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CEO Update – March 2019

Over the last six weeks all 11 IRCs we support have held their first meetings for the year to finalise the draft 2019 Skills Forecasts and Proposed Schedules of Work which prioritise the skill needs of their industry sectors and propose future Training Package development activity.

All industry stakeholders will have the opportunity to review the draft Skills Forecasts and provide feedback from 15 March to 8 April. Each IRC will approve the final version to be submitted to the Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) on 30 April.

AIS is continuing to engage with and build our extensive industry networks through our participation at key industry and education events and conferences. These forums enable us to showcase the work being done by IRCs and AIS. They also give an opportunity for stakeholders to provide input into the skills agenda.

Our General Manager- Industry Skills, Dan Minton, and Industry Skills Specialist, Paschal Somers, took the opportunity to engage with Aviation and Defence industry stakeholders at the Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition at the Avalon Airshow 2019. They joined over 700 participating exhibitors at the action-packed event, held over six days from Tuesday 26 February to Sunday 3 March. The event featured the latest and most exciting aerospace, aviation and defence products and inventions, as well as the world-renowned flying display.

Paschal presented at the event’s Careers and Skills Forum where students heard about the exciting career pathways in the aerospace, aviation and defence industries. He highlighted the great work being done by our Aviation and Public Safety IRCs in developing Training Packages and qualifications that meet the skill needs of their industries. Read Paschal’s story about Avalon 2019 here.

I was pleased to join a large gathering of industry and political leaders, as well as key policy makers at the Australian Logistics Council’s ALC Forum 2019 in Melbourne from 5 – 7 March. The jam-packed program spotlighted key contemporary issues facing the industry. AIS Chief Operating Officer, Paul Walsh, presented at a breakout session focussed on future skilling of the workforce:  Are We Ready? Preparing Our Workforce for Digital transformation. Read the article about the ALC Forum 2019 here.

On Wednesday, 27 February I attended an International Skills Engagement Forum in Sydney which focused on delivering on the Australian Government’s Vocational Education and Training International Engagement Strategy 2025. This strategy seeks to position Australia as a global leader in vocational education and training (VET) policy, systems and frameworks. It was developed in close collaboration with the VET sector to ensure Australia expands its reach as a partner of choice in providing high quality VET education, both on and offshore, and in attracting international students.

The forum explored how the Australian Government can best work with the VET sector to meet the increased demand for global skills in the Indo-Pacific, the needs of industry, and how to support providers currently engaged or looking to expand overseas.

The Secretary of the Department of Education and Training, Dr Michele Bruniges, opened the forum with an overview of the ‘Strategy’ and led a discussion on the Government’s role in facilitating international VET engagement. Mr Troy Williams, CEO of ACPET discussed providing quality, industry-relevant training to students both onshore and offshore. Ms Vivienne King, CEO, Box Hill Institute highlighted the growing international demand for Australian VET services and expertise offshore.

Mark McKenzie, Chair of the Transport and Logistics Industry Reference Committee, then spoke about his own observations and experience over the last five years in addressing the skilling priorities in the petroleum retailing industry. Mark highlighted the international projects that have been undertaken by AIS and the importance of having local industry fully engaged and leading the way in the development of fit for purpose occupational standards.

AIS has successfully facilitated a number of international projects and is currently leading an Aus4Skills Program that is helping to develop the first industry-led VET framework in Vietnam.  We were delighted to host a high-level Vietnamese delegation in Canberra and Sydney from 22 February to 1 March. The delegation, consisting of 16 participants from the Vietnamese Government, industry and training colleges were participating in a short study program targeting the transport and logistics sectors. The program included visits to Toll Logistics and TAFE NSW campuses in Sydney and a visit to the Transport Industries Skills Centre in Canberra. Delegates also attended presentations by Australian Department of Education officials, My Freight Career and the Chair of the Transport and Logistics Industry Reference Committee (IRC), Mark McKenzie.

The Expert Panel leading the Review of the Australian Qualifications Framework is taking a considered approach to developing recommendations for the future structure of the AQF.  The panel has been facilitating briefing workshops nationally to gather a range of views from higher education and vocational education stakeholders. I attended a consultation in Melbourne on 8 March to discuss issues raised in the AQF Discussion Paper and possible approaches to proposed reforms.

All submissions will be reviewed following the closing date of 15 March. The review’s final report is expected to be provided to Government by September 2019.