Published 13-05-2021
| Article appears in June 2021 Issue

Manufacturing skills qualifications get biggest update in 10 years

shaking hands graphic

Skills qualifications in manufacturing trades have undergone their biggest update in a decade, with the intention of developing a more productive workforce and one which has the skills required by today’s jobs.
Developed by the Manufacturing and Engineering Industry Reference Committee, supported by skills service organisation IBSA Manufacturing, the updates come at a time of critical skills shortages around the country. They highlight the importance of having industry-relevant training packages and recognised qualifications.
Eighteen updated qualifications are now available, 13 specifically designed for apprenticeships. This is the first in a series of updates to manufacturing engineering qualifications.
The update has been a complex process of analysis and consultation conducted by the committee.  It included consultation with employers, employees, training providers and governments across the country to ensure that the qualifications and the skills they represent provide the most benefit to workers and their employers. 
Kristian Stratton, newly elected chair of the committee, said: “The qualifications represent some of the critical trades that support Australian industry’s competitiveness and our sovereign capability. Their importance is underlined by the strong engagement shown by interested parties and all levels of governments over the course of several years.”
He added: “This marks a big step in ensuring our trade apprentices will be better equipped with the skills they need for today’s workforce. We will be releasing further significant updates to manufacturing qualifications over the coming months.” 
The timeliness of finalising these updated trade qualifications and apprenticeships to the Australian economy was reaffirmed by employers through the recent Developing Modern Manufacturing through a Skilled Workforce collaboration series hosted by IBSA. Apprenticeships were described as the bedrock of the Australian economy.
The announcement of the updates represents the finalisation of release two of the Manufacturing and Engineering (MEM) Training Package, which includes the updates and improvements to 13 critical trades qualifications such as boiler making, fitting and machining, and blacksmithing.
The previous chair of the committee, Ian Curry, has been elected to the deputy chair role to continue supporting the progress of manufacturing and engineering qualifications.
The Industry Reference Committee and IBSA will hold a series of online and in-person stakeholder engagement activities to support the roll-out the qualifications.
For more information go to or contact IBSA at


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