AIS Newsletter March 2022


CEO Update

In recent years, natural disasters such as floods, bushfires, cyclones, and drought, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, have had a significant and in many cases devastating impact on communities, businesses and daily lives.


Currently, thousands of people in areas of NSW and Queensland are feeling the impact of the floods on their lives, including their access to food. Stores are running short of food, and the major supermarkets have introduced buying limits on some foods in the flood-affected areas.


The extreme flooding in Southern and Eastern Australia, dubbed ‘the worst in living memory’ severed the state’s umbilical cord to the eastern states as a result of extreme weather over the last two months and has had a significant impact on Australia’s supply chain networks.  The flooding in South Australia has washed out more than 300km of the only rail line that brings food and supplies into WA from the east coast.


We acknowledge and applaud the hard work being done by the public safety personnel, the SES and emergency workers, the Australian Defence Force, and the many volunteers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to support the communities impacted by these recent events.


The Australian Government is developing a National Recovery Training Program to professionalise recovery practice and capabilities. The program is in response to recommendations from the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements aimed at improving the standard of disaster recovery support delivered to communities and improve the ability to transfer staff between jurisdictions.


In consultation with the National Recovery and Resilience Agency, the Department of Education, Skills and Employment commissioned AIS to identify common competency requirements for job roles used in disaster recovery and requiring resource sharing. A key outcome of this work was a recommendation to develop new training products to support and enhance local and national recovery capability. The project was approved by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) in December last year and the Public Safety Industry Reference Committee (PSIRC) is currently leading this work.


The Public Safety Training Package is being updated to include materials aimed at building the capability of support workers involved in recovery activities following natural disasters. The improvements to the training of recovery workers will further raise the standard of disaster recovery support delivered to communities and ensure greater national consistency of capability to better enable movement of recovery personnel across jurisdictions. The next tranche of work will include the development of new Diploma and Advanced Diploma qualifications to address recovery leadership and management.


The PSIRC is also working on the Emergency Management project, including the development of four new Units of Competency, to address the skills and knowledge to evaluate natural disasters impacts, manage emergency management centres and conduct emergency evacuations.


Crucial to a responsive vocational education and training system is engagement with industry stakeholders.


As restrictions begin to ease, face to face engagement with our stakeholders across industry will be a welcome change. While Teams and Zoom meetings have allowed us to stay connected over the past two years, it’s been refreshing to be able to again meet with stakeholders in person where it is appropriate.


I recently had the pleasure of attending the AusRail Plus conference in Sydney, where I joined a panel to discuss skills challenges and opportunities for the rail industry. Next week AIS will be talking about the Heavy Vehicle Driver Apprenticeship (HVDA) proposal at the Victorian Transport Association’s State Conference. The conference, themed “Attaining Post Pandemic Supply Chain Certainty” will tackle the ‘perfect storm’ of supply chain challenges that have disrupted the transport industry.

In February, I announced that AIS has been encouraged by industry stakeholders to support industry in the development of a proposal for the Retail, Transport and Logistics (including Aviation, Rail and Maritime) and Wholesale Industry Cluster. Should you want more information or would like to support our submission with a letter of support, please contact us.


In this newsletter, read about our training package updates, the impact of the recently concluded High-Risk Work License (HRWL) webinar and find out why Australia is at the cusp of a hydrogen revolution.


Finally, I would like to thank all our industry stakeholders for their unwavering support.


Paul Walsh



Heavy Vehicle Driver Apprenticeship: Your Questions Answered

The Transport and Logistics Industry Reference Committee (TLIRC) is proposing a new Heavy Vehicle Driver Apprenticeship in response to industry’s call to professionalise the Heavy Vehicle Driver occupation.


The creation of this apprenticeship will help mitigate some challenges, particularly in relation to the national heavy vehicle licensing system and the current utilisation of national traineeships. The IRC recognises these issues, and that the establishment of an apprenticeship is not a panacea that will solve all the current workforce challenges facing the road transport industry.


Rather, the creation of a national apprenticeship for heavy vehicle drivers constitutes the first significant step towards the professionalisation of the road transport industry in Australia.


In this four-part video Q and A, listen to our Director of IRC Operations, Klausch Schmidt, and Mark McKenzie, Chair of the Transport and Logistics Industry Reference Committee as they discuss the merits of the Heavy Vehicle Driver Apprenticeship and how this could be a potential game changer in addressing driver shortages in Australia.


Click here to view the videos


Crane High Risk Work Licence Webinar

AIS recently conducted a very successful webinar for RTOs and Assessors delivering Crane High Risk Work License Units of Competency.


The webinar provided information about changes to Crane High Risk Work (HRW) Units of Competency, which were recently endorsed by the Australian and Industry Skills Commission (AISC). These units were aligned with Schedules 3 and 4 of the Model Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011.


Klausch Schmidt, Director of IRC Operations at AIS, hosted the webinar which included a panel of representatives from Safework Australia, Safework NSW, Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), WA Training Accreditation Council and the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority.


Over 160 people attended the webinar and nearly 90 questions were posed to the panel during the Q&A session. Due to time limitations, not all of these could be answered on the day, but AIS is finalising a list of FAQs to assist you with your queries and will make them available to you soon.


For those who couldn’t attend the webinar, you can view the recording here


On the road - AIS engages with Industry

As we return to the ‘new normal’ with the easing of COVID restrictions, we are ramping up our face-to-face stakeholder engagement activities.


To further our understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing industry, including labour shortages, workforce skills needs, the take up of new technologies and evolving work practices, AIS staff will be conducting more face-to-face meetings, visiting employers on site, and attending and presenting at industry conferences and events.


Klausch Schmidt, Director of IRC Operations at AIS recently met with Alan Gotts, Group Manager Health, Safety and Wellbeing at Glen Cameron Group.


Among the many topics they discussed were the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on supply chain operations and the benefits of the proposed Heavy Vehicle Driver Apprenticeship. Alan said Cameron’s, like all transport operators, are always on the lookout for skilled heavy vehicle operators and welcomes the opportunity to take on apprentices and to start driver succession planning and upskilling as their fleet has.


The Glen Cameron Group is a privately owned, national logistics company. Whether it’s local trucking, couriers, warehousing, interstate transport or third-party logistics management, the Glen Cameron Group continues to expand upon its total logistics solution for businesses throughout Australia.


Klausch was given a tour of the company’s expansive Bayswater depot and shown some of its large and diverse fleet, from rigid vehicles through to multicombinations, which interestingly has an average age of six years.


During the pandemic it was business as usual as much as possible at Cameron’s. It established a designated COVID-19 Response Management Team, put detailed COVID Safe Plans in place at all its sites, and ensured all employees exercised necessary practices to maintain permitted worker status. This has enabled them to maintain interstate movements and service levels for all customers.


On Tuesday 15 March, Klausch attended a Crane and Lifting Awareness training day at Fulton Hogan, a large infrastructure construction, roadworks, and aggregate supplier company.


The training was facilitated by Derek Hamilton, Managing Director at Hamilton Consultant Services, and Tom Clark, the National Technical Safety Advisor at Fulton Hogan. Tom was a member of the Technical Advisory Committee established by the Transport and Logistics IRC to work on changes to the Crane High Risk Work (HRW) Units of Competency. At the request of Safe Work Australia (SWA), these units were aligned with Schedules 3 and 4 of the Model Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011.


The day gave Klausch a further insight as to just how critical the licencing Units of competency are for this high-risk work. He gained an appreciation of the very challenging task and the enormous skills required to operate these massive machines safely. The day showed just how seriously Fulton Hogan takes safety not only for their staff but for anyone on their sites.


Fulton Hogan contractors and Leve Cross removal staff attended the training day, which covered crane lifting and operations including the Promapp process, vehicle loading cranes, lifting earthmoving equipment, and pick and carry frannas.


Training Package Updates

Training Packages approved for endorsement

At its meeting on 22 February 2022 the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) approved the following Training Packages for referral to Skills Ministers for endorsement.


Aviation Training Package (Release 10.0)

Commercial Pilot Regulatory Update project.

Revised materials include updates to three Units of Competency in the Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane) that contain aspects of ‘spinning’, in particular ‘incipient spin’, and 2 Skill Sets.


Electricity Supply Industry – Generation Training Package (Release 2.0)

This release includes 3 streamed qualifications, and updates to 3 qualifications, 159 Units of Competency and 4 skill sets to address skills related to Wind Power Generation, Remote Area Essential Service, and Operations Personnel.

Rail customer service – materials approved for endorsement by the AISC in December are also pending endorsement by Skills Ministers.


Training Package projects submitted for endorsement

Transmission Structures – The ESI Transmission, Distribution and Rail IRC has submitted the Case for Endorsement and draft Training Package materials for this project to the AISC for their consideration. The materials include updates to the Certificate II in Transmission Line Construction and three Units of Competency to address current work and safety practices and accurately reflect the occupational outcome.


Proposal for new Powerline Safety project

The ESI Transmission, Distribution and Rail Industry Reference Committee has developed a Powerline Safety Case for Change for Training Package development work to address the skills and knowledge required by non-Electricity Supply Industry (ESI) workers to work safely near overhead electrical powerlines.


This work is vital to ensuring awareness and education of non-ESI workers across industries about the risks and hazards associated with working near electrical powerlines. These industries include, but are not limited to agriculture, construction, mining, forestry, arborists, communication, transport, and waste recycling (garbage trucks).


Over recent years deaths and accidents as a result of accidental contact with powerlines have highlighted the inherent dangers for non-ESI workers.


The Case for Change is currently available for feedback until close of business Monday, 21 March 2022 and will be submitted to the AISC for consideration at its meeting in April 2022.


Current Training Package development projects

There are currently 38 projects covering all industries that AIS supports. Of these, draft materials are at the validation stage in 15 of the projects before being submitted to the AISC for approval. All projects are scheduled to be completed in 2022.

Please visit the AIS Projects section of the website for a list of current projects


Supporting a National Recovery Training Program

At its February meeting, the AISC noted the final report on work to support a National Recovery Training Program, undertaken by Australian Industry Standards (AIS), which identified common competency requirements for job roles related to disaster recovery. The first tranche of resultant training products Development work has been drafted for the Public Safety Training Package. The materials, including one updated Qualification, one new Skill Set, and three new Units of Competency, are aimed at building the capability of support workers involved in recovery activities following natural disasters. The project is due for completion by August 2022.


Industry proposal – UEE Electrotechnology Training Package assessment conditions

The AISC also approved an Industry Proposal submitted by the National Electrical and Communications Association to make minor changes to 11 Units of Competency in the UEE Training Package. Members noted these changes will address implementation issues in gathering authentic evidence of workplace practice, as well as clarifying licensing requirements.


The Electrotechnology IRC will now proceed to finalise the minor changes.


Existing gas industry expertise to form the bedrock of the hydrogen revolution

The ability for Australia to meet its net zero emissions target by 2050 commitments is heavily dependent on the transformation of the Gas industry to Green Hydrogen and requires a skilled, adaptable, and mobile workforce.


Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy sets a vision for a clean, innovative, safe, and competitive hydrogen industry that benefits all Australians. It aims to position our industry as a major global player by 2030. A hydrogen enabled economy can activate options for decarbonising our gas, freight, transport, and industrial sectors and create a significant new export industry.

Up to 7,600 jobs are forecast to be generated nationally through emerging hydrogen opportunities, and hydrogen could add around $11 billion each year to the national economy by 2050.

Each State and Territory has a strategy for the development of the hydrogen industry and the increased use of Hydrogen. There are currently more than 61 Hydrogen Development projects operational or underway in Australia and over $1.5B in investment in Hydrogen research and development from Commonwealth and State Governments and the private sector.


Fortunately, the skills required for this transformation is something that the Australian Gas industry has built for over the past 50 years.


As Gas Industry Reference Committee (Gas IRC) Chair, Michael Broomhead, explains “not only does the Australian Gas industry have some of the best skilled workers in the world, but the industry has a pedigree in transformation and innovation.  In the 1960’s and 70’s Australia transitioned from coal-based town gas to natural gas and over the last 30 years Australia has been a world leader in the production and utilisation of LPG and LNG Gas.  These things have not only provided a better quality of life to Australians but also built significant export markets.”


“Transition to Green Hydrogen will follow a similar path and we are confident that the Gas industry is well placed to not only do its share to help Australia meet its climate targets but to build a world leading Hydrogen export industry in the process.”


And the industry has been quietly working away to make sure it is ready.  In 2021 the Gas IRC, supported by AIS, developed Australia’s first green Hydrogen specific units of competency under the Hydrogen Gas Technology Project, but it did not stop there.


“The Gas IRC knew from companies that were already engaging in Hydrogen pilot projects that there would be a rapidly growing need for Hydrogen skills.  But we also recognised that responding to this needed to be done in a strategic manner to get the best result for both the industry and the workers within it.”


In response, AIS and the Gas IRC undertook a review of all gas industry job roles and assessed the level of Hydrogen skills and awareness required.  What was evident was that because of the high level of skill within the Australian gas industry, the requirement was not for new units of competency to be created but simply for workers to be equipped with an increased awareness of the different properties of Hydrogen.


This analysis formed part of the case for change for the Gas Supply Industry Skills Project, a major refresh of the Gas Training Package that is currently underway.   The Australian Industry and Skills Committee approved the inclusion of Hydrogen awareness as part of this project.


According to Michael, the approach being implemented is simple and effective. “There are a range of gas types that are currently used, and Hydrogen will be additional to that. Our analysis indicated that core gas skills did not differ radically between the gas types, but things like pressurisation levels, instrument calibration etc did. So, we did not need to burden workers with the need to undertake entirely new units of competency, but to broaden their knowledge of the different characteristics and properties of the gases they may encounter.”


“Going forward, gas workers will be required to demonstrate knowledge evidence of the characteristics and properties of a range of either combustible or industrial gases depending on what part of the industry that work in.  This will not only ensure that workers are prepared to work with Hydrogen and any blended variations of it used initially, but it will also future proof the training package by allowing for the incorporation of any new gases or the phasing out of any gases currently used.”


The draft Units of Competency for the revised Gas Training Package will be available for public comment in March. For more information on this project, please contact Shaun Thomas, AIS Industry Skills Specialist on 0409 505 196 or email [email protected]


The Industry Clusters are coming

It’s an opportunity to truly innovate, to do things differently whilst building on the very best of what Australia’s national training system has to offer.


What are Industry Clusters? They are replacing the current approach to engaging industry in the training system (Skills Organisation Pilots, Industry Reference Committees and Skills Service Organisations) and for the very first time, they will give industry a genuinely strong and legitimate role right across the skills pipeline. In practical terms, this means that industry will have a voice to identify their skill needs and  have an equally strong role in working with industry, training providers, universities and schools to design and deliver high impact solutions that really work.


Our track record is about collaboration. Trusted relationships. Really knowing our stuff, and at the same time, having an insatiable appetite for piloting smarter ways of building the skills of the workforce.


Our submission covers Australia’s Logistics, Wholesale, Transport and Retail industries. Together, these sectors power the nation’s critical supply chains, but the last 18 months have placed them under extreme pressure.


It’s demonstrated the urgent need for a systematic and expert approach to building a strong and agile supply chain workforce, and that’s where our proposal for the Industry Cluster comes in.


If you’d like to come with us on the journey and join our list of passionate supporters, contact us at [email protected]