$5.9m secured for manufacturing training

A Queensland-based business development solutions company QMI Solutions is encouraging the Queensland manufacturing industry to “pick up the pace” on current training plans, and it helping to secure $5.9 million of training for the industry.

A Queensland-based business development solutions company QMI Solutions is encouraging the Queensland manufacturing industry to “pick up the pace” on current training plans, and it helping to secure $5.9 million of training for the industry.

According to QMI Solutions, the current skills crisis in the manufacturing and engineering arena threatens the Australian economy.

A recent survey conducted by Australian Industry Group and Deloitte highlighted the risk of a skills shortage for businesses and how it would pose real problems for companies in terms of production and service delivery if not addressed.

Manufacturing Skills Queensland (MSQ), a division of QMI Solutions, has reportedly gathered momentum building on the success of Productivity Places Program (PPP) training initiated last year, and started the new financial year with a multi-million dollar investment in up-skilling Queensland workers.

A Queensland Government and MSQ partnership will see an additional $5.9 million of training delivered to up-skill existing workers within the manufacturing and engineering sectors.

Following the success of the program in 2009, where 560 training places made available were filled, over the next two years more than 1,800 places will be made available providing some measure of help to manufacturers facing the crisis.

MSQ general manager Erik Salonen said he believes two of MSQ’s training programs – The Gateway Schools Project and the Productivity Places Program – are key to tackling the looming skills gap.

“The MSQ Gateway Schools Project was established to involve Queensland secondary schools with local manufacturing and engineering enterprises, registered training organisations and universities. The Project encourages partnerships between industry, government and community to build Queensland’s manufacturing and engineering workforce for the future,” Salonen said.

Bill Stoddart – a member of the Government’s Employment Taskforce – and Managing Director of Stoddart Manufacturing said there was a sense of urgency within the industry to nurture school-leavers and further develop home-grown skills to help meet the future job demand.

“We have worked with MSQ as part of the Gateway Schools Project and one of our current apprentices recently won the 2010 School-based Apprentice of the Year at the Manufacturing Skills Awards. Alyssa approached us after completing one week’s work experience to start a school-based apprenticeship. Thanks to the Gateway Schools Project she has decided that the manufacturing industry will be the focus of her career path and recognises that her skills will be in high demand,” Stoddart said.

Stoddart believes championing apprenticeship and traineeship programs as well as developing new talent is essential to ensuring a successful manufacturing industry.

“Stoddart Manufacturing currently employs 360 people, including 53 apprentices. To maintain a competitive advantage, a business needs a skilled workforce,” he said.

“But it’s not just about being competitive. By investing in skills you retain your workforce. Investment in training produces a highly skilled and motivated workforce.”