Implementation Plan SA Productivity Places Program – Job Seekers
Context and program model
To assist with addressing skill shortages that would otherwise be a critical stumbling block to realising South Australia’s economic potential, to increase the general rate of workforce participation and employment, and to meet social inclusion objectives in the state, the South Australian Government has committed to a partnership with the Commonwealth Government to implement the SA Productivity Places Job Seekers Program (SAPPJSP). Under this agreement the South Australian Government will be allocating training places funded nationally under the SAPPJSP to organisations, including registered training organisations (RTO) (private and public), as well as “workforce development brokers” such as Industry Skills Boards (SA) and Industry Skills Councils (national), industry associations, other government agencies and programs, employers, enterprises, employee organisations, welfare organisations and Employment Service Providers. Successful organisations will need to demonstrate the ability to:
Target training to create skilling opportunities for job seekers in high skill demand areas;
Align delivered training with own or existing educational, vocational and social support programs to facilitate improved learning and employment outcomes; and
This document sets out the framework and arrangements that the South Australian Government proposes are used to implement the Productivity Places Program for Job Seekers in South Australia for the period January 2009 – June 2012.
South Australia proposes a two-strand model for allocating job seeker places, which utilises an application-based process that approaches the market to submit proposals indicating allocation of training places that meets the objectives described above:
‘Free’ allocations, which will see a specified volume of qualifications at specified AQF levels (via an application-based proposal process) allocated to RTOs to administer. RTOs will use their allocation to facilitate training delivery at specified AQF levels that meets identified skills needs demanded by industries in SA (see section 4 below). Eligible individuals currently meeting the definition of a Job Seeker will be able to access training from approved RTOs.
‘Tied’ allocations. These will be allocated to organisations that submit proposals demonstrating a definite link between training qualifications and specified employment outcomes.
Each proposal will be assessed on its merits, its alignment with the objectives of the program, and meeting of the assessment criteria. Some will be considered “free”, and some “tied” proposals depending on the strength and comprehensiveness of the project plan and employment pathways outlined in the proposal. The same merit-based proposal assessment process will be used to allocate qualifications for each kind of allocation, including proposal evaluation by a panel. Proposals which demonstrate the potential for employment or further training outcomes will be prioritised.
Term of plan
These arrangements will commence on 1 January 2009 and expire on 30 June 2012. This plan may be revised through bilateral discussions between the Commonwealth and the South Australian Government.
The SAPPJSP will through its assessment process and through proponent participation requirements (for RTOs and other training brokers) ensure that access to the training available under this Agreement is limited to people aged 17 years or over who are:
Australian citizens; or
Permanent residents of Australia1; or
and who match the description of a Job Seeker outlined below (section 2).
It will be the responsibility of participating RTOs to confirm eligibility of individual training participants through a confirmation system established by the SAPPJSP.
Definition of a Job Seeker
The SAPPJSP will through its assessment process ensure that access to the training available under the Program is limited to those who are:
Registered with an Employment Service Provider (ESP); or
An income support recipient who is not currently required to meet activity test or participation requirements; or
A participant in the Community Development Employment Projects scheme; or
A participant in the Commonwealth’s Access Program; or
Not working and participating in volunteering activities
Workers affected by structural adjustment
Workers who may have been retrenched, stood down or otherwise displaced by workplace disruption due to closure, redundancies or reduced scale of operations will also be eligible to apply for places under the Program. “Retrenched” workers are eligible for job seeker places under the SAPPJSP. “To be retrenched” and “transitional” workers are eligible for existing worker places under the SAPPEWP.
The relevant definitions are:
“Retrenched”. A worker who as a result of enterprise closure or planned downsizing is given notice of or is formally made redundant by their employer during the life of SAPPJSP. These workers are eligible for job seeker places under the SAPPJSP. They are also eligible to apply for the 10 000 structural adjustment places that the Australian Government will be managing as part of the response to the Global Financial Crisis. These places will be administered by the Commonwealth Government subject to the conditions outlined at www.productivityplaces.deewr.gov.au. The Commonwealth Government and the South Australian Government will work in partnership to provide access to these places to South Australian workers.
“To be retrenched”. A worker who as a result of enterprise closure or planned downsizing will become redundant and has been given a separation notice. These workers are not eligible for job seeker places under the SAPPJSP but they are eligible for existing worker places under the SAPPPEW. These workers are also eligible to apply for the 10 000 structural adjustment places that the Australian Government will be managing as part of the response to the Global Financial Crisis. These places will be administered by the Commonwealth Government subject to the conditions outlined at www.productivityplaces.deewr.gov.au. The Australian Government and the South Australian Government will work in partnership to provide access to these places to South Australian workers.
“Transitional”. A worker whose employer is facing closure or downsizing, and whose existing skills are required in another enterprise during the life of the SAPPEWP. These workers are not eligible for job seeker places under the SAPPJSP but are eligible for existing worker places under the SAPPEWP. Such a worker could with appropriate training funded through the SAPPEWP be “transitioned” into the second enterprise.
Targeting skills needs
Training places allocated under the SAPPJSP will target areas of current skills shortages and emerging skills needs agreed under the arrangements outlined in the ‘Management and Implementation’ section of the National Partnership Agreement.
South Australia acknowledges the role of national Industry Skills Councils (ISCs) in helping to determine the occupations and qualifications in areas of skills shortage; and will use the ‘Priority Occupations’ list that has been developed between ISCs and the Commonwealth when implementing the SAPPJSP.
South Australia through consultation with industry through the State’s Training and Skills Commission, Industry Skills Boards and other relevant bodies identified a number of additional key occupations and qualifications in the Memorandum of Understanding for the Productivity Places Program for Existing Workers pilot that reflected key industry demands in the State. These additional South Australian occupations and qualifications will be combined with the Commonwealth and ISC ‘Priority Occupations’ list.
South Australia will refer to this combined list when assessing proposals. For the purposes of this Agreement qualifications from Certificate II up to Diploma level will be funded through the SAPPJSP.
Ultimately, South Australia will purchase qualifications where there is demonstrable industry demand and South Australian priorities will be met. Where this identifies priorities that are different to the priority list referred to above South Australia will provide the Commonwealth with information on the planned changes in funding priorities, the evidence to support the changes and enter into discussion to agree on the proposed changes. In particular the needs of workers displaced by retrenchments in the SA economy, and those from specific target social groups (e.g. indigenous, disability, women) will be given a high priority.
Flexible delivery options
Through pre-proposal consultation and the proposal assessment process, training providers participating in the SAPPJSP will be encouraged to provide flexible delivery options (for example part-time outside business hours in workplaces and catering for people with a disability) to meet the diverse learning and cultural needs of participants in a range of geographical locations.
In addition proposals which can demonstrate an ability to provide or facilitate workplace experience as an integral part of the training will be prioritised.
Numbers and costs of expected training outputs
SAPPJSP has set a target of 17 225 additional training places (translating to 13 204 complete qualifications) for the period January 2009 to June 2012, based on the number of training places agreed in the National Partnership Agreement.
Qualifications delivered under the SAPPJSP will be funded at a rate guided by the benchmark rates outlined in the NPA namely:
Funding Contribution for Total Course Cost ($)
Funding for qualifications will be aggregated such that the average total cost per qualification delivered does not exceed the benchmark rate for that level of qualification.
In the event the SAPPJSP experiences high completion rates for funded training and therefore has a greater number of course enrolments than expected, the funding and operational arrangements may be reviewed through the bi-lateral agreement under the terms of clauses 36 and 63 of the National Partnership Agreement on the Productivity Places Program.
Interstate proponents can apply for places under the assessment process for the SAPPJSP. Applications from interstate proponents are subject to the same assessment criteria developed by South Australia that:
Applications are subject to places and funding availability
Applications demonstrate value for money
Proposals are capable of being funded within established funding parameters to achieve the required qualification outcomes
For the purpose of additionality, Training Places allocated by South Australia and delivered by Interstate proponents in South Australia will be counted as being delivered in South Australia and not the jurisdiction tasked with allocating the Places.
To support the process South Australia will work with inter-state counterparts to establish cross-border financial arrangements that facilitate the transfer of funding from the jurisdiction of the location of the existing workers participating in the SAPPJSP to the jurisdiction tasked with the allocation of Places, should this be necessary.
South Australia will:
establish an Inter-Jurisdictional contract process with other states and territories to facilitate the purchase of training places in South Australia from interstate proponents; and
put in place cross-border financial arrangements that facilitate the transfer of funding from the jurisdiction of the location of the existing workers participating in the SAPPEWP to the jurisdiction tasked with the allocation of Places.
Developing these cross jurisdictional relationships depends upon progress of Productivity Places Program implementation in other states. To date, there has been no opportunity for collaboration concerning these matters however South Australia will contact interstate counterparts to make arrangements as required during the early months of this implementation Plan.
South Australia acknowledges that national enterprises operating in more than one jurisdiction have the option of choosing one State or Territory to allocate Places on their behalf.
Through its administrative systems, the SAPPJSP will ensure funding is used for payments to successful Program proponents and Registered Training Organisations for the provision of training only and not for administration of this Agreement.
Collection and reporting of AVETMISS data
In the medium term, reporting on PPP will occur through AVETMISS. South Australia will collect AVETMISS data as per other publicly funded collections using existing systems and processes in accordance with current national and state reporting arrangements.
Individual students funded by the SAPPEWP will be tracked using SA Government’s STELA system which feeds data directly to AVETMISS. If the required changes to AVETMISS can not be applied to activity from 1 January 2009, South Australia will build a module into STELA incorporating the additional fields required by the Commonwealth which currently sit outside AVETMISS.
All training funded under the SAPPEWP will be recorded by funded training organisations into the STELA system as a condition of funding.
Data collection will take place on a monthly basis and will enable PPP specific reporting to the Commonwealth on a monthly basis.
The Commonwealth will be provided with biannual reports (31 January and 31 July) which demonstrate progress against output targets and an analysis of barriers and achievements in meeting the targets.
Separate financial reporting arrangements will be established and maintained. This will include separate accounting for management of Commonwealth Government and State and Territory Government contributions for the SAPPJSP. To administer the funding South Australia will establish and maintain a special purpose account for the SAPPJSP.
Contracts with funding recipients will be let by the Industry Skills Development Directorate in DFEEST, reporting to the South Australian Government representative. This Directorate is organisationally separated from all RTOs including that of the public provider (TAFESA).
It will be the responsibility of the lead contract holder to administer funding as per any partner/sub-contractor arrangements.
Industry and enterprise engagement and brokerage
Role of Industry Skills Councils (ISC), SA Training and Skills Commission and SA Industry Skills Boards (ISB)
South Australia will give consideration to proposals for Places brokered by the national ISCs with enterprises operating in SA. To facilitate this, SAPPJSP will build relationships with national ISCs through the delivery of ISC information sessions and briefings as required.
It is expected that these proposals will have been developed in consultation with South Australian Industry Skills Boards (or nearest equivalent industry association). South Australian ISBs are currently contracted to DFEEST for delivery of workforce development services and will be asked to participate in such consultations. It is also expected that any proposal developed by South Australian Industry Skills Boards (or nearest equivalent industry association) will be developed in consultation with the equivalent national Industry Skills Council.
Places requested by national ISCs sponsored proposals that satisfy the SAPPJSP criteria, application and assessment requirements applicable to all proponents submitting proposals in South Australia, inclusive of training delivery standards set out above, will be prioritised for funding within the limitations of the SAPPJSP budget.
This means that proposals developed by national ISCs will be subject to availability of Places held by South Australia at the time of application. Should the allocation of places be exhausted at the time of application, ISCs will be invited to bid in the next grant application period as long as the criteria around price, quality and eligibility are met.
The SA Training and Skills Commission will also be involved in discussions around priority proposals as appropriate
South Australia acknowledges that the need to upskill, retain and expand its workforce are the key objectives of the SAPPJSP. To achieve this South Australia will work closely with industry in order to determine where skills shortages are occurring and how these shortages can be addressed.
The determination of skill shortages will help identify the need for Productivity Places within industry.
To facilitate uptake of the Productivity Places for job seekers, South Australia will undertake a systematic program of consultation with a wide range of workforce development brokers.
These brokers include Industry Skills Boards (ISBs), Industry Skills Councils (ISCs), enterprises, employer and employee organizations, unions, welfare organizations, training providers and Employment Service Providers. The purpose of the consultation will be to:
Promote the PP Jobseekers Program
Describe in detail the eligibility criteria required of potential proponents
Raise awareness of the priority given to proposals which can address employment outcomes, and provide access to relevant educational and social support programs
Describe in detail the application process that will be in place for the submission of proposals
Consultation with workforce development brokers will be an on-going process to:
Support on-going identification of skills shortages and key areas of demand
Provide support, advice and guidance to proponents to develop and submit funding proposals
Employment Service Provider client access to Program
Individual clients of Employment Service Providers in SA will be able to access “free” training places (in the definition given in Context section above) by accessing a register of RTOs that have received funding to deliver PP Job Seekers training places. This register will be made available online via the SA PPP website (www.dfeest.sa.gov.au/ppp), and systems established to allow individuals to identify available training being funded under the SAPPJSP, and be certified as eligible by the individual’s Employment Service Provider.
Employment Service Providers will also be encouraged to partner with other potential Program proponents (employers, enterprises, welfare agencies etc) to develop proposals that are linked to employment outcomes for their clients.
Assistance to Skills Australia
The SAPPJSP will provide appropriate data and information to Skills Australia in the form of periodic updates, and ad hoc requests for information as appropriate, to assist it in identifying industries, occupations and regions that are experiencing skills shortages.
Equitable access to training places
In line with recent policy direction2 South Australia will implement an application process that ensures that the Productivity Places Program is driven by contestability, demand from industry (rather than supply driven by training providers ), with the need to address skill shortages in key industry sectors and requiring evidence of industry endorsement.
South Australia will support contestability by developing and implementing an application process that enables a wide range of workforce development brokers to apply for Productivity Place funding. Contestability will be ensured by:
All eligible proponents having the same opportunity to apply for Productivity Places funding
Proposals being assessed purely on merit as long as they adhere to the eligibility criteria and guidelines designed specifically for the SAPPJSP
Demonstrating value for money. Proponents will need to demonstrate that their application will achieve the proposed outcomes at a fair and reasonable price
Proponents will need to demonstrate that they will be able to meet the full costs of training to achieve the proposed qualifications to the required standards with funding provided by the PP Job Seekers Program.
South Australia will ensure that all potential proponents are treated ethically and fairly and have equal opportunity to apply for Productivity Places through a clearly defined application and assessment process, a probity plan, and by adhering to clearly designated ‘grant application rounds’.
Application grant rounds will be advertised through a wide range of media outlets. Proponents will be able to submit proposals at any time during the grant application round. Approval of proposals will be subject to funding availability, alignment with the articulated Program guidelines.
South Australia requires all training funded by the SAPPJSP to be delivered by a Registered Training Organisation(s) (RTO) registered under the requirements of AQTF. Proponents who are not themselves RTOs will be required to provide details of participating RTOs as part of any proposal submission. It is explicit within the application guidelines that an eligible RTO will:
Only deliver qualifications listed in their scope of delivery on NTIS (National Training Information Service);
Have no outstanding notices of significant ‘non-compliance’ under the AQTF;
Deliver nationally endorsed qualifications that are appropriate to meet identified skills needs in the South Australian workforce; and
Be able to comply with AVETMISS data requirements for publicly funded training
This includes all RTOs registered to deliver training in SA, public and private.
With regard to training delivery South Australia will require any proponent identified as the principal contract holder to list the names of any other organisations involved in the delivery of the proposal and describe their roles and function. The proponent will also be accountable for any sub contracting arrangements in the proposal. This will include any training the RTO wishes to subcontract to any provider of VET training registered with the South Australian Training and Skills Commission or interstate equivalent.
In subcontracting training, South Australia requires RTOs to be responsible for ensuring the following requirements are met.
Any sub contracting arrangements will be formalised through a written agreement between the RTO and the subcontractor, which imposes the same obligations on the subcontractor as are imposed on the RTO
The contracting RTO is responsible for the activities of its subcontractors and for ensuring compliance with the conditions of any funding agreement signed between the RTO and the sub contractor
In addition proposals will be prioritised which demonstrate linkages with other educational and social support programs (whether the proponent’s own, or another organisation’s) which can be shown to lead to improved training and employment outcomes. from SAPPJSP funded training.
Publications and communications
All publications, promotional and advertising materials, public announcements and activities or any products processes or inventions developed as a result of the implementation of the SAPPJSP will acknowledge the Program as a joint Commonwealth and State or Territory initiative.
This requirement will be incorporated into all contracts with RTOs and other organisations funded for new activity under the SAPPJSP.
Qualification Profile Target
Anticipated delivery of training places by AQF level
Training places allocated under the SAPPJSP will target areas of current skills shortages and emerging skills needs agreed under the arrangements outlined in the ‘Management and Implementation’ section of the National Partnership Agreement.
The SA Productivity Places Program will seek input and labour market intelligence form the nine SA Industry Skills Boards, and DFEEST’s Workplace Information Service to identify SA specific areas of skills demand not on the existing Priority Occupations list. If appropriate these may be targeted productivity place allocations, and included in the Priority Occupations list. DFEEST will advise the Commonwealth of any such advice, its intention to target such occupations and enter into discussions with the Commonwealth to come to agreement on revisions to the Priority Occupations list.
Additions to the priority occupations list are likely to be identified (but not limited to) industry sectors experiencing structural adjustment, or in the mining, defence, automotive, transport and logistics, financial services, health and community services, and construction sectors.
The parties have confirmed their commitment to the National Partnership Agreement for the Productivity Places Program through the development of this agreed implementation plan for program delivery as follows: