The modern world could not survive without a strong manufacturing industry. Every industry in Australia needs manufacturing to some degree, whether it be for a substance, a material or a component. Manufacturing is of strategic importance to national prosperity and security and essential for a healthy balance of trade.

It directly employs almost 900,000 people, and through its supply chains, is closely linked to the employment of hundreds of thousands more throughout the economy.

The Manufacturing Alliance works together with a broad range of sectors, incorporating process manufacturing, general manufacturing and maintenance, light manufacturing, and support services.

Advanced manufacturing, using innovation and technology such as digitisation, advanced robotics, automation, control systems and high-performance computing to improve products and processes, is being rapidly adopted across the industry, needing new workforce skills to support it.

There are also several emerging industries that will require specialised manufacturing skills.

Aerospace covers the maintenance, modification and repair of civil (commercial and general) and military aircraft and their components.

Qualifications from the MEA training package align to job roles from pre-trade level through to trade and post-trade licenced technicians. 

The chemical, hydrocarbons and refining sector includes production of chemicals, petroleum, and coal products and the manufacturing and refining of metals products.

The PMA training package addresses the training needs of operators, technicians and paraprofessionals working in a range of sectors where various materials are processed. Job roles include, among others, the modification and optimisation of plant and process, and incident prevention, preparedness and response.

The food and beverage industry has three main sectors: food processing and manufacturing, beverage manufacturing, and wholesaling/retailing. A significant proportion of the workforce are factory process workers, such as food/beverage process workers, packers, product assemblers and product quality controllers, or food trade workers, such as bakers and pastry cooks.

The FBP training package provides specialisations to support key job roles within the sector.

The general manufacturing and engineering sector covers skills related to work performed in metal, engineering, manufacturing and associated industries, including creating, installing, maintaining, and fixing products in areas such as engineering, marine craft construction, jewellery making, and locksmithing.

The MEM training package supports the skills needs for workers across the engineering, jewellery, marine craft construction, locksmithing, boating, watch and clock service and textile sectors.

Pharmaceutical manufacturing includes the development and manufacture of safe medicinal and pharmaceutical products for humans and animals. These products can range from advanced vaccines and biologic drugs and molecular medicines to diagnostic testing agents, vitamins, and skincare products.

Production of pharmaceuticals is covered by the FBP training package. It supports the workforce roles of specialised technical and quality assurance personnel, production/packaging operators, team leaders, supervisors, and equipment and facility cleaners.

The polymer processing industry is a downstream industry largely made up of manufacturers of products and components made from natural or synthetic polymers, including thermoplastics and thermosetting polymers.

The PMB training package provides workplace skills for the three main sectors of the Australian polymer processing industry: plastics, rubber and cablemaking.

The printing industry facilitates the effective communication of messages through paper, publishing, and graphic media for visual communication, including items like books, magazines, newspapers, promotional materials, packaging products, consumer products, printed clothing, and outdoor advertising products.

The ICP training package provides skills for printers, binders, finishers, and pre-print graphic artists and includes a selection of specialisations.

The recreational vehicle industry manufactures, repairs, services and retails recreational vehicles, including their accessories. It includes motorhomes, campervans, caravans, fifth wheelers and slide-on campers.

Recreational vehicle qualifications are included in the MSM training package

New manufacturing technologies continue to emerge. Increased investment in space and defence technology over the coming decade is likely to drive the uptake of advanced manufacturing systems. It will provide us with opportunities to manufacture satellites, launch vehicles, facilities, and propellants along with state-of-the-art defence technologies such as missile systems, submarines, and remotely piloted and autonomous vehicles.

Medical technology (MedTech) is a growth area and includes the production of general medical supplies through to high technology implantable devices. There are also several emerging sectors utilising 3D printing, bioprinting and other new printing technologies.

Skills to support these emerging sectors are included in a range of training packages, including general manufacturing and engineering (MEM), chemical, hydrocarbons and refining (PMA), polymers (PMB) and aerospace (MEA). 

Laboratory operations

Laboratory operations cover technical and scientific work across a broad range of industries including agriculture, biotechnology, construction, educational support laboratories, environmental management, food, health, manufacturing and mining.

The MSL training package addresses training for those involved in sampling, testing and analysis. It provides technical and scientific skills at a ‘pre-degree’ level.


Sustainability covers sustainable operations and environmental technology and operations. Qualifications support occupational outcomes ranging from workers at the operational and trade levels through to technician, manager, leader and specialist levels.

The MSS training package has qualifications for workers monitoring, implementing and reporting on sustainability within an organisation, including compliance with regulations, standards and codes for environmental and human health and wellbeing.

Lean manufacturing

Lean methodologies, including qualifications in competitive systems and practices, are also covered in the MSS training package.