Qld manufacturing gets skills boost

James Riley
Editorial Director

The Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) says the Queensland government’s decision to establish a Skills Working Group to help oversee traditional manufacturers’ transition into advanced manufacturers is a move in the right direction.

“What we found important is that [the Queensland government’s] roadmap reflects several core strategies that are consistent with AMGC’s Sector Competitiveness Plan,” Mark Peters, AMGC state director for Queensland and Northern Territory, told InnovationAus.com.

“That is, tackling key issues such as adopting automation, focusing on exports and connecting into global supply chains, and addressing the skills needed to deliver against our ambitious goals.

Queensland calling: A big boost for Advanced Manufacturing under new skills initiative

“These are examples why we’re behind this action plan as our industry continues to transform to compete on value not on cost.”

The working group, whose membership are yet to be announced, will be made up of representatives from government, industry, and unions. It is the first response to Jobs Queensland’s advance manufacturing skills report, which was handed down in February.

The report put forward a total of 10 recommendations. This included the need to upskill existing employers and managers about new technologies through new vocational education and training, workshops and seminars; giving businesses access to manufacturing hubs in Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton to establish relationships with research institutes, others suppliers, and training providers; and educate school students about employment opportunities in advanced manufacturing.

Jobs Queensland spokesperson said the government’s in-principle acceptance of the recommendations indicated a recognition that a joint approach needs to be taken to see a shift in the manufacturing sector.

“The action plan in Jobs Queensland’s advancing manufacturing skills strategy noted that the identified priority action areas were not specifically targeted at one key stakeholder in the manufacturing system, and that no single stakeholder could solely drive the changes required to advance manufacturing in Queensland,” the spokesperson told InnovationAus.com.

“The Queensland Government’s establishment of a Manufacturing Skills Working Group, made up of government, industry and union representatives to oversee the implementation of the report’s recommendations, indicates recognition of a shared responsibility to work together to deliver a skilled workforce.”

Jobs Queensland spokesperson said as manufacturers make the transition to advanced manufacturing, it would open the industry to global opportunities, as well as an overall increase in productivity, flexibility and reduced production costs across the supply chain.

“While not all manufacturers will actively choose to transform or change their businesses, the reality is that nearly all will be using some of the tools and processes that identify advanced manufacturing,” the spokesperson said.

“In addition, the manufacturing workforce is also changing as the industry transitions. As in many industries, the workforce is ageing; a significant shift in the educational profile of the workforce is also underway as the industry transitions from a primarily low-skilled, production-based workforce to a greater reliance on higher-level and more technical skills as a source of competitive advantage.”

Minister for Manufacturing Cameron Dick said Jobs Queensland’s recommendations aligns with the government’s 10-year Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap aimed to assist the state’s traditional manufacturers adopt new technologies such as robotics, data analytics, and design in manufacturing by 2026.

“The Palaszczuk Government recognises that the traditional manufacturing sector is undergoing a major change, and this proposed new working group will help us accelerate outcomes in our Advanced Manufacturing 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan,” he said.

To date, the government has invested $40 million into its Made in Queensland grant initiative to give the state’s small to medium enterprise manufacturers’ a boost in international competitiveness, productivity, and innovation.

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