Manufacturing news briefs — stories you might have missed

Strong employment outcomes for apprentices and trainees – NCVER

The latest report from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) shows that the proportion of apprentices and trainees who were employed after training remained high in 2023. The report, Apprentice and trainee outcomes 2023, shows that 95.6 percent of apprentices and trainees who completed their training in a trade occupation were employed after training, a similar outcome to 2022. The majority of trade apprentice and trainee completers (70.3 percent) stayed with the same employer they had during their apprenticeship or traineeship. Of the trade completers who changed employers, 28.0 percent cited the main reason was they were offered a better job. NCVER Managing Director Simon Walker said: “The survey findings reflect the current demand for skilled workers with the vast majority of apprentices and trainees securing jobs and some taking the opportunity to change employers for a better job or pay”.

Incat Tasmania named among best managed companies

Fast and electric ferry manufacturer Incat Tasmania has been named as one of Australia’s Best Managed Companies for 2023 as part of Deloitte Private’s Best Managed Companies Program. The programme celebrates private company excellence, recognising companies that demonstrate outstanding business performance, sustained growth, and organisational prowess. Incat joins a group of nine winners for 2023, showcasing the Hobart company’s commitment to excellence in aluminium shipbuilding and position as an industry leader and innovator. The programme’s independent judges evaluate companies based on the four key pillars of strategy, culture and commitment, capabilities and innovations, and governance and financials. Incat Managing Director Craig Clifford received the award on behalf of Incat and attributes it to the efforts of the entire workforce.

ASM appoints Bechtel to conduct rare earths engineering studies

Australian Strategic Materials has appointed global engineering company Bechtel Mining and Metals Inc to conduct Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) services for ASM’s rare earths and critical minerals Dubbo Project in New South Wales (NSW). The new contract will deliver a critical path to enable a final investment decision for the project. According to a statement, the strategic partnership with Bechtel further enhances new funding opportunities with the US government. An application has been submitted for Export-Import Bank of the United States’ Engineering Multiplier Program (EMP), to cover more than 80 percent of FEED contract costs.

EOS raises $35 million, moves on further $5 million

Communications and defence contractor Electro Optic Systems has successfully raised $35 million to cater for growth including purchasing long lead time items such as cannon for its Canberra-manufactured remote weapons systems. The cash was raised through a fully underwritten share placement. The company is also raising $5 million through a share purchase plan with existing shareholders. Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Dr Andreas Schwer said: “The placement attracted healthy demand…We are delighted to have secured the funding required to support our ongoing growth.”

Osteopore gains access to Singapore and Vietnam markets

Bone reconstruction technology company Osteopore has secured approvals to market its bone graft products in Singapore and Vietnam. the company has developed 3D printed, bioresorble implants which aid bone healing. The company received approval from Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority and Vietnam’s Department of Medical Equipment and Construction for its aXOpore orthopaedic bone grafting and reconstruction products. More than 10 percent of Singaporean adults are impacted by knee osteoarthritis and knee surgeries are rising.

ECT raises $1.5m from investors

Industrial technology group Environmental Clean Technologies has completed a $1.5 million share placement to strategic investors. ECT is developing technologies to upgrade low-grade materials such as brown coal as well as recover waste resources and turn them into new materials. The company said funds would advance its development at Bacchus Marsh in Victoria and newly identified commercial opportunities. Managing Director Sam Rizzo said: “The strong backing from both existing and new shareholders, especially in challenging market conditions, underscores the significant progress made by ECT and the growing investor interest in our net zero and carbon negative process.”

Thousands of tonnes of microplastics found in Moreton Bay

University of Queensland researchers estimate there could be up to 7000 tonnes of microplastics polluting vital ecosystems in Brisbane’s Moreton Bay. Dr Elvis Okoffo from UQ’s Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences said the team measured plastic stored within 50 surface sediment samples collected across Moreton Bay. “The level of plastic contamination we found is equivalent to three Olympic swimming pools full of plastic or 1.5 million single use plastic bags,” Okoffo said. “The main types of plastic detected were polyethylene (PE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)… These were the most used types of plastics in Australia between 2019-2020 and our findings suggest a direct link between the use of these plastics and their prominence in the coastal environment.” The team’s research paper is published in Science of the Total Environment.

Qld government prioritises projects in Townsville – Mount Isa corridor

Two major projects in the Townsville-Mount Isa Corridor have been declared as prescribed projects this week, meaning the Queensland Coordinator-General can work with local governments and regulators to help progress them. Townsville’s Project Green Poly is estimated as a $7.8 billion investment, and would “one of Australia’s first integrated mine-to-manufacturing polysilicon supply chains”. The Eva Copper Mine Project, located near Mt Isa and Cloncurry, would add a new stream of copper mining and smelting, boosting local supply for solar, wind and battery energy manufacturing.

GLAM open for applications

Geelong Manufacturing Council’s Girls Leading Advanced Manufacturing (#GLAM) program is open for applications. The program is targeted at school-aged girls in years 9, 10 and 11, and gives participants the opportunity to go behind the scenes in some of Geelong’s major manufacturing companies, with workplace tours and hands-on workshops from April to November. Companies involved include FLAIM Systems, Viva Energy, and Godfrey Hirst. Applications close April 24, and more information is available at this link.

Picture: credit Incat


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