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Ebony O’Doherty-Bowman, electrical apprentice with Powercor Australia and trainer Ray Borowiak at Australia’s first wind turbine training tower at Ballarat’s Federation University, where wind turbine technicians can train instead of using fly-in-fly-out workers.

Over the next three years, we will:

  • Work through national skills bodies, including the proposed Jobs and Skills Australia, for vocational education and training qualification reform directed to supporting future skills.
  • In priority skills needs areas where national processes are a drag on a timely response, the VSA will use the local accreditation authority for the quick production of accredited micro-credentials and full qualifications.
  • In conjunction with the Office of TAFE Coordination and Delivery, training providers and industry explore new curriculum models and modes of delivery that support quality learning and faster responses by the training sector including for critical niche occupations.

Skilling is more successful and longer lasting if students are prepared for upskilling and ongoing learning through their careers, including during times of change.

Most current VET qualifications are based on an established occupation. However, industry representatives and training providers told the VSA that this hampers their ability to respond to emerging and local skills needs.

VET qualifications need to be enhanced in a way to ensure deep technical skills and knowledge can be applied across multiple occupations.

For example, many occupations share the same need for intermediate digital skills such as coding, data security, privacy protection, data governance and data presentation. These skills need to be structured for teaching in a way that they are transferable and easily applied across occupations.

New approaches to VET qualifications should consider bold curriculum reform which would:

  • Encourage the development of discipline specific knowledge with application beyond a single occupation
  • Build skills for adapting and applying technical knowledge and skills in different contexts
  • Reduce the lead time required to update qualifications for emerging knowledge and skills requirements
  • Reduce onerous prescription and unnecessary complexity
  • Facilitate the delivery of programs tailored for regional and local needs.

The VSA will work with Victorian providers and industry to explore curriculum models that would support the development of transferable, industry-relevant knowledge and skills.

Jobs and Skills Australia, the new body to be established by the new Federal Government, provides a revitalised national platform for cooperation between industry, unions and governments to bring a new approach to skilling. The VSA will work closely with Jobs and Skills Australia, and with similar entities in other States and Territories, to explore new approaches.

There is a unique opportunity through a new compact with industry and unions, and new approaches to qualifications and skilling, that can lift the skills of workers and support productivity improvement that can underpin wages growth. Flexibility is required in any new national arrangements, so Victoria has the capability to meet the unique needs of Victorian industries.

Case study

Skills, the engine room for future jobs

Josh Reynolds formed a love of engines tinkering alongside his grandfather on the old 1940 motors of yesterday.

Today, the apprentice fitter and turner uses the skills he learns at South West TAFE to help build the energy systems of tomorrow, including components for wind farms, with his employer Keppel Prince.

Josh is one of many apprentices to have honed their skills at South West TAFE as part of its 30-year partnership with Keppel Prince, Portland.

South West TAFE Executive Manager of Education John Flett said the two organisations collaborate to develop skills training to reflect changing needs.

“We developed and delivered a Certificate III in Surface Coating and Protection, which was a qualification identified as part of the Victorian Skills Commission’s 2018 Regional Skills Profile,” he said.

“We have also run a re-skilling program for their employees and are working on an industrial welders program based on Certificate III in engineering to train up to 70 new welders by 2023.”

Josh Reynolds takes what he learns through his apprenticeship and mentors other students.

“I’m pretty lucky where I am, as a fitter and turner in our workshop we really do a touch of everything. I enjoy that every day you walk in you’re doing something different.”

Reviewed 06 September 2022

Victorian Skills Plan for 2022 into 2023

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