Report from the Chair
The full Primary Skills Victoria Annual Report 2011-12 is available for download at the following link.
Chairman's Report 2012
As I reflect on my first year as PSV Chair, it has definitely been an interesting challenge and has increased my understanding of issues in the current vocational education and training system. I remember when Igor was handing over the baton; he said “You are in for the ride of your life”. I didn’t think much of the comment at the time. However, how right he was, as change was afoot.
As you know, the past four years have revealed unprecedented change in the Victorian industry skills and education arena. Many challenges presented themselves following the installation of an open market for public funds by both public and private training organisations. New funding criteria and an industry participation model also created debate. As has been well documented in the media, the reforms have had a massive impact on the skills training landscape. Government budgetary policies have been forced to respond dramatically. While other state governments are watching Victoria closely, they will probably install similar market based reforms.
The Minister announced in late March 2012 that the Victorian Government would not renew its agreements with the 16 Industry Training Boards. The full cost of industry input would now be funded by contributors, directed by the government’s Higher Education & Skills Group (HESG) through their market facilitation officers. In this changing time, I would like to acknowledge the dedicated network of peak industry representatives. Over the past 21 years, they have given freely of their time to support the provision of independent education and skills advice.
PSV maintains and continues to advocate for industry leadership in the delivery of high quality vocational outcomes for employers and students.
PSV Projects and Activities
Over the 2011-12 period, Australian Wool Innovation Ltd (AWI) in partnership with PSV continued to support the wool industry by coordinating the Wool Handler Workshops. These enable young people in rural townships and new entrants to gain first-hand skills and experience in their local wool industry. This year we have successfully conducted programs throughout the state in the following regions. St Arnaud, Ballarat, Mansfield and Hamilton.
Now in its second year, Primary Skills Victoria assisted the Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria (NGIV) to further establish the Nursery Cadetship Program. Around 10 students successfully completed the program in partnership with Swinburne TAFE. Although the numbers seem small, this is a significant result for industry given the low numbers participating in training in the nursery sector. The program was nominated and selected as a finalist in the Industry Partnerships category of the Victorian Training Awards.
PSV also supported HESG in shortlisting and criteria assessment for this year’s Victorian Training Awards which yielded three applicants from the primary industries. Two of these were selected as finalists in the vocational student category. Landscape Designer and part time TAFE Teacher, Ross Uebergang, was recognised for his multiple qualification completions and his MIFGS award winning student garden design. Coorangamite Catchment Management Authority Landcare Facilitator, Bret Ryan completed his Diploma of Conservation & Land Management using online and distance learning techniques. He was ultimately successful and awarded the Victorian Vocational Student of the Year. Our congratulations go to Ross for making the finals and of course, to Bret and his mentors at South West TAFE as they contest the national title in Melbourne later this year.
Another success story for Victoria in 2011 was Veterinary Nurse, Jessica Pendlebury. She was announced the winner in her section at the Australian Training Awards held in Brisbane and was awarded Australian School based Apprentice of the Year for her hard work and commitment to her chosen field.
Skills for Growth workforce analysis and planning programs were undertaken for a number of businesses including Oasis Horticulture, Warners, Murray Free Range piggery and Larkman Nurseries. Other significant submissions and collaborations last year included:
- Submission to the Victorian Inquiry into farm sector workforce capacity.
- Submission and support provided to Allen Consulting by offering industry advice relating to the HESG Agriculture Skills Project (Loddon-Mallee, Hume & South West Metro).
- Submission to the Victorian Inquiry into Agriculture Education and Training.
- Submission of the PSV Training Market Effectiveness Report to HESG.
Looking Ahead The Board has made a commitment and significant contribution to all stakeholders. It intends to maintain the critical function of ensuring industry is adequately represented in supplying quality information to support and improve vocational skills development in Victoria.
PSV recognises that under the Victorian market driven training system, government, industry and major stakeholders need to work in partnership. The ultimate goal should remain delivering effective outcomes for vocational training in Victoria.
PSV has a strong association with diverse and highly specialised primary industries. It will continue to do so in this changing training environment and will be looking to expand its service delivery through complimentary not for profit activities. These could include fundraising, fee for service options, consultation and project management services in line with the Board’s stated purpose, vision and objectives.
A new Vision
As result of the changes, PSV should aim to become a more market driven model. The Board has subsequently undertaken to explore different ways to fund the organisation. To secure the long term operational security of PSV, our approach to contracts and funding needs to continually be reviewed and renewed. We have been in discussion with the food sector to facilitate a merge or joint venture to create a “super ITAB”. These discussions are on-going and the executive will advise developments as they occur. This option would provide an umbrella of 14 industry groups.
PSV has also submitted an Apprenticeship Mentoring Proposal which aims to be self–funding.
I take this opportunity to thank Greg, Tracie and Chris for their excellent work under very difficult conditions. Unfortunately, Chris is leaving PSV but we wish him the very best in his new job and I thank him for his two years of loyal service and commitment to industry skills. I would also like to thank the PSV Board and the Executive for their commitment and hard work under difficult circumstances. I look forward to another year as Chairman as the winds of change continue to stir in the training sector.