Skills in the Workplace with far more flexibility benefits SA based workforces

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The Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology (DFEEST) is advertising a redesign of the Skills in the Workplace (SitW) employer/enterprise & industry association program to up-skill existing workers in areas of critical skill need.

This will mean much more flexibility and I believe an evidence based approach to workforce development strategies.

Applicants will have a month to submit applications.  This round of applications will open at 9am, Monday, 14th October and close at 5:00pm, Monday 11 November 2013.

The program redesign is aligned to a number of cross-government strategies including the new South Australian Government’s, employment strategy , the Seven ‘7’ Strategic Priorities inclusive of Growing Advanced Manufacturing, and the Manufacturing Works Strategy.

The program aims to assist the manufacturing industry concentrate on high value products and services that compete on value for money, not solely on cost.  The vision is for manufacturers to transition to Advanced manufacturing; which involves the use of technology to improve products and/or processes, with the relevant technology being described as “advanced,” “innovative,” or “cutting edge.”  This includes the transfer of science and technology into manufacturing products and processes. SitW will refocus to target investment in those skills that are most urgently needed, with a major focus on enterprises and industries in high value sectors that underpin strong sustainable economic growth.

DFEEST is returning to a contestable model similar to the Productivity Places Program. Applications will be assessed against criteria by ISD and then an external panel chaired by an industry expert will evaluate and rank applications in priority order.

Applicants will receive between 50 % – 90% dependent on the quality of the application demonstrating a business case for the critical need for the funding to train existing workers.

Please note: DFEEST are no longer using a funding scale related to company size – which is much more pragmatic and fairer.  There will also be a limited admin fee for quality aggregated applications through employers / enterprises or industry associations.

The SitW Program will be marketed through print and social media from 8.10.13 in The Advertiser and Regional newspapers.

What will be funded?

  • Training and workforce planning (great to see this activity included as it should underpin training!)
  • Full qualification training not available through the Skills for All Funded Training List (FTL), where there is demonstrated productivity/innovation benefit
  • Skill set training, both nationally endorsed and industry-led clusters of units from nationally endorsed training packages.
  • Enterprise and industry-wide workforce development and planning – this support would be for manufacturing companies aligned to the following areas
    • General manufacturing
    • Defence industries
    • Automotive industry
    • Forestry and forest products particularly the cellulose fibre sector
    • Agrifoods – particularly food processing, and for primary producers – the adoption of and training in the use of innovative technologies products and processes (aligned with DFEEST’s High Value Food Manufacturing Hub), and
    • Minerals energy and resources.

What will not be funded:

  • Full qualification training currently listed on the Skills for All Funded Training List – this training will be funded through direct application to a Skills for All Registered Training Provider.
  • Applications from Registered Training Organisations

Assessment Criteria includes:

  • A productivity benefit for the State, and include explanation of:
  • Value for money: including the extent of industry co-contribution greater than 10%, nature of qualification, regional delivery, additional training support services;
  • Shows strategic links with science & innovation and showing an increase in productivity either at company/enterprise level or sector level in advanced manufacturing;
  • The Strategic importance of the investment to implementing the “Manufacturing Works” strategy; and
  • Quality training methodology and outcomes including, customised to industry and/or employer, flexible hours and delivery to suit existing workers, additional support mechanisms such as mentoring and case management.

I think the link with science and innovation in this explicit way will mean that proposals will be more creative and future orientated.

Program Guidelines are available on the DFEEST website with applications forms available from Monday, 14th October 2013.

The only change to the Workforce Development Program is a focus change to support manufacturing companies.

Written by Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner, Workforce BluePrint acknowledging the Industry Skills Development Directorate for the basis of this post – thank you, 11th October 2013.

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