AIS Newsletter March 2021


CEO Update

One of the key pillars for how AIS operates centres around our stakeholders, with a focus on delivering exceptional service. To further facilitate engagement with our stakeholders, we have strengthened our online presence with the inclusion of a new Engagement Hub, housed on the AIS website. This is one way we are looking to further support industry engagement in our work. It provides a one stop gateway for you to inform current and future skills needs, provide feedback on draft Training Package materials and/or be part of a Technical Advisory Committee.


From this hub, you can register for our series of  webinars that kick off this week. The Industry Skills 360 Series of webinars will include a panel discussion with Industry Reference Committee (IRC) members and AIS skills specialists as they talk about skills needs and priority areas of industry focus. Further details are provided below, and I encourage you to join these discussions. The webinars complement our existing engagement activities, which include our ongoing day-to-day interactions with stakeholders across industry, government and the training sector.


The Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s current skills reform consultation process is giving industry and training sector stakeholders the opportunity to inform future industry engagement mechanisms, qualification design and quality. AIS has provided a submission to the department as part of its consultation on Industry Engagement and Qualifications Reform. Key points in our submission included:

  • building a stronger and more contemporary focus on workforce development by building enterprise capability to upskill and reskill existing workers
  • giving industry a greater determinative role in policy design and funding prioritisation
  • recognising that engagement methodologies need to be dynamic and shaped according to each industry sector and that no single approach works for all
  • improving training package policy to formally recognise the portability and progression of skills within and between industries, with a priority being those job roles which are rapidly evolving due to digital technologies and automation
  • establishing an industry agreed policy on the ownership and maintenance of ‘cross sector’ units of competency to build collaboration between industries and portability of skills
  • piloting new approaches, such as independent assessment, to support the integrity and consistency of assessment outcomes.


Earlier this year we sought your views on the support we provide via our annual stakeholder survey. It was great to see so much positive feedback about the services and support we provide and, in particular, our commitment to continuing business in a COVID environment. Our industry intelligence information was an area of interest with many using this in their business to raise awareness of emerging trends, benchmarking and to support business planning and practices. We are always committed to continuous improvement and will use the information collected to support that aim.


This week we recognised International Women’s Day with this year’s theme Choose to Challenge. Through our support of 11 IRCs, AIS has the opportunity to work with many talented women across some of Australia’s most dynamic industries. There is a real challenge for many of those industries in attracting women to non-traditional careers but everyday we see examples of where women are succeeding in building successful careers and spearheading change. AIS through its business unit, AIS Global, has proudly facilitated the development of a Gender Equality, Disability and Social Inclusion Strategy for a leading VET college in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We continue to look at ways that we can support diversity across Australia’s workforce, and indeed globally. We’d love to hear from you. Let us know if you are a woman who has chosen a non-traditional pathway and would like to be featured in our upcoming ‘career profile’ series.


I look forward to you joining our upcoming Industry Skills 360 Series of webinars.


Paul Walsh


Paul Walsh image

Industry Skills 360 Series webinars

A skilled and adaptable workforce is a critical component in supporting Australia’s recovery from COVID-19 and enabling a strong Australian economy moving forward.


Register for a webinar to hear about emerging trends for your industry, cross-sector issues and proposed qualification changes to support your workforce needs.


Hear from the Industry Reference Committee about its role in representing industry to address skills needs and workforce challenges.


10 March, 1-2pm (AEST)             ESI-Transmission, Distribution and Rail Industry

11 March, 1-2pm (AEST)             Water Industry

12 March, 11am-12pm (AEST)   Maritime Industry

15 March, 1-2pm (AEST)             Aviation Industry

16 March, 1-2pm (AEST)             Rail Industry

24 March, 12-1pm (AEST)           Gas Industry

25 March, 1-2pm (AEST)             ESI – Generation Industry

26 March, 1-2pm (AEST)             Electrotechnology Industry

29 March, 1-2pm (AEST)             Transport and Logistics Industry

01 April, 12-1pm (AEST)             Corrections Industry

Visit our Engagement Hub to find out more.


Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) update

At the AISC meeting on 23 February 2021, Mark McKenzie, member of the AISC Digital Transformation Expert Panel, and Transport and Logistics IRC Chair, presented findings from the Expert Panel’s report, The Learning Country: Digital Transformation Skills Strategy. Mr McKenzie highlighted the value of a comprehensive lifelong learning policy to ensure the VET system can respond to the digital change underway across industry.


New releases of the Aviation and Transport and Logistics Training Packages were approved by the AISC at the meeting. The respective Industry Reference Committees developed the new materials contained in these releases through the following projects:


Remotely Piloted Aircraft Excluded Category Operations – materials include a new Unit of Competency and Skill Set which address priority remote pilot skill needs for RPA operations in the excluded category sub-2kg. This is to ensure remote pilots can fly safely and ethically within legislative and regulatory requirements. The new unit will be suitable for contextualisation across multiple industries in a variety of operating environments where a licence is not currently required.


Naval Shipbuilding (NSB) Integrated Logistics Support – materials include seven new Units of Competency and a new Skill Set which address industry demand for enhanced technical skills across Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) for the Naval Shipbuilding and Transport and Logistics industries, as well as providing for a greater understanding of how it relates to current Defence operational practices.


The Training Package releases are now pending endorsement by State and Territory Skills Ministers before publication on Please click here to read the AISC communiqué from this meeting.


2021 Training Awards

The Training Awards in each Australian state and territory recognise excellence in vocational education and training (VET) and the outstanding achievements of VET students, apprentices and trainees, practitioners and training providers, organisations and employers. Winners of the aligned categories will go on to compete for national success at the Australian Training Awards later this year. To nominate for the awards please refer to your state/territory for key dates.


WA Training Awards  – closes 23 April

NSW Training Awards – closes 14 March

Victorian Training Awards – closes 4 June

Tasmanian Training Awards – opens 26 March

South Australian Training Awards – closes 3 May

Queensland Training Awards – closes 21 March

Australian Capital Territory Training Awards – tba

Northern Territory Training Awards – closes 17 May


The Northern Territory National Innovation Games

Join a hack-a-thon inspired innovation challenge and gain industry experience and contribute to innovation in the NTs developing renewable energy sector. The first of a series of challenges will be held on 25 March 2021 and you can join the games from anywhere.


You can register at


Industry Spotlight – the transformation of the Maritime Industry

2020 was a pivotal year for the Maritime sector. It saw new systems and technologies gain traction which requires a focus on upskilling the workforce to keep pace with these changes. On-board systems are being digitalised which improve a range of functions, in particular safety and fuel efficiency. New communication systems (e-navigation) integrate, exchange and analyse data through electronic means, improving security and operational efficiency. To realise these benefits, the workforce will need training in digital skills, data analytics and cybersecurity.


Autonomous vessels are also on the horizon, which will reshape the industry’s technology-based operational systems and necessitate new skills and training. COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of new technologies, accelerated their adoption, and created a platform for the transformation of an industry.


Martyn Wingrove stated in his article 5 technologies to revolutionise post-Covid maritime ‘If 2020 was the year for autonomous vessel innovation and trials, 2021 will be a year of demonstrations and commercial applications’.


Hear more about the Maritime sector at a webinar about current trends and the priorities of the IRC.