Terrific. Thank you. So, today's information session will go for approximately an hour. We may finish earlier if all questions are answered. And so, what I'd like everyone to do if that's, if it's OK, please, is to turn off your computers and mute, that would be terrific. Now we'll commence firstly by acknowledgment of the traditional owners of the land. Our information session today is being held on the lands of the Wurundjeri people, and 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. What I'd like to do to today is cover a little bit of housekeeping, so as I mentioned a moment ago, if you could all please switch off your computers, your cameras rather not your computers, don't do that. Your cameras during this presentation, and the reason for this is so that everyone is able to then enjoy the presentation, now potentially some people may be having some issues with their data and bandwidth.
And so it is very important for us to make sure that, you know, we set this up so that everyone has the same access and able to hear and see the presentation without any interruptions. If I could also ask that you please keep your microphone on mute at all times during this presentation, you will have the ability to and the opportunity to chat at the end when we get to the questions and answers. But in the meantime, during the presentation, please make sure that you keep your microphone on mute. That would be greatly appreciated and your camera's off, please. And during the presentation, and because we are recording this presentation while I'm presenting, please use the chat functionality should you have any questions along the way. And as we sort of work through it and there will be someone there, they'll actually be a couple of people monitoring the chat function at all times. So, your questions may be answered during the presentation, but there will also be the opportunity towards the end where we can come together.
And if you have any additional questions, or perhaps you would like to unpack or have your question and elaborated, we'll certainly be doing that at the end. So, again, remember to please keep your cameras off and mute as well. Thank you so very much. Alright. Let's make a start, so a little bit of an agenda. So, what are we gonna talk about today? So, the topics today we're going to have a look at firstly, what is the Workforce Skill Set Fund? We're then gonna look at what does the program fund? We're delving deep into partnerships who can apply, how applying for the WSSF Grant, application assessment criteria. We're going to go into budget and also touch on the lessons learnt from previous funds. And then, of course, the next steps and that's when we get to the question and answer moment where we can all come together and ask any questions you have and certainly have them answered for you. So, what is the Workforce Skill Set Fund otherwise known as WSSF? So, you'll notice that during the course of the presentation, I'll refer to it as WSSF.
So, that is the Workforce Skill Set Fund. Now, the WSSF or the Workforce Skill Set Fund is a fund that's designed to strengthen relationships between industry and TAFEs to ensure delivery of skill sets, which provide quality workforce training and skill development. It's a pilot program, and it is a component of the skill set strategy to boost uptake of skill sets. And so it is also to test a skill set offerings to upskill and reskill, and to build an evidence base to support the development of skills first sets policy. It's also there to improve the flexibility and the responsiveness of the training and TAFE system in meeting industry skill needs and also enterprise our training requirements. And, of course, contribute to employer confidence, investment, and broader economic recovery options. It aims to encourage a broader culture shift in training and workforce development, and we'll go through these in more detail a bit later. Now, what does the program fund? So, it funds delivery of existing skill sets, development and delivery of new skill sets from existing accredited units, and development and delivery of new skill sets not yet met by existing accredited training units.
The training or the fund is $13 million in total and 50% of the total funding will be for stream one, 30% of the total funding is focused on stream two, and 20%of the total funding is for stream three. It is a rolling fund over three years and you can apply at any time. And again, we'll have a look at that a bit later we'll have a look at a timeline that I've prepared for you. Projects are approved with the one self-allocation to service a particular industry need, and if providers want a further application, then they must submit a new proposal tailored to that particular industry need. There is no cap on individual wist of application, so all funding requests will be considered for proposals that meet all five criteria and must be justified with evidence. And in terms of that criteria, just letting you know that a bit later on in the presentation, we are going to take a deep dive into the criteria and all the requirements there as well. There is a major component or actually, a major component of the fund is partnerships and it is a key part of the assessment criteria.
There is a requirement that with the partnerships, all proposals can demonstrate that there is a formal partnership in place through an MOU, and they are quite important and MOUs, what happens is within MOU they will actually outline or what we expect to see are specific roles and responsibilities and of course, the commitments of all the parties involved and what their role is in terms of a successful project outcome. So, funding will be managed under three streams to provide targeted investment in identified areas of skill set development and delivery, and all streams must demonstrate, as I mentioned a moment ago. Partnerships with an industry partner, including a co-contribution by an industry partner, and identified job outcomes for training participants. This is one of the key features of the fund and one of the main criteria. Now, as you can see there on the table, there is that key objective as well and to with the industry co-contribution. Now, let's break it down a little bit, so stream one that's specific to TAFEs.
So, it is specifically focused on not TAFEs. And this particular, and as with full qualifications, there are likely to be instances where skill sets of social-economic value require additional financial support for the skill set to be financially viable. So, there may also be gaps in service delivery of specialist skill sets in regional and specialist training areas. And so the benefits of this particular stream is that it would create incentives and support for TAFEs to provide training for specific pre-existing skill sets in regional and specialist training areas that are not being met by the current training market. Similar to the regional and specialist training fund it'll boost delivery of skill sets where there is a strong economical social need, but the subsidy alone is insufficient to drive training supply. This stream will potentially provide block funding for TAFEs who would then confirm their activities similar to community service funding. So, stream two, this stream supports student and industry demand for informal skill sets, where individuals undertake combinations of existing accredited units, but the collection of units as a whole is not accredited.
And enduring formal skill sets to was the credit to training that aren't currently delivered under the funded skill set list, although these are permitted under the policy principles which there will be a link to that as well for you. Now, the benefit of this stream is that it would support delivery of existing accredited units in new ways package to meet industry, potentially project specific needs. And as the training is drawn from existing units of competencies, students would receive statements of attainment upon completion, which could be credited towards full qualifications. The targeted fund, again, is to support the delivery of bundles, existing units of competency, new ways to meet industry and any local needs. Stream three, this stream would support training providers to get pretty much on the front foot with industry to address emerging industry needs. Can I just ask that everyone mute? Thank you. Industry needs by customizing the delivery of existing skill sets training, essentially developing new bundles of accredited and non-accredited training, which may then be developed into an accredited skill set in time.
And the benefit of this particular stream is to maximize the variety and responsiveness of the public provision of training and meeting employer and student needs. This stream would also focus on building closer partnerships between industry and providers through working together to respond to emerging economic needs. So, consider which stream of funding will you be applying for? Will it be stream one to grant, which is grant to support delivery of existing skill? Will it be stream two, a grant to develop and deliver new skill set from existing accredited units, or stream three a grant to develop and deliver new skill sets not yet met by existing accredited training units? Have a little think about what is your project idea for what purpose and what is it that you're trying to achieve? Have a think about how it is that you're going to outline the proposed skill set, providing detail of proposed units and delivery mode, and also perhaps think about detail the scope of your project and clearly define the objectives and proposed outcomes.
Now, partnerships, as I mentioned earlier, is one of the key criteria for the waste of funds and will certainly be delving deeper into this a bit later in the presentation. Now, all funding proposals must demonstrate a partnership between a skills first contracted training provider and industry partner, cash or in-kind co-contribution by an industry partner, and identified job outcomes for trial participants. So, again, there are two potential roles parties may have in a funded project lead or partner. So, have a think about that now. So, who can apply? Well, stream one is TAFEs only, and stream two is 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 as well. Now, where there's a union or an industry association, or perhaps a peak body is the lead or partner, there is a requirement to have a minimum of one financial employer group of the project's steering committee. Now, if you're an individual or not-for-profit organization, you must be able to demonstrate ongoing trade in Victoria for at least three consecutive years to be a project lead.
So, what that means is that, you know, you've been registered and operating as a business for three years. And in addition to that, the 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 they're also eligible to be a lead and where the service delivery of the local government is delayed the partnership may be required to include additional industry representation. What I've done there on that screen, you'll notice too, that I've got a couple of links there for you. So, there's the link to the grants page itself and also to the EOI the expression of interest link two. So, how do you go about applying for one of these grants? You'll notice there's a timeline there and online and on the timeline, online expressions of interest opened on Monday, the 25 October, and applications can be lodged at any time being a rolling fund. So, we now have an online process that requires you to submit your expression of interest online, not through emails, but it is an online expression of interest now.
So, for some of you, that may have recently been putting in applications for perhaps the rester for the regional and Specialist Training Fund or the Workforce Training Innovation Fund. We have changed our processes with expression of interest entities and online application, rather than downloading forms and then emailing them into us. So, I'm just making a note of that for you. So, what happens is that when we receive the expression of interest, we will have a review and there will be a representative from our department that will most likely be in touch with you to have a short discussion around what it is that you're thinking about what your proposal is. And if your concept does actually align with the grant guidelines and then a link will be provided for you to proceed to actually submit an online application form. At this particular moment on the workforce skill set website, there is a link to the guideline and there's also a link to the expression of interest, but you'll also notice down a bit further as you scroll down the website page.
You will also find links to three different templates. So, please go ahead at any time and have a look at those as you're preparing your expression of interest. But even more than that as you go through preparing your application form so you have an idea of what's required and reverse engineer that to finalize your expression of interest and application. So, for all successful applications received by the 30, November 2021, the department commits that funding contracts will be in place by the 15, February 2022 to minimize any delay getting projects started. So, what happens is that once we receive the applications, they'll go through an assessment process and we have a fairly rigorous process as well. And so where it will go before a panel for endorsement and then it will go up. There are three points that it goes through assessment and review and then approval, and then you'll 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 outcome of your application, we will then 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. Apparently, it's very similar to the doc you sign in those types of mechanisms that are used by a number of organizations. You will also be required to attend a grant funding initiation meeting, as you can see there on the timeline right here where, and complete a project initiation planning document as well. So, with the application itself, there's a certain amount of information that we require from you. But once you are successful and it is approved, then there will be an expectation that you complete more detailed project plans, risk management plans, et cetera. So, just to recap expressions of interest as a first step, you do need to complete the expression of interest and then lodge your expression of interest at the link that you will see on the website.
Again, a representative from the department may contact you within five days to discuss your proposal and suitability for the fund. So, any questions you may have as you're completing your expression of interest, note them down. And perhaps when it's time to have a conversation with one of our team, then you know, it's probably a great time to raise any of those questions or concerns you may have. Now again, if your EOI is deemed eligible, you will be invited to complete a full application via a link, so there will be a link sent to you if your EOI is deemed eligible, and this link will then take you to the online application form. There may be times to where we may need further information from you. So, again, that will all be done electronically as well. What that means is that you'll receive an email to say we need further information and that will be pointed, or there will be, you know, a bit of an information email that requesting certain details. Again, you will need to send that back electronically.
And the EOI is relatively straightforward. There are four pages to it. Obviously, the first couple is simply introduction to the fund signing in registrations and all of that, and then page two is your details as an applicant, and then three goes into the project description. And so here you have a bit of a think about, I guess, the problem, the barrier that you're wanting to solve, or perhaps the opportunity and always start again, as I mentioned earlier, with the end in mind, what is it that you want to achieve? What your highest intention of the proposal and work backwards, and what will it achieve and work backwards from there? So, just giving us a few bullet points on that and then describing what it is that you're proposing, what the solution is and how will the intention solve the problem? And then what you see the benefits of it being? And so those benefits, what we'd be looking for is basically how many jobs will it fill the gaps and what is its purpose and who and how will it benefit?
And the last page, of course, is the declaration page. And just when you get to the online grant application, if you have been invited to prepare a full application, please complete the online fund application, as I mentioned in the link that has been sent to you. And on submission of your online application, you will receive an automated response to acknowledge receipt of your application. And again, all online applications received by the 30 November will be prioritized for assessment by end of January 2021. And again, this is mentioned in the guidelines, so please refer back to the guidelines. So, all applications are to address the program criteria and to be lodged using the department's online form. If you do have any questions at all while completing your application, there is a link and you will find a link on the workforce skill set inbox to the web to the inbox itself. So, there is an inbox address there. So, any questions that arise and perhaps you haven't been able to discuss them with the person who will be contacting you, please feel free to send them in.
OK. So, as I mentioned earlier, the application assessment, there are five criteria, and it is really important that you look at and read through the guidelines and really familiarize yourself with the guidelines, and there are a number of questions 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 and assessing your application. And as you can see there, always if applications will be assessed against program criteria, so funding will be considered for proposals that meet the assessment criteria outlined. So, as you can see there, this industry need an impact partnership, 30% training delivery capability capacity, and approach, 30% student attraction and retention 15. And then there's cost to delivery value for money and sustainability, 15%, valuation and outcomes 10%. And we are going to delve deep into those in a moment.
Now, preference will be given to applications that demonstrate strong industry backing and clear employment pathway for training and participants. And there is an expectation that a co-contribution will be made by industry. Now, if the department receives an application that has the potential to duplicate an existing submission or project, the department may recommend that applicants collaborate on the project or the idea to obtain best outcome for the project. So, let's go through and unpack the criteria now. So, in the guidelines, you will find WSSF Grant assessment criteria checklist as well, so please go ahead. Even after this session and then have a look at and explore the website. There is, and there are quite a bit of a, there are templates there for you to have a look at. Now the first one is industry needs and impact partnerships that will be 30% of the scoring and will be assessed taking into consideration things like what is the industry need for this skill set? What are the reasons for the current skills gap?
Why are current options for training not meeting this demand? And then you will be required to list the occupations specific to industry employer consultation. And again, to support the criteria, you will be required to describe the current skills gap or skill gaps and how the gaps arose. Describe pretty much how existing skill sets and training don't meet the needs identified by industry. We also are required to outline how the skill set outcome aligns with the skill need. You'll be required to dump to provide some detail around how your proposal will be successful in meeting the demand compared to other options. Describe, you'll be also required to describe the expected outcomes impact of your proposal and how this will and what impact it will have for the employer in the industry specific. And again, you'll be required to describe how the expected outcomes will drive workforce training and skill development in the training and TAFE system. Now for stream two and three only, you will be required to describe how existing skill sets do not meet identified industries needs.
And there's just a few examples of the questions that you'll need to answer, so please take your time and go through them and make sure that you answer all criteria specifically and accordingly. Criteria two is also 30% of the scoring. And here we look at your strategy when it comes to training, delivery, capability, capacity, and, of course, the approach. Now your strategy to meet the proposed timeline of your proposal is what we're going to be looking at your capability capacity to manage the project. How will the delivery of this skill set meet industry needs? What is the rationale for your proposed mode of delivery for the selected course? And what is the rationale for any components of on the job and campus-based delivery? You know, what are your strategies for securing those skills and those resources if you don't already have them within your organization? Criteria three is student attraction and retention, and that's 15% of the scoring. So, who is your target cohort really matters to get clear on that?
How will you attract students to this training? How will you engage with them? Consider student appeal. So, it is as important when you do attract them and you've got them enrolled. Basically, what sort of retention strategies do you have in place and the types of supports that you can provide some critical things to think about and consider. Criteria four is cost to deliver value for money and sustainability, and that's 15% of the scoring. So, here we're looking at that investment of how much is it that you've requested and measure against the outcomes and how do you or how do they provide value for money? You'll need to provide a breakdown on costings. So, there is a budget template that you can download off the website and it's available to you right now. Again, if you wanna have a look at it and see what's required in there and again, reverse engineer, entities also attached to the application when the link you sent to you. You'll need to provide a detailed evidence of costs associated with your cost delivery and explain how you have ensured that the costs of delivering value for money for the Victorian community.
Have you aligned to the Victorian... and consider have you aligned to Victorian procurement policies and if so, which? And again, I have attached and I will attach the procurement policies and framework, there'll be a link for your convenience there online and in the application form. You'll need to detail whether the training will meet an immediate industry need and if there is a continued need. Over what time period do you expect the need to continue? Also provide detail on sustainability methods and strategy for provision of this course beyond the initial workforce skill set funding period. So, explain how the project provides new learnings for the training and TAFE system, industry and government and just some of what... they're just some of the things that you'll need to address to be able to meet assessment criteria, I won't go through all of it right now. But certainly, you'll find it all in the guidelines for you now, which is again available to you on the website. And finally, criteria five evaluation, and this holds 10% of the scoring, and it is a very important component of the selection criteria or the assessment criteria.
So, how are you going to measure the impact of your project, the measure of success in outcomes? So, you'll need to describe how will you capture lessons learnt from the project, the journey? How has the industry benefited? How many students gained employment or were up skilled at the end of their training? And as an example, again on the website, there is an attached evaluation plan right now that you can access for your convenience and again, to a bit of an understanding of what it is that you'll be working with. So, this is the budget, so we're gonna have a little bit of a chat about the budget. Now a budget is required to be attached to your online application and there is a template on the website right now, as well as rationale explaining how this demonstrates value for money. So, the budget template is provided when you receive your link to the WSSF online application form. And as I mentioned, it is available to you online now in each line item of expenditure, and income is considered by the assessors.
So, please ensure that everything included is clear, concise, and provides a purpose for it being the. And just a reminder, too, that all funding proposals must demonstrate a partnership between a skills first contractor training provider and industry partner, a cash-in or in-kind co-contribution by an industry partner and identified job outcomes for training participants. So, just some things to consider. So, if your proposal includes delivery, then it's quite likely that you will receive some funding or you'll receive funding to support the delivery. So, it's really important to outline that. So, for income, for example, it would be things like what contribution has government-provided you to offset the training, the cost of training, and their student fees that you've actually or would be collecting as well? We also request that you provide some evidence around the costs associated with the cost delivery, so things like quotes, invoices, that sort of thing. We also want to know how the cause will remain sustainable once the WSSF funding has been fully expended.
And also, we consider around that value for money and that's, you know, value for money for the Victorian public because it is public funds that we're using. So, I trust that makes sense there. I'm providing to just dump some budget line items for you, so your budget is really indicating what the true cost is to deliver the program. And so the budget template that we provide you enables you to sort of identify the costs of your trainers and instructional design coordinators, et cetera. But it also provides an opportunity to put in what your incomes are. And when you fill it in, there's a couple of formulas already in there that will help you total and it'll do it all for you, basically. And it'll indicate what the budget shortfall is, and it's the budget shortfall that you're actually claiming for. So, the other costs are things such as you'll see their marketing managers and marketing budgets. So, it's quite important to include some of those items as well, where you don't already have a group of students that you can easily tap into and that you will have to go out and market the particular course.
So, it's important to keep that in mind, too. And there may be instances where you will have to upskill some of your own staff as well. Now, equipment may be considered or will be considered, but we will be looking at value for money, particularly given that our skill set are shorter range and sharper pieces of training. So, the primary focus of the workforce skill set is on support and delivery. And if we were to find equipment, then this would potentially or this would actually limit the amounts of funds that we're able to or that are available to you to support delivery. So, the question here is are there other opportunities for seeking funds for equipment, large requests, for example, such as the receipt of funds so regional and specialist training fund, would that be more appropriate perhaps? So, perhaps have a think about that. Now what the program does not fund, the things that we won't fund include business as usual costs that often are included in the course, overhead fees, proposals that create an ongoing liability for government, and proposals that are deemed more suitable for consideration under the department's other funding programs, again, such as the receipt of all the relief fund.
So, these things shouldn't be included in your actual application. Again, I can't stress enough to refer back to the guidelines and make sure that this funding program is the right grant for you. And be purposeful when you're presenting your expression of interest or your intention and highlight to the key features and bring out why this funding is the right funding for you. Ensure that you read the guidelines carefully to check that you meet all the funding criteria. I mean, there's nothing worse than spending a whole heap of time and energy on a grant process, only to find out that you know you failed to meet a critical requirement. So, the more aligned your purpose or your intention is with the funding objectives and the greater your chances will be of getting a successful outcome. And demonstrating evidence-backed and credibility is crucial too to making your application successful. So, sub-lessons learnt. We undertook an evaluation last year of the Regional and Specialist Training Fund and Workforce Training and Innovation Fund.
And there's been some great lessons along the way that we will be applying back into this particular program as well. So, number one is very much around committed partnerships, clearly defined roles, and responsibilities. I can't stress how important that is. You know, promoting dynamic partnerships is fundamental and one of the key objectives, and it also carries 30% of the scoring. So, we 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 I guess both people are contributing and have a vested interest. It's not about having a group of stakeholders, I think it's a great idea and you know, they will provide a letter of support. It's so much more than that. The second one is that you have skilled program and project managers on board, and this has been challenging for some previous projects where funding is being provided and they haven't been project managers in place. And so 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 a dedicated team, dedicated people to project manage whatever the activity is. The third is, you know, having a structured and phased rollout, including sign-off of milestones from the partners. So, everyone is across what's actually going on and what's happening, what the expectations are, what's been achieved, and whether the project is on trajectory, and that there is no surprises for anyone. The next is that there's the comprehensive communication strategy that C-word, that communication word, you know, it is so important to keep everybody well-informed around what's going on, what's happening, what's been achieved, where are we at, what's working, what's not working? Are there any issues or challenges that are being faced? And again, you know, what sort of strategies are being put into 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.
So, which is vocational education, training speak, but also the industry speak, it is so important. 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 in each party, sort of thinking the other parties aren't listening to them and they don't understand. And there can be that that gap, that misunderstanding. But it all comes down to your ability and skill to be able to adjust, adapt and relate the language that's being used in the terms and the phrases. So, having someone who can breach that communication gap is valuable. And acronyms are a great example of that. I mean, how many of us use acronyms and so, you know, communication effectiveness and strategic alliances is key, it really matters. The next is 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 the project.
And last but not least 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 don't anticipate that risk management side of things, you know. So, in our project plan, we will have risk management and you know, we identify those risks. So, next step, I would like to encourage you to visit the Workforce Skill Set Fund website. There you will find, as I mentioned a few times during the presentation, a range of information, but also look out for links such as the WSSF guidelines, the expression of interest link. There is a frequently asked question from the last session we had, and we are also going to update any questions that come about tonight or today and update those on the frequently asked questions. There's a template for things you'll need to attach to your application form, such as project on a page budget template evaluation plan, and you will also find the link to the WSSF inbox there as well.