Category Archives: Workforce Planning

Budget 2012-13 – Workforce Development and Planning

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Budget 2012-13 – Workforce Development and Planning

Delivered by THE HONOURABLE WAYNE SWAN MP, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND TREASURER OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA.

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

Defence

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.

Maximise Your Workforce Productivity = Capability x Capacity + Contribution

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Blog courtesy of Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner, Workforce BluePrint who presented Maximise Your Workforce Productivity and Uncover Funding Opportunities at a breakfast event in Townsville on 17 April 2012 sponsored by DEEWR and the Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE.

QLD is nearly twice as likely to be having difficulty in attracting staff in regional towns/cities (48.6%) than the national average (25.8%). The mining states of WA & QLD are also facing difficulty in attracting staff to rural and remote locations, with twice as many respondents in these combined states saying this is the case (17.9%), compared to the rest of Australia (8.9%). Labourers have been much more difficult to recruit in QLD (20.3%), which has recently suffered considerable damage from flooding, than the other states.

Source: Bank West Skills Shortage Report, April 2012

Why Workforce Planning?  Why for you?

  • Risk management
  • Significant employer or small employer
  • Dynamic and complex economy
  • Legislative and contractual environment
  • Significant growth or downsizing
  • Challenges with shift in demographics and age profile
  • Industry and policy directions (national, state, local)
  • New project, site, facility
  • Problems attracting, recruiting and retaining staff
  • Improve quality, workplace health and safety
  • Example of good practice and increasing requirements for contracts/client expectations
  • Evidence based approach for capability, tenders and proposals

Business Health Check – strengths and development needs

At a high level where are the strengths and where are the development needs?

From 0 – 10 rate your organisation across the following areas:

  • Strategic Direction
  • Development of Business Processes
  • Human Resources
  • Finances
  • Customers
  • Market Analysis

What is Workforce Planning?  What is Workforce Development?

Workforce Planning is the process of taking stock of the current workforce, forecasting future workforce requirements and identifying gaps or issues.

Workforce Development relates to strategies and activities that bridge those gaps.

Develop a workforce plan in 5 easy steps

  1. Context and environment
  2. Current workforce profile
  3. Future workforce profile
  4. Gap analysis and closing strategies
  5. Review and evaluation

Who should be involved?

  • Business owner/manager and/or executive commitment
    • Whole of business?  Slice/sample?  Depends on the size of your organisation
    • Utilise communication mechanisms across the organisation – executive, management, general staff, clients
    • Incorporate existing information e.g. Staff surveys, performance management,  job descriptions
    • An approach that works well is a working group representing job roles
    • Development of a project plan
    • Over educate & over communicate

Design workforce development strategies to attract and retain your workforce – build capability and capacity plus contribution.  Gap closing strategies may include:

#1 = Retention

  • Ageing particularly if you have an outside workforce with Workplace Health and Safety issues
  • Succession planning, knowledge management, communication, career paths
  • Training needs analysis, learning and development plans, leadership development
  • Work Life Balance – packaging benefits of flexible working arrangements, phased retirement
  • Employer of Choice, reward and recognition
  • Common employee views – not feeling valued and respected, could attract a higher salary elsewhere, don’t like internal politics
  • Check on excessive hours, stress management
  • Priority occupations – demand vs. supply + or –

#2 = Attraction and Recruitment

Maximise Your Workforce Productivity by building on Capability x Capacity + Contribution through a workforce plan and take control.  Already have a workforce plan in place?  Use this checklist to compare your plan against a good practice approach.

Subscribe to this blog for the next post on Uncovering Funding Opportunities.

Happy Australia Day!

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Our Number 1 Australia Day spot is Port Elliot and Goolwa on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  Why recommend it?  It’s 45 minutes from our office, has beautiful beaches, a seaside village atmosphere with wineries, food/produce and markets close by.

Read this article about our Australia Day mini break experience and let us know you favourite mini break spot.

Taking mini breaks fits with our values and core competencies especially Work Life Balance – what Work Life Balance provisions does your organisation provide and are mini breaks in the package?

It’a a brief blog this time as the BBQ and beach is calling – we hope you enjoy your Australia Day wherever you may be!

NEW for 2012 Workforce Planning and Development Conference Talks (C) and Workshop (W) Topics

By | Human Resource Management, Strategic Planning, Workforce Development, Workforce Planning, Workforce Projects | No Comments

Looking for relevant and practical professional development and engaging conference presenters?  Any of these NEW topics interest you?

  • A Broader View of Client Workforce Development
  • An Introduction to Innovative Workforce Management
  • Building Competency Frameworks to Measure Workforce Capability
  • Developing a Workforce Plan in 5 Easy Steps
  • Engaging Employers, Stakeholders and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises
  • Future Service Provision
  • Give Your Organisation a Health Check  or Give your charity a business check
  • How to Develop a Skills Profile
  • Organisational Development – what every CEO, HR and VET professional must know
  • Regional Workforce Planning
  • Training Needs Analysis
  • Work Life Balance – An Introduction
  • Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) Extreme Make-over
  • Teleworking and Working at Home
  • What’s in your Innovation Toolkit?
  • Workforce Development and Planning in Practice

NB. Check out the info on customisation

Supporting tools and resources including:

  • NBN Enabled Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) – Assess Your Capability; and
  • Workforce Planner Self-evaluation

Interested?  YES, then read about the details of the topics, send an email to wendy@workforceplanningtools.com.au with your pick and mix list or specific focus area and we’ll come back to discuss what you want, a brief proposal and possible dates.  Thank you!

PS. join the Workforce Planning Tools LinkedIn Group for links, tips and hints.

What’s hot in Workforce Development for 2012?

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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.

Round

Application Period Activity Delivered Period

8

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

9

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

10

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
forecast.

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.

Subscribe to our blog and be the first to get the latest info on funding, news and opportunities – enter your email address into the box in the right hand menu.

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 wendy@workforceblueprint.com.au 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 wendy@workforceblueprint.com.au , 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 wendy@workforceblueprint.com.au with “Thanks but no thanks” in the subject line – we’ll understand.

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.

Skills for Prosperity and the 2011 Federal Budget

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

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.

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

Workforce Development Plan

By | Workforce Development, Workforce Planning | No Comments

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 1, 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!