Industry Engagement in Training Package Development Discussion Paper – Some early thoughts
December 2, 2014 1 Comment
As most of us know the Department has released its consultation paper on the development of training packages and how packages may be developed going forward now that the ISC’s are being disbanded in the middle of next year. I don’t intend to discuss a lot of the background and supporting discussion here suffice to say that I definitely endorse the position that ‘one of the aims of the review is to ensure more direct industry involvement in the development and review of training packages. I want to focus on the three options put up for discussion and I guess point in direction that I am tending to lean towards.
Option 1 – Purchase training package development as the need arises: Training Development Panel
While I like the what appears to be the high level of flexibility of this approach I am concerned about a number of things, most importantly the perception that large or well-funded sectors may have much better ability to have their training packages reviewed at the expense of small or less well resourced sectors. I am generally in favour of the technical writers being independent and without vested interest, I am not sure however about how much industry engagement is actually going to happen, how it will be handled and how it will flow through to the technical writers.
Option 2 – Industry Assigns responsibilities to preferred organisations
I like this option, it is currently the one I am leaning towards it tends in my view to represent a solid mid-point between the very open first option and the third option or what is currently the case. In this option Industry would be given the opportunity to form committees to represent their skill needs and to develop and maintain the packages. These committees would manage and coordinate the operation of the approach. The committees would be the engagement point with the industries they represent and would identify the skills and needs. They would then utilise the training development panel to take these needs and skills and codify them into training packages. This seems to me to be the approach which best marries the needs of industry, (this model should I think provide a high level of engagement) with development needs. It is also less like to be effected by sector size or resources in terms of recognition of sectoral need. In addition, without a standing edifice that we currently have with the ISC’s costs associated with development may be reduced.
Option 3 – Government contracts for Designated VET sector bodies
Isn’t this what we already have albeit with talk of reducing the number of bodies. There would need to be substantive change in the way industry engagement is done and managed in these new bodies to make me feel comfortable with this as a preferred option. The system is currently cumbersome and slow to react to the needs of industry and reducing the number of sector bodies would I think only increase the difficulties we currently see with the system.
So there we go. For my mind at least and from a purely pragmatic point of view I guess Option 2 is the best option. It seems to me to be the one that has the best ability to provide robust industry engagement, which should therefore provide us with the skills and knowledge needed for workers in the industry sector in question, both current and future requirements. These skills and knowledge can then be developed, by the training development panel into packages with meet the standards, which can then be verified by the committee as meeting industry requirements. It strikes me as an approach which could be very agile (in the project management sense) which should therefore return solid results for everyone.