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ENVIRONMENTAL SCAN 2014 CORRECTIONAL SERVICES LOCAL GOVERNMENT PUBLIC SAFETY PUBLIC SECTOR WATER


INTRODUCTION The Environmental scan: context, purpose and audience Rapid advances in technology, seismic shifts in global demography and the rise of the conscientious consumer are just some of the factors that have left economists and policymakers recognising the limited relevance of historical trends and data as a reliable indicator of the future. Attempts to predict industry’s future workforce and skill development needs can be particularly fraught as industries continue to evolve, converge or relocate and as new job roles emerge while others become obsolete. Leading developed nations are establishing ‘early warning systems’ to quickly detect the onset of trends and are also building agile vocational training systems capable of responding to issues once identified. Environmental scans have been conceived on this basis. Specifically, the Environmental scan identifies the macro and micro factors currently impacting on the skill needs of the workforce and its composition. It considers how well the national training system, its products and services, and industry itself are responding. Grassroots evidence and real-time intelligence from across Australia are what sets the Environmental scan apart from other reports in the national training system. It captures intelligence gathered from ongoing visits and conversations with industry, key stakeholders, regulators and critically, the people doing the jobs across the sectors who experience firsthand the impact of change. It also draws on a range of topical sources such as the latest industry, enterprise and government research, and international developments. A detailed methodology can be found in Appendix B.

This Environmental scan has been produced with assistance of funding provided by the Commonwealth Government. Developed by the Government and Community Safety Industry Skills Council.

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As a document limited in size, the Environmental scan does not seek to capture every issue within every sector. It is a snapshot of a continually evolving story that is intended to alert and inform a wide audience and enhance their capacity to act. The formal audience for the Environmental scan is the Department of Industry, the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency and the National Skills Standards Council, although its relevance extends far beyond. The document continues to be used extensively by state and territory governments, industry bodies, enterprises and many other stakeholders involved in skills and workforce development. Environmental scans are produced annually by Australia’s Industry Skills Councils as part of their broader role in gathering industry intelligence and undertaking high-quality analysis of the skills needs and profile of the current and future workforce. GSA’s 2014 Environmental scan has been produced with the assistance of funding provided by the Commonwealth Government through the Department of Industry.

Government Skills Australia Level 11, 147 Pirie Street, Adelaide, South Australia, 5000 T +61 8 8100 7400 F +61 8 8232 7444 E info@governmentskills.com.au

www.governmentskills.com.au


TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION........................................................ 2 TABLE OF CONTENTS............................................ 3 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY......................................... 4 INDUSTRY OVERVIEWS ....................................... 6 1 LATEST INDUSTRY INTELLIGENCE................................ 9 2 IDENTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS.......................................... 15 3 CURRENT IMPACT OF GSA TRAINING PACKAGES...................................... 23 4 FUTURE DIRECTION FOR ENDORSED COMPONENTS OF TRAINING PACKAGES................................30 APPENDICES............................................................ 31 CORRECTIONAL SERVICES................................. 41 LOCAL GOVERNMENT..........................................56 PUBLIC SAFETY...................................................... 81 PUBLIC SECTOR.....................................................100 WATER...................................................................... 119 SUPPORTING INFORMATION............................ 138

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Government Skills Australia (GSA) is the national Industry Skills Council (ISC) for the government and community safety sectors, namely correctional services, local government, public safety, public sector and water. GSA is responsible for the continuous improvement of nationally endorsed Vocational Education and Training (VET) training packages and the delivery of workforce development services to enterprises across these sectors. In preparation for the 2014 Environmental scan, GSA has undertaken broad, ongoing consultation with the government and community safety sectors throughout 2013 regarding their respective workforce development needs and related issues. GSA sought further industry intelligence via three surveys that were tailored to different areas of industry. Additional industry feedback was obtained through focused workshops, interviews and GSA’s advisory committees.

The following priority issues and trends are discussed in the 2014 Environmental scan

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Ageing workforce The ageing workforce continues to be one of the main issues for employers across the government and community safety sectors. The loss of experience and corporate knowledge associated with the retirement of older workers is of major concern. Whilst some enterprises within these sectors have developed innovative strategies to minimise the impact of the ageing workforce on their operations, many are yet to address the issue.


Producing more for less Enterprises across the government and community safety sectors indicated that they simultaneously face financial pressures and a growth in demand for services. These factors drive the need to produce ‘more for less’. A range of initiatives have been implemented to deal with the need to produce more for less, including upskilling and multiskilling staff to improve productivity and address staffing cuts, increasing the scope of duty of individual employees, organisational restructuring, and reviewing business and operational plans to improve efficiency. Having the right people, who are trained to perform their roles effectively, is critical to maximising productivity and efficiency.

Recruitment and retention The attraction and retention of suitable employees is a challenge for many organisations. A number of factors appear to contribute to current recruitment and retention difficulties, including salary competition with the private sector, a lack of suitably skilled workers, the attractiveness of other industries, and in many instances, the location of the organisation. Whilst many of these factors cannot easily be addressed, some employers are implementing strategies to ensure that their organisation is more attractive to potential employees. These include offering flexible working arrangements, professional development and training opportunities, and career progression pathways.

VET sector reform Recent and proposed changes to the Australian VET system are having a notable impact on many organisations within the government and community safety sectors. Almost 70% of training providers that gave input into the 2014 Environmental scan indicated that these changes will have an impact on their organisation. Many of the difficulties that were reported to GSA were focused on the increased administration and compliance burden and the redirection of staff and resources away from training delivery in order to conduct compliance related activity. Increased operating costs and changes to trainer and assessor requirements were also common concerns.

GSA data collection highlighted a number of other key trends and issues for the government and community safety sectors, including: >> the impact of changes to legislation and regulation (including Work Health and Safety) >> increased scope of duties for individual workers >> increasing workforce diversity >> competition with other sectors. These factors, and many others that are described within the 2014 Environmental scan, are having an impact on workforce development and training needs. GSA research also identified a series of key training priorities for the government and community safety sectors. In addition to job- or role-specific training, there is a need for greater focus in areas such as foundation skills, the use of new technologies, leadership, and management. With regard to training, enterprises and training providers both face a number of barriers. From an enterprise perspective, employers are facing difficulties finding the time and money for staff to undertake training in an environment where they are required to produce more for less. Many enterprises also indicated that they were unable to access government funding for training support. The lack of eligibility for programs such as the National Workforce Development Fund (NWDF) is an ongoing issue for many of GSA’s sectors. The location of some rural and regional enterprises is a further barrier to training. Whilst many training providers indicated that e-learning was being offered as a means to improve flexibility and access to training, feedback suggested that some learners were still reluctant to undertake training via e-learning. Training providers currently face challenges including the impact of recent and proposed changes to the VET system, onerous administration and compliance requirements, developing and maintaining training resources, and recruiting and retaining skilled trainers. GSA embarked on a number of workforce planning and development activities in 2013 to assist enterprises within the government and community safety sectors to upskill their workforce. Last year also saw the commencement of significant reviews to all of GSA’s training packages. The 2014 Environmental scan outlines this activity and provides an overview of planned training package continuous improvement activity for 2014.

Karen Taylor Chief Executive Officer

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INDUSTRY OVERVIEWS Correctional services

Local government

The role of Australia’s correctional services sector is to manage and supervise offenders in both custodial and community-based corrections in line with sanctions determined by the courts and releasing authorities. Within the correctional services sector there is also a focus on reducing the risk of re-offence through services and programs targeted towards successful reintegration [1].

Local government is the third tier of government in Australia, responsible for providing a range of local services, including:

Correctional facilities are typically managed by state and territory governments; however, a number of facilities are now managed privately in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria and Queensland [1]. The correctional services sector currently employs approximately 30 000 people. There were 113 custodial facilities across Australia as of 30 June 2013 [1]. This included 85 government operated prisons, nine privately operated prisons, four transitional centres, one periodic detention centre and fourteen 24-hour court-cell complexes.

>> health services, including immunisation services, and water and food inspection

During the third quarter (July-September) of 2013, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicated that there were 31 143 full-time prisoners in Australia and 55 065 persons in community-based corrections [2]. This reflected an increase of 1751 persons (6%) in full-time custody and 584 persons (1%) in communitybased corrections compared to the same period in 2012. Of the average daily number of full-time prisoners in Australia during the third quarter of 2013, 92% were male and 8% were female, while for community-based corrections, 82% were male and 18% were female.

>> infrastructure and property services, including local roads, footpaths and waste management >> provision and maintenance of recreational facilities, including parks, sports fields and swimming pools

>> community services, such as child care and aged care >> building services, planning and development >> cultural facilities and services [3]. There are approximately 565 councils across Australia [4]. The local government sector employs approximately 192 500 persons in some 400 different occupations [5] [6]. The size of local councils is highly diverse; however, the average council population is approximately 28 000 [3]. Local government typically employs around 5% of the workforce in a local government area (LGA); however, the proportion is considerably higher in many regional and rural LGAs [7]. The Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) recently reported that, in seven LGAs, local government employs over half of the workforce [7]. Local governments are funded through rates, user charges and federal/state government grants. Local councils spend over $30 billion each year providing services including those mentioned earlier [8]. Local government owns and manages non-financial assets of over $300 billion, including over 80% of Australia’s roads network [9]. A referendum to formally acknowledge the financial relationship between the Commonwealth and local government was planned to be held in September 2013 in conjunction with the federal election. The change of election date resulted in the referendum not being held. The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has sought a commitment from government that a referendum will still take place in order to ensure that a decision can be made on this important topic. The Australian Government have indicated that they do not have plans for a referendum in the near future [10].

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Public safety The public safety sector, encompassing police, fire, search and rescue (aquatic and land-based), emergency services, emergency management and Defence plays a key role in the preparation for, response to, and recovery from natural and man-made threats. The diverse nature of the public safety sector requires a highly trained and responsive workforce capable of responding to threats, maintaining community safety, and collaborating across agencies and jurisdictions. The fire sector encompasses rural, metropolitan, land management and aviation-based fire services. Organisations within the fire services industry are responsible for protecting the community from fire and other emergencies. This not only incorporates responding to fires, but also improving community preparedness and awareness of fire risk. There were 18 208 paid firefighters and support personnel, and 222 344 volunteer firefighters across Australia in 2012-13 [1]; however, this number is likely to be an underrepresentation, as fire management personnel (responsible for activities associated with the management of fire-prone public land including national parks, state parks and forests) are not included, nor are emergency services personnel operating within the resources sector. The emergency services sector incorporates the state emergency services (SES) and emergency management organisations. Emergency services are responsible for disaster preparedness, disaster awareness and the coordination of rescue, response and recovery. There are approximately 600 paid staff and over 25 000 volunteer staff within the SES. The Australian Emergency Management Volunteer Forum recently reported over 500 000 volunteers from all of their member organisations within the emergency management and response areas across Australia [11]. Police services, including state and territory police departments and the Australian Federal Police, are responsible for the provision of a safe and secure community environment. Roles performed by the police include responding to criminal offences and life-threatening situations, provision of services to the judicial process, and the enforcement of road safety and traffic management. There were 67 770 operational and non-operational police in Australia in 2012-13 [1].

165 000 members across 311 clubs. In 2012-13, paid and volunteer lifeguards and lifesavers performed over 11 000 rescues across Australia [12]. The volunteer workforce is crucial to the operation of many agencies within the public safety sector. Volunteering is a strong tradition in Australia with over 6.4 million volunteers across the nation [13]. Within the public safety sector, volunteers are seen as essential to providing the capacity needed to respond to many types of emergency, and complement the services that are fully funded by state and territory governments [11]. Two-thirds of respondents to GSA’s enterprise survey from the public safety sector indicated that their organisation has a volunteer workforce. In many instances, public safety organisations have more volunteers than paid employees.

Defence Defence consists of the Navy, Army, Air Force and members of the Australian Public Service (APS). Their main role is to “deter or defeat attacks on our territory, contribute to the stability and security of Australia’s immediate region and help meet our international obligations” [14]. As of June 2013, there were 56 172 personnel across the Navy (13 517), Army (28 587) and Air Force (14 068) [15]. In addition, there were 25 680 in the Reserve Force and 22 107 in the APS [15]. There are over 350 defined career streams within Defence, each with designated patterns of education, training and experience. Many of these careers are directly comparable to careers in other industries. In 2012, the National Skills Standards Council (NSSC) endorsed the Defence Training Package (DEF12) which formally separated the Defence competencies and qualifications from the Public Safety Training Package. For the purpose of the 2014 Environmental scan, information relevant to Defence will be presented in conjunction with public safety information; however, where necessary, Defence-specific information has been identified and presented separately.

The public safety sector also includes surf lifesaving, which is responsible for protecting Australia’s public swim centres, beaches and coastlines via patrols, education and training, and the promotion of health and fitness [12]. Surf Lifesaving Australia has over

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Public sector

Water

The public sector comprises federal and state/territory governments, statutory bodies and state-owned corporations. The public sector employs approximately 1.7 million people according to recent data [5].

The water industry in Australia provides a range of critical services including the provision of drinking water, irrigation water and wastewater management. It has recently been estimated that the sector employs in excess of 80 000 staff; however, more accurate numbers have not been reported to date [17]. In New South Wales and Queensland, some regional local councils are responsible for water infrastructure and services, highlighting the crossover between the local government and water sectors.

Public sector employees play a key role in the development, review and implementation of government policies and provide a wide array of services for the community. There is a diverse range of occupations within the public sector, spanning areas including education, health, policy, finance, police and emergency services.

The water industry includes the major sectors of:

The public sector tends to employ a higher number of university graduates due to the analytical nature of the work. Traditionally, the public sector employs a higher proportion of women compared to many other sectors.

>> water sourcing, treatment, supply and distribution

As discussed in detail within this 2014 Environmental scan, the public sector is facing a number of significant workforce challenges in response to an ageing workforce and continued budgetary constraints. In response to these issues, GSA produced a research report in 2013 entitled, Public Sector Training Package: capacity, capabilities and challenges [16]. In addition to outlining current issues associated with the Public Sector Training Package (PSP12), this report identified the lack of workforce planning and development activity within the public sector and highlighted the need for further work in this area.

The supply of urban water has declined since 2005-06 from approximately 320kL per property to just below 270kL per property, with levels remaining similar in 201112 compared to 2010-11 [19]. Total sewage collected (kL per property) typically trends in line with rainfall; with approximately 235kL collected per property in 2011-12, compared to around 220kL per property in 2005-06 [19].

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>> wastewater collection, treatment and reuse >> water quality, monitoring and measurement [18].

In 2013, GSA was involved in a number of initiatives within the water industry. These focused on improving the quality of the Water Training Package (NWP07), introducing more clearly defined occupational competency requirements and career pathways, and investigating options for defining standard competency requirements for water operators.


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LATEST INDUSTRY INTELLIGENCE

Current and emerging issues and trends The Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA) reported that there is a widening gap between the expected supply and demand for high level skills [20]. AWPA predicted that, by 2025, Australia could fall 2.8 million workers short of meeting industry demand for higher-skilled qualifications [20]. Recent projections indicate that, by 2017, 39% of national employment growth will be for occupations that require a bachelor degree or higher (compared to its current employment share of 30%), while the lowest skill level (equivalent to a certificate I or secondary education), will only account for 7.2% of projected employment growth compared to its current share of 17.6% [21]. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Reform Council recently reported that Australia is on track to meet its goal of doubling the number of diploma and advanced diploma completions by 2020; however, the goal of halving the number of Australians without qualifications at certificate III level or above by 2020 is not currently on track [22].

A recent National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) survey of approximately 10 000 employers indicated that the use of the VET system has decreased by around 4% since 2011, while the proportion of employers that are satisfied with vocational training as a way of meeting their skills needs has also decreased [23]. Almost 35% of respondents had employees that they felt were not fully proficient at their job. Across the five government and community safety sectors that GSA represent there are a variety of factors that will shape future workforce training needs. GSA research and data collection activities have identified a series of common trends and issues across all five government and community safety sectors. These cross-sector trends and issues are summarised over the following pages. The key issues for each individual sector are outlined in the sector-specific appendices that follow the 2014 Environmental scan.

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Cross-sector issues and trends Ageing workforce Consistent with previous years, feedback from the 2014 Environmental scan surveys and other intelligence gathering exercises indicated that the ageing workforce continues to be a key issue across the government and community safety sectors. Eighty-six per cent of respondents to GSA’s enterprise survey indicated that the ageing workforce, and associated projected retirements, would have an impact on their workforce over the next five years. This number increased compared to the 2013 Environmental scan, where 78% of respondents cited the ageing workforce as an issue [24]. An important consideration associated with the ageing workforce is the loss of experience and corporate knowledge that leaves the organisation along with these mature-aged workers. The importance of retaining older workers via flexible working arrangements is continually increasing, as is the need to introduce succession planning and knowledge transfer arrangements in order to ensure that the next generation of workers benefit from the experience of the retiring workforce. Flexible employment arrangements have been reported as the second most important facilitator for older people to work beyond retirement age, after health [25]. Importantly, across all of GSA’s sectors, flexible working arrangements are being offered extensively, with part-time work (95%), time off in lieu of overtime (91%), rostered days off (83%), and variable start/finish times (82%) being offered by responding employers. Survey respondents also indicated that working from home (65%), flexi-time (61%), and job sharing (61%) are being offered. In addition, 47% of organisations indicated that they have formal succession planning strategies in place as a part of their workforce planning activities over the next 12 months. Interestingly, recent research indicated that 60% of responding mature-aged workers indicated that they would use telework if it was available to them and that it could result in a delay of retirement by an average of 6.6 years [26]. The ageing workforce is an issue across the Australian workforce as a whole. Whilst the Productivity Commission reported that the share of older workers (aged 50-69) in employment across Australia increased from 21% of all workers aged 15-69 in 2001 to 27% in 2011 [27], data from 2010 indicated that fewer Australians aged 55-64 remain in the workforce compared to countries such as the USA, UK, Canada

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and New Zealand [28]. Recent research has indicated that a 7% increase in workforce participation from older Australians would result in a $25 billion increase in Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2022 (or 1.4%) [28]. Some specific strategies to engage and retain ageing workers include: >> reviewing existing workforce demographics and surveying the workforce regarding retirement intentions in order to gauge the timeframe for action >> developing a plan for capturing corporate knowledge before older workers retire >> considering specific recruitment strategies for older workers >> preventing stereotyping and age discrimination which may deter older workers >> providing flexible working arrangements and phased retirement opportunities >> continuing to offer training and professional development opportunities for older workers [29].

VET sector reform The VET sector in Australia continues to undergo significant change. These changes are occurring at the national level [30] [31], and also at the state level [32] [33] [34] [35]. At the national level, some of the recent or proposed changes to VET include: >> implementation of the new Standards for training packages >> review of the standards for the regulation of VET >> mandatory reporting of total VET activity data >> minimum requirements for trainers and assessors >> changes to Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) fees and charges >> the introduction of the Unique Student Identifier (USI) >> the My Skills website (www.myskills.gov.au). With regard to mandatory reporting of VET activity data, previous GSA research indicated that smaller registered training organisations (RTOs) in particular felt that mandatory reporting would introduce additional burden and costs [24]. Transition arrangements were to be introduced for RTOs unable to prepare their data collection and reporting processes in time to meet the new requirements, whilst a non-competitive grants process was established to provide support for RTOs towards the costs of updating their systems [36].


Exemptions are also available in some instances where the training delivery has national security implications or if the provider is delivering vital services to the Australian community; these exemptions are of particular relevance for the public safety and defence sectors [36]. For enterprise RTOs, provision was made for reduced information to be collected from existing employees and volunteers undertaking training, whilst RTOs that enrol students in short units or modules will not be required to collect full demographic data [37]. Training providers indicated that the recent or proposed changes will increase their administration and compliance load and will therefore direct resources away from training. The increase in ASQA fees was also frequently reported to GSA as an issue for training providers. Another common concern was that the number of changes made it difficult for training providers to remain informed and up to date. A more detailed overview of the issues faced by training providers is outlined in Section 3 of this 2014 Environmental scan and throughout the sectorspecific appendices.

Growth in demand Coupled with the financial pressures faced by a number of organisations across GSA’s sectors, many are also experiencing growth in demand for their services. These factors are driving the need for organisations to produce more for less. Growth in demand is due to a number of factors, which may differ from sector to sector. Contributing factors include population growth, the increased frequency of natural disasters and extreme weather events, and greater consumer expectations.

"the ageing workforce continues to be a key issue across the government and community safety sectors"

Financial pressures GSA data collection indicated that financial pressures are a major issue for a large proportion of the government and community safety sectors. Many organisations form part of federal, state or local government, whilst others receive government funding. As such, recent budget tightening by governments has reduced staffing and resources within many organisations. Almost 20% of GSA survey respondents indicated that redundancies will impact on their workforce over the next five years. As a result of cuts to operational budgets, organisations have been forced to review and rationalise their operations. Many have attempted to increase productivity through the use of new technologies and by upskilling staff; however, in some instances, training budgets have been significantly reduced as they are often seen as one of the first areas where savings can be made. The remaining training budget is often used for compliance training, with full qualifications often considered too expensive and time consuming. The reduction in training budgets is of even greater concern for the organisations within the sectors that are deemed to be ineligible for government funding programs that support training, such as the NWDF.

Legislation/regulation Legislation and regulation are impacting on organisations in a number of ways, with many spending significant time and effort to review their operations in order to meet changing requirements. This often requires new or additional training for employees and managers. One example is the recent changes to Work Health and Safety (WHS)/Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation. Many respondents indicated that these changes to WHS legislation will result in significant operational and structural changes within their organisation, and in some instances, it has led to the creation of new job roles. It was also felt that the increased need for compliance training will divert funding away from other training. This will impact on opportunities for the professional development and upskilling of staff in other areas.

Increased scope of duties for individual workers As a result of reductions in staff numbers and organisational reviews, many individuals are required to perform a broader range of roles than they did previously. This is seen as a means to develop a more adaptable workforce with the capacity to fill short-term gaps. As indicated in the 2013 Environmental scan, the

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multiskilling of staff may, in some instances, require careful planning to avoid spending money on training for employees that may draw on these skills infrequently. The multiskilling of staff is more common in rural areas where there are shortages of skilled workers and employees may be required to fill a number of roles within an organisation. In some instances it appears that individuals are facing an increase in workload and in the scope of their duties as a consequence of staff reductions. This can impact on retention rates as workers are faced with high stress levels and are often uncomfortable working in roles for which they feel unqualified. Some employers who felt that they were effectively addressing these issues indicated that a mixture of formal training and on-the-job mentoring and coaching was being used.

Attraction and retention

Whilst many of these factors cannot easily be addressed, some organisations are implementing strategies to become more attractive to potential employees by offering flexible working arrangements, professional development opportunities and career progression pathways.

Increasing workforce diversity Increasing workforce diversity continues to be a priority for many organisations. Respondents indicated that they have implemented targeted recruitment strategies within their workplace in order to increase cultural diversity. Particular areas of focus include Indigenous Australians, youth, disabled, and socially disadvantaged, whilst many indicated that they have a focus on increasing the representation of women in non-traditional roles.

Competition with other sectors

Attraction and retention of skilled workers continues to be an issue across the government and community safety sectors. Almost 60% of GSA survey respondents indicated that they had experienced recruitment difficulties in the last 12 months or expected to face difficulties in the near future, while 35% cited retention difficulties. These figures were considerably higher within some of GSA’s sectors. A recent NCVER survey across all industry sectors indicated that approximately 36% of responding employers had recruitment difficulties, an increase of over 2% since 2011 [23]. A range of factors contribute to these attraction and recruitment issues, including salary competition (particularly with the private sector), a lack of suitably skilled workers, the attractiveness of other industries and, in many instances, the location of the organisation.

Competition to attract and retain staff is a significant issue, particularly in rural and remote areas which may be affected by nearby mining operations. Many respondents indicated that their organisation cannot compete with the resources sector for wages. Where possible, employers are paying above market rates in an effort to attract workers; however, most tend to offer non-monetary benefits. These include flexible working arrangements, health and wellbeing programs, subsidised housing, and professional development opportunities. Competition within sectors is also an issue for some organisations. For example, rural councils may at times compete with one another for the small numbers of suitable workers that are available.

Table 1. The proportion of survey respondents experiencing recruitment and retention issues across the five government and community safety sectors Correctional Local services government

Public safety

Public sector

Water

Total

Organisations that have experienced recruitment difficulty in the last 12 months or anticipate future difficulties

100%

65%

33%

41%

60%

59%

Organisations that have experienced difficulty retaining staff in the last 12 months or anticipate future difficulties

100%

35%

20%

39%

20%

35%

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

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Impact of new technologies

Cloud computing

Emerging technological advances, including the National Broadband Network (NBN) and cloud computing, will have a major impact on how businesses operate now, and into the future. Feedback received by GSA indicated that many enterprises within the government and community safety sectors are implementing new technologies in order to improve productivity, efficiency, and customer relations. In many instances, however, organisations have identified that staff will require further training in order to ensure that these technologies are used effectively. The increased utilisation of tablet computers and smartphones is also driving the need for organisations to improve service delivery to customers through the use of mobileenabled websites and social media.

The introduction of the National cloud computing strategy aims to ensure that “Australians will create and use world-class cloud services to boost innovation and productivity across the digital economy” [42]. Within this strategy, the Australian Government commits to maximising the value of cloud computing in government, and promoting cloud computing to small businesses, not-for-profit organisations and consumers. To achieve these goals, there is a commitment to work with industry and education providers to train “skilled and cloud-aware” information and communications technology (ICT) professionals [42]. The provision of sufficient access to training will be an important factor in ensuring that cloud services are used effectively within the government and community safety sectors. Additionally, familiarisation with risk management, data security and privacy considerations is required to ensure confident use of cloud technology.

Australia should aim to be a world leading digital economy by 2020 [38]. The Australian Industry Group recently highlighted the benefits of investing in new technologies, with 33% of businesses that invested in new technologies reporting improved productivity, compared to 16% of businesses that did not invest [39].

NBN The potential benefits of the NBN to the Australian economy were highlighted by recent World Bank research which indicated that, for countries like Australia, each 10% increase in the population using broadband contributes 1.21% to annual GDP [40]. Some of the benefits of the NBN include an increase in teleworking and greater flexibility in where workers can live, given the capacity to work remotely [38]. Recently, it was reported that NBN-enabled telework may create 25 000 additional jobs by 2020-21 [26]. By 2020, the Australian Government aims to have doubled the number of teleworkers to at least 12% of all employees [41]. Other benefits that companies see to the rollout of the NBN include increased collaboration with external partners and within an organisation across multiple sites, reduced communication costs, remote monitoring of operations, and increased capacity to access large files [39]. Interestingly, however, recent Australian Industry Group figures indicate that fewer than 50% of companies that were surveyed felt confident in their capability to take advantage of high-speed broadband [39]. Small to medium enterprises were the least confident in this regard. These figures highlight the need for additional training in this area.

"in some instances, training budgets have been significantly reduced as they are often seen as one of the first areas where savings can be made" Workforce training in new technologies The greater use of new technologies will continue to result in demand for ICT-related workers [24] [38] [43]. AWPA have recently outlined a series of recommendations to further develop the ICT workforce in order to meet increasing demand [43]. Importantly, in addition to the increased demand for ICT workers there will also be greater digital literacy requirements for all workers. Across the government and community safety sectors, 44% of respondents to GSA’s enterprise survey indicated that improving the digital literacy skills of their workforce was a training priority. As highlighted in a recent report by Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IBSA), efforts to improve ICT skills (also referred to as e-skills) are not keeping pace with technological advances [44]. Greater focus on improving staff e-skills will be needed to ensure that employees have the necessary skills to meet

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the changing work environment. Furthermore, IBSA reported that the “digital divide may well be widening�, meaning that individuals and small businesses in rural and regional sites lack the required e-skills to effectively and rapidly benefit from the NBN, based on findings from early-release NBN sites [44]. The report also highlighted the need for a workforce development plan and skills strategy to address digital literacy. A greater reliance on technology, and the continued introduction of new technologies into the workplace, will require effective training and upskilling to ensure that employees are capable and confident, and to ensure that organisations are able to maximise productivity. The Australian Industry Group recently reported that workforce skills were considered to be the most significant factor in realising productivity gains from technology investment [39].

Technological advances in VET A number of advances in the availability and use of new technologies will create opportunities for VET training via e-learning. The National VET e-learning strategy 2012-2015 has the aim to improve VET e-learning and take advantage of the NBN rollout. The strategy supports the development of more effective e-learning material, innovative training solutions, and increased access to e-learning [45]. The utilisation of e-learning has continued to increase in recent years, with a survey of over 600 RTOs indicating that approximately 48% of all VET activity in 2012 involved e-learning (compared to 44% in 2011). The Flexible Learning Advisory Group (FLAG) indicated that the actual level of e-learning uptake may be closer to 90% depending on the interpretation of what e-learning includes [46]. Other findings of the survey indicated that, since 2011, more VET trainers were using technology, they were using it more often, and they were using e-learning across a wider range of training activities. It was also found that more trainers felt confident in using e-learning in 2013 compared to 2010 [46]. Consistent with GSA’s findings, the study by FLAG indicated that cost, time and access to computers were major barriers to e-learning. Despite the recent increased utilisation of e-learning, much of the feedback received by GSA throughout 2013 suggested that, within many workplaces, traditional face-to-face learning is still the preferred delivery method. This may be due to many factors including reluctance to change, previous experience with e-learning resources, the perceived value of e-learning, and the barriers listed earlier.

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IDENTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

Challenges, skill gaps and opportunities

of the codes. These issues have been highlighted previously by GSA, industry associations, and peak bodies [17] [47].

The government and community safety sectors face a number of workforce development challenges now, and into the future. For a detailed overview of current and emerging skill shortages for each sector, please refer to the sector-specific appendices at the end of this 2014 Environmental scan. These appendices also outline some of the strategies that have been proposed to improve skill levels and address skills shortages within each sector.

Cross-sector skills needs

One common challenge for many of GSA’s sectors is the lack of clear identification of job roles in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) codes. Many occupations in the government and community safety sectors, including administrative roles, labourers and professionals, also fall under generic ANZSCO codes that include both government and private sector. This means that information specifically relating to government is often lost in the wider application

In addition to sector-specific skills needs outlined in the appendices, it is evident that organisations require their employees to develop a range of generalised skills. Respondents to GSA’s enterprise survey indicated that priority training areas include leadership and management, foundation skills, and ICT/digital literacy. Other priority training areas include project management, customer service, and report writing.

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2 IDENTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

Leadership and management As highlighted recently by AWPA, leadership and management skills contribute positively to workforce productivity by improving resource allocation within organisations [48]. One important aspect of strong leadership and management is the effective utilisation of available workforce skills [48] [49]. Other benefits of effective leadership and management include the capacity to build effective networks, make better decisions through engagement with employees, and respond to change [48]. Recent research also highlighted the link between management and the innovation capacity of an organisation [48]. In a study by Boedker et al., management practices that differentiated high-performing workplaces from lowperforming workplaces included: >> higher levels of responsiveness to changes in stakeholder and customer networks >> higher level employee participation in decision-making processes >> higher levels of behavioural and skills flexibility in employees >> quality ICT and effective use of ICT >> excellence in attracting and retaining quality people [50]. The above evidence clearly highlights the importance of strong leadership and management within an organisation. Feedback from GSA’s enterprise survey indicated that 81% of respondents consider leadership and management to be a priority training area. This number was substantially higher than the next priority training area, indicating that leadership and management training is considered to be the major training priority in addition to the development of technical skills that are specific to certain occupations. A number of organisations within GSA’s sectors have been proactive in improving leadership and management by introducing formal leadership development programs and training, and by offering mentoring opportunities to their emerging leaders. Some also indicated that they have reviewed their hiring procedures to ensure that greater care is taken when hiring leaders, including the addition of essential qualifications criteria to position descriptions. In October 2012, it was announced that a Centre for Workplace Leadership would be established that will work to improve leadership capability in workplaces across all industries, sectors and regions of Australia [51] [52]. The Centre will be hosted by the Faculty

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Government Skills Australia

of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne [53]. In 2013, IBSA also commenced a project focused on leadership and management with an aim to identify current and emerging needs. The project team proposed the establishment of a number of new VET qualifications in the areas of leadership and management [54].

Skills in the use of new technologies As indicated earlier, the increased prevalence of new technologies in the workplace necessitates further training and upskilling of employees. The importance of e-skills development is continuing to increase, with small businesses and businesses in rural locations at risk of “digital exclusion” [44]. Feedback received by IBSA indicated that, in order to be effective, e-skills training should target all e-skill levels and should be aligned with vocational, business-related needs [44]. Recent GSA research indicated that training in digital literacy and the use of new technologies is a high priority for many organisations within the government and community safety sectors. This includes the use of computers, new software, the internet, and tablet computers, in addition to the use of new technologies that are specific to a particular job function. Many organisations are offering either in-house or formal training to their workforce to ensure that staff have the required skills to utilise these new technologies effectively; however, employers have noted that some employees are reluctant to change and struggle to adapt. Often these individuals have low levels of foundation skills.

Foundation skills, including language, literacy and numeracy Foundation skills have been described as those that encompass the core skills defined by the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF), including learning, reading, writing, oral communication and numeracy [55]. The term, foundation skills, also incorporates skills identified by employers as being critical for effective performance, such as problem solving, teamwork and digital literacy. Although foundation skills are viewed as those that underpin vocational learning and skills development, they should not be interpreted as only low-level or single-level skills. There is a growing recognition that foundation skills range from quite basic, entry-level skills to very specialised or high-level skills. Recently, AWPA highlighted the positive association between foundation skills and productivity; this is likely to be the result of foundation skills forming the basis for further learning and development [48]. This literature


review by AWPA highlighted that, “achieving productivity gains through improved foundation skills can be challenging”; this is because foundation skills are more easily developed earlier in life and are comparatively more difficult to develop in adulthood [48]. Factors that can contribute to improved development of the foundation skills of adults include employer support for programs and ensuring that improvements result in changes to work performance or improved job prospects [48]. This highlights the important role that employers play in developing the foundation skills of their workforce. Moreover, it has been reported that poor language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) skills can have a negative impact on workforce productivity [56]. This can include poor completion of work documents and lost time through repeated work [57]. A survey conducted by the Australian Industry Group indicated that 93% of responding employers had identified that low foundation skills levels had impacted on their business [58]. Australia participated in the recent Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) survey of adult skills which aimed to identify the levels of literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments (PSTRE) [59]. Literacy and numeracy were ranked from skill level 1 to level 5, with level 1 being the lowest, while PSTRE was ranked from level 1 to 3. Overall, Australians were rated significantly above the OECD average for literacy and were comparable to the OECD average for numeracy [59] [60]. Australians also had a comparatively high proportion (38%) of adults that scored at the highest levels in PSTRE compared to the OECD average [59] [60]. PIAAC results indicated, however, that approximately 42% of Australians aged 15-74 have literacy skills at or below level 2. For numeracy, approximately 52% have skills at or below level 2, while for PSTRE, 38% of Australians were at or below level 1 [59]. The relatively high number of Australians at these lower levels highlights the need to continue to focus on improving literacy and numeracy skills. The results indicated only minor differences between men and women for literacy and PSTRE skills; however, a greater proportion of men had higher level numeracy skills compared to women [61]. Importantly, those with a non-school qualification were more likely to have higher level skills than those without, whilst those that were employed had higher level skills than those not in the workforce [61]. Across the government and community safety sectors, significant issues regarding foundation skills are apparent, particularly in the areas of writing, digital literacy and reading (Table 2). A range of methods

have been used by employers to identify these issues, including anecdotal feedback and observations, formal training needs analyses, and performance management processes. In some instances, these issues were preventing employees from performing aspects of their role and often resulted in considerable time delays while reports and paperwork were rewritten. It was felt that some employees with foundation skills gaps may be less adaptable to change and less willing to adopt the use of new technologies, which may limit career opportunities as more and more tasks will involve the use of technology. Issues with foundation skills can often prevent staff from undertaking further training to improve their skills, limiting career progression. Importantly, an inability to accurately read or listen to instructions can impact on the capacity for staff to work safely. As such, it is clear that a greater focus on foundation skills across GSA’s sectors would improve productivity, safety and efficiency within the workplace, and would enable staff to undertake further training and upskilling.

"81% of respondents consider leadership and management to be a priority training area" Respondents from across GSA’s sectors indicated that they were attempting to improve staff foundation skills levels through a mixture of informal and formal training programs. Some have introduced LLN coaches and some have taken advantage of Workplace English Language and Literacy (WELL) funding to support nationally endorsed training; however, many organisations within GSA’s sectors are ineligible to access all categories of WELL funding. It was highlighted that some staff who require foundation skills training do not want to be singled out. In some instances, respondents indicated that no plans had been developed to address issues with foundation skills in their workforce. GSA is a WELL funding broker and can assist organisations to develop a funding proposal. With regard to vocational training, a recent research report based on the VET sector in Queensland identified significant issues with LLN [62]. These included difficulties reading and understanding teaching materials, and writing and completing assessment tasks. It was

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2 IDENTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

reported that these LLN difficulties contributed to higher attrition, reduced completion rates and less articulation into further study [62]. LLN difficulties often result in the need to slow down teaching delivery, increase one-onone instruction and alter teaching materials; all of which are time consuming and potentially costly. A further consequence of this may be that other learners become bored and disinterested [62]. Many VET practitioners surveyed indicated that they were concerned about their ability to address issues surrounding learners with poor LLN skills, particularly amongst those that were not LLN specialists [62]. The Australian Government introduced the LLN Practitioners Scholarships program to provide financial assistance to support individuals to become qualified LLN practitioners [58] [63].

National foundation skills strategy for adults focuses on four key priority areas: >> raising awareness and commitment to action >> ensuring adult learners have high quality learning opportunities and outcomes >> strengthening foundation skills in the workplace >> building the capacity of the education and training workforces to deliver foundation skills [57]. Released in 2013, the Core skills for work developmental framework, was developed to provide a “clear and explicit set of non-technical skills and knowledge that underpin successful participation in work” [64]. The framework can be used by training package developers, curriculum writers and training resource developers to clearly articulate these skills. It can also be used by trainers and educators to address skill development [65].

Recent developments in the area of foundation skills In 2012, the Standing Council on Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (SCOTESE) released the National foundation skills strategy for adults [57], with the aim to equip the workforce with the essential skills for the future Australian economy [57]. The target of the Australian Government is that, by 2022, at least two-thirds of working age Australians will have literacy and numeracy skills at level 3 or above1 [57]. The

Endorsed by the NSSC in 2013, the Foundation Skills Training Package was developed by IBSA in response to recommendations which identified foundation skills as a key reform area for VET. The Foundation Skills Training Package consists of three qualifications and 91 units of competency and is designed for integration and contextualisation with other vocational training, including GSA’s six training packages [55].

1  Level 3 skills, as determined by the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey, is considered the level adults require to cope with the demands of everyday life and work.

Table 2. Priority foundation skills training areas across the five government and community safety sectors Correctional services

Local government

Public safety

Public sector

Water

% of organisations Reading

20%

32%

23%

12%

35%

Writing

60%

39%

15%

27%

41%

Learning

20%

12%

8%

12%

18%

Oral communication

20%

28%

8%

15%

18%

Numeracy

20%

20%

15%

9%

35%

Digital literacy

40%

47%

31%

30%

71%

No priority areas identified

40%

43%

69%

58%

24%

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

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A new national workforce development strategy In March 2013, AWPA released Future focus: 2013 national workforce development strategy [20], the nation’s second workforce development strategy. AWPA stated that their vision is to “realise Australia’s growth potential through a highly skilled and adaptable workforce where skills are used effectively to meet the increasingly complex needs of industry, and individuals are able to fulfil their potential” [20]. A common theme arising from a series of scenarios that AWPA used in their modelling is the need for growth in qualifications, particularly at the higher levels [20]. The demand for qualifications is expected to increase by as much as 3.0-3.9% each year [20]. More specifically, the demand for diplomas and advanced diplomas is projected to grow by 3.3-3.7%, while demand for certificate III and IV qualifications is projected to increase by 2.8-4.0% annually. Demand for certificate I and II qualifications has lower projected growth [20]. The main areas of focus for the workforce development strategy include: >> positioning Australia as a knowledge economy through skills development and targeted planning

Further recommendations from AWPA focus on LLN, regional employment and workforce development, men and women in non-traditional occupations, re-entry of older workers into the workforce, training support for less advantaged individuals, leadership and management, and improving VET and higher education [20]. Additional workforce development strategies have recently been developed that are targeted at some of GSA’s industry sectors, for example, ACELG have released Future-proofing local government: national workforce strategy 2013-2020 [66]. These strategies are discussed in the sector-specific appendices. In 2013, the Workplace Research Centre also produced a report on regional workforce planning and development which included a draft best practice framework outlining nine stages for regional workforce planning and development networks to follow [67].

Recent GSA workforce development activity In 2013, GSA continued to offer the following services and advice regarding workforce planning and workforce development across the government and community safety sectors.

>> improving workplace productivity >> increasing labour force participation to meet current and future needs >> developing the LLN skills needed by individuals >> enabling individuals and the tertiary education system to respond to change >> strengthening the tertiary education sector >> investing in workforce development strategies to meet skills needs [20]. AWPA have proposed 26 recommendations to support improvements in national workforce development, some of which include: >> support from the Australian Government to achieve a 3% annual increase in tertiary education qualifications to 2025 >> the NWDF be adjusted to allow other workforce development activities that maximise the use of employee skills and complement training delivery >> the Australian Government explore joint funding between Enterprise Connect and Skills Connect to achieve greater alignment of business improvement and skills programs >> the Australian Government aim for 69% labour force participation by 2025, increased from the current level of 65.1% [20].

National Workforce Development Fund (NWDF) The NWDF was established by the Australian Government to provide industry with $700 million over five years to support training and workforce development in areas of current and future skills need [68]. The NWDF is one of the funding sources available under the Australian Government Skills Connect program. The NWDF is a co-funded program that requires employers to contribute to the training costs in a manner that is proportionate to the size of their business. As indicated in Table 3, the training budgets of many organisations are not sufficient to meet current training needs, making programs such as the NWDF critical to ensuring that skills needs are met. In 2013, GSA has assisted many organisations across the government and community safety sectors with their preparations for NWDF applications. GSA has coordinated over 1200 learner places across almost 200 employers. The NWDF has provided funding to small2 (58%), medium (17%) and large (25%) enterprises.

2  Enterprises are categorised as small (1-99 employees), medium (100-199) and large (200+) in accordance with NWDF guidelines.

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2 IDENTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

The VET qualifications that have been most frequently funded through the NWDF across GSA’s sectors provide an insight into the type of training that is in demand (Table 4). Qualifications in project management, management, frontline management and training and assessment were common across the government and community safety sectors; this aligns with GSA’s other intelligence that highlighted project management and management as priority training areas. The majority of training was at the certificate IV (42%) and diploma (54%) levels, reflecting the demand for higher level skills in the workforce. The NWDF has a series of eligibility criteria that must be met. Unfortunately, many organisations within the government and community safety sectors are ineligible for NWDF funding, particularly public sector agencies and government-funded organisations within the public safety sector. This is reflected in Figure 1 which outlines the distribution of NWDF funded learners across the industry sectors.

"Unfortunately, many organisations within the government and community safety sectors are ineligible for NWDF funding" As a result of the eligibility criteria, GSA has worked predominantly with local government and the water sector with NWDF applications. For the other sectors, GSA’s workforce development team have worked closely with organisations to identify other funding sources and to promote workforce planning and development in a broader context. An example of how the NWDF is assisting organisations within the government and community safety sectors is outlined in Appendix D. This case study also highlights how public sector organisations can be eligible for NWDF funding if certain criteria are met.

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Government Skills Australia

GSA’s workforce development audit service During the 2012-13 financial year, GSA’s workforce development team conducted 16 workforce development audits across organisations in local government, correctional services and the public sector. These audits were helpful in the acquisition of workforce data that organisations need in order to conduct workforce planning and development, ultimately enabling them to implement targeted attraction, recruitment, training and development, and retention strategies across their workforce. The audits have also assisted some organisations with their preparations to apply for funding opportunities available under the Australian Government Skills Connect program. GSA’s workforce development audits identified key issues including the effects of the ageing population; the need for upskilling in digital literacy and foundation skills; the training requirements of cohorts within an organisation in response to structural adjustments at the local, regional and national level; and the capacity for an organisation to innovate in order to meet current and future demand for services and products. With the help of GSA’s workforce development team, these organisations were able to develop short- and long-term priorities for the development, retention and recruitment of key personnel to support the implementation of strategic and business plans.

Regional workforce development workshops In May and June 2013, GSA embarked upon a series of regional workforce development workshops. This approach was taken based on GSA’s identification of the need for greater promotion and support for workforce planning and development in regional areas. Workshops were held in Northam, Geraldton, Traralgon, Wagga, Dubbo, Campbell Town and Rockhampton and were well attended.


Table 3. Training budget information across the government and community safety sectors Correctional services

Local government

Public safety

Public sector

Water

Did your 2012-13 training budget increase compared to 2011-12? (% of respondents) Increased

50%

39%

31%

25%

47%

Decreased

0%

14%

31%

32%

18%

Remained the same

50%

47%

38%

43%

35%

Is your training budget sufficient to meet your training needs? (% of respondents) Yes

33%

52%

38%

74%

65%

No

67%

48%

62%

26%

35%

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

Table 4. The VET qualifications that are most frequently funded by the NWDF across the government and community safety sectors Correctional services

Local government

Public safety

Public sector

Water

Certificate IV in Frontline Management (36)

Diploma of Project Management (333)

Certificate IV in Business (18)

Enterprise and Industry Engagement skill set (12)

Diploma of Water Operations (35)

Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (34)

Certificate IV in Project Management (170)

Certificate IV in Water Operations (21)

Certificate IV in Correctional Practice (28)

Diploma of Management (150)

Diploma of Project Management (18)

Diploma of Management (16)

Certificate IV in Frontline Management (103)

Graduate Certificate in Asset Management (15)

Certificate III in Local Government (Operational Works) (27)

Certificate IV in Project Management (11)

Based on GSA data collection from the commencement of the NWDF in August 2011, until 30 June 2013

The workforce development workshops were designed to increase awareness and understanding of workforce development and how it can be incorporated within an organisation. In addition, the workshops provided information regarding available funding opportunities for training, and advice on the application process. Throughout these workshops, a number of common workforce issues were identified, many of which

reflected other GSA data collection. The most common issues that were identified across the workshops were: >> ageing workforce >> increased demand for services >> leadership >> recruitment and retention difficulties.

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2 IDENTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

It was encouraging to hear the diverse range of initiatives that were being implemented across organisations within these regional areas to address these and other issues. The workshops provided an opportunity for organisations with similar issues to share their innovative ideas and learn from one another. In some instances, the workshops highlighted how regional organisations can work together to promote careers in their region.

Foundation skills GSA has recently been involved in a range of activities related to foundation skills, many of which supported the implementation of the Foundation Skills Training Package. These activities included: >> the ACSF mapping project >> sector-specific foundation skills brochures >> videos to raise awareness of the foundation skills embedded in work tasks >> a facilitator guide to provide an overview of foundation skills initiatives and the utilisation of the videos in training contexts >> professional development for vocational trainers on how to identify the foundation skills demands in units of competency and the relevance of the Foundation Skills Training Package standalone units.

WELL brokerage The Australian Government’s WELL program was introduced to provide funding for workplace training where LLN support is required. The aim of the program is to assist organisations to train workers in LLN skills that are linked to job-related workplace training in order to help workers to meet their immediate and future employment and training needs [69]. Funding of $95 million is available through the WELL program from 2012-13 through to 2014-15. GSA is a recognised WELL broker and has been assisting enterprises with applications for WELL funding. In 2013, GSA made a concerted effort to support potential WELL applicants from the government and community safety sectors with the development of their proposals. GSA also acted as a conduit of information between the applicants and state/territory WELL coordinators. GSA invested considerable time and effort to promote the WELL program through presentations at industry forums and workshops, engagement with industry associations and training providers, and through contact with individual enterprises. The WELL program was also promoted through the GSA website, newsletters and case studies. Similar to the NWDF, eligibility criteria limits access to the program for many enterprises across the government and community safety sectors.

Figure 1. NWDF-funded learners across the government and community safety sectors

9%

1% 1%

9% Local government Correctional services Water Public safety Public sector 80%

Based on GSA data collection from the commencement of the NWDF in August 2011, until 30 June 2013. Note that local councils in NSW and Qld responsible for water provision are represented in the local government sector

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Government Skills Australia


3

CURRENT IMPACT OF GSA TRAINING PACKAGES

GSA training packages GSA has the responsibility to manage, maintain and continuously improve the six nationally endorsed VET training packages for the government and community safety sectors. GSA is responsible for the following training packages: >> CSC12 - Correctional Services Training Package >> DEF12 - Defence Training Package >> LGA04 - Local Government Training Package >> PUA12 - Public Safety Training Package >> PSP12 - Public Sector Training Package >> NWP07 - Water Training Package.

Table 5 outlines the number of RTOs with qualifications or units of competency on scope for each of GSA’s training packages. GSA data collection suggests that, for some training packages (e.g. LGA, NWP and PSP), a number of these providers are not currently delivering training, while some are considering removing selected qualifications from their scope.

Table 5. Registered training organisations with GSA training package qualifications and/or units on scope as of January 2014 Code

Training package

Number of RTOs

CSC

Correctional services

16

DEF

Defence

20

LGA

Local government

57

PUA

Public safety

275

PSP

Public sector

143

NWP

Water

45

Source: training.gov.au

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3 CURRENT IMPACT OF GSA TRAINING PACKAGES

The national data sets collected by NCVER are helpful in providing indications of trends and participation in GSA training packages; however, the data does not fully reflect the uptake of these training packages. The majority of training in many of the sectors covered by GSA does not attract government training funds, but is funded from operational budgets. NCVER data covers publicly funded training and fee for service training provided by public providers. As such, the data presented below underrepresents actual training numbers as this data does not reflect private or enterprise-based positions which constitute a large percentage of RTOs delivering training from GSA training packages.

With these limitations in mind, some of the main points of interest from the data include: >> overall enrolments in GSA training packages remained consistent in the 2008-12 period; however, large fluctuations were noted for some training packages >> between 2008 and 2011, there was an increase (14%) in completions for GSA training packages overall >> PSP and NWP had the largest increases in enrolments and completions between 2008 and 2012 >> CSC, LGA and PUA experienced decreases in enrolments, with fewer completions also reported for CSC and PUA >> when a shorter period is considered (i.e. 2010-11) completions for all training packages had increased.

Table 6. Enrolments in GSA training packages 2008-2012 Code

Training package

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

CSC

Correctional services

1701

705

624

779

638

LGA

Local government

874

763

797

944

783

PUA

Public safety

3349

2628

2925

2154

2394

PSP

Public sector

4597

3844

4681

4832

5221

NWP

Water

1081

1284

1818

3892

2635

11602

9224

10845

12601

11671

Total activity

Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) Note: Defence Training Package data not available

Table 7. VET qualifications completed from GSA training packages 2008-2011 Code

Training package

2008

2009

2010

2011

CSC

Correctional services

583

437

248

350

LGA

Local government

347

271

242

364

PUA

Public safety

1200

586

619

953

PSP

Public sector

1593

1868

2010

2414

NWP

Water

452

450

666

695

Total activity

4175

3612

3785

4776

Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) Note: Defence Training Package data not available

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Government Skills Australia


Table 8. Publicly funded training numbers 2013 – apprentices and trainees ‘in training’ and ‘completion’ as of 30 June 2013 Code

Training package

Persons in training 2013

Persons in training 2012

CSC

Learner Learner completions 2013* completions 2012^

Correctional services

368

402

213

214

LGA

Local government

403

510

180

178

PUA

Public safety

581

252

89

283

PSP

Public sector

1191

1461

904

403

NWP

Water

1034

1272

501

503

Total activity

3577

3897

1887

1581

Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) *Completions at 30 June 2013 ^Completions at 30 June 2012 Note: Defence Training Package data not available

Barriers to training across the government and community safety sectors Enterprise perspective Organisations across the government and community safety sectors continue to recognise the importance of training to the development of a skilled and adaptable workforce; however, GSA research has highlighted a number of barriers to training that are faced by employers.

national funding programs, such as the NWDF, further compounds these issues. The other main issue facing many enterprises across the government and community safety sectors is their location. Thirty-six per cent of regionally-based respondents and 57% of those that are rurally-based indicated that their location was a major barrier. The difficulties include the cost associated with travel, time away from the workplace, and the challenge of identifying an RTO that can provide the required training in their workplace in a cost-effective manner.

Survey respondents indicated that the main barriers to training include: >> a lack of time for training due to workload pressures >> the cost of training >> limited training budget and access to external funding to support training >> location >> a lack of staff to backfill while training is undertaken (Figure 2). Many of these barriers reflect the continued pressure for enterprises to produce more for less. This results in greater workloads for individual staff, meaning that less time is available to undertake training. Reduced operational budgets also have an impact on training expenditure, with anecdotal feedback suggesting that training budgets are often one of the first areas targeted when budget cuts are required. Ineligibility for

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3 CURRENT IMPACT OF GSA TRAINING PACKAGES

Figure 2. Barriers to undertaking training across the government and community safety sectors No time for training in the workplace due to workload

56%

Cost of training

49%

Limited training budget/funding

40%

Location

37%

Staff not available to backfill

31%

Availability of training/lack of access to RTOs

22%

Training needs not yet identified

21%

Competing training demands

19%

Staff are reluctant to undertake training

15%

Not aware of training opportunities

15%

No coordinated approach to training

10%

Employee foundation skills are limiting further training

8%

Considered not relevant to staff role/organisation

8%

Training is a lower organisational priority Administrative requirements are too onerous

6% 4%

Organisation has experienced poor return on training investment

3%

It is felt that staff are unlikely to complete the training

3%

Current training is not meeting organisational needs

2%

No barriers

12% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

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Government Skills Australia


RTO perspective From the perspective of training providers, a number of issues were identified that are impacting on operations. These issues include: >> the impact of recent/proposed changes to the VET system (69% of all respondents) >> onerous administration and compliance requirements (55%) >> developing and maintaining training resources (47%) >> recruiting and retaining skilled trainers and assessors (39%; Figure 3). Many respondents felt that the recent changes to the VET system, or the proposed changes such as the USI and mandatory reporting (which had not yet commenced at the time of the GSA survey), will result in a greater administration and compliance load that will subsequently direct their already limited resources away from training. In many instances, respondents indicated that they would need to purchase additional software or update administrative systems in order to be able to produce the required information. A number

of respondents also indicated that recent increases in ASQA fees have significantly impacted on their organisation. Smaller RTOs that had recently undergone an audit indicated that the process was particularly onerous and stressful; with some suggesting that they would reconsider their RTO status rather than be audited again. Many respondents felt that there were clear benefits to some of the recent and proposed changes but indicated that it was a struggle to keep up to date with the developments and ensure compliance. Others felt that there were changes occurring without a clear benefit to learners. A number of respondents have found it difficult to interpret the standards and indicated that there are different perceptions within the sector as to how the standards should be interpreted, causing confusion and frustration. Many training providers highlighted their frustrations with the frequent changes to the system. It was felt that as soon as they have become accustomed to previous changes, a new change is introduced which necessitated a review of operations and further effort to ensure that compliance was maintained.

Figure 3. The main barriers facing registered training organisations that deliver GSA training packages, based on respondents to the GSA RTO survey Impact of recent/proposed changes to the VET system

69%

Adhering to administration and compliance requirements

55%

Developing and maintaining resources

47%

Recruiting and retaining skilled trainers and assessors

39%

Lack of government funding incentives/support for learners

29%

Remaining commercially viable

20%

Competition from other training providers

16%

Lack of demand from learners

8%

No major issues faced

6% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA RTO survey

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3 CURRENT IMPACT OF GSA TRAINING PACKAGES

Whilst all types of training providers indicated that adhering to administration and compliance requirements was an issue, the proportion of enterprise RTOs (91%) that cited it as a concern was much higher than private RTOs (48%) and public RTOs (36%). With regard to the issues of developing and maintaining training resources, many training providers felt that the frequent changes to units of competency and training packages meant that resources needed to be continually reviewed and updated to ensure that they remained relevant. Small RTOs in particular indicated that they found it challenging to develop and maintain training resources. They also had difficulty finding available subject matter experts that could develop training material. The difficulty of recruiting and retaining skilled trainers and assessors was influenced by factors such as a lack of permanent positions, sporadic demand, pay, and conditions. It was felt that these factors prevented suitable individuals from pursuing training as a career pathway. Training providers also indicated that the need to train and upskill their trainers was a barrier, particularly in relation to the introduction of minimum qualification requirements. In some areas, smaller RTOs indicated that they face competition from larger RTOs, while training providers in regional and rural areas highlighted the difficulties that they have in finding suitable trainers and assessors in small labour markets.

Apprentice and trainee learner profiles The following discussion is based on data from NCVER (Appendix E) which identifies VET apprentices and trainees undertaking publicly funded training. This is therefore a limited profile of learners across the government and community safety sectors. Across all of GSA’s training packages (excluding DEF12), 74% of learners were male. This is higher than the average across all apprentices and trainees utilising ISC training packages (67%) [70]. Fifty-one per cent of learners were aged 25-44 years (compared to 33% across all ISC training packages), with a further 29% aged 45 years or over (compared to 14%). Twenty per cent of learners were aged 24 or below, compared to 53% across all ISC training packages. This information indicates that the age profile of learners utilising GSA training packages tends to be older than the average across the VET system. With regard to the highest previous level of education held by learners, certificate III or IV (32%) was the most

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Government Skills Australia

common, followed by year 12 (22%). Twenty per cent had completed year 11 or lower. Almost 20% of learners had previously completed a bachelor degree or higher.

Correctional services The majority (66%) of learners were aged 25-44 years. More than three-quarters of learners were male. Western Australia had the highest proportion of CSC learners in training in 2013, followed by Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and the ACT. Over one-third of learners held a certificate III or IV qualification prior to undertaking CSC training; a further 27% had completed year 12. Twenty-one per cent of learners had not completed their schooling beyond year 11. Only 2% of learners in training were Indigenous and less than 1% reported having a disability. The majority of learners were undertaking CSC training on a fulltime basis.

Local government Forty-seven per cent of LGA apprentices and trainees were aged 25-44 years, with a further 38% aged 45 or over. More than three-quarters of learners were male. New South Wales had notably more learners than other states and territories (55%), followed by South Australia (20%) and Victoria (19%). Thirty-six per cent of LGA learners had not completed their education beyond year 11. Thirty-one per cent held a previous certificate III or IV qualification, while for 25% of learners, year 12 was their highest level of previous education. Fewer than 4% of learners were Indigenous Australians. Less than 3% of learners reported having a disability. Consistent with GSA’s other training packages, almost all learners were undertaking LGA training on a full-time basis.

Public safety Over 96% of PUA learners were aged over 25, with 63% aged 25-44 and 33% aged 45 years or over. The majority (95%) of learners were male, with 61% from South Australia. Western Australia (19%) had the next highest proportion of PUA learners based on the NCVER data set. Almost one-half of learners had previously completed a certificate III or IV qualification, 19% held a bachelor


degree or higher, while for 18% of learners, year 12 was their highest level of previous education.

had completed year 12 as their previous highest level of education.

Approximately 6% of PUA learners were Indigenous Australians, while less than 1% reported having a disability. All PUA learners were undertaking study on a full-time basis.

Approximately 6% of learners were Indigenous Australians. Fewer than 2% of learners reported having a disability. More than 98% of learners were studying on a full-time basis.

Public sector

Continuous improvement and review of training packages in 2013

Forty-five per cent of PSP learners were aged 25-44 years. A further 28% were aged 20-24, while 19% were aged 45 years or over. In contrast to GSA’s other training packages, the majority (58%) of PSP learners were female. The ACT accounted for almost 60% of PSP learners. Consistent with previous comments that the public sector have a comparatively high proportion of university graduates, over 40% of PSP learners held a bachelor degree or higher, compared to GSA’s other training packages which ranged from 1% (LGA), to 19% (PUA). For 21% of learners, year 12 was their highest level of previous education, while 18% held a certificate III or IV qualification. Almost 20% of PSP learners were Indigenous Australians, which again is the highest proportion across GSA’s training packages. Only 4% of learners reported having a disability. Fifteen per cent of PSP learners were undertaking study on a part-time basis.

Water

GSA positioned any previously identified continuous improvement work in its training packages to be completed by the end of 2012 in order to prepare the packages and the ISC for commencing work against the new Standards for training packages in 2013. During 2013, GSA commenced work on the implementation of the new standards. Separate detailed work plans were developed for streamlining in consultation with industry to define work flow and consultation processes. Work on all training packages will progress in the 2013-2014 financial year. All pending and identified continuous improvement work will be incorporated in the timelines and work activity for the implementation of the new standards. Throughout 2013, the following endorsed changes took place across GSA’s training packages as discussed in Table 9.

Forty-seven per cent of NWP learners were aged 25-44 years. A further 36% were aged 45 years. The vast majority (97%) were male, which reflects the traditional belief that the water industry is male dominated. New South Wales (29%), Queensland (25%), and South Australia (18%) had the highest proportions of NWP learners. Almost 40% of learners held previous qualifications at the certificate III or IV level. Twenty-eight per cent had not completed education beyond year 11, while 22%

Table 9. Changes to GSA training packages during 2013 Code

Training package

Summary of continuous improvement activity in 2013

PUA12 V2

Public Safety

>> Release of a new version of PUA >> Addition of all fire sector material to the package >> All qualifications reformatted for consistency

Environmental scan 2014

29


4

FUTURE DIRECTION FOR ENDORSED COMPONENTS OF TRAINING PACKAGES

GSA’s short to medium term focus is on the implementation of the new Standards for training packages by the streamlining of current material. During this process, all material will be reviewed to ensure that it is still current, appropriate and required. In consultation with industry, material will then be adapted and developed to ensure that simple and clear information is available to users. Reducing duplication, simplifying qualifications and increasing flexibility through the provision of more specialist streams attached to generic qualifications will be a key focus. This will address feedback received from industry and training providers. GSA’s continuous improvement plan for 2013-14 is listed in Appendix A.

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Government Skills Australia


APPENDICES APPENDIX A:

2013-14 CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT PLAN All training packages Scope of work, industry, sector and occupations/ skills involved

Industry imperatives for the work

Likely qualification levels affected

Timelines for start of work and submission to NQC

Implementation of the new standards.

NSSC/COAG driven policy imperative.

All

Work has commenced on the implementation of the new standards across all of GSA’s packages of responsibility. Separate detailed work plans have been developed for streamlining in consultation with industry to define work flow and consultation processes. Work on all packages to progress in 2013-14 financial year. All pending and identified continuous improvement work will be incorporated in the timelines and work activity for the implementation of the new standards.

Mapping of GSA units of competency to ACSF.

Feedback from industry based on ACSF mapping project has indicated that the information is viewed as a useful tool to improve delivery and assessment.

All

Mapping of units against the ACSF requirement will occur across all GSA units of competency during the implementation of the new standards.

CSC12 Correctional services Scope of work, industry, sector and occupations/ skills involved

Industry imperatives for the work

Likely qualification levels affected

Timelines for start of work and submission to NQC

Review elective streams within certificate IV qualifications.

Bring streams within certificate IV in line with those updated in certificate III.

Certificate IV

Work has commenced and will progress in conjunction with implementation of the new standards.

Environmental scan 2014

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APPENDICES

LGA04 Local government Scope of work, industry, sector and occupations/ skills involved

Industry imperatives for the work

Likely qualification levels affected

Timelines for start of work and submission to NQC

Economic development officer qualifications.

Investigation required to confirm the growing need in Queensland and possibly other states for the development of economic development officer training standards.

Certificate IV

Work for qualification or skill set to be incorporated in implementation of the new standards.

Scope of work, industry, sector and occupations/ skills involved

Industry imperatives for the work

Likely qualification levels affected

Timelines for start of work and submission to NQC

Triple 0 call centre.

Review of consistency across emergency services with regard to handling Triple 0 calls.

Certificate III

To be incorporated in implementation of the new standards in PUA.

Diploma

PUA12 Public safety

Certificate IV

Existing PUA qualifications are fire centric.

Staged approach will see first material submitted late 2014/early 2015.

Qualifications exist in the CSH package. Review development of single qualification structure with streams for different services for greater national consistency. Community evacuation.

Industry identified training gap with possible impact on content of emergency management section of PUA.

Skill set Certificate III Certificate IV Diploma

Technical reference group being formed to scope work. If it is identified that the outcome of the scoping requires review or development to address gaps in PUA, continuous improvement work will be incorporated in the implementation of the new standards. Staged approach will see first material submitted late 2014/early 2015.

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Government Skills Australia


PSP12 Public sector Scope of work, industry, sector and occupations/ skills involved

Industry imperatives for the work

Likely qualification levels affected

Timelines for start of work and submission to NQC

Rationalisation of specialist qualifications to create streams.

Reduce duplication of outcomes with existing qualifications.

Certificate III

Work has commenced in security, investigations and courts areas. Other areas programmed during implementation of the new standards.

Provide more flexible coverage to small specialist cohorts.

Diploma

Certificate IV

Expected submission of Public Sector Training Package in the new standards in late 2015.

Increase sustainability of industry to deliver and assess. Industry identified area to be reviewed during implementation of the new standards due to nil or limited uptake and duplication with existing qualifications in other training packages.

Certificate III

Scoping commenced.

Certificate IV

Position paper with recommendations to be circulated for consultation.

Scope of work, industry, sector and occupations/ skills involved

Industry imperatives for the work

Likely qualification levels affected

Timelines for start of work and submission to NQC

Alignment of qualification streams with water industry occupation and competency framework.

Water industry currently developing an occupation and competency framework for industry with possible future certification programs.

All

Work is underway on the water industry occupation and competency framework.

Review of school support qualifications regarding duplication.

Outcomes incorporated in submission of Public Sector Training Package in the new standards in late 2015.

NWP07 Water

This project work is forming direction on implementation of the new standards. Water Training Package aligned with the new standards planned for submission in later half of 2014.

Environmental scan 2014

33


APPENDICES

DEF12 Defence Scope of work, industry, sector and occupations/ skills involved

Industry imperatives for the work

Likely qualification levels affected

Timelines for start of work and submission to NQC

Review of air dispatch qualifications and units.

Differing needs between regular and reserve staff.

Certificate III

Incorporated in implementation of the new standards.

New qualification with respect to electronic forensics.

Need for units to deal with emerging areas in electronic intelligence gathering and analysis.

Certificate IV

Review unit content for Physical Training Skill Set.

Feedback on unit content has led to the review of content.

Skill set

Certificate IV

Part of first stage of Defence submission early 2014. Incorporated in implementation of the new standards. Part of first stage of Defence submission early 2014. Incorporated in implementation of the new standards. Part of first stage of Defence submission early 2014.

Work being incorporated in implementation of the new standards.

APPENDIX B:

METHODOLOGY GSA developed the 2014 Environmental scan based on data collected from a wide range of sources. >> A detailed literature review was undertaken to identify current policy information, workforce data and relevant research >> Three targeted surveys were distributed to key industry stakeholders in order to collect extensive data from a number of different perspectives. The surveys targeted the following three areas: »» Industry Advisory Committees (IAC), the Public Sector Jurisdictional Reference Group (JRG) and key stakeholders »» RTOs with GSA endorsed training packages on their scope »» enterprises across the five government and community safety sectors that GSA represent.

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Government Skills Australia

>> Where necessary, telephone conversations or face-to-face meetings were held with key industry stakeholders who could not respond to the online surveys >> A series of regional workforce development workshops were held, during which GSA gathered information regarding key issues in regional areas >> Data validation was performed at various stages throughout the development process. Preliminary findings were presented at IAC/JRG meetings and drafts were validated by industry stakeholders. GSA acknowledges the contributions from all individuals and organisations that provided information to assist in the preparation of the 2014 Environmental scan.


APPENDIX C:

OCCUPATIONS IN DEMAND ANZSCO code

Occupation/ job title

Qualifications (if linked to GSA training package)

Evidence/justification

442111

Correctional officer

CSC30112 - Certificate III in Correctional Practice

Feedback from industry surveys and stakeholder consultation.

CSC40112 - Certificate IV in Correctional Practice

Particular issues were noted in regional and remote areas and for female and Indigenous officers. The Department of Employment project 7.6% growth to November 2017.

821511

Construction and road maintenance worker

LGA30304 - Certificate III in Local Government (Operational Works)

Feedback from industry surveys and stakeholder consultation.

251311

Environmental health officer

LGA40308 - Certificate IV in Local Government (Health & Environment)

Feedback from industry surveys and stakeholder consultation.

LGA50208 - Diploma of Local Government (Health & Environment)

Listed on the Skilled occupation list indicating an area of medium to long-term skills needs. The Department of Employment project 5.5% growth in occupational and environmental health professionals to November 2017.

721211

Plant operator

LGA30304 - Certificate III in Local Government (Operational Works)

Feedback from industry surveys and stakeholder consultation. Listed as a skills shortage area in Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) Industry skills and workforce development report.

232611

Urban/town planner

LGA40708 - Certificate IV in Local Government (Planning)

Feedback from industry surveys and stakeholder consultation.

LGA50508 - Diploma of Local Government (Planning)

Listed on the Skilled occupation list indicating an area of medium to long-term skills needs. The Department of Employment project 3.4% growth to November 2017.

Environmental scan 2014

35


APPENDICES

ANZSCO code

Occupation/ job title

Qualifications (if linked to GSA training package)

Evidence/justification

441212

Volunteer and auxiliary firefighter

PUA30613 - Certificate III in Public Safety (Firefighting and Emergency Operations)

2013 and 2014 E-Scan survey feedback and stakeholder consultation.

PUA30713 - Certificate III in Public Safety (Firefighting Operations)

Difficulties with the retention of volunteers and the ageing volunteer workforce reported in a number of recent publications.

PUA40313 - Certificate IV in Public Safety (Firefighting Supervision) PUA50513 - Diploma of Public Safety (Firefighting Management) PUA60513 - Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Firefighting Management) 441312

Police officer

PUA50212 - Diploma of Public Safety (Policing)

2013 and 2014 E-Scan survey feedback identified shortages in some states and territories, particularly in rural and remote areas. The Department of Employment project 9.4% growth to November 2017.

51111

Contract, program and project manager/ administrator

PSP41212 - Certificate IV in Government (Project Management) PSP51312 - Diploma of Government (Project Management)

Industry surveys and stakeholder feedback identified shortage of project managers and employees with project management skills, particularly in water and local government sectors. Project management identified as a priority training area by GSA survey for local government, public sector and water.

251312

WHS/OHS officer

PSP41112 - Certificate IV in Government (Occupational Health and Safety) PSP51212 - Diploma of Government (Occupational Health and Safety) PSP60612 - Advanced Diploma of Government (Occupational Health and Safety)

712921

Water treatment plant operator

Feedback from industry surveys and stakeholder consultation. Listed on the Skilled occupation list indicating an area of medium to long-term skills needs. Note: these qualifications are currently being reviewed for relevance and duplication with BSB WHS qualifications.

NWP20107 - Certificate II in Water Operations

Feedback from industry surveys and stakeholder consultation.

NWP30107 - Certificate III in Water Operations

Listed as a future skills shortage area in LGAQ Industry skills and workforce development report.

NWP40107 - Certificate IV in Water Operations

Note: other occupations in demand that were identified by GSA surveys are not aligned to GSA training packages, including engineer, tradesperson, accountant, building surveyor, asset manager, ICT professional, auditor, medical scientist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, speech pathologist, mental health nurse, registered nurse, psychologist, and social worker.

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Government Skills Australia


APPENDIX D:

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT CASE STUDY National Workforce Development Fund Success through collaboration: Queensland VET Development Centre In June 2013, the Queensland VET Development Centre (QVDC), a business unit based within the Training and Employment division of the Queensland Department of Education Training and Employment (DETE), successfully applied for National Workforce Development Funding. The application was to support the capacity of VET educators to engage with industry, ensuring effective identification of training needs and the development of tailored training plans.

Quality training matters QVDC works collaboratively with national and state agencies, public and private training organisations, industry, and universities to develop VET products and staff capability to meet the skills needs for Queensland’s growing economy. QVDC believe that the key to improving performance and productivity of individuals stems from a strong training system that provides the foundation of a skilled workforce.

Collaboration and consultation Taking a proactive approach to industry feedback regarding a lack of faith in the recognition of prior learning (RPL) outcomes, the QVDC convened a meeting of interested stakeholders in July 2012. Government agencies and industry peak bodies from Queensland’s “four pillar economy” of tourism, agriculture, resources and construction, were invited, along with participants from a number of public and private RTOs. A key outcome from the meeting was the agreement that a shared, whole of sector response was required to ensure that clearly defined critical issues were identified. Many of the attendees from the initial stakeholder meeting continued to work collaboratively as part of a targeted project reference group.

"Ultimately, what we wanted to have at the end was the building of trust between the industry and the sector around VET processes and particularly RPL. There is no good reason why there shouldn't be a National Workforce Development Fund application about developing the very workforce that is actually at the heart of the delivery of VET." Guy Valentine

Manager, Research and Systems Support, QVDC

Bridging the gap Extensive discussion and reflection had already identified a gap in the training system. In addition to the need to develop the capacity for VET educators to engage with industry enterprises, a clearly defined plan for aligning industry and training sector expectations was recognised as being part of the issue. To find a solution, Guy Valentine explained that a key question had to be asked.

Environmental scan 2014

37


APPENDICES

“How could we go about having a project where all the interested parties, regardless of where they came from, sat at the table and worked on a solution?” To answer this question, the meeting participants agreed that there was greater scope for collaborative action.

Community partnerships After consultation with stakeholders from local RTOs, the QDVC developed a project plan that proposed a pilot strategy to test and evaluate collaborative approaches for developing training needs analysis capability of VET educators. This involved public and private RTOs, as well as a variety of industry, enterprise and community partnerships. To deliver the project, two models of co-funding were used, an NWDF application and direct contribution. A key objective of the project was to develop a model for further whole of sector workforce development/ enterprise partnership applications, targeting the capability and capacity of VET educators and then enhancing those capabilities, through collaborations with industry partners.

"It really was a genuine attempt to pilot a way in which the public and private sectors could come together to put forward an application for the National Workforce Development Fund." Kathy Piccardi

Manager, Product Development, TAFE Queensland

Overcoming challenges of the NWDF funding application Typically, a successful NWDF application must nominate either a full qualification or an endorsed skill set. In this instance, the project reference group advice in relation to industry and RTO needs was that a skill set was the most desirable training outcome. The challenge was that a suitable skill set did not exist. To overcome this hurdle, the first tangible outcome of the project was a successful bid for the creation of an enterprise and industry engagement skill set for the Training and Assessment Training Package (TAE10). A second challenge for the project was that, according to NWDF guidelines, “... those employed in the general government sector in Australian, State and Territory Government Departments are not eligible to receive

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Government Skills Australia

training under the Fund unless specifically approved”1. Additional information within the guidelines states that “those who work in service delivery/business areas that are delivered by both government and non-government providers would be eligible to apply”. QVDC successfully argued that technical and further education was a contested service delivery area and not solely a government function. By bringing private and public entities together under the one application, it was considered to be a truly collaborative and innovative project.

The training program A tender process was used to select the RTO best equipped to deliver the training, with four criteria used to rank the merit of the tenders received. The successful RTO across all four criteria was Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE (MSIT). The training program was built around a blended delivery model that combined face-to-face workshops, action-based learning on an industry project with an employer, as well as online support through a community of practice. It had strong evidence underpinnings2 and an established record for quality, flexible delivery. Ultimately, the success of this project will be evaluated through participant completions, with the effectiveness of the strategies used in the pilot determined by participant feedback. Some aspects of the project’s success are already measurable, with greater exposure of all stakeholders to a broader range of industry collaboration models and strategies.

Driving collaboration with industry Once complete, the pilot provided a model for the development of other NWDF applications, targeting the capabilities of VET educators working for public and private RTOs. Already, the pilot has highlighted an important role for government agencies to nurture genuine partnerships between industry and training providers. The likely outcome of the pilot for participating VET educators is clear: the delivery of highly transferable training needs analysis skills that are applicable across the VET sector. The next stage of the project is to explore the potential for these participants to mentor others. This project provides a positive example of an innovative solution to public sector agencies accessing the NWDF, with both the assessment panel and the Minister considering it an excellent example of a collaborative workforce development project between the public and private sector. 1 Department of Industry, “National Workforce Development Fund: revised interim program guidelines 2011-12,” 2011. 2 Piccardi, K. “The emerging role of enterprise learning consultants,” NCVER, 2013.


APPENDIX E:

VET APPRENTICES AND TRAINEES UNDERTAKING PUBLICLY FUNDED TRAINING AT THE YEAR ENDING 30 JUNE 2013 Correctional services CSC

Local government LGA

Public safety PUA

Public sector PSP

Water NWP

TOTAL

0

96

57

179

Age 19 years & under

0

26

20 to 24 years

29

33

21

330

124

537

25 to 44 years

244

191

366

535

482

1818

45 years & over

95

154

193

229

370

1041

Sex Male

282

317

551

498

998

2646

Female

86

87

29

692

36

930

New South Wales

50

221

0

111

301

683

Victoria

86

76

0

132

126

420

Queensland

7

1

0

5

262

275

South Australia

0

80

353

152

182

767

State

Western Australia

137

6

111

101

94

449

Tasmania

48

19

0

0

52

119

0

0

28

0

17

45

40

0

89

690

0

819

Northern Territory Australian Capital Territory

Previous highest education level Bachelor degree or higher

30

5

109

504

16

664

Diploma, adv dip / assoc degree

26

17

56

39

34

172

Certificate III or IV

124

127

272

212

405

1140

8

7

3

16

62

96

Certificate I or II Non-award course

3

0

0

0

1

4

100

101

106

256

229

792

Year 11 or lower or did not go to school

77

145

34

163

287

706

Not known

1

2

0

1

0

4

Year 12

Environmental scan 2014

39


APPENDICES

Correctional services CSC

Local government LGA

Public safety PUA

Public sector PSP

Water NWP

TOTAL

Indigenous status Indigenous Not Indigenous Not known

8

15

33

218

62

336

359

387

540

967

967

3220

2

2

7

6

5

22

Disability With a disability Without a disability Not known

3

12

3

45

17

80

363

387

570

1143

1014

3477

4

7

3

3

19

2

English (main language spoken at home) English

332

387

558

1005

1007

3289

Non-English

36

16

13

177

22

264

Not known

1

1

9

9

5

25

Study mode Full-time

333

381

580

1017

1012

3323

Part-time

35

23

0

174

22

254

Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) Note: Defence Training Package data not available

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Government Skills Australia


CORRECTIONAL SERVICES


GSA received responses from both public and privately-operated correctional services enterprises. Respondents spanned all states and territories except for Tasmania. One-third of respondents operated nationally, with the remaining twothirds operating in one state or territory. All responding organisations had a workforce in excess of 500 staff. Additional feedback with regard to the correctional services sector were collected by GSA throughout 2013 via the Correctional Services IAC, workshops, workforce development audits, and through training package technical reference groups (TRG).

ENTERPRISE SURVEY RESPONDENT SNAPSHOT State/territory coverage

ACT, NSW, NT, Qld, SA, Vic, WA Regional distribution (% of respondents)

33% 67% national

statewide

Staff numbers (% of respondents)

1-20 21-50 51-200 201-500 500+

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Government Skills Australia

0% 0% 0% 0% 100%


1

LATEST INDUSTRY INTELLIGENCE

GSA data collection identified the following key trends and factors that are likely to have an impact on the correctional services workforce over the next five years.

Ageing workforce The ageing workforce continues to be an issue for the sector. It was noted that the loss of staff due to retirements will increase training activity as new recruits enter the system. It was also highlighted that the loss of corporate knowledge and experience associated with the retirement of the ageing workforce will be a significant issue. Some organisations have implemented succession plans and recruitment strategies in order to counteract the upcoming loss of staff.

Financial pressures As reported in the 2013 Environmental scan, budget cuts and the need to produce more for less are common issues across the public sector, including much of the correctional services sector. These trends have continued and are expected to extend beyond 2014. A number of survey respondents indicated that their organisation faced budget pressures. These were often driven by government policy and the need to meet savings targets, whilst in many instances being expected to increase service provision. Budget constraints were often limiting staff numbers and preventing training and professional development. Some organisations have been required to increase the use of contract-based positions and casual staff in place of permanent employment.

Growth in demand Respondents from the correctional services sector indicated that there had been a recent increase in demand for services. This aligns with recent data indicating an increase in the numbers of offenders [2]. Correctional Services IAC members indicated that the increase in demand would be likely to continue over the next 2-3 years.

In response to current and future demands, new prisons were opened in Queensland and Western Australia in 2012, with facilities to be opened in Darwin in 2014 and Melbourne in 2017.

Competition with other sectors Competition with other sectors for suitable workers was highlighted as an issue for a number of correctional services organisations. The resources sector in particular was considered to be a competitor for potential employees, given the higher salaries on offer.

Increased scope of duties for individual staff In accordance with budget cuts, staff reductions, and increased demand for services, it was reported that the scope of duties of many individuals is increasing. This has prompted some organisations to review their current training in order to ensure that the appropriate staff are multiskilled and able to effectively perform a range of roles.

Privatisation Privatisation was cited by a number of respondents as an issue for their organisation. Some indicated that there is increased contestability with the private sector in regard to facility operations and program delivery; this may drive further budget tightening which will impact on service provision and training. Recently, the Keelty review, Sustaining the unsustainable, recommended that business cases for contestability of correctional services in Queensland should be developed, including cases for training provision [71].

Environmental scan 2014

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1 LATEST INDUSTRY INTELLIGENCE

Increasing professionalism within the sector A number of Correctional Services IAC members and survey respondents identified the trend towards increasing professionalism within the sector. Examples include: >> the introduction of a new classification system in one state, with clearly defined career progression opportunities >> the introduction of pay incentives and promotion opportunities linked to CSC12 training >> a greater focus on identifying the training needs of the workforce >> a focus on leadership and management training >> the introduction of performance management systems, using capability frameworks and professional development plans.

Increasing workforce diversity In some jurisdictions, there is a specific focus on increasing opportunities for women in supervision and management positions to address current shortages. Gender imbalances have also been identified in the frontline workforce, with a lack of males entering the community services area and a lack of females in prison officer roles. In addition to gender diversity, some respondents indicated that cultural diversity is a focus for their organisation.

Attraction, recruitment and retention issues All survey respondents from the correctional services sector indicated that they had experienced recruitment difficulties in the past 12 months or that they anticipate difficulties in the near future. The main reasons for these recruitment difficulties include the attractiveness of the resources sector (83% of respondents), the attractiveness of other industries (67%), the image of the correctional services sector (50%), the location of corrections facilities (50%), and a lack of suitably skilled workers (50%). In general, respondents felt that they could not compete with the salaries on offer from the resources sector. Turnover rates within the responding organisations varied, ranging from 6-10% up to 26-30%. All respondents indicated that they had experienced retention difficulties in the previous 12 months or that they anticipate future retention difficulties. A

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Government Skills Australia

number of factors were believed to contribute to these retention difficulties, with the most common including the attractiveness of other industries (67%) and the resources sector (50%), the stressful nature of the work (50%), and staff not feeling valued (50%). Further GSA research conducted in 2013 indicated that low staff morale may contribute to the retention difficulties within some corrections facilities. Correctional Services IAC members reflected the feedback received from enterprises, indicating that there were issues associated with recruitment and retention as a result of competition from the resources sector and the ageing workforce. Some respondents also mentioned that recent or upcoming changes in employment conditions (such as a move from permanent to contract positions) may further increase staff turnover. Correctional Services IAC members felt that, where possible, there would be an increase in the recruitment of prison officers and community corrections staff to meet the increased demand for services and to address expected turnover due to competition and ageing. In some regions, this increase in recruitment may be impacted on by state and territory government savings targets and redundancy policies. It was also suggested that, in some instances, workforce needs may be met by increasing the use of casual staff for entry level positions.

"Competition with other sectors for suitable workers was highlighted as an issue"


2

IDENTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

Current and emerging skill gaps

Foundation skills

GSA received feedback indicating that there were ongoing difficulties in the recruitment and retention of correctional officers, particularly in regional and remote areas. It was suggested that there were further difficulties in recruiting and retaining Indigenous and female correctional officers. In some regions across Australia, employers have also faced difficulties with the recruitment and retention of community corrections officers.

Correctional Services IAC members felt that there were relatively few instances where LLN gaps were impacting on the capacity for correctional services staff to adequately perform their roles. This is likely to be a result of the need for individuals to meet minimum entry requirements. It was noted, however, that gaps in these areas may substantially reduce the number of potential candidates for roles in the correctional services sector. It was also reported that computer literacy may be an emerging issue, particularly among older staff, as operations and training become more computer-based.

Emerging skills There is a clear perception that the skills requirements of staff within the correctional services sector are changing, with a drive towards greater professionalism. Some specific skills needs that are emerging within the sector include: >> managing a more complex prisoner population, including ageing, mental health, and cultural diversity >> managing high risk offenders >> community-based monitoring >> risk management >> leadership and management >> decision making. Feedback from Correctional Services IAC members indicated that training is now being implemented in some of these areas in order to address these emerging needs. It was also indicated that changes to government policy, including parole and sentencing reform, will have an impact on training needs and activity.

GSA enterprise survey respondents indicated that, where foundation skills gaps existed, writing was the most common skills area where staff required further training (Figure 4). Poor writing skills were impacting on the quality of reports that were produced by some employees, and the time taken to produce reports. Within some organisations, additional training to improve writing skills is already occurring.

Generic skills needs Respondents from correctional services organisations indicated that priority training areas for staff include leadership and management, report writing, customer service, and ICT/digital literacy (Figure 5). In response to these needs, leadership programs have been developed within some organisations, whilst others deliver in-house training to address specific needs. Additional feedback received by GSA throughout 2013 indicated that other priority training needs for the correctional services sector include WHS/OHS awareness, compliance, and performance management.

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2 IDENTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

Workforce development and strategies to address skills needs Training and professional development Given that a large proportion of correctional services organisations operate as an enterprise-based RTO, internal training is the predominant means by which staff are trained. In addition to internal training, one-third of respondents indicated that they also use external training. Traineeships and cadetships are offered within the sector, while one-half of respondents indicated that their organisation has developed formal mentoring and coaching programs to assist in the development of junior staff. One respondent reported that, due to recent recruitment difficulties in their jurisdiction, they are now considering interstate and overseas candidates. A number of professional development opportunities are provided to staff to aid career progression, including nationally endorsed vocational training, non-accredited training, leadership programs, secondment, recognition of prior learning (RPL), and the opportunity to act in higher positions. The majority of respondents indicated that their organisation offers financial support for training, while others indicated that they offer paid study leave for relevant training.

Workforce planning and development Within the correctional services sector, a range of workforce development activities are being utilised to address the challenges reported in this 2014 Environmental scan. Given that the ageing workforce was listed as a significant challenge for the sector, it was encouraging to note that all respondents have implemented career development and succession planning strategies (Figure 6). The other major workforce planning and development activities that have been conducted include workforce forecasting and training needs analyses, while the majority of respondents had developed a formal workforce planning strategy that was integrated with their business plan. One respondent indicated that the new role of workforce development officer had been created within their organisation in the last 12 months in response to needs in this area. A lack of time was highlighted as the main barrier to effective workforce planning and development (Figure 7), again reflecting the significant workload pressures faced within the correctional services sector. A lack of resources and funding are also key barriers. GSA is available to assist organisations within the sector through a free workforce development audit service and by providing information and support to improve the understanding of the workforce planning and

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Government Skills Australia

development process. GSA can also work with organisations to identify available funding opportunities for staff to undertake training to address workforce skills needs. Organisational restructuring was also highlighted as a barrier to undertaking workforce planning and development; a finding that reflects the broader public sector in general. In addition to the abovementioned factors, Correctional Services IAC members indicated that workforce planning and development barriers that they had observed include: >> change fatigue >> competing operational priorities >> industry resistance to adopt new training delivery modes such as e-learning >> loss of corporate knowledge through redundancies and retirements >> staff turnover.

"A lack of time was highlighted as the main barrier to effective workforce planning and development"


Figure 4. Foundation skills areas where correctional services staff need further training in order to effectively perform their role Writing

60%

Digital literacy

40%

Numeracy

20%

Oral communication

20%

Learning

20%

Reading

20%

No training needs identified that are related to foundation skills

40% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

Figure 5. Priority training needs in generic skills areas for the correctional services workforce Leadership and management

100%

Report writing

83%

Customer service

67%

Information and communications technology (ICT) and digital literacy

67%

Teamwork

50%

Language, literacy and numeracy

33%

Problem solving

17%

Project management

17%

No priority training areas identified for generic skills

0% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

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47


2 IDENTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

Figure 6. Workforce planning and development activities undertaken by correctional services organisations in 2012-13 100%

Career development and succession planning Training needs analysis

67%

Workforce forecasting

67%

Formal planning and development strategy integrated with business plan

67%

Capability and/or competency framework

17%

Review of job design

17%

Workforce gap analysis

17%

Occupational/functional analysis

0%

None of the above

0% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

Figure 7. Barriers to workforce planning and development in correctional services organisations Lack of time due to current workload

67%

Organisational restructuring

50%

Lack of resources and funding

50%

Lack of clarity on how workforce planning and development aligns with organisational strategic plans

33%

Lack of capability and knowledge in workforce planning and development

33%

Lack of expertise in developing workforce plans

17%

Workforce planning and development is not considered to be a priority

17%

Lack of confidence in identifying the starting point for workforce planning and development

0%

No obvious barriers

17% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

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Government Skills Australia


3

CURRENT IMPACT OF THE TRAINING PACKAGE

Current state of training: enterprise perspective Use of CSC12 As expected, the utilisation of CSC12 within the correctional services sector is high. The training package is used for a variety of purposes including to: >> upskill staff >> facilitate RPL >> access financial incentives >> assist in recruitment >> assist in staff retention >> develop training program content. Respondents indicated that some of the advantages of CSC12 include the sector-specific content, the relevance to the workplace, and the capacity to contextualise the training package to their work. The majority of operational training within the sector is delivered by enterprise RTOs; however, in some instances, private and public RTOs are utilised. Organisations are using a combination of full qualifications, units of competency and non-accredited training to meet their training needs. NCVER data on the utilisation of training packages (presented in Table 10, Table 11 and Figure 8) provides a limited snapshot of overall training package utilisation as a considerable proportion of training occurs outside of the publicly funded VET system. It is expected that a large proportion of CSC12 training is not reflected in this data set. Based on this limited data, enrolments in CSC have decreased since 2008; however, completions have not decreased at the same rate. The highest number of CSC completions in 2011 was at the certificate III level, followed by certificate IV. The number of completions for the Diploma of Correctional Administration had also increased in 2011 compared to earlier years. Utilisation

of the Certificate II in Justice Services has remained low across the reporting period (2008-12). The majority of respondents did not highlight any specific areas where the training package needed to improve; however, the need for a greater focus on leadership was noted, as was the need to develop nationally endorsed skill sets within the training package. GSA is currently in the process of reviewing CSC12 content as part of the process of implementing the new Standards for training packages via the streamlining of current material. As a part of this process, GSA has involved TRGs to provide input. This process will include the consideration of skill sets. Specific areas where respondents felt that the training package could potentially be expanded to incorporate new content included the development of competencies to address tactical operations.

Use of other training packages Within the correctional services industry, other training packages being used include PSP12, PUA12, Community Services (CHC08), Training and Education (TAE10), Property Services (CPP07), and the Business Services Training Package (BSB07). The requirement for trainers and assessors to hold nationally recognised qualifications was driving the increased utilisation of TAE10.

Barriers to training The most common barrier to training within the correctional services sector appears to be the lack of staff to backfill while training is undertaken (Figure 9). This is followed by limited training budgets and the cost of training. These issues again highlight the workload pressures within the sector, in addition to the financial constraints that organisations must operate within.

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3 CURRENT IMPACT OF THE TRAINING PACKAGE

Table 10. Student enrolments by Australian Qualifications Framework level, 2008-2012 AQF level

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

0

0

3

28

25

Advanced diploma Diploma

17

3

144

173

22

Certificate IV

693

223

142

158

178

Certificate III

986

473

329

412

412

Certificate II

5

6

6

8

1

1701

705

624

779

638

Total

Source: NCVER National VET Provider Collection, 2008-2012

Table 11. Student completions by Australian Qualifications Framework level, 2007-2011 AQF level

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Advanced diploma

0

0

0

0

8

Diploma

1

0

1

32

68

Certificate IV

65

100

178

61

111

Certificate III

420

483

256

153

157

Certificate II

0

0

2

2

6

486

583

437

248

350

Total

Source: NCVER National VET Provider Collection, 2007-2012

Figure 8. Apprentice and trainee commencements and completions for CSC12

Commencements

Completions

Number of learners

800

600

400

200

0

2009

2010

2011

Source: NCVER National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, 2013

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Government Skills Australia

2012

2013


Figure 9. Barriers to staff from the correctional services sector undertaking training Staff not available to backfill

83%

Limited training budget/funding

67%

Cost of training

50%

No time for training in the workplace due to workload

50%

Competing training demands

33%

Location

33%

Employee foundation skills are limiting further training

17%

Availability of training/lack of access to RTOs

17%

No barriers

17% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey Correctional Services IAC members outlined the following additional barriers to training within the sector: >> industry resistance to new delivery modes and the preference for traditional face-to-face learning >> limited organisational capacity for training design, particularly based around e-learning >> costs associated with outsourcing training design and development >> limited access to external funding for training >> the cost and time commitments to train staff given the high turnover rates.

Training budgets and funding Given the importance of training within the correctional services sector, it was encouraging to note that none of the responding organisations indicated that their training budget had been reduced in 2012-13 compared to 201112. One-half of respondents had seen an increase in their training budget, while the other half indicated that their budget remained the same. Whilst budgets were not decreasing, it was still indicated that current training budgets were not adequate to meet training needs within the majority of the responding organisations, with

only one-third of respondents indicating that they had a sufficient training budget. In order to supplement the training budgets, twothirds of responding organisations indicated that they accessed state or territory funding programs for training, while one-half accessed federal funding programs. NWDF funding was used by private correctional services organisations, whilst federal funding for traineeships was also accessed. State-based programs, such as Skills for All in South Australia, were also being utilised where relevant. NWDF training had been used for qualifications in frontline management, training and assessment, and management. NWDF funding was also utilised for the Certificate IV in Correctional Practice. Of those that were not currently utilising external funding for training, ineligibility was cited as the main reason. This highlights the difficulty for some public sectorbased correctional services organisations that may consider themselves ineligible for funding programs such as the NWDF. GSA will continue to work with these organisations to raise awareness of the funding rules, which provide an opportunity for funding to be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Australian Government if the applicant operates in an area that is subject to contestability from the private sector.

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3 CURRENT IMPACT OF THE TRAINING PACKAGE

Overall view of training Within the sector, the majority of respondents felt that nationally recognised training had increased workforce skills and productivity. Fifty per cent of respondents indicated that they had observed a “notable” increase in productivity, with a further 17% reporting a “dramatic” increase. One-third of respondents felt that it was too early to determine the impact of recent training on their workforce.

Current state of training: RTO perspective CSC12 is delivered by a mixture of enterprise, public and private RTOs across Australia. GSA received feedback from both enterprise and private RTOs that currently deliver CSC12 training. The training providers with CSC12 on scope that responded to the GSA survey indicated that they deliver the Certificate IV in Correctional Practice (75% of respondents), Certificate III in Correctional Practice (75%), and the Certificate II in Justice Services (50%). The Diploma of Correctional Administration and the Advanced Diploma of Correctional Management were being delivered by one-quarter of respondents, as were individual CSC12 units of competency and non-accredited training. Respondents indicated that there had been a recent increase in demand for the Certificate III in Correctional Practice which was driven by an increase in custodial officer recruitment. Responding CSC12 training providers indicated that there was increased demand for training in the following specialisation areas in 2012-13: >> custodial >> emergency response >> safety and security >> supervision and leadership >> working with special needs and diversity >> youth custodial. The increased demand for these training areas was due to higher offender numbers, the opening of new facilities, and the continued drive towards greater professionalism within the sector. Across a number of jurisdictions, Correctional Services IAC members indicated that increased demand for qualifications was also driven by the need to train new recruits to replace recent retirees. Training providers were offering a range of delivery methods for CSC12 training, including face-to-face

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Government Skills Australia

RTO SURVEY RESPONDENT SNAPSHOT Location

NSW, NT, Qld, WA Regional coverage (% of respondents)

25% 50%

metropolitan

statewide

25% national

RTO type (% of respondents)

50% enterprise RTO 50% private RTO Delivery locations

NSW, NT, Qld, WA


learning, workbooks, on-the-job learning, e-learning and blended delivery. Interestingly, additional GSA data collection in 2013 from correctional services organisations indicated that individuals preferred traditional classroom learning compared to e-learning. It was felt that some previous e-learning experiences within the sector were considered to be “tick and flick� exercises without adequate follow-up to reinforce these new skills. Future development of e-learning within the sector should aim to address this perception.

A further barrier to delivering CSC12 training is the limited access to e-learning. Restricted computer access within many correctional facilities is a barrier to the effective implementation of e-learning programs. This finding was reflected by recent research conducted by Corrective Services NSW [73]. In addition to the need for high quality e-learning resources, other factors that would support the greater use of e-learning include:

Barriers faced by RTOs

>> ensuring that it is user friendly

The main barriers faced by responding training providers include:

>> providing access from home

>> a lack of government funding incentives/support for learners >> recruiting and retaining skilled trainers and assessors >> the impact of recent/proposed changes to the VET system >> adhering to administration and compliance requirements.

>> ensuring that networks are capable of running e-learning programs

>> ensuring that learners have sufficient time to complete the training [73].

Current state of training: industry stakeholder perspective Correctional Services IAC members felt that some of the key needs for the industry to improve training and skills development are:

With regard to the issue of a lack of government funding incentives and support for learners, some enterprise RTOs indicated that they cannot access government funding programs due to their status as a public sector organisation. Others indicated that they could not allocate sufficient staff time towards the process of submitting and managing funding applications.

>> improved utilisation of e-learning

Those that cited difficulties with recruiting and retaining suitable trainers and assessors indicated that factors such as location, the nature of the role, and the stress levels involved contribute to the issue. Private training providers felt that there is a limited pool of trainers and assessors that can deliver training in correctional services; however, previous GSA research indicated that this is less of an issue within enterprise RTOs where many staff are keen to share their knowledge and experience. It was suggested that staff also see training and assessment as an opportunity to obtain a qualification and to strengthen their case for career progression [72].

Correctional Services IAC members felt that CSC12 was effectively meeting the needs of the industry. Few required changes were identified beyond the mandatory streamlining of CSC12 material in line with the new Standards for training packages. Across a number of jurisdictions it was indicated that recent changes that link pay increases and career progression to training had increased the uptake of CSC12 qualifications.

>> a greater focus on professional development >> improved long-term planning and the allocation of resources to attract and retain quality staff >> strong leadership and direction to implement the necessary improvements.

E-learning was seen to be improving the capacity for RTOs to deliver CSC12 training and to enable selfpaced learning; however, recent changes to the VET system were found to be impacting on compliance costs and diverting resources away from training delivery within the sector. It was also acknowledged that the introduction of e-learning would involve new costs associated with infrastructure and system upgrades.

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53


3 CURRENT IMPACT OF THE TRAINING PACKAGE

Recent GSA correctional services projects and initiatives Throughout 2013, GSA engaged with the correctional services sector through the IAC, workshops, surveys, TRGs and through GSA’s workforce development audit service. GSA also undertook a project to scope the need for a trainer and assessor network. Below is a brief overview of the trainer and assessor network project, followed by an example of how GSA has engaged with the sector to address the workforce development needs of an organisation.

Correctional services trainer and assessor network scoping project The Correctional services trainer and assessor network scoping project sought to investigate current industry practice with regard to trainer and assessor professional development. The project would establish current practices across jurisdictions and organisations and determine each organisation’s desire and opportunity to participate in a national network. The report concluded that while many correctional services organisations would be eager to allow their staff the opportunity to participate in such a network, current restrictions on staff time, budgets and access to ICT would prove prohibitive barriers to successful implementation [72].

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Government Skills Australia


GSA WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT CASE STUDY: CORRECTIONAL SERVICES Securing high performance: G4S The Australian Learn, Enhance, Adapt, Develop (LEAD) program is setting the pace for supervisory and management training for global company G4S. G4S is an international security and corrections services provider, operating in 125 countries and employing around 657 000 people. LEAD came out of an organisation-wide training needs analysis, which pointed to the low morale and subsequent high turnover in G4S’s supervisory and management ranks. The program, which comprises the Certificate IV in Frontline Management and Diploma of Frontline Management, is the only program of its kind in that two levels of management, supervisors (certificate IV) and managers (diploma), learn as one group. This form of delivery was a deliberate strategy to get supervisors and managers talking, communicating and understanding each other’s perspectives when it comes to dealing with issues within the business. According to G4S’s National Learning and Development Manager, Belinda Pritchard, there have been challenges associated with making such a program work. These challenges principally involve ensuring that the program (and assessment) is differentiated at the appropriate level, but with all the participants learning and solving problems together.

One year in, and Belinda Pritchard said there had been numerous examples of a 180-degree turnaround in attitudes and new strategies being applied in the workplace, which hadn’t happened in the business before. “One of our managers, for example, now sees himself as a role model for the business; he is actively challenging others to step up and improve their standards, whether in presentation or the implementation of policies and procedures.” G4S will apply for NWDF funding in the future to expand the program. Melbourne-based Chase Performance is the RTO.

"G4S deals with a lot of contracts, which means that various aspects of the business operate quite independently. Through the networking involved in the LEAD program, we've been able to cross a lot of boundaries and build connections so critical to the success of the business overall." Belinda Pritchard

National Learning and Development Manager, G4S Brisbane

Through GSA, G4S was successful in securing funding under the NWDF. GSA brought the potential for funding to Belinda Pritchard’s attention and provided support throughout the process. “GSA was always at the end of the phone when I needed them”, Belinda said. The funding meant that G4S could fast-track implementation, rather than adopt a staged approach over a number of years. Of the 120 employees nominated for the program, 60 began training in 2012, with the remainder scheduled for 2013.

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55


LOCAL GOVERNMENT


GSA received 122 responses from local councils. The highest number of responses were received from New South Wales (32% of survey respondents), followed by Victoria (17%) and Western Australia (14%). The Northern Territory had the highest proportion of respondents in relation to the total number of councils in the state/territory (53%), followed by Tasmania (28%), Victoria (27%), New South Wales (26%), South Australia (21%), Queensland (19%) and Western Australia (12%). Rural/ remote, regional and metropolitan councils were all well represented among respondents, as were small, medium and large councils. GSA also collected industry intelligence and feedback through the Local Government IAC, workshops, from individual councils as part of funding applications and workforce development audits, and from an extensive review of recent literature.

ENTERPRISE SURVEY RESPONDENT SNAPSHOT State/territory coverage

NSW, NT, Qld, SA, Tas, Vic, WA Regional distribution (% of respondents)

46% 30%

rural/remote

regional centre

24%

metropolitan Staff numbers (% of respondents)

1-20 21-50 51-200 201-500 500+

3% 11% 30% 27% 29%

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1

LATEST INDUSTRY INTELLIGENCE

Local government is undergoing a period of significant change and reform across Australia. A review of reform processes in Australia and New Zealand local government in 2013 identified approximately 30 review and reform initiatives [74]. These include national processes such as the Local Government Financial Assistance Grants Review, Local Government Infrastructure Financing Review and Local Government Reform Fund, in addition to many reform processes occurring at the state and territory level [74]. A major focus for the sector in 2013 was the referendum to recognise local government in the Constitution. As indicated earlier, the change in the date of the federal election resulted in the referendum not being held. ALGA has sought a commitment that a future referendum on this topic will be held; however, the Australian Government have indicated that they have no plans to hold a referendum in the near future [10]. In June 2013, ALGA released its ten point plan for resourcing local communities. The plan was put to all political parties prior to the election seeking a commitment to the following areas: 1. constitutional change to support direct Commonwealth funding for local government 2. more sustainable funding, through Financial Assistance Grants, to meet community priorities 3. better and safer roads through a permanent Roads to Recovery program 4. an agreement that funding should accompany new responsibilities to end cost-shifting onto local government 5. greater Commonwealth support for community infrastructure 6. support to assist communities to adapt to climate change 7. a coordinated approach to biodiversity 8. improved funding arrangements for natural disaster mitigation 9. investment to improve online business capacity 10. adequate funding to deliver municipal services to Indigenous communities [9].

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Government Skills Australia

The implementation of some or all of these initiatives by the newly-elected Government will have a far-reaching impact on the local government workforce and the skill requirements of local government employees into the future, particularly in the areas of planning, environment, emergency management and infrastructure. Local Government IAC members felt that, in general, demand for local government services was increasing, and would be likely to continue to increase over the next 2-3 years. This growth in demand is driven by a range of factors, including population growth, consumer expectations and the devolution of service provision to local government. In particular, it was felt that there will be greater demand in the areas of infrastructure and maintenance, whilst there are also likely to be increased expectations in the areas of community services, aged care, childcare, and environmental management and sustainability. It was noted that the expectations of rate payers were continuing to increase, as they sought more value for money from their local council.


GSA data collection identified the following key trends and factors that are likely to have an impact on the local government workforce over the next five years.

Ageing workforce Eighty-six per cent of respondents from local councils indicated that the ageing workforce and projected retirements will have an impact on their sector over the next five years. This is in comparison to 84% of respondents in 2013. Recent census data indicated that a high proportion of men (41%) and women (32%) working in local government were aged 50 years or above [75]. The ACELG Australian Local Government Workforce and Employment (ALGWE) Census indicated that, across 164 responding councils, there were a number of jobs with a high proportion of workers aged 50 years or above, including: >> CEO (75% from responding councils were aged 50 or above) >> community transport/bus driver (74%) >> human/community services director (74%) >> HACC home handyman (73%) [76]. A number of occupations within the outdoor workforce also had a high proportion of workers aged 50 years or above. Conversely, the occupations with the lowest proportion of workers aged 50 years or above were: >> community housing coordinator/officer (5%) >> lifeguard/beach inspector (6%) >> youth coordinator/officer/worker (8%) >> communications/media officer (9%) [76].

In Queensland, the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) have reported that almost 51% of staff in non-Indigenous councils are aged 45 years or above, with approximately 38% aged 45 or above in Indigenous councils [6]. LGAQ recommend that age audits be conducted across councils as the first step in developing a strategy to address the ageing workforce. Particular issues were noted with the ageing outdoor workforce, many of which are interested in transitioning to less physically demanding roles or flexible working arrangements as they approach retirement age [6]. Among GSA survey respondents, a range of initiatives are in place across these councils in an attempt to minimise the impact of impending retirements on productivity and corporate knowledge. Some of these strategies include: >> conduct of skills audits and retirement intention surveys to identify higher risk areas within the workforce >> development of workforce plans >> evaluation of employees for alternative roles that they can perform >> flexible working arrangements and part-time work >> knowledge transfer >> mentoring >> phased retirements >> review of task design to enable ageing workers to reduce the risk of injury >> succession planning >> transition to retirement. In addition to these strategies, there is a strong focus on ensuring that the next generation of workers are attracted to the local government sector via initiatives such as:

Other notable occupations with a low percentage of workers aged 50 and above included planner, HR officer, community engagement coordinator and officer, and communications manager.

>> apprenticeship and traineeship programs

A recent study by the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) reported that the average age of staff across responding Tasmanian councils was approximately 46 years. LGAT predicted that almost one-quarter of current local government staff will retire by 2020 [77]. In response to these predicted retirement issues, LGAT have indicated that they will assist local councils by providing advice and assistance regarding recruitment, training and training funding; advertising and promotion of careers in local government; and strategic retirement advice [77].

>> opportunities for staff to act in higher duties to gain experience

>> graduate/cadet programs >> greater training opportunities for younger staff >> leadership development programs

>> promotion of career pathways in schools and through work experience placements. It appears that the majority of respondents from councils have identified that the ageing workforce will affect them in the future and have begun to implement strategies to predict the impact and mitigate risk. A small number of respondents indicated that, whilst they perceived the ageing workforce to be an issue for their council, they were yet to develop and implement any strategies.

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1 LATEST INDUSTRY INTELLIGENCE

Financial pressures Approximately 60% of responding councils identified financial pressures as a factor that will impact and shape their workforce over the next five years. One example of the current financial situation in the local government sector is the trebling of Queensland local government debt from $1.8 billion to $5.3 billion in the four years from 2008, with forecasts of $1 billion annual rises into the future [6]. In order to offset rising debt, LGAQ indicated that the Queensland local government sector will need to decrease operating expenditure by 12% [6]. At a national level, ALGA recently presented a submission to the Australian Government outlining measures to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of local government [78].

"Approximately 60% of responding councils identified financial pressures as a factor that will impact and shape their workforce over the next five years" Survey respondents felt that a number of factors were contributing to the increasing financial pressures within local councils, including the devolution of services from state government, balancing community service provision with workforce development needs, reduced government funding support, and increased costs of asset management; however, it was reported that raising council rates to cover increased costs was difficult in the current economic climate. In some instances, budget reductions had impacted on training opportunities for staff and had also resulted in a reduction in services provided by individual councils. To address these financial pressures and remain viable, councils have implemented a range of initiatives to improve productivity. A recent survey of Queensland councils indicated that 66% of respondents have invested in new technologies as a means to improve productivity and efficiency [79]. Other strategies to improve productivity and efficiency include outsourcing some services, organisational reviews and restructures, resource sharing with nearby councils, voluntary redundancies, and re-evaluation of the need for positions as staff leave the organisation. In order to reduce

60

Government Skills Australia

staff numbers and maintain service provision, many organisations have invested in the multiskilling of some staff in order for them to perform multiple roles. Some councils have also created dedicated positions to identify opportunities to secure additional external funding. In general terms, local councils will need to continue to produce more for less in response to the ongoing financial pressures. This will require increased professionalism, upskilling and multiskilling of staff, organisational reviews, and strong leadership and management. A recent report by Comrie et al. [80] stated that “more sophisticated financial understanding, planning and strategies” were required by many councils in order to sustain service levels, rather than a need to generate more revenue. For the councils that do need to generate more revenue, Comrie et al. suggested that they have the capacity to do so incrementally, but may need encouragement and guidance. Whilst indicating that there may not be significant capacity for higher tiers of government to provide additional financial support to local government, the authors suggested that a redistribution of funds towards councils that are financially disadvantaged may be a worthwhile consideration, coupled with sound planning and decision making. This may be particularly relevant for councils where own-source revenue represents a minor share of total revenue, such as rural councils with large land areas and small population bases [80].

Legislation/regulation Approximately 40% of respondents from councils indicated that legislation and regulation continue to have an impact on their workforce. A number of recent changes have been made that impact on local government, including recent changes to WHS/OHS legislation and early childhood education. In some states, additional changes will also impact on local councils, for example, in New South Wales, legislative changes may occur through the review of the Local Government Act [81]. Respondents indicated that compliance training has increased to meet changing legislative/regulatory requirements whilst a number of councils have reviewed their work methods to ensure ongoing compliance. In some instances, these changes have significantly increased workloads. Some respondents felt that the constant change in this area was impacting on attraction and retention as, “good managers were moving to private enterprise where there are less issues and restrictions”.


Amalgamation Amalgamation was considered to be a major issue, with approximately 40% of councils suggesting that it will have an impact on their workforce over the next five years. In 2013, proposed amalgamations were announced in Western Australia that would reduce metropolitan councils from 30 to 14 [82]. In other states, reviews into potential mergers are ongoing. One of the main challenges for councils in regard to amalgamations appears to be the uncertainty surrounding which amalgamations will eventuate. A number of survey respondents indicated that they are unsure what direction the government will take with regard to their council, and as such, there is uncertainty within the workforce. In the meantime, council employees are seeking more stable employment elsewhere as they are concerned with their job security. Difficulties attracting high quality candidates to vacant positions have also been noted. A small number of councils indicated that they are investing in training their existing staff to ensure that they are both productive in their current role and attractive to retain under any new council configuration.

WHS/OHS Approximately one-third of respondents from local councils indicated that changes to WHS/OHS legislation were having an impact on their operations. This is a particular issue for the local government sector given the diverse range of roles and services that are provided by local councils. In response to these changes to WHS/OHS legislation, some councils have focused on increasing compliance training and awareness of safety responsibilities within the workforce. Many have recruited full-time WHS/ OHS officers, while policies and procedures have been reviewed and updated. External safety audits have also been performed within some councils in order to assist in identifying and managing risk. Whilst some respondents saw these changes as an opportunity to, “create a proactive and positive safety culture�, they were seen by some as taking resources away from the provision of other services.

Increased scope of duties for individual staff Staff within local councils are being required to perform more duties as councils are pushed to produce more for less. This is typically a result of factors such as budget cuts, retirements, devolution of services from state government, and increased service demand. This issue is also more prevalent in rural and remote councils, where the comparatively small workforce is responsible for a wide array of services and functions. Anecdotal feedback indicated that, in some instances, this was placing undue stress on individuals as they were being asked to perform duties that they were not comfortable with because they had not received relevant training and did not have any experience. Employees in these positions are often also faced with unreasonable workloads. There were, however, some positive examples where staff members were trained to be multiskilled and effectively perform multiple roles within a council, often with the benefit of additional onthe-job mentoring and coaching. As budgets continue to tighten and service demand continues to increase, the local government workforce as a whole will be required to become more efficient. This will be driven by the upskilling and multiskilling of staff to enable them to effectively and confidently perform multiple roles within the organisation. It will also be coupled with other strategies to improve productivity, such as the effective use of new technologies. The appropriate training and support for staff members is critical to the success of this strategy.

Attraction, recruitment and retention issues Sixty-five per cent of respondents indicated that their council had experienced recruitment difficulties in the past 12 months or anticipate recruitment difficulties in the next five years. The most common reasons for these difficulties were salary competition (74%), a lack of suitably skilled workers (56%), the attractiveness of other industries (47%), location (47%), and the attractiveness of the resources sector in particular (39%). These top five reasons align with the 2013 Environmental scan [24]. Councils often cannot compete with the salaries on offer in the resources sector, whilst the location of some councils means that the candidate pool can be small and it can be difficult to attract new workers to the region. Recent LGAQ data supports GSA’s findings, with competition from the resources and energy sectors, a

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1 LATEST INDUSTRY INTELLIGENCE

lack of skilled workers, housing shortages and low unemployment levels listed as issues that are impacting on skills needs in Queensland [6]. Attraction and retention difficulties have also been reported in Western Australia, another state with a strong resources sector [83]. Among respondents to GSA’s enterprise survey, 38% indicated that turnover rates within their council were between 6% and 10% (Figure 10). A further onequarter reported a turnover rate of 0-5%, while 24% of respondents cited a turnover rate of 11-15%. Recent LGAQ data reported a rate of 8.1% across Queensland councils which is a notable improvement compared to the 12.6% reported in 2010; however, the turnover rate across Indigenous councils was 31% [6]. Thirty-five per cent of respondents indicated that their council had experienced retention difficulties in the past 12 months or anticipate difficulties within the next five years. The most common reasons cited were the attractiveness of other industries (54%) and the resources industry in particular (44%), inequitable remuneration (31%), the inconvenience of the location (31%), a lack of a career pathway (28%), and pending retirement (26%). In regard to the competition from other industries, whilst respondents suggested that they could not compete with the salaries on offer, many indicated that they attempt to make local government jobs more attractive through the promotion of flexible and family friendly working arrangements, vehicle lease, subsidised housing and training opportunities. It is also evident that recruitment and retention of volunteers continues to be an issue within the local government sector. Councils that have experienced retention difficulties indicated that the costs associated with training volunteers who then subsequently leave is an ongoing issue. Many councils appear to lack an organisation-wide system for attracting, recruiting, managing, and communicating with volunteers, which respondents felt contributed to the recruitment and retention difficulties. A number of councils are attempting to develop a more consistent and coordinated approach to the management of volunteers. A recent study into motivation and retention factors for local government employees indicated that turnover intention was influenced primarily by recognition for good performance and by the challenge of the work [84]. Autocratic leadership was found to have a negative impact on turnover intentions. It was reported that monetary reward appeared to have a smaller impact on employee turnover intentions than the abovementioned factors [84]. These results suggest that reward and

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recognition schemes, and the provision of challenging and rewarding work, should be considered when addressing staff retention issues, whilst also highlighting the importance of good leadership.

Regional and rural perspective The location of councils has an impact on recruitment and retention difficulties, as 77% of rural and remote councils reported recruitment difficulties compared to 59% of regional councils and 50% of responding metropolitan councils (Figure 11). The location of the council was cited by 65% of rural and remote councils as a factor that contributed to their recruitment difficulties; this was compared to 30% of regional and 14% of metropolitan councils. A similar trend was observed with regard to retention difficulties, as 43% of rural and remote councils reported a difficulty compared to 30% of regional and 23% of metropolitan councils. Whilst no metropolitan councils felt that location was a factor that contributed to their retention difficulties, 20% of regional and 43% of rural and remote councils cited their inconvenient location as a factor. Among respondents from regional or rural/remote councils it was indicated that factors associated with location, such as the high cost of living, competition from mining expansion, a lack of local amenities, and the inability for partners to find employment were all contributing factors. The turnover rates for councils in different regions were also quite different, with only 4% of metropolitan councils reporting a turnover rate above 15%, compared to 13% of regional councils and 19% of rural and remote councils. In addition to the issues mentioned earlier, respondents from local government indicated that the following key focus areas and priorities will impact on skills requirements over the next two to three years: >> asset management and maintenance >> compliance >> customer service and community engagement >> environmental sustainability and new regulations >> increasing workforce diversity >> infrastructure >> population growth >> risk assessment and management >> strategic planning.


Figure 10. Staff turnover rates within responding local councils 13% 25% 0-5% 6-10%

24%

11-15% 16%+ 38%

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

Figure 11. Number of responding councils with recruitment and retention difficulties, by location Metropolitan

23%

Regional Rural/remote

Retention

30% 43%

50% Recruitment

59% 77%

Percentage of respondents Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

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IDENTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

Current and emerging skill gaps Areas where organisations are currently experiencing recruitment difficulties or anticipate future recruitment difficulties >> Engineer >> Urban/town planner >> Plant operator >> Tradespeople >> Accounting/finance roles >> Environmental health officer >> Building surveyor >> Construction and road maintenance worker >> Asset manager >> ICT professional >> WHS/OHS roles Many of these areas align with those reported in the ALGWE Census, where engineers, surveyors, childcare staff, managers, and planners were identified as having the most vacancies [76]. Some also appear on the 2012 Skills shortage list (including engineer and surveyor [85]); however, they are not present on the 2013 Skills shortage list [86]. A number of the occupations identified through GSA data collection are also listed in the Skilled occupation list (including accountant, surveyor, urban/ town planner, engineer, tradesperson, environmental health officer, and OHS adviser [87]) which indicates that medium to long-term skills shortages are expected. Skills Queensland recently highlighted priority skills areas, including the demand for geographic information systems (GIS) and geospatial workers [88]. LGAQ also recently listed plant operators, civil works foremen/ supervisors, mechanics, diesel fitters, engineers and truck drivers as skills shortage areas in Queensland, with administrative, finance and management roles in demand across Indigenous councils [6]. Future

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skills shortages were expected in Queensland for plant operators, tradespeople, plumbing inspectors, water operators, civil engineers and civil construction supervisors [6]. Projections made by the Department of Employment indicate that civil engineering will experience a 1.4% increase in employment growth nationally to November 2017 [89]. A 5.5% increase in occupational and environmental health professionals is anticipated to 2017, with a 2.3% increase in architectural, building and surveying technicians [89]. With regard to accountants, recent research indicated that there were large fields of applicants for most accountant vacancies (not restricted to local government); however, employers considered the majority to be unsuitable [90]. Further data from LGAQ indicated that 50% of councils did not have enough apprentices or trainees to meet their future skills needs [6]. LGAQ reported that apprentices and trainees comprised 5.3% of the Queensland local government workforce in 2013, down from 6.7% in 2007 [6]. LGAQ recommended that the sector needs to significantly increase the number of apprenticeship placements over the next three years. Greater employer incentive-based funding across all states and territories may increase the number of apprenticeship enrolments across local councils.


Areas where organisations are currently experiencing retention difficulties or anticipate future retention difficulties >> Senior management >> Engineer >> Tradespeople

Approximately 60% of respondents indicated that new occupations or roles had been created within their organisation over the last 12 months. These were in areas including: >> administration >> asset management

>> Construction and road maintenance

>> community services (including community development and community engagement)

>> Plant operator

>> compliance

>> Urban/town planner

>> engineering

>> Building surveyor

>> HR

Emerging skills and occupations

>> ICT (including social media and web development)

The majority (57%) of contributing councils felt that the skills requirements of staff within their organisation were changing. The most common areas reported were:

>> marketing and communications >> project management >> senior management

>> community engagement and customer service

>> sport and recreation

>> finance

>> strategic planning

>> ICT and the use of new technologies

>> WHS/OHS.

>> leadership and management >> legislation >> project management >> WHS/OHS. In addition to these emerging skills needs within local government, feedback received by GSA has indicated that, in smaller councils, staff are often required to be multiskilled and work across a range of areas due to the size of the workforce. This has also been reported by LGAQ in smaller Queensland councils and will have an effect on the training needs of individual councils [6]. Feedback indicated that, in some rural and remote councils, lesser skilled workers were being recruited to fill positions [6].

Foundation skills Foundation skills were identified as an area where the local government workforce required further training (Figure 12). In particular, digital literacy, reading and writing were key foundation skills training areas. The Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council have also identified foundation skills needs for occupations that provide direct care and support, including occupations relevant to the local government sector [91]. In comparison, LGAQ reported that 50% of Queensland councils faced LLN issues; noting that this issue was greatest in the outdoor workforce [6]. These findings supported feedback from a number of GSA’s Local Government IAC members. Respondents had identified foundation skills training needs through a mixture of informal observations and formal skills assessments, reviews and training needs analyses. These skills gaps were resulting in sub-standard work, increased completion times, and a greater need for review of work. In some instances, there were safety concerns due to the inability of staff to understand safety instructions. Foundation skills gaps were reported to have excluded some employees from career progression and promotion opportunities. Some local councils have implemented strategies to address foundation skills training needs by informal training and coaching, or by formal training; often

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2 IDENTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

Figure 12. Foundation skills areas where local government staff need further training in order to effectively perform their role Digital literacy

47%

Writing

39%

Reading

32%

Oral communication

28%

Numeracy

20%

Learning

12%

No training needs identified that are related to foundation skills

43% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey supported by WELL funding. In some instances, sensitive management of staff that require training is needed as they may be reluctant to be identified as having poor language or literacy skills.

General skills needs A range of general skill areas were highlighted as priority training areas for councils, including leadership and management, customer service, project management, ICT and digital literacy, and report writing (Figure 13). Many of these priority training areas align with the emerging skills needs identified earlier in this report. Additional feedback received by GSA indicated that other generic priority training needs include negotiation skills, conflict management, WHS/OHS, and time management.

Leadership and management Leadership and management training was clearly identified as a priority for the local government sector. Ineffective leadership was seen to have negatively impacted on performance within some councils. Many councils have identified these leadership and management issues and are addressing them through formal leadership training programs. Leadership mentoring and coaching was also being used to

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develop the next generation of leaders. One initiative to address the issues associated with leadership across local government is ACELG’s Advancing leadership program [92], the aim of which is to broaden leadership capacity for local government professionals. Key areas where it was felt that leaders and managers required additional training included: >> change management >> encouraging teamwork >> finance/budget management >> managing work priorities >> mentoring and coaching >> performance management >> project management.

ICT and digital literacy Training in ICT and digital literacy has become a priority across the local government sector given the adoption of new technologies throughout councils. Some councils have introduced tablet computers and online systems to reduce paper usage and to increase mobility. New technologies are also being used by the


Figure 13. Priority training needs in generic skills areas for the local government workforce Leadership and management

75%

Customer service

50%

Information and communications technology (ICT) and digital literacy

50%

Project management

49%

Report writing

35%

Teamwork

34%

Language, literacy and numeracy

14%

Problem solving

13%

No priority training areas identified for generic skills

7% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey outdoor workforce, including computerised watering systems, infrared thermography and GIS. A number of councils have developed new systems to improve community engagement through videoconferencing and have established online systems to lodge, track and access development applications. Many of these initiatives were supported through the Digital Local Government program [93]. Another example of technology adoption by local councils is the use of social media to improve community engagement. Recent research into the use of social media in local government indicated that it is being used to promote events and activities, communicate with “hard-to-reach� groups, develop community networks on specific issues, plan and implement consultation processes, deliver services, and receive community feedback [94]. Social media can also be used within local government as a means of communication during emergencies. For example, Brisbane City Council used Facebook and Twitter to provide information to the community during the 2011 floods [95]. A survey of 235 councils in October 2011 indicated that 69% used social networking (including Facebook), 41% used micro-blogging (including Twitter), 40% used video sharing (including YouTube), and 25%

used professional networking sites such as LinkedIn [94]. These numbers are likely to have increased in the period since 2011 as highlighted by a recent LGAQ survey where 95% of responding councils indicated that a social media presence is essential [79]. Howard (2012) outlined a number of barriers faced by councils as they adopt social media, including the risk of negative community feedback being posted, staff divulging confidential information, lack of expertise and resources, and concerns regarding greater community expectations [94]. It was felt that most challenges could be overcome by taking a strategic approach to the adoption and integration of social media within councils, including the development of social media policies and procedures. As a result of the increased adoption of new technologies within local councils, greater training in this area is needed to ensure that the workforce is capable and confident in its use. As indicated earlier, this may prove to be a greater challenge for certain sections of the workforce, with reports that some outdoor workers and ageing workers in particular are reluctant to adapt to computerised systems. A recent survey of Queensland councils indicated that many feel

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2 IDENTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

that they have insufficient knowledge and expertise to “fully embrace the opportunities presented by the digital economy�; while 42% of responding councils felt that there was a shortage of skilled staff in this area [79].

Customer service As service demand and customer service expectations continue to increase across the local government sector, customer service skills have become a training priority. The introduction of social media has also added another dimension to customer interaction. A number of councils have introduced formal customer service training to their frontline staff, whilst others have implemented new procedures and provide on-the-job training for relevant staff.

"in smaller councils, staff are often required to be multiskilled and work across a range of areas due to the size of the workforce" Project management Approximately one-half of respondents from local councils indicated that project management was an area where greater training was needed; this was reflected by Local Government IAC member feedback. Many councils indicated that project managers within their organisation held either certificate IV or diploma level qualifications. The identification of project management and management as priority training areas aligns with the qualifications that have been most frequently funded through the NWDF, including the Diploma and Certificate IV in Project Management and the Diploma of Management (see Table 4 of the main 2014 Environmental scan document).

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Government Skills Australia

Report writing Over one-third of respondents from councils indicated that report writing was a priority training area within their organisation. Importantly, it was suggested that high level staff within councils may have issues in this area and may need additional training. Some councils indicated that they have developed specialised business writing courses for their staff to improve the quality and consistency of reports.

Volunteer training needs Respondents also highlighted the importance of training for their substantial volunteer workforces. Almost 90% of respondents indicated that WHS/OHS compliance requirements were driving volunteer training needs, with a further 64% indicating that volunteers undertook training to meet other legislative/regulatory compliance requirements. Training was also being conducted by volunteers in order to align with organisational policies (56%) and to develop specialised knowledge (40%). The cost and time associated with training new volunteers is an issue for some councils, particularly the 20% of responding councils where the average period of volunteer service is less than two years. In some instances, the implementation of retention strategies may increase the return on volunteer training investment. It appears that many volunteers are reluctant to undertake training, particularly in relation to WHS/ OHS and other compliance-related areas. Councils also reported difficulties in managing volunteer training across their organisation and suggested that improved volunteer management systems were needed.

Workforce development and strategies to address skills needs Training and professional development A broad range of approaches are being used within local councils to obtain required skills, involving a mixture of recruiting and upskilling. In addition to recruiting within Australia, 12% of responding councils indicated that they recruit from overseas. Almost 50% of respondents rely on labour hire and temporary staff to meet skills needs, while 34% utilise contractors. There was also a high proportion of councils that train their existing staff either internally (80%) or externally (86%). Apprenticeships, traineeships and cadetships are also used regularly, as are formal mentoring and coaching arrangements.


further 56% had a formal planning and development strategy that was integrated with their business plan. Just below one-half of respondents indicated that they had performed workforce forecasting (Figure 14).

Nationally endorsed vocational training is offered by almost 60% of responding councils, while a higher proportion (73%) indicated that non-accredited training is offered to employees. University studies are offered by almost 70% of responding councils. Over 80% provide financial support for training, while 75% offer paid study leave. Career development is also supported by opportunities such as mentoring and leadership programs, secondments, job rotations, and opportunities for staff to act in higher duties.

Respondents highlighted that the main barriers to workforce planning were a lack of time to commit to the process due to current workloads (54%), and a lack of resources and funding (43%; Figure 15). As was the case for a number of other sectors, a lack of capability and confidence in undertaking workforce planning was highlighted. GSA aims to respond to these issues by working with councils to assist them with their workforce planning activities.

Workforce planning and development Recent data from ACELG indicated that, across 164 responding councils, 10% had developed a workforce plan while 61% were currently developing one at the time of the survey. A further 17% were in the process of implementing a workforce plan. Only 12% reported that they had no intention to develop a workforce plan [7].

The barriers identified by responding councils were largely reflected by Local Government IAC member feedback which indicated that time, commitment from senior management, cost, lack of training funding, restructuring, and workload demands were major barriers to effective workforce planning. Local Government IAC members felt that senior management must have a better understanding of the benefits of workforce planning in order to commit to the process. It was also indicated that the development of state-based plans, or even regional plans would be of benefit, as would greater funding for training that is easier to administer.

Based on GSA’s survey results, local council participation in workforce planning appears to be high, with fewer than 10% of all responding councils indicating that they have not performed any workforce planning activities. The relatively high activity in Western Australia and New South Wales may reflect that workforce planning has been mandated in those states (Table 12). Sixty-one per cent of councils indicated that they had performed a training needs analysis, while a

Figure 14. Workforce planning and development activities undertaken by local councils in 2012-13 Training needs analysis

61%

Formal planning and development strategy integrated with business plan

56%

Workforce forecasting

48%

Review of job design

46%

Workforce gap analysis

44%

Career development and succession planning

40%

Capability and/or competency framework

20%

Occupational/functional analysis None of the above

18% 8% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

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2 IDENTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

Figure 15. Barriers to workforce planning and development within local councils Lack of time due to current workload

54%

Lack of resources and funding

43%

Lack of clarity on how workforce planning and development aligns with strategic plans

21%

Lack of capability and knowledge in workforce planning and development

19%

Lack of expertise in developing workforce plans

18%

Organisational restructuring

17%

Workforce planning and development is not considered to be a priority

16%

Lack of confidence in identifying the starting point for workforce planning and development

11%

No obvious barriers

29% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey In 2013, ACELG produced a new national workforce strategy for local government. This document will prove pivotal in the move towards a more sustainable local government workforce. The report, Future-proofing local government: national workforce strategy 2013-2020, builds on and reinforces existing workforce planning and development practices and aims to facilitate further improvements [66]. The eight key strategies within the report are: >> improving workforce planning and development >> promoting local government as a place-based employer of choice >> retaining and attracting a diverse workforce >> creating a contemporary workforce >> investing in skills >> improving productivity and leveraging technology >> maximising management and leadership >> implementation and collaboration [66]. As outlined by ACELG, the implementation of the strategy will be dependent on input from state jurisdictions via the development of state and territory based action plans. A number of state and territory local government associations have included statements about local government workforce development and

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capacity building in recent strategic plans, including goals to assist councils to develop their own workforce plans [96] [97]. In New South Wales, the Independent Local Government Review Panel has recommended that workforce development should be given a higher priority and that a local government workforce strategy be developed which applies the principles outlined in the national strategy [98] [99]. In Queensland, a strategic workforce planning project is ongoing, with strong support from local councils to date [6]. In Tasmania, LGAT have indicated in their recent report, Tasmanian local government workforce report 2012 [77], that they will provide a range of services including promotion of local government careers and advice on recruitment, training and securing training funding in order to assist councils to minimise the impact of retirements. One specific focus of Future-proofing local government: national workforce strategy 2013-2020 is to increase the participation of women in management [66]. The recent ALGWE Census highlighted that only 11% of CEOs from responding councils were female, while the proportions of female directors (25%), managers (33%) and coordinators (43%) were also lower compared to males [76]. Overall, this information highlights the lack of women in management within local government and emphasises the importance of initiatives to increase female participation.


Table 12. Workforce planning and development activities, by state Workforce planning activity

% of responding councils that have performed the activity NSW

NT

Qld

SA

Tas

Vic

WA

Formal planning and development strategy

57

43

50

25

38

57

94

Workforce forecasting

60

14

50

58

0

14

81

Gap analysis

51

29

50

67

0

21

56

Career development/succession planning

54

43

42

42

25

29

25

Training needs analysis

77

57

50

58

38

50

56

Review of job design

57

71

33

42

50

36

31

Capability and/or competency framework

23

0

8

33

13

21

25

Occupational/functional analysis

23

0

25

17

13

14

19

None of the above

3

0

25

8

25

7

0

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey In the engineering area, GSA has received feedback from the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) regarding the need for an administrative engineering position to support engineers working in local government. This reflects the opinions expressed in the recent ACELG report: A national review of education and training in local government skills shortage areas [100]. The establishment of this position would reduce the time that fully qualified engineers spend on administrative tasks and allow them to focus more time on the technical aspects of their role. In response to this, GSA has been working with industry experts to define and develop an administrative support qualification. Engineers Australia recently recommended a range of initiatives to address the current shortage of engineers across Australia, including: >> the retention of engineering occupations on the Skilled occupation list >> encouraging female participation >> the development of technical career pathways for engineers employed within government >> coordinated planning and delivery of infrastructure projects across all levels of government to avoid “boom/bust cycles” and assist with labour force planning >> the introduction of a nationally consistent registration system for engineers [101]. In regard to building surveyors, the Construction and Property Services Industry Skills Council (CPSISC), which maintains the nationally endorsed VET sector training for building surveyors, recently reported that there are significant workforce shortages in this area. The “complexity and litigious risk of the occupation” and

the ageing workforce were cited as major factors that contribute to the current shortage. CPSISC noted that there is a need to “develop robust, effective, and time efficient education and training pathways to ensure a continuity of skill supply into the future” [102]. In the area of environmental health, frequent change in legislation and more stringent regulatory standards have been introduced, subsequently requiring greater professional accountability [100]. The expanding role of environmental health officers is driving the demand for discrete positions within smaller regional councils, where environmental health roles may have previously been combined with building officer positions [100]. In its National environmental health strategy, the Environmental Health Committee have previously planned to address workforce shortages in the area of environmental health, with a particular focus on local government [103]. Conversely, in Queensland, recent changes in legislation as part of the Greentape reduction project will reduce demand for environmental health officers [6] [104]. For town planners, Planning Institute Australia has recently adopted the Planning matters: shaping the world today for tomorrow strategy [105]. This strategy includes an initiative to “invigorate the profession by inspiring planners to embrace change” and to “position the profession by championing good planning”. ACELG research had previously indicated that there was a perception within local government that planning graduates were not job ready [100]. It was suggested that structured mentoring programs within local government may begin to address this, whilst Planning Institute Australia have partnered with five universities to develop a package of professional development material about experiential learning activities and assessment techniques in order to improve current planning education [106].

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CURRENT IMPACT OF THE TRAINING PACKAGE

Current state of training: enterprise perspective Use of LGA04 Approximately 40% of respondents indicated that LGA04 training was utilised within their council. Almost one-third of respondents indicated that it was not used, while 26% indicated that they were unsure if LGA04 was being used. The number of respondents that indicated they were unsure if LGA04 was used highlights that greater awareness of the VET sector and training packages may be needed across the local government sector. Amongst those that were accessing LGA04 training, full qualifications (86%), nationally endorsed skill sets (52%) and units of competency that were not part of a full qualification or skill set (62%) were all being utilised. Non-accredited local government training was also being accessed. Respondents that were using LGA04 indicated that it was used for upskilling staff (93%), to comply with licensing requirements (40%), for staff retention (36%) and to access financial incentives (36%). It was reported that LGA04 was chosen due to: >> relevance to the workplace (90%) >> sector-specific content (67%) >> the advantage of a nationally recognised qualification (52%) >> the ability to contextualise to the workplace (48%) >> formal recognition of prior learning (43%).

Private RTOs (86%) and public RTOs (69%) were predominantly used by responding councils. Of those that were accessing training through external providers, a range of reasons were cited for their selection, including: >> past experience with the RTO (76%) >> accessibility (68%) >> availability (63%) >> location (63%) >> cost (63%) >> method of delivery (61%). The majority (56%) of respondents indicated that the process of finding an RTO was straightforward, whilst 37% indicated that they experienced minor difficulties in finding an appropriate training provider. Only 5% considered the process to be “difficult”. Those that indicated some level of difficulty in finding a provider typically indicated that their location was the primary issue. Fifty per cent of regional councils cited some level of difficulty in finding an appropriate training provider, as did 56% of rural and remote councils. Approximately 76% of respondents from local councils tended to view their experiences with external training providers as positive. A further 15% felt that their experiences were “average”, whilst no respondents reported a negative experience. A small number reported varied experiences, with a lack of support for distance learners cited as a particular area of concern. Among those that do not currently utilise LGA04 training, the main reasons included: >> other courses or training were considered to be more relevant (61%) >> a lack of RTOs in the region (39%) >> cost of training (33%) >> a lack of suitable trainers and assessors (30%) >> a lack of awareness of LGA04 (27%) >> the content did not meet their training needs (27%).

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Those that considered other training to be more relevant were likely to utilise other VET training packages, such as BSB07, for training that could be met with LGA04. They were also likely to use training packages specific to certain occupations such as Community Services (CHC08), Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management (AHC10), and Water (NWP07). These respondents indicated that they would be more encouraged to utilise LGA04 training if they had: >> better access to RTOs offering LGA04 training (63%) >> greater access to external funding for training (53%) >> more knowledge of LGA04 (53%) >> greater flexibility in LGA04 packaging rules (47%). GSA can assist in a number of these areas, particularly by assisting organisations to apply for government funding programs and by communicating the proposed changes to the training package that will ensure that

it is more relevant to the specific needs of the local government workforce. As indicated earlier, NCVER data on the utilisation of training packages (presented in Table 13, Table 14 and Figure 16) provides a limited snapshot of overall training package utilisation as a considerable proportion of training occurs outside of the publicly funded VET system. Based on this data, enrolments in LGA have decreased since 2008; however, completions have increased. Since 2008 the highest proportion of completions has been at the certificate IV level. Over the 2008-12 period, enrolments in diploma level qualifications increased at the expense of lower level qualifications such as certificate II. The most recent completion data from 2011 also highlighted an increase in the number of completions for certificate IV and diploma level qualifications at the expense of lower level qualifications.

Table 13. Student enrolments by Australian Qualifications Framework level, 2008-2012 AQF level

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Graduate certificate

0

0

0

0

0

Advanced diploma

0

1

0

0

0

Diploma

41

31

139

239

157

Certificate IV

527

495

448

523

477

Certificate III

187

138

179

160

127

Certificate II

119

98

31

22

22

Certificate I

0

0

0

0

0

874

763

797

944

783

Total

Source: NCVER National VET Provider Collection, 2008-2012

Table 14. Student completions by Australian Qualifications Framework level, 2007-2011 AQF level Graduate certificate

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

0

0

0

0

0

Advanced diploma

0

0

0

0

0

Diploma

10

25

1

16

108

Certificate IV

83

208

172

164

175

Certificate III

142

77

77

44

69

Certificate II

40

37

21

18

12

Certificate I

9

0

0

0

0

284

347

271

242

364

Total

Source: NCVER National VET Provider Collection, 2007-2012

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Use of other training packages Within the local government sector, a range of training packages are being used in addition to LGA04. Many of these training packages cover skills areas that are not included in LGA04 and are often a requirement for specific roles and occupations. This reflects the wide variety of services that local councils provide to the community. One example of the diversity of training undertaken within the local government sector is recent trainee and apprenticeship data from LGAQ that indicated that over 235 qualifications were being regularly accessed by Queensland councils [6].

Almost one-third of GSA survey respondents reported that other training packages are being utilised within their council, these include: >> Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management (AHC10) >> Automotive Industry Retail, Service and Repair (AUR12) >> Business Services (BSB07) >> Community Services (CHC08) >> Construction, Plumbing and Services (CPC08) >> Electrotechnology (UEE11) >> Financial Services (FNS10) >> Foundation Skills (FSK) >> Health (HLT07) >> Information and Communications Technology (ICA11) >> Laboratory Operations (MSL09) >> Library, Information and Cultural Services (CUL11) >> Printing and Graphic Arts (ICP10) >> Resources and Infrastructure Industry (RII09) >> Sport, Fitness and Recreation (SIS10) >> Training and Education (TAE10) >> Tourism, Travel and Hospitality (SIT12) >> Water (NWP07).

Figure 16. Apprentice and trainee commencements and completions for LGA04 Commencements

Completions

Number of learners

400

200

0

2009

2010

2011

Source: NCVER National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, 2013

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2012

2013


Thirty-five per cent of respondents indicated that no other training packages were being utilised within their council, while a further 35% were unsure whether other training packages were being used. Again, the relatively high proportion of respondents that were unsure which training packages were being utilised highlights that GSA can play an important role in regard to increasing awareness about VET and training packages.

Barriers to training A wide range of barriers to training were identified across the responding local councils, including: >> no time for training due to workload >> cost of training >> limited training budget/funding >> location >> limited availability/access to RTOs (Figure 17).

Barriers to training for regional and remote councils Whilst respondents from metropolitan, regional, and rural/remote councils all considered time and cost to be major barriers to training, it was clear that nonmetropolitan councils faced different barriers compared to metropolitan councils. Only 4% of metropolitan respondents cited accessibility of RTOs as a barrier, while only 9% cited location; whereas these proportions were much higher for regional councils (33% and 33% respectively), and rural/remote councils (32% and 58%). Twenty-two per cent of metropolitan-based councils indicated that they had not experienced any barriers to training in the last 12 months, compared to 10% and 4% for regional and rural/remote councils respectively.

Training budgets and funding Thirty-nine per cent of respondents from local councils indicated that the training budget for their organisation had increased in 2012-13 compared to 2011-12; however, 14% indicated that the training budget had decreased. The remaining 47% reported no change in their training budget. The recent ALGWE Census indicated that, across 43 responding councils, the average spend on training was 1.1% of their payroll budget [76].

The majority (56%) of responding councils had a centralised training budget; however, it was common that compliance training was centralised and skills-based training was departmentalised. Importantly, 52% of respondents felt that their current training budget was not sufficient to meet staff training needs. It was indicated that, in some councils, the budget was sufficient to meet compliance training requirements but left little, if anything, for skills-based training needs. A number of respondents also indicated that they had not yet identified all of the training needs for their council. As such, they may require a larger budget once these needs have been identified. Government funding for training was used by many respondents, with 55% accessing funding from Australian Government programs and 54% accessing funding via state or territory governments. The funding programs that were accessed included the NWDF, WELL, Australian Apprenticeships, the Experience+ program, Existing Worker, Investing in Experience, Productivity Places Program, Strategic Skills Program, First Start, and Skills for All. NWDF funding was utilised for qualifications in areas including project management, management, and frontline management. Approximately one-quarter of respondents indicated that their council did not access funding for training. These respondents cited reasons including a lack of awareness of funding opportunities (58%), ineligibility (21%), the difficulty of the application process (21%), a lack of need (17%), and that they could not meet the co-contribution requirements (13%). These responses indicate that GSA should continue to raise awareness of funding programs such as the NWDF and WELL to assist organisations to access funding for training.

Overall view of training In general terms, the view amongst respondents was that nationally recognised training was having a beneficial effect on staff skills and productivity within their council. Onethird of respondents indicated that training had resulted in a “small change” whilst 28% reported a “notable” increase. Only one respondent felt that training had not improved skills and productivity within their workforce.

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Figure 17. Barriers to staff from local councils undertaking training No time for training in the workplace due to workload

57%

Cost of training

50%

Limited training budget/funding

41%

Location

40%

Availability of training/lack of access to RTOs

26%

Staff not available to backfill

25%

Training needs not yet identified

21%

Staff are reluctant to undertake training

18%

Not aware of training opportunities

15%

Competing training demands

12%

No coordinated approach to training

11%

Considered not relevant to staff role/organisation

11%

Employee foundation skills are limiting further training

10%

Training is a lower organisational priority

7%

Organisation has experienced poor return on training investment

4%

Administrative requirements are too onerous

4%

It is felt that staff are unlikely to complete the training

4%

Current training is not meeting organisational needs

2%

No barriers

10% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

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Current state of training: RTO perspective GSA received survey responses from training providers in New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia that had LGA04 on scope. These RTOs delivered local government training to all states and territories besides the Australian Capital Territory. The majority (60%) of responding training providers were public RTOs. Full LGA04 qualifications were being delivered by 88% of responding RTOs. Almost 40% indicated that they deliver units of competency from LGA04 that were not part of a full qualification or skill set, while 13% indicated that they deliver LGA04 skill sets. Thirty-eight per cent offer non-accredited local government training. A small proportion (20%) of responding RTOs that had LGA04 on scope indicated that they did not currently deliver LGA04 training. In these instances, a lack of demand was the primary reason. A range of delivery methods were being utilised by responding RTOs including face-to-face learning (63%), on-the-job learning (63%), e-learning (50%), and distance learning (50%). Additional GSA data collection from a small number of councils indicated that the preferred delivery method of individual staff was classroom delivery or workshops. There appeared to be little change in demand for LGA04 specialisation areas in the previous year among respondents, with only a small number of providers indicating an increased demand for regulatory services and building and surveying. Additional feedback indicated that there was an increase in demand for asset management, procurement, and project management training within local government. Consistent demand was reported for the management and administration training areas. The area most frequently reported as having no demand was land management. A small number of training providers had experienced increased demand for non-accredited local government training in the previous 12 months. Consistent demand was noted for certificate III and IV level LGA04 training. Lower utilisation was reported for certificate I and II level qualifications, which aligns with NCVER data. The utilisation of LGA04 skill sets also appeared to be low among responding training providers.

RTO SURVEY RESPONDENT SNAPSHOT Location

NSW, SA, Tas, WA Regional coverage (% of respondents)

40% 20%

metropolitan

regional centre

10% 20%

rural or remote

statewide

10% national

RTO type (% of respondents)

40% private 60% public Delivery locations

NSW, NT, Qld, SA, Tas, Vic, WA

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Barriers related to the delivery of LGA04 With specific regard to LGA04 delivery, the main barriers facing responding training providers included: >> availability of training resources to support LGA04 delivery >> a lack of funding to develop LGA04 training resources >> the qualifications require review (Figure 18). Many providers indicated that the development and maintenance of training resources was limited by cost and time, with some RTOs partnering with other organisations to develop resources. The need to update resources after minor changes to training packages increased the cost and time commitments

to the maintenance of resources. In some instances, smaller training providers indicated that it can be difficult to find technical experts willing to assist in the development of training materials. With regard to LGA content, respondents suggested that additional flexibility in the packaging of units would be beneficial whilst others highlighted the need for a review of regulatory services units and qualifications. These areas will be addressed during the review of the package as part of the implementation of the new Standards for training packages. Among the other barriers that LGA04 training providers face, those that cited difficulties with the recruitment and retention of skilled trainers and assessors indicated that it was difficult to encourage technical experts to become casual or part-time trainers and assessors.

Figure 18. The main barriers that RTOs face in offering LGA04 training Availability of training resources to support delivery of LGA04 training

71%

No funding to develop training resources

57%

Qualifications require review

43%

Skill sets require review

29%

Lack of flexibility in packaging rules and/or choice of electives

29%

Availability of suitably qualified and experienced trainers and/or assessors

29%

Industry uses other training packages in preference

29%

Industry contacts don't know about the training package

29%

Lack of demand for the training package

29%

Units of competency require review

14%

Considered not relevant to the workplace

14%

Administration and compliance requirements are too onerous

14%

RTOs do not consider it commercially viable

14%

No barriers

14% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA RTO survey

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This was a particular issue if they need to obtain a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. The lack of permanent and consistent demand was highlighted as an issue, as was the pay and conditions that many RTOs could offer.

Current GSA local government projects and initiatives

There was concern with the recent and proposed changes to the VET system and how this would impact on operations. Similar to other government and community safety sectors, the concerns were focused on the increased time and resources that will be directed towards administration and compliance and away from training delivery.

Throughout 2013, GSA engaged with the local government sector through the IAC, workshops, surveys, conferences, TRGs and through GSA’s workforce development audit service. GSA also undertook a project to develop a local government careers website. Below is a brief overview of this project, followed by an example of how GSA has engaged with the sector to address the workforce development needs of councils.

Based on formal and informal feedback, demand for LGA04 appears to be low. Sixty-three per cent of survey respondents indicated that they had developed a promotional strategy for LGA04 in order to increase demand. These strategies included initiatives to engage with their potential customers through industry conferences, colleges and employment seminars, or through advertising online and in local government publications. Others indicated that they maintained contact with key industry stakeholders through associations and committees.

Current state of training: industry stakeholder perspective Stakeholders and Local Government IAC members felt that LGA04 was often not readily accessible in some regions due to a lack of RTOs offering the package, a view that is consistent with feedback from councils. It was felt that, in some instances, LGA04 was not seen by RTOs as financially viable to deliver, whilst some training providers struggled to find appropriate trainers and assessors. The introduction of e-learning is seen by some as a potential means to increase the uptake of LGA04 training. TasTAFE was highlighted as one training provider that has successfully introduced e-learning and subsequently increased LGA04 training activity. As indicated elsewhere in this 2014 Environmental scan, however, many learners are still reluctant to utilise e-learning for a variety of reasons. There were mixed views in regard to the effectiveness of LGA04 at meeting the needs of the local government sector. Some felt that it is largely meeting current needs, whilst others felt that the duplication with other training packages such as PSP12 and BSB07 should be addressed. This duplication will be addressed by GSA during the review of LGA04 as part of the implementation of the new Standards for training packages. This review will also simplify the package and increase flexibility. The delivery of the training package was also highlighted as a particular issue, rather than the package itself.

Local government career pathways media project The objectives of this project were to review and update the 2007 LG career pathway poster and create an interactive local government careers website as an attraction and retention strategy for the sector. The aims of the Local government career pathways media project included: >> to promote the diversity of roles in local government >> to increase uptake of the suite of LGA04 qualifications (where appropriate) >> to encourage new entrants to the local government sector and to upskill those within the sector >> to assist RTOs and HR managers to meet the training needs of the sector. The project was launched in December 2013 to all local government stakeholders. An updated career poster can be downloaded from www.localgovernmentcareers.com.au (tablet and mobile phone platforms available) for use by councils, local government associations and career councillors at careers expos and school career days. It includes a QR code to refer users to the website for more comprehensive information about a career in local government. The local government careers website enables users to search for job roles and the qualifications required to work in local councils throughout Australia. It outlines the nationally recognised VET qualifications and pathways to higher education (where appropriate), links to further career information and job opportunities as well as the training.gov.au site for those seeking an RTO with the qualification on scope and/or to view what the qualification might entail.

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GSA WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT CASE STUDY: LOCAL GOVERNMENT Strength in numbers: Mid West Regional Council Attracting and retaining staff in remote or rural areas is difficult for any organisation. In this, local government is no exception. In rising to the challenge, in 2006 a number of shires in the Mid West region of Western Australia banded together under the Mid West Regional Council (MWRC). The idea was to form a united front in pursuit of growth and development opportunities for their individual communities. By the time the MWRC successfully applied for funding under the NWDF in 2011, it had past experiences to draw on to ensure a workforce development program more targeted than ever before. Based in Geraldton, the MWRC brings together the four member shires of Mingenew, Morawa, Perenjori and Three Springs. One of its purposes is to source funds for workforce development for its member shires and others within the region. The Mid West region, one of nine regions in Western Australia, extends 200 km north and south from Geraldton and more than 800 km inland. According to the MWRC’s then Chief Executive Officer, Suzanne Ward, training is a given for local government staff in city locations, but it is an entirely different matter for their country counterparts. “There is no doubt that the ever-changing legislative environment and the need for advanced business planning and reporting throws up additional challenges for local government in remote and rural areas. “Staff must stay abreast of developments, but training out in the country is difficult to access, finding providers for one, to say nothing for the cost, time and upheaval to individuals and their employers when travel and extended time away are involved”, said Suzanne Ward. At the outset, the MWRC understood the importance of sourcing sector-specific training that could be delivered to participants with minimum travel wherever possible.

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“It’s hard to recruit staff with appropriate qualifications in outlying towns. However, if they’re already residing there and they’re willing to study, the investment in taking training to them is just so beneficial because you’ve got people you’re going to retain”, said Suzanne Ward. For its first raft of training, the MWRC sourced WELL funding (2008–09), followed by Enterprise Based Productivity Places Program (EBPPP) funding (2010–11). To stem the flow of withdrawals experienced under the EBPPP, the MWRC adopted a more strategic approach for the NWDF program. It first identified potential participants and through one-on-one consultation looked at what they needed and matched the training and delivery to meet those needs. The NWDF program incorporates 12 different qualifications delivered by four RTOs. The qualifications range from local government specific programs, such as administration and regulatory services, through to frontline management, project management and business administration. A memorandum of understanding with each RTO ensured that expectations were clearly understood from day one, in particular, the need to maintain contact with participants on a regular basis. Delivery is largely under external study arrangements, with some components online and face-to-face.

"Training specifically for local government has always been close to my heart, and it's a wonderful thing to be able to deliver it to people in geographically distant locations and change lives." Suzanne Ward

Chief Executive Officer


PUBLIC SAFETY


ENTERPRISE SURVEY RESPONDENT SNAPSHOT State/territory coverage

All states and territories Sector coverage (% of respondents)*

20% Police 40% Fire 40% Emergency services 27% Emergency management 20% Search and rescue (including aquatic) 7% Biosecurity

Regional distribution (% of respondents)

80% 13% statewide

7% national

metropolitan Staff numbers (% of respondents)

1-20 21-50 51-200 201-500 500+

7% 13% 13% 7% 60%

*Note: Some respondents covered multiple sectors

GSA received survey responses from public safety enterprises in all states and territories across Australia. Approximately 80% of respondents operated across their state or territory, with a small number operating nationally. Thirteen per cent operated in a metropolitan area. The majority (60%) of respondents had more than 500 staff within their organisation. GSA also received industry intelligence and feedback through the Public Safety IAC, workshops, project working groups, TRGs, and from an extensive review of recent literature. Volunteers play a critical role in the successful operation of many organisations within the public safety 82

Government Skills Australia

sector. Two-thirds of survey respondents have a volunteer workforce. Almost threequarters of these indicated that volunteers comprised more than 70% of their total workforce, with approximately one-third indicating that volunteers made up over 90% of their workforce.

One-third of respondents reported that the average length of service for their volunteers was two to five years, with another one-third indicating five to ten years. Twenty-two per cent reported that their volunteers averaged between 10 and 15 years of service whilst the remaining 11% indicated that their volunteers typically served for more than 15 years.


1

LATEST INDUSTRY INTELLIGENCE

GSA data collection identified the following key trends and factors that are likely to have an impact on the public safety workforce over the next five years.

Ageing workforce Eighty-six per cent of respondents felt that the ageing workforce, and subsequent retirements, will have an impact on their organisation over the next five years. This proportion is notably higher than the 46% of respondents in the 2013 Environmental scan [24]. A range of initiatives are in place to begin to address the ageing workforce issue. For example, succession planning, recruitment programs, transition to retirement arrangements and flexible working arrangements are in place across many organisations. It was acknowledged by some respondents, however, that more work must be done to avoid a loss of corporate knowledge and specialised skills in the future. The ageing of the volunteer workforce has also been identified as an issue for the public safety sector. In South Australia, the recent Review of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005 identified that volunteer numbers were expected to decrease over the next decade due to the ageing population and time pressures for individuals [107].

Financial pressures Many organisations within the public safety sector are part of state or territory government and, as such, are affected by public sector reviews, restructures and spending cuts. As is the case with other public sector agencies, they must continue to find ways to reduce spending, often whilst facing increased demand for service provision. Funding cuts will affect resources, staffing and training budgets; however, in order to produce more for less, a skilled and adaptable workforce will be required. This is reflected in GSA’s survey findings where “increased scope of duties for individual staff” and “increased professionalism across the sector” were highlighted

as key factors that will impact on workforce skills needs. Examples of the increased drive towards professionalism in the sector include the recent development of the Australia New Zealand police professionalisation strategy 2013-2018 [108] and the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) national certification initiative for incident management roles [109]. Currently, financial pressures were reported to be limiting the recruitment of new staff and had also led to a review of work procedures and priorities within some organisations. Survey respondents indicated that they were trying to address the issue by increasing their use of new technologies in order to improve efficiency and, in some instances, they have investigated additional grants and fundraising opportunities to supplement current funds. Financial pressures were also having a notable impact on training budgets, with many public safety organisations unable to access government funding programs for training due to current eligibility criteria. Sixty-two per cent of survey respondents from the public safety sector indicated that their current training budget was not sufficient to meet their training needs.

Growth in demand As was highlighted in GSA’s 2013 Environmental scan [24], demand for services in the public safety sector continues to grow. Key industry stakeholders noted that there has been an increased demand for disaster response services and a greater need for interagency cooperation. It was also highlighted that recent natural disasters, and the subsequent reviews, have prompted changes to improve accountability and efficiency. There was an expectation that demand for public safety services would continue to grow in line with population growth in risk prone areas and the increased frequency of natural disasters and extreme weather events. Many agencies will be required to increase output with the same level of funding and resources, perhaps even with reduced funding. This issue of providing more for less was also evident in the 2013 Environmental scan.

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VET sector reform Given that a high proportion of public safety organisations are also enterprise RTOs, the recent changes to the VET sector have not only impacted on staff training, but have required changes within the RTO division. Almost 60% of GSA survey respondents indicated that VET sector reform would have an impact on their organisation over the next five years. Some key issues that were mentioned included the changes to trainer and assessor requirements, mandatory activity reporting, and ASQA fees. The impact of these issues is discussed in further detail in Section 3.

WHS/OHS Consistent with data collected for the 2013 Environmental scan, approximately 50% of respondents felt that recent changes to WHS/OHS legislation will continue to impact on operations. Some indicated that the changes were driving increases in staff training, which has a subsequent financial implication. Where training budgets are already limited, the greater need for safety training may divert funding away from other key training needs. A number of organisations have also been restructured to accommodate new staff and systems to manage WHS/OHS. Respondents highlighted that possible changes to other areas of legislation and regulation within the public safety sector may also impact on their organisation.

Gender equality Over one-third of respondents from the public safety sector indicated that attracting and retaining women in non-traditional roles was an issue within their organisation. Recently, Naomi Brown, interim Chair of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and retired CEO of AFAC, wrote that within the fire and emergency services area the number of women in career operational roles had “barely moved in decades”. Naomi Brown also noted that, whilst she worked in the emergency management area at a time when nonuniformed personnel were often appointed to senior roles, now “restructures and a revised emphasis on uniformed roles have seen the departure of many of the women in senior roles that were in a position to inform policy and strategy” [110]. Gender issues in emergency management were discussed in the ‘Gender Edition’ of the Australian Journal of Emergency Management [111]. The journal articles discussed the impact of gender on communication, culture and policy in emergency management, and issues for women in the community

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in terms of disaster preparedness and response, reaction to disasters, and domestic violence following natural disasters [111]. Tyler and Fairbrother recently reported that women make up less than one-quarter of volunteers in rural fire services, and many of these women are placed in nonoperational or administrative roles [112]. The authors stated that, while targeted recruitment of women was “admirable”, it only partially addressed the issue. It was suggested that greater acknowledgement and consideration of the male culture within many of these organisations was needed [112].

"Financial pressures were also having a notable impact on training budgets, with many public safety organisations unable to access government funding" Across the Australian and New Zealand police in 2011-12, women comprised approximately 34% of total (sworn and unsworn) police, and just below 25% of sworn police [113]. With regard to senior ranks and management positions, women represented 21% of the total workforce [113]. Recently, the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency (ANZPAA) produced the report, Women in policing: a business priority, which highlighted the importance of increasing female participation in the police force [113]. The report outlined key priorities and recommendations to improve “performance and community legitimacy” through the increased proportion of women in the workforce. Further examples of initiatives within the public safety sector to increase the attraction and retention of women are the Women in policing strategy in New South Wales [114] and the Women in leadership strategy in Western Australia [115]. The NSW Police Force corporate plan 2012-2016 included a target of greater than 35% of women in senior positions by 2016 [116].


Increasing workforce diversity In addition to the focus on increasing the attraction and retention of women in non-traditional roles within the public safety sector, GSA data collection indicated that increasing the diversity of the workforce was seen as a priority. Targeted Indigenous recruitment programs have been introduced across some organisations, whilst further cultural diversity has also been introduced through international recruitment initiatives.

Attraction, recruitment and retention issues One-third of respondents from the public safety sector indicated that their organisation had experienced recent recruitment difficulties or that they anticipate difficulties in the near future. Salary competition and a lack of suitably skilled workers were cited most frequently as the reasons for these issues. Approximately one-half of responding organisations had staff turnover rates below 5%, with another one-third reporting a turnover rate of 6-10%. Twenty per cent of respondents indicated that they had recently experienced retention difficulties within their organisation or that they anticipate retention difficulties in the near future. A poor work-life balance was cited as the major reason for retention difficulties, with many occupations within the sector requiring shift work. Other factors such as staff not feeling valued, high workloads, lack of tenure, the attractiveness of other sectors, and the stressful nature of the work were listed as contributing factors.

Volunteers

respect from within the organisation for the valuable contributions that volunteers make [117]. The recent Review of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005 in South Australia outlined a number of factors that impact on recruitment and retention of volunteers, including liability and fear of cross examination, increased administrative loads, and changes to health and safety requirements [107]. It was also suggested that employment insecurity was a disincentive to many volunteers, with the review outlining that some employers were reluctant to release staff given the challenging economic times.

Defence Attraction and retention of skilled personnel continues to be a focus for Defence. Previously, the 2009 Defence white paper outlined that the most common reasons for leaving Defence include location instability, impact on families, long separations, a lack of employment for spouses in remote locations, job dissatisfaction and the perception of career development limitations [118]. Recently, Defence also indicated that there has been an increase in separations as civilian employment opportunities remain strong [119]. Future spikes in separations are expected to occur as a result of “drawdown from operations� [119]. The Australian economy also has an impact on separations from Defence; with higher separation rates observed during good economic times and lower separation rates observed during economic downturns. Attraction and retention of women, Indigenous Australians, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and people with disabilities are ongoing priorities for Defence [15].

Recruitment and retention of volunteers continues to be an issue for the sector. A number of respondents indicated that they faced considerable challenges recruiting and retaining volunteers due to factors including an ageing population and volunteer workforce, declining rural populations, and competing time demands for potential volunteers. A recent report into recruitment and retention of NSW volunteer firefighters highlighted that in some areas attraction is not an issue; however, retention continues to be a problem due to training expectations and operational workload [117]. These issues have a significant impact on an organisation due to the time and money invested in individual volunteers. It was suggested that factors such as organisational culture play an important role in volunteer retention, as does

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2

IDENTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

Current and emerging skill gaps

General skills needs

Areas where organisations are currently experiencing recruitment and/or retention difficulties or anticipate future difficulties

GSA data collection identified a number of generic skills needs within the public safety sector. The highest priority training areas were leadership and management, and digital literacy (Figure 20).

>> Volunteer and auxiliary firefighters >> Police recruits in some states >> WHS/OHS officers >> Learning and development staff

Emerging skills Over 60% of respondents felt that the skills requirements of staff within their organisation were changing. These new areas included digital literacy, (such as the use of new technologies and social media), leadership, innovation, community engagement, and training and assessment. Some specific technical areas within the public safety sector are also driving the emergence of new skills needs, for example the policing of technology crime. In response to these emerging skills needs, many respondents indicated that new roles were being created within their organisations. For example, RTO compliance officers, training standards specialists, and other training roles were being created to address the increased demand for high quality training. Other areas where new roles were created included governance, finance, management, workforce planning, social media, communications, and project management.

Foundation skills The majority (69%) of respondents felt that they had not identified staff training needs in the foundation skills areas. Where training needs were identified, they were primarily in the areas of digital literacy (31%) and reading (23%; Figure 19). Feedback indicated that these issues were predominantly seen in the volunteer workforce.

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Leadership and management The importance of leadership and management training within the public safety sector was highlighted by the 85% of respondents that listed it as a priority training area. Whilst leadership programs and frameworks have been implemented within a number of organisations, there was an indication among some respondents that further training was required.

ICT and digital literacy Improving staff skills in ICT and digital literacy was highlighted as a priority training area by more than 50% of respondents. New technologies are being utilised extensively across the sector in an effort to improve efficiency, making staff training and familiarisation key priorities. Some examples of the use of online technologies within the police sector include the increased use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to report and investigate crime, and the introduction of the Check My Crime web portal in Western Australia which allows victims of theft and damage related crimes to track the status of their investigation and to update and view incident reports [120]. Other technologies that have been introduced to the police force include the Automatic Number Plate Recognition system [121] and the recent trial of mobile technology to access police databases [122]. In the fire sector, Fire and Rescue NSW announced in 2013 that they would rollout global positioning technology into their response vehicles to deliver faster emergency response times by ensuring that the closest vehicle is dispatched [123].


Figure 19. Foundation skills areas where public safety staff need further training in order to effectively perform their role Digital literacy

31%

Reading

23%

Numeracy

15%

Writing

15%

Oral communication

8%

Learning

8%

No training needs identified that are related to foundation skills

69% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

Figure 20. Priority training needs in generic skills areas for the public safety workforce Leadership and management

85%

Information and communications technology (ICT) and digital literacy

54%

Teamwork

46%

Problem solving

46%

Project management

31%

Customer service

23%

Report writing

15%

Language, literacy and numeracy

15%

No priority training areas identified for generic skills

0% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

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Social media is becoming an important tool in the emergency management sector. Social media tools such as Twitter are being used to disseminate information to the community, receive community feedback and answer questions, collaborate, share news and research, and to strengthen community engagement [124]. The potential difficulties associated with the use of social media in emergency management were acknowledged by Owen et al. who felt that it presents “both an opportunity for dialogue and partnership with communities, and potential additional strains on information and intelligence processes” [125]. The use of social media and new smartphone technology can be of benefit to the sector; however, its application must be considered carefully. For example, the South Australian police, fire and ambulance services recently recommended that the public do not rely on new, untested smartphone apps in place of dialling 000 [126].

Volunteer training needs Feedback received by GSA indicated that there was a range of training needs within the volunteer workforce. These needs were primarily associated with specialised skills for specific roles (70%), WHS/OHS compliance training (70%), or training related to other legislative and regulatory requirements (60%). The increased frequency and complexity of events was seen to be driving training needs within the public safety sector. Skills maintenance was also highlighted as a particular issue for the volunteer workforce, with volunteers required to attend ongoing training to keep their skills up to date and to adapt to new technologies.

Defence training As indicated in the Defence white paper 2013 [14], it is important that the Australian Government continues to focus on its Defence workforce to ensure that it remains professional, skilled and adaptable. As stated in the white paper, the technical complexity of operating Australia’s defence capabilities is increasing; highlighting the importance of a skilled and capable workforce. The vision for the future force is one that is “designed to function and operate as an integrated, joint force capable of meeting contemporary and emerging security challenges while maintaining the flexibility to address future developments and technologies as they evolve” [14]. Defence have indicated that they will continue to improve their planning and delivery across the organisation in order to ensure that personnel capability is maintained, particularly when faced with competition with other sectors for skilled staff.

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Foundation skills in Defence The Defence recruitment process has been used effectively to ensure that recruits have the required level of foundation skills; however, feedback has indicated that the foundation skill levels of some personnel may be limiting their career development opportunities. In these instances, recruits may be able to commence training in other streams while undertaking additional foundation skills bridging training that is provided. These personnel may then be eligible to apply for transfer into their stream of choice at a later date once their foundation skills have reached the necessary level.

Workforce development and strategies to address skills needs Training and professional development Enterprises within the public safety sector rely on a mixture of internal and external training, with survey respondents indicating that they are both highly utilised (85% and 92% respectively). Both nationally endorsed vocational training (92%) and non-accredited courses (77%) are used across the public safety sector, while 62% indicated that university studies are also offered as a professional development opportunity. Financial support for training is offered by 85% of responding organisations, while almost 70% indicated that they offer paid study leave. A range of opportunities are provided to employees to promote career progression and development, including leadership programs, secondments, job rotations, and opportunities to act in higher duties.

Workforce planning and development GSA data collection indicated that workforce planning activities were being performed across the majority of responding organisations, with only 8% indicating that they had not performed any of the activities listed in Figure 21. The most common workforce planning and development activities that had been undertaken were training needs analyses and the development of capability or competency frameworks. Almost twothirds of respondents had developed a formal workforce planning and development strategy. When asked what barriers were currently faced with regard to workforce planning and development, respondents indicated that organisational restructuring (46%), a lack of funding and resources (46%), a lack of time (38%), and a lack of capability and knowledge (31%) were the main factors (Figure 22). Almost onequarter of organisations did not identify any barriers.


Figure 21. Workforce planning and development activities undertaken by public safety organisations in 2012-13 Capability and/or competency framework

62%

Training needs analysis

62%

Formal planning and development strategy integrated with business plan

62%

Review of job design

46%

Career development and succession planning

46%

Workforce forecasting

46%

Workforce gap analysis

31%

Occupational/functional analysis None of the above

23% 8% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

Figure 22. Barriers to workforce planning and development within public safety organisations Organisational restructuring

46%

Lack of resources and funding

46%

Lack of time due to current workload

38%

Lack of capability and knowledge in workforce planning and development

31%

Lack of clarity on how workforce planning and development aligns with organisational strategic plans

23%

Lack of expertise in developing workforce plans

15%

Lack of confidence in identifying the starting point for workforce planning and development

15%

No obvious barriers

23% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

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2 IDENTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

Volunteers As detailed in the 2013 Environmental scan, 2012 saw significant developments in the area of workforce development for emergency management volunteers [24]. The National emergency management volunteer action plan (NEMVAP) 2012 was introduced with the aim to ensure that, “emergency management volunteers will continue to be available, well prepared, appropriately trained, equipped and resourced to help their communities build disaster resilience, including disaster response and recovery capability into the future” [127]. The NEMVAP 2012 proposed strategies aimed at attraction and retention of volunteers, with a particular focus on youth, and the culturally and linguistically diverse. Other areas of focus included improved leadership training, and a review of the barriers to the portability of qualifications [127]. The recent Review of Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005 in South Australia recommended that greater attention should be given to the recruitment and retention of volunteers in accordance with the NEMVAP 2012 [107]. Other recent publications, such as the Victorian emergency management reform white paper, have also recommended that a greater focus be placed on the recruitment and retention of volunteers [128]. In Queensland, the Keelty review outlined a wide range of challenges that volunteers face and made a series of recommendations to improve the attraction and retention of volunteers, including: >> a review of volunteer training, including training coordination >> a review of employer and family recognition practices >> the development of systems that reduce administrative burden >> a review of WHS/OHS reporting systems >> increasing the focus on recruitment of young volunteers through initiatives such as the Emergency Service Cadet Program [71]. With regard to volunteers, GSA feedback indicated that training continues to be an issue, including initial training and ongoing training to maintain and update skills. The increasing requirements for volunteers to hold a greater range of skills than in the past has an impact on training. Volunteer training is a significant cost for many organisations and it takes volunteers away from operational duties. Many volunteers are also limited in the amount of time that they can commit and can be frustrated by the proportion of their time that is spent on training.

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The Keelty review into the police and community safety sector in Queensland highlighted that the increase in training standards for volunteers “has come at the high cost of increased bureaucracy” [71]. Consistent with GSA data collection, the review highlighted that the inability to recognise the existing skills of volunteers was a source of frustration and often led to duplication of training. The time demands associated with attending training was also highlighted as an issue for many volunteers, including the constraints of attending weeknight or weekend training sessions. The development of more flexible training and e-learning options were highlighted as opportunities to partially address this issue.

Defence The Australian Government has signalled a commitment to increase the Defence budget towards a target of 2% of Australia’s GDP [14] [129]. Since 2000, the annual average has been approximately 1.8% of GDP; with the 201314 federal budget outlining an increase in the Defence budget that followed a decrease in 2012-13 [130]. It is noted that this target of 2% GDP is a long-term objective that will be implemented in an “economically responsible manner as and when fiscal circumstances allow” [14]. It is felt that this commitment from the Australian Government will enable Defence to not only meet current objectives, but facilitate the development of the future force. It is noted in the white paper that the Government must consider the balance of “investment between our current force and our core capabilities for the future”. The white paper also outlines the need for a balance in investment across Defence personnel, operating and capital [14]. In recent times there has been a focus on improving efficiency within Defence. The Strategic reform program has led to $3.3 billion in cost reductions across its first three years. This has been achieved by improved planning, productivity and accountability [14]. This includes shared services reform to improve efficiency in areas including ICT, finance and non-materiel procurement [14]. Defence have identified that they must be flexible and promote positive employment conditions in order to remain an employer of choice in a competitive labour market and to ensure that they attract people with the required specialist skills [14]. Competition from the resources sector has previously been noted, and is recognised as a challenge for the attraction and retention of skilled workers. The Defence white paper 2013 outlined the Government’s commitment to maintaining an Australian Defence Force (ADF) workforce of approximately 59 000 [14]. Future reform within Defence will see the civilian workforce reduce to around 20 000 over the next decade. The white paper highlighted that retention of


the workforce will be a challenge in the period after the end of long-term operations. Future initiatives that have been outlined include: >> The total force employment model. The Australian Government has directed Defence to adopt this model, where ADF and APS staff are seen as an integrated workforce and are offered flexible career pathways and competitive remuneration to improve recruitment and retention. >> Improved employment offers. Ensuring that employment offers are attractive and competitive in order to improve attraction and retention and to ensure workforce satisfaction. >> Recruiting. A particular focus will be given to the areas of competing for talent; broadening the recruiting base; and efficient, effective and accountable implementation of recruitment plans [14].

"The increasing requirements for volunteers to hold a greater range of skills than in the past has an impact on training"

Whilst workforce development across military personnel is a continual process in Defence as additional training is undertaken in order to progress in rank, recently, a greater focus has also been placed on workforce development within the Defence APS workforce. The Defence APS core capability framework has been implemented to provide career development opportunities for Defence APS employees in addition to being used as a tool for learning and development, performance management, and recruitment [134]. The framework outlines the skills, knowledge and behaviours required for each APS classification level and it is structured around seven key capability clusters: communication, teamwork, problem solving, resourcefulness, planning and organisation, selfmanagement, and learning. The Defence APS core capability framework provides opportunities for employees to develop their careers in Defence and has been used to develop learning and development strategies to support Defence career paths [134]. Recent feedback from Defence has also described an increase in the use of online learning, providing greater access to learners.

Further emphasis will be given to the establishment of an inclusive Defence workforce, with a focus on diversity. This stems from recent cultural reviews and has led to the development of the Pathway to change: evolving Defence culture strategy [15] [131]. As of 30 June 2013, women comprised 14.4% of the total ADF permanent workforce, compared to 13.8% in 2012 [15]. Defence initiatives include a focus on the improved treatment of women, and enhanced career opportunities for women. In the first five months that women were entitled to apply for positions in frontline combat units, fewer than 20 had applied, with Defence indicating that expected take-up rates would be low [132]; however, greater numbers of female soldiers were graduating from the Royal Military College and applying to join the armoured corps tank regiments. Frontline unit roles are open to women currently serving in Defence, with this to be extended to all women in 2016 [132]. The Australian Defence Force Indigenous employment strategy, which aims to attract, recruit and retain Indigenous Australians, is another example of the focus on diversity within Defence [14] [133].

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CURRENT IMPACT OF THE TRAINING PACKAGE

Current state of training: enterprise perspective Use of PUA12 The Public Safety Training Package is highly utilised within the sector, with 92% of respondents indicating that it is used within their organisation. All respondents indicated that they access full qualifications and standalone units of competency, while 58% access skill sets. Many respondents indicated that they utilise non-accredited training. This reflected previous GSA data collection that outlined the high utilisation of nonaccredited training within the public safety sector [24]. Some of the key advantages of the training package were seen to be the sector-specific content, the relevance to the workplace, and the benefit of a nationally recognised qualification. The main reasons that PUA12 was being used included: >> to upskill staff (83%) >> for training program content (83%) >> to identify training needs (75%) >> to facilitate RPL (67%). It was felt among respondents that the package would benefit from the continued establishment of skill sets to further enable staff to undertake job-specific training without completing a full qualification. All responding public safety organisations indicated that they accessed training through their own enterprise RTO. This reflects the composition of the public safety sector, with a high proportion of enterprises training their own staff. This presents challenges that are unique compared to some of the other government and community safety sectors. In addition to providing their own training, respondents also indicated that private (42%) and public (42%) RTOs were used to access training in some instances. Where external providers were being used to deliver aspects of training, it was felt at times that they could not effectively contextualise

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the training to meet the specific needs of organisations within the sector. As indicated earlier, NCVER data on the utilisation of training packages (presented in Table 15, Table 16 and Figure 23) provides a limited snapshot of overall training package utilisation as a considerable proportion of training occurs outside of the publicly funded VET system. Based on this data, enrolments in PUA have decreased since 2008; however, completions have increased. In recent years, high numbers of completions have been observed at the certificate II, III and diploma levels.

Use of other training packages In addition to the use of PUA12 within the sector, a range of other training packages are being utilised, including: >> Aviation (AVI08) >> Business Services (BSB07) >> Community Services (CHC08) >> Foundation Skills (FSK) >> Health (HLT07) >> Public Sector (PSP12) >> Sport, Fitness and Recreation (SIS10) >> Training and Education (TAE10) >> Transport and Logistics (TLI10). These training packages cover training that is not included in PUA12 such as first aid, training and assessment, transport, counselling, and management.

Barriers to training Limited funding was identified as the primary barrier to training amongst respondents from the public safety sector. A number of other barriers were identified, including: >> >> >> >>

a lack of time to undertake training cost of training staff not available to backfill while staff attend training competing training demands (Figure 24).


Table 15. Student enrolments by Australian Qualifications Framework level, 2008-2012 AQF level

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Graduate certificate

0

0

0

0

0

Advanced diploma

94

72

54

60

87

Diploma

655

496

510

613

355

Certificate IV

289

253

146

426

352

Certificate III

1213

561

792

710

569

Certificate II

1098

1246

1423

345

1031

Total

3349

2628

2925

2154

2394

Source: NCVER National VET Provider Collection, 2008-2012

Table 16. Student completions by Australian Qualifications Framework level, 2007-2011 AQF level

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Graduate certificate

0

0

0

0

0

Advanced diploma

15

15

5

54

45

Diploma

336

311

311

150

493

Certificate IV

45

46

24

28

14

Certificate III

85

523

91

157

107

Certificate II

120

305

155

230

294

Total

601

1200

586

619

953

Source: NCVER National VET Provider Collection, 2007-2012

Figure 23. Apprentice and trainee commencements and completions for PUA12 Commencements

Completions

Number of learners

500 400 300 200 100 0

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Source: NCVER National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, 2013

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3 CURRENT IMPACT OF THE TRAINING PACKAGE

Figure 24. Barriers to staff from the public safety sector undertaking training Limited training budget/funding

77%

Cost of training

62%

No time for training in the workplace due to workload

62%

Competing training demands

46%

Staff not available to backfill

46%

Location

31%

Not aware of training opportunities

23%

Considered not relevant to staff role/organisation

23%

Staff are reluctant to undertake training

15%

No coordinated approach to training

15%

Training needs not yet identified

15%

Employee foundation skills are limiting further training

8%

Administrative requirements are too onerous

8%

It is felt that staff are unlikely to complete the training

8%

Availability of training/lack of access to RTOs

8%

No barriers

0% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

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Training budgets and funding Training budget information received by GSA again reflected the pressure that public safety organisations are under to produce more for less. Almost two-thirds of respondents reported that their training budget did not meet their staff training needs. Over 30% of respondents indicated that their training budget decreased in 2012-13 compared to 2011-12, with a further 38% indicating that their budget remained the same. It was suggested that within some organisations, training was one of the first areas where budgets were cut when savings were needed, further reflecting the impact that financial pressures are having on the sector. More than 50% of responding organisations did not access external funding to support training, while 38% accessed state or territory government funding and 23% accessed federal funding. Ineligibility (57%) was cited as the major reason why funding was not applied for, whilst others indicated that the application process for many funding programs was too difficult or that they could not meet the co-contribution requirements to access some state or federal funding programs. Respondents from organisations that rely heavily on volunteers indicated that the lack of opportunities to access external funding to support volunteer training was a substantial barrier.

Overall view of training Respondents clearly felt that nationally recognised vocational training was of benefit to their organisation, with over 60% indicating that training had resulted in an increase in productivity and staff skills. Less than onequarter felt that training had not improved productivity, with the remainder unsure.

Current state of training: RTO perspective Training providers from all states and territories except for the Northern Territory responded to GSA’s RTO survey. Those providers delivered training across all states and territories. A high proportion of respondents (55%) were private RTOs, while a further 28% were enterprise RTOs. GSA received a smaller proportion of responses from enterprise RTOs compared to the 2013 Environmental scan. This may reflect the fact that many had already responded to the enterprise survey. Responding RTOs delivered training in the areas of fire (54%), SES (29%), and police (11%). Almost 40% indicated that they delivered industry-wide training while other respondents delivered training in areas such as marine rescue and animal and plant health.

RTO SURVEY RESPONDENT SNAPSHOT Location

ACT, NSW, Qld, SA, Tas, Vic, WA Regional coverage (% of respondents)

27.5% 14% metropolitan

regional centre

0%

31%

rural

statewide

27.5% national

RTO type (% of respondents)

28% enterprise 55% private 17% public Delivery locations

All states and territories

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3 CURRENT IMPACT OF THE TRAINING PACKAGE

The majority (82%) of respondents indicated that they deliver full PUA12 qualifications, while 71% also deliver units of competency that were not part of a full qualification or skill set. Only 18% of respondents delivered PUA12 skill sets. Non-accredited public safety training was delivered by 32% of responding training providers. This non-accredited training often related to organisation-specific systems and procedures, operational skills, and safety. Some of the perceived benefits of non-accredited training that were mentioned included a reduced time frame for development, less administration and compliance burden, and the capacity to design the training to be more specific to organisational needs. A range of delivery methods were being utilised by training providers, including face-to-face learning (89%), on-the-job learning (61%) and hard copy workbooks (43%). Blended delivery, distance learning and e-learning were offered by approximately one-third of respondents. Specialisation areas including emergency management and search and rescue were highlighted by a number of training providers as having increased in demand in the past 12 months, whereas very few respondents reported any decrease in demand for public safety specialisation areas. Consistent demand was noted by respondents for a number of specialisation areas including community safety, emergency management, firefighting, leadership, search and rescue, and workplace emergency response. Respondents felt that demand for areas such as emergency management, community safety and leadership were being driven by increasing expectations within organisations regarding leadership and safety. Other training providers suggested that the skills required for rescue operators are changing and, as such, emergency services personnel require training in order to be up to date. A number of RTOs reported an increase in the utilisation of individual units of competency and PUA12 skill sets in the past 12 months. There appeared to be relatively consistent utilisation of certificate II, III and IV level PUA12 qualifications in the past 12 months among responding organisations, in addition to consistent utilisation of non-accredited training.

Barriers related to PUA12 delivery Respondents reported a broad range of barriers to PUA12 training delivery, these included: >> >> >> >>

96

a lack of PUA12 training resources onerous administration and compliance requirements limited access to e-learning a lack of funding to develop training resources (Figure 25).

Government Skills Australia

The cost and time commitments to develop and maintain training resources were seen as particular issues, as was sourcing technical experts with time to assist in resource development. It was felt that the frequent changes to the training package had made it difficult for providers to keep their training resources up to date. In some instances, training providers were outsourcing resource development or they were sharing resources. Many PUA12 training providers indicated that they spent a disproportionate amount of time on administration and compliance activity compared to training delivery and resource development. Some felt that many recent changes within the VET system did not improve training quality in order to justify the additional administrative burden. With regard to e-learning, the lack of adequate computers and ICT systems to support delivery was cited as a particular issue, whilst it was felt that some employees did not have the basic digital literacy skills to undertake e-learning. A lack of funding to support the development of e-learning systems and a lack of expertise were also highlighted as barriers. In addition to these barriers, survey respondents indicated that the recent and proposed changes to the VET system were of particular concern for their organisation. Increased ASQA fees were having a financial impact on RTOs, whilst some training providers that had recently undergone an audit indicated that it was a time consuming and highly stressful process. The introduction of mandatory reporting and the USI were seen as additional imposts that, in some instances, would require changes to administrative systems; however, some respondents did acknowledge the potential benefits of these initiatives. Many respondents also indicated that the requirement for trainers to hold a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment was impacting on their organisation. Difficulties recruiting and retaining suitable trainers and assessors was further identified as a barrier for training providers. Similar to other sectors, it was suggested that there is a limited pool of suitable individuals who are both technical experts in their field and experienced trainers. There are also a limited number of technical experts who are willing to undertake the necessary training to become a qualified trainer. Respondents felt that they could not offer adequate remuneration and conditions to encourage suitable individuals to consider becoming trainers.


Figure 25. The main barriers that RTOs face in offering PUA12 training Availability of training resources to support delivery of PUA12 training

32%

Limited access to e-learning

29%

Administration and compliance requirements are too onerous

29%

No funding to develop training resources

25%

Units of competency require review

18%

Lack of flexibility in packaging rules and/or choice of electives

18%

Industry uses other training packages in preference

18%

Lack of demand for the training package

18%

Qualifications require review

14%

Considered not relevant to the workplace

14%

Industry contacts don't know about the training package

14%

Availability of suitably qualified and experienced trainers and/or assessors

11%

RTOs do not consider it commercially viable

7%

Skill sets require review

4%

No barriers

21% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA RTO survey

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3 CURRENT IMPACT OF THE TRAINING PACKAGE

Current state of training: industry stakeholder perspective Feedback from key public safety sector stakeholders suggested an increase in training providers offering emergency management training, which reflected feedback from RTOs. Stakeholders also reflected RTO feedback that non-accredited training is heavily utilised within the sector. It was suggested that emergency management qualifications should be reviewed to ensure currency, while some difficulties with units of competency that were imported from other training packages were noted.

Defence Defence training is predominantly delivered by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Defence Learning Services Network. A major development for Defence training was the endorsement of DEF12 by the NSSC in February 2012. This separated the Defence competencies and qualifications from the Public Safety Training Package, which was recognised as the largest national training package. The size of the Public Safety Training Package resulted in long review and updating processes, which conflicted with the requirement that Defence training should be dynamic and open to rapid continuous improvement in order to meet evolving operational needs. Feedback to date has indicated that the new Defence Training Package is proving to be more responsive and is effectively meeting the needs of Defence. Key stakeholders periodically review DEF12 content to ensure that it is updated and relevant, with any required changes being addressed during the review process. Feedback has indicated that the time between review and endorsement has been reduced compared to when Defence competencies and qualifications were part of the Public Safety Training Package. In addition to DEF12, Defence utilise qualifications from approximately 14 nationally endorsed VET training packages, with units of competency from many other training packages also accessed. This broad array of training highlights the diverse nature of training needs within Defence. Training activity within Defence is determined by changing capability needs. The adoption of new technologies often triggers the development of additional training content. A recent example of this is the introduction of drone technology, which led to a need for greater capability in unmanned aerial vehicles. Recent changes to the VET sector, such as the streamlining of training packages to implement the

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new Standards for training packages has created an additional workload for Defence, with time and resources needed to streamline material and retrain staff in how to read, write and understand new units of competency. In other instances, Defence has been required to apply for exemptions to new VET sector reform initiatives such as the USI, as the implementation of this initiative would be a breach of national security. Feedback from Defence has indicated that greater involvement and consultation in regard to the development of new policies may ensure that potential issues can be highlighted early and appropriate measures undertaken.

Current GSA public safety projects and initiatives In 2013, GSA’s engagement with the public safety sector has included IAC meetings, TRGs, industry consultation workshops and one-on-one engagement with organisations regarding workforce development and training. GSA has also embarked on a public safety-specific project to develop a smartphone app for emergency service personnel to work safely with photovoltaic arrays. Below is a brief overview of this project, followed by an example of how a public safety organisation has successfully implemented a strategy to attract young volunteers to address the issue of an ageing workforce.

Working safely with photovoltaic arrays for emergency workers smartphone app When responding to an emergency incident at which photovoltaic (PV) systems have been installed, emergency services personnel need to be aware of the additional risks and hazards that PV systems and their components can present. GSA has developed an app for smartphones and tablets to assist first responders to work safely with domestic PV systems whilst responding to incidents at which they are present. The app will be for both iOS and Android devices and will be available free of charge from the Apple ‘App store’ or the Google ‘Play store’. The GSA app has been designed for use by first responders as a way to access information whilst at an incident or as part of enterprise training programs. This app will provide emergency services organisations with a way to trial the implementation of mobile technologies within their organisations by embedding the use of this app in their training programs and/or operations.


GSA WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT CASE STUDY: PUBLIC SAFETY Attracting a new generation: NSW State Emergency Service In 2007, the NSW SES embarked on a landmark strategy to attract young people into the organisation. It was a necessary move, given an ageing population and the challenge it presented to the viability and future of emergency services in NSW. An over-representation of baby boomers and males in its ranks were also matters of concern. In terms of age alone, the average volunteer age was 47. The main pillar of the strategy was a Secondary Schools Cadet program to give young people an insight into the SES and, as a consequence, spark interest in going on to join a unit. The program needed to not only capture the imagination of young people, but also help them to develop and reach their full potential. Guided by a Cadet Advisory Committee made up of representatives from various sectors of the NSW SES, a pilot program was developed and run in four schools.

"A new era of tech-savvy young men and women augers well for the future of emergency services. In turn, the types of opportunities it can provide are sure to build resilience in young people and boost their future prospects."

A report on the program formed the basis of a successful funding bid for large-scale implementation, under the NSW Government’s Volunteers Support Package. Since the rollout began in 2009, the Secondary Schools Cadet Program has delivered 74 programs to more than 1480 cadets from close to 40 different schools. Around 100 more girls than boys have graduated. The program, for students in Year 9 and above, is conducted entirely by volunteers. The format is either two hours per week for ten weeks, or full-time over five days. Both incorporate an activity component (an activity day or two-day camp) and culminate in a graduation ceremony. As a result of the program, the number of volunteers joining per year (in the 16-25 age group) has increased from 86 in 2008 to 738 in 2012. The average age of SES volunteers is now 43. A policy that prohibited 16 and 17 year olds from going on overnight stays, essential to SES training activities and operations, formed a barrier to the acceptance of young people into units. A relaxation of the policy was an important step in boosting numbers. A Young People in Emergency Services forum, conducted in 2010, led to further strategies being implemented that have helped to retain young members. The NSW Government allocated recurrent funding to the program from 2012.

Todd Burns

Coordinator, Youth Engagement NSW SES

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PUBLIC SECTOR


GSA received responses from public sector agencies across all states and territories. Fifty-four per cent of respondents were from Western Australia, which reflected the high level of support given by key Western Australian public sector stakeholders and JRG members. A further 24% of responses were from New South Wales, with the remaining states and territories all contributing 12-20% of the total responses. The size of the responding public sector agencies ranged from 1-20 staff (11%) to over 500 staff (47%). GSA also collected industry intelligence and feedback through the JRG, workshops, conferences, TRGs, GSA’s workforce development audit service, and from an extensive review of recent literature.

ENTERPRISE SURVEY RESPONDENT SNAPSHOT State/territory coverage

All states and territories Regional distribution (% of respondents)

0%

rural/remote

10%

regional centre

31.5% 48.5% metropolitan

statewide

10% national

Staff numbers (% of respondents)

1-20 21-50 51-200 201-500 500+

11% 5% 16% 21% 47%

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LATEST INDUSTRY INTELLIGENCE

GSA data collection identified the following key trends and factors that are likely to have an impact on the public sector workforce over the next five years.

Ageing workforce The ageing workforce continues to be a concern across the public sector. The majority (83%) of survey respondents indicated that the ageing workforce, and subsequent projected retirements, will have a major impact over the next five years. In comparison, 80% identified the ageing workforce as an issue in the 2013 Environmental scan [24]. The recent State of the sector report for Western Australia identified that the “loss of corporate knowledge or talent due to retirement” was considered to be the second largest workforce risk over the next five years [135]. The percentage of the public sector workforce aged 55 years and over is presented below for each state and territory: >> Australian Capital Territory – 15% [136] >> New South Wales – 23.6% [137] >> Northern Territory – approximately 18% of women and 20-21% of men [138] >> Queensland – 20.5% [139] >> South Australia – 24.6% [140] >> Tasmania – 24.8% [141] >> Victoria – 22% [142] >> Western Australia – 23% [143] >> Australian Public Service – approximately 15% [144].

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Some agencies have conducted retirement intention surveys in order to improve their understanding of the impact that the ageing workforce will have. In response to the ageing workforce and the projected loss of corporate knowledge through retirements, responding public sector agencies were at different stages of implementing strategies such as: >> flexible working arrangements >> phased retirement >> transition to retirement >> succession planning >> coaching and mentoring of younger staff and emerging leaders >> graduate programs >> knowledge transfer through retirees returning to train new staff >> traineeships. These strategies focus on both the retention of older workers and the development of younger workers. In some instances, despite being aware of the impending retirement of the ageing workforce, some agencies had limited scope to address the issue due to full-time equivalent (FTE) restrictions and limitations on the replacement of retiring staff due to budget constraints.

Financial pressures Providing more for less continues to be a key theme for the public sector. Recent budget cuts and efficiency targets across state and territory governments will require the public sector workforce to be more efficient in order to maintain or, in some instances, increase service provision while faced with reduced staffing and resources in some areas. One example of staffing reductions is the decrease of 13 329 FTE in Queensland in the 12 months prior to June 2013 as a result of the government’s fiscal repair strategy [139]. This represented a decrease of just over 6%. In Western Australia, public sector agencies consider


“addressing capability gaps due to a changing operating environment” to be the most significant workforce risk for the next five years [135]. These changes have forced public sector organisations to review and prioritise their operations to ensure that critical services are still delivered. An example of recent changes to the public sector is the NSW public sector reform initiative which aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the sector. This process has included a review of executive structure to “reduce management layers”, and changes to employment arrangements and management practices [145]. Respondents indicated that financial pressures and the need to produce more for less has resulted in the outsourcing of some services to non-government agencies. Anecdotal feedback indicated that the use of temporary staff has also increased as there has been a reduction in the recruitment of permanent staff to fill vacancies. Public sector agencies are also addressing these issues by attempting to streamline operational processes through the use of technology and by multiskilling staff to ensure that they are versatile and able to contribute to a number of areas within the agency.

Legislation/regulation Changes to legislation and regulation within the public sector continue to have an impact, with many respondents indicating a notable effect on their agency. It was suggested that, in some instances, additional training and a review of operations would be required to ensure ongoing compliance. One specific example of changes to legislation in the public sector is the introduction of the new Government Sector Employment Act 2013 in NSW. The new Act is described as “the most significant and thorough reform in decades of the legislation underpinning employment and workforce management in the NSW public sector” [146].

Increased scope of duties for individual staff

Redundancies and redeployment As a result of financial pressures and funding cuts, many state and territory governments have introduced voluntary redundancy and targeted voluntary redundancy packages as a means to achieve FTE targets in conjunction with natural attrition. Redeployment of staff to high priority areas is also occurring as a result of organisational restructuring and the rationalisation of services. Survey respondents felt that these two factors were having a notable impact on their workforce, causing uncertainty and potentially encouraging experienced staff to look outside of the public sector for employment. In some instances, redeployment of staff is becoming more difficult as FTE cuts continue to increase.

Growth in demand As is the case for a number of other government and community safety sectors, growth in demand for services continues to be a factor that will impact on the public sector. Across the public sector in general, increased demand is due to factors including population growth and greater community expectations. Within some agencies, growth in demand may also be due to more specific factors such as changes to government policy. This growth in demand, coupled with the budget cuts discussed earlier, will require public sector organisations to produce more for less.

Increased professionalism across the sector In order to continue to produce more for less, many agencies are attempting to increase the professionalism of their workforce. This encompasses improvements to leadership and management, and increased professional development and training for individual employees. A number of agencies are facing increased competition from non-government organisations which will continue to drive the need for professionalism and efficiency within the public sector.

Almost 40% of respondents from the public sector felt that recent changes to their agency and the services that they deliver had driven the need for staff to increase their scope of duties. The drive to produce more for less will require staff and teams to be multiskilled and perform additional roles in order to meet operational requirements. In order to perform multiple roles, individuals will often require additional training or on-thejob coaching.

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Attraction, recruitment and retention issues Approximately 40% of respondents from public sector agencies indicated that they had experienced recruitment difficulties in the past 12 months or that they anticipate difficulties in the near future. The main reasons for these recruitment difficulties were considered to be: >> a lack of suitably skilled workers (80% of respondents) >> location (60%) >> salary competition (47%) >> the attractiveness of other industries (40%). Staff turnover rates varied considerably among the responding public sector agencies. One-quarter of respondents had a turnover rate of 0-5% and 46% had a rate between 6% and 10%; however, 3% of respondents had a rate of over 30%. GSA also identified concerns with regard to staff retention. Approximately 40% of respondents indicated that they had experienced retention difficulties recently or that they expect difficulties in the near future. It was felt that retention difficulties would be driven by pending retirements and competition with other industries. Furthermore, internal restructuring, and the associated uncertainty, was thought to be affecting retention rates. Additional anecdotal feedback indicated that the retention of talented young employees continues to be an issue for some public sector agencies, highlighting the importance of retention strategies, professional development opportunities and career progression pathways.

"Providing more for less continues to be a key theme for the public sector"

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2

IDENTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

Current and emerging skill gaps

Emerging skills and occupations

GSA data collection identified that public sector respondents were facing recruitment and retention difficulties in a number of occupations that were present on the Skills shortage list [86], indicating current or emerging shortages, or the Skilled occupation list [87], suggesting medium to long-term needs. These occupations included:

There was a clear perception among respondents that the skills requirements of their staff were changing. It was felt that staff were required to develop higher level skills in the areas that they currently work to ensure that agencies continue to operate effectively in the current climate. In particular, increased skill levels were needed in areas such as:

>> auditors

>> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

>> ICT professionals >> medical scientists >> mental health nurses >> occupational therapists >> physiotherapists >> psychologists >> registered nurses >> social workers >> speech pathologists. In addition to these occupations, GSA received feedback from a smaller number of respondents that had experienced difficulties with the recruitment and retention of youth officers, child protection workers, community workers, disability services officers, finance professionals, HR professionals, procurement professionals, policy professionals, nursing assistants, allied health assistants, and administrative staff. Recently, the APS indicated that skills shortages were noted in a number of the abovementioned areas, including auditors and ICT professionals [144]. The APS reported recurrent skills shortages over the last 10 years in areas such as ICT, accounting and finance, policy, and human resources [144].

business intelligence change management customer service leadership and management legislation policy project management stakeholder engagement strategy the use of new technologies.

In response to the changing skills needs of the public sector workforce, some agencies have created more roles in learning and development and organisational development.

Foundation skills More than 50% of respondents indicated that foundation skills training needs had not been identified within their agency (Figure 26). Among the remaining respondents, digital literacy (30%) and writing skills (27%) were the main areas where staff needed further training in order to effectively perform their role. In many cases, the lack of skills in these areas was affecting the quality and timeliness of reports and the preparation of policies. Some respondents felt that gaps in foundation skills may often be difficult to detect as individuals have often developed coping mechanisms. A lack of processes to identify these gaps may also limit detection.

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In some instances it was felt that the skill levels of individual staff were preventing them from undertaking professional development to progress their careers. A mixture of internal and external training, in addition to onthe-job learning and individual tutoring were being offered within some agencies to address these skills needs.

General skills needs GSA data collection identified a number of generic skills that are high priority training areas for the public sector workforce (Figure 27). Consistent with other government and community safety sectors, leadership and management training is a key priority. More than 50% of respondents also considered project management, report writing and ICT/digital literacy to be priorities. The disparity between the number of respondents that identified report writing as a priority training area and those that identified foundation skills gaps in writing highlights that the connection between foundation skills and these types of work tasks is often overlooked. Additional feedback received by GSA indicated that other priority training areas included negotiation skills, compliance, conflict management, and tender writing.

Leadership and management Over 90% of respondents identified leadership and management training as a priority training area for their agency. The approaches that respondents were using to address this need were quite varied. Some agencies offered internal or external leadership training whilst others had developed leadership programs or formal strategies to improve leadership within their organisation. A small number of respondents indicated that they have not yet begun to address this training need. Given that many public sector agencies are currently in the process of undergoing structural reviews in response to state budget cuts, many leaders within the public sector will be required to drive organisational redesign and organisational change. The State Services Authority (SSA) recently produced a series of reports to assist public sector leaders with these processes [147] [148]. The SSA also produced a report to assist leaders to improve organisational culture, as a strong culture will have an impact on organisational performance and service standards [149]. Leadership programs and frameworks have been developed in a number of states and territories. For example, in Western Australia, initiatives such as the Graduate Future Leaders program, the Foundations

Figure 26. Foundation skills areas where public sector staff need further training in order to effectively perform their role Digital literacy

30%

Writing

27%

Oral communication

15%

Learning

12%

Reading

12%

Numeracy

9%

No training needs identified that are related to foundation skills

58% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

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were being offered to staff to meet the specific needs of the workplace.

of Leadership program, and the Pathways to Leadership program offer opportunities for emerging and aspiring leaders [143], while the national Public Sector Management program focuses on the skills and capabilities of middle and senior managers [150]. The APS have also initiated the Leading Australia’s Future in the Asia-Pacific program in recognition of the importance of engaging with the region [151]. The program, for senior executives, enables participants to make connections in the region and develop a greater understanding of Australia’s position in the AsiaPacific region.

Digital literacy As was the case for the other government and community safety sectors, improving the digital literacy skills of the workforce was seen as a priority by public sector respondents. Further training and familiarisation with new systems will be required as the need to improve efficiency drives the adoption of new technologies. It was felt that some staff were being left behind by changes in technologies and may revert back to manual processes due to a lack of confidence or capability.

Project management Project management was identified as a priority training area by almost 60% of respondents. Once again, respondents were at different stages of addressing this training need, with some still to develop a strategy.

Report writing

Workforce development and strategies to address skills needs Training and professional development Both internal and external training appear to be heavily utilised within the public sector in order to upskill staff (91% and 79% of respondents respectively). A range of training options were provided by responding public sector agencies, including non-accredited training (82%), nationally endorsed vocational training (79%) and university studies (55%). Almost one-half of respondents

More than one-half of respondents indicated that improving the report writing skills of their employees was a priority. Poor writing skills were affecting both the quality of reports and the time taken to produce them. In some agencies, customised writing courses

Figure 27. Priority training needs in generic skills areas for the public sector workforce Leadership and management

91%

Project management

58%

Report writing

55%

Information and communications technology (ICT) and digital literacy

52%

Teamwork

39%

Customer service

30%

Problem solving

27%

Language, literacy and numeracy No priority training areas identified for generic skills

12% 3% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

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also indicated that opportunities for RPL were offered within their agency. The majority (85%) offer paid study leave to support their staff with upskilling, whilst approximately two-thirds of respondents provided financial support for training. In Western Australia, public sector agencies indicated that investing in professional development was the most common strategy to address or prevent skills shortages, followed by the use of flexible working arrangements [135]. Apprenticeships, traineeships and cadetships were offered by approximately 50% of respondents. There was also a strong focus on developing the next generation of workers and transferring knowledge from the ageing workforce, with approximately threequarters indicating that their organisation had mentoring and leadership programs in place. Opportunities for employees to gain the experience required to progress their careers was also provided through acting in higher duties (97% of respondents), secondment (79%), and job rotations (45%).

Workforce planning and development Given the pressures faced by public sector agencies to produce more for less, workforce planning and development can at times be seen as a lower priority.

Based on survey respondents, however, it appears that some organisations are utilising workforce planning and development to identify current and future skills needs and begin to implement strategies to address them. Only 15% of respondents indicated that they had not undertaken any of the workforce planning and development activities outlined in Figure 28. Seventy per cent of agencies had developed a formal workforce planning and development strategy, whilst almost twothirds had performed a training needs analysis in order to identify priority training areas. In order to continue to develop the public sector workforce and increase professionalism, a number of state public service commissions have developed capability frameworks to outline the core capabilities and behaviours that are required for occupational groups within the public sector. The NSW Public Service Commission developed a revised framework in 2013 [152], with capability frameworks developed in a number of other states and territories. In some instances, agency-specific frameworks have been developed. These frameworks provide a common platform upon which activities including recruitment, performance management, career planning, job design and workforce planning can be developed [153].

Figure 28. Workforce planning and development activities undertaken by public sector agencies in 2012-13 Formal planning and development strategy integrated with business plan

70%

Training needs analysis

64%

Capability and/or competency framework

55%

Career development and succession planning

55%

Workforce forecasting

55%

Review of job design

52%

Workforce gap analysis

45%

Occupational/functional analysis

30%

None of the above

15% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

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As indicated earlier, the time pressures faced by public sector agencies often present a barrier to workforce planning and development (Figure 29). Organisational restructuring is also having a significant impact on workforce planning and development activity within the public sector, which aligns with GSA’s previous research [16]. GSA data collection identified that there was a lack of expertise regarding workforce planning across the sector, with some agencies indicating that they do not employ staff with relevant training or experience in workforce planning and development [16]. This supports recent data from the APS which identified workforce planning as a skills shortage area for the APS workforce [144]. GSA survey results reflect SSA research which indicated that a lack of capability and confidence in workforce planning were barriers facing public sector organisations in Victoria, in addition to time and accountability issues [154]. The recent APS State of the service report highlighted that key barriers identified to workforce planning amongst APS agencies included resources, time and costs; changes to funding and staffing; difficulties mapping current capabilities in order to predict future capability requirements; and uncertainty about the future [144].

GSA’s workforce development team is available to assist organisations within the sector through a free workforce development audit service and by providing information and support to improve the understanding of the workforce planning and development process. GSA can also work with organisations to identify available funding opportunities for staff to undertake training to address workforce skills needs. Another way that GSA can assist organisations is by working with them to identify where they are currently placed in the workforce planning and development cycle and what activities they need to undertake next.

"the time pressures faced by public sector agencies often present a barrier to workforce planning and development"

Figure 29. Barriers to workforce planning and development within public sector agencies Lack of time due to current workload

42%

Organisational restructuring

33%

Lack of expertise in developing workforce plans

27%

Lack of resources and funding

18%

Lack of capability and knowledge in workforce planning and development

15%

Lack of confidence in identifying the starting point for workforce planning and development

12%

Lack of clarity on how workforce planning and development aligns with organisational strategic plans

9%

Workforce planning and development is not considered to be a priority

9%

No obvious barriers

39% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

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Current state of training: enterprise perspective Use of PSP12 Almost two-thirds of responding public sector organisations indicated that they utilise training from PSP12. Full qualifications were being utilised by 86% of respondents, 57% utilised units of competency, and 48% used nationally endorsed PSP12 skill sets. Onethird of respondents also indicated that non-accredited training based on PSP12 content was used. The main reasons that the package was being used were: >> to upskill staff (81%) >> for training program content (57%) >> to facilitate RPL (38%) >> to develop a career planning framework (29%) >> to aid with staff retention (29%). Among those that did not utilise PSP12 training within their agency, the main reasons included that other training was considered more relevant and that the content did not meet their needs. As discussed in depth in GSA’s recent report, Public Sector Training Package: capacity, capabilities and challenges, many organisations within the public sector preferentially utilise other VET training packages such as the Business Services Training Package [16]. GSA data collection indicated that organisations would be more likely to utilise PSP12 if: >> they had greater knowledge of the training package >> they had better access to RTOs that offered PSP12 >> PSP12 was more relevant to their workplace >> there was greater access to funding to support PSP12 training >> PSP12 had greater flexibility in the choice of electives and the packaging rules >> there was a greater choice of skill sets [16].

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As indicated elsewhere in this 2014 Environmental scan and other recent GSA research [16], PSP12 is in the process of undergoing significant review as part of the implementation of the new Standards for training packages. This will address the duplication with other training packages and reduce the length of the package. A range of different training providers are used within the public sector, with private RTOs (52%), enterprise RTOs (48%) and public RTOs (43%) all utilised by survey respondents. Where external training providers were being utilised, a range of factors contributed to their selection, including cost, method of delivery, reputation, availability, and past experience. The majority (80%) of respondents that utilise external training providers indicated that the experience of finding an appropriate RTO was “straightforward”, with the remaining 20% reporting some level of difficulty in finding a suitable RTO. The majority of respondents (73%) reported a positive experience with their training provider. Those that reported an “average” experience indicated that the training materials were often inadequate. As indicated earlier, NCVER data on the utilisation of training packages (presented in Table 17, Table 18 and Figure 30) provides a limited snapshot of overall training package utilisation as a considerable proportion of training occurs outside of the publicly funded VET system. Based on this data, enrolments and completions in PSP have increased in recent years. Completions in qualifications at the advanced diploma, diploma and certificate IV levels have all increased notably since 2007, with less change at the lower AQF levels.


Figure 30. Apprentice and trainee commencements and completions for PSP12

Commencements

Completions

Number of learners

1600

1200

800

400

0

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Source: NCVER National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, 2013

Table 17. Student enrolments by Australian Qualifications Framework level, 2008-2012 AQF level Graduate certificate Advanced diploma

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

0

0

0

0

0

35

25

153

212

321

Diploma

1091

984

1551

2057

2161

Certificate IV

2622

2173

2372

1989

1844

Certificate III

770

624

591

547

829

Certificate II

79

38

14

27

66

4597

3844

4681

4832

5221

Total

Source: NCVER National VET Provider Collection, 2008-2012

Table 18. Student completions by Australian Qualifications Framework level, 2007-2011 AQF level

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Graduate certificate

0

0

0

0

7

Advanced diploma

54

15

28

61

119

Diploma

314

469

481

650

1116

Certificate IV

587

797

1008

1086

840

Certificate III

259

238

276

176

268

Certificate II

89

74

75

37

64

1303

1593

1868

2010

2414

Total

Source: NCVER National VET Provider Collection, 2007-2012

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Use of other training packages

Training budgets and funding

A range of other training packages are being utilised across the public sector. Some of these training packages are used in preference to PSP12, for example the Business Services Training Package; however, other training packages are used to meet specific technical or professional needs that are not covered in PSP12, for example, the Laboratory Operations Training Package.

Almost three-quarters of respondents from the public sector indicated that their current training budget was sufficient to meet their staff training needs; this figure was the highest of the government and community safety sectors this year and was notably higher than the 2013 Environmental scan [24]. This proportion is likely to be lower; however, as many respondents who indicated that their budget was sufficient had also reported the training needs of their agency were not yet fully identified. As such, it is possible that once all training needs have been identified, the required training budget would increase accordingly.

Training packages being utilised within the public sector include: >> Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management (AHC10) >> Business Services (BSB07) >> Community Services (CHC08) >> Correctional Services (CSC12) >> Financial Services (FNS10) >> Health (HLT07) >> Laboratory Operations (MSL09) >> Library, Information and Cultural Services (CUL11) >> Public Safety (PUA12) >> Training and Education (TAE10).

Barriers to training A wide range of barriers to training were identified by public sector respondents (Figure 31); however, a lack of time to undertake training due to workload pressures was clearly seen as the most prominent, with almost 60% of respondents citing it as an issue. This again reflects the pressure within the public sector to increase productivity in order to counteract budget cuts and increased demand for service provision. Coupled with this barrier, a further 45% of respondents indicated that they could not send staff to training as there was a shortage of available staff within their agency to backfill while training was undertaken. Other barriers to training included the cost of training (39% of respondents), and the location of training (36%), with some agencies indicating that they could not send staff interstate to attend training. Approximately onethird of respondents also indicated that a barrier for their agency was that they had not adequately identified staff training needs, highlighting the importance of workforce planning.

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One-quarter of respondents indicated that their training budgets increased in 2012-13 compared to 2011-12; however, almost one-third reported a decrease in their training budget. Similar to other sectors, it was common that compliance training was supported from a centralised budget while skills-based and role-specific training was departmentalised. More than 50% indicated that their agency does not currently access external funding to support their training activities. The primary reason cited for not utilising external funding was the limitation of current eligibility criteria for many government funding incentives. This again highlights the difficulties that many enterprises within the government and community safety sectors face with regard to accessing funding for training. Where external funding was being utilised to support training, state-based productivity places programs and other training programs such as Skills for All in South Australia were being accessed. In some instances, where eligibility criteria could be met, programs such as NWDF and WELL were being accessed by public sector agencies, whilst employers were also accessing external funding to support apprenticeships, traineeships and cadetships.

Overall view of training Approximately 70% of survey respondents felt that productivity in their workplace had improved as a result of staff training. It was felt that outcomes would improve further if training could be accessed more flexibly to accommodate operational needs.


Figure 31. Barriers to staff from the public sector undertaking training No time for training in the workplace due to workload

58%

Staff not available to backfill

45%

Cost of training

39%

Location

35%

Training needs not yet identified

35%

Limited training budget/funding

26%

Competing training demands

19%

Not aware of training opportunities

13%

Staff are reluctant to undertake training

10%

Training is a lower organisational priority

10%

No coordinated approach to training

10%

Availability of training/lack of access to RTOs

10%

Organisation has experienced poor return on training investment

3%

No barriers

19% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

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Current state of training: RTO perspective Over 80% of responding RTOs with PSP12 on scope indicated that they offer full PSP12 qualifications, while 29% offer standalone units of competency. Only 10% indicated that they offer PSP12 skill sets. Nonaccredited training was offered by 37% of responding training providers. The generalist government qualifications, Certificate III in Government, Certificate IV in Government and Diploma of Government are the most frequently on scope among RTOs. This aligned with GSA’s survey results which indicated that these qualifications were the most frequently delivered by responding RTOs. Overall, certificate IV and diploma level qualifications were the most frequently delivered by responding RTOs. The public sector specialisation areas that responding RTOs most frequently reported as increasing in demand since January 2012 were: >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

community engagement ethics and accountability human resource management legislation and compliance management occupational health and safety policy project management regulatory working in government.

Respondents indicated that training demand was influenced by changes to government policy and legislation. For example, in some areas, new legislation requires a statement of attainment be held by relevant employees. The increase in demand for WHS/OHS training may also be driven by recent changes to legislation. Few RTOs reported a decrease in demand for specialisation areas since January 2012; however, those that were mentioned included: >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

human resource management management occupational health and safety procurement and contract management specialist occupational health and safety workplace relations working in government.

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RTO SURVEY RESPONDENT SNAPSHOT Location

All states and territories Regional coverage (% of respondents)

45.5% 18% metropolitan

regional centre

36.5% national

RTO type (% of respondents)

58% private 30% enterprise 9% public 3% adult community education provider Delivery locations

All states and territories


Some responding RTOs indicated that demand for training in these areas is dependent on organisational budgets and government policy. For example, demand for training within enterprise RTOs is affected by budget constraints, as organisational changes may reduce the intake of new recruits that subsequently require training. Based on survey responses and previous research [16], PSP12 skill sets appear to be underutilised. PSP12 skill sets may be beneficial for public sector agencies looking to upskill their workforce in specific areas, but cannot commit to full qualifications due to time and budget constraints. As indicated in a recent report [16], GSA will engage with RTOs and public sector agencies to further investigate the utilisation of these skill sets with a view to remove any that are not required. Respondents from RTOs with PSP12 on scope felt that the training package was underutilised. This was typically due to the preferential use of other training packages such as Business Services and Financial Services. It was also reported that non-accredited training was often used in order to meet training needs whilst minimising the cost of training and the time spent away from service provision. In some instances, PSP12 skill sets may provide an alternative to non-accredited training and offer learners the opportunity to complete nationally endorsed training that may contribute to a future qualification. Among respondents from RTOs with PSP12 on scope, 16% were not currently delivering PSP12 training. These respondents indicated that they would be more likely to offer PSP12 training if there was more consistent demand and if there were higher numbers of students.

Barriers related to PSP12 delivery Thirty-six per cent of responding training providers indicated that they saw funding to be a barrier to their clients using PSP12. A further 39% felt that funding was not a barrier, whilst 25% were unsure. Private RTOs felt that funding for PSP12 training was a larger issue, with 50% of respondents from private RTOs indicating that funding was a barrier to their clients. Only 20% of enterprise RTOs felt that funding was an issue. The ineligibility of public sector employees for government funding under programs such as the NWDF was highlighted as a particular issue. In some instances the lack of government funding to support training, coupled with reduced operational budgets, was preventing public sector agencies from committing to full qualifications. As a result, training was being restricted to shorter courses and units of competency in specific areas of need.

Across all responding RTOs the most common barriers to offering PSP12 training were cited as: >> a lack of demand for PSP12 training >> the relevance of competencies to the workplace >> a lack of funding to develop their own training resources >> a lack of training resources >> PSP12 is not considered to be commercially viable >> onerous administration and compliance requirements >> public sector organisations do not know about the training package (Figure 32). It was clear from the responses that the type of RTO has an impact on the main barriers that were faced. Responding enterprise RTOs indicated that onerous administration and compliance requirements were major issues (50% of respondents). One respondent expanded on this issue to indicate that they found it difficult to keep up with the changing nature of the VET sector when they were only providing internal training to their staff. It was also reported that the cost associated with ASQA compliance was a concern. One responding enterprise RTO indicated that in order to reduce the administrative requirements of certain training within the organisation, external providers were being used to deliver aspects of their training. Other barriers for enterprise RTOs included a lack of training resources (40%) and the relevance of competencies to the workplace (40%). Private RTOs indicated that the main barriers were a lack of demand for PSP (67%), its commercial viability (50%), a lack of funding to develop their own resources (42%), and a lack of awareness of PSP amongst public sector organisations (42%). Fewer responses were received from public RTOs; however, a lack of demand was again considered to be a barrier.

Current state of training: industry stakeholder perspective The majority of respondents indicated that VET in general, and PSP12 in particular, are underutilised within the public sector. They expanded on this to indicate that, in their opinion, there is a lack of awareness of the VET system in general across the public sector and there is a low value placed on VET qualifications given that a high proportion of staff are tertiary educated. Respondents echoed the comments from RTOs that the low uptake of PSP12 was influenced by the preferential use of other training packages, such as the

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Figure 32. The main barriers that RTOs face in offering PSP12 training Lack of demand for PSP

46%

Lack of funding to develop training resources

31%

Relevance of competencies to the workplace

31%

Onerous admin and compliance requirements

27%

RTOs do not consider it commercially viable

27%

Lack of training resources

27%

Public sector organisations do not know about the training package

23%

Other training packages are easier to access

19%

Lack of suitable trainers and/or assessors

15%

Limited access to e-learning

15%

Packaging rules make it difficult to develop a meaningful qualification

8%

Already have equivalent qualifications on scope

8%

Training package is too cumbersome

8%

No barriers

12% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA RTO survey

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Business Services Training Package. The reasons why these other packages are typically used in preference to PSP12 include funding accessibility, greater access to training providers, and the portability of qualifications. Stakeholders felt that some PSP12 qualifications, skill sets and units of competency duplicated those found in the Business Services Training Package and the Financial Services Training Package. Particular areas where duplication was identified included HR, finance, and WHS/OHS. It was suggested that these areas should be reviewed and, where duplication exists, the PSP12 units or qualifications could be removed, leaving the specialist units (e.g. BSBWHS) to be accessed from their respective packages through the use of packaging rules. As indicated elsewhere in this 2014 Environmental scan, GSA is in the process of addressing these comments through a review of PSP12. Stakeholders believed that greater awareness of PSP12 would lead to improvements in its utilisation. Increased promotion of PSP12 to HR/L&D managers and training providers was seen as an important step in improving uptake. This is also being addressed by GSA, as outlined in the recent PSP12 report [16].

Current GSA public sector projects and initiatives Throughout 2013, GSA engaged with the public sector through the JRG, workshops, surveys, conferences, TRGs and through GSA’s workforce development audit service. As mentioned earlier, GSA also undertook a research project to investigate the current state of PSP12. Below is a brief overview of this project, followed by an example of how GSA’s workforce development audit service can assist public sector agencies.

GSA research indicated that there were three main areas where PSP12-related training could be improved: >> a review of PSP12 material with a view to reduce the size of the training package, address duplication with other training packages and simplify the wording of the text >> increase promotion of PSP12 within the public sector, with strategies targeted towards HR/L&D managers and training providers >> lobby for greater funding opportunities for the public sector workforce through national training programs [16]. The report outlines the strategies that GSA has in place to address these priority areas. In regards to workforce planning and development activity in the public sector, the report indicated that it was often not considered to be a priority. There were a number of barriers to workforce planning and development including reductions in budgets, staffing and resources, and a lack of time to spend on workforce planning due to workload demands. A lack of suitably qualified and experienced staff with expertise in workforce planning and development was also indicated in some instances. A series of recommendations were proposed as a result of this research project to improve workforce planning across the public sector, including: >> GSA promotion and awareness activities, via workshops and advice on workforce planning and how to apply for funding >> expansion of our workforce development audit service to assist individual organisations with their specific needs [16].

Public Sector Training Package: capacity, capabilities and challenges report In 2013, GSA conducted a research project to investigate the current issues associated with the Public Sector Training Package in terms of its content and the quality of training delivery by RTOs [16]. The research project also sought to identify current views towards workforce planning across the public sector.

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GSA WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT CASE STUDY: PUBLIC SECTOR People in context: Western Australia Public Sector Commission Western Australia’s Public Sector Commission took a fresh approach to workforce development when it set about raising the professional standing of HR practitioners across the sector. It designed and went on to deliver the Foundations of Government Human Resources (FoGHR) program, in partnership with an RTO. The FoGHR program evolved out of a HR Capability Framework developed in conjunction with the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) and aligned to the AHRI Model of Excellence. The Commission developed the capability framework in response to a need, identified by HR Managers, to address the depletion of skills in the sector and meet an increase in demand for services brought about by population growth in the west. The capability framework defines the core capabilities of the ‘ideal’ HR practitioner and recognises the fundamental importance of highly skilled HR practitioners to effectively support current and future workforce needs and, in turn, the sector. Underpinning the program, a workforce development audit was conducted by GSA, identifying capabilities and skills gaps in HR across the WA Public Sector. The Commission went on to develop the HR skill set, based on seven key capabilities, to be incorporated into the program. The capability framework and FoGHR program were developed over 18 months with extensive consultation between senior executives, HR practitioners and AHRI ensuring a customised program that incorporated contemporary HR theory and practice.

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Government Skills Australia

Different to any other similar qualification, delivery is entirely in-house by HR experts from the sector, with Central Institute of Technology as the assessing RTO.

"The qualification has given form to knowledge management and succession planning strategies, in that we've been able to tap into the content knowledge of our HR gurus and include it in the program, better manage our ageing workforce and upskill up-and-coming practitioners." Dr Kim Schofield

Deputy Commissioner, Capability and Development WA Public Sector Commission

People in context Forty-eight participants were on track to complete the program in April 2013, and a further 72 employees were expected to graduate during the year. The program comprises six modules; each delivered as a one-day workshop held once a month over six months. These modules have been aligned to nationally endorsed training, thereby offering clearly defined career pathways and ongoing learning opportunities. Benefits are two-way: for participants ‘real-life’ projects and assessments are of immediate use in the workplace, which translates into an immediate return on investment for the organisation. Each class of 24 has its own online hub and access to a mentor from the sector. On graduation, participants are invited to join an active alumni program as part of maintaining best practice.


WATER


GSA received survey responses from water enterprises across all states and territories. Respondents also spanned rural, regional and metropolitan areas, in addition to some enterprises that operated statewide or nationally. The smallest enterprises had 51-200 employees (30% of respondents), whilst one-half of respondents had over 500. GSA also collected industry intelligence and feedback through the Water IAC, workshops, conferences, TRGs, GSA’s workforce development audit service, and from an extensive review of recent literature.

ENTERPRISE SURVEY RESPONDENT SNAPSHOT State/territory coverage

All states and territories Regional distribution (% of respondents)

5%

rural/remote

35%

regional centre

25% 30%

metropolitan

statewide

5% national

Staff numbers (% of respondents)

1-20 21-50 51-200 201-500 500+

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0% 0% 30% 20% 50%


1

LATEST INDUSTRY INTELLIGENCE

A range of factors are currently affecting the water sector. The 2013 State of the water sector report, which surveyed 1549 individuals within the water sector, indicated that the main issues among respondents included maintaining and augmenting infrastructure (37%), the need to improve operational efficiency (35%), ensuring that water supplies are secure (34%), responding to community concern over rising prices (25%), and maintaining catchments effectively (23%) [155]. Reducing skills shortages in the water sector was ranked seventh (22% of respondents), compared to fourth in the 2012 report [155] [156]. It was suggested that there is a greater availability of skilled labour due to reduced mining industry activity. It was also felt that there may be reduced demand for additional staff, possibly as a result of improved operational efficiency [155]. Water IAC members and key industry stakeholders indicated that consumer expectations continue to increase within the water industry. This was reflected in the responses from a number of water enterprises. A greater focus on health and environmental regulations was also noted.

younger workers, with many offering graduate programs, apprenticeships and traineeships. Responding Water IAC members and key stakeholders felt that some organisations may not be planning adequately for the upcoming retirements of their ageing staff.

Legislation/regulation Compliance with relevant licencing requirements continues to have an impact on training and operating costs within the water sector. Whilst there is a clear need for the industry to be highly regulated, respondents indicated that meeting the evolving regulatory and reporting needs in the areas of water quality, public health and the environment continue to impact on staff training and operating costs. It was felt that environmental regulations have recently become a greater focus, often with additional monitoring and reporting requirements. The potential for the introduction of certification for water operators may also impact on the future training requirements of the water industry workforce.

GSA data collection identified the following key trends and factors that are likely to have an impact on the water industry workforce over the next five years.

Changes to WHS/OHS legislation were also highlighted as a factor that has impacted on training needs. In some instances, these changes have impacted on operations and resulted in a review of procedures.

Ageing workforce

Financial pressures

Over 80% of respondents indicated that the ageing workforce would have a notable impact on their organisation in the near future. In some instances, up to 35% of the workforce was over 50 years of age. Recent data collection by the Australian Water Association (AWA) and Deloitte indicated that 50% of their 1500plus survey respondents expected to leave the water industry within the next ten years [155].

More than 50% of respondents indicated that economic factors and budget cuts will impact on their organisation in the short-term. Public water utilities will be affected by the state government budget tightening described earlier in this 2014 Environmental scan. The National Water Commission recently reported that operating costs for urban water utilities between 2005-06 and 2011-12 increased by 38% for water and 36% for sewerage [19]. These increases were driven by a number of factors, including rising energy prices, additional costs associated with desalination and water recycling, more stringent environmental standards, and improved service levels [19].

To counteract the impact of the ageing workforce and projected retirements, responding organisations have implemented strategies including succession planning, knowledge transfer, and transition to retirement. Employers are also focusing on recruiting and training

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1 LATEST INDUSTRY INTELLIGENCE

Respondents from public and private water enterprises indicated that they will conduct reviews to increase efficiency, whilst others indicated that they have reduced expenditure on consultants and labour hire. In some instances, capital expenditure had been deferred, whilst training expenditure has also been reduced within some organisations. The recent State of the water sector report cited “improving operational efficiency” as one of the major current issues for the water industry [155].

Impact of new technologies Almost one-half of GSA survey respondents indicated that new technologies will have an impact on their workforce over the next five years. Many systems within the industry are becoming more automated, driving a shift in the skills needs of the operators. This will substantially impact on training needs. There is also the need to train staff in a number of new technologies associated with supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), desalination, reverse osmosis, groundwater recharge, and water recycling.

"meeting the evolving regulatory and reporting needs in the areas of water quality, public health and the environment continue to impact on staff training and operating costs" Growth in demand Consistent with other sectors, population growth is expected to contribute to increased demand for water services in the future; however, data from 2011-12 indicated that urban utilities supplied less water to both residential users (8% decrease) and commercial, municipal and industrial users (15% decrease) compared to 2005-06 [19]. Demand for water will also be driven by factors such as climate, price, urban density, and the level and extent of demand management programs and restrictions [19]. A number of respondents indicated that their organisation has developed long-term strategies to meet these future increases in demand.

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Climate change Respondents indicated that climate change has had an impact on their operations and will continue to do so into the future. As indicated by the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA), “the Australian urban water industry recognises that the recent decade of extremes of dry, rain and floods, and high temperatures could well be our climate future” [157]. The 2013 State of the water sector report highlighted that most respondents considered climate change to be either a “significant” or “moderate” risk to the sustainable management of water [155]. In response to concerns about climate change, the AWA suggested that, “a multi-faceted water supply and demand strategy is needed to produce a robust, resilient and integrated approach to water management” [158]. Many organisations indicated that they have invested in means to diversify the water supply through processes such as desalination and water recycling. The State of the water sector report indicated that the most widely supported strategies include: >> diversifying sources of water supply >> ensuring that asset management strategies account for long-term changes >> ensuring systems can withstand extreme weather >> water recycling [155]. GSA survey respondents indicated that they have also increased their focus on community engagement to promote responsible household water usage. Additionally, water organisations have reviewed their own environmental footprint and looked at ways to improve energy efficiency in the workplace. The 2013 State of the water sector report highlighted that respondents considered sustainability and reducing the long-term environmental impact of the sector to be of less importance compared to previous years (18% in 2013 compared to 22% in 2012 an 42% in 2010) [155]. This may be the result of the implementation of the abovementioned strategies. It was suggested in the report that this decrease may also be a reflection on recent changes in community sentiment about the issue, and more benign weather conditions [155].


Increased scope of duties for individual staff As is the case for many of the other government and community safety sectors, staffing reductions have resulted in an increased scope of duties for remaining workers. This often results in staff requiring additional training.

Attraction, recruitment and retention issues Almost two-thirds of respondents from the water industry indicated that they had recently experienced recruitment difficulties within their organisation, or that they anticipate difficulties in the near future. The main reason for these difficulties was a lack of suitably skilled workers (83% of respondents), particularly in regional and remote areas. Feedback suggested that it can be difficult for workers to enter the water industry as they are unlikely to have the appropriate water qualifications unless they have previously worked in the industry; however, they are unable to undertake NWP training unless they are employed within the industry. Other factors that contribute to recruitment difficulties include salary competition (67%), location (50%), and the attractiveness of other industries (33%). The attractiveness of the resources sector was a particular barrier to the attraction of engineers. Respondents also felt that it was difficult to attract younger people as they could earn high wages performing unskilled labour in mining regions. As indicated earlier, reduced mining industry activity in some areas may impact on the availability of young workers. Approximately one-third of respondents from water enterprises indicated that their organisation had experienced a turnover of 0-5% in 2012-13. A further 47% indicated that their turnover was 6-10%. No respondents had experienced a turnover rate above 20% for the 2012-13 financial year. Twenty per cent of respondents indicated that they had recently experienced retention difficulties within their organisation. Those that had experienced difficulties indicated that the main contributing factors were the lack of a career pathway for individuals, and the attractiveness of the resources sector.

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IDENTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

Current and emerging skill gaps Areas where organisations are currently experiencing recruitment difficulties or anticipate future recruitment difficulties >> Engineers >> Water treatment plant operators >> Asset managers >> ICT professionals >> Project managers Many of these roles correspond to those listed in the 2013 Environmental scan [24]. A small number of respondents indicated that they were also facing retention difficulties for these occupations.

Emerging skills and occupations It was clear from GSA survey respondents that the skills needs of the water industry workforce are changing. In addition to requiring higher level technical skills, it was indicated that skills in areas such as project management, leadership, and digital literacy are required within the workforce. These needs were reflected by the creation of more ICT-related roles within responding organisations, in addition to more leadership and management roles. It was also indicated that additional roles had been created within some organisations in areas including customer service, HR, finance, governance, asset management, risk management, and operations.

Foundation skills Respondents highlighted a number of foundation skills areas where they felt that staff needed further training in order to effectively perform their role (Figure 33). The most common areas were digital literacy (71%), writing (41%), reading (35%), and numeracy (35%). Responding Water IAC members and key stakeholders indicated that foundation skills did not appear to be a major issue within metropolitan regions where higher numbers of applicants for vacant positions ensures that suitable candidates can be selected. However, it was noted that, in regional and rural areas, foundation skills may be a larger issue. These priority foundation skills training areas were identified through a range of formal and informal methods within each responding organisation. In some instances, surveys and assessments had been performed whilst other organisations had performed training needs analyses. In other instances, gaps had been identified through informal observation and evaluation of work outputs. It was felt that these gaps were not only affecting productivity but were at times impacting on safety. For example, it was reported that poor reading skills or the inability to access online communications may impact on staff capacity to receive and understand safety alerts, follow safety procedures, or to safely measure and dispense chemicals. In response to these foundation skills gaps, water organisations have implemented a range of strategies including LLN coaching, computer courses, informal learning and formal vocational training. WELL funding has been accessed in some instances to support the costs of implementing foundation skills training.

General skills needs The most common priority training areas amongst responding water organisations included leadership and management (88% of respondents), project management (59%), customer service (47%), and ICT/ digital literacy (47%; Figure 34).

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Figure 33. Foundation skills areas where water industry employees need further training in order to effectively perform their role Digital literacy

71%

Writing

41%

Numeracy

35%

Reading

35%

Oral communication

18%

Learning

18%

No training needs identified that are related to foundation skills

24% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

Leadership and management

Customer service

The identification of leadership and management as a priority training area is consistent with earlier research conducted within the water industry [159] [160] [161]. Some organisations have introduced leadership programs for existing managers and executives whilst others have implemented emerging leaders programs to assist in identifying and developing the next generation of leaders. In response to the need for leadership training, the International Water Centre’s Water Leadership Program has been designed to assist emerging leaders to develop the abilities that they need to exert influence, drive change and advance challenging integrated water management projects [162].

As outlined in GSA’s 2013 Environmental scan [24], customer expectations are increasing and there is an emerging focus on customer service. This was also reflected in recent research in the NSW Mid and North Coast regions and in the New England region [159] [160]. To address this need, some water enterprises indicated that formal customer service training had been provided to relevant staff within their organisation by external training providers.

Project management A number of organisations have provided opportunities for relevant staff to gain formal project management qualifications in response to the greater need for project management skills. In some instances, water organisations have accessed NWDF funding to support certificate IV and diploma level project management qualifications.

Digital literacy Consistent with the other government and community safety sectors, employers in the water sector have identified that their staff must improve their skills in the use of new technologies in order to adapt effectively to updated systems and processes. A number of respondents indicated that tablet computers were being rolled out to field staff within their organisation; however, there were concerns regarding the capability of some staff to adapt to their use. A significant amount of training in this area appears to be delivered internally and informally; however, formal training courses are often also available to employees. Importantly, some respondents indicated that they offer training that is tailored to the existing skill levels of workers, ranging from beginner to advanced levels.

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2 IDENTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

Figure 34. Priority training needs in generic skills areas for the water industry workforce Leadership and management

88%

Project management

59%

Customer service

47%

Information and communications technology (ICT) and digital literacy

47%

Report writing

35%

Language, literacy and numeracy

24%

Teamwork

12%

Problem solving

12%

No priority training areas identified for generic skills

0% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

Workforce development and strategies to address skills needs Training and professional development All responding water organisations indicated that they upskill their staff through external training, with many also indicating that they offered internal training. A broad range of training options appear to be provided, with over 80% indicating that they offered nationally endorsed vocational training, non-accredited training and university studies to members of their workforce. Almost all respondents indicated that financial support and paid study leave were offered to their employees. Over 70% of respondents offered opportunities for RPL. Apprenticeships, traineeships and cadetships are highly utilised within the water sector as a means to train the next generation of water industry workers. Training and upskilling was also facilitated through the use of secondments (65% of responding enterprises), rotations (47%) and opportunities to act in higher duties (94%). A small number of respondents indicated that they have looked to recruit from outside of Australia in order to meet specific skills gaps. Approximately one-half

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of respondents also indicated that they have used temporary staff and contractors. GSA has recently gauged industry interest in aligning Australian water qualifications with those of New Zealand as a means to improve the mobility of workers between countries.

Workforce planning and development The workforce planning and development activities most often undertaken by responding water organisations included training needs analyses (59%), career development and succession planning (53%), and the development of formal workforce plans integrated with their business plan (47%). Only 12% of respondents indicated that their organisation had not undertaken any of the workforce planning and development activities outlined in Figure 35. The main barrier to workforce planning and development among respondents was organisational restructuring (44%; Figure 36). This was followed by the sense that workforce planning and development was not considered to be a priority (31%), a lack of capability and knowledge (25%), and a lack of resources and funding (25%). GSA provides services to assist water enterprises to identify their training needs and prepare funding applications. GSA will


Figure 35. Workforce planning and development activities undertaken by water organisations in 2012-13 Training needs analysis

59%

Career development and succession planning

53%

Formal planning and development strategy integrated with business plan

47%

Review of job design

41%

Capability and/or competency framework

35%

Workforce gap analysis

29%

Workforce forecasting

24%

Occupational/functional analysis

6%

None of the above

12% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey also continue to highlight the importance of workforce planning and development to organisations as a means to demonstrate the benefits and attempt to reduce the proportion of the sector that do not consider it to be a priority. Respondents from the Water IAC and other key industry stakeholders felt that the major barriers to improving workforce planning and development in the sector were the lack of regulations and minimum standards (which may be partially addressed by the introduction of a national certification framework for water operators, and a competency framework), a lack of understanding and expertise in workforce planning, time, cost, and the difficulties associated with applying for external funding.

In 2012, the Water Industry Skills Taskforce (WIST) engaged Nous Group to facilitate a Water Industry Skills Forum. From this forum, four priority issues were identified: >> the water industry is not clearly understood >> there are concerns regarding the breadth, quality and delivery of training >> there is a lack of information coordination >> differences in the size and location of water organisations will impact on workforce planning approaches [163].

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Figure 36. Barriers to workforce planning and development within water organisations Organisational restructuring

44%

Workforce planning and development is not considered to be a priority

31%

Lack of resources and funding

25%

Lack of capability and knowledge in workforce planning and development

25%

Lack of expertise in developing workforce plans

19%

Lack of time due to current workload

19%

Lack of confidence in identifying the starting point for workforce planning and development

13%

Lack of clarity on how workforce planning and development aligns with organisational strategic plans

13%

No obvious barriers

25% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey To address these issues, the following solutions were proposed: >> Develop a strategy to clearly define, communicate and market the water industry. GSA will contribute to this solution via the development of defined job and career pathways in collaboration with industry. >> Develop nationally consistent frameworks and apprenticeship initiatives. This strategy aligns with the current proposal for certification of water treatment operators and the industry-supported GSA initiative to develop a competency framework. >> Consolidate and coordinate workforce development information collection and dissemination. This will involve a review of the roles and functions of existing water networks and the development of an implementation plan for improved information collection and dissemination. >> A cross-jurisdictional map of the industry and engagement with underrepresented organisations. This will involve the creation of a water industry directory and support for smaller water organisations [163].

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GSA’s current progress towards some of these proposed solutions are outlined in the section titled Current GSA water projects and initiatives.

"skills in areas such as project management, leadership, and digital literacy are required within the workforce"


3

CURRENT IMPACT OF THE TRAINING PACKAGE

Current state of training: enterprise perspective Use of NWP07 The vast majority (88%) of respondents from the water sector indicated that NWP07 was utilised within their organisation, with 6% indicating that they were unsure and the remaining 6% indicating that it was not used. All respondents that utilise NWP07 indicated that full qualifications were accessed, whilst almost threequarters also access standalone units of competency. Only 7% of respondents indicated that non-accredited training was undertaken that related to NWP07 content. These responses reflect the high utilisation of NWP07 across the industry. Some of the main reasons that NWP07 was being utilised were to upskill staff, to develop career planning frameworks, to facilitate RPL, and for training program content. Respondents identified the advantages of NWP07 training as the sector-specific content, the capacity for RPL, and the advantage of a nationally recognised qualification. Private training providers were used most frequently by respondents (67%); however, public RTOs (47%) and enterprise RTOs (13%) were also utilised. The main reasons for selecting RTOs were availability, location, and method of delivery. Almost 50% of respondents that utilised an external training provider indicated that they felt the process of identifying a suitable RTO was “difficult”, while a further 23% indicated that they experienced “minor difficulty”. These numbers were considerably higher than the other government and community safety sectors and reflect anecdotal feedback received by GSA that it is difficult to access NWP07 training in some regions due to a lack of RTOs willing to deliver in those areas. This also supports the recent findings by LGAQ which identified a lack of RTO capacity in Queensland to deliver water industry qualifications [6]. In some instances, GSA survey respondents indicated that they have accessed training

from interstate providers as they were unable to identify a suitable provider locally. Where training was delivered by an external RTO, respondents rated the experience as either “positive” (46%) or “average” (46%), with the remainder indicating that they experienced variable quality. The main issue identified was that the level of expertise of trainers was sometimes below expected levels. Where positive experiences were reported, they typically involved training providers having good industry knowledge and contextualising the training to the needs of the organisation. With regard to NWP, respondents indicated that there were emerging training needs in the areas of SCADA and desalination. Formal NWP skill sets were requested, in addition to the need for defined career paths for water industry employees. These latter points were also identified in GSA’s earlier research report, Water Training Package: capacity, capabilities and challenges [164], and are in the process of being addressed. As indicated earlier, NCVER data on the utilisation of training packages (presented in Table 19, Table 20 and Figure 37) provides a limited snapshot of overall training package utilisation as a considerable proportion of training occurs outside of the publicly funded VET system. Based on this data, enrolments and completions in NWP have increased in recent years. Completions in qualifications at the certificate III and IV levels have increased notably since 2007, with less change at the certificate II level.

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Figure 37. Apprentice and trainee commencements and completions for NWP07 Commencements

Completions

Number of learners

1000

750

500

250

0

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Source: NCVER National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, 2013

Table 19. Student enrolments by Australian Qualifications Framework level, 2008-2012 AQF level

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Graduate certificate

0

0

0

20

36

Advanced diploma

0

0

0

0

0

Diploma

1

2

4

78

214

Certificate IV

19

70

150

227

254

Certificate III

772

786

1155

1138

1077

Certificate II

289

415

487

2416

1041

Certificate I Total

0

11

22

13

13

1081

1284

1818

3892

2635

Source: NCVER National VET Provider Collection, 2007-2012

Table 20. Student completions by Australian Qualifications Framework level, 2007-2011 AQF level

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Graduate certificate

0

0

0

0

0

Advanced diploma

0

0

0

0

0

Diploma

1

0

2

0

2

Certificate IV

8

8

3

40

60

Certificate III

141

196

266

436

435

Certificate II

196

248

170

175

198

Certificate I

0

0

9

15

0

346

452

450

666

695

Total

Source: NCVER National VET Provider Collection, 2007-2012

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Use of other training packages A range of other VET training packages are being used within the water sector, including: >> Business Services (BSB07) >> Construction, Plumbing and Services (CPC08) >> Electricity Supply Industry – Generation Sector (UEP12) >> Electrotechnology (UEE11) >> Foundation Skills (FSK) >> Laboratory Operations (MSL09) >> Local Government (LGA04) >> Metal and Engineering (MEM05) >> Public Safety (PUA12) >> Public Sector (PSP12) >> Resources and Infrastructure (RII) >> Training and Education (TAE10) These training packages are used to meet training needs that fall outside the scope of NWP07.

Barriers to training Cost was the most common barrier to undertaking training within the water sector, with 44% of respondents citing this as an issue (Figure 38). Other barriers included the lack of time to undertake training due to workload (38%), competing training demands (38%), and the availability of RTOs in the region (38%). These barriers were closely aligned to previous GSA data collection in the water industry [24] [164]. Additional feedback received by GSA indicated that, whilst there are a relatively high number of RTOs with NWP07 on scope, there are comparatively few that are currently delivering NWP07 training, thus making access to RTOs difficult in some regions.

Over 70% of respondents indicated that their organisation had accessed federal government funding to support training. A similar number had accessed state or territory government funding, while only 6% of respondents indicated that they did not access external funding for training. This figure is considerably lower than the other government and community safety sectors and is likely to be influenced by the eligibility criteria that excludes many government organisations in GSA’s other sectors. Training funds that were being accessed by water organisations included NWDF, WELL, state-based PPP, Skills for All, Strategic Investment Fund, Existing Worker, and Australian Apprenticeships. NWDF funding was being utilised to access certificate IV and diploma level water qualifications in addition to qualifications in asset management and project management.

Overall view of training Almost 90% of respondents felt that staff skills and productivity had increased as a result of receiving training. Some respondents felt that further improvements would be seen if there was a greater focus on applied learning rather than theory and if the skills learnt were reinforced regularly through utilisation in the workplace. Ensuring that the training is tailored to the specific requirements of roles was also seen as a key to further improvements.

Training budgets and funding Approximately one-third of survey respondents indicated that their training budget was not sufficient to meet staff training needs. Almost 50% of respondents indicated that their training budget increased in 2012-13 compared to 2011-12, while 18% reported a decrease. The remaining 35% indicated that their training budget was comparable across the 2011-12 and 2012-13 financial years.

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Figure 38. Barriers to staff from the water sector undertaking training Cost of training

44%

Competing training demands

38%

Availability of training/lack of access to RTOs

38%

No time for training in the workplace due to workload

38%

Location

31%

Limited training budget/funding

25%

Not aware of training opportunities

25%

Employee foundation skills (including language, literacy and numeracy) are limiting further training

13%

Administrative requirements are too onerous

6%

Staff are reluctant to undertake training

6%

Current training is not meeting organisational needs

6%

No coordinated approach to training

6%

Training needs not yet identified

6%

Staff not available to backfill

6%

Considered not relevant to staff role/organisation

6%

No barriers

19% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA enterprise survey

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Current state of training: RTO perspective Responses were received from a mixture of public, private and enterprise RTOs in addition to an adult community education provider. Responding training providers were based in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales but indicated delivery across all states and territories. The qualifications that were being delivered the most frequently by responding RTOs were the Certificate III in Water Operations (77% of respondents), Certificate II in Water Operations (54%) and Certificate IV in Water Operations (46%). Almost 40% of respondents were also delivering the Diploma of Water Operations. Approximately one-half of respondents indicated that their RTO delivers units of competency that are not delivered as a part of a qualification, whilst 31% indicated that they deliver non-accredited water training. These results were largely consistent with the 2013 Environmental scan [24]. The most common delivery methods being used by responding training providers include face-to-face learning (69%), on-the-job learning (62%), and blended delivery (62%). Just below one-half of respondents indicated that they offer distance learning, while almost one-third offer e-learning. With regard to NWP07 specialisation areas, whilst only a small number of responses were received, approximately one-third indicated that they had experienced a recent increase in demand for water treatment and groundwater training. Consistent demand for water treatment, wastewater treatment, wastewater collection, and water distribution and collection were reported by over one-third of respondents. Few training providers reported a decrease in demand for water specialisation areas. The majority (57%) of responding training providers that offer the Certificate II in Water Operations indicated that there had been a recent decrease in demand; however, increased demand was reported by the majority of training providers that offered the Certificate III and IV in Water Operations and the Diploma of Water Operations. Respondents that have experienced increased demand indicated that reasons included a greater commercial focus on their part and the upskilling of the water workforce. Those that reported decreased demand indicated that many workers in their region already held qualifications, whilst others felt that funding was a contributing factor.

RTO SURVEY RESPONDENT SNAPSHOT Location

Vic, NSW, Qld Regional coverage (% of respondents)

15%

metropolitan

8%

rural/remote

31%

regional centre

8%

statewide

38% national

RTO type (% of respondents)*

8% enterprise 31% private 46% public 8% adult community education Delivery locations

All states and territories * The remaining respondents indicated that they partner with an RTO

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Barriers related to NWP07 delivery When asked what barriers were faced in delivering NWP07 training, the most common responses were: >> a lack of suitably qualified and experienced trainers and assessors >> a lack of funding to develop training resources >> the availability of resources >> a lack of demand for the training package >> units of competency require review (Figure 39). Many of these barriers align closely with data collection for the 2013 Environmental scan [24] and the Water Training Package: capacity, capabilities and challenges report [164]. With regard to the issue of a lack of suitable trainers and assessors, respondents indicated that whilst there are many industry experts available, few have capabilities in training and assessment, and many are not willing to complete the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. Other respondents indicated that they are often susceptible to having their trainers and assessors recruited by a competitor after investing in their development, while others could not promise continual work. As indicated in earlier GSA reports [24], there is work currently underway within the water industry to develop a national water training and assessment network based on the NSW Water Training and Assessment Network (NSW WTAN) model [165] [166]. The issues of availability of training resources and the lack of funding to develop resources may be partially addressed by GSA’s National Water Learning Resources. In 2010, the National Water Commission funded the development of the National Water Learning Resources by GSA, in consultation with industry. These products provide a suite of resources aligned to qualifications from NWP07 and can be purchased by RTOs through GSA. GSA plan to review these existing resources with a view to updating and improving them following the completion of the current NWP07 review. The majority of GSA survey respondents (69%) indicated that they would consider purchasing updated resources if they were available. Those that would not purchase updated resources indicated that cost was an issue for their RTO or that they preferred to develop their own resources. Some respondents that reported the availability of training resources as an issue indicated that they have developed further resources to supplement GSA’s, whilst others have developed all of their own. As a means of reducing the cost associated with resource

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development, some respondents indicated that they have partnered with external clients. A number of training providers highlighted specific NWP07 units that they felt require review. These will be addressed through the current review of NWP07 as part of the implementation of the new Standards for training packages. During this process, consideration will also be given to the development of new units where necessary. This process will align with the development of the water industry occupation and competency framework discussed later. In addition to the barriers mentioned earlier, responding training providers also indicated that they were concerned with the recent and proposed changes to the VET system and the onerous administration and compliance requirements that they must adhere to. Consistent with the other government and community safety sectors, the main concerns in these areas were the additional time and costs involved, with many training providers needing to update administrative systems in response to these changes. ASQA fee increases and the audit process were also highlighted as concerns by some training providers.

Current state of training: industry stakeholder perspective Stakeholders indicated that the expected introduction of a national certification scheme for water operators has already prompted a greater focus on training, and on aligning this training to operational needs. It has been observed that some organisations recognised the importance of improving staff training regardless of whether the national certification scheme is introduced. Stakeholders felt that the expected introduction of the scheme will prompt a further increase in training activity within the sector. Concerns were raised that, in some states, the units offered by RTOs do not align with training needs. Comments were also received regarding a lack of quality trainers within the sector, with some RTOs delivering what is considered to be sub-standard training. It was felt that some RTOs have the capacity to deliver quality training in specific areas, with capacity in other areas limited by the experience and knowledge of their trainers. In contrast, it was also indicated that some organisations within the industry may not prioritise training and subsequently may not be prepared to pay what is required for suitable training. With regard to NWP07, Water IAC members and stakeholders generally felt that the package was


Figure 39. The main barriers that RTOs face in offering NWP07 training Availability of suitably qualified and experienced trainers and/or assessors

46%

No funding to develop training resources

46%

Availability of training resources to support delivery of NWP07 training

38%

Lack of demand for the training package

38%

Units of competency require review

31%

Qualifications require review

23%

Skill sets require review

23%

Lack of flexibility in packaging rules and/or choice of electives

23%

Administration and compliance requirements are too onerous

23%

Considered not relevant to the workplace

15%

RTOs do not consider it commercially viable

15%

Limited access to e-learning

8%

Industry uses other training packages in preference

8%

Industry contacts don't know about the training package

8%

No barriers

0% Percentage of respondents

Results are based on responses to the GSA RTO survey

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135


3 CURRENT IMPACT OF THE TRAINING PACKAGE

effectively meeting industry needs. As indicated earlier, the issues related to the training package tended to focus on training delivery rather than the content of the package itself. Respondents reiterated the need for skill sets to be introduced, which supported the findings of GSA’s earlier research [164]. The need for skill sets will be addressed by GSA following the development of the competency framework. The production of good quality non-endorsed material to support NWP07 and the revision of water training resources were also recommended, both of which were highlighted by GSA’s earlier research [164] and will be considered in conjunction with the current review of NWP07.

The development of the framework will assist the water industry to:

Current GSA water projects and initiatives

>> highlight gaps for further development and improvement of the training package.

Throughout 2013, GSA engaged with the water sector through the IAC, workshops, surveys, conferences, and TRGs. In the previous 12 months, GSA has been involved in a number of projects and initiatives related to NWP07 and water industry training, including: >> preparation of the Water Training Package: capacity, capabilities and challenges report [164] >> a feasibility study into the establishment of a trade pathway for water operators >> the development of a water industry occupation and competency framework >> scoping to determine interest in a water qualifications alignment and equivalency project for Australia and New Zealand.

Water industry occupation and competency framework GSA recognises the importance for an industry coordinated approach to the definition of job roles and skill requirements for occupations within the water industry. In 2013, GSA was engaged by WSAA through federal funding to develop and establish an occupation and competency framework. The framework will define competency requirements for specific water occupations covered by the Water Training Package. When completed, the framework will be included in the companion volume of the training package. The project is being undertaken concurrently with a review of NWP to implement the new Standards for training packages.

136

Government Skills Australia

>> define and clarify roles within the water industry nationally >> build the case for expansion and improved representation in the ANZSCO codes and for data collection >> provide a guide for industry to meet any certification or licensing of occupations within the water industry >> recognise the skills required of individuals responsible for the provision of drinking water and treatment of sewage in Australian communities

Work commenced in January 2013 with high level consultation to determine functional groups based on occupations. These groups covered the specialist areas of hydrography, processing, networks, source, and compliance. TRGs were formed to assist GSA, with approximately 45 water specialists generously offering their time and expertise. The Water IAC also contributed to the project. The TRGs have assisted GSA to analyse the occupations in the abovementioned areas. The analysis is also being used to validate and develop the existing qualifications in the training package and identify any gaps to develop units of competency, skill sets or qualifications. The water industry occupations and competency framework is due for completion in June 2014.


GSA WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT CASE STUDY: WATER Bridging the digital divide: Southern Water Southern Water was the largest of Tasmania’s three council-owned water and sewerage corporations, managing approximately half of the state’s water and sewerage infrastructure. It was formed in 2009 when water and sewerage personnel and infrastructure were brought together into a new entity. According to Southern Water’s Manager of People and Capability, Beverley Cummings, the merger had employees going in 13 different directions. “The majority simply couldn’t see the benefit of working for the new organisation, and ‘we don’t do it like that here’ was a common refrain”, she said. This came on top of Southern Water’s understanding that without a structured workforce development plan it would become increasingly difficult to recruit and retain high-calibre employees and deal with the reality of an ageing workforce. Taken on in 2010 to develop such a plan for the organisation as it matured, Beverley found that training records were either non-existent or, at the very best, patchy. She set about interviewing every employee, all 460 of them, to capture important information, especially in relation to safety training and development mapping.

Southern Water partnered with Work and Training Limited (an RTO) for the training, which to date has focused on building the confidence of employees who are not used to operating a personal computer and in using business technologies, such as printers, facsimile machines and cameras. The project is already successful in boosting confidence and productivity, in particular, the accuracy (up by 81%) and timely delivery of work (up by 90%).

"For many of our workers in the field it has been their first opportunity to participate in any ICT training, and it's extremely gratifying to see uncertainty disappear, replaced by a growing confidence and pride in accomplishments." Beverley Cummings

Manager, People and Capability Southern Water Southern Water was named Tasmania’s 2012 Employer of the Year for its workforce development programs.

She said both the goodwill generated by the interview process, and the performance development plans that followed, have been critical in cultivating a oneorganisation culture. The process also pointed to an urgent need for upskilling in ICT. Pre-assessment showed that 55% of employees did not know how to start a computer, 27% did not know how to navigate a desktop and 46% could not type more than 15 words per minute. In an inventive twist, Southern Water was successful in applying for funding for three years for its Get Online initiative under the WELL program.

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137


SUPPORTING INFORMATION LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS USED ABS

Australian Bureau of Statistics

LGA

Local Government Area

ACELG

Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government

LGA04

Local Government Training Package

ACSF

Australian Core Skills Framework

LGAQ

Local Government Association of Queensland

ADF

Australian Defence Force

LGAT

Local Government Association of Tasmania

AFAC

Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council

LLN

Language, literacy and numeracy

ALGA

Australian Local Government Association

NBN

National Broadband Network

ALGWE

Australian Local Government Workforce and Employment Census

NCVER

National Centre for Vocational Education Research

ANZPAA

Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency

NEMVAP

National Emergency Management Volunteer Action Plan

ANZSCO

Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations

NSSC

National Skills Standards Council

NWDF

National Workforce Development Fund

APS

Australian Public Service

NWP07

Water Training Package

ASQA

Australian Skills Quality Authority

OHS

Occupational health and safety

AWA

Australian Water Association

PIAAC

AWPA

Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency

Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies

PSP12

Public Sector Training Package

COAG

Council of Australian Governments

PSTRE

CPSISC

Construction and Property Services Industry Skills Council

Problem solving in technologyrich environments

PUA12

Public Safety Training Package

PV

Photovoltaic

RPL

Recognition of prior learning

RTO

Registered Training Organisation

SCADA

Supervisory control and data acquisition

CSC12

Correctional Services Training Package

DEF12

Defence Training Package

EBPPP

Enterprise-Based Productivity Places Program

FLAG

Flexible Learning Advisory Group

FTE

Full-time equivalent

GDP

Gross Domestic Product

GIS

Geographic information systems

GSA

Government Skills Australia

HR

Human resources

IAC

Industry Advisory Committee

IBSA

Innovation and Business Skills Australia

ICT

Information and communications technology

IPWEA

Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia

ISC

Industry Skills Council

JRG

Jurisdictional Reference Group

138

Government Skills Australia

SCOTESE Standing Council on Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment SES

State Emergency Service

SSA

State Services Authority

TRG

Technical reference group

USI

Unique Student Identifier

VET

Vocational Education and Training

WELL

Workplace English Language and Literacy

WHS

Work health and safety

WIST

Water Industry Skills Taskforce

WSAA

Water Services Association of Australia


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State Services Authority, “Organisational change,” 2013.

[149]

State Services Authority, “Organisational culture,” 2013.

[150]

Public Sector Management Program, “The public sector management program,” [Online]. Available: http://www.psmprogram.gov.au/. [Accessed 8 November 2013].

[151]

Australian Public Service Commission, “Leading Australia’s future in the Asia-Pacific,” [Online]. Available: http://www.apsc.gov.au/learn/leadership/lafia. [Accessed 9 December 2013].

[152]

NSW Public Service Commission, “The NSW public sector capability framework,” 2013.

[153]

State Services Authority, “The Victorian public employment capability framework,” 2006.

[154]

State Services Authority, “Workforce planning risks and challenges in the Victorian public sector: update report 2011,” 2012.

[155]

Australian Water Association/Deloitte, “State of the water sector report,” 2013.

[156]

Australian Water Association/Deloitte, “State of the water sector report,” 2012.

[157]

Water Services Association of Australia, “Using water wisely,” 2013.

[158]

Australian Water Association, “Water efficiency: the case for water efficiency,” 2012.

[159]

J. James, “Training needs of local government water industry employees on the Mid Coast and North Coast of NSW,” NSW Public Sector Industry Training Advisory Body, 2012.

[160]

J. James, “Training needs of local government water industry employees in the New England region of NSW,” NSW Public Sector Industry Training Advisory Body, 2012.

[161]

Australian Water Association, “AWA national water skills audit report 2011,” 2011.

[162]

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[163]

Water Industry Skills Taskforce, “National skills forum report,” 2012.

[164]

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SUPPORTING INFORMATION

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS GSA received strong support from across the government and community safety sectors during the preparation of the 2014 Environmental scan. Over 300 respondents provided input via GSA’s surveys, whilst further information was taken from GSA’s other 2013 research activities and through industry liaison. GSA would like to acknowledge everyone who contributed information to the 2014 Environmental scan. The following organisations have given permission for their names to be listed as an acknowledgement. ACT Emergency Services Agency

Central Coast Council

ACTEW Corporation

Central Highlands Council

Department for Correctional Services, South Australia

Adelaide City Council

Central Institute of Technology

Department of Agriculture and Food WA

Aerospace Training Services

Charters Towers Regional Council

Airservices Australia

City of Canning

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Alice Springs Town Council

City of Charles Sturt

Alpine Shire Council

City of Darwin

Ararat Rural City Council

City of Greater Bendigo

Architects Board of Western Australia

City of Greater Geraldton

Armidale Dumaresq Council

City of Melville

Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council

City of Prospect

Australian College of Community Safety

City of Stirling

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

City of Tea Tree Gully

City of Rockingham

Department of Corrective Services, Western Australia Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts - Tasmania Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Victoria Department of Finance, Western Australia Department of Fire and Emergency Services (WA) Department of Justice, Victoria

City of Vincent

Department of Local Government and Communities

City of Wagga Wagga

Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor

City of Whittlesea

Department of State Development WA

Australian Water Association

Coffs Harbour Water

Australian Workplace Training

Coliban Water

Department of Training and Workforce Development

Banyule City Council

College for Law Education and Training

District Council of Barunga West

Barcaldine Regional Council

Conargo Shire Council

District Council of Franklin Harbour

Bellingen Shire Council

Construction Training Fund

District Council of Karoonda East Murray

Blackall-Tambo Regional Council

Coomalie Community Government Council

District Council of Tumby Bay

Bland Shire Council

Cooma-Monaro Shire Council

Boorowa Council

Coonamble Shire Council

Diverse Training Concepts Professional Training Solutions

Broken Hill City Council

Cootamundra Shire Council

Brush Farm Corrective Services Academy, Corrective Services NSW

Courts Administration Authority

Bundaberg Regional Council

CPSU (SPSFT) Inc

Burnie City Council

CY O’Connor Institute

Burwood Council

Department for Communities and Social Inclusion

Australian Emergency Management Institute Australian School of Emergency Management

Cairns Regional Council Carrathool Shire Council

146

Government Skills Australia

Cowra Shire Council

East Gippsland Shire Council East Gippsland Water Emergency and Incident Management Services Pty Ltd (EIMS) Emergency Management Queensland Fire and Rescue NSW Fire and Safety Australia Pty Ltd Forestry Tasmania


G4S Custodial Services Pty Ltd

Northern Territory Government Office of Children and Families

State Services Authority (Victoria)

Gilgandra Shire Council Gladstone Regional Council

NSW Department of Primary Industries

Surf Coast Shire Council

Glenorchy City Council

NSW Department of Primary Industries trading as Tocal College

Surf Lifesaving Australia

Gosford City Council Goulburn Mulwaree Council Goulburn Murray Water Great Southern Institute of Technology Griffith City Council GSA’s Industry Advisory Committees for Correctional Services, Local Government, Public Safety and Water, and GSA’s Public Sector Jurisdictional Reference Group

NSW Health NSW Police Force NSW State Emergency Service NSW TAFE Illawarra Institute Office of Rail Safety Office of the Commissioner of Public Employment, Northern Territory

State Water Corporation

Sydney Water Tasmania Fire Service Tasmania State Emergency Service Tasmanian Department of Justice TasTAFE – Built Environment Thales The Hills Shire Council

Open Training and Education Network

The Learning Collaborative

Guyra Shire Council

OTEN NSW TAFE – Western Sydney Institute

Tiwi Islands Shire Council

Gympie Regional Council

PARASOL EMT Pty Ltd

Handa Training Solutions

Penrith City Council

Total Height Safety Pty Ltd and Petzl Technical Institute Australia and New Zealand

Juvenile Justice NSW - Department of Attorney General and Justice

Pentair Water and Environmental Systems

Town of Bassendean

Power and Water Corporation

Kangaroo Island Council

Protector Alsafe Training and Services

Katherine Town Council

Public Sector Commission (WA)

Training and Development Unit, Department of Justice and Attorney General – Queensland

Kentish Council

Queensland Bulk Water Supply Authority (trading as Seqwater)

Tumbarumba Shire Council

Kiama Municipal Council Kimberley Training Institute

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service

United Services Union

King Island Council

Queensland Police Service

Unitywater

Kingborough Council

Queensland Urban Utilities

Urana Shire Council

Knox City Council

R. J. Allen’s Training and Assessment Services

Veolia Water Australia

Riklan Emergency Management Services Pty Ltd

Walgett Shire Council

Launceston City Council Life Saving Victoria Local Government Association of SA Local Government Association of Tasmania Local Government NSW Local Government Training Institute Mackay Regional Council Maitland City Council Marine Rescue NSW Maxima Group Inc. Metropolitan Cemeteries Board Mines Rescue Pty Ltd Moonee Valley City Council Moree Plains Shire Council Murray Shire Council Murrindindi Shire Council National Measurement Institute, a division of the Department of Industry Nillumbik Shire Council North Burnett Regional Council North Sydney Council Northern Territory Department of Correctional Services

Riverina Community College Rockdale City Council Rockhampton Regional Council

Tweed Shire Council

Victoria State Emergency Service Authority Wannon Water Warringah Council Water Corporation (WA)

Roper Gulf Shire Council

Water Industry Operators Association of Australia (WIOA)

SA Water

Water Industry Training Centre Pty Ltd

Saferight

Water Industry Training NZ

Serco Australia

Water Training Australia Pty Ltd

Shire of Dalwallinu

Wattle Range Council

Shire of Esperance

Waverley Council

Shire of Halls Creek

Wellington Shire Council

Shire of Irwin

West Wimmera Shire Council

Shire of Mundaring

Western Australia Police

Shire of Murray Shire of Northam

Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA)

Shire of Toodyay

Wide Bay Institute of TAFE

Shoalhaven Water (a business unit of Shoalhaven City Council)

Wollondilly Shire Council Yarra Valley Water

Simmonds and Bristow Pty Ltd South Australian Country Fire Service South Western Sydney Institute of TAFE State Service Management Office, Tasmania

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