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Advanced Manufacturing Ecosystem - Scoping Project

AMTIL is the peak body for Advanced Manufacturing, its mission is to educate and support its members in order to build a stronger more vibrant manufacturing industry in Australia. AMTIL was formed in 1999 through an amalgamation of the two previous machine tool associations. AMTIL represents the interests of manufacturing technology providers and manufacturing technology users. The Institute's aims and objectives are consistent with many state and Commonwealth Government's goals, and include:

 o educate and support the general manufacturing sector;
 o increase employment growth;
 o encourage uptake and investment in new technologies and applications;
 o open up and promote international opportunities.
 o raise education and training standards; and
 o inform, enthuse and celebrate success in manufacturing.

 The Advanced Manufacturing Industry sector as defined by the Advanced Manufacturing Action Agenda:

Advanced manufacturing encompasses leading edge practices, technologies and organisational cultures needed to sustain global competitiveness.

Providers of advanced manufacturing tools, technologies and engineering services therefore underpin the competitiveness of the wider Australian manufacturing industry.

 These providers are spread across several industry sectors and it is difficult to specify or separately identify them as a single or distinct industry sector. They are predominantly, but not exclusively, found in the following industry segments which are the focus of this application:

 o precision machining;
 o die/mould manufacture;
 o cutting tool manufacture;
 o machine tool manufacture;
 o robotic and other automated equipment for manufacture; and
 o design for manufacture.

The Department Education, Employment and Workplace Relations; "Skills in Demand

Lists States and Territories - 2006", indicates that metal machinists and toolmakers
 (Technical trades are a large component of workers in the Advanced Manufacturing sector) have been in national shortage for 9 and 10 years respectively.

For example In Victoria, summaries read:

"Despite some contraction in activity levels within manufacturing, the demand for machinists is expected to exceed supply and hence the occupation will remain in shortage for the forecast period. Machinists with expertise in CNC/CAD/CAM and able to carry out milling and machining to fine tolerances are in particular demand. Several initiatives have been put in place to attract people to the industry, particularly in regard to reforming apprenticeships, but these have had little effect to date. Industry contacts report that the local labour force is losing many qualified Metal Machinists to other states, particularly Western Australia, as a result of the mining boom."

AMTIL in conjunction with Swinburne University of Technology, has undertaken a survey of the advanced manufacturing industry. The survey contained 42 questions that include performance measures, current and future markets and indsurty segmentation, domestic and international growth prospects, technology investment, employment and business impediments.

Some relevant findings related to this scoping project include:

o 50% of respondents believe that finding skilled staff is one of their top 5 barriers to taking on new employees.
o 75% of employees hold a technical qualification highlighting the highly skilled requirements of the industry. However, there has been negligible change for those with formal qualifications over the four years surveyed; this indicates a potential inability of the industry to meet its own growth demand.

The following data shows a need for a consistent approach toward the promotion and adoption of a training culture, critical to the industry's success within global supply chains.

o Most companies have indicated a training budget of between 1% and 3% of revenue, though a large group of the companies surveyed have no training budget.
o Skilled labour has emerged as the most significant barrier to domestic sales growth, followed closely by import competition.
o In total, 92% of respondents agree that more skilled labour is required.

AMTIL is heavily focussed on the education and support of the manufacturing and technology industry in Australia. One of the critical issues faced by these manufacturers is the shortage of appropriately skilled people choosing manufacturing as a career option. Another is maintaining a training culture within industry that will continue to define manufacturing in Australia as world class. AMTIL has had demonstrated success in individual state and national projects, these include:

Long term strategic approach (ongoing)

YouthLink - an AMTIL initiative that has been developed to provide a persistent, consistent and focused effort to educate, attract and retain young people in engineering and manufacturing careers. The concept is targeted at 16-19 year old students looking for exciting careers and their career advisers; including parents and schools.

Short to Medium term strategic approach (ongoing)

Industry Skills Advisor - Advanced Manufacturing (ISA) - a Victorian Government initiative which formed one component of a broader drive to improve both the demand for skills development in Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) and the responsiveness of the supply activities to meeting those industry needs. Activities include;

o promoting the skilling up of existing and new employees,
o facilitating a connection to appropriate training providers, and
o negotiating the right training outcome on their behalf.

AMTIL has developed a partnership with three prominent TAFE institutes (one being a vertically integrated TAFE and University) to develop an educational alliance - the Advanced Manufacturing Skills Alliance (AMSA). The AMSA partners are able to provide flexible training, relevant to industry needs at any level of the business. This alliance is committed to providing the very best possible solution from;

o metal cutting and forming,
o plastics and polymers,
o basic operator training to masters,
o training in-house, online or classroom based.

National Skill-Up and Placement Project - another essential part of the ongoing effort to expand the candidate pool in the precision engineering industry undertaken by AMTIL. This national project was the first of its kind funded by Commonwealth and State Governements and instigated specifically to address the industries short to medium term skills shortages. The project operated throughout Old, VIC, SA & NSW, by injecting trained candidates into base level trades roles. Candidates passing through the Certificate II training considerably increased their employability within the advanced manufacturing industry sector.

Outcomes of these three projects for the industry include:

o Over 200 apprentices into engineering trades and traineeships (Nationally)
o Engaged with Secondary Colleges (Nationally)
o Over 150 companies have engaged in up skilling and training (Victoria)
o In excess of 300 employees have been engaged in highly specific and highly technical training (Victoria)
o Over 120 certificate II participants into base level engineering roles (Nationally)
o Engaged with 14 Registered Training Organisations, public and private, over more than 30 college campuses
o Partnered with over 20 technology providers
o Worked with state Regional Development Offices
o Engaged with major Employment Networks and Apprenticeship Centres

These projects saw a much needed insertion of skilled employees into the industry. Highlighting a willingness from SME's to accept some responsibility for the skill issues they face, while working with government and other organisations to minimise its impact.