Category Archives: Vocational Education and Training

Budget 2012-13 – Workforce Development and Planning

By | Vocational Education and Training, Workforce Development, Workforce Planning | One Comment

Budget 2012-13 – Workforce Development and Planning


After listening to the budget speech, reading news and online articles, and analysing the opportunities for workforce development and planning, the following insights are provided from this perspective by Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner, Workforce BluePrint.

The workforce focussed features and opportunities in the budget include:

  1. $714 million to help companies compete, on top of the $3.7 billion in small business tax breaks – Offsetting a current year tax loss of up to $1 million against tax paid in previous years; a refund of up to $300,000.
  2. Funding the first stage of a National Disability Insurance Scheme – $1 billion will be provided over 4 years to roll out the first stage of an NDIS, which is expected to cover 10,000 people from 2013?14 and 20,000 people from 2014?15.
  3. Investing in dental services – $515 million in funding to address immediate dental care needs; $346 million over three years will target public dental waiting lists; $78 million to help dentists relocate to regional, rural and remote areas; $81 million to boost training for graduate dentists and therapists; and $10.5 million to promote better oral health.
  4. Strengthening the aged care system – $3.7 billion package to address pressing areas of need, and lays the foundations for future reform; $660 million over five years for incentives to invest in quality services for those who do need to enter residential care; and $1.2 billion over five years to build a better trained and better paid aged care workforce.
  5. Investments across the health system and across the country – 76 new health infrastructure projects to upgrade regional hospitals and support training where doctors are needed most, costing $475 million; $5 billion from the Health and Hospitals Fund; $50 million over four years to fund a phased expansion of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program; and national e?Health agenda $234 million.
  6. Removing barriers to work and lifting skills boosts productivity and creates wealth – $1.75 billion National Partnership on Skills Reform; another $101 million to support the Government’s skills agenda; $61 million to improve older workers training and employment services; additional $225 million for the Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance program; $1.5 billion over 5 years on a new Remote Jobs and Community program that will provide new employment services for remote Australia; $54 million to encourage maths and science studies at school and university; and $38.8 billion in higher education, with extra support for students from poorer backgrounds.
  7. Investing in infrastructure and clean energyNational Broadband Network and $36 billion Nation Building programs for road, rail and port networks.

Workforce development and planning gaps and issues to be addressed include:

  • Small business support
  • Disability service sector growth
  • Dental and allied health workforce expansion
  • Aged care including home and community care workforce attraction and training
  • Health workforce development including e-health
  • Skills reform
  • Retaining older workers
  • Participation of parents
  • Remote worker engagement
  • Maths and science based skills development
  • Higher education support
  • Major infrastructure projects workforce planning
  • Digital literacy skills development
  • Seasonal labour strategies and overseas sources of workers

For information on funding, grants, reductions, specific Vocational Education and Training (VET), employment, skills and workforce development programs go to:

Climate Change and Energy Efficiency


Education, Employment and Workplace Relations: Economic Potential of Senior Australians — employment assistance, Employment Service Arrangements, Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance Program, Mature Age Participation — job seeker assistance, Remote Jobs and Communities Program, Schools — Teach Remote, and Seasonal Labour Mobility Program with Pacific Island Countries and East Timor.

Health and Ageing

Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education: Australian Apprenticeships, Australian Skills Centres of Excellence, ASQA, Higher Education, More Help for Mature Age Workers, Adult and Community Education for Senior Australians (60+ years), International Education, Maths and Science, Standing Council on Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (SCOTESE), MySkills website, National Skills Reform, National Workforce Development Fund (additional $35 million over four years), Small Business Advisory Services, VET FEE-HELP Assistance Scheme Redesign, and Workforce Innovation Program.

Resources, Energy and Tourism

Funding has been redirected or moved into priority areas from a number of existing programs.  This will mean that the Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Employment Services sectors including Australian Apprenticeship Centres, Disability Employment Services, Group Training Companies, Job Services Australia providers, Higher Education providers, Industry or Peak Bodies and Registered Training Organisations, with government funding, will need to carefully consider their workforce development and planning needs to position for the future.

Skills for all Australians to Skills for All (SA), User Choice and WELL Funding

By | Vocational Education and Training, Workforce Development | One Comment

The Commonwealth government likes the reforms being implemented in South Australia and it shouldn’t be lost that new national reforms are titled Skills for all Australians and in SA its Skills for All (implemented from July 2012).  With News South Wales and Queensland moving into a period of state based VET reform, watch for similarities (and differences).

Skills for all Australians

The Prime Minister has announced a Skills Reform package for States and Territories to reform the national vocational education and training system to address skills shortages across the economy.

Skills for all Australians aims to achieve a more competitive, dynamic economy.

The Commonwealth has committed $1.75 billion over five years to achieve key reforms to be negotiated with the states and territories through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG):

  • a national entitlement to training at a minimum of the first certificate III qualification so working age Australians have the opportunity to gain the skills needed to get a decent, sustainable job in Australia’s new economy;
  • wider access to student loans to reduce upfront cost barriers to study at the diploma and advanced diploma level;
  • increased availability of information about courses, costs and training provider quality through a new My Skills website so students and business can make well informed choices about their training options, linked to their own needs and the needs of the economy; and choose a high quality training provider to help them develop the skills they seek;
  • support for quality teaching and assessment, including trialling models for independent validation of training provider assessments so students and employers can have confidence in the quality and consistency of training they purchase;
  • support for a strong public training provider network through the implementation of the reforms to ensure a high quality training system is accessible to all Australians; and
  • incentives to achieve improved completion of full qualifications, particularly at higher levels and for disadvantaged students, to deliver the qualified workers that business needs and give all Australians the opportunity to develop skills and participate in the workforce.

In response to the Commonwealth Government’s reform agenda on taking office, COAG agreed ambitious skills objectives by 2020 to:

  • double the number of higher level qualifications completions (diploma or advanced diploma);
  • halve the proportion of Australians aged 20 to 64 years without a qualification at the certificate III level or higher; and
  • increase the proportion of young Australians aged 20 to 24 attaining a year 12 or equivalent to 90 per cent by 2015 (with equivalence measured as certificate II or above by 2015, and certificate III or above by 2020).

Skills for all Australians has 3 main documents – reforms, supporting students, and small business – keep an eye on this website and the PM’s press site for further info and announcements.

NB. COAG next meets on 13 April 2012 – watch the website for the Communique.

Skills for All

Friday 30 March is the day that many people have been waiting for with the release of the Skills for All Subsidy Framework and Price list.  Information sessions are being run on 2 April 2012 and 4 April 2012.

The Skills for All Subsidised Training List details the qualification that can be funded.  Registered Training Organisations need to apply to become a Skills for All Training Provider and a guide to completing the application has been published.

Skills in the Workplace addresses urgent skills requirements for South Australian industries and enterprises.

Delivery foundation skills programs by applying to first be a listed ACE provider and then for grant funding.  Applications for the 2012/13 grant funding round must be received by Friday 27 April 2012.

The Training Guarantee for SACE students means the South Australian Government will pay a course subsidy to a Skills for All Training Provider for selected SACE students who are 16 years of age or older.

National Workforce Development Fund

Please be advised of the following information from Service Skills Australia, thanks to Bernard Moore:

a)    Closing date for the national workforce applications is this Friday. Please ensure you leave adequate time to lodge directly.  If lodging through Service Skills, please lodge by 4pm AEST, Thursday 29th March 2012.

b)    For those organisations running short of time to complete a full application, please complete the electronic expression of interest:

(The aim is to collate and lodge these expressions of interest for funding where sufficient detail is available).

c)    ALL candidates must be enrolled in an approved project by end May. The registered training organisation must be able to report enrolments by first week of June. (Training provider admin processes will need to be operating effectively as candidates not recorded on that RTO report in the first week of June cannot be funded).

For a summary of User Choice RTO funding for Australian Apprenticeships across all states and territories read WPAA’s latest blog.

Workplace English Language and Literacy (WELL) ProgramFunding for resource and strategic project 2012

Submissions for WELL funding are invited from eligible organisations that wish to develop a resource or strategic project that supports adult language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) training across one or more industry sectors.

Resources can include training materials that support:

  • a nationally endorsed Training Package
  • industry relevant LLN assessment and reporting methods, or
  • professional development resources for industry trainers/assessors aligned with Training Packages.

Strategic projects must have national scope and can include:

  • the development of LLN plans for a particular industry or industry group, or
  • the development and implementation of a national model or strategy to integrate LLN into workplace training with a cross-industry focus.

Application forms, guidelines and other relevant information are available on the WELL website.  For further information, please contact the WELL Resource Coordinator on 02 6240 7498.

Applications must be submitted electronically through WELL Online, which can be accessed through the WELL website.  Resource project applications must be received by 5.00 pm AEST, Monday 16 April 2012.

Keep up to date via LinkedIn

Australian VET Leaders

NBN Enabled Capability Development Network

Workforce Planning Tools


User Choice – a national initiative

By | Funding, Vocational Education and Training | 2 Comments

From a recent round of national workshops on Applying for Funding and Grants a knowledge gap on information for User Choice funding and policies was identified.  Thanks to for compiling this information including funding arrangements for all states and territories.

User Choice is a national policy to make Vocational Education and Training (VET) more responsive to the needs of industry and employers.

User Choice policy works in conjunction with the Australian Apprenticeships – system enabling employers and apprentices/trainees to:

  • choose an RTO to best provide them with training services; and
  • negotiate key aspects of training, such as where, how, and when it is provided.

User choice funding subsidises the cost of an apprenticeship in identified skills shortage areas for the employer.

How User Choice operates

User Choice is applied differently in each state and territory, according to regional and industry training needs. However, in most states, arrangements are changing.

Generally, Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) compete for User Choice funding, either through direct funding applications or an electronic tender or bidding process.

State and territory training authorities (STAs) decide which Australian Apprenticeships are eligible for User Choice funding. The level of funding and how and when funds are allocated vary according to:

  • state or territory strategic initiatives; and
  • the changing demand for training

Applying for funding

RTOs can only tender for funding for training they are registered to deliver.  When applying for User Choice funding, RTOs will be asked to provide the following information:

  • scope of registration – the vocations and related qualifications to be offered
  • state and national codes for all qualifications · the proposed numbers of students for off and on-the-job
  • the proposed number of off-the-job hours to be delivered during the application year.

An RTO can apply for User Choice funds in a state or territory other than the one they are registered in if they delivering training in that state or territory. They can only apply for funding for training they are registered to deliver.

Enterprise RTOs

In some states and territories, enterprise RTOs (whose core business is not training) are funded differently to RTOs whose core business is training. In South Australia, for example, enterprise RTOs are funded at 50% of User Choice funding rates for non-enterprise RTOs.

Australian Capital Territory   All links and forms for User Choice are available from this link

New South Wales

In NSW, User Choice operates for all new entrant traineeships and selected apprenticeships in specific geographic regions.

Funding of registered training organisations for training delivered under User Choice is administered through the NSW Apprenticeship and Traineeship Training Program.

Apprenticeships delivered by TAFE NSW are outside the User Choice arrangements.

The Approved Providers List (APL) is one of the main mechanisms used to manage a number of the programs offered under the NSW Training Market. Access a brochure to find out more about the APL and how to become an approved provider.

Fact Sheets and Brochures

Frequently asked questions

What is funded

Providers are approved through a tender process.

Tenders are usually invited in September or October of the last year of the two year contract period. The current Approved Providers List Contract expires in December 2010. The call for tenders for the 2011-2012 Approved Providers List was planned for September/October 2010. The tender period is open for approximately four weeks.


A single set price is paid per apprenticeship or traineeship qualification irrespective of the mode of delivery.

In addition to the set price for apprenticeship or traineeship training, financial incentives in the form of higher price weightings are available to the following priority groups:

  • apprentices or trainees employed in a small businesses
  • apprentices or trainees in regional and rural locations
  • apprentices or trainees undertaking apprenticeships or traineeships with high equipment costs
  • indigenous people or people with a disability

Payment is prompted by the electronic lodgement of participant and training activity data in the format specified in the APL Contract.


Some critical documents you need to read:

  • A complete guide to apprenticeships and traineeships in NSW – explains the regulatory framework of the apprenticeship and      traineeship system and provides information on participants’ roles, responsibilities and funding.
  • The 2011-2012 Approved Providers List (APL) Contract – details eligibility, delivery requirements and compliance, financial and legal issues, and includes attachments including the ATTP requirements and ATTP price rates.
  • NSW Vocational Training Orders, Commissioner Information Bulletins and qualification documents – these three documents form a package of official information on individual or related apprenticeships or traineeships which includes job and qualification descriptions, competencies, training resources, industrial relations contacts etc.


For assistance with the Approved Providers List and contractual conditions in NSW: Phone 02 9266 8008, Fax 02 9264 5501. Email  For information on the NSW apprenticeship and training system contact: Phone 13 28 11 .

Northern Territory

The User Choice Program provides funding for the delivery of structured training and assessment for full-time, part-time and school-based apprentices and trainees in the Northern Territory. Qualifications that are approved for delivery as apprenticeships and traineeships in the NT are eligible for funding. Funding is awarded through the use of Workforce NT, community consultations and NT Government priorities.

The choice of RTOs may be limited in some cases, such as where there are small numbers (a thin market), but the objectives are the same. Each state and territory sets its own policies regarding User Choice and the amount of funds RTOs receive for providing structured training to each apprentice or trainee.

What is funded

Applications are invited from RTOs for the User Choice Program to deliver training services to apprentices and trainees (including school based) in the Northern Territory in 2012.

2012 Applications for User Choice funding have now closed.

  • 2012 application information (pdf 132 kb)
  • NT occupational shortage list
  • 2012 Annual Hours Curriculum (AHC) rates (pdf 411 kb)


RTOs wishing to provide structured training for apprentices and trainees are required to have a presence in the NT and to be familiar with:

  • NT Apprenticeships and Traineeships Policy (pdf 85 kb)
  • NT User Choice Policy (pdf 73 kb)
  • NT School-Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships Policy (pdf 107 kb)
  • NT School-Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships Policy – Update (pdf 18 kb)
  • NT Apprenticeships and Traineeships Travel and Accommodation Policy (pdf 59 kb)
  • Apprentice and Trainee Travel and Accommodation Subsidy Scheme Policy (pdf 30 kb)

Subsidies (for travel and accommodation) are available  to apprentices and trainees who are required to travel for training blocks.

In general the Department of Business and Employment (DBE) funds:

  • Certificate II and III qualifications for new employees
  • Certificate IV or Diploma only if it is entry level to employment or a progression from a lower level qualification
  • one progression, for example from Certificate II to III or Certificate III to IV
  • existing workers in accordance with the User Choice Funding Program Policy.

RTOs that are successful in applying for User Choice funding must enter into a funding contract (known as a Resource Agreement) with DBE.


User Choice Program Manager, Department of Business and Employment, GPO Box 2391, Darwin NT 0801, t: (08) 8901 1323?, e:


The Queensland User Choice program enables apprentices, trainees and their employers to select a preferred Registered Training Organisation (RTO) from a list of Pre-qualified Suppliers for the delivery of accredited training to meet their specific needs.

Pre-qualified Suppliers can claim payment from the Department of Education and Training for training delivered to eligible apprentices and trainees.

2010 – 2015 Documents
The above page provides comprehensive information on User Choice – Getting started under the Pre-Qualified supplier, getting started package document.  Further information on policies and documentation relating to the User Choice 2010 – 2015 program is also available.

2010 – 2015 Program

The User Choice 2010 – 2015 program aims to provide funding aligned to the skill needs of industry and respond to changing government priorities in a timely manner.

A number of key principles underpin the program, including, ensuring that the program is transparent, flexible, responsive, consistently applied and easily understood.

The three key considerations of the program are the government’s funding priorities, the price paid for qualifications and the purchasing strategy used to obtain training and assessment services.

To deliver publicly-funded training and assessment services to apprentices and trainees, Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) must apply for, and be approved by the Department as, Pre-qualified Suppliers.

What is funded

The funding priorities under the User Choice 2010 – 2015 program will be:

  1. Priority One (100 per cent subsidised) – Priority One is those qualifications which lead to occupations identified as critical priorities as identified in the Queensland Skill Shortage List. All School-based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (in all qualifications declared as an Apprenticeship or Traineeship) and participants from priority population groups, excluding Priority Four and Unfunded qualifications, will be funded as Priority One.
  2. Priority Two (75 per cent subsidised) – Priority Two is those qualifications which lead to occupations not on the Queensland Skill Shortage List but are identified as high priorities which demonstrate a high level of occupational links with skills development, and are required to meet legislative requirements related to skills.
  3. Priority Three (50 per cent subsidised) – Priority Three is those qualifications which lead to occupations not on the Queensland Skill Shortage List but are identified as medium priorities which demonstrate a lower level of occupational links, and are not required to meet legislative requirements related to skills.
  4. Priority Four (25 per cent subsidised) – Priority Four is those qualifications which lead to non-entry level occupations and provide a key workforce development opportunity for existing workers and industry.  These qualifications will be funded under User Choice arrangements as a component of the Productivity Places Program, a joint Commonwealth and Queensland Government initiative.
  5. Unfunded – Unfunded qualifications are those which lead to occupations not on the Queensland Skill Shortage List and which are not a funding priority. This includes those qualifications which are not entry level qualifications identified by industry.

These funding priorities align with the skill outcomes required by industry.

The Queensland skill shortage list is compiled from national and state data, together with industry input, and is reviewed annually with updates throughout the year. Qualifications classified as a Priority One are those addressing skill shortages. The Queensland priorities are detailed in the User Choice 2010 – 2015 Qualification and price list.

Priority population groups are those declared on the national Apprenticeship/Traineeship Contract, such as individuals of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin, individuals from a non-English speaking background and individuals with a disability, impairment or long-term condition.


User Choice 2011 – 2012 qualification and price list (XLS, 100KB) updated 06/02/2012
User Choice 2011 – 2012 restricted qualifications price list (XLS, 33KB) updated 06/02/2012
User Choice localities and location loadings (XLS, 784KB) updated 14/09/2011


Information regarding qualifications funded under the User Choice 2010 – 2015 program is available at User Choice 2010 – 2015 Qualification and price list.

User Choice 2010 – 2015 policies are available at the User Choice 2010 – 2015 documents page.


VET Investment, Department of Education and Training, PO Box 15033, CITY EAST QLD 4002, Email:, Phone: (07) 3227 6271, Facsimilie: (07) 3229 3470

User Choice contract management enquiries:

VET Contract Management and Performance, Department of Education and Training, Email:, Facsimile: (07) 3229 3470

South Australia

Skills for All will replace the User Choice system during 2012, but existing User Choice Funding Agreements will continue to be met until they expire on 30 June 2012.

With the launch of Skills for All in 2012, User Choice is being phased out and no new User Choice Funding Agreements are being offered.

Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) with existing User Choice Funding Agreements in South Australia will continue with their User Choice claim arrangements using the Apprenticeship Traineeship Information System (ATIS).

What is funded – 2011 User Choice Policy at a glance (PDF)

Pricing – SA User Choice Unit Price List (PDF)

Documents – User Choice Funding Agreement 2011 (PDF)

Apprenticeship Traineeship Information System

Apprenticeship Traineeship Information System (ATIS) is the online system that automates processes related to User Choice arrangements. It will remain active for training providers with existing User Choice Funding Agreements.

ATIS services include:

•User Choice claims (training providers who have a current User Choice Funding Agreement can make online claims for on-job and off-job delivery)

•User Choice Acquittal (training providers can complete and submit their User Choice Acquittal report online)

•online access to view contracts of training by both training providers and Australian Apprenticeship Centres (AACs)

• scope of registration (RTOs can view their scope of registration and qualifications).

To obtain access to ATIS each user must complete an ATIS Login Application Form and agree to the ATIS User Agreement. For new user access, download the ATIS login request form (PDF) and the ATIS User Agreement (PDF)

Contacts  For more information, call TAS on 1800 673 097 and ask to speak to a User Choice Officer.


Skills Tasmania reserves the right to negotiate the subsidy amount for RTOs wishing to train large numbers (20 or more) of apprentices or trainees for individual enterprises. This includes enterprise-based RTOs. (An enterprise based RTO is defined as an RTO which is wholly owned by a trading enterprise and whose sole purpose is to deliver training to the employees of that enterprise). In these cases enquiries should be directed by email to:

Carolyn Nichols, Manager Strategic Directions (Learners), Skills Tasmania, Ph: (03) 6233 4642, email:

2012 Application

RTOs may apply to deliver apprenticeships and traineeships in Tasmania year round, if they have appropriate scope, by completing the following User Choice Application and 2012 – 2014 Skills Tasmania Funding Agreement.

Step 1 – 2012 – 2014 Skills Tasmania Funding Agreement

All Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are required to enter into a 2012 – 2014 Skills Tasmania Funding Agreement with Skills Tasmania when obtaining a subsidy for training with Skills Tasmania in 2012.  It applies to all programs (except Adult Literacy Programs) and is for the delivery of training program commencements between 1 January and 31 December 2014 for individual programs entered into annually.

Step 2 – User Choice Application [Word 539KB]

RTOs can apply for User Choice funding anytime throughout a calendar year provided the qualifications that are being applied for are on their Scope of Registration at the time of applying.

Where an RTO wishes to deliver training to a single enterprise for 20 or more apprentices or trainees in the one qualification, they must request prior approval before lodging a User Choice application.

Skills Tasmania will subsidise training for delivery in Tasmania only, unless there are no RTOs who deliver a particular qualification in the state, in this case, User Choice will be paid for the closest RTO.

Only the approved application form listed is accepted. Agreements will only apply to commencements after the date of issue and will not be issued retrospectively.

What is funded

Skills Tasmania has changed the way in which agreements are issued to registered training organisations (RTOs).  The changes to the issuing of an Agreement are as follows:

  • An Agreement, known as the “2012-2014 Skills Tasmania Agreement” is for a period of three (3) years.
  • Every RTO is required to enter into an Agreement with Skills Tasmania if they wish to apply for any subsidised programs managed by Skills Tasmania for the period 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2014.
  • An Agreement can be entered into at any time within the three year period, but must be in place before submitting an application for any of the programs managed by Skills Tasmania.
  • Only one Agreement per RTO is required, i.e. per RTO Registration Number.
  • RTOs must have a signed Agreement in place before being given Purchasing Contract IDs for payment purposes.
  • There is no need to enter into an Agreement each an application is submitted.


Application forms are available for individual training programs.  If successful, the application will form what is referred to in the Agreement as Part 3 “Schedule of Purchased Programs”.  If an application is successful details relating to claims for payment will be given to a RTO.

Each time an application is submitted for any of the programs RTOs will be required to agree to the terms of the Agreement already entered into and that the organisation is bound by the 2012-2014 Skills Tasmania Agreement.

By signing the 2012-2014 Funding Agreement, RTOs are in no way guaranteed of program subsidies within the three year period.

Documents RTOs must still apply for through the individual programs using the specific application forms provided on each of the programs websites which are available at:

  • Funding/Subsides for      Apprenticeships and Traineeships (User Choice)
  • Skills Equip
  • PPP+

Contacts Free call number: 1800 655 846, Email:


All Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), including TAFE Institutes, are required to enter into a Service Agreement with the Victorian Skills Commission (VSC) in order to deliver government subsidised training under Skills for Victoria.

What is funded

2012 Service Agreement Skills for Victoria Program – reference guidelines, documents and Acts for the 2012 Service Agreement valid for students commencing training between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2012



RTOs that are contracted to deliver Victorian Government subsidised training will be involved in contract compliance audit program to ensure compliance with the conditions under which they are contracted. Information on the audit requirements can be found under Auditing.


TAFE and Training Line, 131 823 or, Skills Victoria Help Hub, 1300 842 754

Apprenticeship Administration Information Line, 1300 722 603 or

Apprenticeship Trade Bonus Hotline, 1300 855 282

Western Australia

The Department is strategically managing the Western Australian apprenticeship and traineeship system to:

  • manage public resources in the State vocational education and training system
  • strategically plan, fund and monitor publicly funded training
  • provide workforce development planning which includes:
    • a whole of Government approach
    • industry and regions
    • the Aboriginal workforce

The Department has released Skilling WA: A workforce development plan for Western Australia.  All information about tenders for training places is now listed on Tenders WA.

Contacts Phone: 08 6551 5000

Wendy Perry and Associates prepares for the low carbon economy

By | Sustainability, Vocational Education and Training | No Comments

Reducing costs, greenhouse gas emissions and energy use has been the result of a strategic commitment by Wendy Perry and Associates Pty Ltd to monitor and reduce consumption over the past four years.

For the 2010-11 year total emissions for vehicle travel, electricity, waste, purchased paper, flights and taxi travel reduced down to 6.18tCO2e – a 34% saving on the previous financial year.

A base year energy and emissions analysis for 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008 identified scope 1, scope 2 and selected scope 3 emissions as totalling 63.9tCO2e with the activity contributing to the majority of the emissions related to business travel.  Since being made aware of the company’s emissions and energy use, 44.84tCO2e was the total emissions for 2008-9 and 21.54 tCO2e for 2009-10.

Sustainability is a strategic priority for the company, reflected in values, behaviours and core competencies.  Emissions savings were made by engaging with our team, utilising readily accessible technology for online meetings and collaboration, reducing interstate travel and the introduction of a policy that recognises who is responsible for business travel.

“A commitment to reducing our emissions has really paid off as we can show a 36% saving from last financial year in our fuel costs and a 41% saving in our travel expenses.  Electricity costs have risen slightly and so in the New Year we are installing solar panels to further reduce electricity and energy consumption.  The option to offset emissions will be included in client proposals and environmentally friendly office supplies will be another change introduced next year”, explains Wendy Perry, Managing Director, Wendy Perry and Associates Pty Ltd.

The company’s commitment to operating as a carbon neutral corporation during the 2010-11 inventory period has meant the unavoidable GHG emissions are offset using carbon offsets registered under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and equate to the equivalent of taking approximately 1.7 passenger vehicles off the road for 12 months.

“Wendy Perry & Associates is a great example of what can be achieved when a company draws focus on GHG’s within the business and across the value chain. A commitment, which when led from senior management and filtered through the organisational culture, ultimately leads to an improvement in operational efficiencies and expenses”, said Matthew Shorten Managing Director of BalanceCarbon, who has been working with the company since 2007.

For further information go to:

What’s hot in Workforce Development for 2012?

By | Vocational Education and Training, Workforce Development, Workforce Planning | No Comments

As we look towards 2012, funding, innovation, productivity, regional development, sustainability, and workforce development strategies are ‘hot’ from an enterprise, government and industry perspective.  Pick n mix from the following opportunities and get in touch with Workforce BluePrint if you would like an experienced workforce development and planning service provider as your partner, planner or professional developer.

Australian Apprenticeship Centre tender – Australian Apprenticeships Centres:

• Provide assistance to employers, Australian Apprentices and training providers throughout the duration of the Australian Apprenticeship which ends with the successful completion of the Australian Apprenticeship
• Assist in meeting the Australian Government targets in relation to Closing the Gap in Indigenous disadvantage
• Work with the State and Territory Training Authorities to provide an integrated service
• Establish effective relationships with Job Services Australia providers, Group Training Organisations, Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), schools and community organisations
• Administer Australian Apprenticeships incentive payments to employers and Australian Apprentices
• Market and promote Australian Apprenticeships in the local area.

Australian Apprenticeships Mentoring Program and the Australian Apprenticeships Advisers Program focusing on retention and choosing the right Australian Apprenticeship are open to receive applications now.

Clean Energy Future – The Jobs and Competitiveness Program; Additional Measures for Manufacturing; Support for the Steel Industry; Support for the Coal Industry; Clean Technology Investment Program; Clean Energy Skills; Energy Efficiency Information Grants; Low Carbon Australia; Low Carbon Communities.

Critical Skills Investment Fund – On 19 September 2011, the Minister for Skills and Jobs, the Hon Senator Chris Evans, announced successful projects under Funding Round 1 worth more than $41 million, with Australian Government contributing $28 million.  The successful projects provide rapid and innovative training that is tailored to meet the immediate skills needs of enterprises in the resources, construction, infrastructure and renewable energy industry sectors.

Enterprise Connect – The WIIN Round 8 application period opens on 1 December 2011 closing at 5.00 pm AEDST on 6 January 2012.  WIIN Round 8 is seeking applications for the delivery of activities to enable Australian businesses to be more competitive in the global economy. To download a copy of the theme document (DOC 164.5KB) simply click on the link.  The following sets out the key dates for upcoming WIIN Rounds.


Application Period Activity Delivered Period


1 December 2011 – 6
January 2012
1 July 2012 – 30 September 2012


10 February 2012 – 12 March 2012 1 October 2012 – 31 December 2012


7 May 2012 – 4 June 2012 1 January 2013 – 31 March 2013

Information on the themes and topics for future rounds will be provided prior to the round opening. This information needs to be read in conjunction with the WIIN Guidelines prior to lodging your application.

Gender Diversity – There is a strong business case and equity argument for gender diversity with organisations and industry sectors realising the opportunity for more women in the workforce.

National Resources Workforce Development Strategy – The strategy identifies a number of specific projects that will be delivered in partnership with industry. Before calling for proposals, DEEWR will consult with industry stakeholders on the project objectives and deliverables and will vary for each project.

National Workforce Development Fund – first round closed 30 September 2011 – look out for future rounds.

National Workforce Productivity Agency – Senator Evans said the National Workforce and Productivity Agency, which was announced in the May budget, would begin its work next month (October 2011) instead of its original start date of July next year.

Regional Development Australia Fund – On 3 November 2011, Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, the Hon Simon Crean MP, launched Round Two of the RDAF and provided a further $200 million to support priority projects in regional Australia.

Suburban Jobs Program – Stakeholder feedback on the draft Program Guidelines is currently being considered in the development of the final Suburban Jobs Program Guidelines. Once finalised, the Program guidelines, application form and funding agreement will be made available on the department’s website and eligible applicants will be invited to submit applications for funding under the Suburban Jobs Program. Applications will be assessed against the eligibility and selection criteria outlined in the final Program guidelines, after which recommendations for funding will be made to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.  One to keep an eye on!

Sustainable Australia – Measures – Sustainable Communities – The 2011-12 Budget provides $150 million to support a sustainable population in Australia through four measures: Suburban Jobs; Sustainable Regional Development; Promoting Regional Living; and Measuring Sustainability. These measures have strong links to other government initiatives, including changes to the Regional Sponsored Migrant Scheme, making it easier for skilled migrants to progress to permanent residency in regional Australia.

Teleworking – Industry research on the call/contact centre sector, teleworking and working at home agents supported by technology including national broadband.

Vocational Education and Training – We know you get loads of emails, copies of reports and research so just for you, here’s a summary of what’s hot in VET for 2012.

Workforce Development – Workforce development strategies bridge the gap between the current workforce and the desired workforce

Workforce Innovation Program – The Workforce Innovation Program is part of the broader Australian Government approach to workforce development. The program provides funding for innovative, one-off projects that address workforce skill needs.

Work Life Balance – Increasingly work flexibility and Work Life Balance are emerging as workforce issues and development gaps.

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Get Ready for Skills for All

By | Vocational Education and Training, Workforce Development, Workforce Planning | No Comments

If you are operating in the South Australian training market then ‘get ready’ is the key message from the Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology (DFEEST).  Get ready for:

  • the application process to open in the last week or two of October 2011;
  • the course (qualifications and skills sets/licence outcomes) list in November 2011 – could be a specialist occupation, state priority (such as Defence, Mining, Arts), foundation skills and/or meet specific  industry needs; and
  • the price list available in December 2011.

Prices will be detailed at a unit of competency level and will vary depending on AQF levels.  The rates will be based upon an average of User Choice, Productivity Places Program and TAFESA’s recurrent funding amounts (referred to as FSI500) together with a comparison of interstate VET prices.  Payments are planned on units of competency completion (RTOs will need to manage their cash flow well) paid on a monthly cycle with bonus payments for full completions.

Certificate I and II will be fully subsidised, Certificate III and IV 80% subsidised and Diploma and Advanced Diploma 70% subsidised with concessions available (Healthcare/Veterans Card) and 1 skills set/year for eligible applicants.  DFEEST will publish a minimum and maximum fee to be paid to make up the difference between the subsidised % and the full costs.  RPL will be fully funded.

The Quality Directorate is moving into the area of contract and purchasing quality.  Applications for Skills for All will be online, no fees to apply, with no closing date and it’s recommended that the RTO’s CEO gain a log in.  RTOs can work on their application over time until they are ready to ‘submit’ their submission.  If providers submit in December 2o11, the Minister will make some providers an offer with contract negotiations over January – March 2012 and the first list of Skills for All providers will be made public in April 2012.  Fact Sheet 2 Applying to be a Skills for All Provider procedure details the process for applications and assessments.

If you are a User Choice provider and want to continue after July 2012, you need to register as a Skills for All provider.  Providers may also wish to register for VET fee help with the option of income contingent loans for students.

Now for the main game, what are the selection criteria (Fact Sheet 3) for providers?  Well, it’s all about performance…

  • regulatory record (information will be shared with DFEEST and the regulator, ASQA);
  • contract compliance;
  • financial health (of the whole organisation, not only the RTO);
  • number of graduates;
  • student and employer satisfaction (quality indicator reports via Training Packages); and
  • graduate outcomes.

Tips for providers: focus on your strengths, where industry/client demand and your performance is high, where you have strong industry connections and excellent graduate outcomes.

DFEEST is taking an evidence based approach to Skills for All providers with data and evidence to be provided about:

  • Meeting SA Guidelines for RTOs;
  • Meeting student learning needs;
  • the RTO;
  • Training Package/s; and
  • Each qualification.

Review Fact Sheet 4 Preparing to Apply to be a Skills for All Training Provider for all the details on specific evidence – if you don’t have a workforce plan for your RTO and/or a recent Training Needs Analysis then this has to be the catalyst!

A few final things..

  • What RTOs put in their application will form part of the contract requirements;
  • The contract will be monitored with an annual review, reporting and claims requirements, benchmarking across similar courses with triggers if you are an ‘outlier’ in terms of performance/price or receive complaints against your RTO; and
  • Information on Skills in the Workplace will be available in October 2011.

Throughout 2012, the level of interest in workforce development, with RTOs building their own workforce plan’s and undertaking professional development in workforce development and planning, has significantly increased as leaders are positioning themselves to be primed for Skills for All and national reforms – are you?

Want to be the first to get the news and info?  Subscribe to the Workforce Planning Tools blog and contact our Head Workforce Planner, Wendy Perry via for assistance with your workforce plan.

PS. Have you seen the latest announcement from Traineeship and Apprenticeship Services about additional User Choice funding for Existing Worker Certificate III Training Contracts?  For commencing contracts on or after1.9.11, all existing worker trainees under a Cert III qual will attract a User Choice subsidy in South Australia.  For further info, contact Chris Pyne, Manager, Traineeship and Apprenticeship Programs.











National Workforce Development Fund, Skills Australia, NCVER, Skills for All, news, views, blogs

By | Vocational Education and Training, Workforce Development, Workforce Planning, Workforce Projects | No Comments

National Workforce Development Fund  – On Wednesday 10 August 2011, the National Workforce Development Fund (NWDF) opened with $558 million for 2011-12 to 2014-15 and the due date for applications is 12 noon 30 September 2011*…

Putting skills at the heart of the economy  – 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…

2011 NCVER No Frills Conference – I haven’t missed many NCVER conferences over the years and I’m glad that I attended the 20th No Frills Conference in Coffs Harbour this week as it gave me an opportunity to take some time out to think of new initiatives and identify ideas to explore with others…

Skills for Prosperity and the 2011 Federal Budget  – On the 3rd May 2011, Skills Australia launched their most significant paper to date on workforce development titled Skills for Prosperity A roadmap for Vocational Education and Training

Evidence based approach to workforce and client demand – 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…

Skills for All and Opportunities for You  – 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…

Congratulations to:

Skillsbook website providers a home for credentials – use Skillsbook to build skills profiles for RPL, profile job roles, undertake Training Needs Analysis and build competency frameworks.  Download Skillsbook for iphone too.

RDNS Education Centre for being shortlisted for small training provider of the year at the South Australian Training Awards – see you on the night, 2nd September 2011 at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

National Crime Check – new website launched where you can submit your police check online.

Australian VET Leaders – potential, emerging and current Join the 400 strong members of this LinkedIn community discussing VET issues and opportunities.  Are you an Australian VET Leader?

Training Needs Analysis Workshops  Recently Service Skills Australia presented a professional development opportunity ideal for practitioners facilitating internal Training Needs Analysis (TNA), working with teams, enterprises and organisations, up to major projects such as large sporting complexes, around Australia.  Workforce BluePrint was contracted to facilitate the workshops and Wendy Perry and we received feedback like,

Thank you for the material from the recent workshop on TNA.  It is most help full and appreciated.  Can I say that I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation and as it gave me a better insight into the value of  TNA and its execution.

Here are all the comments from participants.

SMART Business Association The SMART Business Association website is being designed and it will be the site to be on if you run a business in Southern Adelaide or do business in the South – all with searchable categories and extras to help you to grow your business and local market.  Get a listing as part of your membership for only $50, email Garry Triffett for your membership form.

Latest Presentations and Workshops Workshops, conferences, professional development activities on leading edge topics.  Bookings are currently being taken into 2012 – get in quickly with your preferred dates!

Latest blogs and views

Customer Friendly Flying and Travel in Australia

Innovation Leader?

Queen’s birthday long weekend in Rockhampton

Hobby blogging as featured in SA Defence Business Magazine

Think Food – Think Consistency, Quality and Trust as featured for in business magazine

Barossa Valley – can we have it all plus a mini break?

Lazy Ballerina, K1, Three Brothers Arms, Longview and Royal Oak

Succeeding in your first full time job

Cellar Door Wine Festival

What have we been up to?

  • Development of workforce plans and competency frameworks for various clients across Australia in the Agriculture, Banking and Finance, Building and Construction, Civil Construction, Community Services, Contact Centre, Defence, Disability, Education, Employment Services, Energy, Events, Food and Wine, Government, Health, Higher Education, Manufacturing, Mining and Resources, Telecommunications, Tourism, Vocational Education and Training (VET), and Water sectors
  • Consultant for the design and development of Ergon Energy’s Capability Framework, 2011
  • Project management of the South Australian Contact Centre Survey for ATA and the Department of Trade and Economic Development, 2011
  • Project management of the WorkLife Balance Innovations Project for SafeWork SA including facilitation of Masterclasses, 2011
  • Facilitation of the Women influencing Defence and Resources Industries (WiDRI) Community of Practice, 2011
  • Recognition of Prior Learning Project for Regional Development Australia, Kangaroo Island, June 2011
  • Skills Australia information session, May 2011
  • DFEEST SA Works Strategic Planning Workshop, May 2011
  • Defence Teaming Centre networking, May 2011
  • Workforce development and planning workshop for small-medium sized enterprises (SMEs), Sunraysia Institute of TAFE, Mildura, May 2011
  • ACPET and WEA networking event, May 2011
  • Workforce plan for South West TAFE in Victoria, May 2011
  • South Australian Skills and Workforce Forum, April 2011
  • Women influencing Defence and Resource Industries (WiDRI) Community of Practice launch, April 2011
  • Women in Leadership, CEDA luncheon, April 2011
  • Can we have it all? Regional Development Australia, Barossa Valley, April 2011
  • SMART Friday Night drinks at the Vic, March 2011
  • Think Food, Food SA, March 2011
  • Work Life Balance Masterclass and Tools project, March 2011
  • Workforce planning for service success, Jobs Australia, March 2011 and May 2011
  • Cellar Door Wine Festival, February 2011
  • RPL system design, February 2011
  • SMART business breakfast, February 2011
  • Workforce planning for local government, Queanbeyan Local Government Association NSW, February 2011
  • Development a regional workforce plans and client analysis for Job Service Australia and Disability Employment Service providers, 2011
  • Regional workforce plan for the Mid North and Yorke Peninsula in South Australia, January 2011
  • Australia Day mini break at Port Elliot, January 2011
  • Tour Down Under, Willunga stage finish, January 2011
  • Business and workforce profile for Kangaroo Island, January 2011

Contact us…

The very best way to contact us is via 1. email , 2 text 0416 150 491, 3. Call 0416 150 491, 4. call our office number 08 8387 9800, 5. fax 08 8387 9820.

If you do not wish to receive copies of our enews please send an email to with “Thanks but no thanks” in the subject line – we’ll understand.

National Workforce Development Fund

By | Vocational Education and Training, Workforce Development, Workforce Projects | No Comments

On Wednesday 10 August 2011, the National Workforce Development Fund (NWDF) opened with $558 million for 2011-12 to 2014-15 and the due date for applications is 12 noon 30 September 2011*.  $148 million is available during 2011-12 which is made up of $73 million under this NWDF and $74 million under existing arrangements for the Critical Skills Investment Fund.

As the new Workforce Productivity Agency isn’t yet established (from 1 July 2012), DEEWR is managing the NWDF for this financial year using a model based upon the Enterprise Based Productivity Places Program with applications through the Industry Skills Councils.

Partnering Organsiations (POs) including enterprises, professional associations, industry bodies, lead agents for a consortia and employment service providers can apply (not Registered Training Organisations but as least 1 RTO must be involved).  The partnership for an application must involved 1 or more POs, RTO/s and an Industry Skills Council (ISC).

“A key element of the Fund is to encourage organisations to undertake workforce planning and skills needs analysis to develop training solutions that align with business goals.”  Workforce BluePrint is working with RTOs from around Australia in developing their skills and capability in workforce development and planning, RPL and Training Needs Analysis.  Read comments and feedback from participants in our programs, workshops and projects.  Use tools and templates to help you to develop your own workforce plan and for your clients.

Aged care ($25 million) and construction sectors ($25 million) are priorities linked to the mining boom, roll out of the National Broadband Network and housing demand.  There is direct link with the Cleaner Energy Future Plan as, “funding will also be allocated for projects that enhance workers’ energy efficiency skills and develop skills which support the use of low emissions technology or support the development of clean energy skills in the construction sector and across all sectors”, up to $10 million.

Proposals need to be submitted to Industry Skills Councils with most ISC’s asking for applications by late August – mid September 2011*.  ISC’s will call for proposals, convene an Assessment Panel with DEEWR to identify priorities for funding against the Assessment Criteria, submit applications to DEEWR, maintain contact with applicants, monitor the partnership arrangements, receive $$ and disperse funds, collect data and undertake reporting. 

Training through the Fund must be for an Eligble Qualification, for new workers Certificate II-Vocational Graduate Diploma and existing workers Certificate III-Vocational Graduate Diploma.  Qualifications eligible for funding are mapped to the Priority Occupation List (POL – available soon) with each ISC together with DEEWR outlining priority areas.

“RTOs delivering under the Fund must offer Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)…for each participant in the program.”

Have you got a partnership with the relevant Industry Skills Councils?  Follow the links below to take you to specific pages on the National Workforce Development Fund applications:

Agrifood Skills Australia

Construction and Property Services Industry Skills Council

Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council


Forest Works

Government Skills Australia


 Manufacturing Skills Australia

Skills DMC

Service Skills Australia and say hi to Bernard Moore in the video

Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council

 Interested in assistance to develop a Workforce Plan, undertake a Training Needs Analysis or build your capability in workforce development and planning?  Get in touch with our Head Workforce Planner, Wendy Perry via .

Putting skills at the heart of the economy 2011 conference – tipping point

By | Vocational Education and Training, Workforce Development, Workforce Planning | No Comments

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.

National Centre for Vocational Education and Research 2011 Conference, North Coast TAFE, Coffs Harbour

By | Research, Vocational Education and Training | One Comment

I haven’t missed many NCVER conferences over the years and I’m glad that I attended the 20th No Frills Conference in Coffs Harbour this week as it gave me an opportunity to take some time out to think of new initiatives and identify ideas to explore with others.

Hosted by North Coast TAFE, I spent 12-13 July 2011 working with the Institute on building their capability in workforce development which turned out to be a great lead into the conference.

At the welcome reception I met Samantha Connor, Access and Equity Officer from C.Y. O’Connor Institute who I knew via Facebook as well as many Australian VET Leaders from the LinkedIn group I manage – it was great to meet and catch up with people, like a reunion really and being greeted with a hug plus smiles from colleagues is lovely.

The first keynote was Elizabeth McGregor, Institute Director of North Coast TAFE talking from the thoughtful perspective of a user of research, leader, educator on Aiming high …how can research accelerate the shift from inputs to impacts?  Elizabeth answered what does quality VET do? by showing the overarching interconnection of workforce development with circles of individual development, community development and enterprise development all resulting in regional development.  What value do quality providers create? was her next Q and A demonstrated by an overarching ‘skills in use’ concept with circles of workforce participation, social inclusion and productivity resulting in regional competitive advantage.

Introducing a spectrum of moving from inputs through to outputs helped Elizabeth to ask the research community, are we telling our story?, do we need to tell it [as in VET specific/sector]? or has the time passed? (and by that I think she meant, it’s not about us, it’s about our clients stories), and is our research working towards solutions, rather than being a historical account or internally focussed on things that don’t matter as much? {as the plot line of inputs to impacts from our client’s perspective}.  Fresh ideas for research were the message here.

Concurrent sessions for the morning took me from Professional obsolescence or technical currency in VET? With Australian VET leader Regan Harding (TAFENSW – North Coast Institute), to IS Australia taking mainstream VET services to all Australians no matter where they live by good friend Lesley Wemyss from Crestfern working for this Darwin based private provider has introduced an innovative approach to taking industry standard skills training to regional and remote Australia.  A truly impressive model with a modular, mobile campus for construction, mining, energy and resources, transport and logistics, that can be deployed via road train, sea or rail across Australia.  Modules include state of the art industry workshops, accommodation units for trainers and high tech classrooms.  IS Australia are demonstrating that industry skills development in communities is so doable with great individual, community and employment outcomes.

Pecha Kucha is a presentation methodology in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each, and this was the format of the next series of 6 minutes and 40 seconds sessions (glad I was presenting in those and felt for the presenters (they did a great job) on ‘practice’.  Wasn’t sure what to expect and got an eclectic but also related series of presentations on Compassionate leadership practice by Mary Tehan from Ultimacy who presented a Compassionate Leadership model based upon LISTEN and then RESPOND; Completing for success at SWSI with Rosemary Lasaro and Jane Kelly providing practical examples of ways to increase completion rates; Dis/engaged you/th: connections and disconnections between practitioners and youth (as I was typing I just got the significance of the title – clever!)  by Melanie Worrall from the Australian Flexible Learning Framework; and What knowledge, what boundaries, what borders by Anne Bowden from TAFENSW – New England Institute (happy to have been your referee for your NCVER Community of Practice application too).

Taking an evidence based approach to workforce and client demand was my contribution to the conference with a session that demonstrated regional case studies (Kangaroo Island and Clare Valley/Yorke Peninsula) and ways to connect up various data sets and information from the ABS, NCVER (using the Public Atlas of VET and VOCSTATS), DEEWR (particularly labour market and Employment Services Area info), local regional profiles, major projects and local council plans to identify current and future workforce demand.  This coupled together with qualitative and quantitative data from local businesses and industry with a regional skills profile all mapped to units of competency from National Training packages and qualifications identified strengths and development needs – the basis for a regional workforce plan and great intelligence for VET and employment service providers.

Enabling electronic verification of VET learner records presented by the ever positive and passionate (which is exactly what we need!) Allison Miller, a South Australian colleague from the Australian Flexible Learning Framework.  Allison identified emerging work around the ‘how to’ and reminded me of comments by colleague David Morgan from The Work Lab that we need to have a go, try it out and use the experience to inform our approach to all the barriers people put forward about why a central and national learner records system plus electronic verification of records won’t be possible (NB> this is exactly what Australia is heading towards).

The conference dinner at Bonville Golf Resort saw us have drinks and finger food on the lawns overlooking the stunning golf course where conference goers had a chance to win a prize by chipping a golf ball over a couple of mounds, past a sand trap and as close to a hole in one as they could get.  Not being a golfer I passed on the opportunity and it was great to see Berwyn Clayton, Lesley Weymess and Pat Lange give it a go. 

Keynote for the second day was Peter Coolbear, Ako Aotearoa, National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, New Zealand on Vocational education research in New Zealand: old issues and emerging opportunities from a funder’s perspective.  Peter talked about use-inspired research based projects and the application of Pasteur’s Quadrant

Over skilling and job satisfaction in the Australian labour force, by Kostas Mavromaras from NILS, Flinders University presented interesting figures on the economic value of over skilling or over educating or over skilling + over educating.  Most strikingly was the difference in pay/week via gender with the main message for me being related to skills utilisation, wage expectations and match of skills to job roles.

Industry engagement models: matching expectations of industry and RTOs presented by fellow Australian VET Leader, Rebecca Hall from International Education Resources Group, and Greg McMillan from ProVoc Australia Pty Ltd proved very popular.  Greg presented models from a domestic VET perspective with live examples and Rebecca outlined approaches for international student and partner engagement.  Let’s do the skills and competency map to the models as industry engagement capability is an identified gap (will follow you both up later).

As my flight was at 1.00 pm from Coffs Harbour to Sydney and then home to Adelaide, I missed the afternoon sessions.  Please feel free to post links on info with your comments and parts that you enjoyed and follow me up or join the Australian VET Leaders group.