Message from AISC Chair - March newsletter

An banner image of the AISC Chair - Tracey Horton

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Good afternoon IRCs and SSOs,

I hope you all had a safe and restful break over the holiday season. 2021 has started with much productive activity and several updates from across the sector are highlighted below.

Since the last newsletter, good progress has been made on the Industry Reference Committee (IRC) Action Plan by strengthening engagement and support to the IRC network. You can see the latest Action Plan here.

A dashboard providing a snapshot of work undertaken in collaboration with all IRCs and Skills Service Organisations (SSOs) to ensure training package products are current and the national training system is decluttered has been published to the website. Take a look at the dashboard here.

Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash distributed a media release in January with The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP on the release of the Productivity Commission’s final report into the National Agreement on Skills and Workforce Development. To keep up-to-date with media releases, the Ministers’ Media Centre can be found on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) website here.

We have shared this newsletter with all IRC members and SSOs – I encourage you to continue to share this with your wider network.

Best regards,


AISC Meeting Update

Since our last newsletter, we held our 36th meeting of the AISC. I invite you to read the communique of the 23 February 2021 meeting on the AISC website here

Skills Reform Consultation 

Skills reform consultations on improving industry engagement, building better qualifications and supporting high-quality training are well underway. In just over two months of consulting, DESE have reported strong engagement from stakeholders on the reform consultation activities.

I know many of you have been involved in the consultation process with DESE already through recent surveys or workshops. Your feedback is very valuable and will be used to provide advice to Skills Ministers. AISC members have also been involved in consultation activities and have held one-on-one discussions with DESE to test proposed industry engagement models.  

If you are interested in contributing further input to the reform consultations, there are still plenty of opportunities to have your say on the reform areas of quality and qualifications. I encourage you to visit the engagement hub over the coming weeks, as new activities are added regularly. If you haven’t already done so, you may wish to subscribe to receive updates as the reforms progress. Visit for further information.

Skills Organisations Update

On Friday 5 February 2021, leaders from the three Skills Organisation Pilots met with Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash along with state and territory Skills Ministers. The Ministers heard directly from the Skills Organisation Pilots about their vision for skills and training and the work they have been doing to test new ways to make the VET system more responsive to the needs of employers.  

The fifth Workforce of the Future live stream event was also held in February. The event included a wide-ranging discussion around what employers need to access an adaptable, well-trained and job ready workforce. 

Read more in the March newsletter which includes a general update on the Mining, Human Services, and Digital Skills Organisation Pilots.   

The 2021 Survey of Employers’ Use and Views of the VET System is Now Open     

The National Centre for Vocational Education and Research (NCVER) is approaching a large sample of employers to take part in this important national survey. We are seeking your help to encourage employers within your network to complete the survey if selected.

The survey provides a snapshot of employer use and satisfaction with the VET system. Results from the survey will be published late 2021 and include data at the industry division level. More information is available here.

AISC’s National Industry Insights Report

The data and information contained in the AISC’s National Industry Insights Report (NIIR) is updated every year to ensure it remains relevant, and presents customised analysis of Australian skills needs, training patterns, and economic and employment trends. The NIIR brings together data, along with industry intelligence and other literature, to assist IRCs in the design and development of training packages that meet industry needs, now and into the future.

The latest updates to the industry pages were completed late last year and updates to the National Skills Overview were made in March.

Learn more on the National Industry Insights Report website. A number of news articles have also been shared on the AISC website here.

Training Opportunities

Over the next few editions of the newsletter we will be sharing training opportunities that may be helpful to IRC members.

  • Pathways Australia - ‘NFP Board governance and effectiveness’ course providing a clear understanding of what 'Good -governance' looks like. Online 1.5 hour course at a low cost.
  • DeakinCo - ‘Effective Team Collaboration’ course on achieving team goals and driving business success through effective team collaboration and knowledge sharing. Online 2.5 hours course at a low cost.

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 with your ideas.

Digital Transformation Skills Strategy

The Learning Country: Digital Transformation Skills Strategy report was presented at the 23 February 2021 AISC meeting by Mr Mark McKenzie, member of the AISC’s Digital Transformation Expert Panel and Chair of the Transport and Logistics IRC. The report highlighted the value of a comprehensive lifelong learning policy to ensure the VET system can respond to the digital change underway across industry and sought to identify opportunities to build digital skills across all sectors.

The Expert Panel found ‘digital skills’ don’t fit neatly into discrete qualifications or units, as they relate to broad, cross-cutting skills. Digital transformation is uneven, and technology and workforce needs are changing in various ways. This underscores the importance of supporting lifelong learning and the existing workforce, as well as strong partnerships between the training system and industry.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for digital skills, a clearer, more granular understanding of skills needs is required to support individuals, employers and the economy over the longer term.

The AISC agreed to refer the Expert Panel’s report to DESE for consideration in the context of the broader skills reform and other initiatives such as the Prime Minister’s Digital Technology Taskforce. AISC members also agreed to progress a number of actions related to training packages, including identifying digital skills gaps, fast tracking training products for digital skills, and strengthening training package companion volumes.

The report is available on the Digital Transformation Expert Panel website.

Download a PDF copy of the March newsletter here