So we will commence by acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land. So, our information session is being held on the lands of the Wurundjeri people. I wish to acknowledge them as the traditional owners, recognizing their continuing connection to land, water and community. I would also like to pay my respects to their elders, past and present and Aboriginal elders of other communities who may be here today. So, welcome everyone on this fairly wet day that we currently have.
I'll cover a little bit of housekeeping to start off with, so I will ask you all if you wouldn't mind switching off your cameras during the presentation. That just assists anyone who may have some issues around data and bandwidth to make sure that everyone can actually see the presentation and hear what is being said. Also, if you wouldn't mind keeping your microphones on mute. That would be greatly appreciated. And during the presentation because we are recording it, and I can hear someone there that seems to have the mic on. Nope, it's gone now. Wonderful. And because we are actually recording the presentation while I'm presenting the information, please use the chat functionality to put any questions that you might have as we work through. There are a couple of people who are monitoring the chat function, so questions may be answered during the presentation, but there will also be an opportunity at the end for you to ask additional questions and we may go back over some of those that have already been asked, particularly if there is some themes.
So, we will kick off and we're going to cover quite a bit this morning, so it will include what is the clean economy workforce capacity building fund and we have the acronym there, but unfortunately, it's not one that we can sort of pronounce or turn into a word. So, during the presentation I'll probably refer to the Clean Economy Fund. We’ll look at what is the clean economy? What will the program fund? Fund partnerships, which is an important part of this initiative. Who can apply? What the process is for applying for a grant? The application assessment criteria so the things that you really need to cover when you're putting in an application. The budget and some lessons learnt from previous funds. We undertook an evaluation last year of the Regional and Specialist Training Fund and Workforce Training and Innovation Fund. And there's been some really good lessons from that that we will be applying back into this particular program. What the next steps are and then opportunity to ask any questions at the end.
So, we’ll kick off by, you know, with what is the clean economy workforce capacity building fund? The fund has been created to support the development and delivery of training that supports the Victorian Government's commitment to decarbonize the economy and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Innovative thinking and approaches are going to be required to develop the skills needed by the clean economy. The fund will enable training providers and industry to form sustainable partnerships, working together to develop new training methods and products and support collaborative learning platforms, all aimed at building workforce capacity. A key focus of the fund is to support the Victorian TAFE and training sector to better respond to and adapt training courses and resources for existing, new and emerging clean economy sectors. It will contribute towards increasing flexibility and responsiveness, aligning training with emerging industry and workforce needs, and ensuring students develop the high quality skills needed by industry and the Victorian economy to achieve net zero emissions. In the short to medium term, it's expected to deliver innovation in course development, product design and training delivery, through the TAFE and training system for the clean economy. It will also improve access and relevant clean economy workforce skills to support business productivity and learner employability, as well as design new approaches to skills development for emerging clean economy sectors. In the long term, industry will benefit from the delivery of high quality training that's relevant and responsive to evolving clean economy, industry needs and the business training requirements. And through industry and the training system collaborating, the emerging clean economy focused workforce will be equipped with the skills needed to improve industry productivity. The fund is part of a package of government clean economy strategies. Work has commenced on developing a clean economy workforce development strategy, and while the strategy will have a long term focus, there are current and emerging skills and workforce needs as a result of increased government and private sector investment. Particularly in areas such as new energy production, technologies, changing business processes and practices. The fund will support opportunities to respond to these needs and develop, test and pilot new approaches to upskilling, reskilling and cross skilling our workforces.
So, when it comes to defining clean economy, the Victorian economy has a number of sectors that either directly contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation, are impacted by climate change, or will be drivers of the transition to a clean economy. Sectors that directly contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation, include renewable energy, energy efficiency and demand management, energy transmission and storage technologies. There's the use of circular economy practices, zero emission economic activities in areas like transport and agriculture, and then other climate change adaptation and mitigation activities, such as carbon capture and storage and hydrogen. Sectors that are impacted by climate change and transitioning towards a clean economy include construction, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, food and fibre and tourism. And then under pinning these activities is design and innovation.
We have created this little table and you will find it in the Fund guidelines if you visit the website, and it just provides a bit of a framework or a model that we're looking at. So, placing that definition into a practical framing within the key pillars of renewable energy, circular economy, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. There are a range of key sectors that reflect VET’s delivery of skills in the clean economy. And we also understand that transition to a clean economy needs to consider upskilling or reskilling. So, the themes here highlight considerations being made to ensure there is a just transition to the clean economy.
So, what does the program fund? This fund is a once off $6 million grant fund. So it's not a huge amount of funding. Applications can be lodged from now up to the 3rd of December and I'll go into a bit more detail about the application process in a few minutes. Projects of up to $1,000,000, to be conducted over an 18 month period will be considered across the three categories. And it should also be noted that only one application per organization is allowed. So, with some of the other funds you might have been able to put in multiple ideas and concepts, in this particular fund it's one application per organization. And so, looking at this, what does it all mean practically for you in considering applying to the fund? The fund is seeking skills and workforce development opportunities, including VET workforce capacity building to deliver clean economy career pathways, and new models of training to support the transition towards a clean economy. And the opportunities are diverse and could include everything from addressing food production and processing, to the skills needed for the electrification of transportation industry and buildings, to projects focused on transitioning sectors of the economy that need to upskill or re skilled workers in clean economy technologies and practices.
A major component of the fund is partnerships, and it is a key part of the assessment criteria. There are two potential roles an organization may have in the Clean Economy Fund and that is either as a lead or a partner, and conditions may be applied and I'll go through those in the next slide. But they are very similar to the Workforce Training Innovation Fund. So, anyone who has applied for funding through that grant program will be familiar with the requirements. There's also a requirement that with the partnerships that you can demonstrate them and have them formalized through MOUs. And they're quite important and MOU actually will outline, or what we expect to see, is roles and responsibilities and the commitments of the various parties that are partners within a particular project or an application being put forward.
The Who can apply? And as I said, the table will probably look familiar to anyone who has applied to the Workforce Training Innovation fund. There's a few things that you can note. That with training providers to be a lead on a project, you need to be a skills first contract holder, and they could also be a partner. If you also note that where a union or an industry association or peak body is the lead or partner, there is a requirement to have a minimum of one financial employer group on the Project Steering Committee. We also have individuals, including not for profit organizations that can apply, and they need to be able to demonstrate ongoing trade in Victoria for at least three consecutive years to be a project lead. So that means that you've been registered and operating as a business for three years. And in addition, those not for profit organizations that have an ABN but are not registered for GST can also be a project lead. Local government, the service delivery arms of local government, are also eligible to be a lead and where the service delivery of the local government is the lead, the partnership may be required to include additional industry representation. And where are regional body is the lead the partnership must include at least one Victorian TAFE Institute.
So how do you apply for one of these grants? And as I said, it is a once off grant. So online expressions of interest, they were opened on Monday this week. EOIs or expressions of interest must be completed and submitted by midnight Friday 19th of November. So, we have an online process that requires you to submit the expression of interest online now. For some of you that may have recently been putting in applications for the Regional and Specialist Training Fund and also the Workforce Training Innovation Fund, we have changed our process with expressions of interest and it's an online application, rather than downloading a form and then emailing it into us. So I'm just making a note of that. When we receive the expression of interest, we will have a review, there will be a representative from the department that will most likely contact you to have a short discussion around what you're thinking is. And if your concept does align with the grant guidelines, then a link will be provided for you to proceed to actually submit an online application, and these have to be submitted by midnight Friday, the 3rd of December. So it is a fairly short turn around time there, but it is important that with this being a one off fund that applications are submitted by that time because there won't be extensions provided. And it does allow around a two week period from expression of interest to when they actually close off to submitting the application. I just would really encourage anyone who is thinking about something at the moment that you do definitely go in and put an EOI in fairly soon so that that conversation can be held. Once we receive the applications, they will go through and assessment process and we have a fairly rigorous process there, where it will go before a panel for endorsement and then go up. There's three points that it goes through assessment and review, and approval, and then you will be notified of the outcome of your application within a minimum of 30 working days from the date of your submission. So once the department's delegate decides on the outcomes of your application, we will notify you. And if you are successful, you'll receive an electronic draft, common funding agreement, and that's how we're doing a lot of our contracting now. It's very similar to DocuSign and those types of mechanisms that are used by a number of organisations nowadays. You'll also be required to attend a grant funding initiation meeting and complete a project initiation planning document. So, with the application itself, there's a certain amount of information that we require from you, but once you are successful and it's approved, then there will be an expectation that you complete more detailed project plans, risk management plans, etc. The projects also will be over an 18 month period and they are all expected to close or be finished by December 2023.
So the application assessment criteria. It's really important that you look at the guidelines. There are a number of questions there that are included for each of these criteria and that in preparing your application you do address those questions. They're not necessarily suggestions, they are things that we are actually looking for when we're reviewing an application. You can see there's five criteria. So we have what the skill, impact and innovation is, and that will be 45% of the scoring. So it's a significant component. You then have governance of 10% percent. This is really important around partnerships and people, being very clear around what roles and responsibilities are, what type of governance model or framework you're going to have in place. The partnerships themselves. The capability and capacity for an organization to undertake the work. So we do look at what staffing you might have. If you don't have expertise on board at the moment, what type of recruitment process or how will you access the subject matter experts, etc. And then also sustainability. So this is a one off grant up. It's not a case of we've come up with this really great idea and we can implement it, but then we're going to need ongoing funding to keep it alive. So how will you make the project sustainable? Is that something that can be transferable? We're really looking for opportunities where projects create, you know, outcomes that can be transferred across to other organisations and opportunities for sharing best practice. Looking at that first criteria, some of the questions, the key questions that we ask include, what is the project idea and how does your project respond to the clean economy workforce skills challenge or the opportunity that you have in mind? What is the scope of your project, and clearly define the objectives and the proposed outcomes? It's often, you know, beneficial to think of the end. What is it that you were wanting to achieve, the vision? And then how is your project innovative? What evidence do you have to support that it is innovative? And innovation, people can describe it in many different ways. It can be something that has never been tried before and quite different. It might be something that is in place, but being is adapted to something that hasn't been used before, and it might also be taking something that has worked in another sector or another environment and adapting it back into this clean economy space. So really think about what it is that is innovative about your project and that you know most likely at the end of the program when we're wanting to share best practices, will other people think this is an innovative activity or project that you've undertaken? And we also want you to think of the range of potential clean economy workforce skills solutions. Why would your project be the most suitable choice? And provide a statement that compares your response to other potential options and solutions. And if you believe there are no alternatives, then can you provide evidence to support this?
The budget, so a budget is required to be attached to your online application as well as the rationale explaining how this demonstrates value for money. And the budget template is provided when you receive your link to the online application. Each line item of expenditure and income is considered by the assessors, so please ensure it is clear what's included and why. You know you can add additional lines in and line items, but we really want to be able to understand with the budget how it all comes together, is it good value for money. Co contributions from applicants and project partners are not required, but they would be viewed favourably. And particularly when you're working with partners, that if there's some form of contribution by a partner, then it shows they've got a real commitment to that particular activity. And the department aims to maximize the benefits of the fund, and in kind and financial contributions can be made and should be reflected in the budget accompanying the application. So if you do have in kind or a financial contribution, then do include that in the budget as a form of income or revenue and it can include those in kind activities if you can put a monetary value on them.
So, the project activities that will be considered for grant funding under this program must have a focus on clean economy workforce skills and development. And they can include innovative delivery models; enterprise delivery models; innovative learning models; innovative approaches to development of course material, class resources and curriculum; new sectors and or learner cohorts entering the training and TAFE system; other innovative approaches to skill development; to new training programs and methods; new training that's related to technologies; and it may also be new or revised accredited training products and running pilots. But the things that will not be considered for grant funding include ongoing funding. So, as I mentioned, these are one off grants, and while we want to see your sustainable aspect to it, we will not be in a position where we can provide ongoing funding to support it. It won't fund existing initiatives, so if you've already commenced an initiative and you've had funding allocated, then we wouldn't be able to consider it. And we do look at, you know, have you received funding from other sources to undertake, you know, the activity that you're proposing? It won't fund ongoing training delivery, or business as usual, activities such as travel and accommodation, any capital works. And something that is a little bit different to the Workforce Training Innovation Fund, it won't fund research either, so please make a note of that one.
Lessons learned from previous projects or the other funds. Number one is very much around committed partnerships. We've found that those projects that have been the most successful have been where all partners have been committed to the success of the project and a partnership is where both people are contributing and have a vested interest. It's not about having a group of stakeholders that think it's a great idea, and you know, they will provide a letter of support. A partner usually has some sort of active role in the overall project. That you have skilled program and project managers, and this has been challenging for some previous projects where funding is being provided and there haven't been project managers in place. And then even going through a recruitment process, it could take three to six months to actually get someone with the skills on board, but you do need to have dedicated people to project manage whatever the activity is. And again, we found some projects really struggled where people that, you know, appeared to have a full workload were allocated a project management role, and so they were struggling to keep on top of the actual activity. That there is a structured and phased roll out. Including sign off of milestones from the partners so everyone is across what's actually happening, what the expectations are, what's been achieved, and whether the project is on track, and that there's no surprises for anyone. That there's comprehensive communication strategies, and that is keeping everyone informed, around what's happening, what's being achieved. Are there any issues or challenges that are being faced and what sort of strategies are being put in place to address those? A big one has been when you've got partnerships between industry and training providers around a go between person. Someone who we describe as being an interpreter that can understand and speak both what we call VET, which is vocational education and training speak, but also the industry speak. And we see that at times when we do have, you know, people from the training system sitting around the table with industry, they can be speaking about the same thing but using different language. So, it appears as if there's a bit of tension and each party sort of thinking the other party isn't listening to them and that they don't understand. But it all comes back to the language that's being used in the terms and the phrases, so having someone who can bridge the two sectors is quite valuable. Also that there are appropriate and relevant evaluation strategies in place. And so with a lot of the programs now, we really ask you to consider what the evaluation strategy is going to be, and ensure that you are in a position that you're collecting information that can contribute to a final evaluation at the end of your project. And one that's been quite critical in the last couple of years has been the ability to pivot and be responsive, and that's when we're confronted with things that we didn't anticipate. So in our project plan, we will have risk management, and you know, we identify a lot of risks. But I think for most of us on this information session today, if I had said to you two years ago, so at the end of 2019 next year there's going to be a worldwide pandemic, that's going to change our world significantly. Most people would have laughed and thought, what planet are you on? And yet that's exactly what has happened. And so, a lot of the projects that we've had, have had to be pivot and adapt.
So next steps. What I really would encourage you to do is visit the Clean Economy Workforce Capacity Building Fund website page. It's quite a mouthful, but even if you just put in clean economy education in Google, it will most likely pop up as being the number one on the search. There you will find a whole range of information. There will be this slide deck made available in a few days’ time. The recording from today will also be available and a transcript. You'll find the link to go through and complete an online expression of interest form. You will have the guidelines there. So I really encourage you to read through the guidelines and particularly the criteria section, because it will outline very clearly what we will be asking for in the application form. Please note to submit your online expression of interest as soon as possible, but no later than the 19th of November. And the reason why we've put that as a hard deadline is we do want to make sure that anyone who is considering applying for the program is going to have sufficient time to put in an application and a well thought out application. And the earlier that you actually put the EOI in, then that actually gives you more time to work on that full application. We will have a department representative contact you to discuss the EOI just to make sure that we understand what it is you're thinking and that also to ensure that it does align with their program guidelines. We don't want you to spend a lot of time working on an application to find that it didn't even meet the guidelines. And if you are invited to lodge an application, remember full applications will close Midnight 3rd of December and that we won't be providing extensions. This is a one off fund. It's not like some of the other funds like RSTF or WTIF where we've got several rounds or we have rolling applications. It is one off. So, if you really want to be considered, then you must have that application in midnight 3rd of December.