Skills for All Funded Training List 6.0 – Consultation Outcomes Report – still a way to go…

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South Australia’s state government is continuing to make quarterly changes to the Skills for All Funded Training List with version 6.0 recently published.

Since being introduced in July 2012 there has been a 43% increase (from semester 2 2011 to semester 2 2012) in enrolments in South Australia – probably way more than what state government was expecting.  I’ll be very interested to see the final numbers for semester 1 2013 as this growth is blowing the allocated budget.  In the most recent state budget an additional $27 million was allocated to ‘catch up’ this blowout.

I wrote a blog post on the Skills for All Funded Training List 6.0 and provided this to DFEEST as feedback as part of the most recent consultations – are the right questions being asked?

There are now 201 Skills for All training providers and 1346 Skills for All courses (30.6.13).

Reviewing the Consultation Outcomes Report for the Funded Training List 6.0 the key points to note include:

  • Courses that have no provider or no enrolments will be removed from the list
  • Projected demand will underpin the inclusion of a course on the list
  • Managing the balance between private investment in training and government funding (Skills for All killed the local fee for service market)
  • Subsidy prices will be adjusted – some have been too high, others too low
  • Subsidy levels for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) at Certificate III and above will be reduced
  • A new system for providing information to the market on high growth courses will be introduced resulting in subsidy reductions or purchase limits
  • Eligibility for Certificate I and II will be refined focussing on who needs them
  • Ongoing monitoring of contract compliance
  • Behaviour of agencies referring clients to Skills for All will be closely examined particularly where the Skills for All provider is a Job Service Australia provider
  • Professional development to increase the understanding and use of bridging units will be introduced for Skills for All Training Providers
  • Refocusing of the initial application to become a Skills for All Training provider by giving priority to applications from new entrants to courses either with or without limited numbers (what?  I don’t think this makes sense!)
  • These changes will be implemented from July 2013 and then there will be another consultation period for the next quarterly change

“It is the responsibility for Skills for All Training Providers to assess student learning needs, eligibility for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and credit transfer and develop an appropriate training plan.” (pg. 6 Funded Training List 6.0 Consultation Outcomes Report)

I believe that everyone is ‘eligible’ for RPL and that RPL should be opt out of not opt in to.  This means that every client goes through a good practice RPL process identifying strengths (RPL) and development needs, then having their training plan designed around the gaps.  A good practice RPL process includes a number of elements:

  • Group workshops for the learning and assessment process
  • Self-assessment facilitated through a competency conversation
  • Mapping of strengths, knowledge and experience to units of competency from relevant National Training Packages
  • Identification of evidence against units and matching of units with evidence to qualifications from National Training Packages
  • Validation of self-assessment and evidence in the workplace with supervisor and/or peers (preferred)

What is still fundamentally wrong with the Skills for All Funded List 6.0?

Everyone agrees that the Skills for All Funded Training List should reflect current and future demand.  For me this means identifying critical job roles, job specific skills, functional skills and core or common skills across all job roles.

In the summary of consultation feedback this point about demand is made and the corresponding response by Government states,

“The List currently includes the courses that relate to the Training and Skills Commission’s specialist occupations.”

BUT there is a problem with this as outlined in the blog post I wrote about in the Training and Skills Commission’s Skills for Jobs report.

And that is, 1 job role does not equal 1 qualification, more over 2-3 qualifications with of skills from multiple National Training Packages and across multiple Australian Qualification Framework levels.

So what should we have instead?

  • A list of job roles identifying those that are ‘critical’ job roles identified through a workforce planning process
  • Workforce planning (using Workforce BluePrint’s 5 step process) evidence which would be aggregated from a sample of enterprises (including small business), for a major infrastructure project, across industry sectors (e.g. Manufacturing, Mining, Food and Wine, Community Services), across hubs (e.g. Hub Adelaide), networks and/or regions (i.e. Skills for All regions)
  • A job skills profile for each critical job role mapped to units of competency and qualifications
  • A South Australian Competency Framework that identifies core or common skills required for all job roles (this would most likely map to units from Certificate II-III aka foundation programs); functional skills required across multiple job roles (breadth not depth); job specific skills particularly for critical job roles AND this whole framework mapped to units of competency from National Training Packages.
  • Workforce development strategies that are based upon gap analysis and evidence, prioritised and matched with the latest state budget and South Australian Economic Statement (Creating a vibrant city, Realising the benefits of the mining boom for all, Growing advanced manufacturing, Premium food and wine)
  • Where training is the most appropriate workforce development strategy (bearing in mind there are numerous options) then this ‘gap’ should be what is reflected on the Skills for All Training List.
  • To balance industry demand, an analysis of workforce supply to match this demand may identify specific skills and qualifications that are ‘enabling’.  For example, in the Family by Family program I’d suggest a family based skills profile aka RPL process that identifies existing skills and then multiple pathways via matches to qualifications.  This type of activity should be funded and ‘on the list’ because of the improvement of self-confidence and the opening up of so many more opportunities for those people who need assistance.

Skill sets is a whole different topic which I plan to address shortly via the WPAA blog so if you are interested in this topic, keep an eye out for it!

Written by Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner, Workforce BluePrint and VET Specialist, WPAA, June 2013.

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