Industry 4.0 delivers workforce transformation

Image credit: Swinburne University of Technology.

Swinburne University of Technology, Price Water House Coopers, Siemens, and the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) have undertaken new research identifying the way in which businesses and workforces need to adapt to Australia’s manufacturing industry.

The report was launched during National Manufacturing Week, taking place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 14 to 17 May.

The research report, titled Transforming Australian Manufacturing: Preparing businesses and workplaces for Industry 4.0, arose from the work of the Industry 4.0 Advanced Manufacturing Forum Workstream co-chaired by Swinburne’s professor Aleksandar Subic, deputy vice-chancellor (Research and Development), and Andrew Dettmer, AMWU president.

“The report presents findings that include international and national best practice of workforce transformation initiatives in the advanced manufacturing sector, as well as in other areas of relevance,” Aleksandar said.

“In order for Australian companies to access global value chains and associated benefits within an emerging Industry 4.0 world, our businesses and government must actively encourage and support new skills development in advanced industrial digitalisation across the entire continuum, from vocational training to higher education and PhDs.”

The report identifies a number of case studies and highlights international and national best practice, including Swinburne’s Industry 4.0 apprenticeship program, and national Industry 4.0 Testlabs network model, which demonstrate how education, industry, and government collaboration can be used effectively to co-create and develop education and research offerings that better meet future workforce requirements.

It also analyses emerging skills for the manufacturing industry such as:

  • Industrial Internet of Things
  • Intelligent data analytics
  • Higher levels of digital literacy
  • Automation
  • Cybersecurity
  • Advanced cognitive skills

This will require the upskill of existing workers for changing jobs, as well as the recruitment of new entrants to the manufacturing workforce, as part of the Australian Industry Group’s Industry 4.0 Forum agenda.