ARCIA report: on training and opportunities

Australian Radio Communications Industry Association

By Hamish Duff, President, Australian Radio Communications Industry Association
Wednesday, 15 June, 2022


ARCIA report: on training and opportunities

It’s full steam ahead now as we conduct events in Sydney and Brisbane, and prepare for the return of the annual gala dinner in Melbourne. Make sure you keep an eye on the ARCIA website for dates; we are all looking forward to catching up with friends and colleagues.

Each of these events will also have a training day attached as ARCIA introduces the new learning management system we have been working on. To be known as the ‘ARCIA Academy’, it is definitely a slow process building up content and having all the systems in place that make the training worthwhile for a range of candidates. As we look at the pathways that people take for different industry roles, the plan is to start simple and build up technical content over time.

Trying to distil the incredible knowledge that many people in our industry have and getting this into training content is no mean feat. We believe the combination of hands-on practical skills, technical knowledge and targeted micro learning courses will provide huge value to our industry members.

I am proud to say that in our own business, based in Sydney, we have a number of young people in apprentice, technician and software roles. They are remarkable: keen to learn, solve problems and further their careers in our industry — although I admit it is a little scary when they remark they have only heard about the Sydney Olympics. However, my point is there are people out there; we just need to invest in them.

The one area where we need to continue to invest time concerns spectrum management and regulation. Although the ACMA method of releasing discussion papers for gathering information is important, the ACMA format of releasing those papers raises concerns. Recently ARCIA were required to respond to four separate discussion papers in a very short time-frame. It seems as though within the various sections of the ACMA there is no coordination on the release of these papers and, for an organisation with limited resources, having multiple papers to respond to in a limited period is a real issue.

We recognise that the need for input is very important; however, a bit more coordination between sections of the ACMA would make it easier for organisations to manage.

With a change of government at the recent federal election we are again concerned about the disconnect that happens in some important areas of communications infrastructure. For several years now our ARCIA project manager, Geoff Spring (he is also a senior researcher for the Melbourne University Centre for Disaster Management and Public safety: CDMPS), has been following the committee deliberations of the federal government over the need to recognise public safety communications as part of the national critical communications ecosystem. Regrettably there have now been three separate instances where committee deliberations and recommendations have simply been totally ignored with either changes in government or in the re-allocation of ministries.

This means that the emergency communications networks that our public safety agencies rely on every day are not classified as being critical infrastructure and so are not given any degree of priority, either in maintenance or restitution in major disasters. We are astounded that an item of such critical importance can just be pushed aside at the whim of politicians or public servants, especially when we consider the increased incidence of disaster events over recent years.

In the same area of concern, after the Royal Commission into the recent bushfires along the east coast, there were around 150 recommendations made to ensure that future situations would not suffer to the same extent. If we look at the recommendations that relate to radio communications there would appear to be little done. We can only hope that over the next few months we can alert the new government to the fact that the concerns and issues have not just faded away with a change of government; they are still there waiting for the next natural disaster to occur.

Finally the ARCIA committee is considering adding some new awards for our industry to highlight local manufacturing. There is an amazing amount of manufacturing activity across our industry and the incredible innovation these companies demonstrate often goes unrecognised. It is time we celebrated these local achievers. If members have any suggestions on the awards please drop us a line.

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