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Archive for September, 2011

Congratulations to SPC Ardmona and the Australian Miscellaneous Workers Union

Monday, September 26th, 2011


Article by VFITB and Nick Bartholomew, SPCA

These two organisations have won the Victorian Training Award 2011 for the Industry Collaboration Award. Nick Bartholomew from SPCA and Tom Hale from the AMWU, and VFITB Executive Committee member, took to the stage with Les Cameron from training company National Food Institute to accept this inaugural award.

It was heartening to see a new award that recognises skills development with adult workers in industry as many of the other categories are oriented to the youth training sector.

SPCArdmona (SPCA), has some 690 permanent employees and processes fruit and vegetable products in the Victorian regional towns of Shepparton, Mooroopna and Kyabram. Yes a recent announcement confirmed the closing of the Mooroopna plant but Shepparton will be upgraded.

In 2009 the company offered a training program to 420 permanent production and distribution employees. According to SPCA’s employee engagement and training manager, Nick Bartholomew, these workers were skilled in how to do their jobs but lacking in the knowledge and theory underpinning their competency. “Basically, they knew ‘how’, but didn’t know ‘why’,” he said. Nick explains below the process and company benefits of the program.

“An initial step was to develop a strategy linking training with employee classifications and pay rates, and then a training plan and training bonus was written into a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement negotiated with union support from the AMWU. Advice from Skills Victoria was obtained in relation to eligibility and the training process, and the National Food Institute was selected as the registered training organisation to provide the training.

“149 of the original 162 employees that commenced the Certificate III in Food Processing or the Transport and Logistics training program, are continuing on in 2011 as they see the benefits for the business and themselves. The Standard Operating Procedures that were formally written during the training programs means that knowledge from the heads of SPCA’s mature workforce has been captured in written documents.”

“Other benefits include improved communication between workers and a decrease in the lost time injury frequency rate from 21 to 13. The program has also contributed to a 50% reduction in manufacturing variances.”

The VFITB has recently worked with members of the Baking Training Network to encourage more nominations from the food sector, for the 2012 Awards.

MINTRAC Kickstart Scholarship

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

From MINTRAC email:

MINTRAC is excited to offer this scholarship opportunity to people working in all sectors of the meat industry to Kickstart  their career progression.

MINTRAC is offering one scholarship – proudly sponsored by Zenchiku (Australia) Pty Limited -  for meat industry personnel from meat processing levy companies to upgrade their qualifications by undertaking full or part-time studies to gain a qualification at Certificate IV level or higher. The type of qualification undertaken must be relevant to the meat industry.

The scholarship provides a one off grant of $3,000 to contribute towards the costs for a student to gain a qualification at a tertiary institution.

Click here to download more information and application form [PDF:474KB].

Applications are now open and must be received at MINTRAC by 5.00pm on Friday, 28 October 2011.

Practical Cheese Making

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

From an email from the National Centre for Dairy Education:

Spend a week with other like minded cheese enthusiasts making creamy camemberts, luscious blues, gourmet fetta, cloth-rinded cheddars and other farmhouse style cheeses.

The week starts with an introduction from Justin Telfer, champion cheesemaker from the  award winning Bangalow Cheese Company. Located in the Byron Bay hinterland, Justin has spent the last four years developing his expertise and creating his unique style of cheese and cultured butter.

Justin  and his team will help you to create a range of delicious farmhouse cheeses, some of which can be bought after suitable maturation and testing.

Topics include

  • Milk quality
  • Starter selection
  • Hygiene and sanitation
  • Hands-on production of many popular cheeses
  • Quality control points

All work is done under the supervision of Justin and our three technical assistants.

Cost: $1150, includes lunches and a Wine & Cheese Evening.

Dates: 3-7 October 2011

For more information, please contact Janice Roberts on (03) 9217-5240 or email Janice Roberts.

2011 Skills Victoria Overseas Fellowship – Applications now open! Close 3 Oct.

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

From the International Specialised Skills Institute website:

Skills Victoria and the International Specialised Skills Institute (ISS Institute) are offering 10 overseas Fellowships of $13,000 each.

These Fellowships aim to provide opportunities for staff in Victorian TAFE Institutes and listed Victorian Government contracted Registered Training Organisations (including Adult, Community & Further Education providers) to assist in the reduction of skills deficiencies in key Victorian industries, to support leading-edge technologies in a contemporary setting, and to build cultural exchange.

They are intended to examine innovative approaches that demonstrate potential benefits for, and application in, Victoria. A key outcome of each Fellowship is identifying links between training and industry productivity. Ten (10) Fellowships are available. Applicants must be employed in a Victorian TAFE Institute or a Victorian Government contracted Registered Training Organisation.

Applications close at 4pm on Monday 3rd October.

Interested industries for applications include Advanced/Lean Manufacturing and Manufacturing.

Click here for more information on the Fellowship on the International Specialised Skills Institute website.

Use of paunch waste as a boiler fuel – Report now available

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

An interesting report on sustainability is now available online.

From the Red Meat Innovation website:

The prime objective of this project was to conduct a full-scale technical, commercial and environmental assessment of dewatered paunch waste co-combustion, using the existing sawdust-fired boiler at the Nippon Meat Packers abattoir in Wingham, NSW. The results from this paunch waste co-combustion trial strongly support this method for management of dewatered paunch waste at abattoirs that already have boilers suitable for co-combustion of dewatered paunch waste. Due to the significant economic advantages of dewatered paunch waste cocombustion it is very likely that many abattoirs with boilers suitable to co-combust dewatered paunch waste will proceed with this practise as soon as is practical. Even if boilers suitable for biomass-firing need to be installed, the economics of such a retrofit looks attractive. Only minor environmental impacts were noted during this paunch waste co-combustion trial.

Click here to download the report [PDF:1.81MB].

Establishment of the National Skills Standards Council

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Australian GovernmentFrom the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations website:

Minister for Skills and Jobs, Senator Chris Evans, has announced the establishment of the new standards setting body for the vocational education and training (VET) sector which will improve quality and consistency of VET regulation throughout the nation.

“The National Skills Standards Council will advise Commonwealth (NSCC) and state and territory Ministers with responsibility for vocational education and training on the development of national standards for the regulation of vocational education and training,” Senator Evans said.

The key functions of the National Skills Standards Council are to:

  • develop and maintain national standards for regulation of vocational education and training for approval by SCOTESE and provide advice to SCOTESE on development and implementation of the standards;
  • provide information, through SCOTESE, to the regulators of vocational education and training on the implementation and interpretation of the national standards and on issues of quality standards generally in the vocational education and training sector;
  • provide information to the vocational education and training sector on the national standards and any changes to the standards;
  • provide advice to SCOTESE on the operation of the regulators of vocational education and training;
  • endorse national training packages

“The NSSC has an expert membership that will maximise its independence and objectivity in the setting of national standards,” Senator Evans said.

“The appointments have been made after extensive consultation with states and territories and key stakeholders.”

The membership of the NSSC has been drawn from academia, industry, the VET sector and government.  Members have been be appointed on the basis of their own expertise, providing a good balance of skills and perspectives relevant to the Council’s work.

Click here to read the full article on the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations website.

Call for comment on raw milk products proposal and GM application

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

From the Food Standards website:

Food Standards Australia New Zealand today called for public comment on a report looking at permissions for raw milk products in Australia and an application for food derived from a genetically modified soybean.

FSANZ Chief Executive Officer Steve McCutcheon said Proposal 1007 was looking at whether or not permission should be given for raw milk (non-pasteurised) products to be sold in Australia.

“The assessment of these products looked at what production and processing measures and product characteristics are needed to provide a high level of safety for consumers,” Mr McCutcheon said.

“In its second assessment report, FSANZ is seeking comment on its recommendation to permit non-pasteurised hard to very hard cooked curd cheeses. This will involve changes to the Food Standards Code relating to storage time and moisture content requirements.”

Mr McCutcheon said FSANZ would continue to look at permissions for other raw milk cheeses through a new proposal that will use technical work already completed through P1007.

FSANZ is also calling for comment on Application A1051, which is seeking permission for food derived from a genetically modified soybean with a tolerance to the herbicides glyphosate and isoxaflutole, to provide a broader weed management strategy.

FSANZ’s latest notification circular also contains information about approvals of Application A1026 – Minimum Alcohol Content for Wine, and Application A1042 – Food derived from Herbicide-tolerant Corn Line DAS-40278-9.

Approvals are notified to the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council. After notification the council has 60 days to either ask FSANZ to review the application or inform FSANZ that it does not intend to request a review.

Click here to read more information on the FSANZ call on the Food Standards website.

Review of Competitive Manufacturing – Feedback due 23rd September

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

From Manufacturing Skills Australia (email):

Review of Competitive Manufacturing – consultation drafts of the new Competitive Systems and Practices units and qualifications available

A major review of the Competitive Manufacturing Qualifications and units has been undertaken that has resulted in a significant rewriting in response to feedback from users and to meet new Training Package Development Policy. The changes have been based on recommendations and feedback received during the project scoping.

In addition, as a result of a national survey conducted by MSA, Competitive Manufacturing has been renamed Competitive Systems and Practices (CSP). This change reflects recommendations to widen the scope of the qualifications and units from their current emphasis on manufacturing. The new Competitive Systems and Practices units and qualifications will be endorsed in the Sustainability Training Package MSS11.

The explanatory paper and consultation drafts are available on the MSA website – the feedback period closes 23rd September. We anticipate that this body of work will be finalised in October and endorsed by the end of 2011.

Click here to access the explanatory paper and consultation drafts on the Manufacturing Skills Australia website.


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