AIS Newsletter May 2021


CEO Update

I am pleased to announce today’s release of the Digital Transformation Expert Panel’s strategy, ‘The Learning Country’. The Expert Panel was established by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) in late 2019 and was asked to ‘… provide advice on how Australia’s VET system can most effectively respond to digital change underway across industry and its impact on the nation’s workforce’. The AISC considered the strategy in late February 2021 and approved it for release.


The strategy’s guiding principle has been to ensure that we ‘leave no worker behind’ as the effects of digital transformation flow through industry and the nation’s workforce. Focusing on the existing workforce, the Panel’s strategy comprises five interrelated areas:

  • System settings
  • Industry leadership
  • Learner support services
  • Teaching and learning
  • Training Products

One of the most insightful and granular analyses* into Australia’s future of work predicts that by 2034 automation will displace 2.7 million workers (56% male) and technology will augment 4.5 million workers (15% capacity uplift to business).


Ensuring that Australian workers are able to upskill and reskill has never been more important, particularly as our economy also recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Expert Panel’s strategy comprises 11 action points, with proposals including national lifelong learning policy, holistic learner support, new models to grow the total investment pool for skills development, industry leadership at the sector and enterprise level, and digital transformation of teaching and learning.


The strategy will help realise the Government’s vision that Australia become ‘a leading digital economy and society by 2030’ which was announced at last week’s launch of the Digital Economy Strategy for Australia by the Prime Minister.


I commend the vision of the AISC and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, to commission this important work which could not be more timely. I also want to make special mention of the Expert Panel members, Megan Lilly, Mark McKenzie, Dr Claire Mason, Prof. Aleks Subic and Scott Connelly. They have generously given their time to deliberate the issues and provide clear direction throughout the development of the strategy drawing on their deep understanding of the challenge that digital transformation presents to skilling Australian workers and the overall importance to our economic prosperity. AIS has been privileged to support the Expert Panel throughout the Panel’s tenure.


You can read more about the Digital Transformation Expert Panel’s strategy and access The Learning Country here.


*Technology impacts on the Australian Workforce (2020) Faethm and the Australian Computer Society


Digital Transformation – The focus on leaving no Australian Worker behind

The World Economic Forum calls it ‘The Great Reset’.  Some refer to it as ‘double disruption’. Convergence of the global pandemic and digital transformation have together hastened the adoption of technology at a rate few of us thought possible and has rapidly accelerated the future of work. In a matter of months, businesses have leapt ahead years in their digital journey.


The newly released strategy by the Digital Transformation Expert Panel, sets out what Australia’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) system needs to do to support our nation’s workforce from the impact of digital change underway across industry.


The strategy is titled ‘The Learning Country’ to reflect the Panel’s belief that lifelong learning needs to be normalised in both policy and our culture and views. It sees Australia’s VET system as powerful, life-changing and pivotal to optimising what technology offers our economy, industry and our workforce.


The strategy comprises 11 action points, with proposals that include:

  • building a national lifelong learning system
  • making the VET system a key partner in the Australia’s Innovation Agenda
  • investing in digital innovation of teaching and learning
  • helping businesses understand how to develop their workforce through on-the-ground experts, and
  • supporting existing workers through individualised learner support services – before, during and after training so that success is possible for everyone.


With the guiding principle of ‘leave no worker behind’, the Strategy emphasises that while digital transformation is synonymous with technology, it is those inherent human skills which cannot be replicated by an algorithm that will help future-proof the workforce.


Cases for Change and project update

The 11 Industry Reference Committees we support, are currently finalising 41 Cases for Change for Training Package development. The proposed projects are aimed at addressing priority skills needs and ensuring qualifications, Skill Sets and Units of Competency reflect current technologies, industry practices, and regulations for the respective industry.


The skills needs identified in the Cases for Change are the result of extensive stakeholder  engagement activities including the recent Industry Skills 360 Series webinars, surveys, research and day-to-day feedback. A special thank you to all IRC members who generously volunteer their time to ensure national Training Packages meet the skills needed by industry. Thanks also to all stakeholders  who participated in these activities and shared their views. Drafts for Corrections, Public Safety and Water sectors will be available for review from next week. Following consideration of feedback all Cases for Change will be submitted to the AISC for consideration at its June or July meetings. Details of these are available on our Engagement Hub and our Skills Specialists are always available to talk with you about this work.


The following new materials for the Transport and Logistics and Aviation Training Packages were recently endorsed by Skills Ministers:

  • TLI Naval Shipbuilding (NSB) Integrated Logistics Support (ILS)
    • Materials provide a national and standardised approach to meet the skills requirements of ILS in the Naval Shipbuilding industry. The units also provide the skills and knowledge requirements for Logistics Support Analysis (LSA) within defence integrated logistics environments.


  • AVI Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) – Excluded Category Operations.
    • New materials establish the skills and knowledge requirements of RPA operations in the excluded category sub-2kg to ensure they can fly safely and ethically within legislative and regulatory requirements. The new unit is available for contextualisation across multiple industries in a variety of operating environments and for recreational users where a licence is not required.

National Careers Week, 17-23 May

Next week brings a focus to careers, with National Careers Week celebrating the benefits that careers bring to people’s lives –  economically, socially, personally and professionally. You can read about the career journeys of three inspirational individuals, Victoria, Jordan and Tom, all of whom have completed a nationally recognised vocational qualification to support their skills development on our Career Profiles page.  Stay tuned for more profiles.


Industry spotlight: V/Line – Keeping diversity on track

V/Line is a government-owned corporation that operates regional passenger train and coach services in Victoria. In addition, V/Line is responsible for the maintenance of much of the Victorian freight and passenger rail network outside of the areas managed by Metro Trains Melbourne and the Australian Rail Track Corporation.


In line with its mission to empower its people to be their best, V/Line recently announced its recruitment of its first all-female group of trainee drivers. Candidates were recruited from non-rail backgrounds, bringing with them a diverse range of skill sets and capabilities. These include a former aviation worker, apprenticeship network provider, a stay-at-home mum, and an Army Major.


“We had over 8,500 applicants for the eight positions,” said Ms. Renée Cox, Driver Training and Development Manager for V/Line.


The group began classroom training in February 2021 following a vigorous interview process to ensure only the best candidates were chosen.


The V/Line Driver Training Program, delivered by the V/Line Corporation as an enterprise training provider, features several units, including classroom training, practice on V/Line’s driver simulator and experience on the network with a team of practical driver trainers. Upon successfully obtaining a Certificate IV in Train Driving, these recruits will be entering the network in mid-2022 as fully qualified drivers.


This first cohort of trainee drivers is just the beginning for V/Line. Over 8,000 applications have since been received for another eight positions as part of V/Line’s second round of all-female driver recruitment.


“Currently, 12% of our driver workforce identify as female and judging by the resounding interest we are getting from our applications, that number is going to rise exponentially. It is an absolute privilege to be part of V/Line as we strive to create an inclusive workforce that truly reflects the communities we serve through the recruitment and training of a diverse group of highly-skilled new female drivers. As a mother of three it is exciting to share this journey with them and demonstrate in a small way the true meaning of gender equality,” added Ms. Cox.


Visit the V/Line website to learn more about working in the rail sector.


Products for deletion

The Australian Industry and Skills Committee has agreed on the deletion of several training products from the national vocational education and training register due to no/low enrolments and a lack of industry demand. This streamlining of national training products has been done with advice from the respective Industry Reference Committees. Further details are available on AISC website. Products that have been deleted are still accessible on for reference.