COVID-19 Priority Issues

AISC Emergency Response Committee

Issues Register

Job Task/Role/Sector Issue/s Status of response to the issue 
Infection control Infection control has been raised as a priority skill need across multiple industry sectors particularly in relation to exposure to the virus, as well as placing increased pressure on some sectors should infection rates increase. A potential new Skill Set comprising HLTINF001 Comply with infection prevention and control policies and procedures is being considered by the Subcommittee and Skills Ministers. Learning and assessment resources have been developed to support contextualization for different industry sectors. Initial focus is on
  • transport and logistics
  • retail and
  • food-handling sectors/job roles

Subsequent industry sectors are being considered by the AISC Subcommittee.

Laboratory Operations Significant increase in COVID-19 testing is expected as criteria for testing broadens and social distancing restrictions are relaxed nationally.   Learning and assessment resources are being developed to support implementation of the newly endorsed Skill Set MSLSS00002 Point of Care Testing (PoCT) using capillary blood specimens to upskill relevant health practitioners.
Aged and personal care workforce Existing staff are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 potentially leading to shortage of workers. Sectors of the industry raised concern about entry level workforce trained online working with vulnerable people. The mandatory work placement requirement for Certificate III in Individual Support in the COVID-19 environment has also been raised as an issue. The new skill set, Entry into Care Roles, is now available on training.gov.au. Information for RTOs is available on the COVID-19 Communiques and Updates section of the AISC website.   This new skill set prepares new workers for entry into care roles and includes three units
  • CHCCCS015 - Provide individualised support
  • HLTWHS002 - Follow safe work practices for direct client care
  • HLTINF001 - Comply with infection prevention and control policies and procedures
Ancillary aged and personal care staff There is a demand for cooks/chefs in aged care residential settings, with a need to upskill cooks/chefs who may have been displaced as a result of COVID-19 to be able to transition into these settings. The Aged Care Industry Reference Committee (IRC) is drawing together advice on industry recognised online training options that can assist facilities to induct displaced cooks/chefs into an aged care environment.
Digital and Cyber Security Cyber security and digital skills have been raised as an issue with businesses pivoting to working from home, and the increased risk of doing business online. There are existing units of competency already available or under development in the national training system which address cyber security requirements. ICTICT424 - Address cyber security requirements BSBXCS405 - Contribute to cyber security incident responses BSBXCS404 - Contribute to cyber security risk management BSBXCS403 - Contribute to cyber security threat assessments BSBXCS402 - Promote workplace cyber security awareness and best practices BSBXCS301 - Protect own personal online profile from cyber security threats BSBSS00094 - Cyber Security Awareness Skill Set BSBSS00093 - Cyber Security Threat Assessment and Risk Management Skill Set A list of RTOs with scope to deliver these products is available at www.training.gov.au
Workforces vulnerabilities A number of industry sectors have self-identified as having vulnerable workforces, particularly in the event of widespread community infection of COVID-19, including: -          Utilities The utilities sectors are essential service providers that need to be maintained for the economy to function effectively. A widespread outbreak of COVID-19 could put increased pressure on the workforce. There is also some concern of the pipeline effects for the utilities workforce where apprentices are being let go by businesses shutting or slowing down as a result of COVID-19. -          Animal technology Research for vaccines and intra-species transmission requires animal testing with the requisite animal care/monitoring. There is existing shortage of workers as many of the facilities are in health facilities, increasing the exposure risk of the staff and taking into account biosecurity considerations. -          Pulp and paper There are a small number of domestic operators and imports that have been impacted during COVID-19. All facilities are in regional areas, making the industry particularly vulnerable to localised outbreaks. All training is done in house, with no RTOs scoped to deliver from the training package. -          Agriculture – meat processing Training programs have ceased due to meat processing facilities being closed to non-essential personnel (including trainers and assessors). While some remote delivery is occurring, almost all the products in the Meat Training Package require workplace assessment. The Subcommittee is working with a Skills Senior Officials Network (SSON) Working Group Work to consider the issues being raised by these industry sectors, to identify where: -          a new and/or amended national training product is required -          there are opportunities for skills transferability across industry sectors, particularly considering options for workers displaced as a result of COVID-19, including the requirements for any gap training -          issues raised need to be considered by industry regulators. A number of training products are already available in the national training system to address the training requirements of these sectors.  Visit www.training.gov.au Advice is being provided to RTOs on products that require a mandatory workplace requirement, such as for assessment.  Visit www.asqa.gov.au
Training delivery issues
National Training Products with mandatory workplace requirements for training delivery and/or assessment A number of national training products (units of competency and qualifications) across multiple sectors have a mandatory workplace requirement for either training delivery or assessment. The delivery and completion of training against these products is being impacted as a result of the social distancing requirements of COVID-19. Enquiries related to workplace assessments have been raised, including impact on Year 12 completions for VET in School students and impact on funding to RTOs being unable to complete delivery of a qualification. ASQA is providing advice to RTOs on interim solutions for the delivery of products that require a work placement component.  Visit www.asqa.gov.au for further advice. The Subcommittee is undertaking further analysis of the impact of this issue across the national training system, in the event social distancing is not relaxed to the extent that training can resume in the workplace and alternative solutions can be identified. Specific advice has been provided for the following areas: -          First Aid Advice on the use of manikins during COVID-19. For more information:  https://www.aisc.net.au/content/communiques-and-training-package-updates   -          Trainers and Assessors Revision to the TAE Interpretation Guide for TAEDEL401 – plan, organise, deliver group based learning – to provide guidance that delivery through a virtual platform will be acceptable during COVID-19. For more information: https://www.skillsforaustralia.com/2020/03/31/update-tae-interpretation-guide-release/   -          Construction Induction – White Card training Safe Work Australia and state and territory regulators have agreed to enable RTOs to deliver white card training via connected real-time delivery. This delivery mode will only apply during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/general-construction-induction-white-card-training-covid-19   -          Financial Services: Unit of competency FNSTPB401 Advice pending on how to respond to the issue that students are experiencing difficulties accessing integrated financial software systems in a remote environment, mainly due to home computer compatibility issues and subscription costs. Access to this software is a requirement under the unit’s assessment conditions.