TAFE NSW – Risk Mitigation and Funding Prioritisation for TAFE NSW


TAFE NSW is the leading provider of vocational education and training in Australia. Each year, more than 430,000 students enroll in courses and training, and much of this relies on practical, in-person training at one of the 130 statewide campuses.

The pandemic created a high degree of uncertainty in education, with many organisations taking a risk-based approach that only met basic compliance standards. This viewpoint also did not have a future view of utilisation scenarios.

With an existing mature approach to Asset Management, aligned to NSW Treasury TPP 19-07, and ISO 55000 Asset Management Standards, TAFE NSW has been able to successfully create an evidence-based approach to funding investment requests during 2021.

Risk Mitigation and Funding Prioritisation for TAFE NSW

Excellence in Cost, Risk & Performance


Training a workforce for the future

TAFE NSW is the leading provider of vocational education and training in Australia. Each year, more than 430,000 students enroll in courses and training. TAFE NSW has a great reputation with industry and business partnerships, and the vision of skilling the workforce for the future with high quality, personalised education and training.

Much of this training relies on practical training, so that those attending TAFE NSW are job-ready, with all the skills required to enter the workforce. TAFE Digital is part of TAFE NSW, and is the largest online education provider in NSW, covering a wide range of courses to suit everyone from school leavers to career changes and businesses upskilling their teams.

The Asset Management Approach for TAFE NSW

TAFE NSW has had a mature approach to Asset Management across the 130 sites in NSW used for the vocational training of students. Since 2018, TAFE NSW has used AssetFuture to model and predict the condition, risk and maintenance liability of this large portfolio.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the changing parameters in the education sector have created the need for a deeper visibility into forecasting capability and future funding requirements as well as risk mitigation strategies. Funding Requests now need to have a deeper analysis of scenarios, and an evidence-based approach to accurate lifecycle modelling, aligned to corporate strategy.

Data Standards: Asset Registers

With this mature approach to data, TAFE NSW had created a comprehensive Asset Register, aligned to ISO 55000 Asset Management Standards and NSW AM Policy TPP 19-07 Asset Management Policy for the NSW Public Sector. This Asset Register includes:

  • Asset hierarchy
  • Asset naming convention
  • Condition & functional ‘Fit-for-Purpose’ assessment
  • Criticality & risk assessment
  • Minimum required condition standards

Relevant teams within TAFE NSW have access to the AssetFuture Platform allowing them to see key data within the portfolio such as:

  • number of assets
  • types of assets (asset classes)
  • location of assets
  • age of assets
  • condition and maintenance liability
  • asset valuation

Adapting to change: Aligning Asset Management Strategy with Corporate Strategy

Within any asset portfolio, creating the link between Corporate Strategy and Asset Management Strategy is a critical alignment that needs to be made to drive organisational objectives. For TAFE NSW the changing attendance in campuses across the state not only affected revenue, but an increased focus on organisational objectives in the short and long term.

With this instability on future revenue projections, TAFE NSW needed to create a range of scenarios for the future of the asset portfolio. Many organisations at this time took a risk-based approach to managing the asset base, with a focus on the bare minimum for compliance, while others took a different approach keeping their assets at the top end of condition, ready for opening up.

What was clear for TAFE NSW, with an imminent funding request, was to have a clear view of maintenance standards, the Risk Management Strategy and the ability to measure asset performance throughout the lifecycle. This line-of-sight enabled evidence-based forecasting confidence for the funding requests that TAFE NSW made.

Cost, Risk or Performance – Investment Decision Making

TAFE NSW’s approach to cost, risk and performance of its assets has changed considerably during the pandemic. The obvious change in utilisation in 2020 and 2021 has meant that usual funding cycles needed a ‘scenario’ based viewpoint to help investment decision-making.

The solution for TAFE NSW incorporates full Asset Lifecycle Intelligence capability, enabling accurate and consistent approach to forecasting liability for 5 or 10 year plans. The use of “what-if” maintenance strategy scenarios was especially important in the 2021 funding cycles, as the utilisation of campuses had been significantly reduced for a number of months and it was critical that funds were invested appropriately, aligned with best practice as well as criticality and risk factors should students return.

Application and Interpretation of data

Successful funding application outcomes were linked to the accurate interpretation of quality data sets. TAFE NSW’s mature approach to Asset Management and alignment to State and ISO best practice was a key factor in the ability to create an evidence-base for application.

Interpreting the data with AssetFuture’s lifecycle prediction algorithms means that TAFE NSW’s capabilities have increased, and can fully model and interpret:

  • Degradation Modelling
  • Lifecycle prediction
  • Lifecycle Condition Profile and Projection
  • Lifecycle Maintenance Profile and Projection
  • Future liability “what if” scenarios

Innovating the Right Solution for Funding Requests

Creativity was needed in creating scenarios for TAFE NSW. When the funding application was submitted, lockdowns were still in place in certain areas as well as restricted movement of individuals within NSW as well as other states and internationally.

TAFE NSW needed to create capability within this uncertainty and have evidence-based decision making to support proposed investments, with the correct risk parameters, appropriate to students potentially returning to TAFE within 3 months or not returning within 3 years.

Taking a longer-term view and being able to scenario plan with a team of experts has created capability even with the uncertainty of the last 2 years. TAFE NSW can scenario plan across different campuses, asset classes, and even item types to enable this transparency for funding.

Repeatable and scalable Program and Project Management

The mature approach to Asset Management also extends to the operational delivery of scalable program and project management. TAFE NSW has a dedicated team of Asset Management experts who manage the extensive portfolio.

This includes excellent stakeholder management across the campuses for routine data acquisition (with TAFE NSW team members as well as AssetFuture), especially with special circumstances around COVID-19 protocols.

The return of Students to TAFE NSW

TAFE NSW’s vision of skilling the workforce of the future can continue with the successful funding application based on evidence-based decision making and a mature approach to Asset Management.

TAFE NSW is ready to provide on-site access to a wide range of courses to suit everyone from school leavers to career changes and businesses wanting to upskill their teams. These courses are ready to be delivered in campuses that have been optimised for use, funded appropriately and ready for students to join the TAFE NSW community once more.

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