Skills Connect Fund Opens and Workforce Plan Generator

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Address multiple workforce needs, via the Skills Connect Fund announced in the latest federal budget with $45 million (2013-14,) – guidelines are available  and did you know that proposals can now be submitted?

This fund is for workforce development support for enterprises and industry, to “plan and organise skills training for workforces.” (pg. 4)

“Projects may involve single enterprises, partnerships of two or more employers, regional business clusters or be responding to structural economic changes.” (pg. 5)

Directly taken from the guidelines (pg. 6), the key features of the Skills Connect Fund are to assist enterprises to:

  • engage advice and support for planning workforce skills needs
  • arrange for training of staff
  • arrange for support services to the enterprise and employees to support engagement with training and promote completion of training.

The guidelines outline the importance of workforce planning and development as well as the return to enterprises that are proactive in matching their workforce to their business needs.

Outlining the benefits of workforce planning and development by flipping the frustrations is the key to building a business case for your enterprise, industry or region and as part of a Skills Connect application.

You can build your own workforce plan with the easy to use and licenceable Workforce Plan Generator™, choosing from an organisational licence (1 enterprise) or association licence (for multiple members and enterprise clients/employers).

Alternatively, you can have a workforce plan built for you by Workforce BluePrint where we can get a quick quote to you, by answering 7 questions or develop your skills in workforce planning and development through the Workforce Architects program (public, online or inn house options).

There is a competitive application process and you could consider Workforce BluePrint as a potential partner, to strengthen your business case and capability in workplace mentoring, workforce planning and skills assessments.

Training and support services that can be funded include:

  • Nationally recognised Training Package Certificate II to Advanced Diploma level VET qualifications. Certificate II level qualifications would generally be targeted at new workers, but a case for existing workers on an equity ground can be made. Priority equity groups include Indigenous Australians, people with a disability, people from a non-English speaking background, parents on return to work and mature age workers who do not hold formal qualifications
  • Nationally recognised Training Package skills sets for participants who already have a qualification at the Certificate III level or above
  • Foundation skills support – for example, language literacy and numeracy support to enable completion of a vocational qualification. Training Package units of competency funded if targeted by support services
  • Support services, such as workplace mentoring, workforce planning and skills assessments. (pg. 8)

A note on skills assessments (pg. 9),

A formal skills assessment process (recognition of prior learning or current competency) is undertaken by a registered training organisation which is authorised to deliver the training.  This process, undertaken before any formal training commences, is strongly favoured by the Australian Government – especially for experienced existing workers. The costs of the skills assessment process can be included in proposals.

If you are looking for a way to streamline the skills assessment process, producing individual reports and group results, then consider using Skillsbook™ to match existing skills to competencies and qualifications.  The Work Lab who developed Skillsbook™ together with Workforce BluePrint has designed a workforce developer’s foundation package just for you.

Assessment criteria for your Skills Connect application include:

  • Capacity to benefit (remember to flip the frustrations)
  • Value for money (use the Workforce Plan Generator, check out the workforce developers and workforce planners package)
  • Alignment with Australian Government priorities (see the Workforce BluePrint hosted webinar with the Australian Workforce Productivity Agency on the National Workforce Development Strategy plus video on regional workforce development)

Funding is via a co-contribution model based upon the number of employees within the enterprise/s and with no rounds or set proposal deadlines.

To submit a proposal you’ll need to complete an online Skilling My Workforce application.

A nationally consistent approach to assessments will be undertaken to ensure transparency. Project proposals seeking Australian Government funding of $100,000 (GST exclusive) or under will be assessed and recommended by the Skills Connect State Network.  For proposals seeking Australian Government funding of more than $100,000 (GST exclusive), an advisory group will be formed involving Departmental staff and possibly external representatives with relevant experience to moderate assessments undertaken by the Skills Connect State Network and make recommendations. (pg. 13)

For further information on Skills Connect go to: http://skillsconnect.gov.au/.

Written by Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner, Workforce Blueprint, 12 August 2013.

PS. I invite you to subscribe to this blog, join the Workforce Planning Tools and Australian VET Leaders groups on LinkedIn for the latest info and updates.

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