June 28, 2018

As part of the development of their 2018 Industry Skills Forecasts Manufacturing IRCs considered the Future Skills and Training Resource commissioned by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC).

A combined manufacturing industry perspective on the trends impacting the industry and future skills needs was published by IBSA Manufacturing. The report illustrates the challenges facing vocational education in the manufacturing sector.  Read the full report here.


Aerospace Future Skills Outcomes

Furnishing Future Skills Outcomes

Manufacturing Engineering Future Skills Outcomes

Process Manufacturing, Recreational Vehicle and Laboratory Future Skills Outcomes

Sustainability Future Skills Outcomes

Textiles Clothing and Footwear Future Skills Outcomes

Summary of Trends

Below is a summary of the trends identified by the Manufacturing IRCs – Aerospace; Manufacturing and Engineering, Furnishing; Process Manufacturing, Recreational Vehicle and Laboratory; Sustainability; and Textiles, Clothing and Footwear:

Business and Economics / Empowered customers
Consumer expectations have changed as society becomes more self-aware and customers become more informed and empowered. Manufacturing businesses need to respond to these expectations based on behavioural economics and psychology. Customer behaviour also drives the entire supply chain as consumers gain more detailed product knowledge, and hence, are more discerning with their spending.

Political and Institutional / Innovation ahead of regulation
Manufacturing IRCs commented that policy sometimes hampers innovation as it is often slow to respond to changing business and industry needs. Innovation is important for industry and organisational sustainability. Innovative and creative entrants to any industry need start-up thinking, as online technologies offer new entrants unprecedented opportunities to reach markets and supply chains.

Resources and Environment / International sustainability action
Manufacturing IRCs recognised that international regulations are emerging as a key driver of change, with Australia looking to harmonise to international standards, such as those around emission targets. Sustainability standards and legislation changes will increasingly impact upon Australian businesses, contributing to global supply chains. Increased focus on sustainability is driving innovation in product design and development, as well as being a focus on continuous improvement of processes and practices to improve efficiency and productivity.

Society and Culture / Changing work and career values and ageing population
IRCs highlighted that new entrants to the Manufacturing industry often have varying career expectations with respect to tenure, and they no longer expect to see out their career with a single organisation. New entrants, particularly from other industries, can also bring a different range of practical knowledge with them.

IRCs agreed that careers advice on different sectors within the Manufacturing industry needs to be improved as some advisors perceive it as a ‘declining’ industry with limited future work opportunities, although at the same time, younger, tech-savvy generations continue to want to design, make, buy, use and sell manufactured products.

The Manufacturing industry’s current workforce is ageing, and this has an urgent and critical impact on training investment as well as attracting new, younger entrants into the industry. Many industries’ skills and knowledge are embedded in workers now in their 60s and 70s, and their expertise and specific technical skill sets and knowledge may disappear.

Technology – Artificial intelligence, augmented / virtual reality, machine learning
IRCs noted that global trends around automation, robotics, sensors, data analytics, advanced materials, additive manufacturing and augmented and virtual reality are impacting on the ways in which work is conducted, as well as providing new business opportunities and increased efficiency and productivity for businesses.

The impact of increasing levels of automation and digitisation is also likely to further drive the demand for up-skilling and re-skilling, as well as for new skills that enable people to work effectively alongside machines. IRCs noted the industry also needs to become better at promoting the employment and skilling opportunities of technology adoption.

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