As 2017 draws to close, I would like to thank you for your contribution to your Industry Reference Committee (IRC) and, more broadly, the national vocational education and training (VET) system. Our work in shaping training package development directly impacts the lives of many people and businesses and I appreciate your work in helping build a world-class, industry-driven training system.
The importance of what we do was reaffirmed to me recently when I attended two very different events in Canberra – the meeting of Commonwealth and State and Territory skills ministers and the night of nights for vocational education and training, the Australian Training Awards (https://www.australiantrainingawards.gov.au/).
The Australian Training Awards (https://www.australiantrainingawards.gov.au/) celebrate the outstanding and inspiring achievements of individuals and businesses. Their stories always inspire and bring home the value of a high quality training system that meets the needs of all users, now and into the future. I want to see more students, parents and teachers seeing VET as a viable and worthy education choice. With your support, I am determined we foster a modern, responsive and industry-driven system that meets the needs of all students – including young people, people in transitioning industries, and older workers.
The second event – the end of year address to the COAG Industry and Skills Council – was an opportunity to update Ministers on the progress made by IRCs and the AISC and to outline our priorities for the year ahead. It made me reflect on the scope of our work and the value we, as industry, contribute to shaping future reform of the VET system.
During the year, we have seen IRC members actively contributing to work on a range of issues but particularly the design of training products. Your expertise and experience is always greatly appreciated and valued.
Key achievements in 2017
Over 2017, we accomplished a lot and made strong steps towards next year. As reflected in the National Schedule (https://www.aisc.net.au/content/national-schedule), we now have over 140 bodies of training package review and development work underway. Together, we are responsible for 1400 qualifications, representing 85 per cent of Australian occupations.
Our achievements include:
True industry leadership of IRCs. The renewed structure and membership of all 64 IRCs means industry is now truly driving and leading the national training system. Bringing together the fresh ideas of our new members with the deep experience of longer serving members has resulted in some truly innovative thinking across government and industry. A great example is IRC members teaming up with the Pharmaceutical Industry Growth Centre (https://www.aisc.net.au/content/servicing-industry-provide-skills-it-nee...) to establish a ‘pop-up’ IRC to review outdated pharmaceutical manufacturing qualifications to create better training for employees, giving industry a more mobile, contemporary workforce.
Industry-focused research. Your involvement and contribution to the Future Skills and Training Resource (https://www.aisc.net.au/content/future-skills-and-training-resource) and the National Industry Insights Report (https://www.aisc.net.au/content/national-industry-insights) projects means we now have stronger industry-focused evidence for our core work. Again, I would like to thank you all for your efforts. These projects will be valuable to all of Australian industry, not only those of us in the VET system, to help look over the horizon to comprehend the evolving workforce as the world changes.
Collaboration across industries. The AISC looks at every single Industry Skills Forecast in detail to understand your training needs. Your work has led to creation of nine cross sector projects in innovative areas of future growth. Now, all industries are working together to identify those shared skills workers need into the future. This is transforming the way we do work and with it, the national training system.
Priorities for 2018
Looking ahead, next year will be critical in:
Speeding up training package development. Listening to industry, it is clear we need to streamline the training package development process to create a contemporary, responsive training system. The AISC is mapping the full end-to-end training package process and, in 2018, we will be working with you to take this work forward. I want to create a system that makes it easier for you to do your work, and one that better responds to industry needs.
Influencing government reform. It is essential industry’s voice is heard in the significant policy reform work underway by governments, including in training product reform and responding to the ASQA report on unduly short training. I encourage you to participate in the next stage of these reforms. The Commonwealth will shortly release discussion papers on both these issues, followed by a consultation phase in early 2018. I look forward to working with everyone to progress these key reforms in 2018.
Reflecting on the past year, we can be proud of what we have achieved. None of this would have been possible without the work of each IRC and all IRC members. I would also like to acknowledge the invaluable support and effort of each Skills Service Organisation and the Secretariat.
It’s been a great year, and I’m certain 2018 will be even better!
Best wishes for a safe and happy Christmas holidays.
Australian Industry and Skills Committee