AISC Communique - March 2016

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The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) held its seventh meeting in Sydney on 21 and 22 March. Consisting of industry leaders from across Australia, the AISC provides industry leadership to the vocational education and training (VET) sector, and provides advice to Ministers on the implementation of national VET policies. 

Address by the Minister

The Committee welcomed Senator the Hon Scott Ryan, Minister for Vocational Education and Skills. Minister Ryan affirmed the important role that the Committee plays in the VET system, recognising that members possessed unrivalled experience in, and knowledge of, the VET sector and their respective industries. He challenged members to think about how they could more broadly communicate the importance of the VET sector to the Australian economy. 

Training Package Case for Endorsement Considerations

Under the new arrangements for training product development, the COAG Industry and Skills Council established the AISC to, among other things, quality assure and approve training packages for implementation. The Committee has progressed a significant body of work since its establishment, with a further eight training packages approved at the March meeting, including: 

  • CPP v3 Property Services 
  • CPP v4 Property Services (with the exception of the proposal to remove Certificate II in Cleaning Operations)
  • CPP v5 Property Services
  • SIR Retail Services
  • SIR v2 Retail Services
  • SHB v2 Hairdressing and Beauty Services
  • PPM Pulp and Paper Manufacturing
  • AHC Agriculture Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management (with the exception of the Performance Horse components as these components will be examined in the context of responding to the ASQA strategic review of equine training).

The Committee has now approved more than 40 training packages for implementation since May 2015. 

The Committee also approved the AUR v3 Automotive Retail, Service and Repair and the CPC v3 Construction, Plumbing and Services subject to a number of identified issues being addressed. 

Commissioning of an evidence-base

The Committee has applied rigorous quality criteria in its consideration of training packages and the commissioning of future work by Industry Reference Committees (IRCs). In doing so, the Committee has used a number of existing sources of data about skills utilization and skills needs.  However, this information is not currently consolidated into a usable and readily available information product. 

To further support the Committee’s decision-making, and to inform the work of the IRCs, the Committee agreed to develop an annual National Industry Insights Report.  This product will bring together industry intelligence gathered from a number of domestic and international sources and will provide insights about how the skills needs of the Australian economy are changing over time and the implications for Australian industry, the Vocational Education and Training sector and future research priorities. 

Priorities for the Committee

As part of its discussion of strategic priorities for the next 12 – 18 months, the Committee welcomed the contribution of a range of invited guests, including representatives from the Australian Industry Group, Business Council of Australia, the Australian Skills and Quality Authority and the National Centre for Vocational Educational Research.  Members of the Skills Senior Officials Network also joined the discussion. 

The Committee acknowledged that, since its establishment, it has provided an industry-based perspective on the implementation of a number of key reforms within the VET sector, including the Review of Training Packages and Accredited Courses, the Federation White Paper, the review of the National Partnership Agreement, the national VET Assessment Strategy and Apprenticeship Reform.  The Committee also acknowledged that the close working relationship between the AISC and the Skills Senior Officials Network will continue to provide opportunities for the Committee to influence the implementation of future policy and reform initiatives.

The Committee confirmed that their key priority for the remainder of the 2016 calendar year was to bed-down the new industry-led arrangements for training product development. In particular, the Committee acknowledged the critical role of the IRCs in driving the process for developing and maintaining training packages. The next steps in implementing the new arrangements are the upcoming review of scope and membership of the IRCs and work to ensure that these committees are effectively supported to undertake their new role. The Committee also indicated an interest in monitoring the penetration the IRCs have into their respective industries into the future.

The AISC will meet next in Darwin on 5 May 2016.