Servicing industry to provide the skills it needs

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Skills Service Organisations (SSOs) – their name says it all. These organisations provide a valuable, independent service to industry by consulting widely on the skills Australian businesses need and translating this into training packages for use in the vocational education and training sector.

There are six SSOs and they work on behalf of a network of more than 60 industry-specific committees, called Industry Reference Committees (IRCs), to identify skills needs and develop training packages.

The SSOs came together on 19 April in Canberra with representatives from the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) Secretariat to collaborate on how they can better support industry’s skills needs – now and in the future.

Representatives from the SSOs and AISC Secretariat discussed the outcomes of the AISC meeting on 11 April and the feedback provided by IRC Chairs in March. They explored how to make training packages more responsive to the needs of businesses, ways to streamline processes and procedures to bring training packages to market faster, and how to engage more effectively with industry, especially small businesses.

The meeting was chaired by Kathryn Shugg, Branch Manager of the Department of Education and Training’s Industry Advice Branch. Industry Advice Branch’s role is to help the AISC carry out its work and achieve its objectives – and a key aspect of this is engaging extensively with IRCs and managing the funding agreements for their SSOs.

The six SSOs are SkillsIQ, Artibus, PwC’s Skills for Australia, Innovation and Business Skills Australia (ISBA) Manufacturing, Skills Impact, and Australian Industry Standards (AIS). 

SSOs are part of new training package arrangements, led by the AISC, that give industry a stronger voice in shaping the skills of the Australian workforce.

SSO ASQA meeting April 2017

Caption (from left): Patricia Neden (IBSA), Kavita Dayal (ASQA), Dorothy Rao (IBSA), Juliana Potulic (IBSA), Michelle Dawkins (ASQA), Yasmin King (SkillsIQ), Robert Adams (AIS), Alexandra Cook (SkillsIQ), Rosalie Staggard (Skills Impact), Michael Hartman (Skills Impact), Robyn Porter (ASQA), David Morgan (Artibus), Kathryn Shugg (Department of Education and Training - AISC Secretariat) – absent Paul Walsh (AIS) and Tim Rawlings (PwC)

About the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC)

The AISC is made up of industry leaders from around the country who provide leadership and guidance to the vocational education and training system to ensure Australian industries have access to the skills and competencies they need to be competitive – now and in the future.

The AISC, with its industry focus, is a key part of the Council of Australian Governments’ reforms to make the vocational education and training system more responsive to industry needs and the changing nature of work.

The AISC is working with industry to simplify the training system, remove out-of-date qualifications and make sure training packages reflect the skills needs of industry. It also provides advice to Ministers about the implementation of system-wide policy.

To do this work, the AISC draws on advice from its network of IRCs.  IRCs are made up of people with experience, skills and knowledge of their particular sector. They work across their industry to ensure their advice reflects the needs of employers and the modern economy.

IRCs are supported by SSOs – independent professional service organisations that work on behalf of IRCs to consult widely, prepare cases for changes to qualifications, and to develop and revise training packages.

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