Trade Training Centres in Schools Programme

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1 Trade Training Centres in Schools Programme Discussion Paper for Stakeholder Consultations February

2 Contents Introduction...3 Overview...3 Programme objectives...4 Priorities...4 A partnership approach...5 Working with State and Territory Governments...5 Working with non government education authorities...6 Engaging industry at a national and local level...6 Implementation model...7 Annual funding round...7 Arrangements for the 2008 Application Round...7 Timeframes...8 Programme administration...9 Applications for funding...9 School eligibility...9 Location of Trade Training Centres...10 Capacity to offer quality training that meets industry needs...10 A model for quality trade training and student support...11 Working with Registered Training Organisations...11 Role of education authorities...11 Priority training areas...12 Assessment of applications...14 Assessing need and capacity to benefit...14 Assessing the quality of proposals...14 Value for money...15 Assessment panels...15 Contractual arrangements...16 Evaluation and Monitoring...17 Conclusion

3 Introduction This paper provides an overview of the Government s Trade Training Centres in Schools Programme, and the proposed implementation arrangements. It is designed to seek stakeholder views on how to most effectively establish Trade Training Centres and ensure the long term success of this initiative. Key stakeholders in schools and training sectors and industry will be invited to express their views at an invitational forum in Sydney on 5 February This will be followed by a series of bilateral consultations with the key education, training and industry peak bodies. The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations looks forward to working with stakeholders in implementing this important programme. Overview The Trade Training Centres in Schools Programme is an important element of the Commonwealth Government s Education Revolution. The Commonwealth Government has announced $2.5 billion over 10 years to enable all secondary schools across Australia to apply for funding of between $500,000 and $1.5 million for Trade Training Centres. The Programme will assist in improving access, quality and relevance of trade training in schools, which will support increased retention rates in the secondary years of education and help meet the future skill needs of Australia. Trade Training Centres will provide a greater opportunity for students to make a successful transition to further education, training or work. Funding will be provided through an annual national application process to build or upgrade metal, woodwork, automotive, building and construction, electrotechnology and other trade workshops for secondary school students. Funding will extend to technical facilities such as commercial cookery and hairdressing facilities. The Programme will also fund the purchase or replacement of a range of equipment, such as: safety equipment; soldering and welding equipment; ovens; wood and metal turning lathes, grinders and drills; and equipment that will give students experience with new information, communication and technology (ICT) found in trades workplaces and emerging industries. This paper explores and seeks to stimulate discussion on how to maximise the Commonwealth s investment in the Programme through: complementary action and commitment by schooling systems (government and non government sectors); arrangements for engaging employers and industry; strategies and plans to establish high quality, sustainable Trade Training Centres that prepare young people for rewarding, productive lives; and practical application processes for administering funds. 3

4 Programme objectives Trade Training Centres are being established to help increase the proportion of students achieving Year 12 or an equivalent qualification to 85% by 2015 and 90% by An important step in increasing Year 12 retention rates is to ensure students have access to high quality, relevant education and training opportunities that continue to engage them and encourage them to complete their studies. The Programme is also an important element of the Commonwealth Government s workforce development agenda and will help address national skills shortages in traditional trades and emerging industries by improving the relevance and responsiveness of trade training programmes in secondary schools. According to Organisation for Economic Co operation and Development (OECD) research, the most successful transitional pathways for students are those that provide both a high level of general education and an occupational qualification. Providing access to Trade Training Centres acknowledges the valuable contribution schools can play, in collaboration with industry and local communities, to equip young people with the skills and knowledge that support life long learning. Through the Programme, the Commonwealth Government aims to: improve student access to state of the art trade training facilities; improve the quality of schooling offered to secondary students undertaking trade related pathways; and assist young people to make a successful transition from school to work or further education or training. Priorities In the initial stages of the Programme, funds will be targeted to those secondary schools with the greatest need for, and capacity to benefit from, a new or upgraded Trade Training Centre. It is proposed that the assessment of need and capacity to benefit be closely linked to the programme objectives, which are to improve Year 12 retention and help address skills shortages. Over the life of the Programme the aim is that there will be equitable distribution of funding among States and Territories as well as education sectors. In addition targeting need and capacity to benefit in the initial years of the Programme priority will be given to proposals that: establish regional skills hubs whereby secondary schools in rural and regional locations develop partnerships for improved trade training delivery; establish joint facilities in urban areas that can be utilised by geographically co located secondary schools from government and non government school sectors; link into existing training infrastructure including Registered Training Organisations, Australian Technical Colleges, industry skills centres and existing infrastructure within schools; 4

5 support secondary school communities with Indigenous students, and students from rural, regional or other disadvantaged communities; allow a Year 12 student to achieve a Certificate III or above qualification in trade occupations experiencing skills shortages or emerging industries, or that provide guaranteed pathways for the student to complete that qualification within their region after finishing Year 12; include local industry and take into account local employment opportunities; and build on and complement other Commonwealth and State or Territory programmes aimed at improving transitions from school to work and increasing school retention rates. A partnership approach The goals of improving the quality of schooling and having a highly qualified, well trained workforce, particularly in those industries experiencing skill shortages, are very important to all levels of Australian governments, the school and training sectors and industry. These goals are also important to the broader community, who rely on skilled tradespeople, and to families who want their children to have the opportunity to work in a field they enjoy and which provides a good living. In order to ensure the Programme meets the shared needs of all stakeholders, the Commonwealth intends to develop a strong partnership approach to support the Programme s implementation and ongoing operations. Working with State and Territory Governments The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has signalled its commitment to a new era of cooperation between the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments. The Commonwealth recognises that the long term success of the Trade Training Centres in Schools Programme will be built on a strong partnership and shared responsibility and purpose. Consistent with this, the Commonwealth wishes to work closely with State and Territory governments and their education authorities on this Programme to ensure its success. It is envisaged that a partnership between the Commonwealth, States and Territories would involve: a shared commitment to the Programme and its objectives; a collaborative approach to its development and implementation; and complementary roles to ensure the quality and sustainability of Trade Training Centres. This will ensure the Programme is sustainable, and linked to State and Territory priorities for addressing skills shortages and investing in school infrastructure. Details are yet to be worked through with States and Territories, but ideally they will play a very strong role during each annual application process in providing local expertise to identify needy schools and help assess the quality and sustainability of proposals. 5

6 Working with non government education authorities The Commonwealth also recognises the important role of the Catholic and Independent school sectors and that they already have well established arrangements for developing and assessing capital works programmes. The Commonwealth wishes to work closely with Associations of Independent Schools, Catholic system authorities and block grant authorities so that where appropriate they also have a role in identifying suitable schools and providing support through the application and implementation process. Engaging industry at a national and local level This Programme is an important element of the nation s skills and workforce development strategies. The Commonwealth is therefore seeking to engage with employer and employee associations at a national level to ensure the Programme is best placed to meet the needs of industry and results in higher quality vocational training being delivered in schools. The involvement of local employers and regional industry bodies and associations will also be critical if Trade Training Centres are to offer high quality training which meets local industry needs. The Commonwealth envisages that high quality proposals from schools would include arrangements for engaging employers and other relevant stakeholders in the local community in the development and operation of the Trade Training Centre. Stronger alliances between employers and schools will assist young people to make better informed career decisions as well as assisting employers to develop recruitment and training strategies which meet the needs of secondary students entering the workforce. Key Consultation Questions: Views are sought on: appropriate partnership arrangements with the non government school sectors; and the best approaches to engaging with industry nationally and locally. 6

7 Implementation model Annual funding round There will be an annual application process where schools can seek funding to establish or upgrade Trade Training Centres. Schools can seek between $500,000 and $1.5 million over the life of the Programme. Funding will be based on the needs of each school and the quality of submissions, and not all schools will receive maximum funding. As a guide, it is expected that the maximum funding grant of $1.5 million would be limited to applications for major capital work to establish new training facilities and where a proposal aligns with priorities of the Programme. It is anticipated that smaller funding amounts would be approved for proposals to upgrade or purchase equipment in existing training centres, dependent on actual costs of equipment. Where a group of schools submits a joint Trade Training Centre proposal, the total possible funding envelope would apply for each school in the cluster. For example, if four schools applied as a cluster for major capital works funding, the maximum funding allocation would be between $2 million and $6 million (subject to need and quality of the submission). It is anticipated applications would be received for three categories of funding: equipment; equipment and minor upgrade of facilities (such as rewiring or enhancement of safety); and major capital works. It will be up to each school, in consultation with its school system where appropriate, to determine which form of investment will be in line with its long term capital investment strategies, and will best meet the needs of their students and local employers. Recurrent funding for the ongoing operation of the Trade Training Centre will be the responsibility of the school/s. Arrangements for the 2008 Application Round It is proposed that the 2008 Application Round open in early March. The Commonwealth appreciates that in order to develop a detailed and considered proposal for major capital works there may be a significant lead time and resource implications for schools. It is therefore proposes a two phase approach to the 2008 Application Round: Schools that are well advanced in their planning will be able to submit an application for funding in May Applications could be for equipment, refurbishment or major capital works. Schools that require a longer period to fully develop there proposal will be able to submit an Expression of Interest in May 2008, with the full proposal not being due until October Expressions of Interest could be for equipment, refurbishment or major capital works. 7

8 Submitting an Expression of Interest in May would not bind a school to continue through to a full application in October. The Commonwealth would reserve the right to accept late Expressions of Interest. The Expression of Interest process will provide an initial indication of demand for Programme funds, and allow the Commonwealth to work with education authorities to manage expectations around the number of applications likely to be funded during the first round, taking account of the priority given to schools with the greatest need and capacity to benefit. The Expression of Interest process will also allow education authorities to work with schools to ensure appropriate linkages are being made with other local stakeholders, thereby improving the quality of submissions. Timeframes Consistent with the approach outlined above, the key dates in 2008 would be: early March a call for 2008 funding applications will be made; early May phase one closes. Due by this date are phase one applications and expressions of interest for phase two funding; mid June decisions on phase one applications announced; July contracts for phase one applications in place; October phase two applications close; and November decisions on phase two applications announced. It is envisaged that beyond 2008 there would be a single application round with a call for applications in March. Key Consultation Questions: Views are sought on: the proposed two phase approach to Programme implementation in 2008 and the timing of future annual application rounds; and. whether there are circumstances, in any given year, that schools would wish to bid for funding amounts of less than $500,000, for example for a staged project or to top up funding for a project that is underway and is funded from another source. 8

9 Programme administration Final details of the Programme administration will be provided in Programme Guidelines. These will be available on the website from early March 2008, ahead of the commencement of the application process. Applications for funding It is proposed that a call for applications will go out to schools in early March 2008, at which time schools will have access to Programme Guidelines and detailed application requirements. These documents will assist providers to develop and prepare their applications for submission. By late March 2008 an online application process will be available providing a streamlined process for submitting applications. The online application will be a dynamic PDF, which will also cater for schools with limited internet access. Should a school experience major problems accessing the PDF assistance will be provided through the programme Hotline. A dedicated call centre will be established and open from 8.00 am 6.00 pm, EDST Monday to Friday should schools need support in completing their applications or for general enquiries regarding the programme. Web based support will also be available during business hours for schools experiencing technical difficulties. Programme funds will be available for new buildings and equipment or to refurbish existing premises to accommodate new or upgraded equipment. While the use of funds can extend to tools and sets of equipment to establish a Trade Training Centre, funding would not cover recurrent costs associated with ongoing operation such as teacher resources and consumables. For example, funding may be used to upgrade exhaust fans, re wire an existing facility to meet legislative requirements for new commercial ovens, and purchase class sets of kitchen knives and cutting boards; however the ongoing costs of food, beverage, breakages, repairs and maintenance or replacement of class sets of equipment would not be covered by programme funding. The Commonwealth recognises there are significant costs associated with purchasing highly technical equipment that may quickly become obsolete or no longer meet contemporary industry requirements. In such cases, it is proposed funding may be used to lease equipment where this can be shown to be more cost effective than purchasing. Funding from the Commonwealth would only cover the initial lease costs, not ongoing lease renewal. In regional and remote areas the Commonwealth recognises that mobile training facilities may be a cost effective means of establishing a Trade Training Centre that can provide training to schools in a remote cluster. School eligibility It is proposed that applications will only be accepted from registered secondary schools that meet financial and educational accountability requirements of Commonwealth and State legislation. Applications could be submitted by: a single secondary school to establish a Trade Training Centre; 9

10 a consortium involving a single secondary school and Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), Group Training Organisations (GTO), employers and/or other bodies to establish a Trade Training Centre; a consortium involving a cluster of secondary schools to establish a Trade Training Centre as a shared facility; or a consortium involving a cluster of secondary schools, RTOs, GTO s employers and/or other bodies to establish a Trade Training Centre as a shared facility. If a consortium submits a proposal for a Trade Training Centre, the lead agency for contractual arrangements would need to be a registered secondary school. As set out in Chapter 1, priority will be given to proposals that: establish regional skills hubs whereby secondary schools in rural and regional locations develop partnerships for improved trade training delivery; establish joint facilities in urban areas that can be utilised by geographically co located secondary schools from government and non government school sectors; and/or link into existing training infrastructure including RTOs, Australian Technical Colleges (ATCs), industry skills centres and existing infrastructure within schools; Trade Training Centres will support improved vocational education and training in schools for students from Years 9 12, with a primary focus on Years 11 and 12. It is envisaged that secondary schools that only enrol students to Year 10 would be able to apply for funding as part of a consortium, where articulation arrangements with senior secondary schools exist and where pathways to qualification attainment could be demonstrated. Location of Trade Training Centres It is envisaged that Trade Training Centres will primarily be located on school premises. In some circumstances a Trade Training Centre might be located elsewhere, including where: it is servicing a cluster of schools; there is insufficient space on the school s grounds; school premises cannot meet occupational health and safety requirements; or it would unnecessarily duplicate existing training facilities (for example in a nearby RTO, ATC, industry skills centre or school) and it would be more cost effective for those facilities to be upgraded or expanded for use by nearby schools. Capacity to offer quality training that meets industry needs Applications will need to demonstrate the school/s capacity to: comply with State/Territory building codes meet Registered Training Organisation (RTO) requirements or have partnership/auspicing arrangement with an RTO; comply with Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) standards; and 10

11 meet Occupational Health and Safety insurance and workplace compensation requirements. It is proposed that all applications must demonstrate collaboration and support from local industry bodies and employers. It is also proposed that all applications include detailed strategies to demonstrate the ongoing viability and sustainability of Trade Training Centres. Applications will need to demonstrate that the Trade Training Centre will utilise and build on existing infrastructure without duplicating existing facilities that students can access. A model for quality trade training and student support Applications for Trade Training Centres should demonstrate that they offer a model of high quality trade training and support to students. It is envisaged that this would include: access from Year 9 to career advice from appropriately qualified staff, to ensure they have well developed learning and career development plans and are selecting appropriate vocational training options; strategies for integrating trade training qualifications with the academic school curriculum including tailoring subject content to meet the needs of students undertaking vocational qualifications; well developed timetabling arrangements to coordinate the delivery of mainstream subjects and vocational subjects, including on the job components through structured work placements or apprenticeships; learning and assessment strategies that support quality outcomes for Indigenous students and students from rural, regional or other disadvantaged communities; vocationally oriented literacy and numeracy support for students that require such assistance; and support for students to make a successful transition to further education and training or work. Working with Registered Training Organisations It is envisaged that there would be a variety of circumstances where schools would work very closely with Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). This could include arrangements where RTO staff provide the off the job training to students in the Trade Training Centre, or where some modules of training are undertaken in the RTO s premises. Role of education authorities The Commonwealth acknowledges the important role government and non government education authorities will play in supporting the establishment and ongoing operation of Trade Training Centres. The specific nature of their involvement in the application process will be subject to negotiation as part of establishing strong partnership arrangements. It is envisaged, however, that all affiliated schools would be required to work with their education authority or block grant authority in developing their application for funding. 11

12 Priority training areas The primary training priorities for Trade Training Centres are: Australian Qualifications Framework Certificate III or above qualifications in traditional trade occupations experiencing skills shortages; and Australian Qualifications Framework Certificate III or above trade qualification in emerging industries. It is proposed that traditional trade occupations experiencing skills shortages be determined by national and regional information on skills shortages. At a national level, industries experiencing skills shortages are identified through sources such as the National Skill Needs List (NSNL) which is published on the Australian Apprenticeships Website: At a regional level, skills shortages can be identified through a number of sources such as the SkillsInfo website: Once Skills Australia is established it is envisaged it will play a major role in identifying skills shortages. The Commonwealth will explore with States and Territories their capacity to provide schools with information on regional skills shortages to inform the development of applications. It is envisaged that applications would also need to demonstrate support by local employers and industry. It is proposed that emerging industries be defined as those attracting additional Commonwealth employer incentives for eligible innovation qualifications at the Certificate III or IV level. The innovation incentive reflects that to build Australia s competitive advantage in both emerging and traditional industries employers needs to have access to people who can understand, apply and manage enabling technologies considered crucial for innovation. Key sources of innovation include pharmaceutical, aircraft, electronics and chemical industries as well as major utilities. Further information on the innovation incentive can be found at Proposals will also be considered for Trade Training Centres offering training in Certificate II qualifications in trade related industries experiencing skills shortages. In these cases, preference will be given to proposals that can demonstrate pathways for students to articulate to Certificate III trade qualifications. 12

13 Key Consultation Questions: Views are being sought on: the roles government and non government secondary school authorities might play in supporting schools during the application process; models for linking into existing VET infrastructure; any additional features of a model for quality trade training and student support; the proposed priority training areas for Trade Training Centre delivery; the types of support local industry can provide to schools and to students; the types of role local industry and/or state and territory education and training authorities can play in providing information to applicants about regional skill shortages and emerging industries; and whether the list of industries that are a key source of innovation as listed on the Australian Government s Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme website is an appropriate list of industries to use as the basis of determining emerging industries. 13

14 Assessment of applications In the initial stages of the programme, funding will be prioritised to schools with the greatest need and capacity to benefit from a Trade Training Centre. Assessing need and capacity to benefit In identifying schools with the greatest need and capacity to benefit, relevant factors would include Year 12 retention rates, the age and condition of current trade facilities that a school could access, and the level of skills shortage being experienced in the local business community. The size of school or school cluster could also be relevant in terms of the number of students who would potentially benefit from the Trade Training Centre and therefore the amount of funding approved. Assessment of need would also consider the level of previous Commonwealth, State or Territory government funding that has been provided to the school for trade training facilities. Assessing the quality of proposals In their application schools would be expected to demonstrate their capacity to meet the requirements set out in the previous Section, including offering quality training that meets industry needs, providing a model for quality trade training and student support, and operating in priority training areas. In addition, in order to demonstrate the long term sustainability of the Trade Training Centre, the assessment process would consider whether applications offer: co investment from industry either through direct financial commitment or in kind support such as access to workplace premises and support for on the job training components; mechanisms for engaging employers and industry in partnerships, for example through employer support for quality, structured workplace learning or student mentoring; linkages with existing Commonwealth and State/Territory programmes that would complement the operations of the Trade Training Centre, such as Career Advice Australia programmes, on the job training for VET students, Mentors for Our Students and Australian School based Apprenticeships; and strategies to ensure the ongoing financial viability and sustainability of the Trade Training Centre, including access to qualified teaching personnel, proposed funding sources for teaching resources and materials, student consumables, insurance premiums, and transportation costs. The assessment process would consider a school s demonstrated past performance in delivering quality vocational education in schools programmes. Where a cluster of schools submits a proposal, the assessment process would take account of the maturity of cluster arrangements and any demonstrated capacity of those schools successfully working together. Schools would also be expected to provide details of how their application fits within their long term infrastructure investment plans and the educational philosophy of their school. 14

15 Value for money Applications should show that a proposal represents value for money and that investment to establish Trade Training Centres will be sustainable through ongoing support and commitment. Value for money could also include the efficient use of the building (ie. how often the facilities will be in use). In assessing applications the Commonwealth will also take into consideration the varying cost of building and equipment across Australia, particularly in regional and remote locations, and the costs of equipment in different industries. Schools will be able to submit more than one application for funding, to a maximum of $1.5 million in total, over the life of the Programme. Where a school has previously received some funding under the programme, this would be taken into account in assessing the need of the school to access trade training facilities. Assessment panels Assessment panels will be managed by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). While the final decision rests with the Commonwealth, the composition of these panels will be important in terms of the expertise needed to make decisions that reflect local and regional requirements, complement existing State and Territory skill priorities and existing plans for infrastructure. It is anticipated that assessment panels would include: industry expertise to ensure proposals will result in high quality outcomes; and expertise in capital works to ensure proposals for building and equipment are cost effective. Key Consultation Questions: Views are being sought on: the roles government and non government secondary school authorities can play in supporting the assessment process; and assessment panel composition and the expertise required for the assessment of applications. 15

16 Contractual arrangements Successful schools will be notified in writing and offered funding agreements in June for phase one applications and November for phase two applications. To enter into funding agreements, schools must operate as incorporated entities. In addition to detailing the specifications of the Trade Training Centre approved proposal, the funding agreement will include: a payment schedule linked to key milestones. For major capital works it is anticipated that key milestones and payments could extend over a period of up to three years; invoicing and financial acquittal requirements; reporting requirements including student enrolments and completion of Trade Training Centre qualifications consistent with established VET/school reporting arrangements; monitoring arrangements; Programme recognition requirements; and other terms and conditions of funding. A draft funding agreement will be available on the Trade Training Centres website ( when applications are called for in early March 2008: 16

17 Evaluation and Monitoring It is anticipated that the evaluation and monitoring of the Programme will extend over its 10 years of operation and would focus initially on implementation and, later, on the effectiveness of the programme in achieving its outcomes. The Commonwealth would propose to work closely with the State and Territory education and training authorities in undertaking any evaluations. Measures of implementation progress may include level of interest measured by expressions of interest and applications received; number and proportion of successful applications in each State and Territory; evidence of equitable promotion of the programme to all potential applicants; and successful acquittal of grant monies (e.g., progress of building, equipment purchases, etc.). Evaluation of the long term effectiveness the Programme may include: comparison of number of students gaining trade qualifications (e.g., Certificate III in areas of skills shortage) pre and post Trade Training Centre Program commencement; number of successful student transitions from Trade Training Centres to post secondary qualification; number of successful transitions of students from Trade Training Centres to employment; rate of retention of students to completion of secondary school or equivalent; and surveys of industry partners and Trade Training Centre students and graduates regarding their satisfaction with the skills and opportunities provided. 17

18 Conclusion The Trade Training Centres in Schools Programme provides a unique opportunity for collaboration between State, Territory and Commonwealth governments, the school and training sectors, and industry, to achieve the shared goals of improving the quality of schooling and having a highly qualified, well trained workforce, particularly in those industries experiencing skills shortages. Key features of the Programme that will be essential to its long term success include the establishment of strong partnerships with stakeholders, local links to business and community, ensuring all elements of a quality model are in place and linking to existing Commonwealth, State and Territory initiatives and programmes. The success of the Programme will depend on the quality and relevance of the Trade Training Centres and the training programmes they offer. In the short term its success will be apparent from the response of students, local employers and industry. In the long term it will be measured by its contribution to increased Year 12 retention rates and more students achieving qualifications in the trade occupations experiencing skills shortages. General feedback DEEWR is interested in general comments and feedback that stakeholders may have in relation to the development and ongoing operation of the Trade Training Centres in Schools Programme. 18

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