CEO Update – February 2019

Welcome to the first AIS Newsletter for 2019. I hope that you had an enjoyable and relaxing break over the festive season.

It has been a very busy start to the year for the AIS team with work well underway to support our Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) develop their 2019 Skills Forecasts and Proposed Schedules of Work. These important documents identify real-time industry skill needs based on the intelligence gathered on behalf of the IRCs direct from industry stakeholders by AIS.

Over the next month all 11 IRCs will hold their first meetings for the year to finalise the prioritisation of 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 in March before each IRC approves the final version to be submitted to the Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) on 30 April.

Late last year the federal government appointed Steven Joyce, the former New Zealand Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, and Minister of Finance, to lead an independent review of the vocational education and training (VET) system.

The review is considering VET funding and policy, changing work patterns, the impact of new technologies and the needs of industry and employers. Mr Joyce is hosting a series of discussions with industry, employer, student and workforce groups across the country.

AIS has provided a submission to the review and we keenly await the final report, which will be delivered to the Government in March. Our submission drew on last year’s AIS Industry Skills Forums, which made clear that if the VET sector is going to help futureproof the Australian workforce, it needs to be equipped to meet the current and future skills demand. This will require a strong and ongoing partnership with industry to ensure that skills standards and training delivery keeps pace with a fast moving and evolving workplace.

While the current VET system architecture is recognised as a world class system with the highest standards of quality and integrity, there are always opportunities for improvement.

Another important review currently being undertaken is the Review of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The Expert Panel, chaired by Professor Peter Noonan, released a Discussion Paper in December.

The AQF was last reviewed between 2009 and 2011. Since then there have been technological advances in education delivery, increased uptake of sub-qualifications and changes to international practice related to qualifications frameworks. The Panel will consider changes in the nature of work that affect the skills that graduates need and the types of qualifications that students and employers are seeking. It will assess areas where reform to the AQF is required.

Public consultations are now underway, with submissions due by 15 March. A final report to the government is due in July.

Many of the issues these reviews will be looking at were raised by our stakeholders last year at the skills forums and industry leaders dinners. AIS decided it was important to gather together the views that were expressed around the country, so is developing a booklet (Future Skilling Our Workforce – a national conversation) which identifies the high-level key messages that emerged from the discussions about future skilling the workforce in an age of digital transformation. It will be available soon in both electronic format and in hard copy by request.