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Fire and Other Public Safety

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Fire and Other Public Safety sector, which is one component of the Corrections and Public Safety industry cluster.

The main occupation in this sector that requires vocational education and training (VET) is Fire and Emergency Worker.

Nationally recognised training for Fire and Other Public Safety occupations is delivered under the PUA12 – Public Safety Training Package.

Information sourced from the Public Safety IRC’s 2018 Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

Employment numbers in the Public Order, Safety and Regulatory Services sector have increased between 2000 and 2018, with a peak of around 203,100 in 2017 falling to around 201,900 in 2018. Employment in this industry is expected to increase even further, to 225,500 by 2023.

Fire and Emergency Workers make up 6% of employment in this industry and employment for this occupation is expected to increase by around 6% by 2023.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Enrolments for Fire and Other Public Safety qualifications have decreased significantly between 2014 and 2017 falling from 10,350 to just over 6,300 enrolments. Over that time, qualification completions have remained relatively stable with 2,179 completions in 2017.

More than half of the enrolments were at the certificate II level and a little less than one-third were at certificate III. About three-quarters of the enrolments in this sector were for fire service qualifications, and roughly 15% were related to aquatic search and rescue. The main intended occupation for the qualifications was Fire Fighter.

While a majority of the enrolments were with private providers, just over a third were with enterprise providers. In terms of funding, about three quarters of the subjects were funded by domestic fee-for-service, with most of the remainder government funded. However, it needs to be noted that there are some exemptions from reporting for organisations delivering training for vital services that are not delivered on a fee-for-service basis (as noted in the Public Safety IRC Skills Forecast).

The majority of students for the training were spread across the three eastern states.

There are few apprenticeships and traineeships in this area, however it is notable that commencement and completion numbers have varied substantially between 2010 and 2017. In 2017, there were 75 commencements and 40 completions. Most apprenticeships and traineeships in this area target the intended occupation of Fire and Emergency workers. The vast majority of students were reported in South Australia (84%) with ACT and Tasmania making up the remainder.

There were also many subject-only (no program) enrolments in 2017, in the following units of competency:

  • Confine small workplace emergencies (around 18,500 subject enrolments in 2017)
  • Provide emergency care (about 14,650)
  • Administer oxygen in an emergency situation (just over 12,600)
  • Operate as part of an emergency control organisation (more than 12,100)
  • Operate an automated external defibrillator in an emergency (approximately 11,350).

The large number of subject enrolments is possibly related to training requirements for the large number of volunteers in the sector.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry.

For more data specific to your region, visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Public Safety IRC’s 2018 Skills Forecast identifies that the top five priority skills for the broader public safety workforce in the next three to five years are:

  • Search and rescue skills
  • Emergency response
  • Community engagement
  • Fire fighting
  • Risk management.

Additionally, the top five generic skills are listed as:

  • Managerial / Leadership
  • Design mindset / Thinking critically / System thinking / Solving problems
  • Learning agility / Information literacy / Intellectual autonomy and self-management
  • Communication / Virtual collaboration / Social intelligence
  • Technology.

This industry sector, and particularly fire and emergency services, is very reliant on volunteers. The skills forecast notes concerns about recruitment and retention of volunteers. Among factors raised by industry stakeholders in relation to these concerns are:

  • costs of training, or to become a trainer, in both time and money
  • a lack of understanding and recognition of the role of volunteers
  • a lack of motivation to complete personal training
  • a shortage of trainers and unmet demand for training
  • a lack of online and other interactive training
  • access to training – this includes the distance required to travel to complete compliance training.

The Skills Forecast also notes that climate change is expected to continue impacting the frequency, intensity, location and timing of extreme weather events. Following the release of a report by the Productivity Commission, a Senate Inquiry in late 2013 recommended that Australian governments seek to facilitate “effective interoperability of emergency service organisations and their key personnel, especially for fire services” to reduce the impact and cost of extreme weather events in Australia.

 

 

  

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC 2 digit 77 Public Order, Safety and Regulatory Services, employment projections to May 2023
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2023
    • Fire and Emergency Workers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), sex, state and territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 November 2018 <http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202018?OpenDocument>

  • Employed total by 2 digit ANZSIC  77 Public Order, Safety and Regulatory Services, 2000 to 2018, May Quarter.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census - Employment, Income and Unpaid Work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 2 digit ANZSIC 77 Public Order, Safety and Regulatory Services, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection and Total VET students and courses from the PUA12 – Public Safety Training Package:

  • Fire Services qualifications
    • PUA20601 - Certificate II in Public Safety (Firefighting and Emergency Operations)
    • PUA20613 - Certificate II in Public Safety (Firefighting and Emergency Operations)
    • PUA20701 - Certificate II in Public Safety (Firefighting Operations)
    • PUA20713 - Certificate II in Public Safety (Firefighting Operations)
    • PUA30601 - Certificate III in Public Safety (Firefighting and Emergency Operations)
    • PUA30613 - Certificate III in Public Safety (Firefighting and Emergency Operations)
    • PUA30701 - Certificate III in Public Safety (Firefighting Operations)
    • PUA30713 - Certificate III in Public Safety (Firefighting Operations)
    • PUA40301 - Certificate IV in Public Safety (Firefighting Supervision)
    • PUA40313 - Certificate IV in Public Safety (Firefighting Supervision)
    • PUA50501 - Diploma of Public Safety (Firefighting Management)
    • PUA50513 - Diploma of Public Safety (Firefighting Management)
    • PUA60501 - Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Firefighting Management)
    • PUA60513 - Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Firefighting Management)
    • PUA60909 - Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Fire Investigation)
    • PUA60913 - Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Fire Investigation)
  • Aquatic Search and Rescue qualifications
    • PUA21004 - Certificate II in Public Safety (Aquatic Rescue)
    • PUA21010 - Certificate II in Public Safety (Aquatic Rescue)
    • PUA21012 - Certificate II in Public Safety (Aquatic Rescue)
    • PUA31310 - Certificate III in Public Safety (Aquatic Search and Rescue)
    • PUA31312 - Certificate III in Public Safety (Aquatic Search and Rescue)
    • PUA42612 - Certificate IV in Public Safety (Aquatic Search and Rescue Management)
    • PUA50912 - Diploma of Public Safety (Search and Rescue - Coordination)
  • State Emergency Services qualifications
    • PUA20400 - Certificate II in Public Safety (SES Rescue)
    • PUA21310 - Certificate II in Public Safety (SES)
    • PUA21312 - Certificate II in Public Safety (SES)
    • PUA30412 - Certificate III in Public Safety (SES Rescue)
    • PUA30512 - Certificate III in Public Safety (SES Operations)
  • Biosecurity Response qualifications
    • PUA33112 - Certificate III in Public Safety (Biosecurity Response Operations)
    • PUA42912 - Certificate IV in Public Safety (Biosecurity Response Leadership)
    • PUA52412 - Diploma of Public Safety (Biosecurity Response Management)
  • Industry Wide qualifications
    • PUA31412 - Certificate III in Public Safety (Community Safety)
    • PUA33010 - Certificate III in Public Safety (Emergency Communications Centre Operations)
    • PUA33012 - Certificate III in Public Safety (Emergency Communications Centre Operations)
    • PUA41004 - Certificate IV in Public Safety (Leadership)
    • PUA41012 - Certificate IV in Public Safety (Leadership)
    • PUA41104 - Certificate IV in Public Safety (Community Safety)
    • PUA41112 - Certificate IV in Public Safety (Community Safety)
    • PUA42712 - Certificate IV in Public Safety (Emergency Communications Centre Operations)
    • PUA51004 - Diploma of Public Safety (Community Safety)
    • PUA51012 - Diploma of Public Safety (Community Safety)
    • PUA52312 - Diploma of Public Safety (Emergency Management)
    • PUA60112 - Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Emergency Management)
    • PUA60704 - Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Community Safety)
    • PUA60712 - Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Community Safety).

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document.

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.  

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Public Safety IRC’s 2018 Skills Forecast.

PUA Public Safety Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2017 commencements
  • 2010 to 2017 completions 
  • 2017 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2017 collection, by qualification and State and Territory of data submitter.
Updated: 17 Dec 2018
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