Good afternoon Industry Reference Committee (IRC) members and Skills Service Organisations (SSOs),
Since my last newsletter, several key announcements have been made in relation to the way forward on industry engagement reforms committed to in the 2021-22 Federal Budget.
As many of you will already know from communications from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE), Minister Robert released a Ministerial Statement and accompanying media release reaffirming commitment to new arrangements – namely the establishment of Industry Clusters and the wind down of existing arrangements by 1 January 2023. Information has also been published to the Skills Reform website including fact sheets on the implementation and transition timeline for establishing the Industry Clusters, industry engagement architecture, proposed structure and groupings of Industry Clusters, and the wind down of the training product development (TPD) program.
The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) will continue to approve updates to training package products until the end of 2022 when a new independent assurance function is operational from 1 January 2023. No new training product work will be commissioned during 2022, with limited exceptions for urgent product updates that need to be rapidly implemented or are in response to unforeseen events. This enables SSOs, IRCs and the AISC to focus on completing existing training product projects over the course of 2022.
On behalf of the AISC, I’d like to thank you all again for your contribution to the reform process to date. I’d like to emphasise the importance of continued engagement to maintain the momentum of the training system, ensuring qualifications are kept up to date and existing training product projects are completed before the new system is operational. The AISC encourages your ongoing participation in the transition process and any opportunities that arise to share learnings with DESE to assist with the smooth transition to the new system.
The AISC is committed to providing leadership and support to IRCs throughout 2022 and I will continue to keep you updated as we receive information. The AISC will provide further information on IRC membership extensions following our November meeting.
Skills Reform Update
An update on other priority reform areas is provided below. The latest information is available on the Skills Reform website.
Phase 2 consultations on quality reform have recently concluded with over 450 Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) providing feedback on key issues impacting the quality of training delivery. Feedback was provided on issues raised during Phase 1 such as industry engagement, student support, validation of assessment, recognition of prior learning, managing superseded training products, and maintaining industry currency of trainers and assessors. A summary of the findings of Phase 2 consultation is now available on the Skills Reform website. Further consultations with the sector on the revised RTO Standards will occur in early 2022.
Consultations for qualifications reform were undertaken between June and September 2021, and included the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Qualifications Reform survey, targeted meetings, workshops and webinars. Consultations tested how the qualification design concepts might work in a proposed qualification design architecture, and sought VET stakeholder views on the opportunities and potential challenges that the proposed model might bring for the VET system. Qualifications reform consultations saw high levels of participation and strong support for the proposed model, with key considerations raised around implementation and transition. Findings from stakeholder consultation as well as the Qualification Design trials will inform advice to Skills Ministers at the end of the year.
AISC Meeting Updates
Since the last newsletter, the AISC held its 39th, 40th, and 41st meetings. The meeting communiques can be found on the AISC website.
The National Schedule on the AISC website has been refreshed. The content on the page now links to the six SSO websites which contain information on the training packages currently underway and any updates on development or consultations.
Skills Organisation Pilots
The Skills Organisation (SO) Pilots continue to work with employers, training organisations and stakeholders across their industries to gain insights, test new concepts and trial projects to prepare the workforce for the future.
The Mining SO Pilot is accelerating the progression of the qualification reform trial, digital transformation, apprenticeship, and attraction and retention project hubs to meet current and emerging skills and training needs in the mining sector.
The Digital SO Pilot is focused on closing Australia’s digital skills gap by working with employers to ensure digital training is relevant to the needs of employers. The Pilot is trialling a skills-based model for digital skills development framed around the need for more flexible, up-to-date training products and pathways which can respond at speed to changes in the digital sector.
The Human ServicesSO Pilot recently hosted a series of National Roadshow events, with forums attracting attendance from over 400 stakeholders across Australia. The Human Services SO Pilot is also developing a How to Engage Guide to support collaborative working relationships between employers and RTOs.
Further information can be found on the DESE website in the Skills Organisation update for October.
As part of the 2021–22 Budget, the Treasurer announced an additional $500 million Commonwealth contribution to extend and expand the JobTrainer Fund over two years, with matched contributions from state and territory governments. Subject to state and territory agreement, this will bring the total funding available under the JobTrainer Fund to $2 billion over the period 2020–21 to 2022–23. To date, there have been over 255,800 enrolments in JobTrainer funded training places.
A revised JobTrainer Fund Schedule reflecting the extension was offered to state and territory Skills Ministers on 3 September 2021. As at 14 October 2021, three jurisdictions have signed the revised Schedule. DESE continues to work with states who have not yet signed.
National Hydrogen Strategy
To support Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy and in partnership with the South Australian Department for Energy and Mining, the AISC Secretariat has commissioned PwC’s Skills for Australia to research and analyse the expected workforce and skills needs of the hydrogen industry. Findings will be presented to the AISC and senior officials in mid-2022 and will assist workforce planning for diverse uses and applications of hydrogen and clarify future jobs and training needs. An IRC and SSO working group has been formed to support this work.
Further information is available on PwC's Skills for Australia website.
Finding NERO: A Nowcast of Employment by Region and Occupation
Ever thought about how many people in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney NSW are employed as chefs? Or how many people living in Cairns in Queensland are employed as sales assistants?
These are the questions the National Skills Commission’s new experimental Nowcast of Employment by Region and Occupation (NERO) is seeking to help answer. Our Nowcasting and Economic Modelling team has produced NERO using nowcasting, an emerging method for evaluating present conditions, leveraging big data and machine learning techniques. NERO provides monthly estimates of employment for 355 occupations (at the ANZSCO 4-digit level) across 88 regions (at the SA4 level), or over 31,000 series in total.
Explore the data dashboard here Nowcast of Employment by Region and Occupation.