Communique: Emergency Response Sub-committee - 4 May 2020

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The fifth meeting of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) Emergency Response Sub‑Committee (the sub-committee) was held on Monday 4 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 also welcomed feedback from states and territories on critical workforce skilling issues raised in jurisdictions.

The sub-committee discussed the key priority pressure points, including those relating to the mandatory workplace requirements specified in particular training package products that have been raised by RTOs with ASQA. The sub-committee directed the AISC Secretariat to continue working with ASQA to undertake further analysis on the size and impact of mandatory work placement issues should social isolation arrangements continue over the medium term, or should a second wave of infection occur resulting in an additional, prolonged period of social isolation. The sub-committee also agreed to seek state and territory views on this issue through a key group of Skills Senior Officials Network members. Industry stakeholders and their peaks are also strongly encouraged to provide feedback through the online forms (to ASQA and DESE) to identify specific training packages where there are concerns about completion of training: the sub-committee would also welcome suggestions for practical solutions.

Infection Control

The sub-committee discussed the first tranche of resources to support the delivery of the Infection Control skill set to the retail, food handling and transport and logistics sectors. Industry stakeholders will be asked to provide feedback on the resources this week. Subject to final approval by the sub-committee, it is anticipated that the resources will be available within a fortnight.

Human Services Skill Set

The sub-committee discussed the Entry into care roles skill set as part of a time-limited response to support the rapid upskilling of people to work in the aged care and disability support sectors during the COVID-19 crisis and recovery phase. The sub-committee will consider a finalised skill set out of session prior to Skill’s Council consideration.

Laboratory Operations – Point of Care Testing (PoCT)

The sub-committee noted the further advice in relation to the appropriateness of the recently endorsed Skill Set for point of care testing, including the expansion of testing that is occurring in states and territories and the increase in the number PoCT devices being trialled for adoption in Australia. The sub-committee noted the importance of aligning training with strict infection control requirements to manage the risks to health workers conducting COVID-19 testing.

Next Meeting

The next sub-committee meeting will be held on Friday 15 May 2020.