Skills eFlash #100

Skills eFlash #100

Skills eFlash #100
Date: 27-Aug-2021

In this edition: Water Industry Workforce Snapshot Report| Operator Registration| Qualifications Reform Survey| Fundamentals Webinars| Lifelong Learning Report| Skills Advocacy| Upcoming Events

1. Water Industry Workforce Snapshot Report

The 2020 Queensland Urban Water Industry Workforce Composition Snapshot Report is now available for download on the qldwater website, along with a one page overview of the key issues identified in the report.

The biennial report once again shows the industry is challenged by an ageing workforce, with 35% of the workforce aged over 50 years and 11% aged under 30 years. The gender balance has remained largely unchanged from the previous report with women comprising 30% of the water industry workforce in Queensland. The report also explores current and predicted future skills shortages in a number of key job roles, with a focus on Civil Construction and Maintenance Workers, Plumbing Trades, Engineering Professionals and Paraprofessionals, Treatment Plant Operators and Supervisors.

Thank you to all those who contributed data to the report. Download the 2020 Snapshot Report.

2. Operator Registration

The National Drinking Water Operator Certification Framework was originally developed in 2012, and Certification was the adopted name as it most accurately reflected the agreed need of the water industry at the time.

Over time, there has been growing confusion over the term as it relates to national Vocational Education and Training terminology where many individuals hold a Certificate II or III, but that doesn’t mean they are “Certified” under the Framework which is the process which ensures that Operators have the units of competency relevant to the specific treatment processes they operate, commit to ongoing skills development and so on.

Following a Taskforce meeting in July this month, draft amendments were made to the Framework to reflect name changes:

Water Industry Operator Registration Framework 2021;

Water Industry Operator Registration Taskforce (WIORT);

Registering Body in lieu of Certifying Body; and 

Registered Professional Operator to replace Certified Operator.

Operators “Certified” under former Frameworks will be automatically recognised as “Registered Professional Operators” under the conditions of this Framework provided the conditions of previous Framework versions, including timeframes, remain met. The only other amendments include revised listings of units of competency to reflect updates to the National Water Training Package (NWP). The new Framework version has now been approved and released. includes a new fact sheet, updated framework document and Terms of reference for the WIORT, with other documents to be updated in due course.

WIOA as the Certifying Body has also updated its pages – refer to

Please contact us if you have any queries. 

3. Qualifications Reform Survey

As we have reported in previous Skills e-Flashes, the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system is undergoing significant reforms. Some concepts have been released for how qualifications will be designed in the future and feedback is invited on the proposals. The Qualifications Reform Survey seeks your feedback on how new qualification design concepts for national training products might work in practice. There will be webinars hosted during September to share information about the proposed changes. Sign up here for updates.

The survey is open until 10am, Monday 20 September 2021.

4. Fundamentals Webinars 

At the request of Water Skills Partners, qldwater’s latest Fundamentals Webinar explored the latest technology available for capturing knowledge and supporting and mentoring remote workers. The session featured a presentation by David Francis, CEO of Virtual Method, who has been at the forefront of consumer-facing commercial assisted and virtual reality since 2010 and has been a keynote speaker around Australia, Europe and across Asia on the application of these technologies across a range of industries. A recording of David’s presentation is available for download by employees of qldwater Members, Affiliates and Water Skills Partners.

Our next webinar will feature a presentation by Gary Fenwick, Leading Vocational Teacher for Water Utilities at SkillsTech - TAFE Queensland on “The basics of instrument verification and validation considering hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)”. Register now for this webinar to be held on Tuesday, 19 October 2021 at 10am. Thank you to SkillsTech for supporting this session.

Recordings of all previous webinars are available to download on the qldwater website. Please contact with any queries about previous or future webinars or to discuss sponsorship opportunities.

5. Lifelong Learning Report

A recent report by Jobs Queensland has recognised the importance of lifelong learning not only for upskilling the workforce, but to support worker attraction and retention and to provide meaningful career development opportunities. Lifelong learning: The foundation of future work examines the lifelong learning characteristics of several countries and regions across the globe, with lessons that can be applied to Queensland. T

he report states that collaboration between government and industry enhances opportunities for lifelong learning. qldwater’sFoundation Skills Micro-Credentials pilot program is a great example of industry’s skilling needs being supported by government.

View the report.

6. Skills Advocacy 

qldwater through the Water Skills Partnership and in our role as an Industry Skills Advisor to the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT) and as a member of the Water Industry Reference Committee, is regularly asked to provide input to policy and investment decisions to support the skilling and training needs of the Queensland water industry workforce. The following is an overview of recent and other related activities:

Meeting with the Queensland Skills Minister

Dave Cameron and Carlie Sargent recently met with Hon Di Farmer, the Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development, in our role as an Industry Skills Advisor, to discuss key skilling and training challenges for the Queensland water industry. Our discussion reinforced the essential services the industry delivers and the importance of having a sustainable, skilled workforce and focused on the need for:

upskilling programs such as gap training/competency clusters/micro-credentials;

a whole of government approach to vulnerability around key operators in regional and remote locations;

encouraging non-traditional workforce segments into the industry;

a regulated minimum standard of competency for operators; and

initiatives to address the thin RTO market

7. Upcoming Events 

Foundation Skills Micro-Credentials, self-paced, online workshops and face to face workshops available. Enrol Now!

Fundamentals Webinar, 10am, Tuesday 19 October, “The basics of instrument verification and validation” presented by Gary Fenwick, SkillsTech - TAFE Queensland. Register now.

Annual Forum, 7-9 September 2021 – View the Program

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