A new Diploma of Applied Technologies will help train the skilled workers NSW needs to continue building its advanced manufacturing economy.
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said it was critical for businesses to embrace technology to stay ahead of the curve.
“Our manufacturing industry in NSW is undergoing a transformation known as the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0 and this course qualifies graduates in necessary disciplines like networking, big data, cloud computing and digital control systems,” he said.
“Businesses have got to make sure they skilled employees, particularly as advanced manufacturing is embedded into supply chains.
“Embracing advanced technologies will be vital to ongoing profitability and competitive advantage but companies need a comprehensive strategy to manage equipment, processes, supply chain, sales and – most importantly – their workforce.”
The qualification is being rolled out by the NSW Government in collaboration with Ai Group and Manufacturing Skills Australia. It is suitable for new or existing employees, with assessment conducted via work-based projects.
Head of Ai Group in NSW Mark Goodsell said it was designed to address skill gaps created by the big changes shaking up global manufacturing.
“Industry needs people with practical skills who understand emerging technologies,” he said.
“These are people who can physically connect machines and equipment to each other via the cloud and devise meaningful ways to capture and use the ensuing data streams – key drivers of productivity and innovation across the economy.
“The diploma is targeted at the para-professional and technician level, creating new pathways into professional qualifications. It can also be delivered in conjunction with an apprenticeship, providing both practical and high-level skills and breathing new life into the apprenticeship model.”
Two pilot courses conducted by SkillsLab have commenced in the Hunter Region and Western Sydney, with a second intake scheduled to begin in September.
Goodsell said he hoped the diploma will form a basis for improving the apprenticeship system as well.
“We believe if we can develop an innovative program that combines traditional trade skills with high level skills in new technologies, it will breathe new life into the apprenticeship system and offer career opportunities to rival those for university graduates,” he said.
Welding and fabrication business LA Services is part the pilot group participating in Western Sydney.
General manager of welding and fabrication business LA Services, David Fox, believes undertaking the diploma will help the company provide better advanced manufacturing knowledge in schools and within the company’s apprenticeship program.
“One of the aspects I really like about it is teaching us to how work remotely, how to control a lab remotely through a laptop,” he said.
Fox said the driving reasons behind embracing digitalisation were changing customer expectations and the ability to attract younger talent into an industrial workforce.
“We’re looking to keep making industrial pressure equipment but putting smart technology over the top of it, and with that, how do we capture our supply chains digitally to embed that,” he said.