P4.111 Developing a national skills recognition framework for the Australian rail industry

This project has been designed to:
• map skills recognition policies, processes and practices within and outside the rail industry;
• compile a rail-specific handbook on ‘leading practice’ in skills recognition strategies; and
• develop a national skills recognition framework, including accompanying tools.

The need for this project arose from the findings of the scoping project (P4.109) which involved a review of relevant national and international literature, and consultations with 15 staff experienced in skills recognition from four rail companies. The report was completed in March 2010. It concluded that better understanding of, and further development in, skills recognition practices and processes could enhance workforce productivity in the rail industry. In particular, it would have the following benefits for rail:
• enhance attraction, recruitment and retention;
• provide rail companies with a more competitive edge;
• facilitate more efficient and cost-effective training and development; and
• reinforce employee confidence.

The scoping report also raised a number of problems with current skills recognition processes. These included inconsistency in how skills recognition, recognition of prior learning (RPL) and recognition of current competencies (RCC) are understood and practised; the lack of consistency in quality and duration of training and skills recognition processes; problems with skills matching; and concerns around integrity and equity in skills recognition processes.

It was recognised that many of these difficulties could be addressed with the development of a national skills recognition framework specifically for the rail industry. This framework could then be shared by rail companies without each of them having to ‘re-invent the wheel’, undertake such processes inefficiently or not doing anything because it was perceived to be too hard, time consuming and costly. In this way, the products would contribute to the industry’s moves towards greater harmonisation, as well as result in considerable savings to individual companies.