January 17, 2018

Keith Monaghan is the Chair of the Process Manufacturing, Recreational Vehicle and Laboratory Industry Reference Committee. Until recently, he was the General Manager, R. E. Davison Group and now works as a consultant in the manufacturing industry.

Keith Monaghan

Tell us a little about yourself and your industry experience?
I have been in the Manufacturing industry for about 50 years. My career started as a fitting and machinist apprentice, with tool-making trade an added feather in my cap in the early days.

From here, the TAFE system was route to a qualification in Manufacturing Engineering. Further studies in economics, marketing, train the trainer, Just in Time (JIT) systems, Zenga Miller and quality assurance have all given me further career opportunities throughout the years.

I also spent 25 years in the automotive industry as an Industrial/Manufacturing Engineering Manager. This was the stepping-stone to Quality System development, National Product development management in the seating and office fit out sector and onto general management in the Metals and Plastic Industries. I was president of PIMA (Plastics Industry Manufacturers of Australia) for 10 years and am currently a board member (representing PIMA) of the NSW Industry Training Advisory Body.

Why are you passionate about vocational education and training?
I would not have been able to achieve an interesting and rewarding career without my training. Vocational Education and Training (VET) provides hands-on and practical grounding for anyone’s career.

Apprenticeships and VET Certificates are the perfect stepping-stone to progress through the education system.

What’s the next big thing in your industry?
Some people like to get on the back of this statement but over my career I have seen continuous development and improvement of the systems and processes being used, ie. Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) to JIT, 3D printing basic polymers to accurate 3D printing of metals.

I personally don’t believe it’s about the next big thing as I’ve yet to see a quantum leap. In fact, a lot of what current industry thinks is modern was developed in the automotive industry in the 80’s and 90’s.

What are the emerging skills needs in your industry?
I see a gap in required skills in developing, implementing, and integrating closed loop systems between machines and companies’ total computer systems.  It is now simpler and easier to use robotics and we need to move to automation of lower skilled tasks.

Integrating systems and move to automation allow factories to better-run lights out and still meet customer’s quality and timing needs.  These also give better reliability across the total manufacturing system.

Addressing emerging skills is a major challenge, but also our greatest opportunity within the industry.

If we’re able to address training for these capabilities within the national system, the industry will be equipped to ensure people can be upskilled to adapt to new, emerging roles.

How can we make the training system better?
It is critical that the training system meets industry, customer and learner needs. Users of the training system must come first and we must listen to what they’re telling us.

It is also critical for trainers to understand their role in the education system and have solid practical knowledge in the areas they are delivering.  Poor training delivery results in industry and customers rejecting national training systems and looking for alternative solutions to meet their training needs.

IBSA Manufacturing was pleased to tour the R. E. Davison and Gloda Manufacturing facilities in Sydney read more.

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