Skills eFlash #125

Skills eFlash #125

Skills eFlash #125
Date: 09-Feb-2024

Date: 9 February 2024

In this edition:  | Water Skills Forum 2024 | Micro credentials update | QWRAP HR / IR Toolkit | Build Skills Australia JSC Roundtable | Free Apprenticeships extended and much more!

1. Annual Water Skills Forum 2024

The Queensland Water Skills Partnership is hosting its annual Water Skills Forum on Friday 19 April 2024 at Parliament House in Brisbane.

Over the past twelve months, significant progress has been made across a range of workforce and training initiatives. This Forum showcases some of those initiatives from a range of organisations and outlines several new workforce and training initiatives designed by the sector for the sector.

Following six successful forums, the 2024 forum will provide an opportunity for Water and Sewerage Managers, Human Resources and Learning and Development professionals to hear presentations from water industry and other workforce experts and Government stakeholders.

The theme for 2024 is The Urban Water Workforce - Recognition & Resilience. 

Click here for more information and to register.

2. QWRAP HR / IR Toolkit Project

QWRAP is excited about a new project underway to assist its’ member organisations implement practical changes at a local level to enhance the recruitment and retention of water operators. 

Over the years, water operators’ skills and responsibilities have increased in line with the increasing complexity of treatment plants and changing regulatory requirements. 

Unfortunately, the Local Government classification system and resulting remuneration has not kept pace with this, meaning employers need to find innovative approaches within available human resource / industrial relations opportunities to recruit and retain much needed staff. 

The QWRAP HR / IR Toolkit project is due in early 2024 and will provide QWRAP members a toolkit of ideas and materials they can implement within their existing Local Government Water businesses to assist them in attracting and retaining water treatment plant operators. Focus areas include:

  • Strategies / actions to improve recruitment outcomes 
  • Strategies / actions to improve retention including but not limited to enhanced operator employment arrangements, and potential for annualised salaries to enhance conditions.
  • Practical case studies of successful innovative HR / IR strategies
  • Developing sample generic position descriptions (PDs) appropriate for QLD Local Government use that describe the skills of a modern operator. 

The toolkit is approximately 80% drafted and on completion will be provided to a QWRAP reference group for review / feedback prior to the official launch at the Water Skills Forum on 19 April 2024.

The sample generic PDs for treatment, networks and combined treatment / networks roles have all been drafted. These are currently being reviewed by a Manager, Workforce and Industrial Relations at Local Government Association QLD (LGAQ) from an industrial relations perspective and by qldwater from a technical perspective. 

If you would like to contribute information / details about successful initiatives to enhance recruitment and retention in your organisation that could inform this project, please contact David Wiskar

This work is made possible through the ongoing funding support for QWRAP by state department DRDMW.

3. Inside Water article on Diversity and Inclusion

The latest edition of Inside Water magazine features an article on diversity and inclusion in the Queensland water sector, contributed by the qldwater team. Check it out!

4. DESBT funded qldwater Micro Credentials Project update

Work has begun on the development of the micro credentials which were selected by the Water Skills Partnership at a special meeting in 2022. 

Development of these micro credentials (MCs) is made possible through the support of DESBT through their 2023 MC project.

MCs are being developed in:

  • Fluoridation of Water Supplies in Qld for Operators 
  • Fluoridation of Water Supplies in Qld for Non-Operators / Regulators 
  • SCADA Introduction 
  • Making Use of Water Quality Data 
  • Drinking Water Quality Management Plans – Practical Implications 

Development partners have been engaged and are underway on the design of resources and materials. The project plan is to have MCs ready for launch at the annual Skills Forum (19 April 2024 at Parliament House in Brisbane).

MCs will be ready for delivery to cohorts around June and July 2024. The Water Industry Worker Program will help to coordinate the cohorts and attendees.

This work is made possible through the funding support provided by state department DESBT.

5. Invitation - BuildSkills Australia State/Territory Roundtables

If you’ve been following the Skills E Flashes, you’ll be aware that the water sector now resides in the newly formed Jobs & Skills Council (JSC) called “Build Skills Australia” (BSA).

BSA is preparing the first ever Built Environment Workforce Plan to guide a national response to the skills shortages facing the construction, property and water industries.

They’re hosting a number of roundtable events inviting sector members to come and be part of the discussions to help shape the national plans for the future of jobs and skills in our industry.

The roundtable in Brisbane takes place on February 22 at 9am to 2pm

You can find all the details of the event here, including registration, which is free.

6. DESBT launches New Apprenticeships Info digital card and app

In response to the 2022 Queensland Training Ombudsman’s review into apprentice and trainee support, a new Apprenticeships Info digital card and app has been launched this week. Designed to give quick and easy access to the Apprenticeships Info contact number, apprentices and trainees can now view this important information and add the digital card to their mobile phone wallet.

The app includes a wide range of bite-sized guidance and support, including information on getting started, available financial assistance, a who’s who guide to the apprenticeship process, information on how to manage problems that may occur during training, and important contacts and services they can contact throughout their apprenticeship or traineeship. 

It is now available to download for both iPhone and Android devices via the department’s website.

If you would like further information regarding this digital card and app, please email the team.

7. Skilling Queenslanders for Work – Round 1 opens 29 January

The first funding round for 2024-2025 opens 29 January.

The Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative funds community organisations to deliver training and support programs to up to 15,000 unemployed or underemployed Queenslanders, focusing on:

  • Young people (including those in and transitioned from out-of-home care)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • People with disability
  • Mature age job seekers
  • Women re-entering the workforce
  • Veterans and ex-Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families
  • People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • Recently released prisoners.

SQW information sessions are being held across the region and you can register for your local session below. 

If you would like more information about these sessions, please contact make contact. 

You can learn more about the SQW initiative through this factsheet 

8. Free apprenticeships for under 25s

The Queensland Government will cover the cost of training with a training provider when people under 25 years old choose a high priority apprenticeship or traineeship. New apprenticeships and traineeships must commence before 31 December 2024.

For information on eligibility and to find out which priority apprenticeships and traineeships are offered under the program, click here.

9. Australian Labour Market for Migrants (ALMM) report – Jobs & Skills Australia

The January 2024 Australian Labour Market for Migrants (ALMM) report is now out.

The ALMM report provides high-level data and analysis on the Australian labour market, to better inform people interested in working in Australia on a temporary or permanent basis, and organisations providing services to migrants and potential visa applicants.

The Hot Topic for this release provides an overview of the number of employer-sponsored primary temporary skill visas granted to overseas workers to help to meet workforce needs in Australia.

Read the full report

10. Jobs Queensland Workforce Planning Guides

Whatever your workforce planning needs might be, Jobs Queensland have a guide to support you.

Guide for the Regions

Guide for the Industry

11. Hiring Outside the Box webinar – Creating Effective Job Advertisements

DEWR will hold its first event on 14 February 2024 in the Hiring Outside the Box series with a webinar on creating effective jobs advertisements. Industry experts and employer guest speakers will share their experience and practical tips for writing the perfect job advertisement. 

All the details and registration access is here.

12. Supporting Diverse Workforces

Calling all community services sector leaders, managers and human resource professionals! It’s time to re-evaluate and reform your human resources strategy!

Join QCOSS for a free, five-part series and learn how to build a stable and genuinely diverse employee base and communicate your organisations value to talented jobseekers.

Each session, you’ll hear from HR experts and panellists, focusing on the experiences of diverse cohorts in the workforce. Case studies, stories, and lived experience will be shared to bring the human resources theory to life.

Register here


Kind Regards,


qldwater is a business unit of IPWEAQ

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