Get involved to develop a responsive training and skills system

Business owners, industry representatives, training providers and learners are being encouraged to take part in a review of the Training and Skills Development Act 2008 to shape the future of South Australia’s training system.

The State Government is ensuring South Australia is equipped with a skilled workforce and a review of the state’s training legislation is an important component of broader training reforms being implemented, including through the $203 million Skilling South Australia program.

Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni said feedback from stakeholders will help to overhaul the outdated Training and Skills Development Act 2008.

“A modern training system requires an adaptive framework that streamlines operations and makes it easier for South Australian businesses to employ an apprentice or trainee,” Minister Pisoni said.

The review is in line with key recommendations in the Training and Skills Commission’s Skills for Future Jobs 2020 Series: Future-proofing the Apprenticeship and Traineeship System report released today.

“Extensive stakeholder consultation undertaken last year by the Training and Skills Commission revealed the desire for simpler and more responsive legislation, lower costs and less red tape.

“In addition to the State Government’s training reforms that are already underway, I will continue to work towards the recommendations outlined in the Future-proofing the Apprenticeship and Traineeship System report to repair, reform, support, promote and advance South Australia’s training system.”

Feedback on the review of the Training and Skills Development Act 2008 is sought through yourSAy over the next four weeks.

“I encourage anyone involved in employing, training, studying or accessing vocational education and training to join the conversation to ensure South Australia has a robust system responsive to the needs of business, and which will underpin the development of a skilled workforce to meet the demands of growth industries,” Minister Pisoni said.

“This is an essential step in our objective to create more than 20,800 additional apprenticeships and traineeships over four years through the Skilling South Australia initiative to support more South Australians into meaningful, long-term careers.”

Training and Skills Commission Chair Michael Boyce said he is is pleased the State Government is acting on expert advice and continuing to revitalise South Australia’s training sector.

“After months of research and consultation, I am pleased to present the Commission’s findings on the apprenticeship and traineeship system,” Mr Boyce said.

“I encourage interested parties to take advantage of this valuable opportunity to modernise the Act and tailor the state’s training framework to your specific needs.”

The state’s Training Advocate Renee Hindmarsh said the review of the Act is essential to align with current and future workforce needs.

“The review is needed to ensure South Australia maintains relevant and up-to-date legislation, which responds to the training needs of enterprises and their employees and I look forward to the next steps,” Ms Hindmarsh said.

To provide your feedback, go to yourSAy before submissions close on Wednesday 19 June 2019.

/Public News. View in full here.

Labor to spend $12m boosting number of female tradies in vocational education overhaul

Doug Cameron says $12m spend will ‘help break down the barriers faced by women’

 Labor says many trades are dominated by men but it will spend $12m to increase the number of women. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

A Labor government will commit $12m to boost the number of female tradies as part of an overhaul of Australia’s vocational education sector.

The shadow skills minister, Doug Cameron, said the commitment aimed to boost female representation in traditionally male-dominated occupations, where women remain a tiny fraction of the workforce.

Cameron said training organisations would be given funds to recruit women, who would then be linked to employers who wanted to make their “workshops more diverse and inclusive”.

“Women should have safe and inclusive opportunities to become fully qualified and well-paid tradespeople,” Cameron said. “Many trades are still male dominated, but that doesn’t need to continue to be the norm.”

The $12m will operate under the guidance of Labor’s apprenticeship advocate, who will be charged with closing the apprenticeship gender gap and expanding the uptake of quality apprenticeships and traineeships across the labour market.

The program will include funds for mentoring apprentices, peer support and working directly with employers to “overcome bias” and achieve more accepting and inclusive workplaces.

As little as 2% of workers in well-paid traditional trades including electrical, building, automotive and engineering are women.

The party points to a recent study of women in the automotive trades, which found that only half believed men and women were treated equally at work. One in four women reported direct sexual harassment and more than 40% had been subjected to offensive language or behaviour at work.

“Experienced group training organisations will provide direct assistance to employers and apprentices to help break down the barriers faced by women,” Cameron said. “Through this program Labor will support women who want to do a trade, lift their earning potential, improve the businesses they work in and make our society fairer.”

The party’s shadow minister for women and education, Tanya Plibersek, said the program would also offer practical assistance to ensure worksites were more female friendly.

“Women wanting to gain a trade in male dominated occupations face major barriers to finding quality trade apprenticeships,” Plibersek said.

“Things like ensuring worksites have appropriate bathroom facilities, inclusive communal staff areas and providing advice on how to appropriately interact at work are easy to address but are often some of the biggest barriers to women taking up a trade and feeling comfortable at work.”

The commitment forms part of the party’s post-budget pledge to spend $440m on skills and training, including $330m to deliver 150,000 apprenticeship subsidies in areas with skills shortages.

Bill Shorten has also committed Labor to spend $200m on Tafe campuses and promised to almost double the number of new apprenticeship offered by the Coalition in Tuesday’s budget.

Labor Pitches Skills And Digital Literacy Ahead Of Election

If elected on Saturday an Australian Labor Government will address Australia’s digital skills gap, establish centres of excellence for AI and blockchain, encourage more startup activity, and reform controversial encryption laws.

Each of the moves has been outlined by Shadow Minister for Human Services and the Digital Economy, Ed Husic, in the lead up to the federal election.

Today, Husic elaborated on several aspects of the Opposition’s digital strategy during an event in Sydney organised by InnovationAus and StartupAus. While Husic has become a regular at the town hall style gatherings LNP representatives have declined the group’s invitations, according to event organisers.

Skills Pitch

To address Australia’s digital skills gap Labor has pledged more vocational training for IT and more requirements that digital roles to be filled by local talent, with an emphasis on diversity.

Labor has promised 5,00 free Tafe places for IT and digital courses. Half of those places are reserved for women to address IT’s diversity problem. Today Husic revealed “where we can” the program would also target older workers transitioning to new roles in particular.

Husic said Labor would promote local talent in the digital economy but leave the door open for migrant workers to “ensure our skills are current”.

Shadow Minister for Human Services and the Digital Economy, Ed Husic speaking in Sydney. Supplied.

“We could fill every single vacancy here in Australia with a local and I’d still think there’s a role for skilled migration.

“From my point of view, if people are doing something smart somewhere else in the world and they want to come here or they’re needed here we should bring them here. Because we need to ensure that the knowledge base is continually replenished.”

Husic said Labor’s “smart visas” will mean foreigners with highly needed skills including digital can help bridge the deficit between local talent and industry requirements.

Businesses need to step up too, Husic argued, noting the practice of large corporations relying too heavily on 457 Visa holders for IT needed to stop.

Husic said a Labor Government would require large companies working on digital projects for government to ensure one in 10 of its involved employees are digital trainees or apprentices.

Labor’s shadow minister also reaffirmed the party’s commitment to reform the controversial encryption laws it helped pass late last year.

“This has been an awful bill in the way it has been put through parliament … This is having a devastating impact locally.”

Husic said several international firms are avoiding the Australian market because they believe storing data here is “not worth the risk”. Husic said Labor will push to reform the bill even if it remains in opposition.

However he ruled out repealing the legislation saying the challenge of bad actors misusing digital platforms was real and other jurisdictions were taking similar measures, although not as “hopelessly” as Australia.

Politicians Must Do Better On Tech: Husic

Regardless of which party wins government on Saturday Husic says a better understanding of technology is needed in Canberra.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” Husic said of politicians digital literacy.

“I think the reality is parliamentarians are going to have to get across [digital technology] a lot more. Not just in terms of the profound impact of technology broadly but even from a government perspective.”

Every government department will deal with transformation projects, Husic says, and the politicians leading them need to understand the underlying technology to some extent.

“Gone are the days that you could just be there for the announcement and shove the project management to the IT help desk and hope that it just all worked out. That’s not going to work anymore. We’ve seen that through this term of this parliament with a number of digital derailments, some of which have not purely been because of the tech … A lot of it is governance.”

Small business backs Labor’s job incentive

The small business council boss has welcomed Labor's incentives to boost jobs for the young and old.The small business council boss has welcomed Labor’s incentives to boost jobs for the young and old.Image: AAP

Federal Labor’s $141 million promise to help young and old people get work has received the backing of small business, provided the red tape is kept under control.

The opposition’s policy would give small businesses an incentive to employ additional employees aged under 25, over 55 and carers returning to the workforce.

Companies with turnover of less than $10 million operating for more than two years will be eligible for an additional 30 per cent tax deduction for up to five new workers’ salaries for their first year of employment, capped at $50,000 per company.

Council of Small Business Organisations Australia chief executive Peter Strong said employers paying workers $50,000 would get a rebate of $1500.

“It’s not an awful lot but it’s not petty cash either,” he told ABC Newsradio on Monday.

“It makes you think about a group you might not have thought about which is really good news.”

Mr Strong said employment service providers needed to be careful not to create undue red tape for businesses.

“You can make a really good policy but if the process or communications are poor, then the policy fails. There’s got to be red tape that is easy to manage,” he said.

He said the program needed to be connected to vocational training programs.


Endless fights over money don’t improve education results

One of the few things both sides agree on in this election campaign is that we must get education right. A highly educated and well-trained workforce is our best insurance that all the benefits that digital disruption brings don’t come at the cost of many people unable to find decent jobs.

As a rich nation, our workers are highly paid. That’s not bad, it’s good. But it does mean we have to ensure our workers continue being equipped with the knowledge and skills that make their labour valuable – to local employers and to the purchasers of the goods and services we export.

One thing it doesn’t mean is that all our youngsters should go to university. There will be plenty of well-paid, safe, interesting jobs for the less academically inclined, provided they’re equipped with the valuable technical and caring skills provided by a healthy vocational education and training sector.

A top-notch technical education system will also be key to achieving something we’ve long just rabbited on about: lifelong learning. Being able to update your skills for your occupation’s latest digital whiz-bangery, or quickly acquire different skills for a job in a new industry with better prospects than the one that just ejected you.

But while we’re emphasising education’s instrumental importance to maintaining our material standard of living, we should never lose sight of its intrinsic value to our spiritual living standard. Education for its own sake. Because it satisfies humans’ insatiable curiosity about the world – even the universe – we live in.

We need to get education and training right at every level, from childcare (these days renamed ECEC – “early childhood education and care”), preschool, primary and secondary school, vocational education and training, and university.

Illustration: Simon Letch
Illustration: Simon LetchCREDIT:

To me, our greater understanding of the way tiny brains develop combines with common sense to say that, in our efforts to get every level of education up to scratch, we should start at the bottom and work up.

The better-equipped kids are when they progress from one stage to the next, the easier it is for that next stage to ensure they thrive rather than fall behind.

On childcare, the Coalition did a good job of rationalising the feds’ two conflicting childcare subsidies, but Labor is promising a lot more money for childcare, including phasing in much better pay for (mainly female) better-educated childcare workers.

The Coalition has achieved universal preschool for four-year-olds and, in the budget, extended that funding for a further two years. Labor has topped that, promising permanent funding arrangements and extension of the scheme to three-year-olds, as most other rich countries do.

We don't spend as much as some comparable counties on education and our results are declining.
We don’t spend as much as some comparable counties on education and our results are declining.

Let’s be frank: because Labor plans to increase, rather than cut, the tax on high income-earners, it has a lot more money to spend on all levels of education (plus a lot of other areas).

It’s certainly promising to spend more on schools. The Coalition’s great achievement has been to introduce its own, better and somewhat cheaper version of businessman David Gonski’s needs-based funding of schools – which it immediately marred by doing a special deal with Catholic schools. Labor’s promising to return to its earlier Gonski funding levels (but, hopefully, not to its earlier commitment that no rich school would lose a dollar).

It’s often claimed we spend a lot on schools relative to other countries, but the Grattan Institute’s schools expert, Dr Peter Goss, says that, when you allow for our younger population, only the Netherlands and the United States spend less than we do among nine other comparable rich countries.

International testing shows our 15-year-olds’ scores for maths, science and reading are each below the average for those countries. On maths, our score of 524 in 2003 had dropped to 494 by 2015.

For science, our gap between the top and bottom students – a measure of fairness – is wider than for the others, bar Canada, South Korea, Japan and even Britain.

Which demolishes the claim that we’re pouring more money into schools but getting worse results. What’s true is that our spending is below average and our results are also below average – and getting worse.

So, do we need to spend a lot more? No, not a lot more now we’ve gone a long way towards redistributing funding favour of needy (mainly public) schools full of kids with low income, low educated parents.

The feds and, more particularly, the states have more to do to re-align funding between advantaged non-government schools and their own disadvantaged public schools.

Once disadvantaged schools are getting their full whack of needs-based funding, however, we can end the eternal shootfight over money and move to the more important issue of ensuring the money’s better spent.

Much can be done to help teachers move to more effective ways of teaching, making schools less like a production line and giving more attention to individuals, many of whom have trouble keeping up, while some are insufficiently challenged.

But, Goss says, this is mainly a job for the state governments, and the feds should avoid trying to backseat drive. The feds would help more by obliging the universities to do a much better job of selecting and preparing future teachers.

Ross Gittins is the Herald’s economics editor.


Scott Morrison’s push for more regional apprenticeships

Scott Morrison is set to announce a further $60 million today to double the size of the Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy Trial, established earlier this year.Scott Morrison is set to announce a further $60 million today to double the size of the Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy Trial, established earlier this year.

A WAGE subsidy trial for regional apprentices will be extended if the Coalition is re-elected next month, the Prime Minister will announce today.

Scott Morrison is set to announce a further $60 million today to double the size of the Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy Trial, established earlier this year.

More than 3200 young Australians would be employed under the initiative, with 330 young Victorians already benefiting from the wage subsidy trial.

“Apprenticeships unlock a lifetime of job opportunities,” the Prime Minister said.

“This initiative is about making sure there’s even more opportunities for our young people to learn a valuable trade, particularly in regional and rural Australia.

“Last year alone we created 100,000 jobs for people and this pilot will deliver an extra 1,600 opportunities for apprentices across regional and rural areas.”

Under the subsidy, eligible employers are able to receive payments based on the apprentice’s relevant award wage rates.

Subsidies are provided at 75 per cent of the apprentice’s award wage in the first year, followed with 50 per cent in the second year and 25 per cent in the third year.

“We want to get more young people into work,” Mr Morrison said ahead of today’s announcement.

“We’re backing 1600 new sparkies, plumbers, mechanics, hairdressers and painters. “Importantly they will be learning their trade in regional Australia where these skills are needed.”

Last week, the national unemployment rate edged slightly higher to five per cent, a trend attributed to more Australians looking for work.

Full-time work increased by 48,300, while 22,600 part-time jobs were lost.

Earlier this month, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said if elected, his government would spend $200 million on TAFE campuses and double the number of new apprenticeships outlined by Treasurer Josh Frydenburg in his 2019-20 budget.

The commitment outlined by the Labor leader amounted to $440 million of new spending, three-quarters of which would deliver 150,000 apprenticeship subsidies in parts of Australia with skills shortages.

Vocational Education Minister Michaelia Cash said Mr Shorten lacked commitment to tackling regional youth unemployment.

“Bill Shorten and Labor have opposed (the Coalition initiative) at every opportunity,” Senator Cash said.

“As such, the jobs of 3200 apprentices will be at risk under a Shorten Labor Government.

“Bill Shorten needs to come clean about whether he will rip up the wage subsidy and take away their jobs.”

Labor to lift skilled migrant pay floor from ludicrous to ridiculous

While undoubtedly much better than the Coalition, the Labor Party also continues to fail Australian workers, promising a ridiculously low wage floor for temporary skilled workers of only $65,000 a year. From The AFR:

Bill Shorten will announce today that the minimum wage for workers on a 457-style visa – known as a Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold – will be increased from the current level of $53,900 to $65,000… indexed annually…

“When businesses use overseas workers as a cheap replacement for local workers it it contributes to wage stagnation,” Mr Shorten said…

Labor says the scheme is still being exploited and has already proposed tighter labour market testing, higher fees for using temporary foreign labour, and further limits to the eligible range of occupations…

Here’s more via The Guardian:

In a statement, Shorten and the shadow employment minister, Brendan O’Connor, said the fact the rate had been frozen since 2013 had eroded Australians’ job protection because “it has become cheaper to bring in an overseas worker than pay a local worker”.

“Around four out of five temporary skilled worker visas are granted for occupations where there is no shortage of skilled workers in Australia – this needs to change,” they said.

Labor would legislate to establish an independent Australian skills authority to restrict temporary work visas to jobs where there was a genuine skills shortage.

Labor would also crack down on under-qualified temporary workers by using registered training organisations to test workers before a visa was granted rather than relying on an immigration department assessment.

“These reforms improve fairness, equity, level the playing field for Australian workers, and protect jobs and wages,” Shorten and O’Connor’s statement said. “Only Labor has a plan to crackdown on 457-style visa rorts, ensure local workers are given the first shot at local jobs and invest in skills and training.”

The salary floor for Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visas has been frozen at a pitifully low $53,900 since 2013-14, which is $32,700 below the current average full-time Australian salary of $86,600 (comprising both skilled and unskilled workers). It’s also well below the median full-time wage of $68,620.

Joanna Howe, Senior Lecturer in Law at University of Adelaide, explained the ramifications of this TSS wage floor in the recent book, The Wages Crisis in Australia:

This crisis has been precipitated by the federal government’s decision to freeze the salary floor for temporary skilled migrant workers since 2013… the government has chosen to put downward pressure on real wages for temporary skilled migrants, thereby surreptitiously allowing the TSS visa to be used in lower-paid jobs…

This salary floor is called the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT). TSMIT was introduced in 2009 in response to widespread concerns during the Howard Government years of migrant worker exploitation…

In effect, TSMIT is intended to act as a proxy for the skill level of a particular occupation. It prevents unscrupulous employers misclassifying an occupation at a higher skill level in order to employ a TSS visa holder at a lower level…

TSMIT’s protective ability is only as strong as the level at which it is set… But since 1 July 2013, TSMIT has been frozen at a level of A$53 900…

This means that the TSS visa can increasingly be used to employ temporary migrant workers in occupations that attract a far lower salary than that earned by the average Australian worker. This begs the question — is the erosion of TSMIT allowing the TSS visa to morph into a general labour supply visa rather than a visa restricted to filling labour market gaps in skilled, high-wage occupations?..

Put simply, temporary demand for migrant workers often creates a permanent need for them in the labour market. Research shows that in industries where employers have turned to temporary migrants en masse, it erodes wages and conditions in these industries over time, making them less attractive to locals…

So the failure to index the salary floor for skilled migrant workers is likely to affect wages growth for these workers, as well as to have broader implications for all workers in the Australian labour market.

Given the above, it is not surprising that actual pay levels of ‘skilled’ migrants in Australia is abysmally low.

According to the ABS’ most recent Personal Income of Migrants survey, the median employee income of migrants under the skilled stream was just $55,443 in 2013-14.

In a similar vein, separate ABS data revealed that Temporary Work (Skilled) visa holders earned a median income of only $59,436 in 2016.

While Labor is 100% correct in tackling the skilled migrant rort and raising the wage floor, why has it chosen a level ($65,000) that is still $21,600 below the average full-time Australian salary of $86,600, and $3,620 below the median full-time wage, both of which comprise both skilled and unskilled workers?

Why hasn’t Labor promised a wage floor that, at a minimum, matches average full-time earnings and preferably exceeds them? These are supposed to be ‘skilled’ workers after all.

Because under Labor’s policy, employers will continue to reach out for cheap foreign workers en masse instead of employing and training locals, and will continue to undermine wages.

Labor pledges stricter rules for skilled worker visas

Crackdown includes measures to limit work visas to areas of genuine skills shortages

Bill Shorten and his wife Chloe in Cairns on Monday.
 Bill Shorten and his wife Chloe at the Skyrail in Cairns on Monday. Shorten will stay in Queensland on Tuesday to announce new policies, including a crackdown on work visa rules. Photograph: Kym Smith/AAP

Labor will tighten work rules for skilled visa holders and redirect $4bn of unspent funding for northern Australia to projects including a gas pipeline.

The visa crackdown includes measures to limit work visas to areas of genuine skills shortages and strengthen assessments to ensure foreign workers have the right skills and occupational licenses.

Bill Shorten will announce the policies in Queensland on Tuesday, as he campaigns on Labor’s plan for jobs in the key marginal seats of Flynn and Herbert.

Labor will promise to honour existing projects in the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility but redirect the remaining $4bn to a new development fund, citing concerns about oversight of the Coalition’s facility and failure to dispense money.

The new Northern Australia Development Fund will provide $1bn to tourism projects and “up to $1.5bn” for a new gas pipeline to unlock gas in Queensland’s Galilee and Bowen basins and connect the Beetaloo basin to Darwin and the east coast.

Labor said the policy would help Darwin export gas, while increasing supply to Queensland and the eastern seaboard to put downward pressure on prices for gas users.

The policy is designed to boost employment in Queensland, where the Coalition has used Labor’s indecision about whether to review and reject approvals for Adani’s Carmichael coalmine to argue the opposition prefers its inner-city environmental constituency to regional jobs.

Labor will also promise to change the rules around skilled visas both as a safeguard to prevent exploitation and to decrease the incentive for employers to hire foreign workers before Australians.

Labor would lift the minimum pay rate for foreign workers on temporary skilled visas from $53,900 to $65,000 and index the rate every year, if elected.

In a statement, Shorten and the shadow employment minister, Brendan O’Connor, said the fact the rate had been frozen since 2013 had eroded Australians’ job protection because “it has become cheaper to bring in an overseas worker than pay a local worker”.

“Around four out of five temporary skilled worker visas are granted for occupations where there is no shortage of skilled workers in Australia – this needs to change,” they said.

Labor would legislate to establish an independent Australian skills authority to restrict temporary work visas to jobs where there was a genuine skills shortage.

Labor would also crack down on under-qualified temporary workers by using registered training organisations to test workers before a visa was granted rather than relying on an immigration department assessment.

“These reforms improve fairness, equity, level the playing field for Australian workers, and protect jobs and wages,” Shorten and O’Connor’s statement said. “Only Labor has a plan to crackdown on 457-style visa rorts, ensure local workers are given the first shot at local jobs and invest in skills and training.”

As the Morrison government reduced Australia’s permanent migration intake from 190,000 to 160,000, Labor focused on the fact that 1.6 million people in Australia have visas which grant work rights, a key concern of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

In 2017, the Turnbull government reformed the temporary work visa systemby reducing the number of eligible occupations and creating a new temporary two-year visa to allow for workers to come to Australia for a length of time that does not give a pathway to permanent residency.

The $5bn Naif has so far committed only $1.3bn in concessional loans to 10 projects, and the auditor general has criticised the fund for lacking transparency and not treating projects consistently. In April 2017 the Coalition changed the rules to facilitate greater lending from the fund.

Youth jobs focus as PM rallies in Brisbane

Scott Morrison has fired up the party faithful with a focus on jobs for young people as the election campaign made its first stop in the crucial battleground of Queensland.

AC/DC’s Back In Black – to remind voters of the government’s forecast surplus – blared over the speakers as the prime minister entered a campaign rally in Brisbane.

About 150 LNP members chanted “ScoMo!” before he preached to the converted in a shed at Brisbane’s showgrounds.

“Friends, we have a big fight ahead of us, a very big fight ahead of us but I can tell you, my team all around the country, we are up for this,” Mr Morrison said.

Earlier, the prime minister met with success stories from a government program to help people get skills and work experience which has come under heavy fire from Labor for being ineffective and exploitative.

Mr Morrison championed the PaTH program after promising to create a quarter of a million jobs for people aged 15 to 24 over five years.

The government on Sunday also released the location of 10 training hubs it announced in the budget earlier in the month.

The training centres – in both marginal and safe electorates – will work with local schools and employers to identify skills demands and encourage students to sign up for vocational training.

After leaving a Redcliffe cafe – and his breakfast behind – Mr Morrison hit the markets outside with local MP Luke Howarth who holds the seat of Petrie by a slender margin of 1.7 per cent.

Queensland is a key state, with the coalition facing a tough battle to retain its 21 of the state’s 30 seats. Labor has almost 10 LNP-held marginal scalps in its sights.

Mr Morrison made the most of the sunny autumn day, meeting children and patting a dog called Mouse, a 68kg Saint Bernard which timidly dealt with the spotlight’s glare as he walked through a local markets.

The prime minister’s wife Jenny joined him on the campaign trail for the second day in a row.

One man urged Mr Morrison to ensure there was stability in government.

“That’s what has to f***ing change,” he said before apologising and cracking the prime minister up.

Margaret, 69, who is no fan of Bill Shorten, took the chance to question Labor’s electric vehicle policy.

“What are they going to plug it into, a bloody gum tree?” she asked Mr Morrison.


* NSW: Gosford and Grafton

* Victoria: Shepparton

* Queensland: Townsville and Maryborough

* SA: Port Pirie

* WA: Wanneroo and Armadale

* Tasmania: Burnie

* NT: Alice Springs

© AAP 2019

Skills Active submission on vocational

Skills Active submission on vocational reform presents a better alternative

In a detailed submission on the Reform of Vocational Education, Skills Active Aotearoa has outlined its vision of a strong, unified on-job training system that serves more employers and learners.

From the beginning, Skills Active has argued passionately that we do not need to discard a thriving, successful ITO system which is not broken. However, there are always opportunities to strengthen it further.

“Following our engagement with the Minister and ministry officials during the very short consultation period, it became clear that there was an appetite to hear other ideas to achieve the same vision,” says Skills Active chief executive Dr Grant Davidson.

“With this in mind, we took the time to consider what a ‘unified, coordinated, national system of vocational education’ would look like, and how it could be best achieved.”

Create “Industry Workforce Development Bodies”

In its submission, Skills Active has proposed the creation of Industry Workforce Development Bodies (IWDBs). These bodies would be an evolution of ITOs, and would carry out the following functions:

• Determining industry skill needs

• Developing qualifications, standards and programmes

• Providing workforce planning services

• Working collaboratively with other vocational education providers in order to arrange training, whether on-job, off-job or a mix.

“We propose that the IWDB keeps the current role of arranging learning and assessment for those that are employed, or in an employment-like situation, and are completing a qualification that is predominantly delivered in the workplace,” Dr Davidson says.

Equitable funding to support a stronger training system

Skills Active’s submission supports the government’s vision of a shared funding model, Dr Davidson says.

“The proposal to have an established funding rate for on-job and a separate rate for off-job training, that are universally applied, is an excellent initiative. As already stated, if this one issue was resolved, collaboration between ITOs and ITPs would increase significantly. This would enable a flexible mixed delivery model that met the needs of all learners.”

Dr Davidson says Skills Active’s proposed solution seeks to maximise what is already working in our current system, builds on those parts of the reform proposals that are beneficial, and adds some features that, when all combined, Skills Active believes will deliver the best possible outcome.

“We are very keen to discuss our ideas with government, and be involved in the co-design of our vocational education and training system,” Dr Davidson says.