Skills Forecast

This year’s Annual Update to the IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work (Skills Forecast) proposes two key projects for 2020 – 2021 and identifies specific changes to the industry environment.

Thank you to those who provided feedback.

Your feedback was considered to finalise the document that was submitted from the IRC to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC). The information in the Annual Update will be used to update the AISC National Schedule of training package development projects.

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 also looks at alternative training being delivered, some of which draws on the training package, but is not delivered by registered training organisations.

Feedback was collected between 19 March – 14 April 2020, via the online feedback hub, email and phone.

Click here to download the final document

If you would like to view the draft version that was available for feedback, including any comments made Click here

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

2019 – 2022 Skills Forecast
(click here to see the draft document that was available for feedback from 25 March – 15 April 2019, including any comments made)

Skills Forecasts Archive

2018 – 2021 Skills Forecast

2017 – 2020 Skills Forecast

2016 – 2019 Four Year Work Plan

Please note: IRC Skills Forecasts were previously called Four Year Work Plans.

Proposed Schedule of Work


Project 1: Flour Milling 

The flour and grain milling industry has been adapting its operations to meet growing consumer preferences for healthier options. Organic, gluten-free and wholemeal products are no longer a niche market. The necessary skills for the workforce are evolving beyond ‘traditional’ practices to include machinery, supply chain and traceability systems management, and food safety regulations compliance. This project proposes a review of the Certificate IV in Flour Milling, to meet the current skills requirements of technical millers in Australia.

Project 2: High Volume Production Baking

The operation of factories that produce bread, bread products, biscuits and cakes, is becoming increasingly digitalised and automated. Many of the required skills and knowledge, including enhanced quality control, traceability and supply chain systems, and managing allergens and contaminants, are similar to the skills that are reflected in the units and qualifications that are under review as part of the current Food & Beverage Processing Project. This project would include a review of the Certificate III in Plant Baking and consider whether to replace it with a specialisation within the Certificate III in Food Processing.


Project 2: Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Development of qualifications, units and skill sets to meet skills gaps and needs identified in the CSIRO Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Roadmap.


Projects to be identified based on feedback from previously completed projects.

Insight into Qualification and Employment Outcomes

The Certificate III in Food Processing is considered valuable by some employers when it can be contextualised to specific industries. For example, Stephen Nelsen, Head Brewery Lecturer at TAFE SA, said the course he runs is always fully booked, with approximately 30% of students enrolling from interstate.

Graduate Janie Butterworth from Beer Garden Brewing, said the course was an important step in her journey to commercial success, “The technical focus of the Certificate III means that we have the capability to produce award winning, world class beer in our beautiful but isolated part of the world.”

Another graduate of the same course, Lachy Mutton, Head Brewer and Owner of Little Rippa Brewing Company, said “The course helped me to produce more consistent products and expand my business to a commercial level operation.”

Jake Nicholas, Janie Butterworth and Dan Treagus.
Photo credit to Robert Lang Photography

Lachy Mutton, Head Brewer and Owner of Little Rippa Brewing Company

Students of the same qualification who undertake the cheese-focussed course at the Artisan Cheese Making Academy Australia have a high success rate in finding work associated with their learning soon after graduating: 29 out of the 30 recent graduates of this course are now working in cheese production facilities, start-up companies, as chefs or in retail roles.

Development Process of IRC Skills Forecasts