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From the Desk of the CEO – April 2019 Newsletter Address

General elections were held in Indonesia on 17 April with over 190 million eligible voters. After quick count results, current President Joko Widodo appeared set to win a second term over his challenger, former general Prabowo Subianto. Official results should be notified next month but that might be delayed in the likely case that Mr. Prabowo decides to lodge an appeal to the Constitutional Court.

Mr. Widodo has placed the reform of education and training as a priority of his campaign to improve the quality and competitiveness of his country’s human resources. Over the past five years, the Widodo Government has focused on an ambitious plan to expand energy supply, transport and shipping and logistics and to rapidly increase the supply of international standard tourism resources. The program requires millions of skilled people that are not currently available in Indonesia.

Over the last two years, Sustainable Skills has developed a strong position in Indonesia. Our organisation has worked closely with several Indonesian ministries including the Ministry of Research Technology and Higher Education, Ministry of Manpower, Ministry of Education and Culture and the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs to help develop TVET reform plans.

As part of the national TVET reform, Indonesia is establishing a new national TVET Centre of Excellence to address the fundamental mismatch between training outcomes and industry needs. Our organisation is helping the Indonesian Government to explore how the Centre can influence the broader national TVET system and develop the skills needed to support students in finding the ‘right training’ at the ‘right time’ for the ‘right job’.

The Centre will be established at Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (UPI) based at Bandung and Universitas Negeri Padang (UNP). This month, I met with UNP Rektor and team in Jakarta and we reached an important milestone in this process as the Rektor accepted Sustainable Skills proposal to support the establishment of the TVET Centre of Excellence. UNP has integrated our proposal into their submission to Bappenas and the Ministry of Research Technology and Higher Education.

During my trip to Indonesia this month, I visited the Ministry of Manpower’s training centre BBPLK Serang to learn how the country is delivering renewable energy training. Australia could play an important role by supporting Indonesia in the development and execution of a training strategy to effectively build local skills in the renewable energy sector.

I also have the pleasure of moderating a session on education at the Island Tourism Forum, being held in Mataram Lombok on the 29-30 April and organised by the Australian Consulate Bali. In a bid to strengthen the tourist industry in Lombok, the forum aims to bring together government, academics, businesses, NGOs and communities to share experiences, encourage partnerships and explore investment and commercial possibilities related to the province.

Sustainable Skills has nearly twenty years’ experience shaping and maintaining effective TVET systems and frameworks in Australia and around the world. Our TVET experts have helped a number of countries to improve their TVET system. I am pleased to share a table of all the projects we have managed over the past years and we are confident that new opportunities will become available soon.

ProjectCountryDescriptionValue (USD)Duration
Workshop on TVET Systems, Competency Based Training, Governance, Monitoring and EvaluationKenyaSustainable Skills was engaged by the Australian High Commission in Nairobi to prepare and deliver a workshop for 20
Kenyans, drawn from various roles in TVET in Kenya.
15,000June 2019
School Leaders Learning and Development ProgramFijiDesign a scalable model able to develop the skills and abilities of current and future school heads to provide excellent leadership and management for all schools295,000November 2018 - August 2019
Due Diligence and Technical Evaluations UgandaDesign a model of due diligence and capacity assessment to address prevailing skills imbalances and shortages in Uganda297,000July 2017 - July 2019
Vocational Education and
Training Qualifications Benchmarking and
Development Project
Vietnam, PhilippinesCapacity building of counterpart public sector organisations
(PSO) to develop vocational education and training programs
linked to industry needs
(18 months)
Twinning Activity with TVETA - Construction SectorZambiaBuild TEVETA’s capacity to develop industry-led occupational
standards and assessment toolkits
(18 months)
Twinning Activity with PIREP
(Vocational Education reform program) -
Construction sector
MozambiqueBuild PIREP’s capacity to develop industry-led occupational
(12 months)
Design of a Pan-Africa Skills CouncilAfrican UnionDesign options for a pan-African skills council including a
potential skills development fund
(2 months)
Southern African
Regional Capacity Building
Mozambique, Tanzania, ZambiaFacilitation of a series of workshops focused on TVET systems,
and promoting collaboration between African governments on
TVET policies
Government Study Tour to Australia
20 African CountriesTVET Advisory services for three skills
development study tours to Australia
Total value
Vocational Training Program - Construction sector Uganda,
Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania,
South Africa,
Set baseline for evaluation of a vocational training program in
line with industry needs
(6 months)
Human Resources MappingEast TimorSupport the East Timor Human Capital Development Fund in
identifying skills limitations and make reccomendations for a
workforce planning framework
(9 months)
Training Package - Resources and Infrastructure Sectors AustraliaDevelopment and continuous improvement of the occupational
standards in consultation with industry
2,250,000 per
National Workforce Development Fund AustraliaManagement of an industry-government training fund. Assistance to companies in identifying appropriate training outcomes for fundingFund value:
(3 years)
Regional Integrated Training Project Agriculture and Mining sectorsAustraliaSchool-based training program to enable pathways into
productive economic sectors in rural communities
Cross-Industry training program - Agriculture, Construction, Fisheries, MiningAustraliaTraining program to build sustainable
workforces that could work across industries in line with seasonal
and economic fluctuations
(3 years)


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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 – August 2018 Newsletter Address

This month I met Ms Nguy Thi Khanh, Executive Director of Vietnam’s Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID) at the Vietnam Renewable Energy Week being held in Hanoi.  Ms Khanh was a winner of the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize – the world’s largest award for grassroots environmental activists. GreenID, a not for profit, works to achieve fundamental change in the approach to sustainable development by promoting the transition to a sustainable energy system, good environmental governance and inclusive decision processes. Sustainable Skills, having started exploring opportunities in Vietnam, is developing plans with GreenID to build the skills of the renewable energy sector.

Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s President and Scott Morrison, Australia’s Prime Minister are meeting in Jakarta this Friday to conclude the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership (IA-CEPA) which will create the framework for a new era of closer economic engagement between Australia and Indonesia and open new markets and opportunities for businesses, primary producers, service providers and investors. I’m currently in Jakarta and will be attending events associated with the signing. Australian Universities are expected to get the green light to start setting up campuses in Indonesia under the agreement.

The agreement will also provide opportunities to help improve the TVET capacity of Indonesia. The Australian TVET model, with its well-established industry-based competencies and modular course design, is very often the preferred choice for both qualitative and pragmatic reasons.

Sustainable Skills approach has been to work with Indonesian Ministries that have developed plans to reform VET, take key principles of the Australian VET system, understand the local culture and develop solutions.

The IA-CEPA has enabled 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. Sustainable Skills Ltd. welcomes the significant opportunity IA-CEPA opens for world-class Australian training providers to contribute to skilling the Indonesian workforce into the future.


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Nigel Carpenter Interview for The Australia-Indonesia Centre

How Australia can meet Indonesia’s demand for high quality skills training

In June Susinable Skillsta CEO, Nigel Carpenter, was invited by the Australia Indonesia Business Council Victoria (AIBC) to speak at the Education Panel discussion about education in Indonesia. The conference aimed to unpick some of the key issues in a critical sector for Indonesia, and learn more about the country’s aspirations.

We are sharing an article about how Australia can meet Indonesia’s demand for high quality skills training written by Nigel Carpenter for The Australia-Indonesia Centre (AIC) as well as a video interview produced by AIC.



President Widodo has elevated infrastructure investment to the top priority and has an enormous investment agenda.

In this case it appears likely that a major constraint will be skills. Already, key projects are heavily staffed by foreigners – a practice that Indonesia simply can’t sustain.

Indonesia is a fiercely independent country with an economy that continues to grow. As the Indonesian economy has grown so has the need to improve the education system particularly vocational education.

We found a country with a strong desire to improve its VET system that has a high degree of alignment with industry demand and a practical design that supports the needs of low income communities.

The Australian model, with its well-established industry-based competencies and modular course design, is very often the preferred choice for both qualitative and pragmatic reasons.

Our approach has been to work with Indonesian Ministries that have developed plans to reform VET, take key principles of the Australian VET system, understand the local culture and develop solutions.

Indonesia has the chance to reform its VET picking the best the international education system has to offer.

Nigel Carpenter in West Java to understand local cattle farming with the objective of developing a plan to develop skills and therefore productivity.

Prior to my first trip to Jakarta I was told Indonesia requires a lot of time and patience to succeed, that business is done differently, and a lot of effort is required to understand the culture and build relationships.

All the advice I received has proven true.

The challenge is being prepared to build sound relationships and there’s only one way to do this – be in front of people and let them know you’re truly interested in their problems.

Indonesians tell me they like Sustainable Skills because we’re committed, and we don’t think several visits over six months will deliver success.

By building the relationship and understanding the problem, an Indonesian solution can be developed. Once a relationship and trust has been established then projects will proceed.

There are major VET capacity constraints and a massive need to build skills. For example, Indonesia wants to build 35 GW of energy.

Nigel Carpenter delivered a lecture at Universitas Pendidikan Bandung on what an Indonesian TVET Centre of Excellence could be.

The Indonesian Government estimates the construction and operating of this system will create 1 million jobs. This creates a huge opportunity for Indonesia to build skills and bring more people out of poverty.

These jobs require world standard competencies and a training system that will deliver world standard skills, otherwise more foreigners will be required.

We are working with the Indonesian government to develop plans to seize this opportunity.

Opportunities are not straight forward, and no one would advocate a rush of investments in Australian-styled institutions in environments with very different economic and social drivers, not to mention much lower incomes.

But the risks can be managed and the scale requirements beyond the initial capacity-building are manageable. Yet so far, most of the activity by Australian providers in these markets has a focus on accreditation, implying some of sort of local delivery of Australian courseware.

Australia has an opportunity to not only attract foreign students but to also develop offshore opportunities and extend the value of our education capabilities and expertise. This requires the development of new solutions.

In pursuing our usual work, we identified the need and commercial opportunity to establish an Australian led Indonesian managed stand-alone training centre.

We have identified a strong local partner and have had significant encouragement in testing the proposition with Indonesian industry and government approval authorities.

This opportunity aligns with the very high priority of infrastructure and tourism investment in the Widodo Government’s agenda. We’ve developed a business plan that doesn’t need a change to Indonesian laws.

Sustainable Skills has developed several very interesting opportunities that we will continue to explore and develop. Each requires a local focus and strong guidance from experienced Australian specialists.

This will take time, but we are confident that strong results will emerge from the application of that Australian expertise. We’d welcome partners or supporters in any of these projects.

Source: Australia-Indonesia Centre

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