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UPDATE OF ELECTRICIAN QUALIFICATION A PRIORITY

Industry has reported that the Electrotechnology Training Package needs to be updated to keep pace with changes in technology, and to meet current and emerging skill needs. The Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician qualification in particular needs to keep pace with industry advancement to ensure that apprentices are able to meet the demands of the role on completion of their apprenticeship.

It is for this reason that the Electrotechnology Industry Reference Committee (IRC) has prioritised the transition of the Certificate III Electrotechnology Electrician qualification to meet the requirements of the Standards for Training Packages 2012. The purpose of these standards is to ensure that Training Packages are of high quality and meet the current and emerging workforce development needs of industry, enterprises and individuals.

The Electrotechnology industry includes the design, maintenance, installation and repair for all electrical and electronic equipment. The technology and its associated workforces stretches across most sectors of the economy. The industry is forecasted to generate $37 billion for the Australian economy through FY 2016-17 and employs more than 340,000 people with forecasted employment growth of 4.6%.

Technological advances are resulting in changes involving the merging of traditional industry sectors as well as the emergence of new industry subsectors. Consequently, new specialist skills are being sought for these new technologies.

The Certificate III Electrotechnology Electrician is the most used qualification in the UEE Training Package. The latest NCVER data shows enrolments in 2015 accounted for 52 percent of training delivery across all qualifications from the UEE11 Training Package.

At the same time, there has been a worrying decline in the number of apprentices enrolling to become electricians.

Nearly 70 percent of the employers surveyed in the 2017 Skills Forecast Survey for the Electrotechnology Industry have experienced a skills shortage within the last 12 months, of which Electrician was the top occupation listed. The survey results reveal that the key reason for the skills shortage is a lack of qualified workers, followed by the cost or time taken to achieve qualifications. Industry has also identified a need for more electricians in the workforce. This outcome is further supported by the latest government projection of employment growth for electricians of 15.7 percent to 2020.

Industry report that attracting new people is challenging and have identified increasing costs of apprenticeships and licences, competitive salaries from other sectors and difficulty attracting women to the industry as the main explanations.

Licencing requirements vary from state to state which increases the barriers to entry as the mobility of electricians is hampered by the fact that their licence is only applicable to their respective state or territory. This variation in licensing has been a growing concern for industry.

The potential impact of continuing shortages in this critical occupation are significant. The Electrotechnology IRC is keen to ensure that the qualification meets industry’s needs as well as providing a strong foundation for attracting new entrants to its workforce.  A Technical Advisory Committee will be established by the IRC to support the transition work which will take place over the next 6 to 8 months.

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Jason Lazar
Industry Manager
Australian Industry Standards

0417 903 566
jason.lazar@australianindustrystandards.org.au