During 2021 the Western Parkland City Authority in New South Wales received funding for a four-year New Education and Training Model (NETM) pilot focussed on the needs of emerging industries in Western Sydney.  The NETM pilot will play a critical role in ensuring employers are directly involved in the co-design of education and training that can help them to attract, grow and retain a skilled workforce.

By working closely with industry partners, the NETM intends to offer a range of micro-credentials that can be completed in around 40 hours – leading to rapid upskilling and immediate workplace outcomes. It will focus on key emerging industries in the Western Parkland City, including advanced manufacturing, transport and logistics, defence, aerospace and agribusiness.

The NETM is a real opportunity for industry to work with education providers in new and innovative ways.  Industry voices are critical to making sure that the training staff complete delivers what is actually needed on the ground.

One of the first micro-credentials to be approved under the pilot was the Introduction to Additive Manufacturing. Additive manufacturing has the potential to make major contributions to government and defence industries in the future. Industry partner GE Additive teamed up with Western Sydney University to design the micro-credential. They designed a micro-credential that includes how to develop a business case in additive manufacturing by teaching learners how to calculate the difference between traditional production methods and additive methods (which could significantly reduce the number of parts needed to make a functional object). A version of the micro-credential previously ran in Korea, and has led to the creation of several start-up ventures.

It is planned to develop a higher degree with an additive manufacturing focus, and this micro-credential would provide an important opportunity to test the Australian market’s interest in the field.