Conference puts manufacturing capacity under the microscope

Primarily led by the resources boom, Queensland has enjoyed significant growth rates outperforming the rest of Australia for most of the past decade. More recently with the onset of the GFC and natural disasters, Queensland is faced with the unique challenges of business recovery - one of which is addressing the balance between growth and capacity.“Building Capacity for Growth” is the theme for the 2011 Manufacturing Skills Conference. Speakers will get to the heart of the ‘capacity’ issues directly affecting Queensland manufacturing such as:• Skills capacity – what skills are required and where • Supplier capacity – improve or import • Capacity constraints – what project owners need from suppliers • Sustainability capacity – what happens when the work is finished

As a key enabler for the next resource boom and a significant infrastructure rebuilding program, is the manufacturing industry up to the challenge?
This question is the central theme – “Building capacity for growth” – for today’s launch of the QMI Solutions 2011 Manufacturing Skills Conference to be held in Brisbane on 9 June.
The 2011 Manufacturing Skills Conference promises a range of speakers from industry, government and training providers. Attendees will hear insights from speakers including:
·         Atlas Heavy Engineering: how Atlas attracts young people into the industry
·         Varley Special Vehicles: The importance of developing your workforce
·         Gladstone Industry Leadership Group: Addressing workforce capacity issues in Gladstone
·         Lion Nathan National Foods: Building capacity through your people
The Manufacturing Skills Conference is delivered by QMI Solutions – through its Manufacturing Skills Queensland (MSQ) division, which is a skills centre of excellence that works closely with the Queensland Government to ensure the long-term competitiveness and capability of the manufacturing and engineering sectors.
QMI Solutions CEO Jim Walker said skills is one of the crucial areas industry needs to address to ensure industry sustainability.
“There are four key pillars of survival for manufacturers; having the right skills to meet demand, efficient processes, capability to deliver and looking for innovative ways to improve the business, and the Conference is a significant industry event is helping industry understand what this practically means in the current environment,” Mr Walker said.
MSQ General Manager Erik Salonen says capacity and how we source capacity for the next wave of resource and infrastructure projects is a key issue for industry and the main theme of the 2011 Conference.
“With an economy still recovering from natural disasters and the remnants of the global financial crisis, addressing the balance between high expectations for growth and finite capacity is more important than ever,” Mr Salonen said.
“The capacity to meet the volatility of demand has long been an issue for the manufacturing industry. Our Conference speakers will tell you their strategies for minimising the impact of that volatility to hopefully enable industry to learn from each other.”
“Of course a key part of building the industry capacity is encouraging more young people to choose a manufacturing or engineering career pathway. The Awards night that follows the Conference specifically recognises the input and achievement of those who are contributing to the long-term sustainability of the industry.”
At the 2010 Awards, Stoddart’s Alissa Young was named MSQ School-Based Apprentice of the Year, a title for which all school-based apprentices across Queensland could be nominated. Alissa went on to be a finalist at the Queensland Training Awards.
Stoddart Apprenticeship Manager Ross Wilson said Stoddart nominated her for the award because of her driven nature. "She won it not only because of her high skill level, but because of her initiative and aspirations in the industry. She has a strong personal commitment to being the best at what she does."
Alissa believes that signing up for manufacturing work experience allowed her to "get the best of both worlds". "Why should kids have to wait till they finish school before they get a job? You don’t need to be at uni, where you have to work to pay for your education. I was able to learn while I worked."
Alissa said the school-based apprenticeship allowed her to learn trade skills without the pressure of a full-time apprenticeship. "The apprenticeship really helps a lot. I learnt to weld at 15, so I’ve had those basic skills for a long time now. As a school-based apprentice, I gained the same skills as a full-time apprentice."
Mr Salonen said the nominations for the nine award categories close on 6 May – see for more details.
The categories are: Manufacturing Apprentice of the year, Manufacturing Trainee of the year, Manufacturing Indigenous Student of the year, Manufacturing School-based, Apprentice and/or Trainee of the year, School of the year, Manufacturing VET Teacher/Trainer of the year, Registered Training Organisation of the year, Small-medium employer of the year, Large employer of the year.
  • Supplier capacity – improve or import
  • Capacity constraints – what project owners need from suppliers
  • Sustainability capacity – what happens when the work is finished