Queensland Ministerial Industry Commission Roundtable

So I am spending the day today at the Queensland Government Ministerial Industry Commission roundtable to discuss the draft of the Annual Skills Priority Report for 2013-14 for Queensland developed by Deloitte Access Economics.

It should be an interesting day and I will be updating this post as we go through the day with any interesting facts and discussion points as we go through the day.

Currently listening to Michael Roche the Deputy Chair of the Commission speak.

There is need to better link the industry and the outcomes of VET training to better target the public training dollar.

There needs to be a much higher level of flexibility in the delivery of government funded training in order to allow industry to be able to take advantage of innovation and changes in the economy.


Now it is time to hear from the people at Deloitte about their draft report.

Key Factors driving skill need in QLD

Demographic Change
Change of Consumer spending to be ore focussed on services
Productivity through technology and digital disruption
The Changing face of the mining boom
Development within interest rate sensitive sectors
lower Australian dollar

Demographic changes would be expected to show up in and increased demand for health and aged care services.

Housing construction should grow over the next three years while at the same time seeing a slow down in engineering construction.

This should see a 2.5% per year employment growth over the next 3 years.

It is expected that the big growth areas will be Managers, Professionals and Community and Personal Service Workers with growth in these areas expected to be will above the expected state employment growth averages.

There is an expected significant decrease in growth in the Cert i/ii qualification areas which I don’t think is a surprise to anyone. There is however strong growth in the cert iii/iv areas and solid growth expected in the Diploma/Adv Diploma level. There will be an overall increase in the number of VET qualifications held by Queenslanders from about 1.4 million to about 1.8 million.

key points of the report

Electrical trades are growing as there is need for these skills over a range of industry sectors
Generic business skills that are not necessarily business specific Ability to access skill sets to meet needs rather than full qualification.
A key challenge is for RTO and policy makers to be able to stay abreast of changes within various industry in order to be able to meet the industry needs
There is a narrowing of the number of RTO’s within forestry and agriculture
Technological advances are changing rapidly how training needs to be delivered
Low level of faith in a range of qualifications within the Health and Community services area
The skill needs within the Health and community Services sector is moving towards skills sets rather than full qualificiations

Apprenticeship and Traineeship numbers down

So the NCVER have released their December figures for Trainee and Apprenticeships and there is a decided downward direction to the numbers.

So what do these number mean if anything at all.  The Australian Industry Group suggests that “These downward trends reflect continuing employer uncertainty about the state of the economy” and to some extend I think that they are correct and when this is coupled with the changes made by the previous federal government to the funding arrangements for trainees and apprentices the effects has been increased.  Lack of commencement payments, a smaller list of qualifications available and smaller payments overall doesn’t just hurt RTO’s it damages the ability of business to be able to fund the training of staff, particularly in an environment where businesses are uncertain about the economic climate.  Organisations will where they can attempt to recruit staff who already possess the qualifications they require rather than recruiting and then training themselves.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not suggestion that the government should fund qualifications all over the shop (we have seen the disaster that that can cause), nor am I suggesting that the government needs to increase the the amount of finding.  There does however need to be a rethink of how training is funded.  Take for example the idea of a commencement payment, even a relatively small one.  this payment can be used to alleviate some of the cash flow issues that can be involved with completion only funding.  The RTO wants and needs to be paid and doesn’t and probably shouldn’t have to wait up to two years for the person to finish in order to receive payment from the organisation. so business ends up carrying the cash flow issues of paying the training company upfront, or in installments, which can be sustained by larger businesses but which makes it more difficult on smaller businesses to be able to train their staff.

The other side of the coin is that there needs to be real vocational outcomes for people doing any program funded by the government.  If their funded qualification doesn’t have solid vocational outcomes and links then why  is it being funded when there are certainly lots of areas out there where there are clear needs for people with the right skills and qualifications.

or you know it could just have been because it was approaching Christmas.   🙂

You can take your Resilience and shove it!

Or how small things can radically alter training outcomes.

I am often amazed by how what seem like quite small things to us can be absolute deal breakers when it comes to student outcomes in training programs.  Let me give you an example we use the word Resilience, in a lot of our training and workshops, because well a lot of the work that we do is about or with people in crisis and how to assist them while at the same time looking after yourself appropriately.  This could be in the context of mental health, suicide, natural disasters anything really and up until recently the word resilience has never caused us any issues, or adversely effected the outcomes of training.  While working a group of people recently the word resilience and what it meant became a bit of a focal point and as a result we have altered a range of our training programs in response.

So what was the problem?  The problem was that this group and now several others has seen the word resilience as a cop-out, a way of saying, we are not going to actually do anything to help you because we you are ‘resilient’ enough to help yourselves.  The groups had heard the word so often and in so many context where it resulted in no assistance for them, that they had attached a very negative connotation to the word.  So much so in fact that a number of people who would have come to and greatly benefited from the workshop didn’t attend because the work resilience was used in the flyers and promotional materials.

This has really got me wondering though.  How often, despite our best efforts do the words we use in our promotional materials and our training and workshops, have a very different meaning for other, than they do for us and is there any way for us deal with this.  I am not suggesting that we should try and craft the universal, inoffensive language for training, because usually where I have seen attempts at this (read most things written with extreme political correctness) the meaning and importance is lost and I think even less people end up being engaged.  What I am suggesting though is that I think this happens more often than we think, it is just that most of the time people dont say anything at least not publicly, they just say to themselves and their friends, ‘Ah they just banged on about resilience again, same as the last lot,’ and they and their friends and acquaintances never come back.

I would be really interested in hearing if anyone else has had a similar experience.  it would also be great to hear any ideas that people have about how they got over this type of thing.

Warning, Will Robinson! The 70:20:10 model is failing!

Another great post from Sukh

Thinking About Learning

I’ve been considering the 70:20:10 model of learning. The basics of it suggest the following: 70% of what we learn is done on the job / via our own methods. This has been galantly called ‘social learning’ or ‘informal learning’. 20% of what we learn is via coaching/mentoring/good management. 10% of what we learn is via formal learning methods inlcuding learning sessions, e-learning and online learning.

It’s a pretty damning indictment of the state of L&OD. It suggests that the focus of the corporate L&Der should be about supporting and finding ways to enable the social learning that people are already doing.

It suggests that all the coaching programmes we invest heavily in as corporate entities are a waste of money because people aren’t really learning that much through that method anyway.

It suggests that the formal learning activities we engage in are useless.

And I have a fundamental problem…

View original post 687 more words

Trainer Ultilisation, trainer quality and learner outcomes

How many hours a week should a trainer deliver Face to face training?

What is a manageable, reasonable and maintainable number of hours a week in which a trainer can deliver face to face training, and does delivering very high hourly levels of face to face training have an adverse effect on the quality of the training and the learner outcomes?

So the old TAFE award in Queensland said 21 hours a week was the amount a time a trainer could be scheduled for face to face training, so in my book that is three days of training.  The rest of the time was for preparation, marking, administration, professional development and other related activities.  However and this I think is where the question gets interesting, what if the Trainer is a full-time staff member, so 38 Hours a week, and the training is all already developed, there is only a small percentage of marking/assessment involved and most of the administration is done by dedicated administration staff.  Is say 4 days of face to face a sustainable level, where the trainer wont burn out over a period of time and quality and learner outcomes wont suffer?

Before I continue I will say that I think 3 days of face to face a week (60%) of workload, is a good minimum standard.  I say this because I have over the years been involved in roles where the levels of face to face training were much higher and after a while (and really to be honest not all that long), the quality of the presentation and the outcomes for the learner decline.  In my single biggest year as a trainer I trained over 3000 people face to face and worked in excess of 190 days, which works out on average to be 4 days a week. (The fifth day of the week was more often than not taken up with travel)  This I can tell you from first hand experience is unsustainable in the long-term and perhaps even in the medium term.

The other part of this question then also relates to assessment.  Through our RTO we have a fairly large number of students, a lot of whom are doing, assessment only, RPL, distance learning for most of their learning, so for a number of our trainers rather than delivery of face to face training making up the bulk of what they do on a daily basis, assessment is the prime component and for others it is about s 50/50 split.  So therefore a follow-up question is, is it reasonable to expect a trainer might be fully utilised (100% 5 out of 5 days) doing only either face to face training plus assessment?  If that doesn’t seem unreasonable what then is a reasonable split between training and assessment or is it just a scheduling and workload issue at that point?

I have to admit that I have reservations however about suggesting that a trainer/assessor could be for all intents and purposes 100% utilised simply doing training and assessment, without there being a decline in the quality of both the training and the assessment activities and as a result a decline in the learner outcomes.

The final question then is should utilisation be made part of performance reviews, particularly in a situation where the trainer has no control over the amount of training or assessment that will be required on a week to week basis as it is really not about their performance, it is just a question of volume of work.

I would be really interested in hearing what everyone else thinks about this and how (if at all) they use trainer utilisation within their organisations.

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