Improve access to skills and training

Carcoar Water Filtration Plant

We are partnering with key stakeholders and co-regulators to design and conduct a review to identify any critical skills shortages in the sector and develop options to address these.

Councillor awareness and training

In response to feedback from the local water utility sector, we are developing a suite of materials to raise awareness of the risks in water management and the roles and responsibilities for councillors and other decision makers in regional NSW water utilities. The materials include an induction document, an induction webinar for newly elected councillors and case studies that highlight the roles of decision makers and water utilities that in various scenarios in managing water services. All materials will be made available to regional councils and water utilities.

Operator skills and training

Skilled and competent operators are vital to provide essential water and sewerage services in regional NSW and to managing drinking water quality.
Currently there is an acute lack of trained operators in NSW. We understand there are up to 200 water operators in regional NSW that are seeking access to accredited operator training each year and are unable to access training due to a lack of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and trainers offering training.

The Town Water Risk Reduction Program is working in partnership with Training Services NSW, the training, and  the local water utility sectors to address both supply and demand challenges to increase skills of existing operators, attract more operators into the sector and increase employment and jobs in regional NSW.

Skills and Training focus group

The Town Water Risk Reduction Program Skills and Training focus group meets monthly and provides a platform to exchange information, promote collaborations, and identify opportunities where the program can support and catalyse the training sector.

Member of our focus group are volunteers.

Projects and pilots underway

NSW Water Industry Workforce Planning Project - Delivery December 2021

This project will underpin the development of a training pathway to address the critical skills shortage in the local water utility sector. Economic analysis will support Training Services NSW in the development of the Water Operations Skills Strategy and assist the entry of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to the market.

This project will collate and update critical data sets related to skills and training for the NSW water industry.

Objectives for this project include:

  • updating the NSW local water utility operator census
  • providing  an understanding of the extent of the skills shortage in Regional NSW water utilities
  • providing an understanding as to the risk that the skills shortage or the lack of training poses to the communities of Regional NSW
  • providing an understanding of the NSW water industry training market, for example, the number of active training providers.
  • providing an understanding of the barriers to water industry training in NSW.

Other key outcomes of this work include the development of best practice case studies for water utilities to apply in their workforce assessment and planning.

To assist in communications and engagement, a skills dashboard is being developed to visualise and compare the data according to area, scale, infrastructure, and future growth.

If you have relevant data to inform this project you can contact us by emailing regional.town.water@dpie.nsw.gov.au

Water operator training needs assessment for Orana Water Utilities Alliance - Delivery May 2022

We are funding this pilot to support the 11 far west water utilities in the Orana Water Utilities Alliance to identify their training needs across their water business. Including catchment or source water provision, water and wastewater treatment and all networks. This will enable each utility to identify the specialist skills and training needed for the utility to reliably provide essential water services to their communities.

The outcomes of the pilot will enable the Alliance to easily identify a training pathway for the critical skills shortages in the Far West region and engage a registered training provider to tailor a program that addresses their specific needs.

As an outcome of this pilot project, resources such as generic professional role descriptions and training and skills required for supervisors, operators, and relief operators, will be made available to all water utilities in regional NSW to assist with workforce planning.

Project Proposals

National approach to development of training resources for the National Water Package

A major entry barrier for RTOs, are the high costs of training and assessment materials. This is a live issue across Australia, and we are collaborating with the national water sector to source, develop and make available high quality training materials that cover the diverse range of required skills across different technologies. The longer-term aim is to support the development a national platform for the maintenance and licencing of materials so high-quality training materials are available at a reasonable cost to sustain a future training market.

The key proposed project objectives are:

  • increase the availability of context relevant Vocational Education and Training (VET) training under the National Water Package (NWP) available in Australia
  • reduce financial and resource barriers for RTOs looking to bring NWP units on scope for delivery
  • support improved management of risks to public health and the environment through improved water and wastewater management.