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News Service 14 – 9 June 2020: PC releases interim report Skills & Workforce Development Agreement, Adding to NSW Skills List, Smart & Skilled Update, Apprentice Re-engagement register, Safety, Training Resources, Emissions Reduction

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News Service this week covers:

  1. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION RELEASES INTERIM REPORT ON SKILLS AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT
  2. NSW SKILLS LIST ADDITIONS – INVITATION TO APPLY
  3. SMART AND SKILLED UPDATE NO. 101 AND 100
  4. NATIONAL APPRENTICE EMPLOYMENT NETWORK (NAEN) RE-ENGAGEMENT REGISTER
  5. NEW INFECTION CONTROL SKILL SETS AVAILABLE
  6. SAFEWORK NSW TO CONTINUE TO TARGET SCAFFOLD SAFETY ON CONSTRUCTION SITES
  7. CHANGES TO WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY REPORTING REQUIREMENTS – MINING
  8. SAFEWORK QUEENSLAND ISSUES ADVISORY – EXPOSURE STANDARD FOR RESPIRABLE CRYSTALLINE SILICA HAS BEEN HALVED
  9. ABCB – NCC ESSENTIALS ARE COMING (TRAINING RESOURCES)
  10. CONSULTATION OPEN FOR 2020 REVIEW OF THE EMISSIONS REDUCTION FUND

1. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION RELEASES INTERIM REPORT ON SKILLS AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT

On the 5th June, the Productivity Commission released its Interim Report on Skills And Workforce Development Agreement.  It published two documents:

  1. Overview – National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development Review – Interim report
  2. National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development Review – Interim report

Most interesting is that the Overview report runs for 48 pages whilst the full Interim Report is 322 pages long.

The Commission is now calling for further submissions to enhance development towards the final report.  The final report is expected to be handed to the Australian Government by November 2020.

Copies of the two reports are available at: SKILLS AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT

PDF versions of each report:  OVERVIEW and FULL REPORT

Commission’s media statement

The Commission’s media statement offers an interesting critique “Australia’s Vocational, Education and Training (VET) sector is underperforming, excessively complicated and suffers from ad hoc policy approaches, says an interim report released today by the Productivity Commission.” …

The report floats options for a fundamental re-orientation of Australia’s VET system, with a revised Commonwealth-State agreement to set out an agreed, coherent policy direction.

“We hope the report will provoke a broad discussion of big reform. There is substantial scope to reduce waste and better target the $6.1 billion in government spending,” Commissioner Jonathan Coppel said. …

“We want to see an improved VET sector that gives students and employers more flexibility and choice,” Mr Coppel said.

“It is time to think about shifting the focus from funnelling subsidies to training providers to giving students more help to choose the training they need. We now have dozens of different subsidy rates, even for the same courses,” Commissioner Malcolm Roberts said.

The Commission’s approach also means students need better information on career opportunities and the quality and prices of courses.

The report looks at options for improving affordability by expanding access to student loans for a broader range of training, with safeguards to prevent the rorting that occurred under the VET FEE-HELP program.

Pertinent aspects of the key points promoted by the Commission, in the Report are worth reporting here:

  • National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development is overdue for replacement.
    • It reflects the consensus in 2012 about how Australian, State and Territory governments should boost participation in training — including creating a national training entitlement, promoting ‘user choice’ led competition, and expanding access to income contingent loans.
    • However, governments have stepped back from some of its policy aspirations. Targets have not been met and the performance indicators have proved to be deficient.
  • There is a manifest capacity to better allocate the $6.1 billion in governments’ spending on VET to improve outcomes.
  • Governments should consider reforms to make the VET system a more efficient, competitive market, driven by the informed choices of students and employers, with the flexibility to deliver a broad suite of training options.
  • This goal should be pursued through a new principles-based agreement. This study proposes a set of principles for such an agreement.
  • Based on these principles, some reform directions are clear, including:
    • supporting effective competition in service delivery by establishing clear, contestable community service obligations
    • better data collection and transparent, comprehensive reporting of the allocation of public funds to support regular assessment of governments’ policies
    • better curated information for students and employers about career opportunities, the performance of registered training organisations (RTOs), course quality and prices
    • reform of course pricing
    • a single national regulator.
  • There are various options for reforms to VET funding, which will require further consultation and assessment. Reform options include:
    • expanding access to VET Student Loans by relaxing loan caps and course and qualification restrictions, underpinned by strong risk management. This may be a preferred option to any additional subsidies
    • simpler subsidy arrangements, such as:
      • binding arrangements on all governments to apply a nationally-consistent set of course subsidies, based on the efficient cost of delivery, with loadings to address higher delivery costs in some locations and to some student groups, or
      • replacing the proliferation of granular subsidy rates for courses with a limited range of subsidy rates, but otherwise leaving jurisdictions to set their own subsidy levels and allocation
    • using student vouchers instead of subsidy payments to RTOs to facilitate user choice
    • moving away from, or complementing, incentives to employers to train apprentices by using other approaches to support apprentices, including mentoring and pastoral care.
  • Regardless of the extent to which State and Territory governments adopt a common national approach to subsidies, there are strong grounds for them to use common methods to measure costs and determine loadings.

Making a submission

If you are interested in making a written submission, please do so promptly as submissions close on Friday, 17 July 2020: MAKING A SUBMISSION TO THE SKILLS AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT


2. NSW SKILLS LIST ADDITIONS – INVITATION TO APPLY

Training Services NSW’s Market Design and Implementation team invites applications to add qualifications to the NSW Skills List. 

The NSW Skills List identifies the vocational education and training (VET) qualifications eligible for a government subsidy under Smart and Skilled. You can view the current Skills List SKILLS LIST ON LINE.

To participate you must apply by completing the survey through the following link:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/nswskillslistadditions

Interested applicants and practitioners are encouraged to distribute the link to stakeholders as appropriate.

NOTE:
Applications in any other format will not be accepted.

Please apply by COB Friday 3 July 2020.

What should be included in the application?

Market Design and Implementation team provides the following advice as to what should be included in the application:

For a qualification to be added to the Skills List, applicants should present evidence of:

  • industry demand (for example, occupational licence requirements, quantifiable evidence of industry need, confirmed occupational/sector employment growth and job opportunities, shortages due to a lack of trained workers)
  • improved post-training outcomes for students (for example, quantitative evidence of good employment outcomes, how the qualification improves career prospects and/or how the qualification provides a pathway to further study).
  • is required to gain entry level employment in an occupation or industry
  • supports business development, jobs growth or enhances community wellbeing in a specific NSW region/town
  • supports setting up and/or sustaining small business
  • supports disadvantaged/equity groups
  • is central to successfully implement a specific government strategy, policy or program.

The evidence may be publicly available information (e.g. an occupational forecast or research report) or information specific to the application (e.g. letters of support). Any evidence must be specific to the qualification and the occupation that it is linked to. Statements in your application that are backed up by facts or data increase the chances of a successful application.

How does the Department assess applications?

In assessing applications, the Department will also consider available data on all applied qualifications, such as training package information and NCVER’s total VET activity data. From that analysis, the Department may reject a qualification if there is:

•     a lack of evidence showing industry demand

•     a similar qualification for the occupation on the Skills List

•     evidence that the qualification does not deliver good student outcomes

•     no/very low take-up (excluding qualifications for niche occupations critical to industry/NSW)

For this application round, the impact of COVID-19 may also be considered in the Department’s assessment process.

Your application will be assessed by a panel with extensive experience in vocational education and training. The panel will review the evidence and recommend to the NSW Skills Board and the Minister for Skills which qualifications should be added to the Skills List.

What else do you need to know?

You will only be able to upload one file as evidence for each qualification. If you would like to upload multiple files, please combine them into one PDF file.

You will need to complete a new application form for each qualification you are applying to add to the Skills List.

If you have any questions regarding this process, please email marketdesign.implementation@det.nsw.edu.au.


3. SMART AND SKILLED UPDATE NO. 101 AND 100

101 -Smart and Skilled Update No. 101 – 2 June 2020:

Training Needs Identification (TNI) part qualification funding for priority skills sets – bushfire recovery and COVID-19 response

  1. New Nationally Accredited Infection Control Skills Sets now available
  2. New NSW Bushfire Recovery and COVID-19 Response Priority Skills Sets available for state-wide delivery
    1. New Traffic Control Priority Skills Sets available for state-wide delivery to the Construction industry sector
    1. New Civil Construction Priority Skills Sets available for state-wide delivery to the Construction industry sector
    1. New Resources and Infrastructure Priority Skills Set available for state-wide delivery to the Construction industry sector
    1. New Priority Skills Sets available for state-wide delivery to the Laboratory Operations sector
    1. New Health and Community Services Priority Skills Set available for state-wide delivery (all industry sectors)
  3. New Hospitality Skills Sets available for state-wide delivery under COVID-19 Response
    1. Skills Set A – Food Safety and Hygiene
    1. Skills Set B – Financial Skills
    1. Skills Set C – Supervision and Leadership Skills
  4. Corrections to previously published UOC codes and titles
  5. Tracking employment outcomes for JobSeeker participants

100 – Smart and Skilled Update No. 100 – 2 June 2020:

  1. Utilising existing Financial Caps for the remainder of the 2019-20 Activity Period
    1. Increases to limits for Out of Region Activity for new enrolments
    1. Expectations for regional access to online delivery for new enrolments
    1. 2019-20 Financial Cap transfers across a provider’s existing allocations to support new enrolments and existing students
  2. Financial Cap variations for the 2020-21 Activity Period

For more information visit the Smart and Skills section of Training Services NSW website: SMART AND SKILLED


4. NATIONAL APPRENTICE EMPLOYMENT NETWORK (NAEN) RE-ENGAGEMENT REGISTER

The National Apprentices Employment Network (NAEN) has forward advice to promote the Apprentice and Trainee Re-engagement Register.  The Register was announced as part of the federal government’s initial economic stimulus measure, Supporting Apprentices and Trainees. 

The NAEN website has a link to the Register, where displaced apprentices and trainees from any small business can register. 

GTOs and employers can post vacancies to recommence apprentices and trainees. Employers of any size that take on a displaced apprentice or trainee may be eligible for a 50 per cent wage subsidy under the Commonwealth’s Supporting Apprentices and Trainees initiative to support those impacted by COVID-19.  AASNs will determine final eligibility for wage subsidies of each recommencement.

A flyer is attached a copy of the flyer promoting the Apprentice and Trainee Re-engagement Register.  If you have any questions, please phone 02 9299 6099, or email info@naen.com.au.


5. NEW INFECTION CONTROL SKILL SETS AVAILABLE

Australian Industry Skills (AIS) reports that “new Infection Control skill sets for the retail, food handling and transport and logistics sectors have been endorsed by the AISC Emergency Response Sub-Committee, and the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Skills Council and are now available on www.training.gov.au

These skill sets will help minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19 and are designed to support individuals in the identified industries who require infection control skills and knowledge to decrease the risk and transmission of infection whilst carrying out their daily duties.

Delivering the new Infection Control Skill Set

RTOs regulated by Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) who have HLTINF001 Comply with infection prevention and control policies and procedures on scope, either as a stand-alone unit or packaged within a broader qualification will automatically have the new HLTINFCOV001 Comply with infection prevention and control policies and procedures added to their scope to deliver as a skill set. RTOs will be able to contact ASQA to request that the new unit of competency is removed from their scope if this is their preference. RTOs regulated by ASQA that do not have HLTINF001 on scope should follow normal processes for adding the new units to their scope. Please visit the ASQA website for further information.”

To find out more


6. SAFEWORK NSW TO CONTINUE TO TARGET SCAFFOLD SAFETY ON CONSTRUCTION SITES

SafeWork NSW advises that it will continue to target scaffold safety on construction sites throughout 2020. It sates, inspectors will be attending worksites and talking with employers and workers to ensure compliance. Inspectors will also be working with scaffold suppliers and installers to ensure scaffolds are built to standard and are safe.

On-the-spot fines of $720 for individuals and $3,600 for employers can be issued to those who place workers lives at risk from falls from heights, or for undertaking scaffolding work without a high risk work licence.”

SafeWork NSW has produced a scaffold safety checklist that principal contractors or scaffolders can use this checklist to conduct a basic inspection.  A copy of the checklist is available at: SCAFFOLDING CHECKLIST

For more information see the SafeWork NSW scaffolding


7. CHANGES TO WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY REPORTING REQUIREMENTS – MINING

NSW Resources Regulator reports of changes to the reporting requirements of Clause 130 of the Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Regulation 2014.  The clause requires mine operators to provide a work health and safety report to the Resources Regulator each year.

From June 2020, mine operators of the following classes of mines will be exempt from having to give an annual work health and safety report to the Resources Regulator:

  • non-coal mines with total worker hours of less than 10,000 hours per year, and
  • mines and exploration sites where the only activity is exploration.

Operators of petroleum sites, underground small gemstone mines, opal mines and tourist mines are already not required to give a work health and safety report to the Resources Regulator.

For more information visit: WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY REPORTS NSW RESOURCES REGULATOR


8. SAFEWORK QUEENSLAND ISSUES ADVISORY – EXPOSURE STANDARD FOR RESPIRABLE CRYSTALLINE SILICA HAS BEEN HALVED

SafeWork Queensland states that, “the national workplace exposure standard for respirable crystalline silica has been halved from an eight hour time-weighted average airborne concentration of 0.1 milligrams per cubic metre (mg/m3) to 0.05 mg/m3. This new workplace exposure standard takes effect in Queensland from 1 July 2020.

Employers are required to manage worker exposure to dust and meet their existing duties and obligations under Queensland work health and safety legislation.

Resources

For more information visit: www.worksafe.qld.gov.au


9. ABCB – NCC ESSENTIALS ARE COMING (TRAINING RESOURCES)

The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) reports updated educational resources offered by its educational service, NCC Essentials which include a range of presentations on the National Construction Code (NCC) and available for free from its ABCB Resource Library from mid-June 2020.

Post mark this link for access to the resources when they become available: NCC ESSENTIALS


10. CONSULTATION OPEN FOR 2020 REVIEW OF THE EMISSIONS REDUCTION FUND

The Climate Change Authority advises it is open for submissions on its review of the Emissions Reduction Fund.  The Authority states, “On 14 April 2020, the Climate Change Authority released a consultation paper on its 2020 review of the Emissions Reduction Fund.

To inform the Authority’s review, we are inviting organisations, businesses and individuals to provide input.

The Authority recognises the severe disruption caused by Covid-19 and acknowledges this may be a difficult time for some to contribute a submission. In order to assist, we are providing a range of flexible consultation options.”

If you are interested in making a submission go to the weblink: CLIMATE CHANGE AUTHORITY PUBLIC CONSULTATION – SUBMISSIONS