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From the Desk of the CEO – September 2019 Newsletter Address

This month, I was asked to testify before a Senate Committee about the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA). Signed on 4th March 2019, IA-CEPA creates a framework for Australia and Indonesia to unlock the vast potential of the bilateral economic partnership, fostering economic cooperation between businesses, communities and individuals. Full transcripts of my hearing are available here.

This invitation followed a written submission made by Sustainable Skills to the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) in August, which outlines the importance of IA-CEPA in enabling a much improved understanding of how Indonesia’s workforce skills opportunity is central to Indonesia’s social and economic development. Australian experience in delivering industry-based training can help Indonesia to deliver job-ready trained workers. Our organisation welcomes the significant opportunity IA-CEPA opens for world-class Australian training providers to contribute to skilling the Indonesian workforce into the future.

In recent years, Sustainable Skills has had a particular focus on Indonesia, largely because of the scale of the opportunity for Indonesian people. In our experience, there is no doubt whatsoever that a focus on vocational education and training is a fundamental plank in delivering to Indonesians a valuable outcome from improved relations with Australia.

Between 4th and 6th September, I travelled to Perth to attend the 17th edition of Africa Down Under. Drawing on our previous experience as the Industry Skills Council for the Resources and Infrastructure Industries, the largest African mining-focused exhibition outside of the continent itself is a must attend for our organisation. In the past years, Sustainable Skills delivered TVET programs in a number of African Countries including Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Zambia, and two cross-countries projects with the African Mineral Skills Council, and Bigen Africa.

Lately, our team has worked on new tender submissions and an education project led by Sustainable Skills Director, International Development Services based in Perth, Lee Jackson, which underpins our recent experience with the ‘Head of School’ Skills Development project in Fiji to develop innovative e-learning programs. Watch this space to find out more about Sustainable Skills upcoming projects.

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From the Desk of the CEO – September 2018 Newsletter Address

Sustainable Skills CEO, Nigel Carpenter, delivering a speech at the 5th UPI International Conference on TVET in Bandung, Indonesia – September 2018.

On 11-12 September, I travelled to Bandung to attend the 5th Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (UPI) International Conference on TVET. Focused on “Globalization, challenges, and disruptions in TVET”, the conference aimed to discuss key challenges and adaptation strategy to changes on technical and vocational education practices in the region and beyond. I was invited to deliver a speech on how Indonesia can develop a new Centre of Excellence which will improve their national TVET system the Indonesian way.

The Ministry of Research Technology and Higher Education (MORTHE) is embarking on a technical, vocational education and training reform plan with a view to establishing a new national Centre of Excellence at UPI.

UPI, supported by the Ministry of Research Technology and Higher Education and the Asian Development Bank intends building a new TVET Centre of Excellence and wants to apply the learnings from countries such as Germany or Australia. We have helped develop the Ministry’s reform plan including the CoE which will allow Indonesia to reform the TVET system the Indonesia way.

Key objectives of the CoE are

  • Drive Indonesia’s TVET reform agenda
  • Industry led competency-based training system
  • Quality training and assessment
  • Teacher professional development
  • Continuous improvement



Sustainable Skills Chairman, Michael Gill, delivering a speech at Africa Down Under in Perth – August 2018.

At the end of August, our Chairman, Michael Gill, travelled to Perth to attend Africa Down Under. Now in its 16th year, the Africa Down Under Conference (ADU) is the largest African mining-focused event outside of the continent itself and provides a platform for stakeholders eager to get in on the ground floor of the next African resources boom. Michael built on existing relationships and continued our focus on helping to build industry engaged TVET systems in developing countries.

Our Director, International Development Services, Luke Behncke, finished his contract with us to pursue a new professional project with his family. I would like to thank Luke for his wonderful contribution to Sustainable Skills over the last year and wish him all the very best for the future. We are thrilled to announce that Lee Jackson stepped in Luke’s former role as the new Director, International Development Services. Lee is an expert in TVET who has previously worked with Sustainable Skills on a consultancy basis and with SkillsDMC as Regional Manager for the WA office. I am glad to welcome Lee to the team in this new capacity and I am sure he will be a valuable asset to our organisation.


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From the desk of the CEO-September 2017 newsletter address

APEC Conference, Indonesia

This month started with a visit to the Africa Down Under Conference 2017, hosted in Perth from 6 to 8 September. The event, now in its 15th year, has grown into the largest African mining-focused exhibition outside of the continent itself, thus becoming a must attend for government delegations, industry, and all stakeholders involved in the Mining sector. Following a difficult four-year period, the expectations about where the resources industry in Africa is heading are now positive, and the event suggested a growing sense of confidence in the sector and about Africa-Australia relations. In this scenario, TVET systems can play a significant role to ensure that the growing demand of national industries for skilled workers is matched locally.

Sustainable Skills has worked in a few African countries and Africa Down Under was a great means to renew  friendships and further relationships. We met with several African delegations who want to improve their TVET systems based on a modular Industry-led approach. We are exploring how we can assist.

Over the course of the month, I attended and presented the merits of Australia’s industry led TVET system at an APEC workshop on Vocational Education Linkage with Labour Market organised by the Indonesian Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education. The workshop was held in Makassar City, South Sulawesi, Indonesia on 23rd and 24th of August. The conclusion of the workshop recognised that Indonesia needs to provide a pathway to Industry-led TVET reform as per Australia’s system. Sustainable Skills is developing collaborative relationships with Indonesian Ministries including the Ministry of Manpower, Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education and Ministry of Industry. We are developing plans for Indonesians to develop the skills their industries need. President Jokowi is implementing a massive growth program focused on infrastructure resulting in the need for world standard local skills.

We keep strengthening our relationship with Indonesian partners, and we welcome to our team of TVET Experts Bruce Riseley M.Ed, Director of the ASCET branch in Jakarta since 2013. In this role Bruce is in charge for promoting the use of Australian Vocational Education Standards in Indonesia and the partnering of Australian Education Providers with Indonesian Educational Institutions.

The Uganda project has ramped up to its regular intensity, and our Team Leader Peter Merckx travelled to Kampala to meet with the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) and with representatives of the World Bank. We are currently starting the Due Diligence stage of the project, aimed to verify, validate, and assess the quality, integrity, and completeness of the key information required to make a well-informed grant funding decision and avoid waste, fraud, and abuse. Scope of the project is to ensure that all material facts relevant to the funding decision have been revealed, and that all the organisations involved in the project are honest, reliable, and fully capable of executing their responsibilities under the grant agreements.

The transition from SkillsDMC to Sustainable Skills is continuing with some changes between our Board Directors, aimed to reflect the new scope of our business, and new Consultants joining our team of TVET Experts. The next stage of this transition is scheduled for the first week of October, and will see our team relocating to a new office in Chatswood. Follow our next newsletter to get more details about our new premises.




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