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Ipswich advances manufacturing and defence skills expertise

The State Government is providing an initial $350,000 to Ipswich City Council to help upskill workers for hundreds of jobs expected in the booming local defence industry.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick made the announcement at this week’s Queensland defence Summit: Ipswich 2018, hosted by council at the USQ Springfield Central campus, featuring about 300 delegates from all levels of government, industry, businesses and associated stakeholders.

Mr Dick said the Palaszczuk Government is mobilising Ipswich’s skilled workforce and is confidently poised to deliver a raft of major manufacturing contracts, including the $5 billion LAND 400 defence deal, bound for South-East Queensland.

He released Jobs Queensland’s report A Workforce Report and Action Plan for Manufacturing in Ipswich while attending the Queensland Defence Summit Ipswich 2018 in Springfield, saying the report confirmed the government was on track to sustain a skilled local manufacturing workforce in the region.

“Manufacturing is Queensland’s sixth-largest employing industry, with new figures showing the sector is generating more than 179,000 jobs – an increase of around 15,000 jobs since September 2017,” he said.

“Manufacturing is also the third-largest employer of full-time workers in the state, and the industry has consistently contributed around $20 billion per year over the last decade to the Queensland economy.

“Ipswich in particular has a proud history of manufacturing, producing goods ranging from woollen blankets to railway rolling stock production, and defence manufacturing now looms as the next big industry for the region.

“Just last Friday I was down the road at Redbank to help turn the sod on Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence facility which will manufacture new-generation Australian Army vehicles and deliver hundreds of local jobs in the process.

“After securing this landmark deal, we have been working hard with our stakeholders to position Ipswich and Queensland to secure even more major defence and manufacturing contracts and maximise further economic opportunities across a range of industry projects.

“Queensland has the trade skills today in Ipswich and surrounds to deliver these major manufacturing contracts, and we have a plan to ensure we continue to have a skilled manufacturing workforce into the future to win and capitalise on future job-generating project contracts.

““The Palaszczuk Government is focused on job creation and changing workforce demands, now and for the years to come, including by investing in skilling Queenslanders with the right qualifications, such as recently announcing funding for new equipment to train Queenslanders faster in welding qualifications in high demand by defence and manufacturing industries.

“We are also specifically investing in manufacturing in Ipswich through our Regional Skills Investment Strategy with $350,000 allocated to the local council to focus on advanced manufacturing, defence and food processing.

“Our mission is to become even more competitive in securing major economy-boosting contracts for the Ipswich region, and the positive economic impacts of this success will be felt not only locally, but right across the state.”

Mr Dick said A Workforce Report and Action Plan for Manufacturing in Ipswich follows the release earlier in the year of the Advancing Manufacturing Skills report on ways to develop a strong and capable manufacturing workforce.

“Jobs Queensland worked with Ipswich City Council and more than 20 industry stakeholders to develop this regional report to provide a local strategy to expand the manufacturing base industry by developing a more highly-skilled local workforce,” he said.

“The report found that the fast pace of technological change will demand a workforce with higher skills, and that’s exactly what this government has its sights set on delivering for Queensland.”

The Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, working with the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training, the Department of Education and the Ipswich City Council, will lead the implementation of the report’s action plan.

“Together we will build business capability, upskill the current workforce, engage and build the future workforce, and further develop industry support and networks,” Mr Dick said.

“We are also committed to maximising the advantages Ipswich has through a wealth of available industrial land suited to both light and heavy manufacturing, servicing and linking to established heavy transport infrastructure.”

A cross-agency network, holding events to connect schools with manufacturing employers and increased promotion of apprenticeship opportunities in the manufacturing industry will also be established.

Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman said the report identified four key areas and a 14-point action plan to assist the manufacturing industry to prosper as the region looks towards the future.

“As Queensland’s fastest growing city, Ipswich has a thriving manufacturing industry providing more than 16,000 local jobs and driving the local economy,” Ms Fentiman said.

“We want to make sure the local industries have the tools they need to plan for the future and that’s what this report does.

“The report highlights the need to build business capability, upskill the current workforce, engage the future workforce and further develop industry support.

“This will help to ensure they have the skilled workforce to continue to grow now and into the future.”

Jobs and the skills of the future will also be the focus of the Premier’s Skills and Industry Summit to be held in Brisbane next Wednesday 28 November, when industry, small business, higher education, unions and government will discuss Queensland’s readiness to meet labour force needs in the years ahead.

Member for Jordan Charis Mullen said skills summits like these were crucial to put Queenslanders in prime position to take advantage of the jobs of the future.

“Today’s defence summit was designed with upskilling, new jobs and networking opportunities in mind – all of which will result in greater employment opportunities for our growing Greater Springfield area,” Ms Mullen said.

Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard said the city was continuing to solidify its position as Queensland’s leading defence manufacturing hub.

“Rheinmetall chose Ipswich, today’s released workforce report and action plan focuses on Ipswich, and what we’re going to see emerge from all this is a thriving Ipswich – buoyed by a burgeoning economy with huge growth potential for the future,” Ms Howard said.

The Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to building Ipswich’s manufacturing capability is echoed throughout the state.

The Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap and Action Plan, updated last week, is helping to drive the transitioning of Queensland’s manufacturers to advanced manufacturing and ensuring that the skills base is available to support this important shift.

View the report, A Workforce Report and Action Plan for Manufacturing in Ipswich

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