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Supporting a nation-wide push for Industry 4.0 upskilling, Skills Lab has launched the first industry-based Diploma of Applied Technologies in South Australia today.

The nationally accredited course is an agile response to industry calls for a new wave of learning that helps businesses adapt to the 4.0 shift.

South Australia will be the first state to deliver the qualification, with a cohort of participants commencing their first unit today. Other Australian states are set to launch their delivery shortly.

Skills Lab has partnered with Ai Group and a number of Australian TAFEs to deliver the Diploma of Applied Technologies nationally.

Speaking at the virtual launch, SA Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni said the course would deliver skills required for key growth sectors such as cyber security, defence and artificial intelligence.

“The Marshall Government commends the work of Skills Lab in leading this program which will be delivered through a combination of online learning, virtual learning – including real-time connection with Skills Lab’s training rigs – and workplace-based training.”

Skills Lab General Manager Laura Mabikafola said the Diploma was designed to enable industry to harness the benefits of connected technology and big data by empowering people to develop highly sought after skills within Australia. 

“This Diploma supports organisations to explore what problems could be solved using technology. As such, this is an incredibly exciting, leading edge nationally accredited course, highly beneficial for those organisations wanting to invest in building the skills needed to equip for the future,” Ms Mabikafola said.

Diploma-of-Applied-Technologies-Virtual-Launch-SASkills Lab General Manager welcomes SA Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni in the virtual launch for South Australia, 8 May 2020. 

“It has been a pleasure working with Ai Group, the Department of Innovation and Skills, TAFE SA and Flinders University and to now be launching the Diploma of Applied Technologies in South Australia (the first state in the country to deliver this VET qualification),” she said.   

Speaking about the South Australian delivery, Flinders University Professor in Innovation Giselle Rampersad says the University will partner as a third party provider to Skills Lab to collaborate on ‘Work in Industry 4.0’ and ‘Commission a Cyber-Physical system’ in the future. 

“Developing the skills to utilise new and emerging technologies is critical to Australia’s successful transition to the next generation of manufacturing, Industry 4.0,” Professor Rampersad says.

“Flinders University’s leadership in the innovation sphere means we’re well placed to support the skilling of apprentices to be i4.0 ready. Our international connections with advanced manufacturing and future factories are informing our research and enabling us to support small and medium enterprises and the growth of advanced manufacturing – apprentices undertaking this diploma will benefit from the industry connections, cutting edge research and global insights Flinders provides.”

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Industry-based content

Guided by SAGE Group engineers and technicians, students will have access to industry leading technology and gain real-time experience in workplace problem solving for their current employers. A range of practical assessment tools will be used to track learning that can be contextualised to add value to specific workplaces.

The course content has been curated for reskilling and upskilling the workforce in use of emerging technologies to improve efficiency and safety outcomes across all industries such as defence, energy, transport and infrastructure.

Up-to-the-minute solutions will be directly applied to the student’s current roles, drawing upon the field expertise of trainers to ensure course content is the right fit for industry needs. Skills Lab trainers work across SAGE projects, bringing a wealth of first-hand knowledge they actively apply each day. 

“I have a dual-based role as a systems engineer and trainer, so I do roughly fifty percent training and fifty percent engineering,” said Dr Gary Allwood, Skills Lab Senior Trainer.

Industry skills for Diploma of Applied TechnologiesSkills Lab Senior Trainer Dr Gary Allwood is also a SAGE Automation Control Systems Engineer.

“This enables me to stay up to date with the processes and technologies used in industry and I get to impart some of the knowledge that I've gained to students when I'm delivering training,”

Drawing on an industry-training-industry approach ensures learners get exposure to real-world scenarios, gaining valuable knowledge obtained from the trainer’s experiences in a broad range of industries. 

Soft skills development critical for Industry 4.0

The diploma will also have a strong focus on communication skills, with students encouraged to collaborate across teams to find digital solutions for issues across engineering design and manufacture, maintenance and security.

“We want to build on communication skills and bring people together to think about how to problem solve things not just in their own way, but to think about what they could be doing differently to enable a new way of working,” said Ms Mabikafola.

Potential growth for the diploma has been highlighted recently by the World Economic Forum World Economic Forum Research, suggesting 54% of the current workforce will require upskilling by 2022 in order to meet demands created by Industry 4.0.

“As more organisations recognise the need to utilise big data, the ability to know where to start, who to ask, what technology could be used and what skills are required are often the first questions to emerge. Industry 4.0 is essentially the next industrial revolution we are entering, as a result of connected technology," said Ms Mabikafola.

Diploma of Applied Technologies flexible delivery model

Skills Lab is positioned to provide a specialised solution for this growth market, with the systems delivery model allowing for flexible time frames and tailored content specific for individual business needs.

Course modules such as ‘Work in Industry 4.0’ and ‘Manage and Analyse Big Data in Cloud Based Systems’ create future-readiness for workers and maximise Australia’s participation in the 4.0 revolution.

1.4 Million of the 5.6 million  new jobs created in the Australian economy over the next 15 years will be directly tech related, according to a new report from the Australian Computer Society. The Diploma presents an exciting opportunity for students to future-proof their skills and provide leadership in emerging roles.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to upskill. The way the future is going with industry 4.0, this Diploma will help me progress in my career. I want to move into project management, so this training will give me the skills that will help with that,” said Stuart Faehrmann, Senior Team Leader at SAGE Automation.

The Diploma will be delivered over a period of 1 to 3 years and will provide graduates with hands-on experience and an industry recognisable qualification. Off-job training will be delivered in blocks, or via part-time options that support local industry requirements. Skills Lab also provides virtual training options which are aligned to the in-class offerings, using sophisticated software to enable active participation while learning.

The first delivery program in South Australia is intended to scale across the county and is set for a rolling national launch, kicking off in Adelaide on May 8th.

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