Good morning IRC members and SSOs,
Since my last newsletter, we’ve had some updates on Skills Reform following the Federal Government’s 2021-22 Budget announcement in May. As many of you will already know, Skills Ministers have committed to the creation of new industry clusters with a broad range of responsibilities (not limited to training package review and development). In time, the new clusters will replace Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) and the Skills Service Organisations (SSOs) and are expected to be progressively stood up and fully operational by December 2022.
Skills Ministers have also supported training package approval being undertaken by an independent approval body. The details and timeframes for the new training package approval arrangements are still being worked through as part of the next stage of the reform process.
An implementation and transition plan will be developed by Skills Senior Officials Network over the coming months for consideration by Skills Ministers. This will be informed by ongoing consultation with stakeholders, including a new transition advisory group which will include representatives from government, industry, and unions.
At the AISC meeting on 22 June we committed to providing ongoing leadership and support to IRCs to keep the current system operating until the new arrangements are in place. Given pressures in the labour market due to economic impacts from the pandemic, it will be critical to maintain the momentum of the training system to respond to industry skills needs and to continue to support our economic recovery. IRCs have an important role in keeping training packages under review and up to date until the new system is operational.
It is vital that IRCs continue to meet and Cases for Change can still be brought forward to the AISC for consideration, although at our June meeting the Committee agreed to some additional parameters to support new projects to be completed during the transition period. Further details on arrangements for Cases for Change is provided in the AISC meeting update below.
Finally, on behalf of the AISC I’d like to thank you all for the advice and input you have made to the consultations on skills reforms, and your insights into the challenges and opportunities for improving the VET system. As the AISC receives information, I will continue to keep you updated through this newsletter and would like to encourage your participation in the transition process and any opportunities that arise to share learnings with the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) to inform the smooth transition to and operation of the proposed new system.
AISC Meeting Update
Since the last newsletter the AISC held its 37th and 38th meetings.
The communique for the 20 April 2021 meeting is on the AISC website here and includes information on updated advice for first aid training and the resumption of the training and assessment of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
The communique for the 22 June 2021 meeting is also available on the AISC website here. This includes key decisions on the AISC’s commitment to leading IRCs through the transition period and a new approach to Cases for Change which is also available on the AISC website.
The Committee also agreed to a set of principles for guiding decision-making on standalone (or ‘orphan’) units as an interim measure until this issue is considered more fully as part of the VET reform process. Under the agreed principles, standalone units will only be permissible in exceptional circumstances where a strong justification is provided by SSOs and IRCs. The principles are available on the AISC website.
In May IRCs were informed that at the 20 April 2021 meeting the AISC agreed to extend all IRC memberships, including Chair and Deputy Chair appointments, until 31 December 2021 to support continuity of critical training package development. The AISC will consider the need for further extensions to IRC membership in the coming months, and once details regarding the transition to the new industry cluster arrangements are finalised.
The AISC Secretariat has also been streamlining the processes for recruitment for IRC vacancies in individual expert or organisation positions. SSOs and IRCs received information with these updates in May which can also be found on the AISC website.
For IRC members, a reminder that it is important to let your SSO know of any changes in your contact details or whether IRC positions become vacant.
If you have any questions please get in touch with your relevant contact in the industry engagement team or email DESE-AISC-IndustryEngagement@dese.gov.au.
Quality Assurance Panel Arrangements
The Quality Assurance panel has been extended for a further 12 months to 30 June 2022. The extension of the panel will enable training product development and approval to continue while the new industry arrangements are being established. For a current list of panel members see the AISC website.
Skills Reform Update
The next phase of targeted consultations for the Qualifications and Quality reform areas has now commenced. Where opportunities arise, DESE encourages you to be involved so that you can continue to have your say. Information about any upcoming consultations will come out from DESE so if you haven’t already, please sign up to the Skills Reform mailing list to receive updates and progress.
What we’ve heard
DESE is publishing articles, fact sheets and other materials on skillsreform.gov.au to highlight what VET stakeholders have said from the consultations held earlier this year. So far, three articles – one from each reform area of Industry Engagement, Qualifications and Quality - have been published. See links to articles below.
- Moving towards better industry engagement in VET
- Addressing the changing skills needs of employers and individuals: Qualifications Reform
- Achieving high quality in the VET sector.
Budget 2021-22 Update
Further to the additional funding to establish and support a new industry engagement model in the VET system, the Australian Government has committed to provide stronger support to help Australians get the skills they need, through investment in apprenticeships, skills and training. These include:
- extension and expansion of the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements (BAC) wage subsidy
- extension and expansion of the existing $1 billion JobTrainer Fund (as outlined below)
- initiatives to:
- support employers and apprentices to manage their apprentice workforces and understand
- their entitlements
- support for job seekers to access the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program
- upskilling workforces in digital fields (including through apprenticeships, traineeships, foundation skills, digital literacy for jobseekers, and a digital cadetship trial)
- reform qualifications design
- expansion of the National Careers Institute’s Partnerships Grants program and extension of the National Careers Institute 1800 CAREER Information Service.
For further details on the Budget announcement visit the DESE website.
The JobTrainer Fund was established as a response to COVID-19 to support young people and job seekers to upskill and reskill in areas of skills in demand. With more than 160,000 enrolments in the program so far through both public and private providers, there has been a very positive response.
Building on this success, the government announced an extension and expansion of the existing $1 billion JobTrainer Fund in the 2021-22 Federal Budget, with a further $500 million from the Commonwealth to be matched by states. This extension and expansion will offer around 163,000 additional national training places in areas of identified skills need. Around 33,000 places will be prioritised to support the aged care workforce, making aged care training available to any existing aged care worker or anyone looking to enter the aged care sector.
JobTrainer is also offering around 10,000 additional digital skills training places, on top of the government’s Digital Workforce package that was also announced in the May budget.
Skills Organisations Update
The sixth live streamed event in the Skills Organisation's Workforce of the Future series was held in late May. The forum brought together leaders from the Skills Organisations Pilots in Mining, Digital and Human Services to consider how qualifications can be improved to better meet the needs of businesses, employers and students. Panellists discussed their unique industry perspectives and reflected on what needs to be done to simplify and improve national VET qualifications.
To watch or listen to the recording of the Workforce of the Future – Getting the Qualifications Right event, visit the Skills Organisation event webpage.
Australian Skills Classification takes a new view on skills
In March the National Skills Commission (NSC) released a new resource, the Australian Skills Classification (BETA), which provides a richer understanding of the labour market by identifying common and transferable skills between occupations, and the connections within, and across, skills and occupations.
The NSC is seeking feedback on the classification, which includes skills profiles for 600 occupations. It reveals 10 core competencies that are used in all occupations, 1,925 specialist tasks required by particular occupations, and 88 technology tools associated with particular occupations.
The Classification also looks at the connections and transferability of skills between jobs. The identification of skills clusters offers a new and unique way of looking at the labour market. Skills that are like one another are clustered together – if you can do one task in a skills cluster, you can likely do the others.
Training providers can use the skills classification to understand the relationships and connections between skills and occupations to inform the design and development of qualifications.
Opportunity to provide feedback to a review of selected ANZSCO occupations
The Australian Bureau of Statistics is partnering with several Australian Government agencies to produce a targeted update of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) and is currently inviting submissions. This 2021 targeted update is due for release in November 2021 and will address occupations in the following areas:
- Agriculture, forestry and fishing
- Cyber security
- Naval shipbuilding
- Emerging occupations, identified by the National Skills Commission.
Submissions are open 23 June 2021 to 23 July 2021. To read more and make a submission please go to Australian Bureau of Statistics - Citizen Space (abs.gov.au)
Following on from the last newsletter, we are sharing some more training opportunities that may be helpful to IRC members.
Collaborative Leadership - short course which uses valuable and well-proven lessons from the collaborative world of performing arts to equip you to creatively inspire your staff to self-motivate, innovate, show empathy, and optimise their work and processes. 1 x 8-hour session or 2 x 4-hour sessions face-to-face or online.
Change Management – short course providing learners with the tools to identify the change lifecycle steps required to effectively manage change using the most appropriate change management model and frameworks. Equivalent to one-day course, blended online learning.
These are suggestions only and are voluntary to complete. If there is particular training you are interested in, feel free to send an email to DESE-AISC-IndustryEngagement@dese.gov.au with your ideas.
AISC Website Refresh
You may notice some changes on the AISC website next time you visit. We have refreshed the design and made some changes to help visitors find information such as the Communiques and Newsroom more easily. Feel free to submit any feedback you have on the website via email at DESE-AISC-IndustryEngagement@dese.gov.au - this will help with our continual improvement of the site.