Dear Mr May
On 7 August 1997 you wrote to the Hon Kim Beazley MP concerning the Modern Australian Apprenticeship and Traineeship System (MAATS), which is now known as New Apprenticeships. Your letter has been referred to the Hon Dr David Kemp MP, as Minister for Schools, Vocational Education and Training. The Minister has asked me to reply on his behalf.
Many of the concerns that you raise in your letter do not directly relate to New Apprenticeships but appear to be more about problems with maintaining the quality of apprenticeship training in Victoria. I want to emphasise that the New Apprenticeships reforms have been developed with extensive consultation with industry and are strongly supported by industry.
The new National Training Framework (NTF) will be implemented in Australia from 1 January 1998 and aims to achieve streamlined quality assured national training that will better meet the needs of clients, particularly business. The NTF not only supports New Apprenticeships - it underpins the entire training system.
Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers have agreed that the NTF will comprise two major elements - National Training Packages and the Australian Recognition Framework. I have attached a copy of Draft Australian Recognition Framework Arrangements and Guidelines for Training Package Developers for your information
The issue of assessment processes in the automotive industry is being examined closely as part of the National Training Package development process. National Training Packages are being developed across a wide range of industries to provide comprehensive national resources which will be an important component of vocational education and training across all key industry areas and in a number of major enterprises. The packages consist of three primary components which are competency standards, assessment guidelines and qualifications and three underpinning components which are learning strategies, assessment materials and professional development materials.
Two National Training Packages are being developed for the automotive industry. These will cover the manufacturing and retail, service and repair sectors. Automotive Training Australia (ATA), the national Industry Training Advisory Body which is based in Melbourne, is responsible for developing both packages.
Assessment Guidelines are considered integral to the success of National Training Packages and ATA recognises the need to develop guidelines to suit the needs of the automotive industry. ATA has developed draft Assessment Guidelines which are based on feedback from a range of automotive industry representatives, including those who attended The Future of Training In The Automotive Industry forum which was held in Melbourne on 26 May 1997. If you want a copy of these principles or to discuss the elements of the Automotive National Training Packages, you should contact Ms Jenny Hadaway, Manager Industry Services at ATA, on 03 9436 0204.
Ministers have agreed that Registered Training Organisations and their products and services will be mutually recognised across Australia. They have also agreed that these organisations can operate in other States and Territories within their original scope of registration without payment of additional fees. Training provider registration standards are presently being considered by Ministers. The principles for mutual recognition and the standards will form the Australian Recognition Framework.
Your letter raises concerns about the value of competency based training in the Automotive Industry. The competency approach to training has been the subject of a long standing debate. It is now an agreed national position supported by industry and government.
In your letter you raised a number of issues specific to Victoria. You have identified the legal requirements for mechanics to be certified tradesmen; the capacity for people who have missed apprenticeship training to have their qualifications recognised; the requirements to register as a trainer; the time requirements for assessors to conduct assessments of workplace trainees; and the decision to amalgamate John Batman and Kangan Institutes of TAFE. The Victorian State Government has responsibility for these areas of vocational education and training. If you wish to pursue these issues further, I suggest that you contact the Office of Training and Further Education in Victoria.
First Assistant Secretary
Vocational Education and Training Division
3 October 1997