Timeline of events

Timeline of events that have shaped the Northern Territory (NT) vocational education and training (VET) sector from 1948 to 2015.

Northern Territory eventsYear National events
The first bill passed by the new NT Legislative Council establishes the Northern Territory Apprenticeship Board. 1948  
The commencement of trade school training in Darwin for limited industry groups and adult education classes commenced in Alice Springs. 1950  
Adult education provision commenced in Darwin. 1951  
Education review conducted by the NT Administration. 1960  
NT Education Board established to advise the Administrator. 1961  
Legislative Council conducts a review of education in Northern Territory. 1963  
Teaching assistant course, precursor to Batchelor College, commences at Kormilda College. 1968  
Darwin Community College Planning Committee delivers their first and second reports to the Australian Government Minister for Education and Science. 1970  

Official opening of the Darwin Community College

Establishment of the following NT colleges:

  • Alice Springs Community College
  • Batchelor College
  • Nungalinya College.
1974 Report of the Australian Committee on Technical and Further Education, chaired by Myer Kangan, published. It recommends specific actions and funding related to the needs and priorities of TAFE.
  1975 NT Further Education Council established by the Federal minister.
  1977 NT TAFE Council established by the Federal minister.

NT Apprenticeships Board moves from the Department of Education NT Division to the newly formed NT Public Service.

Report of the Education Advisory Group on matters relating to the structure of educational administration for a self-governing NT released.

NT Post-School Advisory Council established.

1978 Commonwealth legislates for self-government in the NT commencing 1 July 1978.

Community College of Central Australia emerges from the Darwin Community College.

Industries Training Commission replaces the NT Apprentices Board.

Batchelor College of TAFE emerges.

Katherine Rural College established.

1979 Commonwealth hands over responsibility for education and training to the NT Government.

Centre for Appropriate Technology founded in Alice Springs.

Skills Training Centre for NT Government trade apprentices established in Darwin.


Vocational Training Commission replaces the Industries Training Commission.

NT Chief Minister establishes the Aboriginal Training and Employment Board of Management.


Darwin Institute of Technology established.

Vocational Training Commission and Post-School Advisory Council abolished.

TAFE Advisory Council established.

1984 Committee of Inquiry into Labour Market Programs, chaired by Peter Kirby, held to address education and employment matters.

NT Department of Education Division of TAFE re-established.

NT Department of Industry and Small Business takes responsibility for the apprenticeship functions of the Vocational Training Commission.

Industry Training Committees (5) operating in the NT.

The University College of the Northern Territory was created in spite of opposition from the Commonwealth.

1985 Australian Traineeship System established as a result of the Kirby Report.

NT Open College established.

The Industry and Employment Advisory Council established.

NT Department of Business, Technology and Communications assumes responsibility for apprenticeship operations and policy.


NT Department of Labour and Administrative Services gains responsibility for apprenticeships.

Community College of Central Australia renamed Alice Springs College of TAFE.

Official opening of the University College of the Northern Territory.

1987 Skills for Australia Policy introduced in order to improve the quality of training and address youth unemployment.
Community Education Centres established in major remote communities by the NT Department of Education. 1988  

NT University comes into existence with an Institute of TAFE and its own board.

Group training organisations open in Darwin and Alice Springs.

NT pioneers alternative flexible delivery strategies to provide greater access to training.

Alice Springs Campus of Batchelor College established. 1990 National Training Board established to ratify vocational competency standards identified by national industry training advisory bodies.

NT becomes the first jurisdiction to introduce competency based training in apprenticeships and traineeships.

NT becomes the first jurisdiction to introduce skills based rather than time based recognition of on the job training.

1991 Young people's participation in post-compulsory education and training: report of the Australian Education Council Review Committee (the Finn Report) released.
Northern Territory Employment and Training Authority created with its own board and takes on functions from both Education and Labour and Administrative Services departments. 1992 Australian Vocational Certificate Training System agreed by the Australian Education Council and the minister for vocational education, employment and training.

Age restrictions removed from apprenticeships, providing new pathways for adults and those wanting to change careers.

Australian National Training Authority established by an Act of the Commonwealth Parliament in order to provide and independent body to develop and implement VET policy.

Borders Wiya program provides infrastructure for cross-border training in the NT, South Australia and Western Australia.

Key competencies: report of the committee to advise the Australian Education Council and ministers for vocational education, employment and training on employment-related and on key competencies for post-compulsory education and training is released.
Centralian College created through the merger of Alice Springs College of TAFE and Sadadeen Senior College. 1993 Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard (AVETMISS) endorsed by the various state and territory governments in Australia.

NT Open College and Adult Migrant Education functions transferred to NTU and Centralian College.

NT Open Learning Network established to provide for market competition in the delivery of publicly funded training.


Australian Student Traineeship Foundation established by the Commonwealth.

National Training Wage introduced as a result of the national Employment and Training Task Force’s promotion of traineeships as a formal training process.

AVETMISS introduced, providing for a nationally consistent standard for data collection and analysis in VET.

Remaining age restrictions for traineeships removed.


Australian Qualifications Framework established providing for a national hierarchy of qualifications in education and training.

National and Northern Territory Industry Training Advisory Boards take on the work previously undertaken by Industry Training Committees.

Group Training NT formed when Top End Group Training absorbed the operations of the Central Australian Group Training. 1996 National training packages for a wide range of industries and occupations were agreed upon by commonwealth, state and territory governments.
  1997 The first training package (Administration BSA97) was endorsed.

Australian Recognition Framework introduced providing nationally agreed registration requirements for training providers.

New Apprenticeship System introduced merging traditional trades apprenticeships with traineeships and articulating their qualifications within the Australian Qualifications Framework.

User choice principles introduced, giving private providers access to public training funds.

Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education replaces Batchelor College.

Learning lessons: An independent review of Indigenous education in the NT (the Collins Review) released by the NT Department of Education.

A major restructuring of NTETA including the outsourcing of apprenticeship support, but retaining its separate agency status.

1999 First group of training packages implemented.

NT Employment and Training Authority functions transferred to the NT Department of Employment Education and Training (DEET) with the chief executive officer of DEET exercising the authority for training rather than a separate board.

NT Rural College (formerly the Katherine Rural College) managed by the NT University.


Enterprise and Career Education Foundation replaces the Australian Student Traineeship Foundation.

Australian Quality Training Framework replaces the Australian Recognition Framework.

Ministerial Advisory Board for Employment and Training established. 2002-2003  

Charles Darwin University evolves from the formal merger of the Northern Territory University, NT Rural College, Centralian College and the Menzies School of Health Research.

NT Training Advisory Councils (6) replace Industry Training Advisory Boards (12).

Desert Knowledge Australia is established in a declared precinct in Alice Springs.

Report on future directions for secondary education in the NT (the Ramsey Report) released which resulted in full implementation of middle and senior schooling arrangements across the NT.


Enterprise and Career Education Foundation ceases and its operations are transferred to the Commonwealth Department of Education Science and Technology.

Industry Skills Councils established to replace industry advisory boards at the national level.

  2004 Australian National Training Authority abolished and its functions transferred to the Commonwealth Department of Education Science and Training effective 1 July 2005.
Ministerial Roundtables for training replace the NT Ministerial Advisory Board for Employment and Training. 2006 New Apprenticeships re-labelled as Australian Apprenticeships includes school-based apprenticeships.
Australian Technical College Darwin is established. 2007 Trades Training Centres in Schools Program announced by the Commonwealth Government as a replacement for Australian Technical Colleges.
Employment responsibilities moved from the NT Department of Education and Training to the NT Department of Business and Employment. 2008

Council of Australian Government develop national agreements and partnerships in areas of productivity places training, skills and workforce development and youth attainment and transitions.

Skills Australia Act establishes a new national advisory body on matters related to skills and public funding of training.

Review of Australian Higher Education Final Report (the Bradley Review) released.

Australian Technical College Darwin functions are absorbed into the NT Department of Education and Training. 2009 Foundations for the Future: Proposals for Future Governance, Architecture and Market Design of the National Training System released by Skills Australia.

VET in Schools Group established in the NT Department of Education and Training.

Desert Peoples Centre officially opened in Alice Springs.

The Training function is moved from the NT Department of Education to the Department of Business and Employment. 2011 The Commonwealth Government establishes the Australian Skills Quality Authority as the national VET regulator.
The Training function remains with the Department of Business. 2012  
NT Employment and Training Authority Advisory Board established. 2013  

Australian Workplace and Productivity Agency (formerly Skills Australia) abolished.

National Skills Standards Council abolished.

Australian Qualifications Framework Council abolished.

Department of Education and Training established by removing VET from the Department of Industry.

Last updated: 01 March 2016

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