More than 200,000 workers contribute to the production of Australian food, beverages and pharmaceutical products. They are part of an innovative industry that is constantly adapting its processes and products to meet consumer preferences and needs. The skills of this industry are vital for producing high quality products that are safe to consume.
Thank you to those who provided feedback on projects that have been proposed for 2021 – 2022 and specific changes to the industry environment that have been identified in this year’s Annual Update to the IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work (Skills Forecast). Feedback was collected from 7 April – May 2021.
The proposed projects are summarised in the grey box below.
This year’s Annual Update includes information about employers’ use of training packages and qualifications, barriers to hiring apprentices and trainees, and reasons behind non-completion rates. It highlights the disruption and unprecedented growth over the last year as industry continues to deal with the impacts of COVID-19, including trade tensions, unprecedented demand for particular products, and increased investment in pharmaceutical manufacturing.
This Annual Update to the Skills Forecast will be submitted from the IRC to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC), for their consideration. The information will be used to update the AISC National Schedule of training package development projects.
View draft Annual Update and provide feedback
(including any comments that were made on it from people using the feedback hub)
Click here to download the draft document in Microsoft Word format.
Proposed Schedule of Work
Project 1: Indigenous Food Skill Set
Indigenous food is a rapidly expanding sector in both local and global markets. Given that only a small proportion of native foods have received food safety certification so far, there is plenty of room for further growth. New job roles are emerging requiring specific skills for working in Indigenous communities and remote locations, harvesting and processing wild food, and exporting products according to strict regulations.
Project 2: Pharmaceutical GMP Unit Changes
Good manufacturing practice (GMP) systems are used by the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry to ensure that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards. Three Pharmaceutical Manufacturing qualifications currently contain GMP units that industry recommends are reviewed and updated so that appropriate training in these critical practices can be accessed, as well as ensuring that each unit aligns with its designated Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level. In addition, business units within the Certificates III and IV in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing have been superseded and should be replaced with the current versions so that training delivery reflects current practices.
Project 3: Sugar Milling
Sugar milling qualifications are widely used in sugar mills to develop training and define skills requirements for various roles, but are not formally delivered or assessed by any RTO. Recently, various industry skills standards have changed because of technological advancements and the adoption of practices from other industries. This proposed project is to review current sugar milling qualifications and redesign training options to reflect the skills shared across industry job roles, and to encourage use of sugar milling units within the VET system.
Other projects to be identified to address industry priorities.
What is a Skills Forecast?
Skills Forecasts describe industry trends, opportunities and challenges, and identify skills gaps and emerging skills needs. They propose a four year plan for reviewing and developing relevant units, skill sets and qualifications across a training package. They are created once every three years, but are updated annually. The Annual Updates identify any specific changes to the industry environment, and to address current priority issues.
Every year in April, the full Skills Forecast or Annual Update is submitted by the relevant IRC to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC). The AISC advises Commonwealth and State Industry and Skills Ministers on the implementation of national vocational education and training policies, and approves nationally recognised training packages.
The AISC draws on this information to update their AISC National Schedule, and to determine future Training Package Projects. View current projects, that have been approved out of previous Skills Forecasts.
Current Skills Forecast
Skills Forecasts Archive
Please note: IRC Skills Forecasts were previously called Four Year Work Plans.