Category Archives: Vocational Education and Training

What’s hot in Workforce Development for 2012?

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As we look towards 2012, funding, innovation, productivity, regional development, sustainability, and workforce development strategies are ‘hot’ from an enterprise, government and industry perspective.  Pick n mix from the following opportunities and get in touch with Workforce BluePrint if you would like an experienced workforce development and planning service provider as your partner, planner or professional developer.

Australian Apprenticeship Centre tender – Australian Apprenticeships Centres:

• Provide assistance to employers, Australian Apprentices and training providers throughout the duration of the Australian Apprenticeship which ends with the successful completion of the Australian Apprenticeship
• Assist in meeting the Australian Government targets in relation to Closing the Gap in Indigenous disadvantage
• Work with the State and Territory Training Authorities to provide an integrated service
• Establish effective relationships with Job Services Australia providers, Group Training Organisations, Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), schools and community organisations
• Administer Australian Apprenticeships incentive payments to employers and Australian Apprentices
• Market and promote Australian Apprenticeships in the local area.

Australian Apprenticeships Mentoring Program and the Australian Apprenticeships Advisers Program focusing on retention and choosing the right Australian Apprenticeship are open to receive applications now.

Clean Energy Future – The Jobs and Competitiveness Program; Additional Measures for Manufacturing; Support for the Steel Industry; Support for the Coal Industry; Clean Technology Investment Program; Clean Energy Skills; Energy Efficiency Information Grants; Low Carbon Australia; Low Carbon Communities.

Critical Skills Investment Fund – On 19 September 2011, the Minister for Skills and Jobs, the Hon Senator Chris Evans, announced successful projects under Funding Round 1 worth more than $41 million, with Australian Government contributing $28 million.  The successful projects provide rapid and innovative training that is tailored to meet the immediate skills needs of enterprises in the resources, construction, infrastructure and renewable energy industry sectors.

Enterprise Connect – The WIIN Round 8 application period opens on 1 December 2011 closing at 5.00 pm AEDST on 6 January 2012.  WIIN Round 8 is seeking applications for the delivery of activities to enable Australian businesses to be more competitive in the global economy. To download a copy of the theme document (DOC 164.5KB) simply click on the link.  The following sets out the key dates for upcoming WIIN Rounds.

Round

Application Period Activity Delivered Period

8

1 December 2011 – 6
January 2012
1 July 2012 – 30 September 2012

9

10 February 2012 – 12 March 2012 1 October 2012 – 31 December 2012

10

7 May 2012 – 4 June 2012 1 January 2013 – 31 March 2013

Information on the themes and topics for future rounds will be provided prior to the round opening. This information needs to be read in conjunction with the WIIN Guidelines prior to lodging your application.

Gender Diversity – There is a strong business case and equity argument for gender diversity with organisations and industry sectors realising the opportunity for more women in the workforce.

National Resources Workforce Development Strategy – The strategy identifies a number of specific projects that will be delivered in partnership with industry. Before calling for proposals, DEEWR will consult with industry stakeholders on the project objectives and deliverables and will vary for each project.

National Workforce Development Fund – first round closed 30 September 2011 – look out for future rounds.

National Workforce Productivity Agency – Senator Evans said the National Workforce and Productivity Agency, which was announced in the May budget, would begin its work next month (October 2011) instead of its original start date of July next year.

Regional Development Australia Fund – On 3 November 2011, Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, the Hon Simon Crean MP, launched Round Two of the RDAF and provided a further $200 million to support priority projects in regional Australia.

Suburban Jobs Program – Stakeholder feedback on the draft Program Guidelines is currently being considered in the development of the final Suburban Jobs Program Guidelines. Once finalised, the Program guidelines, application form and funding agreement will be made available on the department’s website and eligible applicants will be invited to submit applications for funding under the Suburban Jobs Program. Applications will be assessed against the eligibility and selection criteria outlined in the final Program guidelines, after which recommendations for funding will be made to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.  One to keep an eye on!

Sustainable Australia – Measures – Sustainable Communities – The 2011-12 Budget provides $150 million to support a sustainable population in Australia through four measures: Suburban Jobs; Sustainable Regional Development; Promoting Regional Living; and Measuring Sustainability. These measures have strong links to other government initiatives, including changes to the Regional Sponsored Migrant Scheme, making it easier for skilled migrants to progress to permanent residency in regional Australia.

Teleworking – Industry research on the call/contact centre sector, teleworking and working at home agents supported by technology including national broadband.

Vocational Education and Training – We know you get loads of emails, copies of reports and research so just for you, here’s a summary of what’s hot in VET for 2012.

Workforce Development – Workforce development strategies bridge the gap between the current workforce and the desired workforce
forecast.

Workforce Innovation Program – The Workforce Innovation Program is part of the broader Australian Government approach to workforce development. The program provides funding for innovative, one-off projects that address workforce skill needs.

Work Life Balance – Increasingly work flexibility and Work Life Balance are emerging as workforce issues and development gaps.

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Get Ready for Skills for All

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If you are operating in the South Australian training market then ‘get ready’ is the key message from the Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology (DFEEST).  Get ready for:

  • the application process to open in the last week or two of October 2011;
  • the course (qualifications and skills sets/licence outcomes) list in November 2011 – could be a specialist occupation, state priority (such as Defence, Mining, Arts), foundation skills and/or meet specific  industry needs; and
  • the price list available in December 2011.

Prices will be detailed at a unit of competency level and will vary depending on AQF levels.  The rates will be based upon an average of User Choice, Productivity Places Program and TAFESA’s recurrent funding amounts (referred to as FSI500) together with a comparison of interstate VET prices.  Payments are planned on units of competency completion (RTOs will need to manage their cash flow well) paid on a monthly cycle with bonus payments for full completions.

Certificate I and II will be fully subsidised, Certificate III and IV 80% subsidised and Diploma and Advanced Diploma 70% subsidised with concessions available (Healthcare/Veterans Card) and 1 skills set/year for eligible applicants.  DFEEST will publish a minimum and maximum fee to be paid to make up the difference between the subsidised % and the full costs.  RPL will be fully funded.

The Quality Directorate is moving into the area of contract and purchasing quality.  Applications for Skills for All will be online, no fees to apply, with no closing date and it’s recommended that the RTO’s CEO gain a log in.  RTOs can work on their application over time until they are ready to ‘submit’ their submission.  If providers submit in December 2o11, the Minister will make some providers an offer with contract negotiations over January – March 2012 and the first list of Skills for All providers will be made public in April 2012.  Fact Sheet 2 Applying to be a Skills for All Provider procedure details the process for applications and assessments.

If you are a User Choice provider and want to continue after July 2012, you need to register as a Skills for All provider.  Providers may also wish to register for VET fee help with the option of income contingent loans for students.

Now for the main game, what are the selection criteria (Fact Sheet 3) for providers?  Well, it’s all about performance…

  • regulatory record (information will be shared with DFEEST and the regulator, ASQA);
  • contract compliance;
  • financial health (of the whole organisation, not only the RTO);
  • number of graduates;
  • student and employer satisfaction (quality indicator reports via Training Packages); and
  • graduate outcomes.

Tips for providers: focus on your strengths, where industry/client demand and your performance is high, where you have strong industry connections and excellent graduate outcomes.

DFEEST is taking an evidence based approach to Skills for All providers with data and evidence to be provided about:

  • Meeting SA Guidelines for RTOs;
  • Meeting student learning needs;
  • the RTO;
  • Training Package/s; and
  • Each qualification.

Review Fact Sheet 4 Preparing to Apply to be a Skills for All Training Provider for all the details on specific evidence – if you don’t have a workforce plan for your RTO and/or a recent Training Needs Analysis then this has to be the catalyst!

A few final things..

  • What RTOs put in their application will form part of the contract requirements;
  • The contract will be monitored with an annual review, reporting and claims requirements, benchmarking across similar courses with triggers if you are an ‘outlier’ in terms of performance/price or receive complaints against your RTO; and
  • Information on Skills in the Workplace will be available in October 2011.

Throughout 2012, the level of interest in workforce development, with RTOs building their own workforce plan’s and undertaking professional development in workforce development and planning, has significantly increased as leaders are positioning themselves to be primed for Skills for All and national reforms – are you?

Want to be the first to get the news and info?  Subscribe to the Workforce Planning Tools blog and contact our Head Workforce Planner, Wendy Perry via wendy@workforceblueprint.com.au for assistance with your workforce plan.

PS. Have you seen the latest announcement from Traineeship and Apprenticeship Services about additional User Choice funding for Existing Worker Certificate III Training Contracts?  For commencing contracts on or after1.9.11, all existing worker trainees under a Cert III qual will attract a User Choice subsidy in South Australia.  For further info, contact Chris Pyne, Manager, Traineeship and Apprenticeship Programs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Workforce Development Fund, Skills Australia, NCVER, Skills for All, news, views, blogs

By | Vocational Education and Training, Workforce Development, Workforce Planning, Workforce Projects | No Comments

National Workforce Development Fund  – On Wednesday 10 August 2011, the National Workforce Development Fund (NWDF) opened with $558 million for 2011-12 to 2014-15 and the due date for applications is 12 noon 30 September 2011*…

Putting skills at the heart of the economy  – Anticipated by leaders in skills and workforce development and coming at a crucial time, the Putting skills at the heart of the economy 2011 conference held on 21 July 2011 at The Crown Conference Centre, Melbourne, was very well attended with a great line up of speakers…

2011 NCVER No Frills Conference – 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…

Skills for Prosperity and the 2011 Federal Budget  – On the 3rd May 2011, Skills Australia launched their most significant paper to date on workforce development titled Skills for Prosperity A roadmap for Vocational Education and Training

Evidence based approach to workforce and client demand – Increasingly you are being asked to provide evidence of demand for jobs and skills that are linked to your contracts, funding and proposals as well as your programs and services, and that reach specific outcomes and targets…

Skills for All and Opportunities for You  – Skills for All, the Strategic Direction for Vocational Education and Training in South Australia 2011-2014 has been published and was great weekend reading with the pink highlighter pen out…

Congratulations to:

Skillsbook website providers a home for credentials – use Skillsbook to build skills profiles for RPL, profile job roles, undertake Training Needs Analysis and build competency frameworks.  Download Skillsbook for iphone too.

RDNS Education Centre for being shortlisted for small training provider of the year at the South Australian Training Awards – see you on the night, 2nd September 2011 at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

National Crime Check – new website launched where you can submit your police check online.

Australian VET Leaders – potential, emerging and current Join the 400 strong members of this LinkedIn community discussing VET issues and opportunities.  Are you an Australian VET Leader?

Training Needs Analysis Workshops  Recently Service Skills Australia presented a professional development opportunity ideal for practitioners facilitating internal Training Needs Analysis (TNA), working with teams, enterprises and organisations, up to major projects such as large sporting complexes, around Australia.  Workforce BluePrint was contracted to facilitate the workshops and Wendy Perry and we received feedback like,

Thank you for the material from the recent workshop on TNA.  It is most help full and appreciated.  Can I say that I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation and as it gave me a better insight into the value of  TNA and its execution.

Here are all the comments from participants.

SMART Business Association The SMART Business Association website is being designed and it will be the site to be on if you run a business in Southern Adelaide or do business in the South – all with searchable categories and extras to help you to grow your business and local market.  Get a listing as part of your membership for only $50, email Garry Triffett for your membership form.

Latest Presentations and Workshops Workshops, conferences, professional development activities on leading edge topics.  Bookings are currently being taken into 2012 – get in quickly with your preferred dates!

Latest blogs and views

Customer Friendly Flying and Travel in Australia

Innovation Leader?

Queen’s birthday long weekend in Rockhampton

Hobby blogging as featured in SA Defence Business Magazine

Think Food – Think Consistency, Quality and Trust as featured for in business magazine

Barossa Valley – can we have it all plus a mini break?

Lazy Ballerina, K1, Three Brothers Arms, Longview and Royal Oak

Succeeding in your first full time job

Cellar Door Wine Festival

What have we been up to?

  • Development of workforce plans and competency frameworks for various clients across Australia in the Agriculture, Banking and Finance, Building and Construction, Civil Construction, Community Services, Contact Centre, Defence, Disability, Education, Employment Services, Energy, Events, Food and Wine, Government, Health, Higher Education, Manufacturing, Mining and Resources, Telecommunications, Tourism, Vocational Education and Training (VET), and Water sectors
  • Consultant for the design and development of Ergon Energy’s Capability Framework, 2011
  • Project management of the South Australian Contact Centre Survey for ATA and the Department of Trade and Economic Development, 2011
  • Project management of the WorkLife Balance Innovations Project for SafeWork SA including facilitation of Masterclasses, 2011
  • Facilitation of the Women influencing Defence and Resources Industries (WiDRI) Community of Practice, 2011
  • Recognition of Prior Learning Project for Regional Development Australia, Kangaroo Island, June 2011
  • Skills Australia information session, May 2011
  • DFEEST SA Works Strategic Planning Workshop, May 2011
  • Defence Teaming Centre networking, May 2011
  • Workforce development and planning workshop for small-medium sized enterprises (SMEs), Sunraysia Institute of TAFE, Mildura, May 2011
  • ACPET and WEA networking event, May 2011
  • Workforce plan for South West TAFE in Victoria, May 2011
  • South Australian Skills and Workforce Forum, April 2011
  • Women influencing Defence and Resource Industries (WiDRI) Community of Practice launch, April 2011
  • Women in Leadership, CEDA luncheon, April 2011
  • Can we have it all? Regional Development Australia, Barossa Valley, April 2011
  • SMART Friday Night drinks at the Vic, March 2011
  • Think Food, Food SA, March 2011
  • Work Life Balance Masterclass and Tools project, March 2011
  • Workforce planning for service success, Jobs Australia, March 2011 and May 2011
  • Cellar Door Wine Festival, February 2011
  • RPL system design, February 2011
  • SMART business breakfast, February 2011
  • Workforce planning for local government, Queanbeyan Local Government Association NSW, February 2011
  • Development a regional workforce plans and client analysis for Job Service Australia and Disability Employment Service providers, 2011
  • Regional workforce plan for the Mid North and Yorke Peninsula in South Australia, January 2011
  • Australia Day mini break at Port Elliot, January 2011
  • Tour Down Under, Willunga stage finish, January 2011
  • Business and workforce profile for Kangaroo Island, January 2011

Contact us…

The very best way to contact us is via 1. email wendy@workforceblueprint.com.au , 2 text 0416 150 491, 3. Call 0416 150 491, 4. call our office number 08 8387 9800, 5. fax 08 8387 9820.

If you do not wish to receive copies of our enews please send an email to wendy@workforceblueprint.com.au with “Thanks but no thanks” in the subject line – we’ll understand.

National Workforce Development Fund

By | Vocational Education and Training, Workforce Development, Workforce Projects | No Comments

On Wednesday 10 August 2011, the National Workforce Development Fund (NWDF) opened with $558 million for 2011-12 to 2014-15 and the due date for applications is 12 noon 30 September 2011*.  $148 million is available during 2011-12 which is made up of $73 million under this NWDF and $74 million under existing arrangements for the Critical Skills Investment Fund.

As the new Workforce Productivity Agency isn’t yet established (from 1 July 2012), DEEWR is managing the NWDF for this financial year using a model based upon the Enterprise Based Productivity Places Program with applications through the Industry Skills Councils.

Partnering Organsiations (POs) including enterprises, professional associations, industry bodies, lead agents for a consortia and employment service providers can apply (not Registered Training Organisations but as least 1 RTO must be involved).  The partnership for an application must involved 1 or more POs, RTO/s and an Industry Skills Council (ISC).

“A key element of the Fund is to encourage organisations to undertake workforce planning and skills needs analysis to develop training solutions that align with business goals.”  Workforce BluePrint is working with RTOs from around Australia in developing their skills and capability in workforce development and planning, RPL and Training Needs Analysis.  Read comments and feedback from participants in our programs, workshops and projects.  Use tools and templates to help you to develop your own workforce plan and for your clients.

Aged care ($25 million) and construction sectors ($25 million) are priorities linked to the mining boom, roll out of the National Broadband Network and housing demand.  There is direct link with the Cleaner Energy Future Plan as, “funding will also be allocated for projects that enhance workers’ energy efficiency skills and develop skills which support the use of low emissions technology or support the development of clean energy skills in the construction sector and across all sectors”, up to $10 million.

Proposals need to be submitted to Industry Skills Councils with most ISC’s asking for applications by late August – mid September 2011*.  ISC’s will call for proposals, convene an Assessment Panel with DEEWR to identify priorities for funding against the Assessment Criteria, submit applications to DEEWR, maintain contact with applicants, monitor the partnership arrangements, receive $$ and disperse funds, collect data and undertake reporting. 

Training through the Fund must be for an Eligble Qualification, for new workers Certificate II-Vocational Graduate Diploma and existing workers Certificate III-Vocational Graduate Diploma.  Qualifications eligible for funding are mapped to the Priority Occupation List (POL – available soon) with each ISC together with DEEWR outlining priority areas.

“RTOs delivering under the Fund must offer Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)…for each participant in the program.”

Have you got a partnership with the relevant Industry Skills Councils?  Follow the links below to take you to specific pages on the National Workforce Development Fund applications:

Agrifood Skills Australia

Construction and Property Services Industry Skills Council

Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council

EE-Oz

Forest Works

Government Skills Australia

IBSA

 Manufacturing Skills Australia

Skills DMC

Service Skills Australia and say hi to Bernard Moore in the video

Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council

 Interested in assistance to develop a Workforce Plan, undertake a Training Needs Analysis or build your capability in workforce development and planning?  Get in touch with our Head Workforce Planner, Wendy Perry via wendy@workforceblueprint.com.au .

Putting skills at the heart of the economy 2011 conference – tipping point

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Anticipated by leaders in skills and workforce development and coming at a crucial time, the Putting skills at the heart of the economy 2011 conference held on 21 July 2011 at The Crown Conference Centre, Melbourne, was very well attended with a great line up of speakers.

Philip Bullock, Chair of Skills Australia, outlined two aspirations in his opening addresses – help those most at risk; and a resilient workforce.  Participation focussing on people on the margins of the workforce with 2.5-3 million wanting work is seen as a major opportunity.  Innovation skills are needed to address a lagging innovation culture as well as “…an overhaul of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector.”  Much also seems to be pinned on the upcoming commonwealth – state/territory negotiations – which will be implemented from 1st July 2012 [will this negotiation mean that Victoria and WA will pass over powers to ASQA??].  Quality across the board is a priority with the National VET Regulator setting the bar, mandatory external validation, funding that rewards quality providers, and the goal of people achieving a full qualification and then a plus – such as skills sets or another [higher] qualification.  The new South Australian Skills for All reform was cited as aligning to national directions and a key interest is extra requirements to be certified as a Skills for All provider [I’ll have a go at forecasting these soon as I think the National Workforce Development Agency will be looking at similar guidelines].

Chris Richardson, Director Deloitte Access Economics, Head of Macroeconomic Policy and Forecasting Group talking on It’s all about the economy says“…the world is begging Australia to grow faster…demand is strong…supply is weak… and there is a gap between slow vs. strong sectors.”  With the boom in “twins” mining and construction and significant exports with demand for coal and minerals, “…the world has given us a pay rise.”  When looking at sectoral growth and contribution to GDP, Chris stated that the majority of the workforce is on the wrong side of the growth areas.  He thinks the question is, “…not where the next job will come from, but where the next worker will come from?”… and he advocates for higher migration as a share of population to support Australia’s growth.  “The working age population is about to grow recession like, but it’s not a recession!”  Big statements posed as questions included, “Can we know what skills we need into the future?  [yes we can do some forecasting out especially in core and leadership skills and the alternative of not doing any forecasting is not acceptable] Do policy makers get that Australia’s future lies in skills?  And Australians are good at managing adversity but not prosperity.”

Linda Nicholls, AO, Corporate Advisor and Director of a number of leading Australian companies, on It’s all about the real world, began with the reality of needing a workforce with “evidence of skills in use[I really like this term – great for assessment including RPL], that fit into our organisation, and match our customer tastes.”  How do you get access to a skilled workforce? – “you can make, buy, rent, hoard or poach” and you want employees who are “retrainable.”

Andrew Stevens, Managing Director of IBM Australia and New Zealand, on Improving participation and productivity, emphasised that the, “…services generate the greatest share of value add i.e. ¾ of Australian employment, 70% of economic activity.”  He outlined a new wave of high value services jobs and a number of IBM programs that are focussed on the potential employee pipeline.

The Q and A panel before lunch was our chance to ask the questions and hear responses from a panel of experts…  Skills for prosperity – are they in shortage or just underutilised? and facilitated by MC for the day Michael Pascoe, Finance and Economic Commentator.  Panel members included Chris Richardson, Linda Nicholls AO, Mick Mahon CEO of Skilled Group, Prof Barbara Pocock Director Centre for Work + Life University of SA, Mary Thompson Managing Director and Owner McLeod Rail and Ged Kearney President Australian Council of Trade Unions.

Mick talked from the practical perspective with an example of his clients putting years into planning and sourcing the supply of truck tyres vs. limited effort into workforce planning.  Discussion moved to the management of job roles, the job itself and conditions, and the design, regarding the structure of the job, was seen as important although the direct supervisor/manager is the number 1 reason why people leave organisations.  Skills development was seen as a retention strategy not so much as a workforce attraction strategy.  “Prosperity is the size of the pie and fairness is how it’s chopped up.”  Prof Pocock asked, “Should we all work from very young to very late over the lifecycle?”

For the breakout session, The global dimension of skills and implications for Australia, shared international perspectives from Annie Koh, Associate Professor of Finance Dean, Office of Executive and Professional Education Financial Training Institute, Academic Director, International Trading Institute at Singapore Management University and Julian Gravatt, Assistant Chief Executive Association of Colleges UK.  Singapore has 1.9% unemployment and the economy is split 75% services and 25% manufacturing.  An interesting example of how Singapore managed the numbers of retrenched professionals from the Global Financial Crisis was to pair people with small – medium sized enterprises as mentors and advisors.  Julian talked about the differences between Australia and the UK and the high (81%) success rate and incredibly low numbers of apprentices interested me [something to follow up on].

A debate and discussion on skilled migration moderated by Tim Colebatch the Economics Editor at The Age Newspaper saw Dr Bob Birrell, Co-Director of the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University teamed with Prof Sue Richardson AM, Principal Research Fellow, National Institute of Labour Studies Flinders University for the negative and Bernard Salt, Business Advisor, Author and Columnist partnered with Cr Nicole Lockwood, President, Shire of Roebourne, WA, for the positive i.e. we should increase skilled migration.  The negative team argued that we should focus on those people who could be in the workforce and aren’t as well as opportunities for young Australians, with the positive team showing striking graphs where the gap between the workforce size we need to maintain our economy was overlaid with a massive drop in as the first baby boomers turn 65 this year by Bernard and practical examples of workforce supply and skills demand in places like Karratha.  The positive team won although important points were made on both sides – a bit of both sides of the argument is what I would conclude.

I saw the final wrap up by Philip Bullock as a call to action and I finished the conference day with a firm belief that we have reached a tipping point for workforce development and planning in Australia – hopefully the minds of policy makers, definitely in the minds of economists and industry leaders, and increasingly in the minds of people working with the VET sector.  Excellent networking where I knew about 1 in 3 or 4 people, with many people who attended the NCVER Conference, a catch up with Dominic at CITT and Secretary for the Australian Digital Television Industry Association at the conference drinks and dinner with a lovely bunch of people including Stephanie Tchan from Central Institute of Technology, Linda and Pierre from TAFENSW, and Kylie Furnell from RESA, topped off a conference that I thoroughly enjoyed – and now onto tipping the workforce development and planning ‘tipping point’ even further!

Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner, Workforce BluePrint, Managing Director Wendy Perry and Associates Pty Ltd.

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.

Skills for Prosperity and the 2011 Federal Budget

By | Vocational Education and Training, Workforce Development, Workforce Planning | One Comment

On the 3rd May 2011, Skills Australia launched their most significant paper to date on workforce development titled Skills for Prosperity A roadmap for Vocational Education and Training.

This paper puts forward 9 themes for the evolution of the VET sector as I have summarised below plus I’ve added in some comments (my opinion in italics):

  1. Putting learners and enterprises at the forefront of service – whilst a focus on clients isn’t new, what is different here is that the individual would hold the funding entitlement and a 100% subsidy would apply for qualifications up to Certificate III including all foundation skills courses.  As the qualification level increases the subsidy would reduce and become a co-funding arrangement with the individual.
  2. Enabling skills use and productivity in enterprises – with the introduction of an Enterprise Skills Investment Fund (managed by Skills Australia) where funding from Productivity Places Program, Critical Skills Investment Fund, Workplace English Language and Literacy, Workforce Innovation Program, Apprenticeship incentives and possibly Enterprise Connect to be tipped in to this 1 fund and enterprises will make a scaled contribution for workforce development.  The role of (redesigned) Australian Apprenticeship Centres is suggested as a single point for enterprise-linked program [what are the implications for capability and capacity, would contracts need to be readvertised or will existing services morph into workforce development advisors?]
  3. Supporting communities – better targeted and coordinated effort – joint program planning with Vocational Education and Training, employment service and community providers and a much higher profile for Regional Development Australia in regional workforce development – RDA should be in your partnership map!
  4. Aspiring to excellence – resourcing the new national VET regulator (ASQA); reform of the AQTF to mandate independent validation of an annual sample of students assessments; reduction in the number of VET practitioners working under supervision (nil under supervision by 2013); high-quality deliver of the Training and Education Training Package including a demonstrated track record, evidence of expertise, professional development of staff, external validation by an expert panel, TAE trainers/assessors holding high level quals, supervised training sessions and independent assessments for those undertaking the qualification ; a national VET workforce development strategy ($40 million over 6 years); and introduction of nationally agreed criteria (over and above the AQTF it seems – interested to know what they will be!) for RTO’s to be eligible as providers of publicly funded entitlement places.
  5. Delivering outcomes and understanding the sector’s contribution – outcomes based funding to improve the completion of qualifications (but underlying this is the assumption that clients of the VET system want whole qualifications and I wonder how RTOs will be able to manage cash flow?); incentives for RTOs  for completion of qualifications (Quality Skills Incentive) above Certificate III by low SES and disadvantaged students; AQTF indicators on learner engagement, employer satisfaction and competency completion (already in place) and full course completions (new) plus a heap more info (see Section 6, recommendation 16 in the full paper); publication on the My Skills website of RTOs assessment validation results; and new indicators for industry, education and community partnerships .
  6. Providing agile and adaptive products and services – optimising the use of digital media, ICT and the national broadband network; a national bank of foundation skills units and qualifications managed by Innovation & Business Skills Australia; and publicly funding skill sets (finally!!!  but this shouldn’t be in the format of a ‘mini qualification’ rather skill sets based upon enterprise, licencing and job role needs)
  7. Ensuring better pathways across education sectors – specialist degrees with a vocational focus; income-contingent loans for those undertaking Certificate IV+ courses; a national review of VET in schools (well overdue and I’d like to see VET in school provide a taster across a range of options rather than completely locking into 1 position).
  8. Securing prosperity through sustained and balanced investment – additional $310 million per annum accumulating, from $8,286 million in 2008 and rising to an estimated $12,000 million in 2020; co-contribution financing framework to share the costs of training with government; performance incentives for disadvantaged students ; changes to indexation mechanisms to better reflect real costs (sounds like they could use the VET Business Analysis tool we developed to cover all the inputs and outputs and the return).
  9. Creating a simpler system – working out Commonwealth, state and territory responsibilities; streamlining the apprenticeship/traineeship system; consistent nominal hours required for qualifications (for me nominal hours flies in the face of competency based training and whilst I understand the desire for national consistency I don’t see how hours will do it – we should be able to come up with a more sophisticated way of paying for training [workforce development] aside from nominal hours).

I’d suggest that providers and agencies ramp up their relationships with each other to get ready for further reform – this includes Vocational Education and Training with Employment Service (Job Services Australia and Disability Employment Service) with Adult and Community Education (ACE) and community service providers with Australian Apprenticeship Centres – and all with Regional Development Australia, Industry Skill Councils, industry and professional associations – all taking a proactive approach to educating their clients about the opportunities.

The 2011 Federal budget, released 1 week after the Skills Australia paper, leaves little evidence that they aren’t the most important agency in workforce development [now becoming synonymous with the term VET but covers a heap more than training and assessment] and demonstrates that our political leaders are listening to what Skills Australia has recommended.  Parts of the budget papers and facts sheets are reflections of whole components of the Skills Australia paper with small tweaks or slight word and title changes.  For example (extract from A new partnership with industry):

The Building Australia’s Future Workforce package provides a $3.02 billion investment over six years for a new approach to deliver the skilled workers the economy needs and ensure more Australians have the opportunity to share in the nation’s prosperity. This is on top of new funding of more than $2 billion over the next four years for Australia’s university sector.

The package has four components:

  • Putting industry at the heart of the training system      
  • Skills to support increased participation
  • Modernising apprenticeships                                           
  • Reforming the national training system

A National Workforce and Productivity Agency will be established from 1 July 2012 to administer a new industry driven National Workforce Development Fund. The independent Agency will be an expansion of the role and functions of Skills Australia, through high level industry and union leadership and collaboration. It will be recognised as an authority on workforce development policy and advice and will direct skills funding to industry needs.

The Agency will engage directly with industry on workforce development issues and address sectoral and regional industry needs as well as

  • administer the new National Workforce Development Fund
  • conduct skills and workforce research, including into the quality of jobs and future working life in Australia
  • drive engagement between industry, training providers and government on workforce development, apprenticeships and VET reform
  • develop and monitor sectoral skills and workforce development plans in conjunction with Industry Skills Councils and industry
  • provide independent advice on sectoral and regional skills needs to support workforce planning and productivity, including in small business
  • promote workforce productivity by leading initiatives for the improvement of productivity, management innovation and skills utilisation within Australian workplaces

Skills Australia will be transitioned into the new Agency through 2011-12, with the Agency beginning operation from 1 July 2012.

Through the National Workforce Development Fund (the Fund) the Government will provide $558 million over four years to support training and workforce development in areas of current and future skills need. Government funding will be supplemented by a co-contribution from industry with government contributing at higher levels for small businesses.

Under the Fund, enterprises will identify their current and future business and workforce development needs. The enterprise would then apply for funding to support the training of existing workers and new workers in the area of need. Both the Government and the employer will provide funding to support this training. Large enterprises will contribute 66 per cent of the cost of training, medium enterprises 50 per cent and small enterprises 33 per cent.

Industry Skills Councils will play a key role in assisting enterprises to identify their training needs, facilitate the selection of a training provider to meet these needs and in monitoring the implementation of successful proposals.

Under the Fund businesses, national professional associations and industry bodies will be eligible to apply for funding. This will ensure that training is driven by the workforce development and business needs of enterprises. Employers will be able to purchase the training they need in the format that suits their business to deliver valuable qualifications to their employees.

Enterprises will be eligible to apply for funding if they operate in a high priority sector or if the occupations in which they are seeking to train their workforce are in local or national demand.  The priority sectors to be targeted in 2011-12 will be construction and aged care in addition to the sectors currently targeted under the CSIF.

The Fund will incorporate funding from the Critical Skills Investment Fund (CSIF).

Employers and workers will also benefit from a new partnership with peak employer and union organisations through the Productivity Education and Training Fund. These key bodies will be supported to ensure that the productivity benefits that can be achieved through the Fair Work framework are well understood. The Fund will support union enterprise representatives and employers to use the enterprise bargaining process to introduce productivity improvements in the workplace.

A series of fact sheets covers:

  • A new partnership with industry
  • Apprenticeship reform
  • Better futures for jobless families
  • Future arrangements for DES purchasing
  • Future arrangements for Job Service Australia
  • Greater participation in Higher Education
  • Helping indigenous Australians
  • Investing in our young people
  • Investing in regional productivity and participation
  • Opportunities for people with disability
  • Place-based initiatives
  • Reform of the National Training System
  • Skills to promote increased participation
  • Strengthening job seeker compliance
  • Support small business to drive economic growth
  • Very long term unemployed people

We’ve already seen the new tender for Local Employment Coordinators [and Jobs Expos]

A total of $45.2 million will be allocated to the extension of this measure. This will include access to a flexible funding pool of $20 million over two years. The measure will take effect from 1 July 2011 and run until 30 June 2013.

My advice, get your organisation and your own workforce ready now, review your strategic directions, consider how the changes will impact on you, develop or update your workforce plan and I have 3 final words to say to you [Kimmy – Kath n Kim reference – sorry] – “communication, partnerships and relationships”!

For upcoming national tenders keep an eye on www.tenders.gov.au, for further reform DEEWR website and Skills Australia website, and let me know if you are planning on attending the Putting skills at the heart of the economy conference in July 2011 in Melbourne.

Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner, Workforce BluePrint and Managing Director, Wendy Perry and Associates Pty Ltd

CEDA Skills and Workforce Development Forum

By | Vocational Education and Training, Workforce Development, Workforce Planning | No Comments

The CEDA Skills and Workforce Development Forum held on 14 April 2011 in Adelaide focussed on the link between skills, innovation and productivity.

Opened by the Hon Jack Snelling MP, Minister for Employment, Training and Further Education an interesting line up of speakers provided these main messages (as interpreted by Workforce BluePrint):

– Malclom Jackman, CEO Elders Ltd – move towards a high performing organisation, Go 2 client = client focussed sales, recruitment from the widest possible talent pool, challenges in managing a widespread, remote workforce

– Professor Sue Richardson, Principal Research Fellow, NILS, Flinders University – skills depth which is difficult to shift and skills breadth which is more easily transferable, stock of Human Capital = inflows/outflows, depreciation of skills

– Adrian Smith, Chair, SA Training & Skills Commission, Managing Director SYDAC – SA needs a wise investment in skills = evidence based, higher level, qualifications and skills

– Guy Roberts, Managing Director, Penrice Soda Products – moving beyond “stay in business training”, current competencies – target competencies, competency based job descriptions, graduated career ladder; value for money to adding value to creating value; change management – over educate and over communicate

– Chris Wood, Manager Corporate Human Resources and Organisational Development, Santos – huge people challenge with 80 000+ people needed by 2020, 6 years to develop employee to “autonomy”

– Tom Karmel, Managing Director, NCVER – SA against Australia has an over representation of Certificate I’s and II’s, we need higher levels of general education, shortages are about churn they aren’t structural = need for retention stratagies

A whole range of workforce development and planning gaps and issues were raised and I’d like to ask:

What is the number 1 priority for skills and workforce development in South Australia?  What about for your organisation?  What strategies could be implemented to address these issues and gaps?

For those people working on the Skills for All implementation I’d suggest we to:

– undertake a training needs analysis beyond what is on an RTO’s scope and that matches competencies with job roles and organisation capability

– make RPL opt out of not opt in to i.e. all clients/learners undertake an up front RPL process unless they choose not to

– skills development is about foundation, multi-literacies  and transferable skills (breadth) as well as industry and job specific skills (depth)

Overall, South Australia needs an evidence based approach to determining workforce demand for jobs and skills over the short and longer term (for enterprises, industries and regions) – this is the number 1 priority for me.

PS. A statewide skills stock-take would be great too!

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!

Evidence based approach to workforce and client demand

By | Vocational Education and Training, Workforce Development, Workforce Planning, Workforce Projects | No Comments

Increasingly you are being asked to provide evidence of demand for jobs and skills that are linked to your contracts, funding and proposals as well as your programs and services, and that reach specific outcomes and targets.

So how do you,

  1. Make sense of the data on business and industry (I), major projects and regional trends?
  2. Analyse demographics (D) information?
  3. Know who you should partner (P) with?
  4. Examine your client (C) profile?

AND

Marry all 4 areas to identify opportunities for new products and services, develop engagement and support strategies, and provide crucial evidence demonstrating how you can meet demand now and into the future?

Workforce BluePrint has developed a methodology and a process to help you quickly and simply understand the industry (I), demographics (D), partners (P) and your client (C) profile resulting in engagement (E), and support (S) strategies, this is what is looks like:

Workforce Demand

A skills profile (SP) that details foundation skills, transferable skills and industry specific skills plus a competitor analysis (CA) are options you may want to include.

Methodology

–        Action research and collection of data for the specified regions, Local Government Areas (LGA’s) or Employment Service Areas (ESA’s)from a range of national, state/territory, local, major projects, regional and industry sources covering industry workforce demand and social demographics

–        Analysis of your client profile for the location/s

–        Comparison of industry workforce demand profile and social demographics with your client profile

–        Identification of themes in the data and validation of analysis with team members working across the specific locations to value add with local intelligence

–        Partnership map development with local team members

–        Option of skills profile and/or competitor analysis

–        Development of an action plan with priorities, engagement and support strategies and validation by team members

–        Documentation of the whole process so it is repeatable and can be used across your organisation and at other locations/regions.

Outputs per region or location may include:

–        Industry and business workforce profile

–        Social demographics

–        Partnership map

–        Client profile

–        Skills profile

–        Competitor analysis

–        Report and action plan

Get the evidence you need for your business case, tender submission, funding allocations, new program or workforce plan.

Send an email to wendy@workforceblueprint.com.au with the various components that you are interested in – I, D, P, C, SP and/or CA.