Ai Group teams up with Siemens, Swinburne University to deliver high-level Industry 4.0 apprenticeship initiative


The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) has teamed up with Siemens and Swinburne University of Technology to implement a project that could reinvent apprenticeships in Australia.

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The project, which was announced by Ai Group’s Chief Executive Innes Willox last week, will create an apprenticeship model that will support the higher skills needed for the emerging fourth industrial revolution, otherwise known as Industry 4.0.

“Ai Group’s Higher Level Applied Technology apprenticeship project has had funding approved under the Stream Two of the Apprenticeships Training – alternative delivery pilots initiative by the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Karen Andrews. This innovative project will be implemented in collaboration with Siemens Ltd and Swinburne University of Technology,” Mr Willox said.

“This is a ground-breaking initiative. Not only will this provide higher level qualifications, it will also appeal to a broader cross-section of young people who will gain these qualifications while working in a company that is a technology leader.”

A successful apprentice will receive a new Diploma and Associate Degree in Applied Technologies developed by Siemens, the leader of the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce, in collaboration with related companies and the Swinburne University of Technology.

According to Siemens, the qualification combines key industry initiatives and policies, such as the National Science and Innovation Agenda and the Growth Centres initiatives, into a practical experiential learning environment to address particular industry needs with a focus on the adoption of high-level technology skills and the tools required for the future workforce.

The pilot brings together the best of university and vocational learning models to improve the STEM skills of technically minded participants and also incorporates skills for the new millennia in business and design.

Mr Willox said participants will be highly capable post-Year 12 school leavers and will be employed under arrangements built upon the apprenticeship model for the duration of the program.

“The award of an Associate Degree articulating to a Bachelor’s Degree will appeal to a broader range of potential applicants than the standard apprenticeship model. Employers are able to train future technicians with a higher skills level to meet their increasing needs in the knowledge economy,” he added.

Siemens’ CEO Jeff Connolly said the pilot will initially involve 20 participants through participation in a Diploma and Associate Degree in Applied Technologies with guaranteed pathways for graduates to a relevant Bachelor Degree by 2020.

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“The industrial environment has entered a phase of digital revolution. Australia needs to continuously modify education content and delivery models in order to equip today’s youth with the skills needed to be a part of the digitalised future,” Mr Connolly said.

“The Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce Apprenticeship program is a practical, action-oriented approach which should further increase our ability to be a part of the future of advanced manufacturing and secure jobs in major global supply chains.”

Professor Linda Kristjanson, Vice Chancellor of Swinburne University, said the University was determined to deliver social and economic impact in collaboration with industry.

“As Australia’s labour market is fundamentally reshaped by technological change, our education and training system must continue to evolve to meet industry needs,” Ms Kristjanson said.

“The program will deliver graduates with the skills required to meet the impact of disruptive technologies in all industries and provide them with a competitive edge.”