Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IBSA) has developed new national dance qualifications in consultation with industry and dance teaching institutions around the country. The qualifications cover dance teaching and management as well as dance performance, and are part of the Live Performance Training Package.
What is a training package?
‘A training package is a set of nationally endorsed standards and qualifications used to recognise and assess the skills and knowledge people need to perform effectively in the workplace. They provide a key resource for registered training organisations (RTOs) in the delivery of structured, accredited training'.
Ausdance commissioned three Safe Dance reports in the 1990s, and then the Australian Guidelines for Dance Teachers in 1997. These guidelines were unique in the performing arts, and eventually led IBSA to conclude that ‘An increase in demand for dance and movement skills in the community recreation, cultural heritage, fitness and health industries has led to a wider range of employment opportunities for dancers. National qualifications need to reflect these employment opportunities. … there is strong industry and community demand for national qualifications to help lift standards across the profession and set clear national benchmarks which promote consistency while maintaining flexibility.’ (p.2, CUA11 Live Performance Training Package)
What was our role?
We were invited to participate in the process of consultation with the dance community, and agreed to chair the National Project Reference Group (NPRG) to help channel any concerns and suggestions back to IBSA, and to assist the writers with dance-specific knowledge. We also provided access to Ausdance networks of teaching societies, tertiary institutions, companies, independent artists and teachers to ensure the widest possible consultation.
NPRG members included representatives from Registered Training Organisations, dance teaching societies, the Indigenous community, government departments, the Vocational Education & Training sector and the writers. The NPRG completed its work at the end of 2010 and the qualifications were approved for release by the National Quality Council in June 2011. However, it’s not a static document – it can be amended periodically to reflect latest practice, which will be important in our industry.
Teaching societies, which have long had their own systems of accreditation, are increasingly interested in ‘mapping’ their offerings against the new qualifications, and some have already begun to do so. On the international scene, we were invited to the UK Council for Dance Education and Training meeting in London last year, also attended by most of the major dance teaching societies. As a result, an international ‘mapping’ exercise is now being undertaken against the Australian qualifications, another indication of their value to dance teachers.