WORKFORCE BLOG

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.

Skills for Prosperity and the 2011 Federal Budget

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On the 3rd May 2015, 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

Head start to career

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Published in The Advertiser’s CareerOne page 24, 30.4.11

Young workers who rely on their after-school job for extra cash can use the experience to kickstart their career skills, a workforce advisor says.

Workforce BluePrint, Head Workforce Planner Wendy Perry and daughter Jessica, 15, have developed a plan to help teenagers make their first job a success:

Consider your approach.  Listen carefully to directions and instructions.  Be friendly and outgoing, greet your customers cheerfully with a bank of five open ended questions to ask them such as: How are you going with your Christmas shopping?, Got plans for New Year’s? and Taking a break over Easter?

Have a good attitude.  Demonstrate you are willing to learn.  Show an interest in extra training and do the necessary or boring jobs like cleaning and sweeping.  Ask about or offer to learn how to do the advanced jobs such as counting the tills, lay-by and ordering, training new people and later on, supervising staff.

Be available.  Let the employer know if you are available for additional shifts particularly over the school holidays, Christmas and New Year period.  Keep your contact details up to date and think about how you could get to work without much notice if called in urgently.  Helping the employer and co-workers shows flexibility and commitment.

Consider practicalities.  Allow enough time to get home from school, have a quick healthy snack and drink, brush your teeth and get to work 15 minutes beforehand.  In breaks, sit down, rest your feet and have something to eat and drink.

Socialise Go to work social events and see work as a way to make friends.

Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner and Jessica Perry (15 years)

Workforce Development Plan

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So what is workforce development?

It is an umbrella term for implementing strategies that help you bridge the gap between your current workforce and your target (future) workforce.  Workforce development strategies address the gaps that you find when you undertake workforce planning and training needs analysis where the output is a workforce plan.  The strategies could be about attraction, recruitment, retention, career progression, succession planning, job design, skills and competencies, values and behaviours, KPI’s and performance.

Generally when you write a workforce plan you cover the same time frame as the organisation’s strategic plan which could be 5, 3, 5, 10 or 20 years depending on your industry and budget cycles.  The steps are reflected in the document itself starting with 1. Context and environment, 2. Current workforce profile, 3. Future workforce profile including forecasting demand and supply, 4. Gap analysis, priorities, implementation, 5. Review, monitor, evaluate.

Review your workforce plan regularly – about every 6 months or if there has been a major workforce change or refocus of the business.  The workforce plan is a dynamic document resulting in a prioritised action plan identifying who will do what and by when – it’s not uncommon for organisations to have numerous updated versions of their workforce plan over the timeframe for which it has been designed.

As job roles change and you implement workforce development strategies, the framework that measures your workforce capability also needs to change to reflect the organisation’s structure and focus.  You may want to build a capability framework to help you measure your workforce capability and capacity.  Revisiting your demand and supply forecasting is important to see if you are on track.

The process is facilitated transparently, involving people from across your organisation to help identify strengths, development needs and issues.  Communication, consultation and education is critical so you know what to do and what you are aiming for using a practical, straight forward approach – don’t over complicate it!

CEDA Skills and Workforce Development Forum

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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!

Evidence based approach to workforce and client demand

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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.

Skills for All and Opportunities for You

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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!

What does Skills for All offer?

  • extra $194 million over the next 6 years for an additional 100 000 places
  • transition to a National VET Regulator in 2011
  • income contingent loans and concession fees for low income earners
  • Skills in the Workplace initiative to upskill employees in support of their workforce development – sharing the costs with government where more than 200 employees – at least 50%; 100-199 employees at least 25%; less than 100 employees at least 10%
  • independent and endorsed workforce development advisors
  • subsidies – full for Cert I and II; 80% for Cert III and IV; 70% for Dip and Adv Dip; up to 100% for priority qualifications, critical skills and specialised occupations
  • designated skills set training once/year based upon advice from industry
  • move towards fully contestable training market
  • from 1.7.11 the Office of TAFE SA will be formed
  • training information portal
  • plain language document on provider services and outcomes for students, awareness of opportunities to feedback concerns or complaints from students and regular info campaigns
  • $6.4 million in additional funding for foundation skills and Adult and Community Education (ACE)
  • reduction in VET cost per hour closer to the national VET average
  • Skills for All providers will receive subsidies for delivery in rural locations that reflect additional costs with thin markets
  • targeted professional development initiatives that address contemporary education and training and workforce development practice
  • nominated capability building initiatives to ensure good practice for providers
  • a new Employer Recognition Program initially recognising employers of apprentices and expanding over time for employers who are committed to developing the skills of their workforce
  • employers co-investment with Government in integrate workforce development plans, encourage industry uptake of workforce development, industry investment and skill development for new and emerging industries and technologies
  • workforce development support including toolkits, workshops and resources

So here’s some ideas on what to consider now so you are ready for the roll out:

  • training providers must demonstrate the demand for skills and jobs, links to industry and funding required – this means taking an evidence based approach and analysing workforce, industry and regional demand
  • registration and qualification requirements as a Skills for All training provider – this is additional to the minimum AQTF standards and you’ll need to be on the look out for when DFEEST releases the requirements
  • increased focus on recognition of prior learning and identifying student learning needs – think about RPL as opt out of not op in and who you can tap into for learner support
  • at enrolment students and their provider will develop a customised training plan – do you already have this in place or will you need to develop a template and tools?
  • the subsidy price will be paid monthly to qualified providers based upon module completions – how will your cash flow work and what systems will you need to put in place for reporting?
  • one website will have information about Skills for All providers – how will you keep this up to date and what about your own website, maybe time for review and some advice?
  • DFEEST will provide information to students – how could you maximise this promotional opportunity and do you need to rethink your marketing strategy?
  • ACE partners – who do you know?  who can you work with? do/can/will you deliver foundation skills?
  • VET costing – do you know all the inputs, all the outputs and the return on the investment?
  • Delivery in rural locations – get familiar with the Accessibility Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) to determine regional loadings and classify your target markets based upon industries, student cohorts and regions – locality, SLA and postcode are important data sets here
  • need to better engage and support SME’s – facilitate a workforce development style conversation and identify all their needs
  • employer recognition – what about the commitment of your own organisation to workforce development?  are you leading the way?
  • focus on workforce development – this is moving beyond training and assessment and workforce skills development towards a workforce planning approach

What’s next – have a look at the key implementation milestones with the Skills in the Workplace program due for August 2011 with most activities kicking off publicly from June 2011 through until 2012-13.

Make sure you subscribe for further updates and what you are looking forward to?

Top tips for your first full time job

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Where do you look for your first full time job?  It can seem daunting and hard to get started so here are 6 steps.

First of all brainstorm the type of job you’d like, the industry and the type of company you want to work for.  Think about the hours, environment and location you would like to work in.  Have a short plan on what you are going to do to get the result of winning that first job.

Secondly do some research to develop your database of potential employers via the internet (Google, Facebook, industry/professional associations and company websites), local phone book, papers and family/friends networks.

Thirdly understand the best way to approach your database – does the company specify inquiries and applications via the web only, via email, only in response to an advertisement, or do they welcome direct contact via phone or face to face.  Some employers think that by calling in to their business you are showing initiative and they get to meet you but for others it’s probably not appropriate.

The fourth step is to change your introductory letter/email and resume to suit the company – use the same key words that they do on their website or in company documents and try to match your experience to their jobs.  Ask for help from family members, friends and other people you know in business – many people are very well networked and happy to help you out.  Check if you need any licences or minimum training for example to work in the building and construction industry you’ll need a white card and to work in a hotel, you’ll need responsible service of alcohol.

Fifth be aware of the different ways that you could be employed by a company including Australian Apprenticeships and federal or state/territory government initiatives and use this to your advantage by including information in your pitch to potential employers.  Also be aware that potential employers may use the internet to search on your name so check what’s out there about you and think about how things like your Facebook status updates, posts and photos could be seen.

Finally, keep going with your plan as sometimes it can take a little while, change things if they aren’t working for you and above all ask for help with your search.

Workforce profiling for an island or region

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Identifying current skills needs by employers in existing employees and their future workforce and profiling the workforce for an island or a region enables better informed decision making and longer term workforce development strategies.

Analysing the results can provide regional and industry development agencies, local networks, government and funding bodies with insight into strengths vs sustainability, community assets and common development needs.

Collect information and data such as numbers employed by industry, age profile, gender, employment status, skill level, advertised vacancies by month, job type, location, skill level and industry.

Ask business owners about their workforce issues and challenges, the skills needs for their employees and themselves and aggregate the results with the most common development needs.

Design a skills profile that includes foundation skills, transferable skills and job specific skills and map to units of competency from National Training Packages with Skillsbook to make formal recognition and the purchase of training and assessment services easier.

Validate the data analysis, skills profile and dig a bit deeper with businesses to understand what is really casing them problems and what solutions could work.

Summarise the results and trends making recommendations that can be implemented by local people with an action plan.

Publish the report, present the information to all stakeholders including the businesses in the survey, follow through with the actions and keep the action plan as a standing item for the local network with projects and funding built from it.

Move towards a workforce plan for the island or region and for each of the organisations by helping them assess the health of their business, provide support, information, education and mentoring.  Work with the businesses on immediate human resource management issues, strategic planning and chat quickly then do.

Paid Parental Leave

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Australia’s Paid Parental Leave starts on 1 January 2011 with links to relevant websites below:

http://www.familyassist.gov.au/payments/family-assistance-payments/paid-parental-leave-scheme/

Information for employers starts here:

http://www.familyassist.gov.au/payments/family-assistance-payments/paid-parental-leave-scheme/employers–what-will-i-need-to-do.php

Details on eligibility:

http://www.familyassist.gov.au/payments/family-assistance-payments/paid-parental-leave-scheme/working-parents—eligibility.php

Paid Parental Leave Comparison Estimator:

http://www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/individuals/ppl_working_parents_estimator.htm

Comments in the media:

http://www.theage.com.au/national/paid-parental-leave-the-icing-on-the-cake-for-new-mothers-20110101-19cm3.html

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2010/s3105655.htm

What do you think?