At the peak of the global shift to Industry 4.0 is the manufacturing landscape. As the workforce spreads along a new and complex value chain, OEMs and operators must play a dual role as they upskill workers and maintain a competitive edge in a rapidly evolving market.
According to recent World Economic Forum research, 54 per cent of the current workforce will require upskilling by 2022 to meet Industry 4.0’s demands.
The manufacturing industry is already seeing the importance of familiarity with emerging technologies.
In response to this critical need for training, Skills Lab has launched a nationally accredited course to upskill Australian workers in the use of smart manufacturing technology and the navigation of a data-driven ecosystem.
Parntered with Ai Group and a number of TAFEs across Australia, Skills Lab seeks to deliver the nation’s first industry-based Diploma of Applied Technologies in support of top-tier and mid-market manufacturers as they pursue a future-focused and innovative workforce.
“This Diploma supports organisations to explore what problems could be solved using technology,” says Laura Mabikafola, Skills Lab General Manager.
“As such, this is an incredibly exciting, leading-edge nationally accredited course, highly beneficial for those organisations wanting to invest in building the skills needed to equip for the future.”
Skills Lab trainers bring a wealth of industry maturity to the diploma, along with access to the knowledge base and manufacturing expertise of SAGE Group engineers and technicians. A comprehensive knowledge of the new manufacturing value chain has been built through the development of an industry-leading in-house manufacturing facility and an extensive portfolio of automation projects.
The Diploma is resourced with industry-leading technology. Students gain real-time experience as they problem-solve in their current workplaces. A range of practical assessment tools will be used to track learning that can be contextualised to add value to manufacturing clients through a focus on fully connected systems that boost uptime and increase responsiveness to customers.
Communication skills are another strong focus of the Diploma, with students encouraged to collaborate across teams to innovate and find digital solutions for manufacturing challenges.
“We want to build on communication skills and bring people together to think about how we problem solve things not just in their own way, but to think about what they could be doing differently to enable new ways of working,” Mabikafola says.
Course modules such as ‘Work in Industry 4.0’ and ‘Plan, implement and apply preventative maintenance procedures’ produce immediate benefit for businesses as diploma students research and solve current problems with emerging technology.
Mabikafola says that because Skills Lab delivers learning outcomes as well as a research component, it should be considered an R&D investment.
“It’s going to help businesses think about what could be done digitally,” she says.
“That is going to enable them to have new processes.”
A recent report by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre highlights the benefit of R&D investment. It found several successful manufacturers have an R&D spend more than three times greater than that of their less successful peers.
Skills Lab is positioned to provide a specialised solution for this growth market, with the systems delivery model allowing for flexible time frames and tailored content specific for individual business needs.
The Diploma will be delivered over 1-3 years, with hands-on experience and an industry-recognisable qualification for graduates. Off-job training will be delivered in blocks, or via a part-time option that supports local industry requirements.
Skills Lab also provides virtual training options that use sophisticated software to align with in-class offerings.
The national rollout kicked off with a pilot program in Adelaide on May 8.