News Service 91 – What will new government do for skills & training, Easy fix skills crisis, Technicians wanted space industry, Women in trades & career pathfinder, 7-star homes, VET & Industry webinars, Safety & Industry news

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1. WHAT AN ALBANESE LABOR GOVERNMENT MEANS FOR SKILLS AND TRAINING

TAFE Directors Australia latest Newsletter of 23 May 2022 includes an article about what an Albanese Labor government means for skills and training.

The article states, “Prime Minister-elect Anthony Albanese comes to government with a decisive plan for the vocational education and training sector, including the place of TAFE.

Prior to the election he outlined a plan for the first 100 days. It includes the establishment of Jobs and Skills Australia, described as “a national partnership to drive VET education and strengthen workforce planning by working together with employers, unions and the training and education sector.”

Mr Albanese has said the new body would be based on the model of Infrastructure Australia, which was created by him as infrastructure minister to provide high level advice from across the sector on priority needs, and to develop targets and ways of achieving them. One issue will be how the National Skills Commission coordinates with this body.

TAFE will be at the centre of Labor’s program, with the creation of 465,000 Fee Free TAFE places, including 45,000 new places.

The Fee Free TAFE initiative will be structured around areas of skills need, including child care, aged care, disability care, nursing and community services, as well as areas hardest by the pandemic, like hospitality and tourism.

It will also align to Labor’s Future Made in Australia Skills Plan which has a focus on acute skills shortages in areas such as manufacturing and construction.

The delayed National Skills Agreement between the Commonwealth, states and territories will also now become a focus after stalled talks on the latest draft agreement. 

READ MORE HERE


2. EASY FIX FOR SKILLS CRISIS

Sandra Rossi, Editor at Climate Control News (CCN) reports in the 18 May 2022 edition of a proposed easy fix to the skills crisis.

The article states, “New economic research released by Chief Executive Women has found that increasing women’s participation in the paid workforce would address Australia’s current skills shortage and have long-lasting impact on productivity in Australia.

The analysis, conducted by Impact Economics and Policy, shows that unlocking women’s workforce participation could fill job vacancies and address critical skills shortages predicted between now and 2026.

The report found that halving the workforce participation gap between men and women would represent an additional 500,000 full-time skilled workers with post school qualifications.

Engaging women in paid work at the same rate as men could unlock an additional one million full-time skilled workers in Australia.

The National Skills Commission estimates the need for 1.2 million additional workers across the economy by 2026.

Chief Executive Women president Sam Mostyn said the report, Addressing Australia’s Critical Skill Shortages: Unlocking Women’s Economic Participation, provides further evidence that it is vital to increase women’s workforce participation for Australia’s economic prosperity.

“Women are Australia’s most untapped resource, and these findings reinforce the need to prioritise reform that supports women to fully participate in our economy,” she said.

“We are facing record job vacancies and growing skills shortages, yet we have a ready workforce, which is highly educated and skilled that is sidelined by powerful barriers to their participation.”

READ MORE HERE


3. QLD LAUNCHES DRAFT SAFETY CODE FOR GREEN HYDROGEN WORKFORCE

The NSCA Foundation’s Safe-T-Bulletin eNewsletter reports in the 19 May 2022 edition that the Queensland Government has launched a draft safety code of practice, to deliver a framework which outlines safety requirements for the green hydrogen industry.

The article states, “Minister for Resources Scott Stewart said Queensland will be the first state to develop a clear pathway for hydrogen safety system compliance. The draft code proposes alternative means of achieving a safe outcome where existing obligations in the current legislation are problematic for hydrogen fuel applications. It will be routinely reviewed and revised as new standards, competencies and applications are developed.

“Green hydrogen is an emerging industry which will create new jobs throughout regional Queensland, which is why it’s important the right safety guidelines are in place. Current legislation and safety requirements are tailored for traditional products like LPG and natural gas and do not specifically target hydrogen fuel applications. The draft code will deliver a framework to outline minimum safety requirements and give businesses certainty that they are compliant,” Stewart said.

Stewart said the draft code will be useful for applications that use hydrogen as a fuel gas and will provide guidance to the industry about safe operations, regulatory compliance and approval processes. Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said green hydrogen is key to diversifying Queensland’s energy sector and growing more jobs in more industries — as a result, ensuring the safety of workers and the public is paramount. …

The Queensland Government has demonstrated its support for green hydrogen, through its $2 billion Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Jobs Fund with projects across the state. The state government also secured an electrolyser manufacturing plant in Gladstone, fuel cell manufacturing in Springfield and the tri-state Hydrogen Superhighway agreement with New South Wales and Victoria. Minister Stewart said Resources Safety and Health Queensland had consulted with industry and business to develop the draft code, which is now open for consultation.

READ MORE HERE


4. GILMOUR SPACE IS HIRING TECHNICIANS

Space Connect Promotions has issued a media release advertising over 50 space jobs available now on the Gold Coast in QLD. The advert states, “One of Australia’s leading space companies, Gilmour Space Technologies, is on a mission to grow its workforce by 40 percent to 200 by the end of this year.

The Gold Coast-based rocket and satellite manufacturer is looking to fill more than 50 positions in Engineering, Manufacturing, HR, Sales, Mission Management, and more.

If you’re looking to pursue your passion as a graduate or experienced technician/engineer, with a talented team that is dynamic and laser-focused on getting to space, and beyond… then check out the opportunities at Gilmour Space.

There are 14 manufacturing related job opportunities available in addition to a host of engineering, entry level and more.  The manufacturing jobs are:

  • Welders – 5 positions
  • Composites Technicians – 3 positions
  • Mechanical Technicians – 2 positions
  • Lead Electrical Technician
  • Electrical Technician
  • Structures Technician

Positions available as of May 16.

Please apply through the relevant links on the website.”

JOIN US LINK

For more information visit: www.gspacetech.com


5. FINAL ROUND OF CONSULTATIONS FOR WOMEN IN TRADES – UTILITIES & ELECTROTECHNOLOGY

A final workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, 25 May 2022 of the Department of Customer Service, Customer Delivery and Transformation’s NSW Behavioural Insights Unit’s (BIU’s) team, who has partnered with Training Services NSW to run the ‘Women in Trades’ project and final workshop.

The team is seeking to increase the number of women apprentices and trainees in non-traditional trades.

They have identified behavioural solutions from Australian and international academic studies and other reports. 

The team is now travelling to nine sites across metro and regional NSW to explore local dynamics and how they can tailor solutions to the respective region.

The BIU team warmly invite stakeholders and practitioners to attend the nearest stakeholder consultation, as per the list below. 

The program:

  • What is it: Individuals can choose to participate in one or both activities, with lunch available to all
  • 3-hour workshop to discuss the employer and apprentice customer journey, and how to implement solutions for the region
  • 1-hour focus group on recruitment barriers and strategies to hire more women apprentices and trainees
  • How to register: Please see below for the link to your nearest local consultation
  • Who should attend: employers, professional bodies, Government agencies, and other stakeholders who are committed to hiring more women
  • Feel free to forward to other stakeholders, team members, partners and practitioners
RegionDateTimeLocationRegister
Central and Northern SydneyWed, 25 May 202209:30am to 14:30pm (lunch included)TBC, Chatswoodhttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-in-trades-consultation-central-northern-sydney-tickets-315039330117

For more information contact Dr Zuleyka Zevallos, A/ Project Manager, Behavioural Insights Unit (BIU) at Customer Delivery and Transformation, Department of Customer Service on T: 02 2 8226 0238 or E: Zuleyka.Zevallos@customerservice.nsw.gov.au


6. MAE CAREER PATHFINDER PROJECT TARGETS WOMEN

The Agrifood ITAB in partnership with the NSW Utilities and Electrotechnology ITAB and Manufacturing Skills Australia (NSW ITAB) and Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen (SALT) have been successful in winning funding under the National Career Institute Partnership Grants Funding Round 3.

With a focus on women, the MAE ( Manufacturing, Agrifood and Electrotechnology) Career Pathfinders Project will develop current, relatable career information for the Manufacturing, Agrifood & Electrotechnology (MAE)  industries.  The resources will contain information otherwise unavailable that will be endorsed by the relevant industry stakeholders.

The project will develop 9 industry specific showcase days, of which 2 will be MAE industries combined. The showcase days will have demonstrations from female industry leaders and practitioners. Industries that will be showcased are:

  • food & beverage manufacture: (3 combined MAE industries: food processing, industry 4.0, A/C, instrumentation)
  • Western Sydney Parklands: (3 combined MAE industries: horticulture, aerospace, industry 4.0, electrical systems)
  • advanced manufacturing: (aerospace, industry 4.0, laboratory operations)
  • engineering: (fabrication, mechanical trade & industry 4.0)
  • agriculture: (beekeeping, pollination servicing, production horticulture, irrigation)
  • racing: (3 codes of thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing)
  • amenity horticulture: (landscaping, landscape design, arboriculture, production nursery)
  • utilities: (renewable energy, gas/hydrogen, systems control and HV switching/linework)
  • electrotechnology: (electrical, data communication, A/C, instrumentation)

A calendar of dates for the showcase days will be available shortly.  Keep an eye out for updates !

The project will benefit the Manufacturing, Agrifood and Electrotechnology industries by increasing relevant, industry endorsed career data, strengthen partnerships and attracting new female candidates.

If you are a woman aged 16 – 64 and interesting in participating in the showcase days or wish to follow the developments of this project and career resources, please email mae@agrifooditab.com.au or M: 0421 830 056.

Learn more – WOMEN EARNING WHILE THEY ARE LEARNING


7. WEBINAR – MAKE THE MOST FROM NCVER’S DATA TOOLS

NCVER will be holding a webinar in accessing and understanding data trends through visualisation. During this webinar Martin Smolka will present an overview of two of NCVER’s data visualisation products, International VET students and the Atlas of total VET.

He will demonstrate the basics of how to use the tools and show how they can provide insights to help with your research.

Learn how to:

  • Navigate the interface and filter data to your requirements
  • Save and share your results.

Martin Smolka is a Data Analyst in the Data Services and Reporting Branch and is part of the team that manages a range of data products and services.  He has an expert level of knowledge of VOCSTATS, one of NCVER’s data analysis tools and has worked on a variety of statistical products including Government-funded students and courses, Apprentices and Trainees and Total VET students and courses.

Join NCVER Data Analyst Martin Smolka on Thursday 2 June 2022, 1.30-2.15pm ACST as he presents an overview of two of NCVER’s data visualisation products, International VET students and the Atlas of total VET.

Martin will demonstrate the basics of how to use the tools and show how they can provide insights to help with your research.

REGISTER HERE


8. SAFEWORK NSW – CONSTRUCTION SITE SUPERVISOR WORKSHOPS MAY AND JUNE 2022

SafeWork NSW has written to promote its Construction Site Supervisor Workshops which are available online and invaluable in terms of developing a better understanding of how to better address a range of contemporary everyday safety issues facing supervisors.

SafeWork NSW states, that its Construction Site Supervisor workshops for May and June 2022 are now open for registration.  These fill up fast, and require you to please register at your earliest convenience to ensure your spot.

SafeWork NSW will be continuing its live, interactive, online Construction Site Supervisor workshops in 2022.  These workshops enable construction site (or trade) supervisors to engage directly with SafeWork Inspectors and get the answers to all those burning WHS questions they have – and get practical advice, tips and templates to utilise.

Please select any or all of the links below to register:

Module 1 – Crystalline Silica in the Construction Industry

Module 2 – WHS Responsibilities and Influence

Module 3 – Consultation

Module 4 – Risk Management

Module 5 – Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS)

Module 6 – Mentally Healthy Construction Sites

If you have any questions or suggestions, please email our team at construction@safework.nsw.go.au

SAFEWORK NSW EVENTS

If you’ve already completed the modules, please feel free to pass along to your colleagues in the construction industry.

READ MORE HERE


9. UNLICENSED ELECTRICAL TESTING WARNING FOLLOWING AIR-CON COMPANY’S $15,000 FINE

The WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s Building and Energy Unit announced in its 12 May 2022 Media Release, the successful prosecution of a Perth air-conditioning company who permitted unqualified assembly line staff to carry out electrical equipment tests.

The announcement stated, “The court was told that during a site visit, Building and Energy electrical inspectors observed the company’s assembly line processes for the Heritage Maxima air-conditioner.

The inspectors noted that testing procedures involved staff plugging the units into the 240-volt mains power supply to undertake tests to confirm the electronic components were working correctly.

Under the regulations, testing of electrical equipment above 50 volts alternating current (AC) or 120 volts direct current (DC) is considered electrical work that can only be carried out by a licensed electrical worker. None of the Westbury Holdings staff who tested the units held this licence.

At the sentencing on 29 April 2022, Magistrate Matthew Walton also ordered ‘the company’ to pay $573.50 in costs. His Honour noted the inherent dangers associated with electricity and the risks presented by the company’s long-standing electrical testing procedures, which it had now changed.”

Key take aways:

  • Electrical tests carried out by assembly line staff, not licensed electricians
  • Public at risk if electrical equipment is supplied without expert testing
  • Company pleaded guilty and has changed its testing practices

READ MORE HERE


10. EXCAVATOR MAKES CONTACT WITH OVERHEAD POWERLINES

The 20 May 2022 edition of Mine Safety News published by the NSW Resources Regulator reports in the ‘Weekly incident summary – week ending 13 May 2022’ of an incident which involved an excavator striking overhead powerlines.

The summary of the incident states, “An excavator made contact with an under-slung earth wire on a three-phase aerial supply. The excavator applied tension to the earth wire causing the phase conductors to clash, arc and trip. The earth wire snapped.”

The Regulator’s comments to industry were, “When developing roads or other vehicle operating areas, the potential for interaction between mobile plant and fixed structures, such as overhead power lines, must be assessed. Controls must be put in place considering the hierarchy of controls in accordance with Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 clause 36 Hierarchy of control measures

READ MORE HERE – DANGEROUS INCIDENT IncNot0042164

Also, Refer to: Safety bulletin: SB15-05 Plant contacting overhead powerlines and structures

For more information visit: SAFETY ADVICE and POWERLINE MARKERS

You can also download the Look up and Live map app – Look up and Live map


11. NO DECISION YET ON 7 STAR HOMES

The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) reports in the 20 May 2022 edition of HVAC&R News of a waiting game for endorsement of a new 7-star higher energy efficiency standard.

The article written by Mark Vender, states, “With building ministers set to meet in July, industry bodies are keeping up the call for higher energy efficiency standards for homes in the National Construction Code 2022.

Industry bodies are keeping up the call for higher energy efficiency standards in the National Construction Code 2022.

Although the NCC 2022 is due to come into effect in September, there has still been no clear signal about whether one of the key changes will be included: the raising of minimum energy efficiency standards for new buildings and major renovations from 6 to 7 NatHERS stars.

An NCC 2022 preview was released last week, but it did not include energy efficiency and condensation management provisions. These are expected to be previewed in August.

As state, territory and federal building ministers prepare to meet in July to discuss these changes, pressure is building to commit to higher standards.

“Australian home energy efficiency currently lags behind international best practice and it rates among the world’s worst performing developed countries, according to the International Energy Efficiency Scorecard,” says Climateworks.

“This means Australians are missing out on safer, more comfortable homes made possible through better insulation and more efficient heating and cooling. As heatwaves and climate-related risks to households become more frequent and severe, failure to upgrade the NCC means risking living in buildings that can’t adequately protect our health.

READ MORE HERE


12. REGISTERED CABLERS MUST COMPLY WITH THE 2020 WIRING RULES

The latest NECA NSW eNews 10/22, included an article regarding AS009 Wiring Rules.  The article state, “The Communications Alliance industry standard AS/CA S009:2020 Installation requirements for customer cabling (Wiring Rules) (the 2020 Wiring Rules) s

ets out the requirements for the installation and maintenance of customer cabling. These requirements are made mandatory through the ACMA’s Telecommunications Cabling Provider Rules 2014 , made under section 421(1) of the Telecommunications Act 1997.”

The 2020 Wiring Rules took effect upon publication, on 20 August 2020.

Please note that cablers cannot use the 2013 Wiring Rules – they must now comply with the requirements of the 2020 Wiring Rules.

For more information, please refer to the Australian cabling standards on the ACMA website.”


13. AS/NZS 5033 – 2021 UPDATE – DC CABLES MUST COMPLY WITH IEC STANDARD 62930

The six months grace period for transition to the new 2021 version of AS/NZS 5033 ended on 19 May 2022. Electrical Connection reported in the 17 March 2022 edition, written by GSES that was updated to reflect the rapid growth of this industry and provide updated safety practices.

The article stated, “The updated standard aims to tackle key issues which have arisen due to technology changes and shifting industry expectations since the previous version. The most important changes for designers and installers are:

  • Scope of the standard
  • Changes to the rooftop isolator requirements
  • Disconnection points
  • Maximum system voltage
  • PV circuit current calculation
  • Conductor sizing and selection
  • Installation of cables in the ceiling space
  • Other cable and DC isolator installation changes
  • Signage and documentation”

These changes impact most PV designers and installers in commercial and residential spaces. Businesses working in the PV sector will also be affected by this standard.

READ MORE HERE


14. OFFERING A COMPLETE SOLAR SOLUTION

Phil Kreveld in this week’s Electrical Connection (18 May 2022) covers the emergent opportunities for electricians to open steady revenue streams as solar power is increasingly adopted across the country. Phil writes about the ins and outs of solar installation and maintenance.

The article states, One in five Australian homes has rooftop solar and installations are growing. We are, when it comes to solar uptake, the foremost country in the world—and also in the top range of renewables in our national electricity grids.

That makes for considerable challenges in maintaining grid reliability because of the ‘banana’ characteristic when at midday very little power is needed from generators because we are making our own electricity.

Working with the ‘banana’ (lots of power needed at 7am, very little at noon and back up by 6pm) is the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) business but making sure that domestic, commercial and industrial solar are working efficiently is the business of electrical contractors with Clean Energy Council (CEC) certification.

Oops—having said that, many electrical contractors, although they may have actually done the physical installation, are not the primary contractor with warranty responsibility. However, there is everything to be said for offering solar system owners annual service contracts. The topic will be explored further because there is a lot to be discussed that feeds into the good sense of regular inspection.

READ MORE HERE


15. ENERGY NETWORK INDUSTRY AWARDS OPEN

Energy Networks Australia (ENA) has announced applications are now open for the 2022 Energy Network Industry Awards.

The ENA states, “The Energy Network Industry Awards are an opportunity to showcase the achievements of Australia’s network businesses in consumer engagement and innovation. 

There are two awards:

  • The Consumer Engagement Award recognises an Australian energy network business that is demonstrating outstanding leadership in consumer engagement.
  • The Industry Innovation Award recognises leadership in the design, development and application of a ground-breaking Australian energy network initiative, technology, service or solution.

Energy Networks Australia members are invited to apply.

Key dates:

  • Applications open – 10 June 2022
  • Applications close – 22 July 2022 
  • Shortlisted applicants announced – 18 August 2022
  • Videoconference interview for shortlisted applicants – 19 – 25 August 2022 
  • Winners announced at ENA Annual Dinner – 14 September 2022

16. INFLATION, INTEREST RATES, COMMODITY PRICES AND ELECTRICITY PRICES

EnergyInsider, a joint publication of Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and Australian Energy Council (AEC) report in the 19 May 2022 edition, take a look at whether inflationary pressures, the prospect of higher interest rates and higher fuel costs may impact on electricity prices in the future.

Peter Brook writes, “There has been growing concern about inflationary pressures, the prospect of higher interest rates and higher fuel costs for the economy generally. But what do these factors mean for electricity prices? We take a close look to see how they are likely to influence our power prices.”

“After a decade of low and stable inflation and extremely low interest rates primarily driven by the global financial crisis in 2009 and then the COVID19 global pandemic, the situation has now changed. Inflation across the globe has risen sharply (e.g., USA 8.3 per cent, UK 7.0 per cent, NZ 6.9 per cent, and India 7.8 per cent) . Key drivers of this include the pandemic i.e., government stimulus policies, supply chain disruptions, labour shortages and key input shortages (e.g., semi-conductors, polysilicon). More recently Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused large increases in energy and many commodity prices.

‘Demand pull’ inflation is caused by an overheating economy with strong aggregate demand growth, low unemployment and rising wages. In contrast, this situation is ‘cost push’ inflation where the primary drivers are supply side costs increasing, as opposed to wages growth and aggregate demand.

Higher inflation, interest rates and commodity prices will increase electricity prices both in the short term and the longer term. The current cycle of commodity prices are contributing to elevated wholesale spot and forward prices and this will affect electricity prices relatively quickly. Higher inflation will flow through to higher network prices at each annual network tariff price setting. Over the medium to long term inflation will increase the nominal value of network assets while higher interest rates and credit spreads will gradually increase the cost of debt for networks. Furthermore, as each NSP’s five-year regulatory reset period expires higher inflation will increase the nominal value of network assets which will embed higher costs. In addition to this higher interest rates and credit spreads will increase the return on equity which will increase costs.

Finally, higher interest rates and commodity prices will result in higher levelized costs of electricity for new generation and storage (eg, batteries) investment. This will also increase the cost of new transmission and distribution network investment.

In summary, upwards pressure on electricity prices is being applied on all fronts with both immediate and longer-term impacts.

READ MORE HERE

For more information contact Peter Brook, Australian Energy Council


17. ENERGY CORPORATION OF NSW (EnergyCo) LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE

The Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo) has to announce that it has launched the EnergyCo website.  The new website provides up-to-date information about EnergyCo projects and the first five Renewable Energy Zones (REZs).

The website will also house consultation and engagement opportunities.

The website is the next step in EnergyCo’s work to maximise the opportunities created by the transformation of the NSW electricity system, by coordinating investment in REZs across the state.

EnergyCos role is to maximise the opportunities created by the transformation of the NSW electricity system by coordinating investment in Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) across the State.  It aims to channel investment in solar and wind farms and storage such as batteries and pumped hydro to places best suited to host it. This means clean energy can be harnessed and distributed reliably and affordably. This will power NSW for decades to come.

Five dedicated REZs have already been identified across the State.  These will generate profound economic opportunities as cheap renewable energy underpins new low carbon industries such as green hydrogen, manufacturing and metals production. Investors are ready to build the generation and storage we need right now.

EnergyCo’s key responsibilities include:

  • Strategic planning, technical and regulatory design
  • Community and stakeholder engagement
  • Infrastructure and investment

EnergyCo is one of several key entities appointed by the NSW Government to deliver the Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap, alongside the Consumer Trustee, the Regulator, the Electricity Infrastructure Jobs Advocate, the Energy Security Target Monitor and the Renewable Energy Sector Board.

VISIT THE ENERGYCO WEBSITE


18. APRIL LARGE-SCALE RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGET MARKET DATA NOW AVAILABLE

The Clean Energy Regulator has released the April 2022 Large-scale Renewable Energy Target market data.

The target is designed to reduce emissions in the electricity sector and encourage additional generation from sustainable and renewable sources.

Investment in the renewables industry is dependent on the long-term economics of specific projects and is influenced by a range of market factors. Investors make informed decisions by analysing the available market data.

Highlights include:

A total of 354 MW was approved as eligible for LGCs in April.

The power stations making up the majority of this new capacity were:

  • Blue Grass Solar Farm in Queensland with a capacity of 200 MW
  • Metz Solar Farm in New South Wales with a capacity of 142 MW

19. AUSTRALIAN DOMESTIC WEEKLY GAS PRICES EXCEED $30 PER GJ FOR THE FIRST TIME

An update from WattClarity Research on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, highlighted that a graph posted by Josh Stabler on 16 May 2022, revealed a new record Australian domestic weekly gas price was hit.