Communique: Emergency Response Sub-Committee - 15 May 2020

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The sixth meeting of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) Emergency Response Sub‑Committee (the sub-committee) was held on Friday 15 May, 2020.

Industry intelligence on priority issues

The sub-committee noted the updated advice from industry and VET stakeholders, received through the AISC and ASQA feedback processes, on current and emerging issues affecting the sector due to COVID-19.

The sub-committee noted the new website content housing information on COVID-19 priority issues, located here.

Industry stakeholders are encouraged to review priority issues being considered by the sub-committee, and are reminded the feedback forms are still available to report COVID-19 issues affecting the VET sector.

Infection Control

The sub-committee noted that three new infection control skill sets and material for the retail, food handling and transport and logistics sectors were endorsed out-of-session by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Skills Council on Monday 11 May 2020. The sub-committee commended the work of industry stakeholders in rapidly developing the skill sets to support Australian workers during COVID-19.  The infection control skill sets have been published on and the RTO resources including contextualisation advice has been published on the AISC website. 

Human Services Skill Set

The sub-committee endorsed the Entry into Care Roles skill set for the for the aged and disability care sectors following consultation with stakeholders.  This nationally recognised introductory skill set will provide confidence for employers and support the re-deployment of suitable workers from other areas of the economy.

Laboratory Operations – Point of Care Testing (PoCT)

The sub-committee noted the AISC Secretariat had commissioned the development of training and assessment materials, including different delivery modes, to support delivery of new nationally recognised training in point of care testing, in support of expanded COVID-19 testing. This skill set and a new unit of competency was approved by Skills Council in April 2020.

The sub-committee also noted advice provided by the Department of Health, citing the relaxation of restrictions will mean there will be a constant requirement for testing to maintain COVID-19’s suppression and that during the suppression phase there will be a focus on high risk groups for testing and broad serological surveillance work. Modelling around the future requirements for testing has commenced, and the AISC Secretariat will provide further advice to the sub-committee once received from the Department of Health.

Mandatory Work Placements

The sub-committee noted the updated advice on issues related to mandatory workplace requirements in national training products. The sub-committee requested further advice from the impact of mandatory workplace requirements on RTOs and students in each jurisdiction for their consideration at the next meeting, noting that the issue is very nuanced and impact will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Next Meeting

The next sub-committee meeting will be held on Tuesday 26 May 2020.