Skills eFlash #94

Skills eFlash #94

Skills eFlash #94
Date: 05-Feb-2021

In this edition: Register now for the Water Skills Forum!| Certificate IV in Water Industry Operations released| Skills Reform Engagement Hub| February Fundamentals Webinar| Foundation Skills Micro-Credentials| Operator Competency Project| Queensland Training Awards| Skills Advocacy| Upcoming Events

1. Register now for the Water Skills Forum!

The Water Skills Forum is happening in just over four weeks and we have a great line up of speakers and presentations in store for the day. View the program!

If you haven’t yet registered your place, please register online now to join us at our new location in Eagle Farm, or by linking into the sessions virtually. We understand there is still some uncertainty around travel and COVID restrictions, so if you register to attend in person and have to change your registration because of travel restrictions, please just contact us to amend your registration to participate virtually.

Water Skills Partners receive three free registrations (in person/virtual) to participate in the Forum, with registration also available for $50 plus GST for qldwater members who are not Water Skills Partners and $100 plus GST for non-members. View the registration options.

Thank you to TAFE Queensland – SkillsTech for sponsoring the forum once again and welcome to our new sponsor, Diona, who will be sponsoring the networking drinks at the close of the forum.

I hope to see you on the 4th of March and invite you to contact me if you have any queries in the meantime on 07 3632 6853 or

2. Certificate IV in Water Industry Operations released

The National Water Training Package (Release 4.0) has now been endorsed by Skills Ministers for implementation. The Certificate IV in Water Industry Operations and Certificate IV in Water Industry Treatment qualifications and associated Units of Competency have been amalgamated into a single streamlined qualification to incorporate all skills required by senior water industry operators.

The new NWP40120 - Certificate IV in Water Industry Operations is now available at: The revised Training Package also includes three new Units of Competency and updated core units and electives, covering contemporary industry practices, new technologies, and operator certification changes in water operations and water treatment.

Thank you to the following Queensland Subject Matter Experts who gave up their time to review the qualifications and units of competency: Brad Milfull (Logan City Council), Kathryn Turner (Urban Utilities), David Merheb (Urban Utilities) and Colin Hester (Urban Utilities).

3. Skills Reform Engagement Hub

Following a number of reviews over the past 18 months, Federal and State Governments have agreed to progress a number of key reforms to improve the vocational education and training (VET) system. The reforms are focused on:

  • Strengthening the role of industry and employers
  • Improving VET qualifications
  • Raising the quality of training

To facilitate consultation about the reform process, an Engagement Hub has been set up at: There are currently a number of surveys that you may like to provide input to:

  • RTO Training Experience Survey – seeking feedback from those who have undertaken training in the VET system in the last five years - closes 22 February.
  • Supporting VET Workforce Quality Survey – this survey seeks the views of anyone who engages with the VET sector to help identify the strengths of the VET workforce, and areas for improvement and further support - closes 8 March.
  • RTO Standards Survey – this survey is targeted towards active users of the Standards (eg RTOs, trainers and assessors, VET experts), although anyone who is interested may respond - closes 22 February.
  • RTO Quality Survey – seeking feedback to better understand what high-quality RTO practices look like and how to better support RTOs to deliver high-quality training - closes 22 February.
  • Role of Industry in VET System Survey – seeking stakeholder views on improving industry engagement in Australia’s VET system - closes 1 March

qldwater will attempt to keep you up to date on any opportunities to provide your views, but you can also sign up to be sent updates directly.

4. February Fundamentals Webinar

Register now for the next qldwater Fundamentals Webinar to be held at 10am on Tuesday 23 February with the topic ‘Working with Chemicals and Hazardous Substances'. This session will be presented by Murray Thompson, an engineer with more than thirty years’ experience working in water and wastewater and a highly regarded water industry trainer.

Registrations in advance are required to ensure you receive the link to access the webinar via MS Teams. The webinars are free for employees of qldwater members and Water Skills Partners, non-members may now participate in the Fundamentals webinars for a cost of $50 plus GST, payable on registration.

For this webinar, qldwater is pleased to invite AWA members to participate at no cost. Please email to request the complimentary access code to register your attendance.

Recordings of all previous webinars are available for members to access via the qldwater website.

5. Foundation Skills Micro-Credentials 

Enrolments are invited in the Queensland Water Industry Foundation Skills Micro-Credentials. The micro-credentials are designed as entry level courses, to provide a basic overview of water industry processes and operations. A number of employers have indicated they are using the micro-credentials to train staff from other parts of their organisations to provide an understanding of water and wastewater roles and to provide exposure to career opportunities in the water industry.

There are currently three micro-credentials available with a SCADA/Remote Monitoring option coming soon:

  • Water Treatment Foundation Skills
  • Wastewater Treatment Foundation Skills
  • Network Operations Foundation Skills

Enrolments can be made online via qldwater’s micro-credentials registration site or please contact Carlie Sargent on 07 3632 6853 to discuss your enrolment options. The micro-credentials are part of a pilot program supported by the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT) with the Department contributing 50% of the costs for delivery to reduce the costs to employers.

6. Operator Competency Project

The Water Policy team in the recently formed Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water (DRDMW, previously the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy) has commenced an operator competency project to understand the current status of the water and sewerage services sector in Queensland, particularly in terms of its operational workforce and associated qualifications and experience (i.e. competency).

The first stage of this project is to gather and analyse workforce and competency data. On behalf of the Department, qldwater has been approaching a number of service providers (representative of the sector) to gather this data for the Department and also to support development of our own industry workforce plan. Thank you to those who have already completed the survey. 

This survey data, together with other sources of information will help identify service providers’ operational workforce and competency issues, the magnitude of those issues and determine what responses may be required by the Government and industry to address any current and future workforce needs to enable sustainable delivery of safe, reliable and secure water and sewerage services.

Should you have any queries regarding this project, please contact the Department directly via Dinesha Emmery on or Raquel Esteban on

7. Queensland Training Awards

Nominations for the 2021 Queensland Training Awards are opening soon and we encourage you to consider nominating an individual or organisation that has achieved success, best practice and innovation in vocational education and training (VET).

There are a range of categories for apprentices, trainees, vocational students, teachers and trainers, as well as training providers and employers. Nominees in the individual and employer categories first compete at a regional level, with regional winners then contesting their category at the state level.

In 2020, Shannon McNamara from Seqwater was the South East Regional Winner of the Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year Award and the North Queensland Water Industry Worker Program was a finalist in the Premier’s Industry Collaboration category. Both of these nominations provided a fantastic opportunity to recognise the value of water industry careers and the contribution that the industry makes to Queensland communities.

More information about the awards is available at:

8. 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 August 2020, qldwater was asked to identify skillsets and/or qualifications for jobs in demand that could be included in the Commonwealth JobTrainer Fund to support young people and jobseekers as part of the recovery effort from COVID-19. Whilst it was not determined at the time what the eligibility requirements would be, we 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.

We have been advised that the Certificate III in Water Industry Operations has been included on the JobTrainer Priority Course List to be eligible for fee-free or low-fee training. The eligibility requirements are quite specific with a requirement that the trainee be either a job seeker (out of work or receiving income support) or a school leaver or young person aged between 17-24 and not already be enrolled in training or have completed another qualification funded under JobTrainer, but this fund may provide an alternative funding pathway for a new entrant to the water industry to receive accredited training. Eligibility should be discussed with your AASN to determine applicability to your employees’ circumstances.

More information about the JobTrainer Fund is available at: and

Productivity Commission report released

The Productivity Commission has released its final report into the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development Review. The report is available to download.

qldwater provided an initial submission to the review in December 2019 and a further response to the interim report in July 2020. You can view both of those responses on the Submissions page of the qldwater website.

Post-COVID-19 Workforce Report released

The National Skills Commission has released ‘The shape of Australia’s post-COVID-19 workforce’ report to build on the understanding of Australia’s workforce and skills recovery from COVID-19. The report analyses the impact of the pandemic on the labour market, through scenario modelling, and profiles the resilient occupations framework. The report shows that whilst COVID-19 has changed how we do business and work, the latest ABS data show signs that the labour market is recovering and this is supported by the NSC’s monitoring of internet vacancies and own employer surveys.

9. Upcoming Events

  • Wednesday 17 – Thursday 18 February, ‘Sustainable Water and Sewerage Services for Regional and Remote Communities Conference’, Goondiwindi. Registrations close 5 February.
  • Tuesday 23 February, 10am-11am – Fundamentals Webinar, ‘Working with Chemicals & Hazardous Substances’ presented by Murray Thompson. Register Now!
  • Thursday 4 March, Water Skills Forum, 9am-5pm. Register Now!

For more upcoming events, visit:


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