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New Victorian career and training info portal launched: Victorian Skills Gateway

Thursday, December 6th, 2012


Victorian Skills Gateway

From the Minister for Higher Education and Skills, the Hon Peter Hall, media release 2 December 2012:

Students can now match their career dreams to the right training thanks to a new website launched today.

Skills Minister Peter Hall said the Victorian Skills Gateway took the hassle out of searching for the right course.

Gone are the days of hours spent searching through the websites of individual training providers,” Mr Hall said.

This makes it easy. Select a career, click the mouse, and all training options available in Victoria for that job are laid out.

“Whether it’s school leavers, or those looking for a job change, this website will prove to be a useful tool.

Victorians looking for work can see which skills are most in demand, maximising their chance of employment,” Mr Hall said
“You can scroll through the list, read about job prospects, look at case studies and then get information on the courses needed.

See full media release here

Costco looking to source new deals in the Australian market

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

frais farm spinach

From the Australian Food News website 6 August 2012,

With the opening of another Melbourne store set for late 2013, the retailing giant Costco’s commitment to using local Australian produce will see a demand for additional new suppliers. This is a welcome opportunity for Australian food businesses.

A substantial number of local producers are already benefitting from Costco’s arrival in Australia. For example, Costco’s highly commended beef is a grain-fed premium product coming out of Swift Australia’s Beef City feedlot in Toowoomba, Queensland. Meanwhile Baiada Poultry has been supplying its well-regarded Lilydale free-range chicken and Steggle’s fresh and crumbed poultry lines to Costco from the inception of the first Costco store opening in Melbourne in 2009.

The American supermarket giant has had a major impact in the Australian fresh produce market since opening its first store in Melbourne’s Docklands in 2009. This was followed by Canberra and Sydney stores opening in July 2011.

Frais Farm in East Gippsland is an example of a smaller producer who has developed with great success following big orders from Costco.

Costco has been sourcing breads and speciality baked products from a number of private bakeries, not only from Melbourne, but from regional cities such as Ballarat.

Read article here

2012 ‘Environmental Scan’ launched by AgriFood Skills Australia

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

agrifood logoAgriFood Skills Australia launched the 2012 Environmental Scan Disruption or evolution on Tuesday 19 June at The Lobby Restaurant, Canberra.

The fifth Environmental Scan highlights the vital importance of industry and government coordination and leadership to tackle the challenges of workforce and skills shortages in the agrifood industry and regional Australia.

Consultation for the 2012 Environmental Scan highlighted industry’s four priority skills and workforce development challenges, which have taken on a new sense of urgency (see Fig 6, p. 22 of Scan):

  • Attraction of new workers
  • Adoption of higher skill levels across the workforce
  • Diffusion of new research findings, innovative practice and technology
  • Retention and skills utilisation of existing workers

To download a copy of the 2012 Environmental Scan please click here.

2012 AgriFood Skills International Fellowship applications now open – close 6 August

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

agrifood logothat's amore cheese

AgriFood Skills Australia and International Specialised Skills Institute Inc. are offering two international Fellowships of $10,000 each.

These fellowships aim to promote the acquisition of higher-level skills and an appreciation of international best practice in the agrifood industry.

Two Fellowships are available, with applications open to all people Australia-wide in the sectors covered by AgriFood. Successful applicants will be announced on Wednesday 19 September at the AgriFood Skills Australia National Conference.

Applications close 6 August.

Click here for details. Their website also has information on previous winners.

Have your say – review of Standards for Regulation of VET – due 13 July 2012

Friday, June 15th, 2012


From the National Skills Standards Council (NSSC) website, 8 June:

On the 8th of June 2012 the Nationals Skills Standards Council (NSSC) commenced the review of the standards for the regulation of VET.

* The current standards for the regulation of VET have served their purpose in supporting the growth of a dynamic and diverse VET sector that has responded to industry needs for nationally recognised training and qualifications, and has provided access and opportunities to individual learners.

*The standards for the regulation of VET and the associated regulatory approach need to continue to evolve to ensure that current and future RTOs continue to deliver high quality training and assessment services thus ensuring that the reputation of the sector is maintained and that employers and industry continue to value the VET qualifications held by individual students and employees.

* While the NSSC acknowledges that the standards for the regulation of VET, in particular those for RTOs, have been amended a number of times over the past 5-10 years, it is considered timely that a broad ranging review occur, that considers the regulatory standards as a whole.

* The review is broad ranging and encompasses standards for Registered Training Organisations, Data, an VET Regulators. It will consider not just the content of the standards in isolation but importantly also how they are applied, implemented and interpreted in practice

Face to face consultations are being held with federal and state/territory governments, VET regulators, Industry Skill Councils, Peak Bodies and other stakeholders in June and July.

Click here to see full NSSC Review webpage.

AgriFood Skills Australia is making a submission and welcomes input from any industry and training stakeholders. There is a Feedback Form to assist. See contact below to request this.

In order to allow sufficient time to review and consolidate input, please provide your comments to Jeannie Cotterell by COB Friday 6 July 2012.

Jeannie Cotterell
General Manager, Product Development and Implementation

Phone: 02 6163 7235
Mobile: 0459 981 293

8 Food and Foundries Clean Energy Grants announced

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

boilerFrom the Federal Government Media Release 7 June,

The first 13 grants from the Gillard Government’s $1 billion Clean Technology Investment Programs will help manufacturers reduce their energy bills. The Minister for Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet, said the initial grants, worth $8.1 million, will help businesses install over $23 million of energy efficient equipment. Five grants from the Clean Technology Investment Program and eight from the Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program will support energy saving and pollution projects.

“Projects funded include a new refrigeration system, voltage regulators, more efficient air conditioning and new packaging processes,” Mr Combet said. “The Clean Technology Investment Programs are part of the Federal Government’s plan for a Clean Energy Future. They deliver practical help for businesses to become more efficient, more competitive and more sustainable.”

Mr Combet announced the grants at Crafty Chef, a producer of frozen meals and finger food in Western Sydney. Crafty Chef received a grant of $499,999 to introduce a new freezer system that will reduce its carbon emissions intensity by more than 50 per cent.

“Successful manufacturers range from a specialised engineering firm to the manufacturer of  aluminium cans to wine makers and producers of fresh avocado products,” Mr Combet said.

See full Media Release here.

The list includes Bega Cheese, De Bortoli Wines, Fonterra and other food and beverage manufacturers.

New ideas on Packaging in AFGC White Paper

Monday, May 21st, 2012

From Australian Food News website, 10 May:


According to the AFGC, while significant progress has been made towards sustainability, for example through lightweighting of packaging and higher recycling rates, a number of challenges remain. These include:

• a continuing focus on waste and litter, which may mean that other important sustainability issues are being overlooked or even exacerbated;

• a generally poor understanding of the important role that packaging plays in delivering products to consumers and the implications of this for sustainability.

The AFGC’s White Paper considers both of these issues within a sustainability framework.

See the whole article on the Australian Food News website here

Download the White Paper from the Australian Food and Grocery Council website

Federal Budget 2012 – Australian Apprenticeship Reform

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

The following changes to the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program will be implemented from 1 July 2012:

  • changes to the standard employer incentives for employers of existing workers undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship (at the Certificate III level and above) in an occupation not listed on the *National Skills Needs List The following changes apply for this cohort:
  • removal of the standard commencement payment
  • increased standard completion payment (from $2,500 to $3,000)
  • movement of the timing of payment of the standard commencement payment from being paid at three months after commencement to six months after commencement
  • See announcement here

    Note: Certificate II incentives continue as before in their limited way – ie. not in metropolitan cities unless a targetted group.

Federal Minister seeks assurances TAFE standards are safe

Monday, May 14th, 2012

From The Age website, 12 May 2012
“VICTORIA could miss out on $435 million in federal funding for the TAFE sector if the state government’s changes threaten national skills reforms.
Federal Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans has called on his state counterpart, Peter Hall, to provide urgent assurances about Victoria’s TAFE cuts and whether they were a threat to training standards.”

Read more here.

Changes to Victorian Vocational Education and Training

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

As part of the Victorian State Budget, the state government recently announced changes to the Vocational Education and Training system, in particular with fees and funding, improving quality and changes to industry engagement.

Below are copies of relevant documents for your perusal:


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