Australian Council of Professions

The unifying alliance of Professional Associations that represents more than 800,000 Australian professionals including engineers, healthcare and computer professionals, veterinarians and accountants. A not‐for‐profit organisation, we are acknowledged by the community, industry and government as the Thought Leaders advocating for the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism since 1971.

Our members are professional associations and supporting organisations that share the mission of building and maintaining community confidence in all professionals

  • Higher-Education Sector Response to COVID-19

    The Australian higher education sector has agreed to take a joint approach to effectively and successfully manage the coronavirus pandemic. In a Joint Statement published today, the sector’s peak bodies outline the principles they believe will meet community expectations for public health and safety while mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on higher education teaching, learning, assessment, placement and graduate mobility.

    The shared concern of the Australian higher-education sector that effectively managing during the COVID-19 pandemic is key to the well-being of a fair, equitable and prosperous Australia led to the Joint Statement outlining consensus-based principles for adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic in the following areas:

    1. Accreditation Flexibility and maintaining Course Quality
    2. Maintaining Quality during changed Teaching and Learning
    3. Supporting Online Assessments while maintaining Rigour
    4. Mitigating a reduced availability of Professional Placements
    5. Flexibility on (Re-)Registration/Accreditation of Professionals
    6. Maintaining International Accords for Professionals’ Mobility

    The Joint Statement authors were also mindful that in managing the post-COVID-19 pandemic situation, the learnings from the many innovative approaches taken should not be lost so that the sector can effectively benefit from the rich substrate of experiences gained during the pandemic.

    The following peak bodies are signatories to the Joint Statement:

    • Australian Council of Professions (ACoP)
    • Universities Australia (UA)
    • Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA)
    • Independent Higher Education Australia (IHEA)
    • Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN)

    The Australian Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) was directly engaged with the creation of the Joint Statement. The Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) supports the creation of a joint statement of principles to guide professional accreditation during the COVID-19 pandemic and will have reference to the statement in its own course accreditation activities.

    The Australian Council of Professions is delighted to have been able to facilitate the creation of our higher education sector’s COVID-19 Joint Statement.” said ACoP President Klaus Veil. “It ensures that the education, graduation, registration and mobility of Australian Professionals is maintained in these difficult times.

    We agree to work in partnership with each other and with government to adapt higher education courses and registration/accreditation to mitigate and minimise the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while upholding the continuity, integrity and reputation of Australian higher education and recognising its indispensable contribution to Australia’s well-being and prosperity.

    Joint Statement of Principles for the Higher Education Sector COVID-19 Response, 5 May 2020

    Download the Joint Statement here

  • Increased Recognition for Professionals and Small Businesses

    The Australian Council of Professions and the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia are pleased and excited to announce the creation of a formal partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding.

    The two organisations between them serve over one million small businesses through their member organisations. This partnership will provide a much greater reach to the community of small businesses and practices and provides both organisations with access to superior information from which to inform policy and comment.

    The Australian Council of Professions (ACoP) is the unifying alliance of Professional Associations that represents more than 800,000 Australian professionals including engineers, healthcare and computer professionals, veterinarians and accountants.  A not‐for‐profit organisation, they are acknowledged by the community, industry and government as the Thought Leaders advocating for the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism since 1971. Their members are professional associations and supporting organisations that share the mission of building and maintaining community confidence in all professionals.

    The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) is Australia’s only peak body that exclusively represents the interests of small businesses and consultancies. COSBOA fosters an increased awareness and understanding of the role of the people who are sole traders or run small businesses in Australia and works with all parts of society and the business and policy sectors to achieve that aim. Through its member organisations COSBOA has a reach to over 500,000 small businesses.

    Both Councils and their member organisations undertake activities in the areas of advocacy, policy development, education, professional development, information dissemination, communication, resource development and member support.  In the MOU both Councils agree to identify and collaborate on opportunities, initiatives and projects, either existing or planned.

    The President of the Australian Council of Professions, A/Prof Klaus Veil FACHI FH7, stated “It is in crisis times like the COVID-19 pandemic that we discover how many things are interconnected.  As we worked more intensively with COSBOA on strategies to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, we realised that many of their members serve a similar constituency as do our professional association members, but from a different angle. So it seemed natural to formalise our collaboration so that both Councils can even more effectively contribute to maintaining and enhancing Australia’s well-being and prosperity.”

    The Chairman of COSBOA Mark McKenzie, stated “The connection between all small businesses in Australian communities is a key part of the fabric of our society. The connection between professional and non-professional businesses is an everyday event that must be recognised. Professionals will need a haircut or a hairdo, they’ll need newspapers and magazines, petrol and fuel as well as everyday products and specialist products which they will often obtain from small businesses; and small business people will need expert advice on a whole range of complex matters which is when we go and see an expert, a professional. This partnership is empowering for COSBOA and now gives us a reach to over one million small businesses.

    We look forward to working with COSBOA to support the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism in Australia.

  • Expanding our Leadership

    We are delighted that three well-regarded leaders of professional and educational organisations have joined us in taking our organisation forward to be even more widely recognised and influential as the Unifying Alliance of Professional Associations in Australia.

    We welcome Julie Strous BVS GAICD (Executive Director – Australasian Veterinary Boards Council), Lynette Harris M.Ed (Director – Navitas Professions) and Mark Lowy M.Sc MPM MBA (Imm. Past President – Project Management Institute, Melbourne) who join Dr Nick Tate FACS CP CEng (Chair – ACoP Strategic Advisory Council) and Dr Ash Jones (Head – ACoP Education & Accreditation Portfolio) as co-opted members of our leadership team, separate to our elected Directors.

    They will help steer the Australian Council of Professions to achieve the projects and activities that our Member organisations have requested us to undertake:

    Welcome Julie, Lynette and Mark!

  • COVID-19 Statement

    The Australian Council of Professions has been carefully monitoring and assessing the corona virus (COVID-19) situation since early February.

    In these unprecedented and difficult times, our thoughts are with professional associations and their professionals in Australia and around the world.  We in particular acknowledge the health professionals around the globe who are working tirelessly to keep us safe and save those of us who are victims of COVID-19.

    Fortuitously, ACoP transitioned to online operations three years ago.  Our staff and volunteers all work remotely so avoiding the possibility of any contribution to the spread of COVID-19.  All our operational business records are held online with global IT service provider organisations.  Your Board therefore has assessed the risks to our continued operation as minimal.

    Our CEO Lee Tonitto has converted all scheduled face-to-face meetings with member organisations and stakeholders to tele-meetings and your Board is now considering how to best hold the various sessions and summits planned for later this year.  We continue to be passionate about the importance of the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism in these difficult times and are determined to progress our main activities that you have encouraged us to undertake:

    We appreciate your continued support and strength during this unprecedented time, as we collectively and collaboratively continue to work with you and other stakeholders on these important topics for the professions and their professionals in our country.

    Please contact us on 1300 664 587 or at CEO@Professions.org.au if you have any questions or concerns.

  • We are now Professions.org.au

    Our migration from professions.com.au to the Professions.org.au domain is now completed.

    Implementing the decision at our 2017 Strategic Review and Planning Day we undertook a ‘soft’ and staged migration that commenced with email addresses, then moved to our email lists and has now concluded with the migration of our web site content to a more user-friendly content management system at the Professions.org.au domain.

    Thank you to all who helped with the transition – your patience was much appreciated!


    Please contact WebMaster (at) Professions.org.au if you have any comments. Thank You.

  • International Womens Day 2020

    As in previous years, the Australian Council of Professions celebrates the International Day of Women by acknowledging, promoting and celebrating the vital position and contribution of female professionals in the professions and professionalism.

    We believe that equality is not only a women’s issue, but is essential for economies professions, businesses, economies and communities to thrive.

    In this context we note the “8 Imperatives for Gender Equity in the Workplace” research report recently published by the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM):

    Through their research, AIPM have identified eight imperatives that Australian governments, society, professionals and industry need to urgently address to speed up the journey to gender equality in the workplace to the benefit of all Australians.

    AIPM’s CEO Elizabeth Foley said that childcare reforms introduced in 2018 by the federal government presented significant disincentives to women from professional backgrounds returning to work after having children.
    Under the current settings, if combined family income exceeds the set upper limits by just one dollar, the amount provided by the Child Care Subsidy Scheme plunges by at least half and in some circumstances by more than half,” she says.

    ACoP CEO Lee Tonitto says “Our Diversity and Inclusion Portfolio Committee helps identify and develop best practice policies for broad-based diversity and inclusivity (e.g. gender, LGBTI, race, ethnicity, migration status, age, disability, etc.) of professionals, their professions and professional associations.

    The Australian Council of Professions (ACoP) believes that a gender-equal world can be healthier, wealthier and more harmonious – so let’s make it happen!

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) held a crisis meeting in Canberra two days ago to discuss a response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to inform small businesses and consultancies on the issues facing them due to the impending corona virus pandemic.  The Australian Council of Professions (ACoP) was a key participant with their reach to over 800,000 professionals including ~500,000 who operate their own business.


    Peter Strong, CEO of COSBOA, said today “the small business community is made up of many sectors and millions of people with over 4.5m employees between them. Each industry sector has their own peculiar needs and their own ways of communicating. The professionals of Australia are a key part of the small business community – from engineers, architects, medical specialists and expert consultants to those in the sciences and education – they run their own businesses as sole traders or as employers providing income and activity for many other professionals and support staff. As we face the COVID-19 challenges we will often look to this sector for information, advice and confidence.

    The meeting investigated scenarios where a high level of illness creates staff shortages; where geographic areas are impacted heavily for short periods, creating low consumer and client activity with a resulting lack of business and loss of jobs across that sector of the Australian economy; where the forced closure of public transport creates a crisis for small business; and where employees and/or business owners are forced into quarantine, affecting the viability of the business.

    Klaus Veil FACHI FHL7, President of the Australian Council of Professionals, stated “Professionals are disciplined individuals with inherent ethical standards who can be relied upon in times of stress and worry.  We and our professional member associations will work closely with other COSBOA association members to add value to responses to the COVID-19 crisis and also better inform our own members on actions and activities that will assist professionals deal with whatever difficulties the virus brings to local communities. Professionals will have expertise in many areas that are vital to managing current and future community needs.

  • Education & Employability

    This initiative seeks to explore the future of learning and employability to support a fair, equitable, socially cohesive and prosperous Australia. Led by the Australian Council of Professions, it brings together educators, the professions and industry in a collaborative conversation of thought leaders from various vantage points to explore and draft a Statement of Principles.
    The Statement could inform thinking and policy about how Australia’s education ecosystem needs to adapt to accommodate industry needs into the future, promote social cohesion and enable citizens across the lifespan – regardless of their place or starting point – to find and create work.

    Next Steps

    As a result of the current coronavirus situation, our next face-to-face working session planned for April 2020 cannot proceed. We are now looking at other ways to hold this session.


    Satellite Discussion Session

    Our November 2019 Round-Table had brought together thought leaders who drafted a Statement of Intent for a National Strategy to evolve Australia’s education ecosystem to accommodate industry needs, promote social cohesion and enable citizens across the lifespan – regardless of their place or starting point. A follow-on session titled “Towards a National Strategy for Education and Employability for Australia’s Industry 4.0” (download Programme here) at the National Library of Australia in Canberra on 25 February 2020 was by all accounts highly successful with ~150 registrations.

    Convened by our President Klaus Veil, the broad range of speakers elicited very interesting discussions and the session participants appreciated being able to “look at the topic through various prisms“. The resolution was that we were asked to keep the groundswell and momentum going!

    We thank the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) for their generous partnership and support of this event.


    Stakeholder Consultation Sessions

    The objective of these four sessions was to disseminate the themes discussed at the November 2019 Round-Table and to unpack these themes for those who were not able to attend as well as to garner interest and views from the broader community.
    Canberra: 4 Feb. 2020 (1:30 – 4:30pm)
    Melbourne: 11 Feb. 2020 (2:00 – 5:00pm)
    Sydney: 18 Feb. 2020 (1:30 – 4:30pm)
    Perth: tbc
    The consultation sessions were seen by the participants as very useful with the quality of the contributions and discourse as well as senior buy-in of the 46 participants most impressive. The unanimous view is that “Education and Employability” is a big challenge for the professions and professionals and no other organisation or govt currently has a policy for this.

    We thank Engineers Australia, DeakinCo and Navitas for their generous support of these events.


    1st Education & Employability Round-Table

    The inaugural Round-Table on Education and Employability was held on 19 November 2019 in Sydney. Invited were higher education providers, the professions, industry, govt. regulators and related organisations. The initial focus was on exploring a common goal of the initiative in the context of the future of education, employability and work in Australia’s Industry 4.0. Inspired work by the Round-Table participants ably facilitated by Prof Beverley Oliver and Prof Sally Kift resulted in this Joint Statement of Intent:

    “We in Education and Industry undertake to work together to create and drive an Integrated Continuous Learning Strategy to achieve a fair and prosperous Australia.”

    The next steps that were agreed are to promulgate and validate this Joint Statement more widely. Stakeholder Consultation Sessions in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Perth are envisaged.

    We thank Navitas for their generous support of this event.

    Call 1300 664 587 or contact CEO@Professions.org.au to find out more!

    History

    This initiative originated in 2018 in discussions of concerned educators, professionals and industry representatives involved with Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) regarding effectively implementing approaches and strategies that integrate theory with the practice of work within a purposefully designed curriculum. The overall aim was to improve the employability of graduates by giving them practical experience which is directly related to the courses they study.

    In 2015, a National Strategy on Work-Integrated Learning had been published to increase opportunities to participate in WIL, recognising the benefits to students, employers, universities and the economy.

    It was felt that it would be useful to bring together national thought leaders from industry, professional associations and the higher education sector to identify current and future workplace needs.  This conversation might be able to provide industry leadership and inform policy and regulatory settings to ensure the quality delivery of education to “Industry 4.o”.


    Relevant Background Documents

    Future Skills Report (AlphaBeta)
    Australian Jobs 2019 (Dept. of Jobs and Small Business)
    Skilling – A National Imperative (AIG)
    Making Micro-Credentials Work (DeakinCo)
    The Best Chance for All – Student Equity 2030 (NCSEHE)
    AQF Review 2019 – Final Report (Dept. of Education)
    Accelerating Skills Acquisition in the Age of Intelligent Technologies (Accenture)
    Accelerating Skills Acquisition in the Age of Intelligent Technologies (Deloitte)
    Path to Prosperity. Why the Future of Work is Human (Deloitte)
    ‘Enabling Excellence through Equity’ Conference 2019
    Credentials and the Future of Learning (UAC)
    Case Study: 3D Virtual Workplace

  • Leading Higher Education Independent joins ACoP

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  • Micro-Credentials Principles

    The Australian Council of Professions continues to progress the creation of a Principles of Micro-Credentials document with broad-based input from the Professions and other stakeholders.

    Our activities so far have been:

    The next steps will be the compilation of information, references and views to form a Micro-Credentials Principles and Practice document.