ACAPMA has been working with petroleum industry stakeholders to develop a national training programme for those involved in the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of service station assets in Australia. This work was inherited from the former Australian Petroleum Industry Contractors and Suppliers Association (APICSA) in late 2015 – and ACAPMA has been working steadily on this goal ever since.

Various options for the development of national skills standards and/or national certification of petroleum contractors were canvassed with industry stakeholders during 2015 and 2016. These options ranged from the development of formal Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications (i.e. Certificate 3 or Certificate 4) to the simple development of an industry-driven training and accreditation programme that sat outside the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

Further work conducted during 2017 and early 2018 saw the development of a proposal for the development of national skills standards for a select group of units in areas considered to be of greatest ‘industry need’. The areas of greatest industry need were identified during the Petroleum Contractors Workshop conducted in association with the 2018 Asia Pacific Fuel Industry Forum (APFIF) in Auckland.

“The beauty of the proposed approach is that it involved the development of individual skills standards for specific units of competency that would provide a mechanism for national skills recognition – without the substantial complexity and multi-year lead time required for the development of a formal 3 or 4 year VET qualification”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie

Following the 2018 APFIF, ACAPMA worked with a national skills service organisation – Australian Industry Standards (AIS) – to prepare a formal application for national skills funding via the Australian Industry Skills Council (AISC). The funding application was subsequently approved and a project plan for the development of four national skills sets for petroleum contractors was developed during the 2019 Petroleum Contractors Workshop in Melbourne.

The resounding feedback from the 2019 workshop was a strong preference for the development of national skills standards for the installation, commissioning and decommissioning of fuel storage and dispensing equipment. The workshop also resolved to form a Technical Advisory Council (TAC) to work with the AIS to develop a draft version of four new skill standards.

Work on the draft skills standards has now been completed and these standards have recently been released for industry consultation. The four national skill units that have been developed include:

  1. Maintenance of fuel dispensing and storage systems (TLIX996X): This unit is intended for personnel who maintain forecourt dispensing equipment and underground petroleum storage systems (UPSS)
  2. Working safely at fuel retail sites (TLI997X): This unit will effectively provide a mechanism for the national recognition of existing training programmes – such as the WPCG and the NPCRS – for personnel who enter a retail fuel site to perform works
  3. Works compliance at fuel storage sites (TLI998X). This unit is designed to ensure that people supervising work at service station sites have a proper knowledge of all relevant regulations.
  4. Installation Commissioning, modification and decommissioning of fuel storage systems (TLI999X). It is envisaged that this unit would be completed by all those involved in the installation, commissioning, maintenance, repair and decommissioning of fuel storage systems at service station sites.

“It is exciting to finally see the production of these draft skill standards for our industry and our thanks go to members of the industry who have participated in the Technical Advisory Committee, the team at AIS, and our own Jill Angus and Elisha Radwanowski for achievement of this important industry milestone”, said Mark

These units are not the actual training programmes. Rather they define the specific skills standards that must be used for the development of national training products that will provide course participants with formal recognition of skill sets under the national VET Framework – with potential utility within the New Zealand market.

All those involved in the management of retail fuel sites and those involved in conducting works and installing equipment at these sites, are strongly encouraged to review the draft standards and provide comment.

Comments on the draft standards can be made by clicking on the following link:

https://www.australianindustrystandards.org.au/projects/tli-fuel-storage-dangerous-goods-contractor/.

Comments on these draft national skills standards for petroleum contractors closes on 28 February 2020.