Investing in our biggest industry would boost jobs and productivity

The aged care royal commission will bring down its final report next month, and it is more important now than ever. Its findings have implications not just for aged care, but also our biggest single industry that just happens to be growing the fastest of them all. That industry is healthcare and social assistance, which at last count employed 1.7 million people. It is projected to grow by 205,000 over the next five years, more than double the pace of the next fastest sector, education. The National Skills Commission reckons it’s our most COVID-19 resilient industry, a safe bet for those looking for work.

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Advanced apprenticeships will boost skills for future jobs, but not in time to counter COVID impacts

The Australian government has released a series of manufacturing industry policies in the lead-up to the October 6 budget. Yesterday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke about a A$1.5 billion strategy to strengthen Australian manufacturing and supply chains. Last week, Education Minister Dan Tehan announced a A$7.2 million extension of advanced apprenticeship pilot programs across the country to teach students the high-level, specialist knowledge and skills they’ll need for industry jobs of the future.

Apprentice funding round introduces 30 new qualifications 

Apprentice funding round introduces 30 new qualifications 

The government has opened a new round of funding for registered training organisations to reduce education costs. Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff said the Apprentice and Trainee Training Fund (User Choice) was designed to create a pipeline of skilled workers at a time when it was needed most and while Tasmanians were looking for new jobs.

TAS user choice funding round open

TAS user choice funding round open

Registered training organisations are being encouraged to apply for funding through the latest round of the Tasmanian Government’s Apprentice and Trainee Training Fund (User Choice), with applications now open. The fund provides subsidies through grants to significantly reduce the cost of providing quality training and assessment for nationally recognised qualifications.

Feature Article: Step by step guide to managing transition from superseded training products

Step by step guide to managing transition from superseded training products

On 12 August 2020 the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) approved updates to 16 training packages including the AUR; BSB; FNS; CPC; AMP; MAR; TLI; HLT; and UEE packages. It is expected that they will be released on TGA in October with a 12 month transition period. RTOs with training products on scope within these training packages should commence projects as soon as possible in anticipation of transitioning from the superseded training products to the replacement training products as these changes will require a significant amount of work for providers to implement.


RTOs should subscribe to the National Register of VET (TGA) to receive notifications when changes to training products are published including:

  • When a new version of a training package becomes available; or
  • When a training product is superseded

When a notification of change to a training product is received, RTO managers should schedule an initial planning meeting to commence a project to transition. Identification of the intended time frame to deliver the replacement training product should be discussed and agreed as early as possible as preparation will impact on your ability to market the replacement training product and recruit your student cohorts. Additional processes such as additions or changes to CRICOs registration or VSL approvals need to be considered to be ready to deliver as planned.

Resource development:

RTOs need to ensure that prior to commencement of delivery of a replacement training product they are resourced to deliver what is on scope and can demonstrate compliance with the SRTOs 2015 and the ASQA General Direction. Create a plan for development or updating of learning and assessment resources for all units identified in the training and assessment strategy for the replacement training product/s.

  • For existing learning and assessment resources the plan should identify required upgrades and improvements
  • Where no learning and assessment resources exist the plan should identify how they are to be developed (including purchasing of off-the-shelf resources)

The plan should clearly outline time frames for completion of development well before delivery of specific units of competency need to commence.

Transitioning students: 

RTOs must transition learners from superseded training products within specified time frames to ensure only currently endorsed training packages and accredited courses are delivered. Training products that lead to licensed or regulated outcomes may need to meet additional requirements. RTO management will need to identify the numbers of students currently enrolled in the superseded training product and if they will complete prior to the transition end date or if they will need to be transitioned to the replacement training product. The most effective way to identify what students need to be transitioned is to undertake a student transition mapping. If international students are undertaking a superseded training product and need to be transitioned into the replacement training product you need to consider CRICOs requirements and the impact on Confirmation of Enrollment (COEs). RTOs can continue to enroll students in superseded training products during the transition period so long as it is permissible under funding / contractual arrangements and the student is able to complete the training within the transition period. 

Adding training products to scope: 

When a new version of a training product is deemed equivalent to its predecessor it will be identified on TGA as “superseded and equivalent to” the previous version and will automatically be added to an RTOs scope of registration. If a training product is deemed not equivalent to its predecessor it will be identified on TGA as superseded and RTOs will need to make an application to ASQA to add the new version to their scope of registration.

In preparation for adding a replacement training product to scope RTOs should:

  • Develop strategies for the delivery of training and assessment that have been developed through effective consultation with industry
  • Ensure that trainers and assessors possess all of the relevant and required vocational and training/assessment competencies and can demonstrate industry currency in relation to the units of competency they will train/assess;
  • Ensure that sufficient, industry-relevant resources, facilities and materials to train and assess all units of competency in the training product are available

Other feature articles:

Planning essentials for RTOs

How to plan industry engagement activities effectively

Three planning resources every RTO manager should have in their toolkit