Skills eFlash #90

Skills eFlash #90

Skills eFlash #90
Date: 21-Aug-2020

In this edition: Water Industry Foundation Skills Micro-Credentials |Future Fundamentals Webinars |2020 Industry Skills Forecast |Water Industry Worker Program Recognised |Qualifications Update |Skills Advocacy

Water Industry Foundation Skills Micro-Credentials

Skills e-Flash #87 advised that qldwater had been working with the Water Skills Partnership and RTOs to apply for funding from the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training to develop Water Industry Foundation Skills Micro-credentials. 

We are pleased to advise that our application has been successful and the state is supporting qldwater to develop a pilot of these micro-credentials over the next 12-15 months. The micro-credentials will provide a basic overview of the processes and safety requirements of water industry roles and provide an entry pathway to those not yet employed in an operational role.

Details are currently being finalized and we will share those with Water Skills Partners and qldwater members soon and invite expressions of interest. If you have any queries in the meantime please contact Carlie Sargent on

Future Fundamentals Webinars

Following the success of our first Fundamentals Webinar presented by Terry Fagg, we are pleased to advised that Terry is in the process of preparing his next webinar presentation on ‘The Fundamentals of Chlorine Disinfection’, date to be advised. We have also engaged Murray Thompson to prepare a couple of webinars for Water Industry Workers. His first webinar topic will be ‘High-Pressure Water Jetting (HPWJ) – Clearing Sewer Chokes & Blockages’ and we’re aiming for a date in September, to be confirmed.

Members can log into our website to view the previous webinar on ‘Media Filter Backwashing’.

Water Industry Worker Program Recognised

Congratulations to those involved with the North Queensland Water Industry Worker Pilot Program for its selection as a State Finalist in the 2020 Queensland Training Awards, Premiers Industry Collaboration Award category!

The nomination recognises the collaborative efforts of Mackay, Cairns, Townsville, Whitsunday and Burdekin Regional Councils for delivery of the pilot program and follows successful delivery of the program in SEQ for the past ten years.

The winner will be announced in September and we’ll keep our fingers crossed for a win!

Speaking of winners, congratulations to our Operator Award winners announced earlier this week as part of the WIOA Virtual Water event, one of whom is a participant in the nominated WIW Regional Pilot Program. Congratulations to Brett Donald of Mackay Regional Council who was selected as this year’s Operator of the Year (Civil/All-Rounder) and to Benjamin Haddock from Southern Downs Regional Council who was announced as the Queensland Young Operator of the Year for 2020. Congratulations are also in order for Mark Vairy from Mackay Regional Council who was announced as the AWA Operator of the Year. 

2020 Industry Skills Forecast

The Water Industry Reference Committee has recently provided an update to the Water Industry Skills Forecast. Following a recent change, a full Skills Forecast will now be produced every three years with annual updates in the meantime.

It includes some interesting stats on State and Territory enrolments in water industry qualifications with some significant declines in Queensland over a number of years but with a gradual increase in recent years. The Water Skills Partnership is discussing future qualification needs and related funding requirements at a workshop on Wednesday 26 August and we will share those outcomes in a future Skills e-Flash. 

Read the 2020 Water Industry Skills Update.

Qualifications Update

Following a review by a Technical Advisory Committee, the proposed changes to the Certificate IV in Water Industry Operations have been approved by the Water Industry Reference Committee and will now be subject to final editing before being put to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) in September for endorsement.

Skills e-Flash #89 reported that a review of the units of competency and skill sets for High Pressure Water Jetting were under review. Following feedback that the existing units were not fit for purpose for the water industry and as a result of advocacy by the Water Industry Reference Committee with support from qldwater, a new unit of competency has been developed specifically for use by the water industry. Find out more

The AISC has recently endorsed changes to the BSB Business Services Training Package. It is expected that the updated qualifications and units of competency will be available on by mid-October. More information is available from PWC Skills for Australia

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:

Commonwealth JobTrainer Fund

In our role as an Industry Skills Advisor to the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT), qldwater was recently invited to identify skillsets and/or qualifications for jobs in demand that could be included in the Commonwealth JobTrainer Fund aimed at young people and jobseekers as part of the recovery effort from COVID-19.

qldwater has responded with a recommendation that the Certificate II in Water Industry Operations, Certificate III in Water Industry Operations and Skill Sets be included on the qualifications list to help address skills shortages in key operational roles and provide opportunities for upskilling and support existing operators to gain industry certification. 

The eligibility requirements for the Fund are still not known, but this has the potential to open up funding for more people for full qualifications and a limited number of partial qualifications which might be attractive to staff looking to transition to water operations roles, or e.g. back operators up. More details will be made available when the Fund opens in September. 

Productivity Commission’s Skills Review Interim Report

qldwater has provided a response to the Interim Report on the Productivity Commission’s Review of the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development. You can read our response on our website. This follows our previous submission to the review in December 2019 which you can also find on our Submissions Page. 

qldwater has also attempted to raise the profile of skilling issues including shortages in its Productivity Commission National Water Reform submission.

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