The pre-conference forum on the 18th March 2015 focused on Australian government policies, programs and projects showcasing a number of government initiatives relevant to our delegates including:
- Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda
- National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults
- Foundation Skills Assessment Tool
- National Foundation Skills Strategy Project
- Foundation Skills Assessment Tool
- Foundation Skills Professional Development Workshops
- Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practitioner Scholarships Program
- Industry Skills Fund
- AusIndustry’s one stop shop arrangements
- Training for Employment Scholarships
- Youth Employment Pathways
The speakers for the pre-conference included:
- Peta Furnell, Head of Division, VET Reform Taskforce, Department of Industry
- Rina Rose’meyer, Manager, Industry Skills Victoria, AusIndustry – Skills & Energy Programmes, Department of Industry
- Errol Bannister, Assistant Manager, Foundation Skills Policy, Department of Industry
- Terry Kennedy, National Facilitator, Skills and Training Initiative, Automotive Manufacturing Transition
- Jennifer Dunbabin, Senior Project and Policy Officer Adult Literacy, Skills Tasmania
- Bob Paton, Chief Executive Officer, Manufacturing Skills Australia
Welcome and Opening
Bob Paton, Chief Executive Officer, Manufacturing Skills Australia
Bob Paton is the CEO of Manufacturing Skills Australia (MSA). This is one Australia’s 11 national Industry Skills Councils, recognised and funded by the Australian Government. The organisation’s roles include the ongoing development and maintenance of national vocational qualifications for the manufacturing industry, gathering and providing industry intelligence and assisting companies with their workforce development.
Bob was appointed at the end of 2004 after more than 8 years as National Executive Officer of the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Industry Training Advisory Body.
Prior to that Bob spent 20 years working for TAFE NSW as a teacher and then in various administration roles associated with state-wide and national manufacturing and engineering curriculum development and implementation. Bob also spent several years as a Director on the Board of the Australian National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).
Bob holds qualifications in automotive engineering, teaching, business, accounting and human resources management.
Update on VET Reform
Peta Furnell, Head of Division, VET Reform Taskforce, Department of Education and Training
The Australian Government has embarked on an ambitious agenda of VET reform to lift the quality of both training providers and the courses they offer – to further enhance the very significant contribution that VET makes to the employment prospects of students and to the competitiveness of Australia’s economy. This presentation provided an update on the VET reform to date and into the future.
Peta Furnell is Head of the VET Reform Taskforce in the Department of Education and Training, and has been working on VET reform initiatives over the past couple of years in the Australian Government (primarily in Commonwealth-State agreements).
Previously Peta worked across a range of public policy issues in The Treasury, including as General Manager of the Social Policy Division which covered skills and labour markets. Other areas of work included domestic and international economic analysis, fiscal policy (including the 2007 Intergenerational Report), taxation reform, financial markets reform, and corporate strategy. In the mid-90s Peta was posted by The Treasury to the Australian Delegation to the OECD. She holds Honours and Masters degrees in Economics.
Foundation Skills Initiatives
Errol Bannister, Assistant Manager, Foundation Skills Policy, Department of Education and Training
The Department of Education and Training currently oversees a range of initiatives which aim to advance the foundation skills levels of Australia’s working age population. The Australian Government commissioned the development of the Foundation Skills Assessment Tool and continues to support the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults. Errol Bannister provided a short overview of how the Australian Government’s work in the foundation skills area is progressing. Errol Bannister is the Assistant Director for the Foundation Skills Policy team at the Department of Education and Training. He is overseeing the development of the Foundation Skills Assessment Tool and has policy responsibility for the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults.
Errol Bannister joined the Foundation Skills Policy team in mid-2014. Prior to that, he had been managing group training policy and programmes for several years. Before moving to the skills and training area, he was part of a team that developed and implemented the Australian Government’s myuniversity web site project. He currently oversees policy responsibility for a range of initiatives including the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults and Foundation Skills Assessment Tool.
Errol joined the Commonwealth Pubic Service in 2004 and has extensive experience working in a range of program and policy roles across the education and skills portfolio.
Errol is also a qualified mechanic and was a Newcastle-based small business operator, who later went on to study a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) majoring in history.
Industry Skills Fund Overview
Rina Rose’meyer, Manager, Industry Skills Victoria, Australian Government, Department Education and Training
This session outlined the key elements of the $476 million Industry Skills Fund, which launched in January 2015. The Industry Skills Fund is a key element in the Australian Government’s competitiveness agenda and will provide up to 200,000 training places and support services, including literacy and numeracy training and mentoring. The fund will help build a highly skilled workforce that can take advantage of new business growth opportunities and adapt to rapid technological change.
Rina Rose’meyer’s work includes facilitating the industry take up of skills development to optimise local skills solutions and improved productivity, promotion of relevant grants programs and involvement in local structural adjustment efforts.
Supporting Industries in Transition
Terry Kennedy, National Facilitator, Skills and Training Initiative, Automotive Manufacturing Transition, Commonwealth Government
Terry Kennedy presented information about the $155m Growth Fund created to support:
- Holden and Toyota workers transition to further employment before and after the closure of all manufacturing in 2017
- Business investment in the affected regions through targeted capital investment programs.
He also detailed the Victorian and South Australian Government responses to supporting supply chain automotive manufacturing businesses who will close and/or make large scale redundancies once the three car manufacturers have all ceased manufacturing.
Terry Kennedy has worked closely with workers and companies in the West of Melbourne for more than four years, and now in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales in his current role as National Facilitator – Skills and Training Initiative. His previous role as Local Employment Coordinator (LEC) for the Australian Department of Employment focused on supporting businesses and employees impacted by economic downturn resulting in redundancies as well as developing opportunities for impacted regions to grow jobs and link displaced workers to these new opportunities. He worked with Hume City Council and Lend Lease to establish the Local Jobs for Local People initiative using primarily LEC seeding funding, and which continues to operate in the region to link pipeline employment opportunities with local jobseekers.
His role as National Facilitator focuses on working between Holden, Toyota, South Australian, Victorian and Australian Governments to identify risks, create communication pathways between all jurisdictions and identify and share good practice within and outside the Initiative. A key focus of his work will be to bring together information about local and regional pipeline employment opportunities from various sources and make it easily accessible to impacted workers as they make decisions about career pathways and related training.
The Tasmanian Adult Literacy Action Plan 2010 – 2015
Jennifer Dunbabin, Services Coordinator – 26TEN at LINC Tasmania
Tasmania is the first state to put in place an action plan to improve adult language, literacy and numeracy levels. In response to 2006 Adult Language and Life Skills survey results, the Tasmanian Government developed and implemented the Tasmanian Adult Literacy Action Plan 2010 – 2015. It is now in its fifth year of operation. This session gave an outline of the Action Plan, insight into how the various actions that form the plan have progressed, what has been learnt, and some possible next steps.
Jennifer Dunbabin has just moved to LINC. Previously she worked in the VET sector for 14 years, specialising in workforce development, e-learning and most recently adult literacy. She manages the 26TEN Grants program which funds LLN projects in the community and workplace and also is responsible for aspects of adult literacy workforce development in Tasmania.
Cameron Baker, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Manufacturing Skills Australia
Cameron Baker is the Deputy CEO of Manufacturing Skills Australia (MSA). MSA is one of Australia’s 11 national Industry Skills Councils, recognised and funded by the Australian Government. The organisation’s roles include the ongoing development and maintenance of national vocational qualifications for the manufacturing industry, gathering and providing industry intelligence and assisting companies with their workforce development needs.
Cameron was appointed to MSA at the end of 2013 with more than 16 years’ experience in Vocational Education and Training (VET). Cameron’s previous roles include: General Manager – Skills and Engagement at the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC), Commercial Director – Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) and various educationally focused appointments over 10 years of service with the Department of Defence.
Cameron holds qualifications in teaching, public policy development, quality audit, business and human resources management.