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What's New in VET

Why Vocational Education and Training and Skills Development Matters

SA Unions and affiliates have a strong commitment to training and skills development for new and existing workers to ensure that they have access to decent jobs, pay and conditions.

In particular,

  • a strong, high quality vocational education and training (VET) system that delivers the vocational skills required; provides workers with real choices in their working life and contributes to the development of a cohesive and equitable society is required,
  • an effective VET system is critical to the workforce of the future based on high quality skills and high quality jobs delivering better wages and conditions,
  • more apprentices and trainees should be offered opportunities to participate in employment and training,
  • sustainable economic development and decent work requires associated workforce development, skills and training, including measures to assist the transition of people and skills between sectors,
  • public funding for Australia's VET system is critical to ensure social and economic equity as well as being a significant contributor to meeting the vocational skills needs of the economy - a well-resourced, vibrant and innovative public TAFE sector must be at the centre of Australia's VET system,
  • a strong, properly funded, industry led by the training system plays a positive role in industry development, the provision of quality employment and helps meet the social needs of the community.

Pay Rates for Apprentices

The ACTU and a number of individual unions continue to press for improvements in the rates of pay of apprentices.  For instance, a school leaver undertaking a full time traineeship in Certificate II in Retail would be paid in the order of $9.16 an hour, while a full time first year apprentice undertaking an automotive mechanic apprenticeship would be receiving $7.80 an hour.

Low rates of pay in the first couple of years/stages of an apprenticeship have been highlighted as one reason for low completion rates.  Applications are currently before Fair Work Australia to improve these rates of pay.

Recent Union Forum

A successful forum was held on 27th August 2012 to discuss current issues in the training area and a union response to them.  The following recommendations were made from the forum which have been endorsed by SA Unions Executive.

1.  National/State Policy
The Training and Skills Commission be asked to ensure there is SA input into the process of national harmonisation of the apprenticeship system (including minimum standards, award reviews and dispute resolution processes) and receive regular reports on the national quality system outcomes.

2.  Industry Skills Boards
Unions meet directly with the Premier about the defunding of ISBs.  Unions ensure there is a strong motion and debate about ISB funding and involvement at the State ALP Convention.

3.  Skills for All
The Training and Skills Commission should demand that all data relating for Skills for All is reported to them and ISBs should play a major role in monitoring the behaviour of RTOs and ensuring quality in the system.

4.  Industrial Commission Process for Apprentices and Trainees
The Training and Skills Commission should demand comprehensive reports of the outcomes of Commission proceedings in relation to apprentices and trainee matters.  Unions meet with President of SAIRC to discuss the current process and our concerns about - lack of published outcomes, expertise of Commissioners and the differences between the Training and Skills Act and the Industrial Relations Act.

State Government Bonuses to Employ Trainees and Apprentices

Critical Skills Fund funding is provided under the State Government's Critical Skills Investment Program.  A $4,000 payment is targeted at apprenticeship and traineeship completions in qualifications that are of strategic importance to the state - follow link ....>>

SCHEDULE A - Critical Skills List 2012-13

Qualification Code Qualification Name
AUR30308 Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology
AUR30405 Certificate III in Automotive Mechanical Technology
AUR30511 Certificate III in Marine
AUR30605 Certificate III in Automotive Specialist
AUR30805 Certificate III in Automotive Vehicle Body
ICT40210 Certificate IV in Telecommunications Network Engineering
ICT40510 Certificate IV in Telecommunications Network Planning
MEA40610 Certificate IV in Aeroskills (Avionics)
MEA40710 Certificate IV in Aeroskills (Mechanical)
MEA40810 Certificate IV in Aeroskills (Structures)
MEM30205 Certificate III in Engineering - Mechanical Trade
MEM30305 Certificate III in Engineering - Fabrication Trade
MEM30405 Certificate III in Engineering - Electrical/Electronic Trade
MEM30705 Certificate III in Marine Craft Construction
PMB40107 Certificate IV in Polymer Technology
RII31809 Certificate III in Drilling Operations
RII32011 Certificate III in Drilling Oil/Gas (On Shore)
RII40311 Certificate IV in Metalliferous Mining Operations (Underground)
UEE30407 Certificate III in Data and Voice Communications
UEE30807 Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician
UEE30910 Certificate III in Electronics and Communications
UEE32211 Certificate III in Air-conditioning and Refrigeration
UEE41610 Certificate IV in Renewable Energy
UEE41910 Certificate IV in Electrical - Renewable Energy
UET30209 Certificate III in ESI - Distribution

Relevant Information/Links

Skills for All : Traineeship and Apprenticeship Services -
Skills for All is a South Australian government initiative that is changing the way vocational education and training is funded in South Australia.  The South Australian government has committed $194 million additional funding to help support an additional 100,000 training places from July 2010. South Australians now have the opportunity to gain more qualifications, many at low or no cost, through the Skills for All Training Provider of their choice.

Training and Skills Commission -
The Training and Skills commission plays an important role in promoting quality, protecting apprentices and trainees throughout their training, and providing industry and community advice to Government about higher education, vocational education and training and workforce development. 

Fair Work Australia -
Fair Work Australia (FWA) is the national workplace relations tribunal.  It is an independent body with power to carry out a range of functions.

My Skills is designed to help jobseekers to keep track of their skills and also can generate resumes by tracking their work history, skills attained and contacts.  Skills are recorded according to units of competencies (UOCs) - which facilitates an easy match to job vacancies registered on the Skills4Jobs website.  The site is also a useful career pathway tool - guiding users through the skills most in demand across the manufacturing industry and highlighting qualifications 'within reach' which could be useful in the future.

Job Ready Register
Group Training Australia (SA)'s new online Job Ready Register incorporates an Out of Trade Register which provides employers with details of ready to work retrenched apprentices who are seeking to recommence their apprenticeship with a new employer.  This initiative also links participants in South Australia Works programmes that are related to the building and construction industry with prospective employers.  For further information, visit ...>

Safe Work Australia -
Safe Work Australia is an Australian Government statutory agency established in 2009, with the primary responsibility of improving work health and safety and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia.

The agency is jointly funded by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments facilitated through an intergovernmental agreement signed in July 2008.

Safe Work Australia represents a genuine partnership between governments, unions and industry. Together it works towards the goal of reducing death, injury and disease in the workplace.

Unions Australia -
To protect your rights at work the best thing you can do is join a union. Union members get specialist advice and support from our network of expert staff and workplace delegates.  Contact Unions Australia to join your relevant union.

VET in the SA Certificate of Education (SACE)
The SACE Board is continuing to consult with various organisations about how to provide better agreements for students to undertake vocational education while studying at secondary school and to receive recognition for this in achieving SACE.

SA Unions considers that this initiative has the potential to allow for greater options for students in determining their future work and learning, provided the following requirements are met:

  • the initiative provides a structured exposure to industry and a pathway for school students into employment and further education and training, using school based traineeships/apprenticeships, Industry Pathway Programmes or other industry endorsed arrangements;
  • it provides relevant skills and knowledge to prepare young people for work recognising that these are not necessarily generic and do vary across different industries and;
  • it helps develop industry specific technical skills and knowledge, which meets current industry standards.

A VET Partnership Group comprising representatives from a range of relevant organisations has been established to facilitate discussions about this initiative.  Information is available ...> SACE

For more information contact SA Unions on 8279 2222


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