AIS Newsletter June 2022


CEO Update

The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus said that “the only constant in life is change.” Poignant words in today’s context. Changes brought about by new technologies are rapidly reshaping how we work and live. All these changes have a direct effect how Australia’s economy works.


In particular, we need to understand how the nature of work is changing. Industries are facing unprecedented challenges finding people with the right skills to meet its changing skill needs. Some of these jobs have not even been created yet, with brand new categories of work predicted to address automation and digital transformation.


The transformative attributes of technology will drive the future of work, adjacent to a new culture of continual upskilling and reskilling, however, evolving industry needs will also play an important role.


In this month’s newsletter, we kick-off a new series with our Industry Insights segment, where we provide analysis and uncover trends that are driving industry forward.


We also look at the massive challenges the workforce is facing in transitioning to renewable energy and we also delve into the push to transition to electric passenger vehicles and the disruptive challenges industry is facing to train and equip its workforce and what is being done to progressively apply digital technologies in the workplace to provide the workforce of tomorrow with the digital capabilities sought by employers.


Industry Insights: The Growing Freight Task in Australia

Freight systems are at the heart of the Australian economy and our way of life. Each year, four billion tonnes of goods are delivered across Australia. These include not only food and produce, but also petrol, pharmaceuticals, construction materials, and minerals, to name a few.


Australia’s domestic freight task is expected to increase steadily over the next 20 years. According to the latest data from BITRE Australian Freight Transport Forecasts, the total domestic freight in Australia is projected to grow by 24.9% to 962.5 billion tonne kilometres by 2040.[1] The nature of our freight task is also being shaped by the rapid growth of e-commerce. In 2021, more than 80% of Australian households purchased something online, representing a 12.3% increase from 2020. To meet this demand, the advent of new technologies, such as digitalisation, automation, and electrification, will continue  to improve freight productivity.



Figure 1.  Australian Actual and Projected Domestic Freight. Adapted from BITRE Freight Forecasts Dashboard

Note: the thinner lines on either side of the projection lines represent high and low case scenarios respectively. Specific data for each year can be obtained by hovering the cursor on the interactive chart.

[1] Domestic freight is measured in billion tonne kilometres, representing the number of billion tonnes of freight moved, multiplied by the number of kilometres travelled.


Figure 1 above visualises the actual domestic freight task volume from 1970 to 2018 and the projected freight task volume from 2019 to 2040 in Australia. The domestic freight task measures the activity undertaken by road, rail, air and coastal shipping operators in Australia. An increasing domestic freight task typically boosts demand for freight forwarding services.


While rail is a primary mode of transport for bulk commodities such as timber and grain, road transport is the most common form of freight for the majority of other commodities in Australia. As can be seen from Figure 1, rail accounts for over half of the total domestic freight task in Australia by tonnage, with the volume of rail freight almost doubling from 2008 to 2018 and is projected to grow by a further 16.4% to 2040.


Domestic road freight is projected to have the most significant growth in the next 20 years, with an increase of 56% from 216.3 billion tonne kilometres in 2018 to 337.4 billion tonne kilometres in 2040.


Australia’s coastal shipping freight task is historically the most volatile domestic freight segment. According to data from BITRE, bulk goods such as petroleum, iron ore and aluminium account for over 90% of local coastal shipping volumes. The volume of domestic freight task by coastal shipping is projected to remain stable in the next 20 years, mainly due to the slow growth of overseas demand for mineral exports.


The air freight industry experienced more intense impacts from the pandemic compared to the other modes of transport, as most freight is shipped on passenger aircrafts, which saw a sharp decline since the onset of the pandemic. At the same time, the growth of online shopping in the recent years has boosted air freight demand. Although air freight only represents 0.1% of the total domestic freight volume, it is projected to grow by around 16% from 337 million tonne kilometres in 2018 to around 393 million tonne kilometres in 2040.


Australian freight supply chains have been resilient and agile in cushioning the recent impact of the pandemic and natural disasters. The rapid shift of business practices to the online world has created a demand for digital technologies such as predictive analytics and warehouse automation. In order to build a highly skilled and agile workforce, the supply chain industries need to focus on supporting the lifelong learning of transferrable skills, including digital skills such as data analytics, predictive modelling, autonomous systems, and communications technologies. The VET system plays a crucial role in supporting career development and workforce capability in the supply chain labour market.


To find out more about megatrends impacting the Australian supply chain, please refer to the 2022 Supply Chain Industry Outlook.


Training Package Development Projects


New releases of the Public Safety, and ESI Transmission Distribution and Rail Training Packages were endorsed by Skills Ministers on 27 May.


The Industry Reference Committees responsible for these Training Packages, with support from their Technical Advisory Committees, developed the materials contained in these releases through the projects below to address priority skills needs and current industry practices:


Public Safety Training Package (Release 4.0)

National Recovery Training Program (Phase one)

Training Package materials have been updated to address skills required to support a recovery team member to work effectively in a disaster recovery context, and how to provide relief and recovery support to disaster affected communities. The materials include one updated Qualification, one new Skill Set, and three new Units of Competency.


Baseline recovery training, and its delivery to recovery workers, will improve the standard of disaster recovery support delivered to communities and improve the ability to transfer staff between jurisdictions when required.


NRTP Phase two – in development

Draft Training Package materials for Phase Two of the National project, including one new Qualification, 11 new Skill Sets and four new Units, are currently at the validation stage.


These draft products address the skills and knowledge for disaster recovery managers to operate effectively across recovery environments, complete long term recovery planning for a disaster event, applying recovery concepts and principles in addition to applying a person-centred approach to recovery planning and activities.


*These materials are the result of a report from AIS on Skills to support a National Recovery Training Program.


The Additional Activities to support a National Recovery Training Program project (the Project) identified common skills requirements for key disaster recovery roles and the need to develop Training Package products to support disaster recovery capability training.


Underpinning the Project were the findings and recommendations of the 2020 Royal Commission into National Disaster Arrangements and subsequent work, which stressed the importance of a national approach to recovery competencies and training pathways to support interoperability and sharing of human and physical resources across the country.


In early May, the AISC released The Final Report on Skills to support a National Training Recovery program submitted by AIS.


Transmission, Distribution and Rail Sector Training Package (Release 3.0)

Transmission Structures

The ESI Transmission, Distribution and Rail Industry Reference Committee has updated three Units of Competency related to constructing transmission structures to address current work and safety practices.


The title of the Certificate II in Transmission Structure and Line Assembly has been changed to Certificate II in Transmission Line Construction to accurately reflect the occupational outcome. The qualification includes updated packaging rules and the removal of weighting points.


This revised qualification will assist large-scale Electricity Interconnector projects in developing a workforce skilled in the safe operation and installation of transmission structures incorporating Distributed Energy Resources.



At its meeting on 1 June 2022 the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) approved the following Training Packages for referral to Skills Ministers for endorsement.


MAR Maritime – Release 9.0

 Marina Operations

The Certificate III in Marina Operations Qualification and seven associated Units of Competency have been updated to address changes in marina operations job roles and maritime regulatory requirements.


Vessel Traffic Services

A new Certificate III in Vessel Traffic Services and six new Units of Competency have been developed to address skills, knowledge, and regulatory requirements relevant to Vessel Traffic Services personnel.


POL Police Training Package Release 6.0

 Police Surveillance

The Advanced Diploma of Surveillance and eight Units of Competency in the POL Police Training Package have been updated to address changes in technology and police surveillance practices, procedures, and requirements of police personnel undertaking surveillance.


TLI Transport and Logistics – Release 12.0

 Customs Broking

A new Unit of Competency, and updates to the Diploma of Customs Broking and 18 Units, address updated regulatory requirements, technology changes and data analytics to enhance the resilience of the international supply chain.


Rail Traffic Pilot
One new Skill Set and one new Unit of Competency address the required skills and knowledge for Rail traffic pilots to manage rail traffic movement safely, efficiently, and effective across networks under a variety of circumstances.


Electric Heavy Vehicle

The Certificate III in Driving Operations has been updated and two new Units of Competency have been developed to address skills and knowledge for working with and operating battery electric bus, coach, or heavy vehicle.


Download the Communique as a PDF here


Current Training Package development projects

There are currently 41 projects covering all industries that AIS supports. Of these, Cases for Endorsement and draft materials for 11 projects have been submitted to the AISC for their consideration. Draft materials are at the validation stage in 25 of the projects and development work is continuing in the remaining five projects. All projects are scheduled to be completed in 2022.


Training Package Releases submitted to AISC for approval

Electrotechnology – UEE 4.0

Hazardous Areas

Rail Signalling

Electricity Meters

Advanced Diploma of Engineering – Electrical

Assess and Report on Smoke Control


Please visit the Projects page for a list of the projects


Skills and Training: The Key to Unlocking Australia's Greatest Challenge

Among the massive challenges in transitioning to renewable energy is the development of a skilled, agile, and mobile workforce.


The constant over the journey ahead will be industry, government, training organisations and the workforce collaborating to ensure that skills and training are an enabler and not a handbrake to Australia’s clean energy future.


Susan Collyer, the Chair of Energy Security Board and Australian Energy Market Commission, has described Australia’s task to switch the power grid from coal to clean energy as “mind boggling.”


The figures quoted by Ms Collyer in the Fairfax press, that in the next 10 years Australia will need $14B of investment in the transmission network and need to produce 8 times the amount of renewable energy than Australia currently produces are staggering numbers. However, they only reveal part of the challenge as there are many other parts of the economy that need to decarbonise for Australia to reach a net zero.


Heavy transport in Australia currently consumes 29 billion litres of diesel fuel annually. The technology is available to transition to hydrogen heavy vehicles and rising fuel prices means such a move would provide economic benefit. Fortescue Future Industries is one example of an early mover into this market and state governments across Australia are starting to introduce hydrogen fuel cell powered public transport. However, the investment in the renewables required is challenging.


Approximately 46,000,000 kg per day of hydrogen is required to decarbonise Australia’s diesel consumption. This would require 140GW of solar electricity. Australia currently produces around 7GW of solar.


The push to transition to electric passenger vehicles presents similar challenges. Each new electric vehicle requires approximately 4MW of additional electrical power annually. Australia’s current fleet of passenger vehicles would require 60 TW of electricity annually, which is an additional 23% of Australia’s current total electricity generation.


Meeting these challenges will require a massive new workforce, the majority of which will come from outside the energy industries and will require training. To prepare to meet these challenges, in recent years new units of competency have been developed for wind farms, solar installations and hydrogen production. However, it has also been found that existing core skills are vitally important, highlighting the challenge of getting the balance right to create a skills pathway that transitions the current workforce along with the energy technology itself.


As workforce needs evolve the skills challenge must continue to be responsive. The renewable technologies that we use today are a different mix to those that were being used ten years ago, and some of the solutions that will help deliver Australia’s 2050 net zero target may not even be in existence today.


Read more here


New Competencies for Electric Heavy Vehicle Drivers as Buses Go Green

The road transport industry is experiencing rapid growth in the manufacture and use of electric heavy vehicles, particularly in the bus and coach sector. This is leading to a growing demand for appropriately skilled drivers to operate these vehicles efficiently and safely.


The Transport and Logistics Industry Reference Committee (IRC), with support from its Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), has developed two new Units of Competency to enable skills development of heavy vehicle drivers, including bus and coach drivers, transitioning to electric heavy vehicles. The draft units, which address the required skills and knowledge for working with and operating battery electric heavy vehicles, have been submitted to the Australian Industry and Skills Commission for approval before endorsement by Skills Ministers.


Federal and State Governments and bus operators around the country are investing in the manufacture and roll out of electric buses. Fleet operators transitioning to electric buses are motivated not just by the emissions reduction benefits, but also cost reductions over the life of the vehicle, and the broader benefits presented to public health and the economy.


In Queensland, Australia’s first 100 per cent electric bus depot opened its doors on the Gold Coast last month. The depot is completely powered by renewable energy, including a 56-kilowatt solar panel array. It will house 14 electric buses, including some that will travel from the Gold Coast Airport to Coolangatta. It comes as 30 new electric buses are hitting Queensland’s roads from this month. Transport and Main Roads


Minister Mark Bailey said the 30 buses were part of a commitment by the state government to make all new Southeast Queensland buses environmentally friendly from 2025. “That commitment expands to our regions between 2025 and 2030,” he said. “Electric buses are better for the environment and mean people will be breathing in fresher, cleaner air when they are walking around.”


Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said government research had found each electric bus could save as much as 1,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases over its lifespan, and electric buses were quieter and produced less harmful air pollution.


In Victoria, electric buses will enter the regional bus network for the first time as part of the Victorian Government’s three-year Zero Emissions Bus Trial, creating a cleaner and more sustainable transport network.


Five Victorian bus operators have been selected to trial 41 electric buses on existing bus routes in Melbourne, Seymour and Traralgon as part of the $20 million trial program.


The trial will provide practical information including how electric buses perform and the energy and charging requirements for different types of routes. It will give insights into how zero emissions buses can improve financial and environmental sustainability and customer outcomes.


Under current initiatives, tens of thousands of people will be travelling on at least 78 quieter, smoother and fume-free electric buses each week across the state by mid-2025.


A new rollout of 40 zero emissions buses has also begun in Sydney through a $29.5 million pilot program which includes $24.5 million from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and $5 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).


The three-year trial is led by network operator Transgrid and UK clean energy specialists Zenobe, supported by bus operator Transit Systems and Transport for NSW.


The buses will be charged from a solar array installed on the roof of the Leichhardt depot, storing energy in onboard batteries capable of holding up to ten times as much energy as an electric car.


Zenobē co-founder and director Steven Meersman said, “together we’re proudly showcasing what is possible when it comes to the delivery of zero emission transport.”


Clint Feuerherdt, CEO of Transit Systems’ owner SeaLink Travel Group, said “this hallmark collaboration demonstrates what is possible in the rollout of greener public transport by bringing together expertise from the energy and transport sector, and we’re excited to share the outcomes and learnings as we progress with the wider industry.”


What's Happening!

Nominations Open: 2022 Australasian Rail Industry Awards

The rail industry across Australia and New Zealand has the chance to nominate outstanding individuals or businesses with entries now open for the 2022 Australasian Rail Industry (ARI) Awards.


The prestigious awards recognise and celebrate the diversity, excellence, and innovation of those working in the rail industry.


The ARI Awards are open to anyone working in the rail industry or as part of an organisation affiliated with rail in Australia and New Zealand.


There are 17 award categories available, including both individual and project or organisation awards.


The ARI Award nominations are open until Friday 24 June 2022.


More details and how to nominate can be found at:


Velg National VET Conference

The 15th annual National VET Conference and promises to provide both a fantastic opportunity for delegates to undertake professional development that is meaningful to them, to meet with product and service providers and network with peers from across Australia.


With the impending changes in the VET Sector, to the standards and the Australian Qualifications Framework, the continued rollout of the regulatory reform and VET in Schools. We will need to be prepared for these changes and continue to be a proactive participant in change.


2022 Velg Training National VET Conference

  • Dates: 3 November 2022 – 4 November 2022
  • Location: Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
  • Convener: Velg Training
  • Theme: Building Your Roadmap


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