AIS Newsletter July 2020


CEO Update

Industry intelligence, data analytics and research are today more important than ever. Real-time evidence supports the tools to help decision-makers, businesses and employees to focus on the skills needed now, and as businesses and the economy recover from COVID-19.


The National Skills Commission, which formally commenced on 1 July, has released its first publication, A snapshot in time: Australia’s Labour Market and COVID-19. The report explores matching skills and jobs post the COVID-19 pandemic. It notes that as Australia starts to recover from the effects of the pandemic, there will be challenges and difficult times ahead. But there will also be opportunities. We can hasten recovery by understanding where jobs are growing and ensuring our workforce has the necessary skills for those jobs.


Research, analysis and industry consultation is core business for AIS. Through our support to 11 Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) we capture intelligence about current and future skill needs. This work focuses on understanding the nature and timing of emerging workforce trends. And timing is critical. AIS in the unique position of being able to access industry intelligence in real-time and accurately identify emerging needs, working with industry through the VET system to drive the change to meet these needs. The outcome is the development of occupational standards, represented as qualifications or discrete Skill Sets that underpin training courses through Training Packages.

As a result of our work, I am pleased to report that following the 2020 Skills Forecasts updates submitted by the IRCs we support, the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) has approved seven new projects to develop new skills standards. These projects fall across a range of important sectors, including correctional services, Defence and the rail sectors.


The last few months has also seen our capability in research and data analysis extending into our work in Vietnam. AIS Global, our business unit, has been engaging with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to support the recovery efforts for the logistics industry. This is part of an Aus4Skills Program, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), where AIS Global staff are supporting the development of an industry-led VET system.


Finally, I would like to highlight that applications for the 2020 Australian Training Awards have been extended to 19 July. I encourage industry and RTO stakeholders alike to consider applying. It would be a fantastic outcome to see one of the 11 sectors we support represented on the winner’s podium in Melbourne on 20 November.


Robert Adams



Rebuilding through infrastructure - skilling the rail industry

With the federal and state governments investing billions of dollars in rail infrastructure there is an immediate need to incorporate the new technology and automation into the industry. AIS is working with the Rail Industry Reference Committee on a range of new projects to address priority skills needs brought about by automation and expanded infrastructure.


Driving rail vehicles used for passengers OR freight

The closer running times of rail traffic means operators must manage substantially more rail vehicles in the same area of the network, including some without direct human interaction (autonomous trains). This has led to a need for a broader range of skills required for train drivers to interreact with other rail vehicles to control rail traffic operations. The project will address the skills gaps identified in the existing qualifications by the Rail industry to ensure alignment with the specific driver requirements at various operator levels. These include autonomous and remotely operated rail vehicle systems set up, fault rectification, communicating with operational staff, preparing for operation and monitoring.



Rail transport operators have identified the need for faster transit of rail transport services through transit points. Increased rail movements place greater stress on the network and potentially leads to an increase in network congestion and system breakdowns, causing substantial delays or downtime of the rail network. Minimising delays on the rail network is critical to keeping not only the affected rail movements on schedule, but also to maintaining reliability of transport services. Automation is now replacing the signalling job role, but not in all locations or networks.


The Rail IRC will review the Certificate III in Rail Yard Coordination. The revision will update and align the qualification with new and emerging technologies including advances made in rail signalling and autonomous and remotely operated rail vehicles. It will also integrate the Certificate III in Rail Signalling (TLI32615), which is proposed for deletion from the national register upon completion of the review. This revision will also provide greater transferability of skills between various job roles in the rail industry.



This project will review the Certificate II and III in Track Protection and the associated Skill Sets and Units of Competency, for Rail Track Protection Officers (Level 1 & 2) and Possession Protection Officers (Level 3 & 4).


Rail transport operators are now using these rail qualifications as pathways into more technical job roles being created as rail infrastructure projects continue to increase throughout Australia’s rail networks. The project will address the move away from lookouts, flag, hand, or light signals to automated protection devices or audible warning devices, leading to increased safety and productivity gains for the industry.


Track protection officers are the first line of safety for track workers working in the rail corridor environment. Updating safety management system compliance requirements will enable rail safety workers to meet WHS/OHS regulatory requirements, with lower risk of incident or injury. This review is critical to assist rail transport operators to deal with the increased reliance on rail infrastructure and track worker safety into the future.



The Rail IRC will develop a new Certificate in Rail Rolling Stock Maintainer qualification to address the increasing need by rail transport operators to develop in-house capabilities for the maintenance of rail rolling stock. In the past, rail maintenance has relied on traditional trades for qualified persons to perform these tasks, but with plug-and-play technologies and the need to specialise in the rail sector, it is becoming difficult to recruit competent operators. With rail operators experiencing a skill shortage of in-house maintenance capability, rail network owners need to create a career pathway for rail rolling stock maintainers.


Skills and knowledge requirements relating to new automation systems, security and monitoring operations will be included, along with maintainer roles relating to rail traffic to ensure alignment with specific rail and light rail operator requirements.


The Rail IRC will form Technical Advisory Committees for each project to provide industry expertise to the development work. For more information, contact Ron Horne on 0448 166 536 or email [email protected].


Driving simulators building skills in the Defence industry

Australian Industry Standards is working with the Public Safety Industry Reference Committee (IRC) to develop skills standards to meet the current and future capability needs of the Defence industry for simulator maintenance engineers. Current advanced simulators can be reconfigured to train industry and defence personnel in a range of aircraft and ground-based vehicle operation. This project aligns with reviews of defence capability and with wider industry practices, where simulation is becoming a valuable educational tool in training personnel in routine and non-routine situations not only in a safe and efficient way but also more effectively. Simulators can produce immediate feedback, including metrics, that provide the learner opportunities to learn from their mistakes.


The Simulator Maintenance Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has been reviewing and developing two qualifications and associated units of competency in this field.


The Certificate IV in Simulator Maintenance is designed to provide a broad and flexible set of competencies reflecting the workplace responsibilities to trouble-shoot, repair and maintain electronic and mechanical components of simulators used in training. Skills include the use of specialised tools to test equipment, manage built-in diagnostic equipment and interpret technical data to isolate and locate faulty components or system malfunctions.


The Diploma of Simulator Maintenance has been updated to qualify simulator maintenance managers and senior simulator technicians. These technicians can manage simulator maintenance as well as complete complex testing, fault finding and evaluation of simulation equipment. Individuals will be able to apply maintenance management and integrated technical and theoretical concepts in a broad range of contexts to undertake advanced skilled or paraprofessional work in simulator maintenance.


Skilling the Correctional Services workforce to help vulnerable offenders

The Corrections work environment is transitioning towards a more rehabilitative model, with greater emphasis placed on offenders’ mental and physical health.  AIS is supporting the Corrections Industry Reference Committee (IRC) to respond, which will see the development of new skills standards for working with trauma-affected and cognitively impaired offenders.


As a direct result of the 2020 Skills Forecasts update submitted by the IRC, with the support of AIS, the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) has approved two new Training Package development projects.



Research suggests that incarceration is closely associated with factors such as childhood physical and/or sexual abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness and mental health issues. People in prison have significant and complex health issues whose effects could be long-term or chronic. Approximately 40 per cent of offenders in prison are reported to have had mental health conditions with 25 per cent of them currently taking medication for mental health. The issue of mental health is even more common among female offenders where 65 per cent of them were more likely than male prisoners to report a history of a mental health condition, which is a key risk factor in offending and re-offending behaviour for both male and female prisoners.


Therefore, a trauma-informed approach that is holistic and culturally appropriate can make positive impacts on offenders and reduce their chances of recidivism.


The Corrections IRC will revise three existing Units of Competency, develop two new units and one new Skill Set for Correctional Services Officers working with offenders who have a history of trauma.


Project outcomes will ensure Correctional Services Officers working with vulnerable offenders have the appropriate skills and knowledge of the effects of domestic violence and abuse (emotional, physical and sexual). This will enable them to make informed decisions about appropriate models of supervision for offenders with a history of trauma and to establish a rapport and trust with vulnerable individuals.



There is a high rate of mental illness, including cognitive impairment, in the Australian prison population. About two in five prison entrants (40 per cent) have a mental health condition, with almost one in four currently taking mental health-related medication. Also, 87 per cent of young people in custody have a past or present psychological disorder. To cater to mental health issues in prisons and facilitate transition to the community, the Corrections workforce requires specialised skills in understanding patterns of behaviour and thoughts of individuals with cognitive impairment to de-escalate stressful situations and engage effectively with offenders.


The Corrections IRC will revise three existing Units of Competency, develop one new unit and one new Skill Set for Correctional Services Officers working with cognitively impaired offenders. This project will address the skills, knowledge and understanding required by Correctional Services Officers to work with offenders with cognitive impairment, where an offender has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life.


Australian Training Awards - 2020 Applications extended

Applications for the Australian Training Awards, scheduled to be held in Melbourne on 20 November, have been extended to 19 July 2020.


The awards are the peak, national awards for the vocational education and training (VET) sector, recognising individuals, businesses and Registered Training Organisations for their contribution to skilling Australia.


The majority of the Awards are the culmination of the state and territory training awards with winners from each state and territory eligible to compete at the national level in aligned categories.