RMIT and Siemens have announced the establishment of an ‘Industrial Digital Innovation Hub’ to help drive workforce transformation for Industry 4.0 in the Australasian region.
The hub includes a significant hi-tech industrial software grant from Siemens, the largest industrial software company in the world.
The announcement comes alongside news from Federal Minister for Education, Dan Tehan that the government will provide a grant of $1.2 million to enable RMIT to join a multi-university trial of an advanced apprenticeship-style new dual-sector Associate Degree in Digital Technologies (Industry 4.0).
With these grants, RMIT joins a national network of universities driving change to help prepare students for the future of work.
RMIT will join five other universities across Australia participating in the pilot, which will provide an opportunity for employees of local industry partners to gain skills in industrial software applications, digital systems and process automation, and practical, problem-solving approaches in advanced manufacturing for Industry 4.0.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College of Science, Engineering and Health, and Vice President for Digital Innovation Professor Aleksandar Subic said the grants from Siemens and the Federal Government would enable RMIT to lead industry clustering in Industry 4.0 and develop and rollout workforce transformation pilot programs across VET and Higher Education programs.
“We need to think big with Industry 4.0. An industrial revolution doesn’t discriminate – it impacts every sector and therefore requires a multi-disciplinary approach with a holistic view across the entire continuum of education and training from TAFE through to Higher Education,” Subic said.
Subic said he expected as many as 10,000 RMIT students across a range of disciplines in engineering, science, technology, health and design to access some of the most advanced industrial software available over the next three years.
“Australian industries can compete with the best in the world, so long as they have people coming through the entire tertiary education continuum with fit-for-purpose skills who are ready to tackle the needs of the future,” Siemens Australia Chairman and CEO, Jeff Connolly said. “Although Germany’s concept of Industry 4.0 (fourth industrial revolution) initially described the future of manufacturing, it has become clear that there are significant implications for energy, healthcare, transport, building and construction, engineering, sustainability industries also – all part of RMIT’s and Professor Subic’s broader partnership approach.”
“Digitalisation has no borders and we have to learn how our economy can participate and thrive and be resilient in global economy. This requires new ways of thinking, new ways to collaborate and new skills across the entire spectrum of the workforce. Digitalisation technologies and skills are critical to Australia’s prosperity in this new world,” Connolly said.
Subic said it had never been more important to provide this type of industrial digital environment for the development of workforce of the future, that enables and supports teams to co-design and co-deliver programs and projects across borders and industry sectors remotely.
“I believe this will be the first time an Australian dual sector university in partnership with a global industry leader has considered the international implications by connecting Australian campuses and industry to those in Vietnam and the region, he said.
“For successful industry transformation at scale we need our students, staff and industry partners to work collaboratively on same global digital platforms based on globally accepted industry standards and processes. We are pleased that our bold strategy has strong support from industry that is receptive to change and a government that helps stimulate that change,” Subic said.
The new Industrial Digital Innovation Hub will be managed out of the RMIT Advanced Manufacturing Precinct in collaboration with key industry partners.