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The State Priority Occupation List (SPOL) is an annually-produced list of jobs that are considered critical to the State and/or have demonstrated significant unmet demand.
The list informs training priorities through the State Training Plan (and subsequently the Priority Industry Qualifications List, or PIQL), workforce development planning, Skilling WA and the Western Australian skilled migration occupation list (WASMOL).
The Department of Training and Workforce Development produces the list in consultation with key stakeholders, including the State’s ten industry-linked training councils.
The Department has based the methodology for the State priority occupation list on the key principle underpinning the Australia Workforce and Productivity Agency’s (AWPA) Specialised Occupations List (SpOL). A priority occupation is therefore defined as an occupation:
‘… where specialised skills are learned in formal education and
training is needed at entry level, and the impact of market failure is
In practice, this means the list is not simply an indicator of labour shortages, given the emphasis on skills and formal learning processes embedded in the above principle.
The following criteria are applied to determine whether an occupation should be considered for the SPOL.
a) Valid data
There must be an adequate level of quality information about the occupation in order to assess and validate the needs of the occupation. In practice, this means that the occupation must have a valid Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupation (ANZSCO) code from the Bureau of Statistics (ABS) at the six-digit level.
b) High levels of skill
The occupation must have specialised skills that require extended learning and preparation time. Occupations that do not require post-school qualifications prior to entry will be excluded from the list of occupations, for example labourers, process workers, and kitchen hands.
c) Clear pathways
The occupation should have clear education and/or training pathways or qualifications that can be obtained within Australia, and where the skills learnt can be matched to the requirements of the occupation. Where an occupation does not have any educational or VET qualifications associated with it, it is excluded from the eligibility list. Examples of these include judges, members of parliament and defence force personnel.
d) Occupational impact
An occupation will be considered if any disruption in its supply would result in significant impacts to its industry or the State economy, for example higher unemployment or slower growth due to supply bottlenecks.
An occupation is deemed to be within the ‘State Priority 1’ tier if:
It is worth noting these criteria are all dependant conditions – that is, all four of the dot points listed above must be met for an occupation to be a ‘State Priority 1’.
There are 93 occupations in the 2013 SPOL which are deemed State Priority 1.
An occupation is deemed to be within the ‘State Priority 2’ tier if:
Occupations within the tier that are critical are designated 2a, with those occupations within the tier experiencing unmet demand are designated 2b.
In all, State Priority 2 has 60 critical (2a) occupations, and 44 occupations experiencing unmet demand (2b), making a total of 104 State Priority 2 occupations (and an overall 197 State priority occupations – both tiers combined).
Priority 3 occupations may include occupations identified by training councils at an industry level (or potentially at a regional level via the regional workforce development plans) but where there is insufficient evidence (or the evidence is not definitive enough) to consider that occupation a State Priority.
Previously this rating was called an ‘Industry Training Council-Identified Priority’; however this nomenclature has been changed to acknowledge the much higher threshold in terms of the availability of quality data applied in 2013.
There are 103 training council identified occupations in the 2013 SPOL which are deemed Priority 3.
There are six primary, State-based indicators used to determine occupational rankings which underpin the SPOL:
You can download the list here.
An Information Paper detailing the methodology and consultation process used to determine the list is available here.
For general enquiries regarding the list please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information regarding skilled migration please contact Skilled Migration Western Australia.
Page last updated 29 November 2013