Stronger security screening at airports

The Australian Government is strengthening the capabilities of security screening officers at airports around the country. The Aviation Industry Reference Committee (IRC) is developing a Transport Security Protection qualification that will be used for a proposed screening officer accreditation scheme, scheduled to commence from mid-2018.

An efficient, safe, and secure aviation and maritime system is integral to Australia’s social and economic well-being. Australia’s aviation and maritime industries aid both travel and trade, connecting our cities and towns and Australia to the rest of the world. An Inspector of Transport Security inquiry, which reviewed aviation passenger and cargo screener functions identified areas of vocational skills and knowledge that need improvement.

The inquiry recommended introducing a screener specific qualification; a national accreditation test for people making screening decisions; and annual recertification. Once implemented the scheme will ensure transport security screening officers have the skills and knowledge they need to respond to the evolving threats in transport security.

To support the implementation of the recommendations, the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) commissioned the Aviation Industry Reference Committee (IRC) and Australian Industry Standards (AIS) to undertake a training package development project. A Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) comprising subject matter experts from industry, facilitated by AIS, will review the specific qualifications covering jobs that involve screening in the Aviation and Maritime industries.

The project will result in a new Certificate II in Transport Security Protection that will replace the two current Aviation Transport Protection qualifications. It will also review and strengthen the existing security screening units of competency to address the emerging skill needs of air cargo and maritime transport security screeners. The new qualification, once approved, will replace existing qualification requirements, and will be timed with the release of the proposed new accreditation scheme.

The new accreditation scheme will see screening officers undergo testing to confirm they have the appropriate skills to make independent screening decisions.
Accreditation testing will include:

  • knowledge of the contemporary threat environment
  • X-ray image testing and assessment
  • observation in the workplace to confirm officers have the appropriate skills to make independent screening decisions.

Existing screening officers will get an appropriate transition period to obtain accreditation. This will ensure minimal disruption to the ongoing screening functions at airports and vessels berthed at docks.

However, new recruits, before being able to make independent screening decisions, will be required to:

  • obtain the new Certificate II in Transport Security Protection
  • complete on-the-job training requirements
  • pass the accreditation test.

Australian Industry Standards is pleased to be a part of this important project to help ensure the security of Australia’s airports.