Manufacturing News

New report identifies modern manufacturing skills development priorities

Manufacturing News

Not-for-profit VET organisation IBSA Group will present its new report — Scaling Up. Developing Modern Manufacturing Through a Skilled Workforce — to the federal government this week, which includes suggestions to deal with skills shortages that stand in the way of a local manufacturing renaissance.

The IBSA Group said that a total of 4425 industry representatives have participated in IBSA surveys on how to transform manufacturing. Roundtable panelists helping develop the report were Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox, Business Council Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Economist Ross Lambie, and ACTU Assistant Secretary Scott Connolly.

IBSA CEO Sharon Robertson said that manufacturers, training organisations, peak bodies and unions agreed that more work-based learning and apprenticeship training opportunities creating pathways to higher skills development were needed.

“To build sovereign manufacturing capability in the post-Covid era, industry wants a workforce skilled in product development, new technologies, design and prototyping, along with gaining efficiencies through sustainability and collaborative skills,’’ she said in a statement.

“The clear need for the development of advanced skills from the platform of work-based learning was identified. One of the key recommendations of the report is greater recognition of apprenticeships as pathways to higher qualifications and higher learning.

“The manufacturing sector wants to see a system of apprenticeships that incorporate extensive STEM-based skills that provide qualifications equating to a diploma or advanced diploma.’’

The report can be read here. Its six key recommendations are:

  • Creating a skilled workforce is critical to achieving a manufacturing industry that is competitive and able to address Australia’s most critical needs. If there is to be significant expansion, it will require the development of a workforce strategy to support both the onshoring of production, and supply chains for essential goods.
  • Addressing skills shortages. Establishment of Careers Advisory Services across Australia, positioning apprenticeships as the bedrock of skills training, incentives to restore trade participation to 2012 levels, and increasing coverage of apprenticeships to Diploma and Advanced Diploma qualifications.
  • Adapting to new ways of working and learning new skills more rapidly will require a focused effort across a number of areas.
  • Enabling a responsive skills system, governments, industry and the training sector should develop a system of micro-credential training and recognition in manufacturing-related areas.
  • Ensuring greater collaboration that supports manufacturing, with initiatives focussing on industries identified as critical to Australia’s resilience and industries where Australia has a competitive advantage.
  • Establishing a Workforce Development Strategy.


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