News Service 79 – Electrical inspector jobs, PC Reports on performance VET government services, NCVER Reports, Electrical Apprenticeship Supervisor Guide released, RPL Assessor survey, VET Challenge, WaTT, Training programs, Industry and Safety news

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1. TWO ELECTRICAL INSPECTOR POSITIONS AVAILABLE AT NSW FAIR TRADING

The Department of Customer Services, Better Regulation Division (NSW Fair Trading) is seeking two Senior Electrical Inspectors to join its ranks.  A Senior Electrical Inspector is expected to provide specialist regulatory knowledge and skills within the electrical industry and be focused on the regulation and compliance of electrical installations. 

This position is primarily responsible for inspections, investigations and education within the electrical industry.  The successful applicant will be required to undertake proactive targeted compliance operations and education campaigns to ensure and enhance compliance with the Electrical and Gas (Consumer Safety) Act 2017 and Regulation 2018, working with NSW Fair Trading, a division within Department of Customer Service.  The Department of Customer Service (DCS) is a service provider and regulator.

For enquiries regarding this position, please contact Bruce Blacker on 0436 665 014.  For enquiries relating to recruitment please contact Scott Hinchliffe via scott.hinchliffe@customerservice.nsw.gov.au.

To access the job application visit: https://iworkfor.nsw.gov.au/job/senior-electrical-inspector-297390

To access the Role Description CLICK HERE (copy attached).  Closing Date: 8th March 2022


2. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION RELEASES REPORT ON VET GOVERNMENT SERVICES

On the 3 February, the Productivity Commission released its Report on Government Services 2022, (PART B, SECTION 5) related to performance information of Vocational Education and Training (VET) services. 

The Productivity Commission’s ‘performance indicator framework’ provides information on equity, efficiency and effectiveness, and distinguishes the outputs and outcomes of VET services.

The performance indicators cover:

  1. Barriers to participation in VET by selected equity group
  2. Barriers to participation in VET
  3. Students who achieve main reason for training
  4. Employer satisfaction with VET
  5. Student satisfaction with quality of training
  6. Service quality
  7. Government recurrent expenditure per annual hour
    7a. Comparability of cost estimates
  1. Student employment and further study outcomes
  2. Student completions and qualifications
  3. Students who improved education status
  4. Skill utilisation

Summary results of each the performance indicators, is provided under each heading of the report, with detailed information contained in a series of data tables that can be downloaded in addition to the report.  A most interesting result is in relation to indicator 4, ‘Employer satisfaction with VET’ where the Commission reports that employer satisfaction in VET has declined since 2013.  The report states, “Nationally in 2021, 56.6 per cent of Australian employers were engaged with VET (table 5A.15), of which 67.7 per cent were satisfied with all forms of VET engagement (down from 73 .1 per cent in 2013) (figure 5.4). By type of training engaged in, satisfaction with apprenticeships and traineeships has shown the largest percentage point decrease (7.5 percentage points; from a peak of 81.7 per cent in 2015 to 74.2 per cent in 2021) (figure 5.4 and table 5A.16).”

With respect to indicator 7, ‘Government recurrent expenditure per annual hour’ the report found, “Nationally in 2020, government real recurrent expenditure increased 3.9 per cent from 2019 (table 5A.1), while the number of government funded annual hours (course mix adjusted) decreased 11.7 per cent (table 5A.2). These annual movements resulted in an increase in recurrent expenditure per annual hour from $18.03 in 2019 to $21.21 in 2020 (figure 5.6).”

In relation to indicator 11, ‘Skill utilisation’, the report states, “Nationally in 2018-19, 79.8 per cent of persons aged 15–64 years that completed their highest VET qualification in the last five years, were either working in the field of that qualification or not working in same field and the qualification was relevant to their current job. This proportion is lower than 2015 (83.0 per cent), but similar to 2010-11 (79.9 per cent) (figure 5.10).

Nationally in 2018-19, 68.1 per cent were working in the field of the highest VET qualification and 11.6 per cent were not working in the same field but the qualification is relevant to their current job (table 5A.33).”

In terms of context of VET, related to students, “Nationally in 2020, around 3.9 million students participated in nationally recognised VET (total VET students) (table 5A.8). Around 1.9 million students were enrolled in qualifications, with the largest number of these students enrolled in Certificate level III or IV qualifications (1.3 million), followed by Certificate level I or II (0.4 million), and Diploma or above (0.4 million) qualifications. Other students were enrolled in subjects not delivered as part of a nationally recognised program (2.4 million) and in training package skill sets and accredited courses (0.2 million).”

With respect to Training Providers, “In 2020, there were 3519 registered VET training organisations delivering nationally recognised training in Australia (table 5A.6), of which 1312 delivered nationally recognised government-funded VET through state and territory training departments (NCVER, unpublished). Around 1527 VET providers delivered government-funded nationally recognised, locally developed and non-nationally recognised training, at 29 817 locations in Australia (table 5A.7).”

Exploring the array of support materials in terms of ‘Total government real recurrent expenditure, 2020 dollars” (excluding user cost of capital) we note a decline in recurrent expenditure over the period 2011 to 2020 from $6 658m to $5 792.4m.

In relation to Government payments to non-TAFE providers for VET delivery, 2020 dollars we note a national decline in expenditure over the period 2017 to 2020, with some variations state by state (e.g. Queensland, South Australia and ACT).

Lastly, a review of the total VET training provider data too, shows a decline in expenditure over the period 2016 to 2020.  It may be possible to extrapolate the public provider funding expenditure when table 5A.4 is subtracted from table 5A.6.

Note: Source data is typically drawn from NCVER, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Australian System of National Accounts.  Refer respective tables for source data.

The Productivity Commission’s Government Services 2022 Part B Section 5 Vocational Education and Training (VET) services report includes a treasure trove of performance information that is worthy of a review.  It includes a very good overview of the VET system, including a timely reminder of governments’ objectives for VET, “The VET system aims to deliver a productive and highly skilled workforce through enabling all working age Australians to develop and use the skills required to effectively participate in the labour market and contribute to Australia’s economic future.”

Is it achieving these objectives?  Review the report and draw your own conclusions.

A PDF copy of the report can be downloaded here in two parts (Part 1 and Part 2), which can also be viewed or downloaded, along with the tables from the Productivity Commission website, at: Report on Government Services 2022 – 5 Vocational education and training


3. NCVER VET STUDENT OUTCOMES REPORT RELEASED

The results of the VET student outcomes now available. The National Student Outcomes Survey is Australia’s largest survey of vocational education and training (VET) students and collects information on the outcomes and satisfaction of students who completed training in the previous calendar year.  The report provides a summary of the outcomes and satisfaction of students who completed nationally recognised vocational education and training (VET) delivered by registered training organisations (RTOs) in Australia during 2020 using data collected between June and August 2021. The figures are derived from the National Student Outcomes Survey, which is an annual survey of students who completed their vocational education and training (VET) in Australia during the previous calendar year.

A snapshot of the outcomes of students who completed their vocational education and training (VET) in Australia during the previous calendar year. Figures have been derived from the National Student Outcomes Survey. A total of 231 608 VET students responded to the 2021 National Student Outcomes Survey.

National results from the 2021 survey are available from the NCVER Portal. Visit: VET STUDENT OUTCOMES


4. ELECTRICAL APPRENTICESHIP SUPERVISOR GUIDE APPROVED FOR PUBLICATION

The NUEITAB Board approved for publication the NSW Electrical Apprenticeship Supervisor Guide at its 15 December 2021 meeting.  The Electrical Safety Project (ESP) and Electrotechnology Sector Advisory Committee (E-SAC) produced and submitted the Guide for approval.  A copy of the Guide can be downloaded at: NSW ELECTRICAL APPRENTICESHIP SUPERVISOR GUIDE.

The NSW UE ITAB Supervision Policy Guideline was adopted and adapted in part, where appropriate, with the acquiescence of E-Oz Energy Skills Australia; a Policy Guide endorsed by E-Oz Board.  A copy of the E-Oz Energy Skills Australia can be obtained from:  https://e-oz.com.au/?product=uee-apprentice-supervision-guideline

The Guide was developed with the involvement of key industry stakeholders in NSW.  These include employer and employee representative bodies, practitioners, regulators, training providers and workers who have drawn on much experience in the industry and/or are involved in providing direct or indirect supervision of Electrotechnology apprentices.  The Guide has been initiated by the industry with the aim of:

  • improving the quality of apprenticeship supervision,
  • promoting increased awareness of the roles and responsibilities of supervisors in developing and mentoring apprentices to be qualified tradespersons,
  • improving safe work practices and the quality of graduating apprentices, and
  • providing a resource for state government agencies who monitor apprenticeship ‘Contracts of Training’. 

The Guide specifically covers the apprenticeship titled Electrotechnology – Electrician Certificate III.  A copy of the Guide can also be downloaded free from the NUEITAB website:  NSW ELECTRICAL APPRENTICESHIP SUPERVISOR GUIDE or http://esproject.com.au/

It is hoped the NSW electrical regulator and Training Services NSW will utilise the key elements of the Guide to inform their policy processes in the monitoring and investigating the supervision of electrical apprentices in NSW.


5. RPL ASSESSOR SURVEY – SEEKING YOUR INPUT

If you are a trainer, assessor, or a vocational education practitioner, you are invited to participate in a research project to make a difference in vocational education and training (VET). 

Student Investigator, Yan Zhou, PhD student from the Victoria University is conducting the study, which is overseen by Chief Investigator, Dr Elizabeth (Lizzie) Knight, Research Fellow, Centre for International Research and Education Systems at the same university.

The study aims to explore the role and responsibilities of assessors in Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).  Part of the study is conducting a short qualitative survey to ask vocational assessors about their views towards and/or experiences of RPL.

You are invited to respond to the survey if you:

  • hold a training and assessment qualification that is recognised by the VET industry in Australia, such as Cert IV in TAE and Diploma of VET,
  • have current or recent work experience in a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) in Australia, and
  • have been involved in RPL in any capacity, or are familiar with RPL processes. 

This survey will only take 15-20 mins to complete, you can access the survey by clicking on the link below:  https://vuau.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9RXTlM6bGwelbvM

For more information visit the promotion of the survey at:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/rpl-assessor-survey-yan-zhou/  or Email: yan.zhou6@live.vu.edu.au

Please note: You do not have to have an extensive background in RPL to participate in the survey. You will not be asked to identify your RTO. It will be optional to leave your personal details if you wish to be contacted for future research opportunities.


6. UPSKILLING AND RESKILLING: THE IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON EMPLOYERS AND THEIR TRAINING CHOICES (NCVER REPORT)

Authored by Ian White and Toni Rittie, the NCVER Report released, 3 February 202 examines how employers have fared due to the COVID-19 pandemic and what this has meant for their current and future training requirements.  The summary of findings states, “The COVID-19 pandemic has exerted a profound impact on Australian employers as a result of the social and economic restrictions imposed by governments to control the spread of the virus.

To address this, governments have adopted a range of measures to support individuals and businesses. The initiatives most relevant to employers were the JobKeeper scheme, funding for infection-control training, a wage subsidy to support apprentices and trainees, an incentive to boost apprenticeship commencements and the JobTrainer scheme.  …

Businesses of all sizes reported needing to modify their operations due to the pandemic. The most prevalent adjustments related to the way in which they provided their products and services, along with changes to staff roles or duties. Employers in the industries impacted most severely looked to pivot their operations, for example, restaurants moved from in-house dining to home deliveries (O’Dwyer 2021).  …

To meet these new training needs, employers tended to use informal or ad hoc training (55.5%) and unaccredited training, which was provided either in house by the organisation (50.3%) or delivered by an external provider (22.0%) (NCVER 2021c). Employers chose the type of training they used because of an immediate need to respond to rapidly changing training needs (52.1%) and because of its availability (34.4%).  …

The challenge for the vocational education and training (VET) system in Australia will be to ensure that it continues to adapt and innovate its services in a responsive way, one that meets employer skill needs. We know from NCVER (2021c) that a large proportion of employers are satisfied with the training they use. However, for those businesses who are not satisfied with accredited training, the consistent reasons cited are:

  • the relevant skills are not taught
  • there needs to be more focus on practical skills
  • the quality of the training needs to be improved (NCVER 2021c).

The nation’s post-pandemic economic recovery, with the transition to new ways of working, offers opportunities for the VET system to address these ongoing concerns of employers, as well as meet new requirements such as:

  • the need for employers to meet COVID-19 safe operating regulations
  • new skilling needs due to technological change and the accelerating digitalisation of the workplace
  • blended methods of training delivery (striking the right balance of online and face-to-face).”

DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE REPORT HERE


7. VET CHALLENGE – SKILLS FOR LIFE NOT JUST TRAINING FOR NOW

Claire Field, Consultant and an advisor to the tertiary education sector at Claire Field & Associates, reports in 9 February 2022 edition of Campus Morning Mail on the keynote address Prof. Lorna Unwin from University College London gave on the changing world of work and what it means for VET.

This is an interesting piece Claire reports on, as the Professor, “argued that if the sector is to continue to have relevance, we need to shift our thinking of VET being predominantly institutionally focussed (mostly on a student’s initial post-school qualification) to a broader focus on developing learners’ expertise throughout their life.”  Something not new to some practitioners in industry.

The keynote address by Prof. Lorna Unwin was given at last week’s seventh Congress on Research in Vocational Education and Training is pertinent to the VET reform underway here in Australia.

Claire states she, “particularly liked her characterisation of the drivers of change in the workplace and society. In addition to the three core drivers: technology, climate and demography – she added two which receive little attention in Australia:

  • the growth in intangible assets (ideas, brands, marketing, networks, etc), and
  • lifestyle changes (an increased focus on work-life balance, and at least in the UK, a growth in craft-related hobbies)

She then went on to describe how these changes are in turn changing the way people think and talk about their work …”

READ MORE HERE


8. A SIMPLE IDEA SPARKS A TRANSFORMATION IN ELECTRICAL TRAINING

TAFE Directors Australia’s 14 February 2022 Newsletter includes an article on electrical training.  The article discusses how a simple idea sparked a transformation in electrical training.  The article explains how Infinispark came about and let to an affiliation with TDA Corporate.  Infinispark its purpose is to support high quality education.

As reported in TDA News, the story is about how Husnen Rupani came to Australia as an international student.  He studied and taught at several TAFEs and is now helping to transform the delivery of electrical training.  Husnen is the CEO of Infinispark.  He has developed a range of portable training and assessment devices that are game-changers. Infinispark is a TDA Corporate Affiliate.

The tale started when Husnen was an electrical trainer.  He states. “The constant challenge was around finding the right equipment to conduct practical training. It was not that TAFEs couldn’t provide it, but the fact that there are so many electrical components involved in every subject – trainers had the challenge of finding the right equipment and components when they needed them.  …

I have always had a passion for supporting our sector and the community. So, I thought that there’s obviously a need for some sort of solution. So, working nights and weekends we made a prototype, we put all the components together in one box, showed it to a TAFE and said ‘what do you think?’

And that’s when we got our first order.  …

The biggest differentiator is the compliance. In the electrotechnology training industry, we’ve got a very precise training package that tells exactly what students must be assessed on.

We took the training package, looked at the range statements/conditions and the performance requirements, and then chose our components based on that and made our first prototype.

The trainers have given us a lot of suggestions as to what they would like and we have built on that.

So, when a trainer looks at our equipment, they invariably say: “This is exactly what I teach. It’s such a simple idea, but I’ve never seen it before.”

READ MORE ABOUT HUSNEN’S AND THE AFFILIATION ARRANGEMENT BETWEEN INFINISPARK TDA CORPORATE HERE


9. CABLE JOINTING AND INSTALLATION PRACTICES PROGRAM

Thomson Bridge advises that it has initiated a partnership between ESI training, consulting and compliance specialists and NKT, a global provider of power cable solutions, a newly designed Cable Jointing and Installation Practices program which will contribute to the understanding by the ESI of the requirements that lead to quality outcomes in cable jointing and the consequences of poor workmanship and cable jointing failure.

The one-day program is comprised of a mix of theory, practical demonstrations and case studies will be delivered by presenters who are highly experienced and regarded practitioners with decades of experience to industry participants including engineers, project managers and site supervisors across renewable generation and other infrastructure sectors.

The course has been brought about because of rising faults in underground cabling systems.  The rising volume of high voltage underground power cables brings about technical challenges to network and site developers, operators, and maintenance technicians.

“We are finding that a lot of faults are occurring in the 18 months to 3 year period of the 25 year life span of facilities.” said Andrew Garvey, Cable Jointing Training specialist at Thomson Bridge.

READ MORE HERE OF THE LIST OF AVAILABLE CABLE JOINTING PROGRAMS


10. ARC FLASH PPE SELECTION IS THE LAST LINE OF DEFENCE

The January-February edition of PowerLogic, released by Editor, Chris Halliday on 10 February 2022 includes an important article arc flash PPE.  Sharing arc flash learnings have been a key theme over the past few months following a series of serious incidents. 

The article in this edition states, “Arc flash PPE is the last line of defence for electrical workers. It is much better to implement solutions that negate the use of this lower order control from the hierarchy of controls.

However, arc flash PPE will be needed well into the foreseeable future for most organisations to ensure to safety of their employees and to comply with WHS requirements.

The PPE must be suitable for the incident energy levels at each site but it is also important for electrical workers to wear everyday CAT I or Cat II clothing just in case of an unanticipated incident. I always liken it to wearing a seatbelt in a car – I have never needed one but will be very glad to be wearing one if I ever need it and I wouldn’t think of driving the car without one.”

READ MORE HERE

Other key articles to explore include a list of most recent electrical incidents, Australian standards under review, and other related industry news.


11. CALL FOR MANDATORY AIR CONDITIONING IN RENTAL PROPERTIES

Sandra Rossi, Editor at Climate Control News (CCN) reports in the 7 February 2022 edition of CCN on the Green’s call for air conditioning to be made compulsory in rental properties.

The articles states, that “Greens Senator Samantha Ratnam has called on the Victorian government to make air conditioning compulsory in rental properties.

The Victorian senator has called for amendments to minimum standards for rental properties.

Ratnam said Victorians are battling longer and hotter heat waves due to climate change which is why air conditioners should be mandatory.

Current standards for rental properties cover heating but not cooling.”

READ MORE HERE


12. JUMBO OFFSIDER SUFFERED AN ELECTRIC SHOCK

The NSW Resource Regulator reports in its Weekly Incident Summary Mine Safety News Bulletin of 9 February 2022 of a jumbo offsider who suffered an electric shock. 

A summary of the incident (Dangerous incident | IncNot0041247) states, “A Jumbo offsider suffered an electric shock while in contact with both the Jumbo and the rib mesh. The offsider suffered the shock when the electrical supply to the machine was restored after moving the Jumbo forward.” 

The Regulator’s comments to industry state, “The electrical engineering control plan for a mine must set out the control measures to manage risks to health and safety from electricity at each mine. When developing the control plan all sources of electrical sources need to be considered including induced and static charge.”

READ MORE HERE


13. TRADIES DISPOSING OF ASBESTOS INCORRECTLY

The 10 February 2022, NSCA Foundation’s Safe-T-Bulletin eNewsletter reports on research commissioned by the NSW Environment Protection Authority, revealing that an alarming number of tradies and homeowners lack of knowledge around how to deal with asbestos.

The article states, “A survey of 2000 people found that less than a quarter of trades professionals sought advice from licensed asbestos professionals and less than half wore protective equipment when they found it. The survey also revealed that more than one in four respondents reported disposing of asbestos in unsafe or illegal ways, including leaving it on-site once it had been removed or putting it in a kerbside waste collection bin. Almost 50% of adults in NSW currently live in properties containing asbestos but do not know how to deal with it or dispose of it safely. …

EPA Unit Head of Education and Programs Sharon Owens said  “We found 1 in 3 homes nationwide likely contained asbestos and that renovations were often done by homeowners with the help of family and friends. If homeowners don’t think about asbestos when planning or doing work, they can get a nasty surprise that puts their family and friends at risk of disease. …”

READ MORE HERE


14. NECA WOMEN AND THEIR TRADE (WaTT) – THE NEXT GENERATION OF ELECTRICIANS

Editor, Sean Carrol at Electrical Connection in the 8 February 2022 edition speaks with NECA Education & Careers to find out about the NECA Women and Their Trade (WaTT) campaign. Women only make up 8% of the industry, which is higher than it was in the past, but it’s extremely low compared to other industries across the country.  There’s a need to bring more women into the electrical industry.

Sean reports that, “NECA Education & Careers, in conjunction with Apprenticeships Victoria, has launched the Women and Their Trade (WaTT) campaign. It aims to provide career opportunities for women in the electrical industry and boost some historically low representation from women in the electrical field.

Stacey Fedden, who works in talent acquisition and projects at NECA Education & Careers, says that when she started working with NECA Education & Careers, there was an extremely low representation of women: “When I started ten years ago, the industry was made up of 2% women. I did a bit of research and found that 20 years ago, there were 2% of women in the industry. 30 years ago, 2% of women in the industry, it didn’t sit right.

“So NECA Education & Careers has always had it in its vision to build and grow this side of the industry. Since about 2015, we’ve always had our female footprint at about the 10% mark. But in 2020, it dropped to 8%. And that was a big blow.”

READ MORE HERE


15. CARBON CREDITS – WILL THEY CONTINUE TO RISE IN PRICE?

EnergyInsider, a joint newsletter publication of Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and the Australian Energy Council (AEC) reports in its 10 February 2022 edition of the Federal Government’s announcement last week to extend consultation on its proposal to allow the Minister for Agriculture to veto certain carbon credit projects. 

The article states, “The debate around this proposal comes on the backdrop of skyrocketing demand for Australian Carbon Credit Units, and with it, pressure for increased supply. So, what is driving this demand and how is Australia’s carbon market likely to respond to these evolving market pressures?

In Australia, ACCUs are administered under the Federal Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) with the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) being responsible for issuing ACCUs (learn more here). To receive an ACCU an abatement project must satisfy the principle of ‘additionality’ – that the project would not have occurred otherwise. This is not easy to prove, and Australia sets a fairly high bar.  …

At a political level, the Federal Government’s commitment to net-zero by 2050 means there is now bipartisan support for reaching this target, with the Labor Party promising to legislate such a goal.  …

In an economy covered by a mandatory ETS, the rising price of carbon credits should compel companies to weigh up whether it is more economically efficient to directly reduce their emissions rather than purchase instruments. How this trade-off works though in a voluntary market remains to be seen.”

READ MORE HERE

For more, contact Rhys Thomas, Australian Energy Council.


16. THE BIG SWITCH – AUSTRALIA’S ELECTRIC FUTURE

Saul Griffith, Ph.D, has released a new book out a detailed blueprint – optimistic but feasible – for fighting climate change while creating millions of new jobs and a healthier environment.  Griffith in his new book ‘he Big Switch’, “explains exactly what it would take to transform our infrastructure, update our grid, and adapt our households. The same natural advantages – incredible resources on an enormous continent – that helped Australia prosper in the 20th century are the ingredients for becoming the most prosperous, entirely renewable, economy in the world.”

He asserts, “‘The point is, we don’t have to be perfect to solve climate change. We just need to be electric. …”

Dr Griffith (an Australian engineer and inventor, a principal investigator on research projects for NASA, Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy, the National Science Foundation and US Special Operations Command) is well known for his work and advocacy for initiating the ‘Rewiring Australia’ movement and has established a dedicated website to promote the agenda.  Rewiring Australia, was launched in 2021, founded by Dr. Saul Griffith.

It is supported by an optimistic group of non-partisan Australians to collectively illustrate the positive climate and economic outcomes possible for Australia, and the world, with the electrification of fossil fuel machines.

The website promotes the electrifying everything, stating, “Electrifying our cars and our homes is the concrete action Australians can make this decade that will save us money and save our kids’ future. Australia has the opportunity to lead the world on decarbonization and savings. Help us Electrify Everything.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE REWIRING AUSTRALIA MOVEMENT AND HOW TO ACCESS REPORTS AND THE GRIFFITH’S NEW BOOK

Review the latest opinion piece released by Dr Griffith, 14 February 2022 in “The Monthly” a magazine published by Schwartz Media, THE FUTURE OF HOMES IS ELECTRIC.