Opposition wants national innovation agenda

Shadow industry minister Kim Carr has said that Australia risks missing out on the benefits of transformative technology without a coherent innovation agenda.

Writing in The Australian, the Labor MP said that manufacturing remained important as the country’s fourth-largest employer and would be increasingly important as Australia seeks growth from non-mining industries.

Rather than “picking winners” and doling out subsidies, it was up to government to provide incentives for companies to innovate and encourage greater participation in STEM disciplines in education.

“An innovation agenda is a vital part of any 21st-century government’s economic framework,” Carr wrote.

“This requires a full suite of measures, ranging from possibilities such as an entrepreneur’s visa and crowd-funding, to sectoral approaches.”

Earlier this month, chief scientist Ian Chubb outlined his recommendations for a science and innovation strategy in his Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Australia's Future report.

Chubb has pointed out that Australia remains without an innovation agenda, making it the only OECD nation without such a plan.

The chief scientist has noted that among the major concerns are the lack of research and business and research linkage, with Australian researchers working in industry half the OECD average of 60 per cent, and less still than is the case in the US.

Image: http://521group.com.au/

Rail engineering is a career for the future

Eight engineering students from the University of Wollongong and the University of Western Sydney visited AusRAIL PLUS, the biggest rail event in the region, to ‘Meet a Rail Engineer’.

‘Meet a Rail Engineer’ is an industry led initiative developed by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) whereby engineering students are provided with a unique opportunity to spend quality time with a practicing rail engineer, with the aim to inspire and attract future engineers to rail.

Chief Executive of the ARA Bryan Nye stated that this was the second year the industry body had facilitated the initiative, with the primary focus of positioning rail as an employer of choice.

“The Australasian Rail Industry is in a period of significant growth and prosperity, I hope that today these students witnessed that and will consider a career in rail when they graduate,” said Nye.

“Investing in our nation’s future engineers is investing in the future of our rail industry.

“The industry is continually looking to provide opportunities for motivated and talented students, from a diverse range of academic backgrounds, to be the future leaders in one of Australia’s largest industries,” he said.

During their personal tour of AusRAIL PLUS, students gained valuable information about the industry and discover the diverse range of career options in which they can utilise their engineering talents.

ARA members volunteered their top rail engineers to mentor and guide the six students at AusRAIL PLUS where they visited exhibitors, answered engineering related questions and highlighted the benefits of applying their skills to the rail industry.

The students were also provided with show bags containing a variety of items and merchandise from participating organisations.

“The ARA would not have been able to facilitate today’s unique event without the valuable support of its industry members,” Nye continued.

“It is a wonderful example of industry working together, through the ARA’s Rail Workforce Development Committee, providing potential future engineers with a positive “one on one” experience with a Rail Engineer and showcase the exciting career opportunities rail has to offer.

“Continuing to coordinate activities like this is vital to attracting young talent to rail,” Nye concluded.

Participating industry companies in the ‘Meet a Rail Engineer’ initiative are Australian Rail Track Corporation, Bombardier, Brookfield Rail, Downer Rail, John Holland, Leighton and Pacific National.

Refocusing Supply Chain Education

Supply Chain School, a division of the Logistics Bureau Group will kick off in Sydney this month with a group of 30 students signing up for the two-day intensive course.

The school, based in Parramatta, is being offered as part of the  Logistics Association of Australia’s ‘suite’ of training related services.

Group managing director of Logistics Bureau Group Rob O’Byrne said the school was aimed at people looking for a more practical way to learn about the supply chain management industry.

“I think there was a very clear need whereby people that are in the very early part of their supply chain career could actually connect with those who are headed towards the end of their career so that there can be a knowledge transfer that takes place, “ he told Logistics and Materials Handling.

“It’s really come about from working with so many people businesses in a consulting role over the years and what I find is that while many may have formal education in supply chain and logistics they lack a lot of practical experience.”

The school itself consists of three two-day schools a year and is supplemented by weekly e-classes as well as videos and webinars that continue for 12 months.

O’Byrne said the focus was on ensuring the education process was thorough but not too time-intensive.

“It’s not meant to be time-intensive, the whole program is really focused on how we can get the maximum effective information across in the minimum amount of time,” he explained.

O’Byrne said the school would focus on subjects that could make a difference to how businesses manage their supply chains, with an 80/20 approach to knowledge building.

Different from other training courses, the school will not try to cover everything from A-Z in supply chain management, but rather focus on the critical elements that can make a different to an individuals career and business.

“We’re focusing on the more advanced subjects that can really make a difference to businesses and people’s performance,” he explained.

“In our first school next week we are looking at how to refocus a supply chain strategy so that it delivers results, we are looking at procurement and we are looking at outsourcing.”

“It’s one thing to understand the theory, but then it’s ‘how do I actually apply that theory’? How do I get traction in my business to make improvements?”

With a relaxed learning environment that encourages the sharing of ideas and knowledge, O’Byrne said the school was attracting students who are ‘bright, well-educated….ambitious and at the early start of their careers.”

“It’s about industry leaders and practitioners sharing their knowledge and secrets. Not just me and some of my Logistics Bureau specialists, but well known industry leaders who are making big changes in their businesses right now. External speakers are not invited because of who they are or the title they have, but because of their valuable knowledge and their passion to share that knowledge with the future leaders of our industry.”

While O’Byrne did concede that there had been a lot of popularity for the course among those working directly in the industry, he said many people would benefit from the teachings provided.

“We might get people from sales and marketing, finance, property  management or IT,” he told LMH.

“The ideal target is probably someone in the early part of their career, someone who doesn’t have a great deal of supply chain experience, or indeed maybe people who aren’t working directly in a supply chain role.”

The programme is provided as part of the services offered by the LAA to their members who will be offered a discount to the school.

Image: xynomix.com, cdnis-edu-hk and kelosia.com

Siemens PLM Software announces free Student Edition of Tecnomatix Plant Simulation Software

Siemens PLM Software has introduced a free Student Edition of its Plant Simulation software from the Tecnomatix portfolio.

Announced as part of the company's ongoing investment in education, the free Student Edition of the Tecnomatix Plant Simulation software can be downloaded by full-time or part-time students at any academic level at no charge, to help develop real-world skills that are in demand within the global manufacturing industry.

Plant Simulation is a 3D visualisation and discrete event simulation software that is designed to enable students to quickly and easily create digital logistics models through the use of built-in object libraries to optimise material flow, resource utilisation and operations.

Using the digital manufacturing application, students can run experiments and 'what-if' scenarios while having access to extensive analysis tools, statistical models and charts to evaluate different manufacturing situations and to prepare them for making fast, reliable decisions in production planning.

Siemens PLM Software Senior Director of Partner Strategy, Bill Boswell, explained that the offer aims to address the current crisis in manufacturing caused by a global aging workforce, increased product complexity and current education gap by expanding the software and resources available to students and professors.

He added that customers need the next generation of engineers to enter the market with digital manufacturing expertise. With free access to Tecnomatix Plant Simulation, students can now develop those skills to address this critical gap.

The Plant Simulation Student Edition is non-transferable and is not intended for commercial use.

Female engineering graduate numbers increasing

Female graduates at the University of Sydney's Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies are reaching record numbers, mid-year figures have revealed.

According to Dr Tim Wilkinson, Associate Dean (Education), the faculty has experienced a steady increase in the number of female students enrolling and graduating from its many disciplines.

Alarmingly, however, while 20 percent of engineering graduates are now females, only 10.5 percent of practising engineers are women. This is despite the continuing efforts of academic institutions and employer interventions to address the gender gap.

Professor Archie Johnston, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, said the faculty encourages all female high school students to consider the exciting range of engineering and IT careers that are on offer.

He said while the numbers are increasing and are encouraging there is no time to be complacent.

"We still need to focus on increasing the number of school students taking higher levels of mathematics and sciences to underpin growth in all of the engineering qualifications. And every effort must be continued further lift the rates of women enrolling in engineering and IT undergraduate programs at Australian universities," he concluded.

David Hay logistic scholarships give students a helping hand

VICTORIA University and the David Hay Education Endowment have been awarded Ann Impala and Leanne Bradford the 2012 inaugural David Hay Scholarship for the supply chain, transport and logistics industry.

Under the scholarship program, Impala and Bradford will receive financial support to undertake a Diploma in Logistics on a full-time study basis.

The diploma is designed to equip recipients with skills and knowledge to advance their career in fields, such as purchasing, materials management, inventory management, operations management, warehousing, distribution, transport, and customer service.

2012 David Hay Scholarship was open to applicants looking to study either a Diploma of Logistics or a Graduate Certificate in Business specialising in supply chain and logistics at Victoria University.

Preference was given to applicants who aspire to advance their career in the supply chain, logistics and transport industry, according to the 2012 application form.

The 2012 David Hay Scholarship recipients were announced on 21 February 2012. Both receiptients are currently completing their first semester at Victoria University.

The David Hay Education Endowment was established in 2011 in honour of the late David Hay, who started in the transport industry as a truck driver. Hay attended night school and worked his way up to become one of Australia’s most well-respected industry leaders.

The David Hay Scholarship recognises David’s 50-year industry contribution by creating opportunities for those passionate about starting or advancing a career in the supply chain and logistics industry.

Image: L-R: Ann Impala, Christine Hay, Leanne Bradford, and Dr Hermione Parsons, director and associate professor, Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics, Victoria University.

LMH Q&A with MLA Holdings’ first female mechanic

MLA Holdings’ third-year apprentice diesel fitter, Amy Chetcuti talks to LMH about being the company’s first and only female mechanic.

LMH: Why did you consider a career in mechanical trade?
There isn’t any one thing in particular that influenced my decision to undertake a career in the mechanical trade. I have always enjoyed a challenge, such as troubleshooting, and love working with my hands. I don’t mind getting dirty and I gain a great deal of satisfaction when I can solve the problem at hand. Another aspect which influenced my decision was gaining the additional skills and abilities to use outside the workplace, such as working on my own vehicle. At this point in time I am the first of my family to undertake a mechanical trade. 

LMH: What do you like about your job at MLA?
The things I like most about working at MLA is the variety of work and challenges that are set before me. I enjoy taking pride and pleasure in fault finding and successfully restoring the forklift in working order. Overall, I love the challenge of the position and love continually learning new things. 

LMH: What does it mean to be MLA Holdings first and only female mechanic?
AC: I think it is amazing and it is an honour to be the first female mechanic within MLA Holdings; and also a great opportunity for which I am grateful for. I’m not sure why there isn’t more female mechanics within the industry. It can be quite daunting at times being such a male dominated trade, especially when going out on to site. I do enjoy the satisfaction of undertaking and completing jobs of which some people think a woman cannot do. I love it! 

LMH: What advice would you give to other females interested in a career in mechanical trade?
If you’re interested and want to pursue a trade I say go for it. It is very rewarding. It takes a bit of persistence but definitely worth it. Show these boys how it’s done!  

More about Amy

AMY is based at MLA’s Brisbane branch. In December last year, Amy travelled to Northern Territory to assist with the installation of two Vulcan C400/5. 

The project entailed taking the Vulcan C400 machine out of port to assemble it, test it, and commission it in Darwin, before flying to Alice Springs to repeat the process before delivering it to the customer. Amy’s role on the project involved her assisting with these tasks and putting the truck together. 

MLA said the 10-day project, which concluded on on 12 December, was an excellent platform to showcase Amy’s capability and strengths within the industry as "she excelled at all given roles".

Amy completed a Certificate IV in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering- Mechanical at Aviation Australia, before successfully applying for an apprenticeship with the forklift rental company in January of 2010.

MLA Holdings 131 652, www.mlaholdings.com.au

Transport & logistics industry goes techno to find new recruits

The nation’s fastest growing industry, transport and logistics, is tackling its ‘blue singlet’ image head-on to attract young Queenslanders into its workforce.Low unemployment, an ageing workforce, and a poor image are among the factors that are making it tougher and tougher for transport and logistics employers to recruit new workers.

Queensland Transport, Trade, Employment and Industrial Relations Minister John Mickel said the Queensland Government was working closely with the industry on innovative recruitment techniques and improved career paths, as well as making a massive investment in training under the Queensland Skills Plan.

The latest recruitment tool is a five-minute DVD, "Get your career moving in T&L" that visually captures career opportunities in road, rail, sea, and air transport.

"Many people aren’t aware of the magnitude of the transport and logistics industry and the exciting opportunities it offers for people of all ages and at all stages of their career," Mr Mickel said.

“Unfortunately, there’s still the stereotype of the truck driver in the blue singlet, but a career in transport and logistics covers air, rail, road and sea and includes air traffic controllers, marine engineers and logistics planners.

“The amount of freight moved around the country is expected to double by 2020 and we need to replace and boost the current 112,000 Queenslanders who are working in the industry now.”

Funded by the state government and produced in partnership with the Transport Industry Workforce Advisory Group, the new DVD will be screened in wide range of forums to jobseekers of all ages and backgrounds.

The state government is also working with schools, local communities, training providers and industry on school-to-work training programs for transport and logistics that give young people the pathways they need to progress within the industry.

Mr Mickel said the transport and logistics industry contributed $37.9 billion to the Queensland economy and needed to replace and renew its multifaceted workforce to maintain its performance.

“I’d urge young Queenslanders to check out the opportunities that a career in transport and logistics can offer,” he said.

For more information about the DVD, and career opportunities in transport and logistics, contact Queensland Transport’s Industry Capability Unit on

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