Work-Integrated Learning during the Pandemic and Beyond

Despite the ongoing disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to ensure graduates entering the Professions in the future are work ready. While many innovative ways of providing WIL have been developed, more efforts are required to achieve best practices in student placements.

At the same time, the National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund (NPILF), introduced under the Australian Government Job-Ready Graduates package, requires universities to increase both the quantity and quality of work-integrated learning opportunities to ensure work ready graduates. How will universities achieve that? How will industry be able to provide essential workplace experiences in a COVID world? What role could professional associations play in fostering university – industry collaboration?

The many participants in our “Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) during the Pandemic – The Good, The Bad, The Innovative” Roundtable on 9th November 2021 felt it was a timely and very useful exploration of this important component of educating professionals of the future. While several innovative ways of providing WIL have been developed, more efforts are required to achieve best practices in student placements.

Hosted by ACoP Board Director and Education, Accreditation, Micro-Credentials and Employability portfolio co-chair Simon Hann, the Round Table explored a number of topics that have arisen in nearly two years of higher education teaching, learning, assessment and placements during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.  In May of last year, we had facilitated a Joint Statement by the entire Australian higher education sector of agreed principles for adapting to the pandemic.

The Roundtable experts were:

Prof Peter Dawkins – Mitchell Institute for Education and Health Policy, Victoria University
Professional Profile

Peter is leading the Review of University-Industry Collaboration in Teaching & Learning with former RMIT V-C Professor Martin Bean.

Harold Lomas BA –  A/g Assistant Secretary, Dept. of Education, Skills and Employability

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Paolo Damante MDIT BA –  Senior  Policy Officer, Australian Industry Group (AIG)

Professional Profile

Karena Maguire MSc. BBS FCMA – Head of Stakeholder Engagement and Communications, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI)

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Mairéad Boland LLB LLM – Quality Assurance Manager, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI)

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Topics discussed included:

  • How can collaboration between industry and universities be increased to make the 2015 ‘National Strategy on Work Integrated Learning in University Education‘ a reality?
  • What is the gold standard for University – Industry Collaboration?
  • What challenges will need to be overcome?
  • What are some of the innovative ways universities and industry have delivered WIL (particularly placements) in a COVID environment?
  • How could professional associations support work integrated learning and university – industry collaboration?

The Round Table participants examined the challenges impacting University–Industry Collaboration, what ‘Good’ University–Industry Collaboration looks like and how it interacts with the Australian Government’s Review of University-Industry Collaboration in Teaching & Learning.  There was universal consensus about the need to ensure stronger university-industry collaboration, particularly as young people are struggling with the transition to skilled employment.

AIG senior  policy officer Paolo Damante outlined industry expectations and session participants expressed their firm belief that higher education needs to meet lifelong learning needs by engaging more meaningfully with industry as skills shortages continues to affect our employment landscape.  The participants also spoke of greater collaboration between Higher Education and VET as a necessity if the industry is to succeed and inducements are also considered vital to increase WIL opportunities.

DESE’s acting Assistant Secretary Harold Lomas provided the background to the Australian Government’s National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund (NPILF) <link> and outlined its purpose and progress to date as well as the themes identified from the pilot plans universities have submitted and the role of NPILF going forward.

Karena Maguire and Mairead Boland from Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) shared Ireland’s response to the impact of COVID on providing work placements. Our Round Table participants then explored some of the innovative ways universities and industry have delivered WIL placements in a COVID environment and the lessons Australia could learn from Ireland’s experience.

The Round Table concluded with the identification of a number of useful models, resources and possible solutions to address the issues raised and opportunities for professional associations to leverage in order to enhance collaborations between universities and industry.  The Australian Council of Professions will further this further with its Member Organisations in 2022.

We invite professional organisations who are not members of ACoP to join our alliance as we work collectively to uphold the integrity of work-integrated learning and the importance of collaboration between higher education and industry. For more details, ring 1300 664 587 or contact

Micro-Credential Round Table

The role of micro credentialing within the education ecosystem is increasing significant, yet there continues to be no commonly agreed standard within professional association accreditation practices. Many of our member organisations are grappling with the ways in which they might incorporate accredited micro credential programs into their current and future CPD/CPE offerings and how this might in turn attract advanced standing within the education ecosystem.

In order to promote dialogue around this important concept, ACoP is hosting a Round-Table for its Member Organisations on Thursday 29th April 2021 to hear from leaders discuss and debate:
How will Professional Associations address higher-education micro-credential offerings within their current accreditation standards?

The Round Table program is:

Opening, Introductions, Purpose and Rules of the Round-Table
Dr Ash Jones – Head of ACoP Education and Accreditation Portfolio
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Overview of CA-ANZ’s Professional Accounting Micro-Credentialing Journey
Lisa Thomas – General Manager Learning Initiatives, Chartered Accountants Australia NZ
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Professional Practice Credentials: An outcome-based Assessment Approach
Glenn Campbell – CEO, DeakinCo.
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Reverse-Engineering cross-sector Skills Transferability through Micro-Credentialing Initiatives
Dr Simon Eassom – Executive General Manager Education, CPA Australia
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RMIT Digital Credentials: a Case Study in Building Industry-Relevant Digital Certification for Future-Proofing the Professions
Dr Darien Rossiter – Principal Advisor to the DVC Education, RMIT
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Micro-Credentialing Capability in the ICT Industry
Louise Smith – Director Education & Workforce Development, ACS
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The Engineering Credential Journey to Date
Emmanuelle Wintergerst FIEAust CPEng – National Manager Credentials Development, Engineers Australia
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Open Discussion on the Topic

Next Steps and Close

For more information on this Round-Table, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or

COVID-19 Road to Recovery Education/Training Needs

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on employment, required workplace skills and the nature of jobs of many Australian employees and workers. We are seeking your help to establish which and how new skills should be provided, funded and acquired more quickly to ensure all Australians can participate and benefit from Australia’s successful business recovery during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our research team seeks to find out what has changed for working Australians regarding:

  • The technical and generic skills you or your team members need, or need more of, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The optimal ways to address these skills needs in the next 12 months, including innovative approaches and possible government support packages.

We need the views of a broad range of Australian workers including: professionals who work in large or small organisations; small business owners; sole traders and micro business owners; contractors; consultants; and others. If you are an Australian worker over the age of 18, you are invited to share your views.

This survey has been approved and is conducted independently by Deakin University. This study has received Deakin University ethics approval (reference number: HAE-20-087). The research project is endorsed and overseen by the COSBOA/ACoP “COVID-19 Business Recovery Council” which directly advises the Prime Minister’s National COVID-19 Coordination Commission.

For more information on the survey, please contact the Office of the CEO on 1300 664 587 or at!

ACoP shares Accreditation Experience with Irish Regulator QQI

Irish higher education regulator Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) has invited us to share our experiences with the creation and implementation of our Joint Statement on Higher Education Course Accreditation with their member organisations.

ACoP is increasingly being asked to share and advise other organisations worldwide based on our experiences in our areas of policy and advocacy. Recently we were approached by Ireland’s national regulator of education and training services Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) to share our experiences in developing and implementing national standards for higher education course accredition.

Founded in 2012, QQI develops and maintains the Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), a 10-level framework for the development, recognition and awarding of qualifications similar to our AQF. QQI also approves programs offered at a variety of schools, colleges and further and higher education and training institutions at the respective NFQ level. QQI members include many Irish professional associations such as Engineers Ireland, Chartered Accountants Ireland, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, the Veterinary Council of Ireland, etc.

At QQI’s May 2020 ‘Finding Common Ground: Aligning Accreditation and Adapting to Crisis‘ meeting of Ireland’s professional associations, the more than 30 attendees participated in a live presentation on our learnings from the experience of developing and implementing our Joint Statement on Higher Education Course Accreditation. During the subsequent Q&A session, they discussed with the presenter Klaus Veil the benefits, challenges and lessons learnt during the process. ACoP’s recent work on the Joint Statement of Principles for Higher Education during the COVID-19 pandemic was also discussed.

If you want to find our more about our collaboration with QQI, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or

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:

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) welcomes and supports the creation of a joint statement of principles to guide professional accreditation during the COVID-19 pandemic and will refer to the statement in its own course accreditation activities.

Minister for Education, Skills and Employability Tehan welcomed our initiative to develop a Joint Statement, in particular at a time when it is important to maximise flexibility and reduce regulatory burden wherever possible. Writing to ACoP, the Minister notes that it is pleasing that we also covered the impact on students regarding the availability of placements, practicums and/or work experience opportunities. The Minister also invites updates and feedback from ACoP on the implementation of the Joint Statement including how Government might be able to assist or address any particular matters of concern.

We understand that Minister Tehan has also written to ~100 accreditation bodies noting our initiative, encouraging adoption of the principles outlined in the Joint Statement and referring to our web site.

The Australian Council of Professions is delighted to have found sector-wide support for our initiative to develop the Higher Education COVID-19 Joint Statement” said ACoP President Klaus Veil. “This broad consensus ensures that the education, work experience, graduation, registration and mobility of Australian Professionals is maintained in these difficult times.

The Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) is pleased to support this Joint Statement as it highlights the impact of the COVID pandemic on work integrated learning (WIL) and particularly the reduced availability of professional placements” said ACEN President Franziska Trede when announcing their support. “The new solutions emerging due to the pandemic are already evidence of stronger collaborative partnerships between universities, industry and professional accreditation bodies and the advancement of WIL”.

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

If you have questions on the Joint Statement or wish to provide comments and/or feedback, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or

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 sessions.

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 to find out more!


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

The Australian Council of Professions is delighted to welcome Navitas as a supporting organisation member, further broadening and strengthening our membership and reach.

Navitas is an Australian company that pioneered an innovative university partnership model of education in 1994 and today helps thousands of learners transform their lives through access to an extensive range of programs and services across its global network of colleges.  Navitas’ work is underpinned by an international network and a strong commitment to student experiences and outcomes as well as a passion for discovering new technologies and models of teaching and learning that will improve education now and into the future.

As well as providing pathways to education in partnership with universities, Navitas brings together niche colleges offering tertiary education programs across a wide range of sectors and specialist areas such as creative media, human services, professional services, leadership and management. It also delivers critical language, literacy, numeracy and employability programs to help learners recognise their potential.

We are currently working on a number of thought-leading initiatives in Education, Life-Long-Learning and Employability, so I am delighted that Navitas is joining us at this point in time. Their input and support will add depth and relevance to our work” said ACoP Board President Klaus Veil.

The CEO of the Careers & Industry division of Navitas, Jo Anthonysz, said he welcomed the opportunity to work more closely with ACoP and its members to help meet the learning, skills and workforce needs of all Australians.  “Navitas partners with a range of professional associations and peak bodies to advocate for reforms that improve access to a high-quality education for all,” Mr Anthonysz said.  “We welcome the opportunity to work with ACoP to help inform government policy and decision-making.”

Welcome Navitas!

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 draft a ‘Joint Stat0ment on Micro-Credentials Principles and Practice’ document.

Micro-Credential Experts join Council of Professions

The Australian Council of Professions (ACoP) is pleased to welcome DeakinCo, the commercial arm of Deakin University, as a Member of the Australian Council of Professions.

DeakinCo’s membership represents a valuable joining of forces to help advance Professionals and Professionalism in Australia as well as a commitment of both organisations to work together in order to close the workplace skills gap, foster lifelong learning thought leadership and promote professional excellence.

DeakinCo. has been instrumental in the design and development of the Deakin professional practice credential model, which offers a unique ability to assess distinctive professional skills capabilities across the workforce. These micro-credentialing standards, built across 26 capabilities, eventuated in response to the recognition that the global workforce is currently experiencing unprecedented change due to automation, economic instability and emerging skills capability requirements. As such, the Deakin credential model has been developed to address the needs of professionals in the changing world of work, through the provision of a robust mechanism to assess the knowledge and skills they have built through their professional experience.

Dr Asheley Jones, Head of Professional Practice is delighted that DeakinCo. has become the first Supporting Member of ACoP. “Given DeakinCo’s mission is to provide workplace solutions that assess and build workplace knowledge and skills for organisations and individuals, and ACoP’s commitment to ensuring community confidence across all professionals in all professions, this membership enables a natural synergy in the two entities working together to ensure Australia’s 21st-century work needs are met.

DeakinCo’s CEO, Glenn Campbell views the ACoP membership as “an important step in building a diverse community of practice, committed to providing a comprehensive ecosystem to underpin the lifelong learning needs of the Australian workforce.

The Australian Council of Professions congratulates DeakinCo. on their work developing teaching and learning methods that support the life-long-learning needs of professionals. ACoP President Klaus Veil FACHI FHL7 said “We are delighted to welcome DeakinCo as our first ‘Supporting Member’ organisation, a new member category our Board recently approved. Their membership will further broaden and strengthen our capability and influence in this vitally important area of professional education. Professional knowledge today has a half-life of 5 years, so providing small, targeted and assessable units of learning that re-fresh and/or top-up a professional’s expertise is attracting strong interest from our Professional Association Members.”

Welcome DeakinCo!

AQF Final Report Released

The Final Report of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Review was released by the Australian Government today.

In 2018 we had held an AQF Review Terms of Reference Session and then very actively participated in the Review lead by Prof. Peter Noonan who had also keynoted at our inaugural National Summit on Micro‐Credentialing and Accreditation in Melbourne. We supported targeted review sessions for Professional Associations and submitted a formal Submission on behalf of our Member Organisations:

Read the AQF Review Final Report here.

Note: On 9 December the Australian Government accepted all the recommendations of the review in relation to higher education. It also accepted the aims of the recommendations of the review in relation to vocational education, contingent on further discussions with state and territory governments. While the Final Report does not reccommend the inclusion of Micro-Credentials in the AQF, the industry’s interest in new credentialled and assessed short units of learning continues unabated.