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Hurdles in providing much-needed training

The Institute of Instrumentation Control and Automation (IICA) is a Federated body comprising Branches in every Australian State.

The Chairpersons of those Branches form the Federal Council, which is the overarching decision-making body for strategic and advocacy policies on behalf of Members of the IICA.

I’d like to look at three current examples of those policies.

The IICA Federal Council sees working to raise the importance of Instrumentation and Control Systems, for example, as a separate discipline within Universities and TAFE sectors of paramount importance.

A majority of Universities and TAFEs still do not offer such stand-alone qualifications. Likewise, it is totally unacceptable that within the TAFE sectors, there is what can only be described as ‘very different treatment’ for graduates of dual-trade qualifications.

For example, if a qualified electrician chooses to do an approved electronics course, the Federal Government (DEEWA), recognises electronics-electrical as a new jobs outcome – the person is recognised as an electronics technician with appropriate financial incentives on this basis.

Contrast that with the same qualified electrician who chooses the electrical-instrumentation dual-trade course. The Federal Government does not recognise this qualification as a new jobs outcome, i.e. as an instrumentation technician, but deems it to be only an electrical jobs outcome!

There is clearly an imbalance here that needs addressing.

Our third example involves the aerospace maintenance sector. The IICA has teamed up with the RMIT University and with the Australian Association of Aviation and Aerospace Industries (AAAAI) to address and provide practical assistance to manufacturers’ concerns about compliance with mandatory International Standards.

The problems are the lack of proper understanding of the required International Standards and regulatory systems for instrumentation and calibration within sections of the aerospace maintenance industry-civil and defence.

The goal we are all working on is to devise appropriate CASA and Defence approved training courses, together with an on-line Registration System. The Registration System will list companies and individuals who will have completed the training courses or can demonstrate equivalent competencies.

[Brett Simpson is IICA Federal President.]

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