CEO Update – July 2018

I am delighted to announce that prominent journalist and author Kerry O’Brien will MC the upcoming AIS Industry Skills Forums to be held around the country. He will also moderate discussions by two panels of industry leaders at each forum. These will focus on the current and future skills challenges facing our industries.

The day will include industry-specific breakout sessions to provide you with an opportunity to have your say on the skills needed to ensure the workforce is ready for the challenges ahead. Dates for each forum have been confirmed, kicking off in Canberra on 11 September.

Read more about the forums.

As a direct result of the 2018 Skills Forecasts & Proposed Schedule of Work submitted by the IRCs we support, the AISC has approved 20 projects for Training Package development. The IRCs and AIS are looking forward to collaborating widely with industry stakeholders on all these projects. We want to ensure the IRC’s Training Packages and qualifications meet the needs of your industry. Proposals for another 11 projects will be submitted to the AISC over the next two months.

I am also pleased to announce that we have been allocated the role of supporting a new Digital Transformation IRC being established by the AISC. The IRC will work with industry to identify current and emerging vocational skill needs across multiple industry sectors in areas such as big data, automation, digital skills and cyber security. Read the article.

Individual and company achievements in the rail industry were celebrated at the Australasian Railway Association’s 2018 Rail Industry Awards. AIS managers joined close to 500 representatives from organisations across the rail industry at the gala dinner held in Melbourne on 5 July.


Among these to receive awards were members of two IRCs that AIS supports. Brad Giddins, a member of the Rail IRC, accepted the Workplace Diversity Award on behalf of the Level Crossing Removal Authority. Trevor Moore from the Australian Rail Track Corporation and a member of the Electrotechnology IRC won the IRSE Systems Engineering Award. On behalf of AIS, I would like to extend my congratulations to all winners and finalists. Picture: Carol Hedrick, Rail IRC deputy chair with Brad Giddins.

In Sydney on 27 June the Royal Aeronautical Society (who are represented on the Aviation IRC) facilitated a forum on a range of emerging challenges confronting the aviation industry. These included pilot training standards, assimilation of drones (into current airspace) and airport and cyber security. These issues were identified as priorities by the IRC in its 2018 Skills Forecast.

I was delighted to attend a consultation workshop in Melbourne on 4 July, facilitated by the Council for International Education’s Latin America Working Group. The group is exploring the skills needs and opportunities for Australian education and training providers in this important emerging market. The Working Group is supporting the National Strategy for International Education 2025 and is looking to develop a more strategic and coordinated approach to building education, research and training cooperation with Latin America. I provided an overview of the approach we took in a 2016 transport and logistics project to develop occupational standards aligned to the local operating environment in the participating countries (Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico).

The Council for International Education is chaired by the Hon. Senator Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training. It works with education providers, industry, and federal, state and territory governments to ensure the sector continues to play a key role in driving Australia’s future economic growth, global engagement and innovation.

Congratulations to Mark McKenzie on his appointment to the Australian Research Council’s 2018 ARC Advisory Council. Mark, who is Chair of the Transport and Logistics IRC, is one of seven new members appointed to reinvigorate the council and advise on strategic issues related to the ARC’s mission. This includes strategic planning and policy matters relating to innovation, research and research training.

ARC CEO, Professor Sue Thomas said, “It is important for the ARC to be informed by the views of suitably experienced individuals who can provide valuable insight into the issues faced by researchers in the higher education and research sector”.

I would also like to extend my best wishes to Transport and Logistics IRC member Michael Kilgariff, who will be leaving his role as Managing Director of the Australian Logistics Council at the end of the month. I welcome Lachlan Benson as Interim CEO of the ALC.

The federal government has paved the way for a review of education and training qualifications with the creation of a panel to review the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

The AQF was last reviewed between 2009–2011. Since then there have been technological advances in education delivery, increased uptake of sub-qualifications and changes to standard international practice related to qualifications frameworks.

The review will involve broad public consultation in response to a discussion paper and will include extensive consultations with the sector. Release of a discussion paper and public consultations are expected in the second half of 2018, with the final report to be provided to government by June 2019.


The night was an experience I won’t forget in a hurry and I now have a much greater appreciation of the plight of the homeless. Many Australians have this experience every night. The $800,000 raised by the Melbourne Sleepout will be put to good use to support people to either transition out of homelessness or receive support while they are on the streets.

In case you were wondering, the dinner menu was soup and bread, served direct from one of the vans that go out to feed homeless people every night of the year.

Once again thank you all for your kind donations!