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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

New training to ramp up pharma manufacturing

Health Industry Hub | October 12, 2020 |

Pharma News: Training has been developed to support the Australian pharmaceutical manufacturing industry’s urgent response to the COVID-19 health crisis.

Pharmaceutical companies are playing a key role in the COVID-19 pandemic by developing potential tests, treatments and vaccines. It is important manufacturers are equipped with all the expertise they may require, including the unique skills to produce and distribute life-saving and enhancing medical treatments.

The skill set includes four national units of competency. It is available for delivery by registered vocational training providers, such as TAFE.

“COVID 19 has disrupted many industries and displaced many workers. This skill set is an important part of a broader Commonwealth and State Governments’ initiative to provide stepping stones for workers from one industry to another. The AISC is ensuring Australia’s national training system is well positioned to address the workforce challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn. It is doing this via an Emergency Response Sub-Committee to enable short-term and urgent adjustments to qualifications and training package requirements to respond to areas of critical workforce and skills needs during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Michael Hartman, CEO of Skills Impact.

The Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Operator Induction Skill Set describes the foundation skills and knowledge required by workers entering the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, especially those employed to work with bioprocessed products, such as vaccines and antibody testing devices.

As the skill set is designed for workers entering the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, including existing workers from outside the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry needing to develop their foundational skills in pharmaceutical manufacturing, it is not intended for upskilling experienced pharmaceutical manufacturing workers.

The skill set describes the required knowledge and performance criteria for pharmaceutical manufacturing operators, and how these can be assessed to determine if a worker is competent. The skill set does not prescribe how an individual should be trained. The method for training delivery is something that the registered training organisation and the manufacturer they are working with can decide. A ‘skill set’ is a shorter course than a ‘qualification’. It is made up of 4 units of competency. For comparison, qualifications would be made up of 15-30 units of competency.

The skill set was developed by industry experts, in a process supported by the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Industry Reference Committee and managed by Skills Impact.

The development of this new Pharmaceutical Manufacturing skill set is an important step towards building a stronger and more resilient healthcare production industry domestically. Sovereign capability in certain vital sectors such as healthcare is now an acknowledged goal for Australia. This skill set focused on the foundational skills for pharmaceutical manufacturing will enable to more rapid uptake and cross-skilling of the workers that will be needed in order to expand and strengthen this sector,” said Paul MacLeman, Chair of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Industry Reference Committee.

It was developed in response to the Critical Skills for Recovery initiative, driven by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) and the AISC Emergency Response Sub-Committee, and was approved by the Sub‑Committee on 16 September 2020.

The skill set will help support displaced workers to gain new skills and build on existing skills and will also help businesses to take advantage of opportunities that exist now and into the future.

It is included on the JobTrainer Fund list and the fee for registered training providers putting it on scope will be waived.

This work is part of the AISC’s efforts to ensure Australia’s national training system is well positioned to address the workforce challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn.

Training providers approved to deliver this skill set will be listed on the government site https://training.gov.au/Training/Details/FBPSS00051.

As this is a newly created skill set, it will take a few weeks for training providers to apply to be authorised to deliver it. If any pharmaceutical manufacturing companies are interested in accessing this training, they should approach registered training organisations directly or are welcome to contact Skills Impact for any information about training providers who are interested in offering this training.

Any industry players who believe there are additional resources that could be developed to support training in the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector are encourage to contact Skills Impact.


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