Sugar Milling Project

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Case for change

Australia’s sugar milling industry regularly uses the national qualifications to develop training and define skills requirements for various roles. However, they are not formally delivered or assessed by any registered training organisation (RTO) at present. At the same time, technological advancements and new practices adopted from other industries are changing the skills required of workers within the sector. A review and redesign of current sugar milling qualifications and units of competency is proposed, to reflect these changes in industry environment and to encourage use of sugar milling skills standards within the VET system.

The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) approved this project, out of the 2021 Annual Update IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work.

The Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical Industry Reference Committee (IRC) will oversee this project as part of their responsibility to support engagement with the sector, and to ensure the project meets industry stakeholder needs.

Skills Impact will manage this project, consistent with the 2012 Standards for Training Package Development.

Download Project Proposal (see page 58)

Project Plan

Sugar milling is one of Australia’s largest rural industries, employing 23,000 people and contributing $4 million to the Australian economy a year, according to the Australian Sugar Milling Council. Employees in this industry draw on a vast array of skills throughout the milling cycle, including expertise for operating machinery, performing complex processes, working compliantly in laboratories, and driving large vehicles. Over recent years the nature of the industry has been evolving, with innovations in bioproducts including producing biofuel. The workforce has also changed over the years, with increasing automation meaning fewer people are required on the ground. As such the skills and training needs of the industry have also changed.

While the sugar milling industry regularly uses the national qualifications and skills standards for workplace training and defining job roles, they are not currently delivered or assessed by any registered training organisation (RTO). Industry feedback to date suggests strong support for qualifications offered through the VET system. However, they do not meet industry needs in their current form and require streamlining and repackaging to support deliverability and more flexible career pathways for entrants.

Consultation will take place throughout this project to review and reconfigure the skills standards for sugar milling, so that they reflect the current industry requirements and are more accessible for training providers to deliver. With strong demand for skilled workers in sugar milling, it is important the national skills standards are carefully designed to support industry in developing the skilled workers it needs and to help new entrants to take advantage of the opportunities available.

Project Scope

The Certificate II in Sugar Milling Support and the Certificate III in Sugar Milling Industry Operations will be reviewed, along with 41 units and one skill set. There is potential to consider including the skills as specialisations associated with sugar milling in certificates II and III in food processing if industry and RTOs believe this will result in improved delivery and outcomes for all.  This would assist to simplify the skills system by deletion of two standalone qualifications and increasing industry’s and workers access to training and career path solutions.

(Note that these two food processing certificates have just completed a review in 2020-21, so would not undergo a full review as part of this project, only the addition of a specialisation for sugar milling if deemed necessary).

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical’ as your industry of interest.

Relevant Occupations
  • Crushing assistant
  • Sugar mill worker
  • Sugar services operator
  • Sugar processing operator
  • Sugar transport operator
  • Refinery operators


Project Team
Susie FalkIndustry Skills Standards Specialist, Skills
Julie StratfordIndustry Engagement Manager, Skills
Peter MillerIndustry Skills Standard Contractor



August 2021
Initial scoping

September 2021
Development of draft qualifications, skill sets and units

September/October 2021*
Drafts available for broad consultation

November 2021*
Validation of final drafts

January/February 2022
Finalisation of Training Package components

February/March 2022
Independent Quality Assurance, and Edit and Equity review of Training Package components

April 2022
IRC consideration for sign-off and submission for endorsement

*To be confirmed with subject matter expert working group

Opportunities for stakeholder input

Experienced sugar millers and others with knowledge in this field who are able to describe the skills needed for this industry are invited to engage with this project.

It is important that training provides a skilled and flexible workforce for the future. The qualifications, skill set, and units need to reflect real work experience. So, if you work in the sector, Skills Impact welcomes your input and assistance.

The skills standards will be drafted in consultation with Subject Matter Experts and their networks. Opportunities to provide targeted feedback will occur when the draft skills standards are made available in September/October 2021, and again for validation of final drafts in November 2021. However, your feedback is welcomed at any time, and will help us in drafting the qualifications, skill set and units.

Please register your interest in project updates and consultation opportunities by following the newsletter subscription link. Alternatively, contact the project manager, Susie Falk

N.B. webinars will be held to replace face-to-face consultation workshops where necessary due to COVID-19 related restrictions.

Stakeholder Consultation Process

A list of key stakeholder organisations has been identified for this project based on their industry role, size or specialty. Skills Impact will ensure contact is made with each of these organisations to seek their involvement and views on all draft qualifications, skill set and units. Consultation is not limited to the organisations on this list, they have simply been identified as the most likely to have a key interest in the development and outcomes of this project

If you are aware of an organisation that you think should be involved, please contact the project team to ensure they are contacted by us.


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Drafts Available

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