VET Blog

Wendy Perry and Associates prepares for the low carbon economy

By | Sustainability, Vocational Education and Training | No Comments

Reducing costs, greenhouse gas emissions and energy use has been the result of a strategic commitment by Wendy Perry and Associates Pty Ltd to monitor and reduce consumption over the past four years.

For the 2010-11 year total emissions for vehicle travel, electricity, waste, purchased paper, flights and taxi travel reduced down to 6.18tCO2e – a 34% saving on the previous financial year.

A base year energy and emissions analysis for 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008 identified scope 1, scope 2 and selected scope 3 emissions as totalling 63.9tCO2e with the activity contributing to the majority of the emissions related to business travel.  Since being made aware of the company’s emissions and energy use, 44.84tCO2e was the total emissions for 2008-9 and 21.54 tCO2e for 2009-10.

Sustainability is a strategic priority for the company, reflected in values, behaviours and core competencies.  Emissions savings were made by engaging with our team, utilising readily accessible technology for online meetings and collaboration, reducing interstate travel and the introduction of a policy that recognises who is responsible for business travel.

“A commitment to reducing our emissions has really paid off as we can show a 36% saving from last financial year in our fuel costs and a 41% saving in our travel expenses.  Electricity costs have risen slightly and so in the New Year we are installing solar panels to further reduce electricity and energy consumption.  The option to offset emissions will be included in client proposals and environmentally friendly office supplies will be another change introduced next year”, explains Wendy Perry, Managing Director, Wendy Perry and Associates Pty Ltd.

The company’s commitment to operating as a carbon neutral corporation during the 2010-11 inventory period has meant the unavoidable GHG emissions are offset using carbon offsets registered under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and equate to the equivalent of taking approximately 1.7 passenger vehicles off the road for 12 months.

“Wendy Perry & Associates is a great example of what can be achieved when a company draws focus on GHG’s within the business and across the value chain. A commitment, which when led from senior management and filtered through the organisational culture, ultimately leads to an improvement in operational efficiencies and expenses”, said Matthew Shorten Managing Director of BalanceCarbon, who has been working with the company since 2007.

For further information go to:

National Centre for Vocational Education and Research 2011 Conference, North Coast TAFE, Coffs Harbour

By | Research, Vocational Education and Training | One Comment

I haven’t missed many NCVER conferences over the years and I’m glad that I attended the 20th No Frills Conference in Coffs Harbour this week as it gave me an opportunity to take some time out to think of new initiatives and identify ideas to explore with others.

Hosted by North Coast TAFE, I spent 12-13 July 2011 working with the Institute on building their capability in workforce development which turned out to be a great lead into the conference.

At the welcome reception I met Samantha Connor, Access and Equity Officer from C.Y. O’Connor Institute who I knew via Facebook as well as many Australian VET Leaders from the LinkedIn group I manage – it was great to meet and catch up with people, like a reunion really and being greeted with a hug plus smiles from colleagues is lovely.

The first keynote was Elizabeth McGregor, Institute Director of North Coast TAFE talking from the thoughtful perspective of a user of research, leader, educator on Aiming high …how can research accelerate the shift from inputs to impacts?  Elizabeth answered what does quality VET do? by showing the overarching interconnection of workforce development with circles of individual development, community development and enterprise development all resulting in regional development.  What value do quality providers create? was her next Q and A demonstrated by an overarching ‘skills in use’ concept with circles of workforce participation, social inclusion and productivity resulting in regional competitive advantage.

Introducing a spectrum of moving from inputs through to outputs helped Elizabeth to ask the research community, are we telling our story?, do we need to tell it [as in VET specific/sector]? or has the time passed? (and by that I think she meant, it’s not about us, it’s about our clients stories), and is our research working towards solutions, rather than being a historical account or internally focussed on things that don’t matter as much? {as the plot line of inputs to impacts from our client’s perspective}.  Fresh ideas for research were the message here.

Concurrent sessions for the morning took me from Professional obsolescence or technical currency in VET? With Australian VET leader Regan Harding (TAFENSW – North Coast Institute), to IS Australia taking mainstream VET services to all Australians no matter where they live by good friend Lesley Wemyss from Crestfern working for this Darwin based private provider has introduced an innovative approach to taking industry standard skills training to regional and remote Australia.  A truly impressive model with a modular, mobile campus for construction, mining, energy and resources, transport and logistics, that can be deployed via road train, sea or rail across Australia.  Modules include state of the art industry workshops, accommodation units for trainers and high tech classrooms.  IS Australia are demonstrating that industry skills development in communities is so doable with great individual, community and employment outcomes.

Pecha Kucha is a presentation methodology in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each, and this was the format of the next series of 6 minutes and 40 seconds sessions (glad I was presenting in those and felt for the presenters (they did a great job) on ‘practice’.  Wasn’t sure what to expect and got an eclectic but also related series of presentations on Compassionate leadership practice by Mary Tehan from Ultimacy who presented a Compassionate Leadership model based upon LISTEN and then RESPOND; Completing for success at SWSI with Rosemary Lasaro and Jane Kelly providing practical examples of ways to increase completion rates; Dis/engaged you/th: connections and disconnections between practitioners and youth (as I was typing I just got the significance of the title – clever!)  by Melanie Worrall from the Australian Flexible Learning Framework; and What knowledge, what boundaries, what borders by Anne Bowden from TAFENSW – New England Institute (happy to have been your referee for your NCVER Community of Practice application too).

Taking an evidence based approach to workforce and client demand was my contribution to the conference with a session that demonstrated regional case studies (Kangaroo Island and Clare Valley/Yorke Peninsula) and ways to connect up various data sets and information from the ABS, NCVER (using the Public Atlas of VET and VOCSTATS), DEEWR (particularly labour market and Employment Services Area info), local regional profiles, major projects and local council plans to identify current and future workforce demand.  This coupled together with qualitative and quantitative data from local businesses and industry with a regional skills profile all mapped to units of competency from National Training packages and qualifications identified strengths and development needs – the basis for a regional workforce plan and great intelligence for VET and employment service providers.

Enabling electronic verification of VET learner records presented by the ever positive and passionate (which is exactly what we need!) Allison Miller, a South Australian colleague from the Australian Flexible Learning Framework.  Allison identified emerging work around the ‘how to’ and reminded me of comments by colleague David Morgan from The Work Lab that we need to have a go, try it out and use the experience to inform our approach to all the barriers people put forward about why a central and national learner records system plus electronic verification of records won’t be possible (NB> this is exactly what Australia is heading towards).

The conference dinner at Bonville Golf Resort saw us have drinks and finger food on the lawns overlooking the stunning golf course where conference goers had a chance to win a prize by chipping a golf ball over a couple of mounds, past a sand trap and as close to a hole in one as they could get.  Not being a golfer I passed on the opportunity and it was great to see Berwyn Clayton, Lesley Weymess and Pat Lange give it a go. 

Keynote for the second day was Peter Coolbear, Ako Aotearoa, National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, New Zealand on Vocational education research in New Zealand: old issues and emerging opportunities from a funder’s perspective.  Peter talked about use-inspired research based projects and the application of Pasteur’s Quadrant

Over skilling and job satisfaction in the Australian labour force, by Kostas Mavromaras from NILS, Flinders University presented interesting figures on the economic value of over skilling or over educating or over skilling + over educating.  Most strikingly was the difference in pay/week via gender with the main message for me being related to skills utilisation, wage expectations and match of skills to job roles.

Industry engagement models: matching expectations of industry and RTOs presented by fellow Australian VET Leader, Rebecca Hall from International Education Resources Group, and Greg McMillan from ProVoc Australia Pty Ltd proved very popular.  Greg presented models from a domestic VET perspective with live examples and Rebecca outlined approaches for international student and partner engagement.  Let’s do the skills and competency map to the models as industry engagement capability is an identified gap (will follow you both up later).

As my flight was at 1.00 pm from Coffs Harbour to Sydney and then home to Adelaide, I missed the afternoon sessions.  Please feel free to post links on info with your comments and parts that you enjoyed and follow me up or join the Australian VET Leaders group.

SA Adult Community Education Program 2011-12 Funding

By | Funding, Vocational Education and Training | No Comments

The Adult and Community Education Program is accepting applications for the 2011-12 financial year for:

– Foundation Skills Grants (up to $50 000) – accredited language, literacy and numeracy activities; supporting participants to make successful transitions

– Multi-Literacies Projects (up to $25 000) – non-formal learning to support engagement of participants facing barrier to accessing the workforce by delivering non-accredited language, literacy and numeracy activities

– Transitions Projects (up to $50 000) – delivering accredited training in a  community setting and partnership with an RTO

Having attended one of the ACE funding workshops in late March I’d suggest that there are a couple of things that potential applicants needs to be aware of when applying for Foundation Skills including:

– use of the IVEC I curriculum (currently being reviewed) which is owned by the Minister for DFEEST, used, maintained and managed by TAFESA

– the process will include a relationship with non RTO ACE providers and a local TAFEStart Education Manager

– TAFESA will be the accrediting RTO working with the ACE provider to deliver and assess the program

– for this quality assurance process between the ACE provider and TAFESA there is no cost

– ACE providers can arrange a relationship with non TAFESA providers at a cost that must be included in the application

– participants will enrol into the TAFESA system online

– someone within the non RTO ACE provider will need to hold the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and provide supervision to those trainers/assessors without the qualification

For Multi-literacies and Transition Projects, accredited units from National Training Packages can be chosen with RTO partners based upon scope and experience.  The quality assurance/accreditation component must be costed into the application.  Need help identifying appropriate units of competency?  We can help with a skills profile using Skillsbook.

So if you are an ACE provider you might like to look for RTO partners and vice versa.  If you need to develop further knowledge and skills in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector such as an Introduction to VET, engaging learners and learning methodologies here’s our range of VET professional development topics.

Download application forms and guidelines and note that applications close on Friday 13.5.11 – good luck!

Are you an Australian VET Leader?

By | Vocational Education and Training | 3 Comments

YES – then join the Australian VET Leaders Linkedin group, take a proactive approach to your professional development, influence policy discussions and develop your political nous.

This group has activated a network of insightful, innovative and energetic people whose vision and dynamism can usher a future of progress, positive change and the sharing of knowledge.

The main goal of this group is to increase the productivity of the VET workforce and contribute to the productivity of the Australian workforce by developing a Community of Practice (CoP) with members from around the country to share ideas, inspire others and discuss leadership and succession planning issues faced by VET organisations. Drawing together a variety of people to work on a solutions based approach to transferring knowledge about implementing the national training system and ways to partner to address VET workforce issues is our focus.

A number of artifacts have been developed by the CoP, including a National VET landscape diagram, career maps of members, the development of an emerging VET leader competency profile, self assessment results and the compilation of a draft paper on VET Workforce Succession Planning with a leadership focus.

Specific outcomes to date include:

  • Documenting skills of emerging VET leaders to use as a CoP measurement as well as to go into organisation training plans to aid their growth through self assessment and validation of data;
  • Developing real information and data on VET pathways, career maps and competencies on VET and the issues participants face within it, to allow the development of a sector succession plan;
  • Building relationships across Australia with members drawn from private, public, ACE and enterprise Registered Training Organisations; industry bodies; policy, research and private sector organisations.

Formerly known as “Emerging VET Leaders”, the activities undertaken to date and the success of the community are due to the focus of the participants which has further defined the domain of knowledge through the following activities:

  • Four face to face forums in different states – Adelaide, Melbourne, Launceston (linked with the NCVER Conference) & Sydney
  • Each state forum has been hosted by different and local community of practice members
  • Have held four social functions in line with the forums including networking at the ACPET National Conference in Hobart
  • Teleconference and email facilities have also been readily used.

Skills funding out now

By | Vocational Education and Training | One Comment

Critical Skills Investment Fund – about to be released

Get ready for this new fund to be advertised in February  2011 (we think) with expressions of interest as Stage 1.  Here’s the draft guidelines:

And did you know that CPSISC is looking to support the Construction and Property Services industry by lodging expressions of interest from February to the Australian Government?  If you are interested in participating in this program could you please send an email to James Latimore,  Workforce Development Manager on outlining project types, business profile, training requirements, location and partnership arrangements.

Enterprise Connect Funding – WIIN Round 4

Round 4: Opened on 17 January 2011 and closes on 21 February 2011 at 5.00pm AEDST.

The Workshops, Industry Intelligence & Networking (WIIN) element of the Enterprise Connect initiative offers grants of up to $50,000 for eligible organisations to deliver workshops, seminars and a range of other activities to Australian small and medium businesses.

Theme: Clean 21: the Future of Manufacturing. Clean 21: the Future of Manufacturing is the Australian Government’s manufacturing industry strategy to reduce pollution and fight climate change. It aims to make Australian manufacturing stronger by reducing costs, increasing innovation and supporting quality jobs. It is about improving what we make and how we make it.

Here’s the information document and application form.

The Social Enterprise Development and Investment Fund

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) is calling for applications for grant funding for the Social Enterprise Development and Investment Funds (SEDIF).

The Australian Government announced in July 2010 that it would provide a $20 million cornerstone investment to seed the establishment of at least two Social Enterprise Development and Investment Funds.

The principal objective of the SEDIF is to establish two or more investment funds which generate social impact investment in addition to financial return and increase capital for social enterprises in Australia through capacity building.

The Department is seeking applications for SEDIF grant funding in response to the Guidelines included below. Applications close 5pm (AEDST) 18 February 2011.

Have a good read of the guidelines and information required.

Vocational Education and Training in 2011

By | Reform, Vocational Education and Training | 2 Comments

Looking ahead for 2011, the Vocational Education and Training sector will get prepped for some major reform and fundamental changes from mid-late 2011 into 2012 and beyond.  What’s likely to happen?

Australian Qualifications Framework – Ministerial Council for Tertiary Education and Employment (MCTEE) have accepted the AQF Council’s advice including the Senior Secondary Certificate isn’t located at a specific level, Certificate III descriptor is strengthened in relation to supervising staff, limited number of additional titles for level 9, strengthen specs for Doctoral degree, implementation from 1.7.11 and work with TEQSA and higher education providers on implications.

National VET Regulator (NVR) – the December 2010 update from the Interim Chair Kaye Schofield summarises activities to date including meeting with the chairs and chiefs of Industry Skills Councils, understanding risk demand vs supply in each industry sector and planned consultations with industry and occupational regulators.  NVR will establish an Industry Engagement Unit and by April 2011 they are planning for enabling legislation to be passed, shaping of the National Regulatory Model, transition of State and Territory responsibilities and staff to the NVR and appointment of three commissioners.  NVR and TEQSA are sharing corporate services from their offices in Melbourne and its expected the 2 organisations will become one into the future.

Skills Australia – will work on the future directions of Vocational Education and Training, workforce futures, VET sector governance and providing advice on the Skilled Occupation List.  Skills Australia is seen as the peak advisory body and through 2011 I think they will make more of a mark suggesting system wide reform similar to systems in the UK.

Training Packages – implementation of recommendations from the VET Products for the 21st Century report by the Framework Implementation Action Group of the National Quality Council (NQC).  So changes to the way Training Packages are structured, what they include and the nature of competencies with an injection of behavioral content.

And finally it’s definitely not light night time reading but the Productivity Commission has published it’s Draft Research Report on the Vocational Education and Training Workforce – register your interest and get a hard copy of the draft report.