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Skills@Work is compiled and distributed by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training. All articles are submitted by the originating organisation and are published with their approval. They may not necessarily reflect the views of the department.

If you would like to provide feedback on this newsletter, please send us an email.


September 2016

What’s happening
Industry news
Faces of Excellence
Upcoming events
Useful links


A message from the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills

As the new Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, I am moving quickly to support the Government’s agenda to raise the status of apprenticeships and vocational training generally.

As Australia celebrates National Skills Week, we are taking the opportunity to promote the diversity of practical and vocational learning. I am committed to a high quality VET system that ensures students are trained in skills for real jobs.

As a mechanical engineer, I understand the role VET plays in our economy. My on-the-ground experience gave me a unique view of the benefit of industry-led training in developing the skills Australia needs to innovate and adapt to changing economic conditions. In a competitive global environment, our VET system must help equip people with the skills they need for employment now and in the future.

Similarly, my work in industry and industrial relations before I entered Parliament taught me to appreciate the role apprenticeships play in productive workforces and people’s working lives. Apprentices have a job from day one and the record shows they are likely to have ongoing employment.

This is why Australian Apprenticeships are high on the Government’s agenda.

Building on the Government’s first term reforms, completion rates of apprentices will continue to be a primary focus.I announced recently new pilots that will test apprentice training models and provide alternative skills development for industry. The Government is determined to see vocational education and training is positioned to play an even bigger and better role in our education system.

Ensuring industry and employers have confidence in the quality of VET qualifications is high priority. High quality training and assessment is what underpins this confidence and raises the status of VET.

I will work hard to build this confidence.

I look forward to working closely with our vocational education and training sector.  VET is a vital of Australia’s tertiary education system and we want to keep it that way into the future.

The Hon Karen Andrews MP

Turnbull Government teams up with NRL and AFL SportsReady for apprenticeships

Pictured L – R - Cody Cook, Kevin Sheedy, Alan Tongue, Minister Birmingham, Cal Bruston (NBL legend), Minister Andrews, Luke Cook

On 29 August 2016, the Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham and Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, the Hon Karen Andrews MP launched National Rugby League (NRL) Australian Apprenticeship Ambassador videos and announced the partnering of AFL SportsReady with the Australian Apprenticeship Ambassadors programme as part of the 6th National Skills Week.

The Ministers were accompanied by Australian Apprenticeships Ambassadors from the National Rugby League (NRL) Alan Tongue, Australian Football League (AFL) Kevin Sheedy, Channel 7’s House Rules winners Luke and Cody Cook and ACT Training Awards winners and finalists.

The NRL players’ stories are available on the Australian Department of Education and Training’s YouTube channel and the AFL’s stories are available on AFL SportsReady’s YouTube channel.

For further information about the 2016 National Skills Week, visit http://www.nationalskillsweek.com.au/

AISC hosts IRC Chair meeting in Melbourne

The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) hosted the bi-annual Industry Reference Committees (IRC) Chairs meeting in Melbourne on 26 August to discuss the opportunities and challenges ahead in implementing the new arrangements for training product development, including the priorities of the AISC.

The meeting of almost 70 IRC Chairs from across Australia, along with the AISC and representatives from their allocated skills service organisations (SSO), acknowledged the significant body of work that had been undertaken to implement the new arrangements, including the broad industry engagement that had occurred to date.

The Hon Karen Andrews MP, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, presented the keynote address, highlighting the importance of the skills portfolio and the national training system to employment and economic growth in Australia. The Minister outlined her keen interest in education and training and her desire to build on the work of the IRCs and maintain a strong industry-driven system. 

AISC Chair, Mr John Pollaers, worked with IRC Chairs to address a number of matters arising from the implementation of the new arrangements, with a focus on the refresh of IRC structures and membership, the development of business cases and the completion of the IRC 4-year workplans. Mr Pollaers encouraged IRCs to use these opportunities to focus their industries on meeting the challenges ahead, in particular, ensuring employers in their sectors have the workforce they need to capitalise on growth opportunities.

Feedback from IRC Chairs was robust and welcomed. Mr Pollaers emphasised that, while the AISC wanted to see innovative approaches, the mechanics of the system – such as the structure and membership of IRCs and the content of workplans and business cases – must be right for the relevant industry sector and proportionate to the issue being addressed. Mr Pollaers also encouraged Chairs to raise issues with their SSO, and directly with the Department, if they felt something was not working efficiently and effectively.

IRCs Chairs also had the opportunity to use their experience, skills and knowledge of their industry sector to provide input into two key initiatives impacting the VET sector. The Department of Employment welcomed IRC Chairs’ feedback on the opportunities and challenges associated with implementing the Australian Government’s Youth Jobs PaTH program. The program is designed to give young people the employability skills and work experience they need to get a job. Further information is available at http://www.employment.gov.au/youth-jobs-path.

Representatives from the Victorian Department of Education and Training also received feedback from IRC Chairs about key aspects of the work they are leading work on behalf of all jurisdictions on future training product reform. In November 2015, Ministers asked senior officials to commence longer term work to ensure that training products – including training packages – remain relevant in the future and support skills development as technology, jobs and industries change.  An initial tranche of this work is expected to be considered by Ministers later this year.

Throughout the day it was acknowledged that IRCs are a important group, leading change and building on the strengths of Australia’s training system. The 70 IRCs will continue to work together to make sure the VET system delivers the current and future skills that employers need. For more information about the day visit - https://www.aisc.net.au/media/communique-industry-reference-committee-chairs-meeting. To find out how you can get involved visit the IRC page.

USI RTO Webinar (New Functions and Expert Tips) – Replay Available NOW!

The USI Office hosted a webinar series in the month of August. These webinar sessions featured content from the recent Face to Face with the USI Workshop series including:

• Demonstration and tips for using new system tools for RTOs and students
• Preview of transcript and correction functions
• Expert tips from the Operations Team on USI troubleshooting

The webinar also featured a presentation from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, regarding correction of AVETMISS records.

You can now watch it on-demand, via our website. This webinar is recommended for any student support and VET reporting staff and managers.

To keep up to date with the USI, please visit our website.

AVETMISS Release 8.0

The Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard (AVETMISS) is regularly reviewed to keep pace with the changing needs of the VET sector. Feedback from RTOs and student management system (SMS) vendors has contributed to a new release of the Standard, Release 8.0, which will come into effect from 1 January 2018.

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) has released the following resources to help you understand and prepare for the changes:

• The Get ready for Release 8.0 flyer provides RTOs with an overview of the changes and associated timelines.

AVETMISS 8.0 for VET Providers: what’s changing from release 7.0 details the changes between Releases 7.0 and 8.0 to the AVETMISS Provider Collection specifications, the AVETMISS Data element definitions, and the AVETMISS Validation Software (AVS) business rules.

To find out more join the free Get ready for AVETMISS Release 8.0 webinar on Wednesday 21 September at 11.30am —12.30pm AEST. Register now.

Social support for apprentices contributes to wellbeing

What does social support for young apprentices look like in Australia today? New research, published by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), looks at organisations with apprenticeship completion rates around 90%, well above the industry average. While there are formal mentor-like arrangements in place, these are only a small part of the story. Of greater significance to apprentices is the informal support provided by their more experienced peers.  Researchers found the essential ingredient to vocational development is a quality approach, which both large and small organisations can foster by:

• recognising that skills takes time to develop and require active nurturing on the job;
• placing high value on sharing skills and team work; and
• encouraging apprentices to tap into wider support networks.

For more information.

Why should my students attend the 2016 WorldSkills Australia National competition in Melbourne?

With only a few short weeks to go until the national competition, there’s still time to make sure your students don’t miss out on the many great things to see and do at the event including:

ULTIMATE SHOWDOWN – Be sure to catch the speed tests occurring across all three days, where competitors will be tasked with completing a small project in a “bragging rights” style timed competition.

HARNESS INSPIRATION - Take advantage of speaking to members of industry-leading organisations such as RMIT University, Dermalogica, Pallion and the VACC about the endless opportunities available through VET.

GIVE IT A GO - Take advantage of the broad range of Try’aSkill activities and go in the running to win one of three great prizes – a hoverboard, a Samsung VR or a iPad 4G – and don’t forget to visit The Gordon’s NAO robot at the Innovation Hub!

The National Competition is supported by the Victorian Government and will be held from Thursday to Saturday, 6-8 October at Melbourne Showgrounds. 

Entry into the National Competition is FREE, and there will be trains running from Flinders Street directly to the event.  Register today.

2016 NSW Training Awards - 8 September

The NSW Training Awards are conducted annually by the NSW Department of Industry to recognise outstanding achievement in the vocational education and training sector. The Awards honour and reward the achievements of students, trainers/teachers, training organisations, large and medium employers.

The Hon John Barilaro MP, Minister for Skills, Minister for Regional Development and Minister for Small Business will be hosting this year’s event. 

Training Services NSW in the NSW Department of Industry welcomed the National Rugby League as a new alliance partner for the 2016 Training Awards.

More information is on the Training Services NSW website.

2016 SA Training Awards - 9 September

The 2016 South Australian Training Awards, hosted by the Training and Skills Commission,
are the peak State awards for vocational education and training, recognising quality, innovation and excellence in training.

The awards acknowledge and reward individuals and organisations that excel in training. Individuals have the opportunity to be recognised for their potential, boost their profiles and build their careers. Organisations are also recognised and rewarded for innovative approaches to training.

The winners of the South Australian Training Awards will be announced on Friday 9 September 2016.

For more information, please visit  www.satrainingawards.sa.gov.au.

2016 Australian Training Awards - 17 November - Register Now

Recognising and showcasing excellence in the vocational education and training sector.

To book your tickets for the presentation event visit the Australian Training Awards website.

Australian Apprenticeship and Traineeship Information Service – Website Redesign

An opportunity to develop a content based hub that supports your information and resource needs into the future.

We have recently commenced the redesign of our website, specifically the content structure and access points for our users.

We are seeking expressions of interest to participate in a short, online activity that should take no longer than 15min. Please contact us via email with your expression of interest.

Projected dates for the trial are the weeks beginning 5 and 12 September 2016.

Australian Apprenticeship and Traineeship Information Service – Information Sessions

Are you looking for a free resource that provides current and relevant information to guide and support those interested in apprenticeships and traineeships?

Information sessions are free and of value to anyone involved in apprenticeships or traineeships career discussions, promotion or marketing of this sector. Webinars will also be available for those unable to attend.

Sessions will be available as follows:

Melbourne - Tuesday 9.30am 11 October 2016
Sydney - Tuesday 9.30am 20 October 2016
Brisbane - Tuesday 9.30am 8 November 2016
Adelaide - Tuesday 9.30am 22 November 2016

For more details or to register for a session, please visit our web page or call 1800 338 022


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Skills Impact

IRCs are responsible for planning the work that will occur in the upcoming years to the training package they are responsible for. The system requires each IRC to develop a Four Year Work Plan to provide notice to industry, training providers and the system about what is being considered for the future development of skill standards and qualifications in the training package.

Draft Four Year Work Plans are also now available for feedback for the following training packages:

Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical
Racing industry

On behalf of the relevant IRCs, we will be collecting feedback on each of these work plans until Friday 9 September.

SkillPASS reaches 40,000 competencies

Energy Skills Queensland has reached a major milestone, achieving 40,000 competencies processed and available through the SkillPASS competency management system.

SkillPASS now accommodates more than 40,000 independently verified competencies for its growing 12,000 strong user database. This result demonstrates the ability to create safe and productive workforces through effective competency management. 

SkillPASS provides organisations with a user friendly, online application to manage safety and compliance for their employees in one location. It facilitates a high level of quality control and ensures data validity and integrity.

SkillPASS is a system that provides a cost effective solution to tracking and verifying skills for a safer, more productive workforce.

SkillPASS continues to evolve through feedback from stakeholders. SkillPASS now allows access to web-based training and inductions and is conveniently able to book face-to-face training through a smartphone, tablet or computer, creating one platform for management of an organisations and individuals training.

SkillPASS is an initiative designed and managed by Energy Skills Queensland. To find out how SkillPASS can change the way you manage your workforce safety and compliance, please visit www.skillpass.com.au or call us on (07) 3721 8800.


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Lyn Wilson

In recognition of International Literacy Day on 8 September, we honour the 2015 winner of the Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award Lyn Wilson.

Lyn Wilson has extensive experience in successfully delivering a highly diverse range of language, literacy and numeracy programs in New South Wales.

For over 20 years, Lyn has managed the Sydney TAFE - Petersham College Foundation Studies section, which is known for its outstanding links with industry and its successful delivery of foundation skills and pre-employment programs. This success is largely due to Lyn’s ability to establish and maintain the loyalty and support of a large committed staff, as well as valued relationships with external stakeholders.

Lyn’s model of good practice, and designs of Indigenous pre-employment and other training programs, have been the key to the significant number of employment outcomes achieved for Aboriginal people in Sydney.

Raymond Fordimail and Yupunu Fiona Marika

To celebrate World Tourism Day on 27 September we honour Raymond Fordimail, finalist 2015 Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year Award and Yupunu Fiona Marika, finalist 2014 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Award.

Raymond Fordimail is passionate about Jawoyn country and sharing its beauty with visitors from all over the world. His work and studies have enabled him to develop the skills to share his culture through employment with Nitmiluk Tours at Nitimiluk National Park.

Raymond says his Australian School-based Apprenticeship has given him the opportunity to finish Year 12 and gain formal qualifications all while doing a job he loves.

Raymond has always enjoyed the peace of the Katherine River and believes that his qualification has provided him with the communication skills and confidence he needed to articulate the significance of the area to his clients. A passionate storyteller, Raymond’s career allows him to connect with people from different countries and backgrounds.

Yupunu Fiona Marika commenced her studies towards a Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management at the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education in 2012. She completed all the units in just over 18 months while working full-time as a Ranger on Country with Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation.

Yupunu is now one of three senior rangers with the corporation, and she leads a team of rangers in a range of land and sea-based management activities. This role requires her to provide mentoring, direction and leadership to the staff with whom she works.

Yupunu shares her cultural knowledge through her weekly visits to the Yirrkala School, where she and another ranger lead a Learning on Country programme.


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2016 Global Indigenous Women's Conference

12–14 September 2016, Stamford Grand Adelaide, Glenelg, Adelaide

Keynote speakers include Ms Muriel Stanley Venne, Ms Rachelle Venne, Dr Nina Sivertsen and the Hon. Linda Burney MP.

Visit the conference website to register or to read more about this and other Indigenous conferences.

2016 Global Indigenous Men’s Conference

12–14 September 2016, Stamford Grand Adelaide, Glenelg, Adelaide

Visit the conference website to register or for more details about the conference.

2016 Velg National VET Conference

15–16 September 2016, Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre

For more information about the Conference, visit the Velg website or contact the Events Team on 07 3866 0888 or at conference@velgtraining.com.


TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) Convention 2016 – Skills Resurgence

5–6 October 2016, Sofitel Melbourne on Collins

Skills Resurgence, the 2016 TDA Convention, will feature high-profile speakers, discussions, engaging workshops, and invaluable networking opportunities.

With award winning journalist Virginia Trioli as MC, a highlight of the convention will be the new Innovation Lounge (i-Lounge), a platform to showcase start‑up, early stage and established companies at the cutting-edge of innovative and disruptive technologies.

View the flyer and read more about the conference.

WorldSkills Australia National Competition

6–8 October 2016, Melbourne

Get your ticket to the 2016 WorldSkills Australia National Competition.


E-Oz and SkillsOz Conference 2016

8–9 November, Marriott Resort and Spa, Surfers Paradise

The theme for 2016 is Assuring quality in the National VET system – Change, Challenge, Opportunity and the conference will focus on where the industry stands with the current and impending VET situation, including future changes to be faced and addressed.

This year’s conference will aim to bring together the knowledge of the ElectroComms and Energy Utilities ISC as well as the Construction and Property Services ISC, and their industries, and present an exciting range of presentations, workshops and forums.

Registrations are now open.

2016 Australian Training Awards

17 November 2016, Darwin, Northern Territory

Register now to attend the 2016 Australian Training Awards presentation dinner. 

Find out more on the website or by emailing australiantrainingawards@education.gov.au.

VET Policy, Compliance and Funding Summit

22-23rd November 2016

22-23rd November 2016

Looking to establish compliance in your operations and effectively lead your RTO? This event will cover all your needs with regards to policy, compliance, and funding contracts.

The summit will put compliance into action, provide case scenarios and examples of best practices, and give you an opportunity to interact with policy makers, regulators, and VET experts.

Visit the website or contact the team on (02) 9890 2554 or at info@insources.com.au


International Indigenous Conferences


1–3 December 2016, Pullman Cairns International Hotel, Queensland

To register for the International Indigenous Health Conference and the International Indigenous Allied Health Conference, please visit the conference website or send an email.

2016 National Conference on VET Teaching and VET Teacher Education


8 December 2016, Sydney TAFE campus, 2pm to 5pm
9 December 2016, University of Sydney Technology, 9am to 4pm

The Australian Council of Deans of Education Vocational Education Group (ACDEVEG) in partnership with the School of Education, University of Technology Sydney and Sydney TAFE is holding the 2016 National Conference. The conference theme for this year is Research, Policy & Teaching Practice: building connections.

The program is an important forum for VET practitioners, teacher educators, researchers and policy makers to share knowledge and to work collaboratively in the VET sector.

Visit the conference website for more information and to register online.

2017 DATES

ACER National Adult Training and Assessment Conference

23-24 March 2017, Melbourne

Building on the success of the National Adult Literacy and Numeracy Assessment Conference (NALLNAC), ACER has decided to expand the scope of the conference, to be called the ACER National Adult Training and Assessment Conference (NATAC).

The theme for NATAC 2017 is Assess, train and learn: Foundations for the future. Please save these dates in your calendar.

Topics and sessions to be included in NATAC 2017 will address quality systems in VET, including assessment and links with industry; quality trainers, including the skills/capabilities that VET practitioners need to develop; and quality teaching and learning practices. NATAC will continue to include a significant LLN stream.

Visit the ACER website for more details. ttps://www.acer.edu.au/nallnac/


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Australian Apprenticeships - provides quick and easy access to information regarding Australian Apprenticeships, including Australian Apprenticeships programs, employer incentives and support for apprentices during their apprenticeships.

Australian Apprenticeships and Traineeships Information Service and Australian Apprenticeships Pathways - provide apprenticeships and traineeships information and resources.

Australian Industry and Skills Committee - established by the COAG Industry and Skills Council in May 2015, it provides industry-led advice on the implementation of national vocational education and training and approves training packages for implementation.

Australian Training Awards - the peak, national awards for the vocational education and training sector, recognising individuals, businesses and registered training organisations for their contribution to skilling Australia.

business.gov.au - offers businesses simple, practical and convenient access to all the government information, programmes and services they need to make running their business and skilling their employees easier.

MySkills.gov.au - provides information about vocational education and training to future and current students, jobseekers and employers to help them make informed choices about training.

National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) - a not for profit company responsible for collecting, managing, analysing, evaluating and communicating research statistics about vocational education and training.

National Skills Week - provides a platform to highlight the opportunities and career pathways available through vocational education and training.

StudyAssist.gov.au - one stop shop for information on government assistance while studying. Students can use the website to determine their options for financing their tertiary study. The course search function allows students to look for courses offered by approved VET FEE-HELP providers.

training.gov.au - the official national register of information on training packages, qualifications, courses, units of competency and registered training organisations, developed for experienced training sector users.

Unique Student Identifier (USI) - provides information about the USI, a reference number that creates a secure online lifetime record of an individual’s nationally recognised training and qualifications.

VETNet - a central storage facility for relevant current and historical materials relating to the national VET sector, in particular companion volumes implementation guides.

WorldSkills Australia - working to promote and build a skills culture by inspiring young people, celebrating skills excellence and providing opportunities to showcase trade and skill talent through competitions held on a regional, national and international level.


If you would like to provide feedback, supply an article for inclusion in the next edition or join our list of subscribers, please email skillsatwork@education.gov.au. The next edition will be published in September 2016. Submissions are due by Monday 19 September 2016.