Skills eFlash #126

Skills eFlash #126

Skills eFlash #126
Date: 07-Mar-2024

Date: 7 March 2024

In this edition:  | Water Skills Forum 2024 | QWRAP HR / IR Toolkit | Micro credentials update |  Hiring Outside the Box 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. The theme for 2024 is The Urban Water Workforce - Recognition & Resilience.

The new Skills Minister, The Honourable Lance McCallum will open the Forum and launch several of the projects that qldwater have been working on.

We have locked in presentations on interesting topics including:

  • work we’ve been doing with LGAQ to align positions descriptions with LG Awards to ensure fair pay for water industry workers (see next item for more information on the project),
  • Central Highland Regional Council's attraction and retention campaign and the the importance of the link between HR and the Water Team,
  • Far North Queensland Water Alliance's workforce strategy being delivered in partnership with Queensland Treasury Corporation,
  • an update on the new BuildSkills Australia Jobs & Skills Council,
  • an update on our proposed new Water Skills Passport project and a new suite of courses to be launched on the day, and
  • Griffith University's iKnow weKnow project to create a transformative community water and energy toolbox for Indigenous communities.

For more information and to register,click here

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 steering group on this project met this week and ran through the draft of the toolkit document to provide further input, revisions and comments. The draft will now be updated to include that feedback and the Toolkit will also be discussed with the qldwater steering committee, the Strategic Priorities Group or SPG, later this week.

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. DESBT funded qldwater Micro Credentials Project update

Work is progressing on the development of the micro credentials selected by the Water Skills Partnership at a special meeting in 2022. 

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 are well 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).

There will be online short form webinar presentations of the MCs, which will serve as an introduction to the topics, allowing teams to get a grounding before undertaking the full MC. 

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.

TRILITY Introductory Courses

A suite of introduction courses provided by TRILITY is currently being added to the website, including:

  • Chemistry
  • Calculations
  • Isolation
  • Fluid Flow
  • Monitoring

We are looking for operators interested in the delivery of training packages to help us improve these courses by adding video clips, photos, graphics etc. A big shout out to Charles Dyer from Winton who have already provided a demo for the Chemistry course. 

If you have an interest in any of the topics above and would like to show off your training capabilities, please contact Des Gralton.

4. VET Workforce Blueprint – Have your say!

Consultation is now open on a new VET Workforce Blueprint, which is being developed by the Australian Government, in collaboration with states and territories. Supporting what has been heard through consultation, the blueprint aims to help support, grow and sustain our VET workforce.

You can learn more via the skills reform website. Submissions can be made, or an online survey completed

Submissions - Any member of the public can make a submission by responding to the multiple choice and free text questions in the online submission form.

Survey - The survey is intended to gather insights from anyone who has left the VET workforce within the last five years. Follow this link to complete the survey.  

Both response options will be open until 11:00PM (AEDT), 26 March 2024. 

5. Queensland Workforce Insights Survey

The Queensland Government is committed to supporting employers, industries, and communities to meet workforce needs through initiatives, programs and support addressing current and emerging workforce priorities. 

To help inform future workforce assistance and strategies, the Queensland Government is currently undertaking the Queensland Workforce Insights Survey. 

The short survey is open to all Queensland employers and seeks their views and experiences in areas including recruitment, staff retention, skills development, workforce planning and workforce development support. 

Take part in the Survey here, which closes Friday, 22 March 2024.

6. DESBT NQ First Nations Connect : Youth Training & Employment Outcomes

DESBT are providing an opportunity to connect with government and non-government organisations to share information about programs enhancing training, employment and small business outcomes for First Nations People in North Queensland.

Guest speakers include Antonio Winterstein from JT Academy, Tarah Duncan from the Indigenous Mobility Program and Toni Fraser from Doomadgee Future Careers Program.

Register here.

7. Hiring Outside the Box: Facilitating an Inclusive Workplace #Neurodivergent Talent

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) will be hosting a webinar on facilitating an inclusive workplace #neurodivergent talent.  

Hear from industry experts and employers who will share practical strategies to retain, and attract neurodivergent staff, and the benefits of tapping into a broader pool of talent.

The webinar takes place on Wednesday 27th March, 1:00pm – 1:30pm (AEDT)- Register here

Previous webinars from the series also provide useful insights from the Hiring Outside the Box.

8. Closing the Gap – New Remote Jobs and Economic Development Program

The Government has announced a new Remote Jobs and Economic Development Program (RJED) that will create 3,000 jobs in remote communities. 

The program will start in the second half of 2024, funding 3,000 jobs over three years with proper wages and conditions – as part of replacing the Community Development Program (CDP).

It will support people in remote communities to move into employment by funding meaningful jobs that communities want and be developed in partnership with First Nations people.

A Community Jobs and Business Fund will be an important element of the RJED program and responds to what communities have overwhelmingly asked for. As part of this fund, community-controlled organisations can identify projects the community needs and apply for funding of capital and equipment, strengthening local business and economic development.

The Government has committed $707 million to deliver this program as part of this year’s Closing the Gap Implementation Plan.

To find out more about the RJED program  and subscribe for further updates - visit the website


  • 16 March – Local Government Elections
  • 19 April – Water Skills Forum, Parliament House, Brisbane
  • 13-17 May – Water Connections Tour
  • 22-23 August - qldwater Annual Forum
  • 26 October - State Government elections

Kind Regards,


qldwater is a business unit of IPWEAQ

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