University of Tasmania
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Reskilling the manufacturing workforce and developing capabilities for the future

With the maritime and advanced manufacturing industry growing within Tasmania and all across Australia, there will be a growing need for the workforce to have deeper and more complex skill sets in the next three to five years. This project identified the mismatch between the current and future skills from literature and interviews with industry stakeholders. In addition, it reflects on existing pathways to ensure that the skills gap is reduced and future skills needs are being met. The approach the project team took was to interview businesses across the manufacturing, advanced manufacturing and maritime industries in Tasmania. Seven businesses were selected to interview and were either members of the Tasmanian Maritime Network or considered growth industries and industries of importance for Tasmania.

Summary of outcomes and impacts

  • A major learning outcome from this project is that there are common needs amongst the manufacturing, advanced manufacturing and maritime industries for future skills despite the diversity in industries.
  • The fundamental skills identified by industry for continued growth and effective staff management include basic attributes such as literacy and numeracy, problemsolving, work ethic, IT, leadership and management.
  • The emphasis for staff to be multi-skilled has been highlighted across industries.
  • Technology is ever-changing and technology-based skills for specific industries will drive training needs for the future.
  • The lack of higher-level VET training in manufacturing, advanced manufacturing and engineering has left a gap of skilled staff in Tasmania.
  • Retirement of the ageing workforce in these industries will create a skills gap if industry does not address training, development and progression of existing staff.
  • All businesses offered some form of in-house training for specialty skills, and most businesses support staff through up-skilling and reskilling of staff via external providers. The relationship between RTOs and industry was stressed as vital to meet training needs.

This project was beneficial to the University of Tasmania (UTAS), TasTAFE and Skills Tasmania in strengthening existing relationships and pathways, and improving the industry outcomes. UTAS and TasTAFE have a strong working relationship to deliver pathways for engineering students, in particular the associate degrees are seen as vital in the development of new pathways for the Tasmanian manufacturing, advanced manufacturing and maritime industries. The results of this study indicate that there is an identified need for up-skilling and reskilling within the education and training sectors to remain current and industry relevant, especially where higher-level skill needs are emerging related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industries. Interviews conducted with the manufacturing and maritime industries identified the need to improve the partnership between the trainers and employers and the necessary inclusion of industry-expert teachers in VET-delivered programs to ensure the skills demand for the future is met. Additional research is needed to understand how best education and training providers can work effectively with industry to address the skills needs of niche businesses in thin education and training markets.


Office for Learning & Teaching


Publication title

Final Report

Commissioning body

Office for Learning and Teaching, Department of Education and Training, Australia




Australian Maritime College


Office for Learning and Teaching, Department of Education and Training, Australia

Place of publication


Rights statement

With the exception of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, and where otherwise noted, all material presented in this document is provided under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Workforce transition and employment

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