Further to our survey 2 weeks ago entitled "Many of us feel that the TAFE's have done a lousy job of bringing people into our industry and training them, is it up to ASGA to create and run workshops to educate and teach the Sign Industry." we had a reply from Ian Squire, Head Teacher | Industrial Painting & Blasting | Painting & Decorating | Signage & Asset Maintenance at TAFE Illawarra Wollongong......
My name is Ian Squire and I am the Head Teacher of the Signage and Painting and Decorating section at Wollongong TAFE, NSW.
I am emailing you after reading this article/survey in your online magazine, as I have some concerns and observations with some of the comments expressed about TAFE and our role within the Signage industry.
From reviewing the comments expressed, I wish to have a right of reply to put the facts out there publicly and to dispel some of the misnomers expressed by some of your members. Please would you publish this email in your online magazine.
Many of us feel that the TAFE's have done a lousy job of bringing people into our industry and training them, is it up to ASGA to create and run workshops to educate and teach the Sign Industry.
TAFE's Role within industry
TAFE's role within industry is to train, educate, deliver course content and assess to the training package curriculum. The curriculum content set out within the Training Package is decided by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) (used to be known as Industry Skills Councils) .
The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC), consist of industry leaders from across Australia and was established in May 2015 by the COAG Industry and Skills Council.
The AISC draws on advice from the new Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) which are made up of people with experience, skills and knowledge of their particular industry sector. Their advice should ensure training packages meet the needs of employers and the modern economy. IRCs are supported by the new Skills Service Organisations (SSOs).
SSOs are independent, professional service organisations. Under direction of relevant IRCs, they will undertake work commissioned by the AISC on the review and development of training products.
FACT 1: TAFE as the public RTO has little or no input into the development or content of training packages. We have to teach and assess to the units of competency within the respective training package and this content has been set out by industry.......ie: YOU!!!!! as described above. I would advise that if you are unhappy with what is in the current Training Packages that you lobby your industry association such as ASGA and VISA in what content you wish for us to deliver. I believe that ASGA and VISA may have some input or members who sit on these AISCs. These training packages are normally reviewed every 5 years or so, so that they can be edited or changed to reflect current industry trends and technology .
As an RTO we are audited by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and we can be audited at any time and these are the standards that we have to teach to. However, I reiterate, we do not have a say in the content of these training packages!!!! We must teach to the curriculum.
However, it would also be pertinent for me to mention that we also run other small courses outside of these training packages in content such as Illustrator and Corel. However, we can only run them if we have enough individuals enrolling in them. If you wish for us to run other courses for industry, myself and my staff would be only too willing to try and develop and run them. However, these come at a cost!!!!
One of my responsibilities is to run these courses as well as our trade groups to a budget and make sure that they do not run at a loss. We try to get industry involved and government funding to offset the cost of running these courses so that they are financially viable for all stakeholders. Remember , we are talking about government (public) funding and I and other TAFE Head Teachers have a moral and legal duty to run these courses in the black....exactly like any other businesses.
FACT 2: As has been correctly highlighted by many of the comments in your survey, TAFE does not have a direct or sole responsibility or role in bringing people into the Signage and Graphics industry.
I believe that is there is a role for all of us.....not just TAFE. Your industry association and your employers all have a collective role in bringing people to you and making working in the industry attractive . In my section we try very hard to direct our students who are not currently employed into various Signage businesses who have asked for our help in finding apprentices. We will only recommend students who actively demonstrate to us that they have a good attitude and willingness to work and learn. 'We can lead the horse to water, but we can't make it drink!!'
We also, hold Trade Taster days for the many High Schools and Youth organisations and I ha
ve to say, a lot of this is done by my staff in their own time because of their passion for their industries.
Similarly, we deliver TVET classes in Signage to various High school students and we conduct these in various locations within the Illawarra. These students who find a liking for the trade, often then feed into our regular trade classes and we try to direct the good ones into Signage business's .
We also, volunteer and run World Skills in the Signage category. Again, we encourage our young students to enter and compete and show off their skills in Signage against each other and I have to say that the results are very impressive. If you or any of your readers are in Melbourne in October, the National World Skills competition is being held and my teachers run the Signage competition . My FT teacher of Signage at Wollongong is Michael Doherty and he is the Chief National Judge in Signage and has been for many years. Also, one of my PT Teachers, Josh Tunbridge is also a World Skills Judge and years ago was a National Silver medallist in World Skills. Both Josh and Michael give up their spare time to train , organise and run these competitions. We would like in the future to see many of you involved and help us to run these competitions so that your trade and industry can be highlighted as a shining example for individuals seeking a new career path.
On the subject of licensing, I personally agree with one of the comments that this industry should be licensed because of the high risks to public safety when erecting signs. Again, my advice would be to ask your industry association (s) to lobby their local MP's, State Governments and Departments such as the Department of Fair Trading in NSW and highlight to them the reasons why you feel that Signage should be licensed.
Finally, myself and Michael Doherty will be at the Visual Impact show in Sydney from 15th-17th September 2016 and we will be running the TAFE stand there. If any of you wish to talk to us personally, we would be only too happy to listen to your concerns and suggestions to improve your industry and our services. Alternatively, you can contact me directly on my email signature below.
I hope and trust that this will shed some light on what TAFE's role is and some of the work that we do and dispel some of the myths out there . We encourage you all to join us and help us make our courses and the services that we offer ,better. I also encourage any of you who are really passionate about your industry and want to give back, to apply for a role as a PT teacher at TAFE. The main criteria is that you hold a Certificate III in Signage or equivalent , a Certificate IV in Workplace Assessment and Training and have a minimum of 5 years post trade experience.
We are desperately looking for Teachers to support Michael and his current team as at Wollongong TAFE as we are at saturation point. We now teach all the Signage apprentices from Tasmania and also have had to step in in N.NSW to support apprentices there, whose RTO (not TAFE) went into administration and were being pursued by ASQA. We have also started trialling flexible delivery which comprises of onsite workplace assessment and delivery, online distance delivery and face to face at TAFE with these two groups. With the employers and students involved we have had very positive feedback . Like anything new, there have been teething issues, but we have been ironing these out as they occur. We recently advertised for teachers but only had two people from this industry apply!!! If you want to join us and are really passionate about making a difference to your industry and meet TAFE's selection criteria, please feel free to contact me or Michael.
Head Teacher | Industrial Painting & Blasting | Painting & Decorating | Signage & Asset Maintenance
TAFE Illawarra Wollongong
Foleys Lane, North Wollongong NSW 2500
P 02 4229 0648 | M 0407 314 189 | F 02 4229 0564 | E firstname.lastname@example.org
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