Australian Construction Industry Sees Substantial Growth

Construction Industry employment levels reach record levels in AustraliaNational employment figures for workers in the Australian construction industry, has dramatically increased by 28,200 in the three months to February 2014 to reach 1,037 million. This is the highest level recorded and an impressive 2.3 percent above previous records for the same time period last year, according to comprehensive labour force data presented by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.New South Wales has been accredited with driving the escalation, and boasts 27,900 new construction workers amongst a robust rebound in housing figures and the continued improvement of commercial conditions with strong interest and increased investment in transport and roads.Construction worker shortages remain a real concernThese latest job surges have again raised concerns with analysts’ of an impending shortage of tradespeople and other construction workers as building activity increases throughout Australia.Slow construction activity in recent years has unavoidably led to decreased numbers of apprentices that have been trained and noticeable shortages of skilled construction workers.Housing Industry Association Senior Economist Shane Garrett suggests that whilst supply and demand for tradespeople is generally considered steady, shortages emerging in trades like bricklaying, tiling and roofing coupled with an upward burden on wages and other associated construction costs will likely intensify as building activity with Australia recovers.These recent statistics do rely on how rapidly current workers that are returning to construction jobs from resource projects can be up-skilled to work on housing and how speedily the industry can support the numbers of apprentices and other workers coming through.In addition we can see from other statistics that an a national level, almost 65 percent of workers were employed in ‘construction services’ (666,800 people), 25 percent in building construction (261,200) and 8.4 percent (87,200) in heavy and civil engineering construction, of which around 911,500 men were employed compared with 125,900 women, denoting that men outnumber women in the construction industry by more than seven to one.How can you benefit from recent growth in construction work around Australia?With a growing need for workers to remain current and relevant, it will require an increased commitment by Registered Training Organisations (RTO’s) to provide the training for High Risk Work Licences.Having met these challenges, many RTO’s are able to provide all that you need for the required training and assessment of High Risk work Licences and other construction based training.When selecting to train for any High Risk Work Licence be certain to choose a reputable Registered Training Organisation (RTO) that is a recognised leader for their training and assessment outcomes. Elect to train with an RTO that has opted to provide smaller class sizes for High Risk Work Licences and who has taken the effort to provide the mandatory requirements for training and assessment. Choose quality over quantity and be sure to ask that the training you receive incorporates all Australian safety requirements, comprehensive lifting applications, installation and use of equipment, hazard recognition and risk control methods, as well as height safety methods all whilst maintaining regulatory compliance.We would like to give credit to Andrew Heaton, Sourceable Industry News & Analysis and the Australian Bureau of Statistics for some source material.

Coping With Multiple Uncertainty Factors Through Risk Management

In the past decade, the need to improve organizations’ capability of coping with the changing environment and multiple uncertainty factors has risen significantly. Managers from different market sectors are implementing various methods and processes in order to handle uncertain events with an emphasis on managing their negative impact on organizations and projects managed within them.The reasons for this are many. Technology and work methods are becoming more complex, while the business landscape is characterized by competitive play rules and regulatory norms, such as the Sarbanes- Oxley (SOX) Act and Bazel regulations, and international models, such as CMMI®. Recent research has demonstrated that those organizations that are implementing effective risk management processes are significantly increasing their chance to reach the goals set before them by reducing operational costs.While attempting to meet the challenge, a project manager is confronted with
a myriad of tools and methodologies hosted under the same roof of “Risk Management” promising streamlined solutions to managing operational uncertainty within an organization. It is not surprising that Googling for “risk management software” yields not less than 135 million results.In the course of many years, national and international risk management regulations aimed at streamlining risk management methodologies have been circulated in several countries, Australia, the UK, Canada, the US, and Japan among them. In addition to that, many international institutions, such as the Project Management Institute, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the International Electro Technical Commission and the Federation of European Risk Management have done the same.The Israel Standard for Risk ManagementThe Israel Standards Institute established a Technical Committee for Risk Management aiming to assess the ways this issue is regulated in the country. The committee set two tasks before itself:o Formulating the Israel risk management standard customized to the public needs and culture
o Knowledge flow related to risk management and emphasizing assistance to institutions operating on the international marketAfter two years of extended research activities it was decided to base the new Israel risk management standard on the existing one of the Standards Institute of Australia and New Zealand – AS/NZS 4360:2004. This standard has been updated several times reflecting very well the leading methodologies in this field. The new standard is not intended for certification purposes. It has an instructive purpose for different organizations that target establishing operational risk management processes on the basis of best practices worldwide.The standard is compatible with a wide range of international standards and its process related concept is similar to the one found in the quality group of standards. The standard contains relatively general instructions; therefore, organizations adopting it can customize tools and methods to its needs implementing the proposed process across its different phases. The standard is accompanied by an instruction guide that details the tools that can be used for implementing the process the way it is set forth in the standard.The New Israel Standard – Major Characteristics and UpdatesRisk Management ConceptThe standard defines risk management within an organization as an iterative process aimed at reaching an appropriate balance between profit opportunity utilization and reduced losses on the one hand, and improving decision making and organizational performance on the other.The standard positions risk management as an integral part of organizational management and culture relating it both to setting up streamlined work processes and customized tools that will enable the organization to manage them. In management circles, it has been customary to regard risk management as dealing with the negative implications of business events and preventing it. However, the risk management standard rules that exposure to risks may have a positive outcome for an organization based on the definition of risk as an exposure to uncertainty results, or a deviation from the planned or the anticipated.Risk Management ProcessThe process described in the new standard is presented in Figure 1 below. As it was mentioned above, it fits the internationally acceptable standards and processes to operational risk management and to the risk management definition of the PMI®. The process comprises several iterative phases that have to be assimilated into the procedures and culture of an organization for achieving continuous improvement and the best management practice.Risk Management Process – Main ComponentsEstablishing ContextThe analysis of the internal and external contexts of the risk management process that form the process landscape setting up measurements and criteria required for risk measurement and analysis.Risk IdentificationIdentifying the risks the organization/project/process are exposed to, including their characteristics- period of occurrence, possible reasons for occurrence, ways of expression and impact on organizational activities, including their impact on preventing the realization of organizational goals, or, on the contrary, their contribution to it.Risk AnalysisEvaluating the relative significance of identified risks, the probability of their occurrence and implications. This analysis will be performed versus the probability of risk occurrence results.Risk Ranking and EvaluationA comparative risk level assessment calculated against the measurements periodically defined, or a calculated comparison of possible gains versus losses, thus, enabling one to make management decisions tailored to the required risk handling scope.Risks TreatmentEstablishing and implementing action plans assessed in terms of costs benefits aimed at increasing the possible benefits and reducing the possible costs.Monitoring & ReviewingThe monitoring of risk management phases is aimed at achieving the state of continuous improvement. Moreover, there is a commitment to monitoring the risks themselves and effectiveness of the actions taken to handle them. The monitoring process enables an organization to use relevant action methods versus the changing circumstances.Communication and ConsultingConsulting with different stakeholders within the organization in relation to the relevant information derived from the risk management process, across all of its phases.Summary – Added Value to the Organization Working According to the New StandardImplementing the risk management standard as part of organizational procedures and tailoring it to the specific needs of the organization will yield improved functioning, better organizational culture and more effective resource allocation. Organizations will be better geared to identify threats and utilize the untapped positive potential of uncertainty. PME TEFEN is well-familiar with many market sectors and business landscapes. The company consultants (many are PMP®-certified) have accumulated extensive experience in implementing risk management in leading companies. Our professionals are well experienced training instructors that will assist your organization in establishing a risk management training program and workshops, coaching your stakeholders and supporting the process from the plan preparation phase to customized implementation integrating the process itself within the organizational procedures and culture.

Higher Education as Service Trade Exporter In South Africa

IntroductionWhilst it is recognized that South Africa is still in a process of transition regarding higher education to address the imbalances of the past, it should also be emphasized that Institutions of Higher Education in large are still underplaying the importance of higher education as commercialized commodity in the global world. This resulted in a low commercial higher education presence in the global world, a limited capability to attract quality students from foreign countries and a national oriented education approach. Even the school law that will soon be introduced in South Africa to address the imbalances of the past may have a negative effect of institutions of higher education to play a significant role in the commercialized educational world. The proposed new law emphasized adherence to the principles of equitability, rectification and representativeness above competence in the appointment of teachers. This may undermine the quality of education firstly, in schools and later in institutions of higher education in South Africa.This is in sharp contrast with international trends signaling that the international higher education market is becoming more competitive as education competes as export and import commodity. Figures available indicate that higher education export represents on average around 6.6% of total student enrollments in 2000. This figure can still not be matched b South African Institutions 5 years later. In countries like Switzerland, Australia and Austria these figures were above 11% in 2000 making these countries the highest internationalized higher education countries in the world. Similarly, educational services in Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America respectively represent the third, fourth and fifth largest service export sectors. This clearly provides evidence that these countries realize the significance of higher education to transfer intellectual capital and enhance the economic competitiveness of nations.Interventions requiredIt is important that Institutions of Higher Education in South Africa position themselves as nodes in an increasingly seamless knowledge base in the global world, which could have a greater interface with the knowledge-driven global economy. Therefore, Institutions of higher education in South Africa should given even more attention to integrate with influential international institutions that will enable them to internationalize higher education.Currently, internationalization of higher education in South Africa happens more by incident rather than through thoroughly planned and organized approaches. If institutions of higher education in South Africa intend to consider higher education as a commercial trade commodity, serious emphasis should be place upon:· Introducing purposeful policies and strategies that clearly indicate the road forward with regard to internationalization intentions and the specific areas that would need priority attention. However, this should not be developed as separate internationalization strategies, but should e seen as a natural element of the overall strategy of the institute.· Implementing induction and course programmes that will attract quality foreign students to the institutions.· Supporting academics to participate in conferences as well as in reputable academic journals to publish research results.· Ensuring that all course offerings meet international accepted criteria as defined by the leading institutions of higher education in the developed world.· Creating conducive learning environments equipped with the latest learning technologies.Internationalization requires that institutions of higher education in South Africa should emphasize a somewhat loosening of the relationship with Government to create new transformational bodies to address the imbalances of the past, but also to broaden this mission to play a more active role in regional economic development. This can be achieved by establishing strong horizontal links with other universities research institutions and industry in the Southern African Development Community. If this can be achieved, the activities of institutions of higher education will no longer be isolated from the marketplace and its outputs could become merchandise products as well. Loosening the relationship with government will not only provide for more freedom to autonomously decide what educational and research outputs to create, but will also increase the pressure on institutions of higher education to perform better as they take up the responsibility to raise funds for projects and salaries.It is imperative that higher education in South Africa can no longer take the disposition that placed research and development in contrast to one another. Rather, it should take the stand that the outputs of institutions should have a strong:· Social development and application in which the simultaneous promotion and integration of education, scientific research and production occurs;· Science and Technology Financial Management Support System in place in order to create a safe and secure research environment for academics; and· Set of ” Key State Laboratories” where research and education of strategic importance to the development and well-being of the country can be carried out.ConclusionSouth Africa institutions of higher education currently rated only among the top 40 of the world’s host countries. An urgent need exist to rethink and reformulate the educational thinking models of institutions of higher education in South Africa. Because of the changing political situation accompanied by a changing global economy, many traditional ways in which institutions of higher education were previously governed will change. Unless institutions of higher education in South Africa succeed to internationalize successfully, huge opportunities to earn foreign currencies using higher education as a trade commodity will be lost.