The Onshore/Offshore Skills Assessment Program including Offshore Technical Skills Records (OTSRs) is managed by Trades Recognition Australia (TRA). TRA, a business unit of the Australian Department of Education and Training (DET), is the relevant assessing authority for nominated occupations under the Migration Regulations 1994.
The accredited courses have been the result of many years work between Energy Skills Australia (E-Oz) and the Australian Government, Industry and Electrical Regulators which date back to 2006 when the Council of Australian Governments agreed to establish a new streamlined and robust offshore skilled assessment process, which became the OTSR.
Whilst the knowledge and skills of many overseas workers is very high, there are differences in the manner in which this technical expertise needs to be applied, a difference that represents a gap. Electrical Regulators are especially concerned that the gap be addressed in regulated trade vocations such as electrical, refrigeration and air conditioning, electricity linework and cable jointing, where the work context may differ markedly in overseas countries and where such differences could endanger lives, infrastructure or systems.
Differences between Australian and overseas occupational practices often arise as a result of the use of different standards, regulations and/or industry codes/guidelines in the worker’s place of origin. For instance, in Australia and New Zealand, there are particular standards and practices that are not seen or applied in any other country, others in only a few other countries.
DET, contracted E-Oz, to produce a benchmark resource outlining the ‘Minimum Australian Context Gap (MACG)’ for the competencies from the qualifications listed below:
- Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician (UEE30811)
- Certificate III in ESI-Distribution (lineworker) (UET30612)
- Certificate III in ESI – Cable Jointing (UET30812)
- Certificate III in Refrigeration and Air-conditioning (UEE32211)
The accredited courses play an important role in the current process which has experienced considerable hurdles in recent years. The intention of the original concept was for newly arrived migrants to access the gap training program from a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) with scope to deliver the relevant Australian trade qualification.