December 2018 | VALBEC | Web version

Seasons greetings

In this Issue

1. Season's greetings

2. 2019 VALBEC Conference

3. Latest Fine Print cover story

4. Review of VET sector

5. Resources

• 40 Stories of Adult Literacy Learners

6. 2018 Australian Training Awards


1. Season's greetings

The VALBEC comma, and the FINE PRINT editorial board would like to thank our funding body, ACFE, for their continued support and commitment to VALBEC and Fine Print.

We would like wish our subscribers and members a restful and relaxing summer and festive season. It has been a very busy 2018 for the committees with the 40th birthday of VALBEC, running both the VALBEC and ACAL conferences and welcoming a new commissioning Editor to the Fine Print journal.

We are looking forward to another wonderful year in 2019 - planning for the annual VALBEC conference in May is underway, and the Sydney organising committee are planning the ACAL conference for 2019, so a trip to the bright lights might be in the calendar to tick off next year's professional development requirements.

We would also like to acknowledge the hard work of other organisations with whom we work - The Reading and Writing Hotline, ALA, ACAL, other State organisations, Neighbourhood Houses Victoria, the Victorian ACE Policy Network, Adult Literacy Connect and Public Libraries Victoria - and wish them a safe and happy festive season.

Best wishes from Meg Cotter and Linno Rhodes, VALBEC Co-Presidents, on behalf of the VALBEC committee. 

2. 2019 VALBEC Conference

Our 2019 theme – Resilience: connect, educate, empower – invites us to celebrate and explore how teachers, students and institutes achieve in education. How do we change what we can, adjust to what we can't and keep our eye on the goal of success for students? Do we bring resilience with us, reveal it through language and collegiate action or both? 

Join us on May 17th, 2019 to explore just how we have managed to 

We invite you to explore any of these ideas with a workshop, a presentation, a discussion, a Q & A …

This is a fabulous moment to discuss some work in progress to get feedback or to trial materials. 

Keep an eye out for the call for papers in the New Year.

3. Latest Fine Print cover story

FO cover image 41/3VALBEC members and subscribers should have received Fine Print Vol 41 #3 by now so you can put it on the top of your summer reading pile – there is lots in it to inspire and challenge you. 

Choosing a cover image is always difficult because it has to tie in with the content of the journal and look good in black and white. The decision was made doubly difficult with this edition because the chosen image worked really well with the substance of the journal but it felt cruel to take its colour away. So here it is, in all its golden glory. 

And if you're wondering what the connection is with the content, you'll have to read the journal. If you're not an individual member, look for it in your staffroom or encourage your institution's library to subscribe.

Please send comments, queries and story ideas to

4. Review of VET sector

The Government has commissioned an independent review of the vocational education and training (VET) sector to ensure Australians have the right skills to succeed in a changing labour market, and businesses have access to the skills they need to grow the business.

The terms of reference include 'whether additional support is needed for vulnerable cohorts, including those currently unemployed and at risk of unemployment, or those with low literacy and numeracy skills.'

Full details on the ACAL website

Submissions are due by January 25, 2019

5. Resources

40 Stories of Adult Literacy Learners

Stories provide us a valuable insight into the minds and experiences of others so that we can learn, empathise and stretch our knowledge and imagination. When adult literacy learners share their stories it is not only a very empowering activity for them as individuals but also provides insightful understandings for the adult literacy practitioner.

As part of VALBEC's 40 year celebrations, we will collate 40 stories of adults literacy learners from around the country and world. So take time out this year to read and watch some adult literacy stories to remind you and inspire you in your practice. If you have a story you would like to share as part of this series please email the details and a link to

At the start of this year as part of our 40-year celebrations, we aimed to provide 40 Stories of adults learning to read and write and learn. We actually went over that number and thankfully there are still many more stories out there. 

Eddie Betts

For a final submission this year I'm sharing the story of one of my favourite AFL players to watch, Eddie Betts. He is now a great advocate for literacy education and is the ambassador for the SA 2018 Public Education Awards. 

There are a few versions of this story so you can choose which news service you would like to read.

Meg Cotter 

SA Education Our Ambassador - Eddie Betts

Eddie Betts admits he couldn't read or write when he arrived at Carlton now preaches education

6. 2018 Australian Training Awards

2018 Australian Training Awards

Full list of awards

Congratulations to 2018 National Achievement Award Recipient Jennie Barrera

Jennie  BarreraJennie Barrera is a VET teacher of language, literacy and numeracy and a true champion for adult education. She has a significant leadership role in her community, driving humanitarian programs for migrants and other disadvantaged groups.

Jennie has been influential in incorporating VET as a solution to her clients' needs, such as offering courses in literacy, language and numeracy, early childhood education, digital literacy, and a range of pre-accredited courses. She has developed strong links to agencies in all three tiers of government, and has made a significant contribution toward settlement services.

More about Jennie's work

7. PIAAC media release - we need it!

Adult Learning Australia (ALA) and the Australian Council of Adult Literacy (ACAL) are urging the Morrison Government not to withdraw Australia from the OECD Survey of Adult Skills. The OECD Survey of Adult Skills (or PIAAC) measures adult skills and competencies in three key areas:

Media release