Skills for All – Training Accounts Limits and What’s Next?

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On 29 July 2013 the Minister published a Training Accounts Limits List for Skills for All in South Australia.  This is the percentage of training accounts remaining for new enrolments where 74 courses have a cap for 2013-14.  The course list highlights the percentage of training accounts remaining and they are divided into the following categories:

  • Greater than 50%
  • 25-50%
  • Less than 25%

There are 44 courses plus a skill set off the funded training list where there will be no new enrolments from 4 September 2013.

What will be left on the list as with quarterly changes it is always shrinking?

Perhaps we will see an application based approach, with evidence of real demand based upon workforce planning and development, plus career development and planning for job seekers, apprentices and trainees, new and existing workers (like the Skills in the Workplace, Skills for All in Regions and the Workforce Development Program).  This approach would be far more manageable in terms of the budget.

Changes to eligibility criteria will be effective from 4 November 2013:

Eligible Students who are registered with Centrelink for the purposes of receiving certain allowances and actively seeking work, and Eligible Students without prior education, will be entitled to funded training for two (2) Courses selected from Certificate I and Certificate II levels, and two (2) Courses selected from Certificate III and above.

Eligible Students with a prior qualification (i.e. a Senior Secondary Certificate or an Australian Qualifications Framework qualification) will be entitled to funding for two (2) Courses selected from Certificate III and above.

Eligible Students with a Certificate III and above are entitled to funded training in one Skill Set per year.

These eligibility statements still seem generous to me and I would prefer to see more courses stay on the list (based upon evidence of real demand) with 1 course and 1 skill set for eligible students.

For all courses with training accounts created in VETA after 4 September 2013 there will be a 5% reduction in the subsidy – so a cut across the board.  The problem with this is that I don’t see an evidence based approach to analysing the input vs output and actual costs.

With Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), the Subsidy paid for Units of Competency within Certificate III and above Courses will be reduced by 50% of the published Subsidy, and this will apply, regardless of the date the Training Account is established, for claims submitted after 4 September 2013.  Considering that RPL can still take a while to pull together, Skills for All providers would want to be getting their clients to complete the RPL process ASAP and then they’ll need to review their costings, whether the subsidy covers actual costs, and what the market will pay for RPL.

Where there is no Skills for All provider, a number of courses (220) have been removed – this concerns me as I’d like to understand if this is due to market failure and could these courses relate to workforce priorities and demand?

If you are a Skills for All provider or thinking about applying to be one then you’ll need to review:

Subsidy Framework

Training Provider Handbook

Data Collection and Payment Assessment Guidelines

As at today there are 201 Skills for All providers and I’ll be interested to see how many remain after 4 September and 4 November 2013.

The Workforce Development Program is for industry or region wide projects and it is good to see a couple of projects recently announced from the Minister’s office in wine, defence and technology.

It would be really useful if information about those enterprises and associations who have received Skills in the Workplace funding are promoted and highlighted via case studies similar to those developed for the National Workforce Development Fund and Skills Connect.

What’s still not clear for me is the logic of the funded list, what’s on, what’s off, the relationship to understanding demand from workforce planning, gap/issue identification and then the design of workforce development strategies including mapping development to units of competency, qualifications and then courses.

I think that decisions on the subsidy rate, reductions and changes, need far more evidence and information on actual costs vs payments and I’d like to get rid of nominal hours altogether as it’s a 1990’s way of thinking about competency based development and skills investment.

Written by Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner, Workforce BluePrint, August 2013.

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