Workers skilling up for Industry 4.0 takeover
Workers in a range of industries have been training in critical Industry 4.0 skills to prepare themselves and their employers for the rapidly increasing rollout of inter-connected technology in industry. TAFE Queensland are leaders in providing such training to students in the sunshine state with courses for students starting, enhancing, and changing their careers.
Key offerings from Queensland’s largest training provider include its class-leading high-school Industry 4.0 program that forms part of the Queensland Future Skills Partnership, a three-way partnership between BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), TAFE Queensland and CQUniversity.
Consisting of the Certificate II in Autonomous Technologies (10935NAT), the program sees Year 10 and 11 students across the state complete an 18 month course that gives them a leg up on their career, says TAFE Queensland CEO Mary Campbell.
“A certificate II level qualification will give the students a good taste of what kind of work goes into autonomous technologies, and with the backing of BMA we have a major employer demonstrating their interest in developing this pathway,” Mrs Campbell said.
“Understanding the key concepts and gaining some familiarity of how equipment and software can make a complicated task easier or keep workers safe will help to attract young people to pursue careers in this field,” she said.
The Queensland Future Skills Partnership commenced delivery to four Central Queensland high schools from Semester 2, 2020 including Moranbah, Dysart and Blackwater State High Schools.
The pilot has since been expanded with wider intakes to other priority areas of the state including Brisbane, Bundaberg, Mackay, Rockhampton, and Gladstone which was facilitated through the QFS Partnership along with the
Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA).
Participant Samuel Kirkman from Dysart State High School said he has always been interested in technology and thanks to this opportunity he is now gaining valuable skills for a future career.
“I have already learnt subjects and disciplines that wouldn’t have been available through normal avenues,” Samuel said.
Meanwhile Alexandra Hills Senior College student, Kyle Pannan said the course will provide skills to prepare him for the workforce of the future.
“This course will give us the critical thinking skills to think like a computer and fit in with an increasingly technological world,” he said.
The course provides participants with lifelong learning skills to pursue pathways into further vocational or tertiary studies as well as the training and knowledge required to work within the fields of autonomous environments.
The high school training is complemented by TAFE Queensland courses in Industry 4.0 skills for existing industry workers to enhance their career trajectories as key industries change around them. One such initiative is the Queensland-first Higher Level Apprenticeship program launched by TAFE Queensland in 2020.
The Higher Level Apprenticeship program sees students undertake a Diploma of Applied Technologies (22460VIC) in an apprenticeship study mode which lessens the time spent away from work for students and allows students and
their employers to access relevant funding and incentives while completing the course.
The program was created in partnership between TAFE Queensland and a range of stakeholders including the Queensland Government’s Department of Employment, Small Business, and Training and sees the course delivered in
the South-East, North, and Far North regions of the state.
One of the program’s initial participants was Townsville boilermaker Donnelly Madden, who said his performance at work had increased substantially since taking on the Higher Level Apprenticeship.
“I’ve been a boilermaker for six years. I am also an IT hobbyist at home and create 3D prints and designs. When I found out about the Diploma of Applied Technologies (22460VIC) I was really interested in the training,” Mr Donnelly said.
“For me, Industry 4.0 and applying advanced technology and knowledge is very crucial in the workplace. It could open up huge opportunities because it allows you to view industry in a different mindset.”
“It is taking my boilermaking to a different standard and it’s opened up a lot of opportunities to make processes and tasks simpler, safer and more connected,” he said.
Mr Donnelly’s employer, TEi Services, employs around 50 people including 12 apprentices. The business has been operating in North Queensland for more than 50 years, exporting products domestically and internationally.
TEi Services General Manager, Richard Parker said it was crucial that training like the Diploma of Applied Technologies (22460VIC) was available to help workers upskill and support businesses.
“As newer technologies are incorporated into tooling, new skills and knowledge is required and having that knowledge in-house is advantageous. There are current skill gaps in our region and these gaps will only get wider if we don’t keep up with technology,” Mr Parker said.
Richard said investing in automation will create more opportunities for tradespeople in the workshop, “technology can be used for repetitive and mundane activities allowing us to redeploy skilled labour to creative tasks.”
“We have rolled out WIFI through our workshop to enable equipment to be networked and we have a custom built welding robot on order which is scheduled for installation later this year.”
“These advancements will require people to feed data, feed product, and operate and maintain the technologically advanced equipment. This is only the start and it’s exciting to speculate where industry 4.0 will take us,” he said.
TAFE Queensland achieves its market-leading status through constant industry engagement and efforts to reflect the most current industry trends and practices in its training, and through such engagement has delivered the Higher Level Apprenticeship program to propel local industries forward.