hugely excited” about the challenge, saying the role “comes with lots of expectations”.

“It’s a great responsibility and I feel very privileged to be given the opportunity,” he said.

“I look forward to working with employers and community leaders, the SA Government and TAFE SA staff and students, to make sure we have the right people with the right skills to grow our economy, and to meet the social and cultural needs of South Australia.”

The former Labor Government’s handling of the public training provider came under a blowtorch late in its tenure when the Australian Skills Quality Authority suspended enrolments in 14 courses after finding major problems with all 16 targeted by a random audit.

Former Business SA boss Peter Vaughan was sacked as TAFE SA chair, with BHP’s former Olympic Dam supremo Jacqui McGill appointed his permanent replacement late last year by the new Liberal Government.

Education Minister John Gardner said in a statement Coltman would bring “a wealth of experience from the vocational education and training sector”, citing an extensive history in the management and delivery of programs that increase participation in higher education.

He also highlighted an “extensive history in delivering programs that increase the participation of underrepresented communities in higher education – in particular, his work with Maori, Pacific and refugee communities in New Zealand”.

He said the interim management had “delivered on a range of measures to address quality matters and taken significant steps towards achieving TAFE SA’s goal of becoming a benchmark for high-quality vocational education in the state”.

“This work resulted in the delivery of a positive final audit reported from ASQA in December, delivering a clean bill of health for TAFE SA and representing a significant milestone in restoring the community’s confidence in our public training provider,” he said.

McGill said there had been a “really strong field of candidates applying for the role”.

“We believe that David’s knowledge and experience will provide significant benefits to TAFE SA into the future,” she said.

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