The New system for Training Product Development – Some initial thoughts
April 22, 2015 1 Comment
The Federal Government yesterday released its new system for the development of Training Products (note the interesting change in terminology) for the Australian VET system. The New system is very much like Option Two from the original consultation paper which I have supported as being the most sensible of the three options that were under discussion. So what does the new package look like; below is a copy from the diagram which can be found here.
The differences between this model and the old model, in which the Industry Skills Councils (ISC) controlled both industry engagement and the development of the packages is easy to see. Under the new system Industry engagement activities, environment scans and the oversight of the development of training products would rest with Industry Reference Committees (IRC), while the actual development of the packages and other associated support activities would rest with the Service Skills Organisations (SSO). All of these bodies and activities would be overseen by the Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC). An outline of the new system can be found in this factsheet.
So what do each of these bodies do and what does it all mean.
The IRC’s ‘provide the industry engagement mechanism at the centre of training product development. They provide the forum for industry engagement, an avenue for feedback on industry trends and a conduit for promoting VET. Industry reference committees or similar representative arrangements underpin the current arrangements by industry skills councils to guide and provide input on industry demand for qualifications. Committees would be set up on an as needs basis. Some may operate on a standing basis and meet regularly given the priority of training for the sector or the rate of change to training products. Some may be stood up for a specific purpose and would be time limited’.
The SSO’s ‘will be incorporated entities with professional boards overseeing their operations and services to industry reference committees. The organisation will receive funding to provide technical, operational and secretariat support to industry reference committees assigned to them. In addition to supporting industry reference committees discharge their responsibilities, the service organisations will also:
- be responsible for facilitating the development of training products on behalf of their IRCs, including engagement across industry and the training sector;
- provide quality assurance of training products and conduct the training product development process in accordance with the approved IRC business case;
- manage the training products through the endorsement process on behalf of their IRC;
- upload training products and other materials, including procedural information, onto ww.training.gov.au; and
- prepare support materials and services as agreed with their IRC, to help with quality training delivery’.
So essentially what has occurred is that the industry engagement and consultation process, in particular what packages and qualifications require updating etc, has been split away from the process of the actual development of the package. Personally I think this is a good thing, I along with others in the sector have been critical (too greater and lesser extents depending on the ISC) of the level of industry engagement underpinning the development of recent training packages as well as the make up of, and in some cases seeming lack of ‘new blood,’ for want of a better word, in the boards and executive committees of these organisations. The IRC concept where the committee is either a standing committee (where there is evidence of the possibility of rapid change in terms of training needs), a short-term ad hoc committee, or a time limited committee which is formed for a particular purpose, allows for a level of flexibility which I feel is not currently part of the existing system as well as enabling these committees to be convened with members with substantial industry and training experience in the sector or qualification/s which are going to be under review. This should decrease, in my opinion, what we have seen in some sectors where certain segments of that sector have been somewhat over represented in the memberships of some of the ISC’s.
So people have suggested that they can not see the space for trainers and assessors within this structure, for me though there is plenty of space and opportunity for trainers, assessors and other VET people within this system, even more perhaps than there was in the old system. Training and Assessment people can, and in some cases should be members of IRC’s particularly where they have dual skill sets as both industry professionals and VET Professional or where the qualification is one that relates to training and assessment. There is also space for them in the work of the SSO’s who are responsible for the development of the Training Products, products should not be developed without the input of VET professionals as well as industry. Are they stated categorically as members in certain areas, no, but then again really no other groups of people are formally recognised as needing to have membership at any of the levels. What this new system should provide however is better ability for input to given, by all areas relevant to the development of a Training Product.
One final word, some people have also commented on the use of the word training product, rather than training package for me the change is not something substantial it simply reflects as it notes in the fact sheet that the term training product refers to both the package and the qualifications that reside within that package.
Anyway that’s my opinion.
Paul can be contacted at