In March 2024 the Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) for Melbourne’s North Advanced Manufacturing Group (MNAMG) met at member Brite Services’ head office in Broadmeadows.

The IAC includes representatives from local and state governments, educational bodies and manufacturers. The role of the MNAMG IAC is to

  • identify priority needs for the manufacturing industry in Melbourne’s north and beyond.
  • provide advice on activities, and services, provided by the MNAMG.
  • provide feedback on MNAMG initiatives.
  • offer recommendations for improvement of the sector and MNAMG.
  • assist in planning for the sustainability of the MNAMG.

“The Industry Advisory Committee plays an important role in connecting key groups across the region and bringing manufacturers, education, health and government together”, explains Chris James, Executive Director of NORTH Link.

“Representatives from government and education alongside manufacturers are critical to the success of MNAMG establishing an open conversation working wholistically to address industry needs.”

The agenda included robust conversations focused on key challenges in manufacturing including rising costs, access to a skilled workforce, innovation and support from government and education. This included;

  • Rising costs: Members highlighted the increases in costs as a particular concern, costs have been impacted by labour shortages and government policies impacting operational cashflow.
  • Skilled workers: Finding skilled workers in local manufacturing has been challenging, and manufacturers are having difficulty finding people with experience.
  • Connecting with Education: Working with universities and industry partners in the new tech space is seen as important, highlighting the need for more effective collaboration and funding models. This also emphasised the importance of industry placements and internships for students to gain hands-on experience and prepare for the workforce.

 “We are seeing challenges across both the General and Advanced Manufacturing and the food manufacturing sectors in relation to the rising costs, in particular high energy costs and government charges”, states Chris James.  “These challenges are impacting manufacturing significantly as the industry is grappling with the energy transition, including the high cost of gas and the need for cleaner power. NORTH Link’s Pre-Budget submission highlights some of these concerns.”

 A step in the right direction

The NORTH Link team were able to highlight current programs that provide manufacturers with access to both job-ready candidates and student placement options through:

NORTH Link Manufacturing Priority Workforce Project: where manufacturers can reduce employment costs and gain access to candidates that are supported into and through employment process. This program is focused on manufacturing and provides support for a manufacturers permanent workforce, both full-time and part-time.

The North and West Melbourne Data Analytics Hub and the Northern Industry Student Placement Program are easy and flexible services available to businesses of all sizes, allowing them to draw on temporary student talent for a specific workplace project.

These programs allow manufacturers to bring new skills and ideas into the organisation and helps build links with local tertiary institutions.

In addition, IAC members were able to participate in a Q&A session with Ian Said, from Kangan Institute on the progress of a new Tech school in Broadmeadows. Under the Victorian Government Tech Schools initiative, the design and preparation stage has commenced, and planned for operation by the end of 2026, Advanced Manufacturing has been identified as one of the industries to be considered in program design.

For more information on the IAC or Melbourne’s North Advanced Manufacturing Group contact the team at NORTH Link