Record forklift apprentice intake for Toyota

Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) has inducted a record 14 apprentice forklift technicians in its annual intake, ensuring a solid skills support base for the future.
The national forklift company this year received a staggering 826 applications for apprenticeships from around the country.
The 14 new apprentices, accompanied by mentors from their respective TMHA branches, were inducted and received their tools of trade at TMHA’s Sydney headquarters at the end of March.
TMHA president and CEO Steve Takacs – who began his career as a forklift technician – was on hand to welcome the inductees.
They also received presentations on Toyota values, company policies and expectations, safety procedures and Toyota history, and a tour of TMHA’s extensive national headquarters.
TMHA national technical advisor and trainer Gerry Larney said 14 apprentices was a record annual intake and continues Toyota’s commitment to industry leading skills training.
“We currently have 35 apprentices completing their four-year courses across our 18 branches and a total of 450 staff in product support roles,” he said.
“TMHA views the apprentice program as a cornerstone in providing the highest levels of product support.
“It is a real investment in our future, as today’s apprentices are tomorrow’s technicians.”
TMHA also conducts an annual national skills contest, open to all technicians and apprentices, with the aim of keeping service staff at the cutting edge of industry standards.
Steve Takacs said Toyota has been at the forefront of forklift technician training for much of the 50 years the company has been selling forklifts in Australia, this is further supported by specialist TAFE and inhouse training programs for Australia’s forklift technicians.
“The annual apprentice intake was initiated more than a decade ago to help ensure we have a strong skills base to support our business,” he said.

LINX Cargo Care Group rolls out VR safety training

LINX Cargo Care Group (LINX CCG) has created a Virtual Reality (VR) safety training platform in collaboration with Curiious and Samsung Electronics Australia which is the first of its kind in Australia’s supply chain and logistics industry.

The Gear VR training platform was designed to create an immersive VR experience to enhance LINX CCG’s safety training delivery and assessment. LINX CCG partnered with communication and technology company Curiious to conceptualise and build the immersive VR experience.

LINX CCG is committed to sending its 4,000 people home safely every day, across more than 70 sites in Australia and New Zealand.

Anthony Jones, LINX Cargo Care Group CEO, is passionate about safety. His dispersed and diverse workforce operate 24/7 in hazardous environments with large machinery. The key to improving safety is to create a compelling, simulated experience that cuts through and has an impact.

“Virtual reality training will enable us to immerse all our people in diverse situations and expose them to critical risks in our hazardous work environment,” he said.

This commitment to standardise is echoed by Peter Seaman, LINX CCG Executive General Manager Health, Safety and Environment.

“The Gear VR platform enables us to deliver consistent safety training across all levels of the organisation. Often some of the messages are lost in translation in safety training and delivered in different ways, whereas this Gear VR platform minimises room for miscommunication,” Peter said.

Anthony believes VR immersion is really powerful.

“To put people into different situations where they have the chance to see how it would play out and to immerse them in a scenario, showing them real dangers and consequences, is invaluable,” he said.

Michelle Schuberg, Curiious General Manager, also believes in the benefits the immersive Gear VR technology will bring to enhancing LINX CCG’s approach to safety.

“For LINX CCG, the platform’s end goal is to help deliver their ‘home safely every day’ promise,” said Michelle.

Disability job training for warehouse, retail workers


Eleven Northcott customers have just completed two pre-employment training programs through TAFE NSW, resulting in them securing employability skills and knowledge to become job-ready.
The tailor-made Statement of Attainment for Introduction to Working in a Warehouse and Statement of Attainment for Introduction to Retail qualifications were offered due to the growth in the retail and warehouse industry, and to support the customers to be ready for work placement with a Northcott employment partner.
Northcott Vocational Skills Coordinator Helen Sara said this is a fantastic opportunity for their customers to broaden their skillsets.
“The TAFE NSW qualification will equip our customers with greater capability to be job ready when they are ready to enter the workforce,” she said.
“It has been great to work with TAFE NSW to develop this tailored program to meet the needs of our participants. Not only will it facilitate growth in confidence, skills and knowledge with employment setting, it has already assisted some customers in achieving their goal of employment.”
TAFE NSW head of supply chain and e-commerce skills team Simon Bolton said this is the first time the disability service provider has worked with TAFE NSW to deliver customised training to their customers.
“TAFE NSW is happy to help Northcott customers reach their career ambitions, ensuring they have the hands-on practical skills employers are looking for,” he said.
“Online shopping in Australia is growing rapidly, with over $2 billion spent in 2017. Businesses in Australia will be increasingly looking to enter the online marketplace or to expand their existing online operations, and as such will require workers with skills in warehousing and drop shipping (a retail delivery method).
“As part of the training, participants will learn how to pick and process orders, package and receive goods, work effectively in a team and work safely. TAFE NSW is happy to provide these qualifications to Northcott customers, to ensure they are equipped to gain employment.”
As Australia’s largest training provider, TAFE NSW delivered this training to Northcott customers using their expert industry trainers in a way that fits their business operations and needs.
Northcott customer Ronald MacKenzie said completing the pre-employment training program has increased his confidence and improved his chances of finding work.
“I feel very confident to engage with employers, now that I have learnt the basics,” he said.
“I normally don’t knuckle down and study much, but participating in this pre-employment program has demonstrated that I can study quite well if I really focus on it. The good thing is that I now have some experience to gain employment.”

What skills will the supply chain of the future need?

Blockchain technology, mass customisation, the demand for ethical practice and traceability are just some of the drivers rapidly changing how supply chains operate right around the world. As a direct consequence, the skills needed by individual workers are also evolving and while many are specific to a particular industry or process, others are recognised as being transferable between industries or common to several elements of a supply chain.
The Cross Sector Supply Chain Skills Project has been commissioned by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC). Its goal is to develop a series of skill sets and units of competency for those supply chain skills common to a range of industry sectors and in doing so, support the mobility of skilled labour and agility of the Australian workforce. It will enable the many individuals working along different parts of the supply chain to be skilled to the same world class standards and as a consequence, increase industry’s efficiency and productivity.
Ultimately, the cross sector skill sets and units of competency will be signed-off by the AISC and from that point on, form the basis for nationally recognised training throughout Australia in those skills.
Work is being led by a Project Reference Group comprising representatives from across a range of diverse industries. Oversight is by the Transport and Logistics Industry Reference Committee. Technical expertise and project management is by Australian Industry Standards.
How can you get involved?
It’s essential that the industry makes its voice heard on the skills needed by Australia’s supply chains. The 13 new draft units on which the committee really value your feedback are:

  • Establish blockchain in a supply chain.
  • Enable traceability in a supply chain.
  • Compliance in supply chains.
  • Manage outsourced supply chain operations.
  • Monitor ethical supply chain practices.
  • Supply chains supporting mass customisation.
  • Customer focussed supply chains.
  • Monitor digital supply chain services.
  • Build digital supply chain capability in the workforce.
  • Lead digital supply chain implementation.
  • Employ supply chain risk management practices.
  • Stock control and receivals.
  • Manage stock and inventory systems.

Commenting on the draft units is completed online through a quick and easy process. An interactive model is used whereby once registered, you simply read through the unit/s you’re interested in, click on the word or sentence that you want to comment on and type your feedback in situ.
The draft units will be available for comment until Monday, 7 January 2019. If you’d like to read more about the work underway go to the project-specific website.

Rail sector skills crisis looming

A fast-developing skilled labour crisis in the rail sector will deliver a substantial blow-out in project costs and delivery delays to rail projects in Australia and New Zealand over the next ten years, according to BIS Oxford Economics in a report commissioned by the Australasian Railways Association.
CEO Danny Broad said: “The report is a call to action to government and industry.
“Immediate corrective action to fill skills gaps with fit-for-purpose training is needed to avoid these blow-outs.
“Investment of over $100 billion in rail projects by Australian governments over the next ten years will be undermined by shortages of skilled labour that dramatically impact the construction of new rail systems, and our capacity to operate them,” Mr Broad said.
“The next ten years will herald a renaissance of rail in Australia – important urban passenger projects such as the Melbourne and Sydney Metros, Brisbane’s Cross River Rail, Perth’s Metronet and multiple light rail infrastructure and rolling stock investment as well as crucial freight projects such as Inland Rail, which will provide a direct freight link from Brisbane to Melbourne.
“Unless we address shortages due to market failure, attrition and unsuitable training arrangements, projects will blow out in terms of delivery and cost.
“Modelling shows that in 2023, the peak of the construction phase, we may have workforce gaps of up to 70,000 people,” he warned.
The report recommends the establishment of a high-level taskforce of government, industry, and education providers with a three-pronged focus:

  1. Facilitate the development and maintenance of an Australasian rail industry pipeline of rail projects to map skilled labour required across construction, manufacturing, operations and maintenance. The ANZIP pipeline, established by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, which enjoys financial backing from both the Australian and NZ governments, should be adapted and refined for this purpose.
  2. Develop a National Rail Industry Skills Development Strategy to drive reform in education and training systems and practices that increase the availability of required skills, their productivity, transferability, and mobility while retaining a commitment to quality and safety.
  3. Boost awareness and attraction of rail careers. The need to attract skills and career aspirants to the rail industry is widely recognised. Industry has a significant responsibility in this regard. The taskforce should add its weight to initiatives such as establishing ‘branding partnerships’ with related industries across transport, mining and manufacturing.

The Australasian Railway Association engaged BIS Oxford Economics to undertake a workforce capability analysis for the rail industry based on planned and forecast rail infrastructure development in Australia and New Zealand over the next 10 years, with implications for a range of rail industry skills across construction, manufacturing, operations and maintenance.
Through expansive stakeholder and industry engagement and extensive data analytics, the report explores skills shortages over the coming decade, key threats to workforce capability, and what government and industry can do to respond to meet the challenges of delivering on the significant rail infrastructure and rolling stock investment.
The report can be found at The Australasian Railways Association represent more than 145 member organisations including passenger and freight operators; track owners and managers; suppliers, manufacturers, contractors and consultants. Members include listed and private rail-related companies, government agencies and franchisees.

Australia Post launches Tech Academy

Australia Post has launched a dedicated Tech Academy, a two-year development program available to anyone with a keen interest in a career within the evolving tech sector.
Aimed at training emerging talent from a diverse background – including return to work parents and people with non-technical skills – Australia Post has teamed up with educator Coder Academy to provide 20 successful applicants on the job training and industry placements within the organisation’s tech and digital spaces.
Commencing February 2019, trainees will receive a 12-week tech boot camp, a two-week placement across Australia Post’s retail and operations sectors, and four five-month tech rotations, with opportunities for ongoing employment within a tech or digital team at the conclusion of the two-year period.
Australia Post chief information officer John Cox said the innovative program will nurture new talent and enable people to build their skills across emerging technologies.
“We know the tech industry is continuously growing and demand for talent is increasing. Meeting employment shortages within the sector has become increasingly challenging,” Mr Cox said.
“This program is open to anyone, regardless of technical background, including return to work parents, veterans, mid-career professionals, and graduates.”
Mr Cox said Australia Post is looking to grow its tech and digital capabilities, by developing talent in emerging technologies such as machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain.
“Companies abroad have received high acclaim for their ability to deliver a workforce in line with future organisational needs and diversity, and we want to bring that to Australia Post.
“We are hoping this program will set the standard across the country, and will attract people who want to learn and have a strong sense of community, to help us improve the way we deliver our products and services for our customers.”
Applications for the Australia Post Tech Academy are closing on 2 September, with the first intake beginning in February 2019.
For more information and to apply visit

Manufacturing faces new threat

After years of decline, Australia’s manufacturing industry is finally recovering – adding almost 50,000 jobs in the last year, one of the best job-creation records of any sector in the whole economy. But that recovery could be cut short by growing shortages of skilled workers, according to a new report on vocational training in manufacturing.
The new report from the Centre for Future Work identifies key factors behind the rapid emergence of skills shortages in manufacturing, including:

  • The sector’s ageing workforce, creating a looming demographic transition for skilled workers.
  • The highly specific nature of manufacturing skills (across sectors and occupations), creating difficulty for workers moving from between shrinking sectors to growing sectors.
  • The need for new skills and ongoing training as companies adopt advanced manufacturing techniques and new digital technologies.

“Manufacturing is again making a positive contribution to Australia’s economic progress after over a decade of decline. We don’t want to squander this potential,” said Dr Jim Stanford, director of the Centre for Future Work.
“If Australia doesn’t get its act together on vocational training, this will be a wasted opportunity for manufacturing.
“Recent experiments with market-based vocational training have been a waste, they have damaged confidence in the skills system among both potential students and employers.
“Stable, well-funded, high-quality public institutions must be the anchors of any successful VET system.
“Public institutions are the only ones with the resources, the connections, and the stability to provide manufacturers with a steady supply of world-class skilled workers.
“No sector feels the pain of the failure of vocational training more than manufacturing, precisely because advanced skills are so essential for the success of advanced manufacturing techniques.
“Manufacturing stakeholders need to work together to strengthen vocational education and training.”
Key principles for rebuilding vocational education in manufacturing, discussed in the report, include:

  • A greater reliance on courses and apprenticeships through public-sector TAFE (rather than private providers).
  • Phased-in retirement programs to allow senior workers to pass on their skills to new apprentices.
  • Inclusion of provisions guaranteeing access to further training in industry awards and enterprise agreements.

The report, Advanced Skills for Advanced Manufacturing: Rebuilding Vocational Training in a Transforming Industry was co-authored by Dr Jim Stanford and Dr Tanya Carney and prepared for the Second Annual National Manufacturing Summit at Parliament House on 26 June 2018.
The National Manufacturing Summit engages leading representatives from all parts of Australian manufacturing: businesses, peak bodies, unions, universities, the financial sector, suppliers and government. The growing problem of skills shortages is a priority focus for this year’s summit.

Victoria to boost TAFE courses

Victoria University Polytechnic will train hundreds of workers in the skills they need to take up jobs on the West Gate Tunnel under a new TAFE partnership.
Under the new partnership, the TAFE division of Victoria University will offer civil construction Certificate II, III and IV courses to meet the growing needs of the government’s pipeline of infrastructure projects.
Certificate III in Civil Construction is also part of the Labor Government’s TAFE Free for Priority Courses initiative that will come into effect next year.
To accommodate the additional training needs of the West Gate Tunnel project, Victoria University Polytechnic is planning to reopen its Werribee East campus as a Technology Precinct centred on Civil Construction.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said: “We are investing in the big projects we need, like the West Gate Tunnel, and the people we need to build them.
“There are already 1,200 people working on the West Gate Tunnel – this partnership will make sure that young Victorians get the skills they need to help deliver this massive project.”
The West Gate Tunnel is expected to create more than 6,000 jobs, including 500 jobs for apprentices, trainees and graduates, under the Victorian Major Project Skills Guarantee.
As part of the partnership between Victoria University Polytechnic and constructor CPB-John Holland, there’ll also be dedicated courses for trainees and apprentices already employed on the West Gate Tunnel Project.
Construction started on the West Gate Tunnel Project in early 2018 and there are already over 1,200 people working on the job.
Victoria University Polytechnic, a Vocational Education and Training provider, will deliver training to about 15,000 students in 2018, with about 5,000 students engaged in trade-based programs.

"Census shows need for logistics employment focus": Isuzu chief

Following an in-depth review of the latest Census employment data, Phil Taylor, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Isuzu Australia, has called for transport and logistics stakeholders to consider the future prosperity of the industry.
Taylor noted that the Census revealed that the logistics workforce is ageing, while demand for freight is growing rapidly.
“The release of more detailed Census data in October last year provides even more compelling insights into the transport and logistics sector, and the picture it paints is cause for reflection,” he said. “In the 2001 Census, the average age of transport and storage workers was 35 to 44 years. In last year’s Census, the average transport, portal and warehousing employee had ages to be between 45 and 54 years old.
“We need to ensure that the operations knowledge of the current generation of transport and logistics professionals isn’t lost forever – the industry needs to start having the tough conversations about what can be done so a younger crop of professionals can inherit the wisdom of the industry’s current employees.”
He noted that employment in the sector grew 28 per cent in the previous 15 years, while freight grew by 40 per cent.
“Worker shortages in the transport and logistics sector will impact on all Australians,” he said. “An issue this broad needs a collaborative effort to generate innovative and meaningful solutions.”
Taylor praised the Federal Government’s $760 million Youth Jobs PaTH program, announced in the FY16/17 budget. “[The program] has created a circumstance where transport companies can partner with the Department of Employment to establish trial programs within the industry that aim to deliver tangible solutions in response to one of the most significant issues out industry is presently facing.
“The reality is that hiring employees is an expense for companies, and that many small-to-medium operators in the transport and logistics sector aren’t willing to take it on, especially if the feel any new employee might not be equipped with the skills necessary to hit the ground running.”

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