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Ministerial statement on Aviation Training Package.



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Ministerial Statement on Aviation Training Package

The Government’s Aviation Training Package is a key resource for registered training organisations to deliver training, assess competencies and issue nationally recognised qualifications in pilot training and other aviation industry skills.

There are a number of aspects of this training package which deserve special mention:

Firstly, it represents for the first time the two regulators of Australia's aviation industry - the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and Defence - have agreed on standards and requirements for aviation qualifications.

This has laid the groundwork for aviation workers to move more easily between civilian and defence workforces.

The closer alignment of military and civil pilot training to a national standard improves the ability of people to move between Defence and commercial sectors and therefore improves the overall attraction of flying as a career choice.

The development of this package owes much to the hard work and cooperation developed between the aviation industry, training organisations, CASA and Defence, with leadership from the Government funded Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council. I acknowledge those efforts and congratulate the industry on this important achievement.

The new Aviation Training Package directly aligns CASA licensing requirements with the national qualifications.

Although a CASA issued pilot licence still determines the eligibility to fly an aircraft, a new nationally recognised qualification gives prospective pilots the opportunity of getting both a nationally recognised qualification and a CASA licence.

Secondly, prior to the development of this Training Package, the myriad of state and territory accredited courses and the CASA licensing system were not directly aligned to the National Training System.

This package cuts through these state and territory based qualifications to provide nationally consistent qualifications.

This makes it easier for people considering a career in aviation to compare training costs at different institutions and also transfer their studies between Registered Training Organisations Australia-wide.

The Government has already received positive feedback from the airline industry concerning improvements to the Aviation Training Package.

Airlines and industry trainers have welcomed the Training Package because they can see the benefits of a nationally recognised pilot qualification.

Airlines and industry trainers are investigating ways in which their organisations can benefit from this new training package - which is exactly what the Government wants.

By becoming a Registered Training Organisation, pilot training institutions also have the option of becoming accredited to offer these qualifications to international students.

This allows training institutions to train a mix of domestic and international students and further enhances Australia’s reputation as a world leader when it comes to aviation training.

The Training Package is not designed as a quick fix to short-term pilot shortages but will help to improve the appeal of flight training as a professional career path, thus attracting more people to this important profession in the future.

This can only be achieved through extensive education and training, which requires a consistent and coherent framework that sets out national competencies and qualifications for the aviation industry.

A major advantage of this revised Training Package and new qualifications is that pilots are able to hold a nationally recognised qualification and a CASA issued licence.

This national qualification is recognised by Registered Training Organisations throughout Australia.

This means that a pilot with a qualification such as Certificate 4 in Aviation - which in practice is a Commercial Pilot Aeroplane Licence - may choose to build on this qualification at the higher Diploma or Advanced Diploma level in any state or territory.

They may also receive credit for Recognised Prior Learning if, for example, they choose to change career direction and qualify as a helicopter pilot, or to transfer their civil training into the Defence sector.

Increased transparency and choice for students contemplating a career in aviation can only increase the attractiveness of aviation as a career choice helping to ensure that Australia’s aviation industry has access to skilled personnel in the future.

One of the most important aspects of this training package from my perspective is that it brings together two of this Government's main priorities:

• an education revolution, and • the development of Australia's first national aviation policy.

Education revolution

The Government wants Australia to be the best educated country, the most skilled economy and the best trained workforce in the world.

That is why we have embarked on an education revolution, with a renewed focus on investing in our institutions, and getting better outcomes for students from pre-school, all the way through to university.

A centrepiece of this is a $1.9 billion investment over five years to fund up to 630,000 new training places.

As a result of the Transport and Logistics Industry Skill’s Councils research and discussion with industry, they recommended that pilots with a Commercial Pilot Aeroplane Licence be added to the 'Priority Occupations List'.

Inclusion on this list recognises that pilots are one of the occupations the Rudd Government is targeting as part of its broader skills policy.

Pilots will be added to the list from 1 July 2008, which will give Registered Training Organisations offering the relevant pilot qualification the opportunity to access some of the 630,000 new training places announced in the 2008/09 Budget through the Productivity Places Program.

Aviation White Paper

Members will also be aware that in April this year, the Rudd Government took the historic step of developing a long-term plan for the future of Australia's aviation industry.

This national Aviation Policy Statement, or White Paper, will guide the industry's growth over the next decade and beyond.

Development of the White Paper began in April, with stakeholders being invited to make submissions on an Issues Paper which outlines challenges facing the Australian aviation Industry.

The next step in the process is the release of a Green Paper in September outlining possible policy directions, settings and reforms providing yet another opportunity for public input.

The process will be finalised in mid 2009 with the release of a White Paper which for the first time will bring together all aspects of national aviation policy into a single statement.

One of the key issues for the Aviation White Paper is addressing the skills needs in the aviation industry.

There have been numerous reports in recent years about the difficulties regional airlines are having recruiting pilots.

Regional airlines are also feeling the flow-on effects from a pilot shortage.

Skills shortages in the aviation sector not only affect services to regional centres.

It also impacts on emergency service operations, like the Royal Flying Doctor Service and search and rescue operators.

As the Minister for Regional Development, I am fully aware of the impact of the aviation skills shortage on people living in regional and remote Australia.

This critical issue underscores the importance of the National Aviation Policy Statement.

The work already done by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council in this area, and also their unique position as an intermediary between Government and industry,

means they will have a vital role in shaping future government policy and priorities to help meet the long term training needs of this industry.

Conclusion

Our aviation industry has grown to a point where it supports nearly 50,000 jobs nationwide, and underpins our nation's continued economic growth.

We are developing a strategy which looks to the long term and closely links the development of aviation to the economic development of the nation.

The Government has already begun an education revolution because we know that skills are a core element in economic capacity and future prosperity.

We are committed to a strong, vibrant and well-skilled Australian aviation industry, one with certainty and incentives to invest for the future.

The aviation training package is part of this commitment.

It is a key resource for people already in, or planning to enter Australia's aviation industry.

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