1. MINISTERIAL STATEMENT ON SKILLS REFORMS – 9 OCTOBER 2020
Australia’s skills and training ministers issued an updated Skills Reform statement. The Statement says, they “are working closely together to deliver the initiatives identified in the Heads of Agreement on Skills Reform. …
We have commenced work on the immediate reforms identified by National Cabinet. These relate to improving the quality of training, qualifications and training packages as well as increasing industry engagement in the system.”
The immediate reforms cover:
- a review of the current standards for Registered Training Organisations,
- building Registered Training Organisation capacity and capability for continuous improvement, and
- developing a VET workforce quality strategy. …
“We have also tasked the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) to streamline and rationalise current training products. The AISC will remove training products that have not been used in the past three years, removing up to 13 per cent of qualifications and 19 per cent of units. The AISC will also implement a new framework for prioritising training product development, with the aim of accelerating qualification development by up to 67 per cent. These immediate actions will declutter the training system and ensure that priority training products are rapidly updated.
We will be consulting, with stakeholders, including employers and unions, over the coming months on how to best strengthen the role of industry engagement in the VET system and on the design of qualifications, …”
2. RND 5 APPLICATIONS OPEN RURAL AND REGIONAL ENTERPRISE SCHOLARSHIPS (RRES)
The Australian Government opened application to Round 5 Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships (RRES) program. The initiative was announced in 2016 to help Australians in regional and remote areas to access higher education. It supports people studying from Certificate IV through to PhD level.
The program promotion states, “Scholarships support flexible study arrangements, and are available to eligible students:
- commencing a new course of study in 2021
- studying on campus, online or via distance education
- studying from six months full-time up to eight years part-time
Eligible students may receive up to $18,000 each (e.g. for a full-time, four-year qualification). Shorter, part-time qualifications are paid on a pro rata basis. An extra $500 is also available to support an internship.”
Available also, is the Creative Arts Scholarships help eligible students in regional and remote areas of Australia access a Bachelor level degree in creative arts.
Visit the following link for more information and to learn more about the programs and how to apply: REGIONAL SCHOLARSHIPS
3. 2021 AUSTRALIAN TRAINING AWARDS, THURSDAY 18 NOVEMBER
The finalists for the Australian Training Awards 2021 have been announced. Winners will be announced at the Australian Training Awards presentation event on Thursday, 18 November. At this point in time, the event will be held in Perth, Western Australia.
The Australian Training Awards are the peak national awards that showcase best practice in vocational education and training (VET). The Australian Training Awards recognise and celebrate excellence and are an important mechanism for promoting the benefits of vocational education and training. Winners from each state and territory training awards compete for a national award title.
This has led to Australia-wide awareness and respect for skill-based careers and skills excellence. There are three Award categories – Business, Individual and Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).
View the 2021 Finalists HERE
4. ASQA RELEASES REGULATORY RISK PRIORITIES FOR 2021–22
ASQA has released, 22 October 2021, its Regulatory Risk Priorities for 2021–22, outlining its regulatory risk priorities for the next year. ASQA states, that it updates its “priorities regularly to ensure we are responding to the most current issues in the sector.”
The circular thanks all the providers and partners who participated in the research to identify the areas posing the greatest risk to Australia’s VET and ELICOS sectors. ASQA states, that they “use a risk-based approach to determine the most significant risks to achieving ASQA’s purpose, which is to ensure quality VET and the integrity of national qualifications issued by training providers.”
The key Self-assurance Risk Priorities for 2021–22 include:
- International student delivery (including offshore delivery)
- Online learning
- Aged care/disability support sector
- Trainer and assessor capability
- Specified training products with risk exposure
- COVID-19 response
- VET in schools
- Monitor areas of increased funding
- Targeting risk of non-compliance with specified clauses of Standards
NOTE: ASQA ANNUAL REPORT 2020–21
The ASQA Annual Report 2020–21 has been tabled in the Australian Parliament and is now available – DOWNLOAD THE REPORT
5. RETURN TO VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING GUIDELINES – NSW
Training Services NSW has issued the “Return to Vocational Education and Training (VET) Guidelines” to provide a structure for the return to face-to-face training delivery for registered training organisations (RTOs), TAFE, community colleges, group training organisations (GTOs), learners and employers. The Training Services NSW advice states, “The Guidelines provide clarity and flexibility to manage the needs of different local government areas in response to changes in health advice.”
Getting ready for the Return to VET
“The Return to VET Guidelines support the return of face-to-face training delivery in a safe and phased way. There are key requirements that all Providers need to undertake in preparation for, and delivery of face-to-face training regardless of location that all VET providers should have.”
Key requirements cover:
- COVID Safety Plan
- Unvaccinated staff and student policy
- QR Code sign-in process for all staff, students and other visitors
- Vaccination tracker
- Staff, students and other visitors who are unable to be vaccinated
- Vaccination for international students
- Cleansing regimes
- Staggered break times
Changes from 1 December 2021 (Phase three):
Vaccination: face-to-face training can return for both vaccinated and unvaccinated workforce and learners.
Mask wearing: masks indoors and outdoors are no longer required. Providers with outdoor hospitality facilities will need to comply with NSW Public Health Orders regarding mask wearing.
Physical distancing: whilst education is exempt from the 4sqm rule, physical distancing of 1.5 meters should followed where practicable to ensure safety.
COVID-19 safety plan: must be in place to ensure the safety of students and staff.”
6. AISC ENDORSES CHANGES TO GAS TP AND GAS AND ELECTRO TPs CASES FOR CHANGE
The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) has released the 41st Meeting of AISC Communique, which was held 12 October 2021. Specific issues related to the Utilities and Electrotechnology Training Packages. The following were resolved by AISC in this regard:
Gas IRC – UEG Gas Training Package Release 3.0
AISC approved the training products for endorsement. The Case for Endorsement included:
- 14 new units of competency
- 3 new skill sets
- 3 updated qualifications
- 18 updated units of competency
Gas IRC – Case for Change (CfC)
Approved to proceed to training package development, subject to the provision of a detailed project plan to ensure work can be completed by the end of 2022.
Agreed the IRC should undertake training product development to assess and demonstrate the skills and training need for previously deleted LPG units, prior to reinstating these units.
This Case for Change included:
- 5 updated qualifications
- 73 updated units of competency
Electrotechnology IRC – Case for Change (CfC)
In August 2021, the AISC approved six of nine projects proposed by the Electrotechnology IRC, taking into consideration the significant amount of training product development to be completed by December 2022.
The AISC gave the Electrotechnology IRC the opportunity to undertake alternative projects to the ones approved, as long as the projects were of comparable size and complexity. As a result, the AISC noted that the Electrotechnology IRC subsequently opted to undertake the Renewables project instead of the previously approved Instrumentation and Control project.
For more information visit: 41 MEETING OF AISC COMMUNIQUE
7. MANDATORY WORKPLACE REQUIREMENTS IN VET PRODUCTS – RTO SURVEY
TDA Directors Australia reports in its latest TDA Newsletter that the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) has commissioned work to explore stakeholder needs, expectations and concerns about mandatory workplace requirements (MWRs). The article states, “Where mandatory workplace requirements are included in accredited training products, learners must complete a work placement as part of their VET course.
There is currently a lack of consistency in how these requirements are expressed in training products, and variation in how they are interpreted and implemented.”
The DESE survey site hosting the survey states, “currently, there is a lack of consistency in how these requirements are expressed in training products. Many stakeholders believe that the interpretation and implementation of training product requirements could be improved if there was greater clarity and consistency in how MWRs are expressed.
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) has engaged LTG to review how MWRs are currently expressed and consult with stakeholders about their needs, expectations and concerns.”
“The experiences and perspectives of training providers will be critical to this work which will inform the development of advice for training product developers.
You are invited to have your say on mandatory workplace requirements through an online survey. The survey will be open for responses until 5 November.
8. NSC – NEW SOUTH WALES LEADS RECRUITMENT ACTIVITY RECOVERY
The National Skills Commission (NSC) has released its latest data on the Internet Vacancy Index (IVI) for the month of September 2021. The Index news release states, “shows online job advertisements increased by 4.9% (10,700 job advertisements) nationally in September 2021, to stand at 229,000.
The increase in job advertisements follows three consecutive months of declining recruitment activity recorded by the series through the third quarter of 2021 following the COVID-19 Delta outbreak.
The level of recruitment activity across all jurisdictions remains elevated as compared to pre-COVID-19 levels. Nationally job advertisements are up by 36.2% (or 60,800 job advertisements) compared to levels observed prior to the pandemic.”
- The recovery in job advertisements nationally observed during September was led by New South Wales …
- Victoria and the ACT were the only jurisdictions to record falls in recruitment activity during September …
- Job advertisements increased across all eight broad occupational groups during September 2021 …
- Job advertisements increased across all five Skill Level groups during September 2021 with the strongest growth recorded for lower skilled (Skill Levels 4 and 5) occupations …
9. NATIONAL CAREERS INSTITUTE PARTNERSHIP GRANTS PROGRAM ROUND THREE APPLICATIONS OPEN NOW!
The National Careers Institute has announced it latest round of Grant program, stating that, “Applications are now open for National Careers Institute Partnership Grants Round Three – Career Opportunities and Pathways for Women.
The Partnership Grants program offers funding to organisations such as employers, training providers, schools and community organisations for innovative projects to support women to improve career outcomes and create education and training pathways. …
Grants range from $20,000 to $350,000 and will be funded for a maximum of 12 months.
Application forms and guidelines are available at GrantConnect, business.gov.au and the National Careers Institute website.
Applications close 1 December 2021.”
For more information visit the link: HERE
10. VET FOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS: INSIGHTS AND OUTCOMES
NCVER , has released its latest report, which research examines the merits of VET for secondary school students (VfSSS) in preparing students for work or further training from the perspectives of students, parents, industry, and employers.
The study investigates the models used to deliver VET to secondary students across and within jurisdictions and public and private school sectors, and reports on findings from surveys of students and parents about their motivations and aspirations. Findings from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) are used to draw comparisons between employment and training outcomes for different cohorts of students at age 22 and age 25.
The executive summary of the report states, “The number of students in vocational education and training (VET) for secondary school students (VfSSS) has ranged from about 230,000 to 260,000 over the past 10 years.
During this period, certificate II qualifications have been the most popular VET qualification undertaken by secondary school students (131,220 students enrolled in 2020), followed by certificate III (88,720 in 2020) and certificate I (12,520 in 2020). However, certificate III programs have increased in popularity over the last few years.”
11. ELECTRICAL APPRENTICES RECEIVE ELECTRIC SHOCKS
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, Office of Industrial Relations reported in its 15 October 2021 eSafe bulletin that “in August 2021, three electrical apprentices received electric shocks. The incidents involved a school-based electrical apprentice replacing fluorescent lights with LED lights, a first-year electrical apprentice fault-finding on air-conditioning equipment and a second-year electrical apprentice installing a PVC conductor for a new air-conditioning circuit.
ELECTRICAL LICENSING DISCIPLINARY ACTION
The Newsletter also reports in July and August 2021, the Electrical Licensing Committee took disciplinary action against 15 licence holders including suspensions, fines and independent safety audits. One of the cases reviewed by the Committee involved an electrical worker failed to adequately supervise a first-year electrical apprentice while commissioning and testing a 240v streetlight supply. Another involved an electrical contractor who failed to implement a safe system of work when a first-year electrical apprentice received an electric shock after contacting a live low voltage exposed part. A further case, involved an electrical worker failed to isolate, lock out and tag out, and test for dead while installing additional circuit breakers on a distribution board.
12. 2021 AIS ANNUAL STAKEHOLDER SURVEY
Australian Industry Standards (AIS) is seeking your feedback. The call for feedback states, “At Australian Industry Standards, we are focused on delivering outcomes to support our stakeholders. How are we doing? What can we do better? How have we engaged with you in the time of COVID-19?
Your feedback via our short survey is the finger on the pulse we are looking for. All you need is 10 minutes to complete our annual survey.
The survey will remain open until close of business on Friday, 19 November 2021.
13. WORKER KILLED AND SIX INJURED WHEN POWERLINE ARCED TO HARVESTER
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, Office of Industrial Relations reported in its 15 October 2021 eSafe bulletin that “in July 2021, one worker died, and six others received electric shocks when a harvester came close enough to an overhead powerline to cause an electric fault current path. Initial investigations found the powerline had dropped approximately 3.6m from its original height because the stay wire on one of the poles had broken, potentially due to corrosion.
It appears the workers were in the field working around a tractor that was pulling the harvester and conveyor when the top of the harvester came too close to the powerline. The worker who died was standing on the ground next to the conveyor at the time.”
14. RESEARCH OPPORTUNITY – CENTRE OPENS RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT EOI
The Centre for Work Health and Safety (Centre) advise that they are excited to launch their Research and Development Expression of Interest Program. The Centre is seeking submissions that propose to advance tangible solutions that can prevent harm in the workplace, creating evidence-based marketable products or services.
Promotion for the EOI states, “If you are working on a unique solution and would like to work with the Centre to develop it into a commercial product, please apply here.
Your solution can be at any stage of development, and through our two rounds of evaluation and co-design, we will work with you to assist in making that important transition to market.
Applications are open to everyone, and the Centre intends to award funding to one or more submissions.
Submissions closes 5pm, 19 November 2021
For more information on the two rounds of evaluation and co-design, download the Introduction document.
15. CONSTRUCTION SLOWDOWN
Editor Sandra Rossie reports in the latest Climate Control News (CCN) that the Housing Industry Association said the current construction boom could hit a wall in 2022 while the IMF has downgraded Australia’s economic growth forecast.
The article states, “In its latest quarterly outlook, the HIA blamed two years of limited population growth and pointed out that homes were taking twice as long to build during the pandemic as a result of labour and material shortages.”
16. CRACKS IN THE COMPACT CITY: TACKLING DEFECTS IN MULTI-UNIT STRATA HOUSING NSW
Climate Control News (CCN) Editor, Sandra Rossi, in the same newsletter refers to a report published by UNSW Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) that states, “the poor capacity to carry out construction work without any regulatory oversight in parts of the building industry has made buying an apartment in Sydney a lottery, according to a report
In a systematic review of strata schemes registered over a 10-year period, researchers from UNSW’s City Futures Research Centre and UTS found that defects are commonplace and often poorly documented.
The researchers analysed a random sample of half of all strata schemes completed in the Sydney, Parramatta and Canterbury-Bankstown Local Government Areas (LGAs) between 2008 and 2017.”
17. TRANSITIONING TO THE CLEAN ENERGY SUPERPOWER
The 21 October 2021 edition of EnergyInsider, a joint news service of Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and Australian Energy Council (AEC), reports on the recently released Transgrid’s transmission network ‘Energy Vision’, which outlines six interesting scenarios about the future of Australia’s energy grid and how our choices today will impact us and the world tomorrow.
The article looks at each of the six scenarios and the key trends driving a net-zero future.
For more, contact Jemma Townson, Energy Networks Australia