News Service 81 – Skills we need paper Part 2, DESE workforce specialists & consultations, apprentice program ends, Electrical licence & Safety news, Assessor fined, TAE Update, Training Awards, Grants, Small business month, NCVER VET & HE, Industry news

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1. SKILLS WE NEED FOR THE FUTURE WE WANT – PART 2

Readers may recall News Service 78, which introduced Part 1 of the paper, “The skills we need for the future we want”.  In this service (81) we explore Part 2 of the paper, released by Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) and written by Andrew Dettmer, National President of the AMWU and Ian Curry, National Coordinator – Skills, Training and Apprenticeships for the AMWU. 

Part 2 of the paper represents the second of a 2-part series, designed to interpose a manufacturing workers’ union view into the debate about the future of Australia’s vocational education & training (VET) system.”

The paper states, “ The debate comes at a time when crucial decisions are being contemplated that will shape the system for years to come.”

Further, the first paper is stated to have covered, “What problem are we trying to solve?”.  The second paper, we learn of the possible options to addressing some of the identified issues and a path forward to upskilling Australians to meet the technological, productivity and economic challenges ahead.  Including, creating a more dynamic and adaptive VET system built on good investment and quality outcomes.  The aim; to produce quality graduates with relevant, portable and transferable skills that meet industry standards, having demonstrated them through learning and practice to the required standard.

The paper asserts, “Industry (employers, unions and workers) are without question the best source of advice about the skills and workforce development needs of their own industry. Industry must be allowed to lead in setting the standards for those jobs that are suited to the establishment of an Occupational Standard.

Any reform proposals for defining occupational standards, and the collaboration with training professionals over what it takes to produce skilled workers, must be genuinely led by industry.” …

“In the AMWU’s view, training courses should only ever attract public funding if they lead to nationally-recognised accreditation and align to an industry-endorsed occupational profile.  …

A vocational education & training system that trains people only in the knowledge and skills they need to perform narrowly defined work is similarly unworthy of public funding. …

High quality, fit-for-purpose vocational education and training is a precondition for economic and social prosperity and, done well, is worthy of public investment. But it must, in the final analysis, deliver skilled and adaptable workers to relevant employment in the economy in all of our interests.

Skills matter! Without them our opportunity for prosperity will be constrained.”

As suggested in the previous News Service (78) the paper is worthy of a read.  It provides a good backdrop to the historical developments of the VET Systems since the mid80s, some of the issues that have evolved and led to a possible diversion from the original intent of workforce reform agenda in Australia, and some ideas as to how these issues might be addressed to reignite a revised focus towards improving the quality of outcomes in the development of Australia’s workforce for the benefit of Australia, and the social wellbeing of its peoples.

A copy of the Part 2 can be downloaded HERE.  The opinion piece is also available at Campus Review, at the following link:  CAMPUS REVIEW- THE SKILLS WE NEED FOR THE FUTURE WE WANT: PART 2 – OPINION


2. DESE – PROPOSALS SOUGHT WORKFORCE SPECIALISTS INITIATIVE 2022–28

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment (the department) is seeking interest from organisations and individuals to become members of the Workforce Australia – Workforce Specialists Panel to deliver the Workforce Specialists Initiative 2022-28.

Workforce Australia commences 1 July 2022.  It will be supported by the Workforce Specialists Panel.  Members will be engaged on an as needs basis to deliver a range of projects to meet workforce needs of key industries and occupations by connecting them to suitable job seekers receiving Workforce Australia Services, Workforce Australia Online Services or Workforce Australia Transition to Work.

Workforce specialists will work with industry, businesses, employment providers, the Department and other stakeholders to initiate, co-design and deliver Workforce Specialist Projects.

The Request for Proposal provides advice on the service requirements, selection criteria and evaluation process. Proposals need to be submitted by 3pm 21 March 2022.

To access the tender site, presentation slides and related documents visit: REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL FOR THE WORKFORCE SPECIALISTS INITIATIVE 2022–28

Click on the following link to view an online information presentation for the RFP: WORKFORCE SPECIALISTS INITIATIVE 2022–28 INFORMATION PRESENTATION


3. SKILLS REFORM VET FOR SECONDARY STUDENTS – REQUEST FOR INPUT

The Australian Government through Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) writes, that it is seeking views on the delivery of Vocational Education and Training (VET) to secondary students to inform the development of a National VET for Secondary Students Strategy.

It states, “Having your say will provide valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities to improve VET delivered to secondary students and help set policy directions for the National Strategy.”

Industry Roundtables

The Department will host a series of virtual Industry Roundtables to gain industry and employer views on the delivery and value of VET for Secondary Students. The Industry Roundtables will be facilitated by The Social Deck and insights gained from the workshops will inform the development of the National VET for Secondary Students Strategy.

Visit the Skills Reform Hub at VET for Secondary Students Reforms – Skills Reform to find out more and register for one of the Industry Roundtables sessions.

Industry and employer input is an important first step to help us develop the National Strategy and you are welcome to share this link to any industry or employers who you think would like to participate in the consultations.

Online Feedback Forms

In conjunction with the Industry Roundtables, online feedback forms are also available for stakeholders to provide their thoughts on how to improve the quality and industry relevance of VET delivered to secondary students in the context of the development of a National Strategy.  Feedback forms can be completed regardless of whether or not you are attending the Industry Roundtables.  The following feedback forms are available:

  1. Industry Feedback Form – for completion by industry representatives and employers
  2. Other Stakeholders Feedback Form – for completion by any stakeholders with an interest in VET for secondary students including schools and training providers.

Regional, Rural and Remote Delivery

In addition, the department is seeking stakeholder views on the delivery of VET for secondary students in rural regional and remote localities.  If you would be interested in completing a survey on delivery in these locations, you can access the survey here: Regional, Rural and Remote Delivery Feedback Form

You can register to participate in one of 6 virtual Industry Roundtable sessions on a range of dates commencing Monday 28th February.

Click here to register. Online feedback forms are also available for either industry/employer representatives or other stakeholders including schools and training providers. Regional, rural and remote delivery feedback is also being sought through a separate survey.


4. FINAL INDUSTRY CLUSTERS INDUSTRY BRIEFING

Registration is open for the third and final briefing to be held on Thursday 3 March at 2pm.  The Industry Briefing is targeted at interested stakeholders in the Stage 1 Grant Opportunity.

This briefing will provide relevant information to potential applicants to support their submission prior to the closure of Stage 1.

Questions relating to this grant opportunity can be submitted in advance and at any time to IndustryEngagement@dese.gov.au.

To register visit the following link: CLICK HERE

The briefing will provide information on the funding model, next steps, timeframe, FAQ and panel Q&A.


5. APPRENTICESHIP INCENTIVE PROGRAM ENDS 31 MARCH

The Apprenticeships and Traineeships wage subsidy through the Commonwealth’s Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements (BAC) incentive program ends 31 March.

If you are considering taking on a new apprentice or trainee to boost your business talk to your apprenticeship centre now to recruit and enrolled before the cut-off date of 31 March 2022.

Your business may be eligible for up to 50% wage subsidy for the first year for taking on a new apprentice or trainee under this program. Contact your Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider.


6. TAE UPDATE

Phase 1 consultations on the Training and Education Training Package Review update have concluded and Phase 2 consultations (based on specialist project working group feedback sessions and individual/group interviews) are being conducted across February and March.

Draft 1 will be available for public review from 24 March.

Draft 2 will be available for public validation from 10 June.

Stakeholders are invites to provide feedback via the Living Issues Register accessed through this survey link, or by email at info@skillsforaustralia.com.


7. NSW TRAINING AWARDS – APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN

Applications are now OPEN for the 2022 NSW Training Awards. 

The NSW Training Awards are conducted annually by Training Services NSW within the NSW Department of Education to recognise outstanding achievement in the vocational education and training sector. The Awards honour and reward the achievements of students, Trainers/Teachers, Registered Training Organisations, large and medium Employers.

One of the main aims of the program is to discover Vocational Education and Training Ambassadors.

As the premier awards for vocational education and training (VET) in NSW, the Awards are a great way to receive recognition for the effort that individuals, Employers and Registered Training Organisations put into VET.

Are you ready to nominate someone or yourself?  Nominations from outstanding individuals, employers and training organisations across 12 categories in the VET sector are being sought for the annual awards and entries close on 18 March 2022

Read how to give yourself or nominee the best chance to SUBMIT A STELLAR APPLICATION.

For mor information visit: 2022 NSW TRAINING AWARDS


8. GET BACK IN THE GAME (GBIG) GRANT ROUND – GRANT OPPORTUNITY

Due to the success of the previously named Regional VET Pathways and EPPP RVP programs, funding has been extended to June 2024 for the newly combined and expanded Get Back in the Game (GBIG) program.

Grant applications open 21st February and close 10.00am 21st March 2022 with the program ready to commence in April 2022.  The program will deliver services to support young people, aged 15 to 19, disengaged from education and training and struggling to make effective transitions into sustainable employment, to re-engage in education and training and support their transitions to employment.

Webinars

To help providers to understand these programs and complete funding applications, Training Services NSW is holding two webinars on 21 February. If you would like to attend one of these webinars, please register here:

GBIG service providers will deliver industry grounded career and transition advice, mentoring and brokerage of transitions of disengaged young people into education, training and/or employment. The program will be managed locally by one lead provider per region – although consortium applications are welcomed. The program will operate across 14 regions and 144 schools.

For more information READ MORE HERE


9. NSW REGIONAL YOUTH INITIATIVE

Applications are open for the $10.4 million Children and Young People Wellbeing Recovery Initiative.  This is funded through the NSW COVID-19 Economic Recovery Initiative and NSW and Commonwealth governments flood and storm disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

 The initiative is centred on improving access to programs and resources to help young people recover, build resilience, strengthen community networks and improve mental health and wellbeing within affected regional communities. There are 3 grant programs included in the initiative:

  • large grants of $10,000 to $50,000 for storm and flood affected regions (open until 31 December 2022),
  • large grants of $10,000 to $50,000 for Regional NSW (open until 31 December 2022)
  • Small grants under $10,000 for regional NSW ((open until 31 March 2023).

Programs that may be eligible for funding include community events and social activities, sport and recreational programs, cultural and community connection programs, and peer support programs, mentoring and training for children and young people.

For more information READ HERE


10. NSW SMALL BUSINESS MONTH STARTS 1 MARCH 2022

NSW Small Business Month starts Tuesday 1st March 2022. We’re kicking off NSW Small Business Month with the official launch event.  

The Small Business Commission invites you to join the event.  Let’s Rebuild, Recharge and Renew!

Date: 1 March 2022

Time: 10am to 11am

REGISTER NOW

Hear from the Small Business Month champion Kate Carnell, Minister for Small Business and Fair Trading the Hon Eleni Petinos, Small Business Commissioner Chris Lamont, a panel of small business owners and a panel of partners including Afterpay, Amazon, Meta, Service NSW and ANZ.  Learn more about what events are planned throughout the month at: NSW SMALL BUSINESS MONTH


11. NCVER REPORT – INTEGRATING VET AND HIGHER EDUCATION

NCVER has released a report, authored by Steven Hodge, Elizabeth Knight covering the renewed interest into better aligning vocational education and training (VET) and higher education (HE).  The report explores the characteristics and sustainability of different models of highly integrated VET and HE qualifications. 

It highlights the challenges, opportunities and recommendations for better VET and HE integration.

A summary of the report states, “The research finds that highly integrated arrangements are difficult and expensive to develop, and often difficult to sustain. These models may be more widespread and sustainable, however, if providers are supported with the expertise and resources to undertake mapping processes, where providers and their staff in the two sectors trust and value each other, where employers value both VET and HE, and students find demands associated with integrated offerings acceptable.”  …

“… While the two sectors differ in purpose and content, they also offer different experiences of teaching and assessment and are funded, regulated, governed and culturally valued in different ways. In brief, the tertiary education environment is binary in structure (Parker, Dempster & Warburton 2018) and not necessarily geared to facilitating the development of individuals where the benefits of each sector are combined.”

Access a copy of the NCVER research report by clicking the link:  THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS? INTEGRATING VET AND HIGHER EDUCATION


12. NEW EDUCATION AND TRAINING MODEL OPEN FOR BUSINESS

The Western Parkland City Authority (WPCA) has recently launched the New Education and Training Model (NETM), piloting the first micro-credential on metal additive manufacturing in partnership with Western Sydney University and GE Additive.

 WPCA and NETM actively seeking industry partners who want:

  • Access to rapid, economical training
  • To attract, grow and retain a skilled workforce
  • To build a skill development pipeline for the future.

The NETM team will work with prospective industry partners to develop concepts for short, targeted training courses (micro-credentials) of around 40 hours.  Once the concept is endorsed by the NETM Industry Reference Group, the WPCA will procure a leading education provider to turn an industry partner’s training concept into a reality.

Priority industries for the NETM are:

  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Aerospace & defence
  • Freight & logistics
  • Agribusiness
  • Pharmaceuticals

Industry partners who have a skills need in their organisations and would like to work with the NETM team to develop a micro-credential proposal, are invited to register their interest via this NETM Link, or contact netm@wpca.sydney to connect with the NETM team.


13. NEW HEATING LAWS INTRODUCED

Editor, Sandra Rossi of Climate Control News (CCN) reports in the latest, 16 February 2022 CCN newsletter of new heating laws that come into effect from 1 June 2022.  Stating, “A new minimum servicing standard for Type A gas appliances such as heaters and hot water services will be introduced 1 June, 2022.”

The article refers to the Victorian government’s decision to introduce a minimum servicing standard for Type A gas appliances such as stoves, heaters and hot water services.  Minister for Environment & Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio said, “The mandated standard would reduce the risk to householders associated with ineffective servicing, including carbon monoxide poisoning,”.

In 2018, a coronial inquest into the death of Sonia Sofianopoulos recommended that AS 4575 be updated to include a carbon monoxide spillage test. This recommendation was delivered with a 2019 update.

READ MORE HERE


14. FORMER HIGH RISK WORK ASSESSOR FINED $65,000

SafeWork NSW in its February edition of SafeWork Wrap reports on the fining of a former accredited high risk work assessor. 

The former accredited high risk work assessor for crane licenses was fined $65,000 and convicted of 11 offences under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

The assessor, “was found guilty of failing to comply with the conditions of an authorisation issued by SafeWork NSW and 10 counts of providing false and misleading information.”

The article states, the assessor “… falsely declared that he had accurately assessed eight people as competent when he hadn’t.

“The 10 interim licence documents enabled eight people to immediately obtain licences and operate tower cranes and slewing mobile cranes with a capacity of more than 100 tonnes, posing a significant safety risk to workers and the community.” Said, SafeWork NSW Executive Director of Investigation and Enforcement, Valerie Griswold.

The 10 licences and the Assessor’s accreditation has been cancelled.

READ MORE HERE


15. RELEASE OF POWER, ELECTRICAL & RENEWABLE ENERGY GUIDE TO SAFETY 2022

The Power, Electrical & Renewable Energy Guide to Safety 2022 is available free throughout Australia.

 It includes information on electrical safety and mental health in the workplace, and the risks associated with working on energised electrical equipment. Find out more here.

The newly released Guide, endorsed by the NSCA Foundation and supported by Dial Before You Dig, assists in recognising and controlling the key hazards and risks with the latest WHS Regulatory Guidelines & Framework focused on proactive prevention of injury, ill health and essential information in order to help create a workplace safety culture of zero harm.

Designed to be displayed in the workplace, the Power, Electrical & Renewable Energy Guide to Safety 2022 is developed with interactive augmented reality (AR) capabilities for use with a smart device, by simply downloading the free Pro-Vis AR App via the App Store or Google Play. This leading-edge digitally interactive guide is a targeted response to a changed landscape as workers often respond well to information relayed via visual means such as videos and 3D animations rather than technical written documents, and so is a highly effective communication tool.

For free Guides email marketing@provisual.com.au. For free Guide Subscription, visit www.provisual.com.au.


16. ELECTRICAL LICENSING DISCIPLINARY ACTION

The Queensland Electrical Safety Office reports in its latest electrical industry bulletin of 23 February 2022, eSafe Electrical, disciplinary action taken against 14 licence holders. 

The article states, “In November and December 2021, the Electrical Licensing Committee took disciplinary action against 14 licence holders, issuing fines and cancelling and suspending licenses.”

A sample of the licence holder transgressions follow:

  • An electrical worker didn’t complete mandatory tests when installing main switchboards and meter boxes.
  • An electrical contractor failed to implement safe systems of work and procedures as evidenced in serious Wiring Rule non-compliances on multiple installations.
  • An electrical worker failed to de-energise electrical equipment while performing electrical work.
  • An electrical worker and QTP failed to adequately supervise electrical apprentices while undertaking electrical work on a spitfire emergency light at a commercial fit out.
  • An electrical contractor failed to implement a safe system of work to ensure electrical work was not carried out on energised electrical equipment.
  • An electrical contractor failed to prevent de-energised equipment being inadvertently re-energised when an electrical worker received an electric shock.
  • An electrical worker obtained an electrical work licence by supplying incorrect information.

The committee’s actions were in addition to fines and notices already issued by the Electrical Safety Office.

READ MORE HERE


17. CLEAN ENERGY REGULATOR INVESTIGATION LEADS TO SOLAR INSTALLER CONVICTION

The Australian Government’s Clean Energy Regulator reports in its latest news updates of a conviction of a solar installer for providing false or misleading information by falsifying a system owner’s signature on a Small-scale Technology (STC) Certificate assignment form. 

The successful investigation led to the prosecution of a 49-year-old Tasmanian solar panel installer in the Launceston Magistrates Court.

The installer’s accreditation as an installer was cancelled by the Clean Energy Council.

The report also states, “In December 2021, amendments to the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001 passed into law.  The amendments address the Australian Government’s response to the recommendations made in the Clean Energy Regulator’s Integrity Review of the Rooftop Solar PV Sector.  The new regulations provide the agency additional powers to disqualify installers and designers, retailers and components from participating in the SRES” (Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES).

READ MORE HERE


18. NEW RULES ALLOW DISTRIBUTORS TO ROLL OUT STAND-ALONE POWER SYSTEMS IN THE NEM

Sean Carroll, Editor of Electrical Connection of 25 February 2022, reports on the new rules which allow distributors to roll out stand-alone power systems in the National Electricity Market (NEM). 

The article states, “Stand-alone power systems (SAPS) serving individuals and communities can now be built within the National Electricity Market under new rules published by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC).

SAPS typically comprise solar panels, batteries and back-up generators and include both microgrids and individual power systems. They are used in remote communities out of reach of existing power lines and have also been built for communities that have lost access to the network because of line breaks caused by bushfires or other natural disasters.”

AEMC chair Anna Collyer said, “Until now, SAPS weren’t included in the NEM and weren’t covered by consistent reliability standards or customer protections. We now have agreement on a staged implementation, beginning August this year.”

READ MORE HERE


19. COAL EXITS – WHAT’S IN STORE FOR BATTERIES?

EnergyInsider, a joint newsletter publication of Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and Australian Energy Council (AEC) of 24 February 2022, includes an article regard what in store for batteries as coal exits the generation production.

The article states, “Increasing periods of negative pricing and low operational demand driven by renewables complicates the economics of coal plant. As coal plants exit the grid, they will be replaced by renewables supported by batteries, pumped hydro, and gas generation. Storage – battery and pumped hydro – will play an increasingly important role.”  …

“The most pressing utility-scale need in the next decade, according to AEMO, will be for 4-12 hour storage to manage variation in output from renewable generation and meet demand as coal leaves the market.”

We take a look at the changing market dynamics.

READ MORE HERE