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Training and skilling

Overview

During 2008-09 the government responded to the changed economic conditions in Queensland that occurred as a result of the global economic crisis.

More than ever, Queensland's economic strength depends on the state's workforce having the skills to meet the dynamic needs of business and industry.

In recognition of the need for a vocational education and training (VET) system to be able to quickly respond to substantial social and economic change, we reviewed the Queensland Skills Plan 2006.

The new Queensland Skills Plan 2008 provides the department with the direction it needs to strongly align the skills of Queenslanders with the current and future needs of industry.

While lifting participation in VET is a key goal, the plan also aims to ensure that a greater proportion of young people who undertake training complete a qualification.

During 2008-09 the department provided new opportunities for schools and VET providers to work together to create smooth transitions for young people.

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Queensland Skills Plan 2008

In August 2008 the Queensland Skills Plan 2008 (new window) Adobe PDF document was launched in response to the challenges of changed economic conditions.

It draws together a number of new actions and strategies, combined with elements of the original Queensland Skills Plan. The new plan's 96 initiatives focus on:

  • developing the skills of existing workers and apprentices
  • engaging unemployed and under-employed people
  • improving youth transitions to enhance education, training and employment outcomes
  • building on the capacity of the Queensland VET sector
  • building bridges to the professions.

The Queensland Skills Plan established a fundamental shift in the way the training system operated and a significant reform agenda for TAFE Queensland. During implementation, initiatives have continued to be adapted in response to economic change and industry needs.

In 2008-09 the Queensland Skills Plan invested:

  • $6.6 million for a range of industry engagement models that promote industry leadership of skills formation and skilling solutions
  • $17.1 million to create additional trades training places to help reach a target of 17 000 extra places available by 2010
  • $14.9 million to create additional training places at Certificate IV level or higher to raise the qualification profile of Queensland's labour force, with a target of 14 000 additional places available by 2010.

Video: Improving youth transitions to enhance education, training and employment outcomes

Improving youth transitions to enhance education, training and employment outcomes
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Vocational education and training

The department's vocational education and training (VET) services provide Queenslanders with access to relevant and up-to-date vocational education and training that meets the needs of individuals as well as the demands of Queensland's industries.

Working with industry, employers understand that recognising and building on the skill level of their workforce impacts on the effectiveness of their capital investment and their ability to adopt new and innovative work practices.

The department needs to ensure that the state is well placed to be competitive and productive as world and domestic economies recover. A focus on higher level qualifications provides individuals with a skills level suited to economic recovery.

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Figure 28: Total government-funded students by qualification level

  • Total government-funded students by qualification level
 

Source: Department of Education and Training

There has been a significant shift in the numbers of students undertaking higher level qualifications. Trends for government-funded students include:

  • student numbers declined by 3 per cent from 241 430 in 2005-06 to 233 464 in 2008-09
  • numbers of students undertaking Certificate III and above increased by 7 per cent from 144 049 in 2005-06 to 153 873 in 2008-09 (see Figure 28).

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Satisfaction with VET services

Surveys conducted by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd (NCVER) have revealed the majority of students and employers are satisfied with VET training services and products in Queensland.

Results of the Student Outcome Survey show that VET graduates' satisfaction with their training remains high at between 88 and 89 per cent, which is on par with national averages.

Table 12: Level of student satisfaction with VET training services and products (2005-2008)

Key Performance Indicators
2005 2006 2007 2008
Queensland 88% 89% 89% 88%
Australia 87% 88% 89% 89%

Source: Department of Education and Training - Student Outcome Survey

Results of the last Survey of Employer Views, conducted in 2007, place Queensland just above the national average. Eighty-four per cent of employers surveyed were satisfied with their apprentices and trainees as a way of meeting their skill needs. Trends since the 2007 survey show that Queensland employers were more satisfied than in 2005 (81 per cent).

Table 13: Level of employers who were satisfied with apprentices and trainees as a way of meeting their skill needs

Key Performance Indicators
2005 2007
Queensland 81% 84%
Australia 79% 83%

Source: Department of Education and Training - Student Outcome Survey

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Disability services in VET

Queensland delivered several important initiatives in 2008-09 to enhance vocational education and training outcomes for people with a disability. Key activities and outcomes included:

  • enhancing data capability to ensure that information about the participation and progress of people with a disability is available to facilitate closer monitoring of this target group
  • providing initial seed funding for the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) to establish a strategy for private registered training organisations to respond to the needs of students with a disability
  • establishing collaborative networks across training and service sector stakeholders to improve local and regional responses to the needs of students with a disability.

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Maintaining a quality VET system

The Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF), introducedin 2005 and updated on 1 July 2007, is the national set of standards that assures nationally consistent, high quality training and assessment services for clients of the vocational education and training system.

The AQTF Essential Standards focus on quality outcomes for students and other clients of the VET sector, including employers and industry.

The concept of continuous improvement is built into every aspect of the standards. Registered training organisations (RTOs) are required to evolve their operations during the course of their registration, to build on the quality of their training and assessment, and client outcomes.

The department applies a risk management approach to the registration and regulation of RTOs to ensure the most efficient application of resources and to reduce the regulatory burden on RTOs. A National Guideline for Risk Management (new window) Adobe PDF document External Link supports national consistency in the application of this approach.

In 2008-09 the department conducted a total of 727 AQTF audits (see Figure 29).

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Figure 29: Number of registered training organisations (including TAFE institutes) participating in training quality audits 2008-09

  • Number of registered training organisations (including TAFE institutes) participating in training quality audits 2008-09
 

Source: Department of Education and Training

The department also runs comprehensive workshops to ensure a greater understanding of the AQTF 2007 standards and to build the capability of RTOs and course copyright owners.

In addition to these workshops, the department helps to build the quality and capacity of the VET sector by distributing targeted newsletters and conducting conferences such as the Smart Training and Assessment Conference.

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VET graduate achievements

Queensland's vocational education and training sector continues to strive to address the needs of Queensland's economy, achieving strong results in producing job-ready graduates.

Figures for 2008 graduates released by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research showed Queensland scoring 88 per cent student satisfaction compared to the national figure of 89 per cent.

The majority of these graduates (89 per cent) continued into employment or further education and training after completing their training. Key Performance Indicators

Figure 30 shows the trend in VET qualification completions over the past four years. The total number of VET qualifications awarded has increased by nearly 19 per cent since June 2008, with Certificate III and above qualification completions increasing by 25 per cent during this time.

This upward trend is an indication of the department's strategic commitment to align Queenslanders' skills to the needs of the economy, particularly in higher level qualifications.

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Figure 30: Number of Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications awarded at Certificate I and above

  • : Number of Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications awarded at Certificate I and above  [KPI]
Key Performance Indicators
 

Source: Department of Education and Training

Note: Due to the advent of quality indicator reporting through the AQTF, the data may include fee for service activity through private registered training organisations.

Table 14: Total number of Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications awarded - all qualification levels

2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
93 679 96 947 92 820 109 921

Source: Department of Education and Training

Figure 31: Trends in activity for Certificate IV and above qualifications

  • Trends in activity for Certificate IV and above qualifications
 

Source: Department of Education and Training

Notes:

  1. Certificate IV and above students for all funding groups has increased
  2. Awarded students are those students who have completed a qualification
  3. Successful students are those students who have successfully completed their program of study, whether one unit of competency or numerous units of competency

Figure 31 demonstrates that while the total number of higher qualification students only increased by 5560 (9.3%) from the 2004-05 base year to 2008-09, the VET system has been effective in delivering academic programs that lead to successful student outcomes, particularly the gaining of awards.

The number of students who were successful in their studies has increased by 12 711 (36%) from 2004-05 to 2008-09. Similarly, the number of successful students receiving an award increased by 10 032 (69%) over the same period.

Strategic intervention industries measured in total VET qualification completions rose from 55 000 qualification completions in 2007-08 to over 65 000 in 2008-09. Key Performance Indicators

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Indigenous participation in vocational education and training

The primary role of the Indigenous VET Initiatives (IVI) unit is to provide strategic leadership and advice on Indigenous vocational education and training (VET) priorities.

The IVI unit maintains partnerships across a range of strategic government and community levels, and operates within the authorising environment established through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agenda of closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage, and the State agenda, including Toward Q2: Tomorrow's Queensland and the Queensland Skills Plan.

The Positive Dreaming, Solid Futures: Indigenous Employment and Training Strategy 2008-2011 forms Action 2.1.2 of the Queensland Skills Plan (new window) Adobe PDF document and is the blueprint for closing the gap in Indigenous employment outcomes in Queensland.

In 2008-09 the department invested $10.7 million in targeted strategies specifically designed to encourage Indigenous participation such as:

Indigenous Queenslanders performed slightly better overall than students in publicly funded VET systems. There was a small growth in student numbers (0.5 per cent) from 2007-08 to 2008-09 (14 176 students up from 14 110 in the previous year), while there was a 0.4 per cent decline in overall VET student numbers.

Indigenous students in the publicly funded VET system in 2008-09 represent 5.2 per cent of total publicly funded VET students (14 176) compared to 5.1 per cent representation in 2007-08.

There was a slight growth in the number of Indigenous students undertaking Certificate III and above courses, while higher level training (Certificate III and above) grew by 6 per cent across the publicly funded VET system.

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Figure 32: Number of Indigenous students in Government funded VET

  • Lrg-graph-32
 

Source: Department of Education and Training

Figure 33: Number of Indigenous VET qualifications awarded in Queensland

  • Number of Indigenous VET qualifications awarded in Queensland
 

Source: Department of Education and Training

Trends in Indigenous qualification completions reflect the department's commitment to higher level qualifications. Figure 33 demonstrates how completion of Certificate III and above qualifications have continued to rise, with total qualifications awarded in 2008-09 increasing by 56 per cent in the past 12 months.

For information on Indigenous apprenticeships and traineeships see Apprenticeships and traineeships

For information on Indigenous school-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SATs) see Senior Phase of Learning

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Key strategies targeting Indigenous Queenslanders

The department is committed to supporting Australia in closing the gap in employment between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people by developing and supporting accessible and relevant training pathways that lead to skills acquisition and jobs.

We have developed the following key strategies to achieve this goal, the success of which is evident in the increased completion of vocational education and training by Indigenous Queenslanders (see Figure 33).

Indigenous Employment and Training Strategy

The Positive Dreaming, Solid Futures: Indigenous Employment and Training Strategy 2008-2011 was launched in September 2008, committing the Queensland Government to actions aimed at:

  • maximising employment through strategic alliances
  • skilling individuals for work
  • building capabilities in communities to enhance community and economic development opportunities
  • aligning employment support and training to the needs of Indigenous Queenslanders.

First developed in a period of solid growth, Positive Dreaming, Solid Futures was designed to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people the opportunities to undertake industry-relevant training and pre-employment initiatives in order to fulfil the labour supply demands.

The effects of the global financial crisis saw a downturn in the minerals and resource sectors and affiliated industries, which turned our efforts toward the civil construction and emergent industries.

During the first year of implementation, Positive Dreaming, Solid Futures has seen progress across a range of initiatives, including the Indigenous Skilling Partnerships (ISP) initiative, Action 2.2.3 of the strategy.

The ISP comprises a suite of skilling initiatives targeting future employment in the resource sector (and more recently, the civil construction area) including pre-vocational training and mentoring support.

During the 2008-09 financial year, more than 140 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people participated in pre-employment training in these industries, including pre-apprenticeship training and general training in civil and general construction, loadshifting, metalliferous mining and engineering.

Cross-agency workshops are being held on a quarterly basis to ensure the continued commitment and engagement of participating agencies responsible for the key action areas of the strategy.

Cape York Employment and Training Strategy

In 2008-09 the Cape York Employment and Training Strategy invested $2.4 million to provide training targeted at supporting employment and enterprise development opportunities in the Cape York region.

Since then, approximately 450 Indigenous people (including trainees and apprentices) from the Cape York and Northern Peninsula region have been trained under this strategy.

Competencies achieved span areas such as conservation and land management, beef cattle production, agriculture, carpentry, hospitality, engineering, horticulture, business administration and tourism.

Joint Indigenous Funding Pool

In 2008-09 the department provided $1.6 million in the third and final year of the $6.3 million Joint Indigenous Funding Pool (JIFP) program, 2006-2008.

Jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments, JIFP strategically targeted funding to maximise education and training opportunities and improve training outcomes for Indigenous students.

During the life of the program, 1037 students received training in areas as diverse as Indigenous primary health, broadcasting, business, tourism, hospitality, community development, performing arts, conservation and land management, and aged care. All course qualifications were between Level II and Diploma of the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF).

Training for aspiring Indigenous performing artists

In 2008-09, the department continued to fund (to the value of $1 million) the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA) through the Creative Industries and JIFP. As a result, 84 young Indigenous performing artists from across the state undertook accredited training at Certificate III to Diploma levels.

Training Initiatives for Indigenous Adults in Regional and Remote Communities

Funding under the Training Initiatives for Indigenous Adults in Regional and Remote Communities (TIFIARRC) supports the implementation of practical, flexible and integrated strategies to help Indigenous Australians in regional and remote communities to take advantage of vocational education and training opportunities, which lead to employment. TIFIARRC is an initiative that is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments and covers the period 2007-2011.

During 2008-09, the department allocated over $2 million for training and support services to more than 400 Indigenous Queenslanders. Training included civil construction and mining, Indigenous primary health care, aged care, nursing, conservation and land management, and tourism.

Regional and Remote training for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

The Regional and Remote program is demand driven and aims to increase Indigenous participation in employment, business and/or community development.

In 2008-09 the department allocated $910 000 to six TAFE Queensland institutes to deliver training under this initiative. This enabled tailored training at Certificate III level and above to help meet industry and community demand across a range of areas including engineering, construction, business and primary industries.

Indigenous Remote Area Strategy for Cape, Gulf and Torres Strait (IRAS)

During 2008-09 the department allocated $672 000 for the IRAS strategy, enabling training and support services to 120 new and existing licensed child care centre workers in more than 29 remote Indigenous communities in North Queensland.

The strategy is a key component of the Children's Services Skilling Plan. The Inter-agency Communication Group provides direction and includes representatives from key agencies and community groups. This ensures that policy and operational issues are addressed to support high participation and completion outcomes.

Indigenous Lighthouse Grants Project

The department, in collaboration with Arts Queensland, funded Indigenous Lighthouse Grants of up to $25 000 each.

These grants recognise best practice and encourage innovation in arts, training and education programs in Queensland. They are available to schools, TAFE institutes, individual artists and arts organisations that are able to demonstrate best practice in Indigenous programs.

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School Industry Trade Centres

The department continued to work with key industry groups to deliver the $11.8 million State Government's 2006 election commitment to establish five school industry trade centres by 2011. Progress in 2008-09 - the project's second year - includes:

  • opening the first centre - School Industry Trade Centre, Civil Construction - at Caboolture State High School on 13 August 2009. This centre will act as a new model for training and skills development for students who are potentially new entrants to the industry. Working in collaboration with industry and other registered training organisations, the centre offers civil construction training in the Sunshine Coast region
  • completing the design of the Great Barrier Reef International Marine College (Marine School Industry Trade Centre) to be constructed in the Marine Precinct of the Cairns Ports Limited
  • expanding the size of the Mackay-based Manufacturing and Engineering School Industry Trade Centre due to the success of the Mackay School Cluster group in attracting additional funding through the Australian Government's Trade Training Centre Program. The trade centre will be built within the Central Queensland University's Knowledge Precinct.
  • identifying the location for a North Queensland centre focused on creative technologies. The department continues to work with local advertising, printing, and radio and television industries as well as Heatley Secondary College to design the facility
  • undertaking further work to identify a key industry partner in the Gold Coast Region.

As the School Industry Trade Centres Program rolls out across Queensland, new and innovative ways of providing students with opportunities to undertake a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship will be developed and become a key driver of this training growth in Queensland.

See more detailed information about school-based apprenticeships and traineeships

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Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Recognising an individual's skills and experience using Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessment is one of the department's strategies to efficiently and effectively address Queensland's future skills needs.

Queensland currently leads Australia in recognising people's existing skills as a result of the Queensland Skills Plan's Skills First initiative.

Completing its final year, Skills First has raised the profile of RPL and credit transfer in Queensland by promoting a streamlined assessment process for individuals who have developed a wide range of skills and experiences throughout their working lives.

Through a $5.7 million investment in 2008-09, the department acknowledges that the RPL and credit transfer process is a cost effective way of qualifying individuals - it saves time and resources by negating the need for people to retrain in skills and knowledge they already possess.

The latest National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd figures show that people being assessed for RPL accounted for 6.5 per cent of Queensland's reported VET market in 2008 - well above the national average of 4.1 per cent.

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Figure 34: Students participating in Recognition of Prior Learning - Queensland's position relative to Australia 2004-2008

  • Students participating in Recognition of Prior Learning - Queensland's position relative to Australia 2004-2008
 

Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research

In 2008-09, key strategies used to achieve this outcome included:

  • investing $464 400 (state and federal government funding) to deliver more than 50 free professional development RPL workshops to qualified assessors from registered training organisations (RTOs) across the state
  • allocating $585 800 (state and federal funding) for the development of 37 Skills First RPL Assessor Kits (102 kits were developed during the three year project). These kits were supplied free to all Australian RTOs to help build their capacity to deliver best practice RPL assessment services to candidates
  • encouraging best practice RPL in and across TAFE institutes by creating and partially funding ($630 100) a network of officers dedicated to the promotion of RPL within each institute
  • formally recognising RPL assessors who demonstrate best practice RPL assessment processes through RPL Champion awards
  • linking to the Skilling Solutions Queensland initiative to encourage people to have their skills and knowledge formally assessed against a national qualification by a recognised RTO. In 2008-09, more than 10 000 individuals were referred for RPL assessments through Skilling Solutions Queensland services
  • encouraging people to have their skills formally recognised through RPL by providing subsidies of approximately $3.5 million through Skilling Solutions Queensland or trade skills recognition programs
  • educating industry about the benefits of RPL and credit transfer as an efficient means of recognising skills to retain and develop their workforce. The department invested $500 000 to engage with industry through five state training engagement bodies (automotive, building, mining, manufacturing and energy).

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