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News Service 63 – NSW Electrical apprenticeship price too low, NAEN Conference, ASP Scheme, NSC labour data, AISC national skills, NCVER COVID digital automation, National Skills Week, Apprentice supervision guide, Safety News, Investigating Electric shock, Look up and Live, RAC and Energy News

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  1. QUANTUM OF NSW FUNDING FOR ELECTRO APPRENTICESHIPS AMONGST LOWEST IN THE NATION
  2. REGISTER FOR NAEN CONFERENCE – THURSDAY 19 AUGUST 2021
  3. ASP SCHEME REVIEW SUBMISSION DATE EXTENDED TO 20 AUGUST
  4. LABOUR MARKET DATA DASHBOARD UPDATED
  5. ASIC RELEASES NATIONAL SKILLS OVERVIEW 2020-2021
  6. NCVER – COVID-19 AND THE ACCELERATION OF DIGITALISATION
  7. NATIONAL SKILLS WEEK 2021: RETHINK YOUR IDEAS
  8. ESP MEETS TO REVIEW DRAFT ELECTRICAL SAFETY DOCUMENTS
  9. SAFEWORK NSW – TRADIE SAFETY WEEK – 23 TO 27 AUGUST 2021
  10. TRAINED & QUALIFIED – CRITICAL TO INVESTIGATING ELECTRIC SHOCK INCIDENTS
  11. ACT INDUSTRIAL MANSLAUGHTER BILL PASSES CARRYING $16.5M PENALTY
  12. UNLICENSED ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR FINED $16,000
  13. LOOK UP AND LIVE APP
  14. SPLIT SYSTEMS TARGETED FOR END-OF-LIFE RECOVERY
  15. ENA WELCOMES AEMC’S SMALL-SCALE SOLAR REFORMS
  16. SMART SOLAR REFORMS WILL INJECT MORE CLEAN ENERGY INTO THE GRID

1. QUANTUM OF NSW FUNDING FOR ELECTRO APPRENTICESHIPS AMONGST LOWEST IN THE NATION

Readers may recall that in March 2021, the National Skills Commission (NSC) released its long-awaited report, “VET average price benchmarks Findings from the national VET average price benchmark database”, and that the NSC had advised the report was the first in a series of undertakings to identify a model that estimates a qualification price for given characteristics.  The Electrotechnology industry has been waiting patiently for the follow up report that was advised would ensue. 

The NSC in that first report indicated it was “developing and testing a model that estimates a qualification price, given a set of nominal hours, field of education, AQF level and apprenticeship/traineeship characteristics. The results of this analysis will be presented in a standalone paper”.

The suggestion was that the follow up report would likely be released sometime in July, but yet, there has been no advice as to when this report will be published. 

The Electrotechnology industry has anxiously awaiting this report because the Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician leads as the number one apprenticeship in terms of volume of apprenticeships to 1 June 2021 in training in NSW, accounting for 10,588.  In some instances, more than double the third highest ranking apprenticeship for the same period.

The Report showed that this qualification was allocated by the minimum jurisdiction a total of $12,900 and the highest jurisdiction $27,700 (refer to Table C1: Subsidy and fee composition of national average price of the NSC Report).  No jurisdiction was named against the itemised amounts.  However, the NSW funding level is $13,250.  A state with the highest standard of living and almost at the bottom of the jurisdiction pricing.  This wide disparity in pricing for a four-year program, can only suggest that there would most likely be a serious impact on quality of outcomes in lower jurisdiction funded RTOs as the qualification is resource and consumables intensive.  Anecdotal evidence in the industry suggests there is strong proof of stress on RTOs maintaining sustainability to deliver a quality outcome in NSW. 

This suggests, there is an urgent need for NSW to address the low level of funding it allocates Electrotechnology apprenticeships, specifically the Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician.  As stated, anecdotal evidence coupled with the NSC Report confirms there is a sustainability issue with the current funding for RTOs in NSW. 

How is it possible that there is almost a 40% disparity between jurisdictions for the highest volume apprenticeship in the country,?  It is required to have the same qualification outcome across the nation, is linked to a regulatory license, and is recognised as a high-risk and skill shortage occupation. 

ASQA must clearly be aware from its auditing processing that a 40% disparity in funding must affect the quality of outcomes across Australia.  There must be trends indicating disparity or maybe there has not been a closer look at an RTO’s operations in this regard comparatively across the nation.  There cannot be any plausible argument that could suggest such disparity can produce consistent quality graduates across the nation.  Such differences place enormous stresses on RTOs continuing to service the industry, whilst trying to achieve a common standard output across the nation for the same qualification.

It is hoped that the NSC’s follow up report is not too far away to shed more light on the issues and hopefully confirm as indicated in its first report, a model that estimates a realistic qualification price across Australia for given qualifications.  Such information can only help and contribute to greater transparency and fair and equitable outcomes for all, across Australia.

To review the first report, visit:  https://www.nationalskillscommission.gov.au/average-price-benchmarking-report


2. REGISTER FOR NAEN CONFERENCE – THURSDAY 19 AUGUST 2021

The National Skills Commission (NSC) is leading a series of critical areas of work to improve our understanding of emerging and future workforce needs and to simplify and strengthen Australia’s VET sector. This includes developing the Skills Priority List, efficient prices for VET qualifications, the Australian Skills Classification, and undertaking a study of the care workforce labour market.

The National Skills Commissioner Adam Boyton will take part in the Conference, as will Claire Field, who is a non-Executive Director of apprenticeship provider, MEGT and an Advisory Board member of two technology companies, HSD an IT services provider to government and other agencies, and ASX-listed ReadCloud. She is also a partner of the Global Education Market Intelligence firm, HolonIQ. 

The webinar is free for NAEN Conference ticket holders in recognition of the re-scheduling of the National Conference to 15 – 17 March 2022 in Hobart. See the conference program.

Zoom details will be emailed to all conference ticket holders – there is no need to register.  Tickets for all other guests: $55 including GST per person.

Date: Thursday 19 August 2021

Time: 11.00 am to midday, Australian Eastern Standard Time

VISIT WEBINAR PORTAL TO REGISTER


3. ASP SCHEME REVIEW SUBMISSION DATE EXTENDED TO 20 AUGUST

The submission date for the review of the ASP Scheme has been extended to 20 August 2021.  The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) is reviewing the Accredited Service Provider (ASP) Scheme to examine the continued need for and arrangements to deliver contestable energy connection services as regulated through the Scheme.  The Scheme website states, “following the significant impact on businesses resulting from the lockdown across Greater Sydney and some regional areas, the submission date has been extended. Provide your submissions by 11:59 pm Friday 20 August 2021.”

Submissions can be emailed to: asp.consultation@planning.nsw.gov.au.  For more information and where you can download the issues paper, go to:  https://www.energy.nsw.gov.au/asp-scheme-review


4. LABOUR MARKET DATA DASHBOARD UPDATED

The National Skills Commission (NSC) advises that it has released new, downloadable labour market data dashboards covering all 51 employment regions in Australia as well as at the national, state and territory level.

The dashboards bring together a range of data in the one place for the first time to provide a comprehensive picture of how a region’s jobs market is performing. It will allow users to quickly find key labour market data for their area of interest.

The Dashboard is updated monthly.  Download HERE the July data for NSW. 

READ MORE HERE

Also, NSC has noted in its latest media release that, “Job advertisements fall for the second consecutive month


5. ASIC RELEASES NATIONAL SKILLS OVERVIEW 2020-2021

The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) has also released a report on industry skill needs, “National Industry Insights Report (NIIR)”.  AISC states the Report, “contains a high-level analysis of industry skills needs, and the factors and trends affecting the demand for skills at a national and cross-industry level.  The 2020-2021 National Skills Overview consists of four key sections”.  The four sections are:

1. Insights and highlights

2. Priority skills

3. Factors and trends

4. Key initiatives

READ MORE HERE


6. NCVER – COVID-19 AND THE ACCELERATION OF DIGITALISATION

NCVER’s international tertiary education research database (VOCEDplus) has a list of recently added interesting publications related to the impact of COVID-19 and the acceleration of digitalisation.  The promo states, “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies and automation”.  Take a look one or more of the following publications recently added to the VOCEDplus database that delve into digital transformation in education and work.”


7. NATIONAL SKILLS WEEK 2021: RETHINK YOUR IDEAS

Now moving into its eleventh year, National Skills Week will again set out to bring to life the positive messages, highlighting the talents, the skills, the career pathways and the value of apprentices and trainees across Australia to the wider public and employers.

NCVER reports that National Skills Week will be held during August 23 — August 29, 2021

NCVER will release, over the next fortnight a special edition of News, highlighting data, research and other resources that show how VET can provide real skills for real and satisfying careers.

National Skills Week is dedicated to raising the profile and status of vocational learning dispelling outdated myths and showcasing the attractive career opportunities for all Australians.

LEARN MORE ABOUT NATIONAL SKILLS WEEK HERE


8. ESP MEETS TO REVIEW DRAFT ELECTRICAL SAFETY DOCUMENTS

After a small hiatus caused by COVID-19, Electrical Safety Project (ESP) members met via video conference, 10 August 2021, to consider and discuss a DRAFT Electrotechnology Apprenticeship Supervision Policy Guide, a DRAFT ESP Charter and a DRAFT Industry Position Paper.  Members also received a report on the establishment of the Joint Electrical Safety and Competency Committee (JESaCC) comprised of key stakeholders and its terms of reference; Office of Fair Trading (OFT) Supervision Survey (closed 6 August 2021); and an incident report regarding Ultra refrigeration court decision. 

The aim of the Supervision Policy Guide is to produce a guidance advisory resource for industry stakeholders, practitioners, regulators, training providers and workers who are involved in providing direct or indirect supervision to Electrotechnology apprentices during their competency/training development.  The ESP Charter aims to provide leadership and learning in electrical safety practices and behaviours within the electrical industry, whilst the Position paper aims to outline a series of observations and suggested activities the ESP supports to improve electrical safety.

ESP members were invited to provide feedback on the three draft documents by end of the month.  A follow up meeting will ensue once the feedback has been compiled and drafts updated from the feedback.

Learn more about the ESP Project at:  www.esproject.com.au or contact Tony Palladino at tony@uensw.com.au for more information.


9. SAFEWORK NSW – TRADIE SAFETY WEEK – 23 TO 27 AUGUST 2021

SafeWork NSW is promoting Tradie Safety Week during 23 to 27 August 2021.  SafeWork NSW states, “This exciting initiative is dedicated to improving workers safety in the building and construction industry.

Our campaign aims to raise awareness of the biggest health risks and harms impacting building and construction workers.

What’s on

Tune into our free, online Tradie Safety Week workshops Tradie Safety – SafeWork NSW and You and Tradie Safety Week – Young Workers in Construction, led by our experienced construction safety inspectors. Attendees will receive a virtual showbag full of useful resources, and may also be eligible for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points and small business rebate packages.

To find out more go to : https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/advice-and-resources/campaigns/tradie-safety-week.”

Special Tradie Safety Week podcast episode

Listen also, to the special Tradie Safety Week episode of SafetyCast for insight into the some of the services SafeWork NSW offers, including:

  • contacting SafeWork NSW to speak with an inspector
  • what an inspector can do for you,
  • licensing and
  • your rights and responsibilities.

Or download the free Speak Up Save Lives app.


10. TRAINED & QUALIFIED – CRITICAL TO INVESTIGATING ELECTRIC SHOCK INCIDENTS

Issue 3 of the Industrial Electrix Magazine – July-September 2021 includes a very important cover story, about Electric Shock Investigation and the needs for quality training to help reduce workplace electrocutions and shocks.  The promotional article states, “Workplace electrocutions occur in Australia at a rate of approximately 10 deaths/year. Approximately 50% of these are electrical workers but most electric shock/near miss incidents go unreported.

Incidents, present an opportunity that should not be missed, to learn and prevent similar incidents occurring in the future.

Having trained and qualified personnel to investigate an electric shock incident at short notice is important to ensure all the relevant evidence is collected before it is contaminated or removed.  This leads to better root cause analysis and corrective and preventative actions.”

LEARN MORE HERE


11. ACT INDUSTRIAL MANSLAUGHTER BILL PASSES CARRYING $16.5M PENALTY

In its latest newsletter SAFE-T-BULLETIN, NSCA reports that “on 5 August, the Australian Capital Territory passed a Bill implementing wider reach and higher penalties for industrial manslaughter, including a $16,500,000 penalty for corporations.”

Industrial manslaughter in the ACT is now an offence under the Work Health and Safety Act.  “The changes came per the recommendations made in the 2018 Boland Review into work health and safety (WHS) laws, and the Federal Senate Inquiry on Industrial Deaths.

In 2020, 182 Australians were killed at work; two of these workplace deaths occurred in the ACT.  There have been 60 workplace deaths in 2021, in Australia.”

READ MORE HERE


12. UNLICENSED ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR FINED $16,000

The Queensland Electrical Safety Office involved in an air-conditioning installation business being charged with five charges under the Electrical Safety Act 2002 including one charge of unlicensed electrical contracting, two charges of unlicensed electrical work and two charges for failing to ensure that the electrical installation complied with the wiring rules.  “Using Facebook to advertise an air-conditioning installation business over the summer of 2018/19 may have been the undoing for an unlicensed electrician who was recently fined $16,000 in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.  …

He’d never held an electrical contractor licence authorising him to conduct a business nor held an electrical work licence authorising him to perform electrical work in Queensland.  … “Head of Electrical Safety Office, Donna Heelan, said our Inspectors found that the installations did not comply with the requirements of Australian Standard 3000 – Electrical Installations (the wiring rules).”

READ MORE HERE


13. LOOK UP AND LIVE APP

Look up and live app continues to develop and includes almost all states.  The App can help relevant personnel to plan work near powerlines.  This tool may help minimise contact and reduce the risk of injury or death from electrocution and damage to equipment and the relevant electricity network.

The Look up and Live app is available on the App or Google Play stores — providing powerline safety at one’s fingertips.  It’s a simple tool to assist personnel to safely plan and/or perform work around the electricity network.  It includes links to “dial-before-you-dig”.

Visit the website or download the app at lookupandlive.com and look up and live app.

An instructional video has been developed for guidance on how to utilise the app: LAUNCH LOOK UP AND LIVE VIDEO


14. SPLIT SYSTEMS TARGETED FOR END-OF-LIFE RECOVERY

Editor Sandra Rossi at Climate Control News (CCN) reports on the findings of Refrigerant Reclaim Australia project entitled Fugitive Emissions: The case for improving refrigerant recovery from split systems at end-of-life.  “More than 100 contractors have participated in a research project to get factual data on charge sizes, leakage rates and refrigerant loss during the recovery process in split systems at end of life.

The study found that if the rate of recovery isn’t improved more than a million tonnes of CO2 e could be needlessly emitted annually.”

READ MORE HERE


15. ENA WELCOMES AEMC’S SMALL-SCALE SOLAR REFORMS

Sean Carroll, Editor at Electrical Connection reports in its latest issues, that “Energy Networks Australia (ENA) has issued a media release welcoming the final access and pricing determination for distributed energy resources (DER) handed down by the independent Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC).”

The article states, “ENA chief executive officer, Andrew Dillon, says it was a milestone decision that would enable more customers to embrace and benefit from distributed energy technologies such as rooftop solar, batteries and electric vehicles (EVs): “The AEMC has worked closely with a range of stakeholders to deliver a framework that will allow more DER onto the grid and support Australia’s transition to a renewable future.”

READ MORE HERE


16. SMART SOLAR REFORMS WILL INJECT MORE CLEAN ENERGY INTO THE GRID

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) in its latest ‘AEMC Update’ reports that it has “finalised reforms designed to get more small-scale solar into the grid and support the growth of batteries and electric vehicles. The reforms will put tough new obligations on power network companies to make their networks ‘smarter’.”

The reforms are designed to get more small-scale solar into the grid and support the growth of batteries and electric vehicles.  The article states, “The reforms will put tough new obligations on power network companies to make their networks ‘smarter’. They will now be accountable for getting their businesses solar- and battery-friendly so everyone benefits. A key part of the changes is removing the companies’ ability to put blanket bans on customers sending solar energy back to the grid.”

READ MORE HERE