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We help Australian business by developing policies that highlight education and training issues impacting on their competitiveness. By advocating change and making recommendations to relevant stakeholders we help to improve the workforce skills that companies need.

Our policy efforts on behalf of members involve making submissions on education and training issues to government. Our research and project work ensures that new models and programs are trialled and implemented for industry.

Education and Training Policy Statements and Submissions

We undertake education and training research, develop policy statements and reports, and make submissions on behalf of members in order to address the skill needs of industry. Recent examples include:


Click here to view all Ai Group Education and Training submissions


Reimagining Vocational Qualifications 

Realising Potential: Solving Australia's tertiary education challenge 

Industry 4.0 Higher Apprenticeships Program 

The Imperative of Higher Apprenticeships 

Enhancing industry university engagement through graduate research students: a guide for industry

Workforce Development Needs Survey Report 2018

Skill Shortages Research Note – April 2018

Developing the Workforce for a Digital Future

Workforce Development Needs Survey Report 2016

Thought Leader Paper: The emergence of the 'gig economy'

An employer guide to work activities for uni students

Management Skills in the Manufacturing Sector Pilot Project Stage 2 Final Report

Guide to implementing innovative management development in manufacturing

Engineering Excellence Report

Engineering Excellence Appendices

Investing in Workforce Literacy Pays (Summary)

Investing in Workforce Literacy Pays (Report)

Innovate & Prosper: Ensure Australia's Future Competitiveness through University-Industry Collaboration


Enterprise Leadership in Australia

Graduate employability

Making Apprenticeships Work

Tackling Foundations Skills in the Workforce

Progressing STEM Skills in Australia

Policy Statements

This policy statement recommends a number of actions for closer cooperation by government, industry and universities to build future graduates who have the adaptive capabilities needed for the fast-changing world of work. View the full statement here.
This policy statement discusses the importance and benefits of apprenticeships to Australia, the current situation, what employers are saying and recommends a range of measures to support the apprenticeships pathway. View the full statement here.
This policy statement addresses the increasing importance of literacy and numeracy in the evolving economy, the current situation, what employers are saying, case studies and suggests what needs to be done to develop a stronger focus in this area. View the full statement here.
This national strategy is designed to increase opportunities to participate in WIL, recognising the benefits to students, employers, universities and the economy. Ai Group's partners in this national effort include the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Business Council of Australia, Universities Australia and the Australian Collaborative Education Network Ltd. The Strategy proposes action in eight key areas. View the full statement here.
This statement highlights the importance of addressing enterprise leadership in Australia, how Australia compares to other countries, addressing the barriers to improvement and approaches to the way forward. View the full statement here.
This policy statement addresses the imperative of STEM skills, the current situation in all sectors, what employers are saying and a suggested course of action and recommendations. View the full statement here.


This Statement of Intent is co-signed by Universities Australia, the Ai Group and other peak business organisations to support university-business partnerships and to advance the implementation of Work Integrated Learning for undergraduate students participating in work placements in industry.
This policy statement highlights the importance of foundation skills, the current status of these in Australia, what employers are saying about this issue and a series of recommendations for future action.
This policy statement addresses several school sector issues including resourcing, teaching capability, foundation skills, school - industry partnerships, VET in Schools programs, STEM subjects and advances a number of recommendations targeted at improvement.
This policy statement identifies the importance of STEM skills, the current decline, employer viewpoints and advances a series of recommendations for future action.
This policy statement focuses on the importance of apprentices, the current situation, employer viewpoints and identifies a number of areas for recommended action apprenticeships.

Education and Training Projects

We undertake projects, trialling new training models or support services for members, that have been identified as a result of our research and policy positions.

Recent examples include:

Industry 4.0 is about the next stage in manufacturing driven by the impact of digitalisation and emerging technologies on Australia’s ability to compete and participate in global value chains. This project seeks to address these challenges through the development and introduction of a new Diploma and Associate Degree of Applied Technologies, developed by Swinburne University of Technology, and delivered in technology-rich companies including Siemens Ltd through an apprenticeship mode. Find further information
Ai Group is undertaking two projects within its Apprenticeship Compact with the NSW Department of Industry. The projects aim to assist companies and their apprentices with language, literacy and numeracy needs, and to assist school/industry liaison for the recruitment of apprentices. The projects have recently commenced and will continue through 2019.
Following on from the success of the higher apprenticeships program piloted in Victoria, Ai Group is working with training providers to establish the program in South Australia with the intention of commencing the first cohort of higher apprentices by September 2019. We are promoting the program to prospective employers and assisting them in finding suitable candidates.
The Defence industry is growing rapidly in South Australia with the announcement of two big shipbuilding contracts for new frigates and submarines. Skilled trades will be in big demand when companies commence recruiting. This project is helping workers made redundant by the closure of the automotive manufacturing industry, ex-Defence personnel and other retrenched manufacturing workers transition into apprenticeships in Defence industry companies by assisting them to gain recognition for skills they have already developed. This will help fast-track their apprenticeships once they commence.
This project will work with employers and prospective apprentices to start the higher apprenticeship program in NSW. The focus is on Western Sydney and the Hunter Region, with the intention to commence a group in each of these regions by the first TAFE semester of 2020. We are also assisting TAFE NSW as they prepare to offer the program by this date.
Using a seed grant from the Victorian Department of Education and Training the project will investigate the feasibility of a model for Workforce Readiness Partnerships Pods that result in improved work readiness in VET graduates and therefore increased productivity in industry. The project will scope a model that:
  • identifies and implements innovative industry-student activities across industry sectors that are attractive to companies, particularly SMEs;
  • establishes a central space (physical and/or virtual) for industry and TAFE provider representatives to interact on student-work activities which incorporate companies' enterprise skill needs.
It provides an opportunity to increase the volume of companies and students involved, and lead to collaboration on broader initiatives between industry and TAFE.
Ai Group has received funding from the Victorian Government to generate interest in traineeships in the ICT sector. This is a sector that generally employs university graduates, although many of the occupations do not require that level of qualification. Ai Group will work with a training provider to develop and conduct a preparatory program for prospective trainees, and then help place successful completers in Certificate IV traineeship programs. A mentor will support the trainees throughout the process, and there will be professional development support for their supervisors as well.
The South Australian Premier's Defence Industry Scholarship Program is designed to support the defence industry to build its skilled workforce by linking universities and industry to address areas of skills shortages.
The program offers third-year undergraduate and honours students undertaking science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) related degrees and business degrees majoring in logistics and project management opportunities into workplace learning or project roles with host companies in the defence industry in South Australia.
Defence contractors and supply chain companies in South Australia are invited to participate in the program as host companies for placement of higher education students for a period of between three to six months, depending on the host company's need. Eligible companies can be supported through small grants to support the students' placements, in addition to students receiving a scholarship to support their placement.



During 2018 and 2019, the Workforce Development team was contracted to deliver services to apprentices in the manufacturing industry under an Australian Government Program, Industry Specialist Mentoring for Australian Apprentices (ISMAA). Our apprentice mentors worked across New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania. The service provided intensive support to apprentices and trainees in the first two years of their training in industries that are undergoing structural change. It assisted in meeting the long-held concerns of Ai Group and others regarding the enduringly low completion rates of apprentices. This issue along with ongoing low commencement rates continues to be a major problem at a time when industry has reported shortages in trades and technician workers and is re-focusing its workforce to meet the challenges arising through digitalisation.
This innovative project, funded by the Victorian Government, involved a leadership development program aimed at facilitating the transition of emerging leaders from shopfloor positions into a management role. The program used a number of methods including action learning, adaptive leadership principles and a framework for regular coaching and self-guided reflection. Individualised work based projects were driven by company needs and participants undertook the program in groups of eight companies, establishing business networks. The learnings from the project have helped to develop an implementation guide for use by any company or RTO.
This project is mapping current school - industry STEM skills programs and will conduct pilot programs designed to raise the participation of schools and industry in the provision of STEM skills.
This Accelerated Apprenticeship initiative funded by the Australian Government implemented competency based progression and completion for over 3,500 engineering apprentices across ten different Registered Training Organisations covering each State.
This is an Australian Apprenticeships Mentoring Program initiative which provides mentoring services to over 400 manufacturing apprentices and their employers to assist apprentices to complete their apprenticeship.
this is an Australian Government funded project to determine the return on investment for employers participating in the Workplace English Language and Literacy (WELL) program.
This project is funded by the Office of Chief Scientist and involves the collaboration of the Ai Group with the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers to determine what mathematics skills are used in the workplace and how these can be integrated into the secondary school curriculum.

National VET system Industry Reference Committees

Ai Group represents members on a number of national VET system Industry Reference Committees (IRC) currently working to update a range of critical cross-sectoral skills within VET qualifications. The task is to create flexible and transferable training package components that will benefit industry and learners. The specific cross-sectoral activity is focussing on skills across:

  • Automation
  • Big Data
  • Cyber Security
  • Digital Skills
  • Supply chain
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Teamwork and communication
  • Consumer engagement through social media
  • Inclusion of people with disability

Some of the cross-sector projects intersect with Industry Growth Centres (IGCs) whose work brings insight to training package development. Ai Group’s representatives on the Industry Reference Committees include:

Industry Reference Committee

Ai Group Representative

Business Services

Louise McGrath

Construction, Plumbing and Services

Lindsay Le Compte

(Australian Constructors Association)


Paolo Damante

Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical

Vasuki Paul

Information and Communications Technology

Charles Hoang

Manufacturing and Engineering

David Tiller

Daniel Murray

Kristian Stratton

Doug de Cean

Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Carolyn Macgill


Mark Goodsell


IRCs are the formal channel for the consideration of industry skills requirements in the development and review of Australia’s training packages.  IRCs ensure training packages meet the needs and concerns of employers, employees, training providers, and those seeking training qualifications. To make sure industry’s views are taken into account, IRCs gather information from their specific industry sector—including the challenges, opportunities, trends and industry requirements for training. Detailed reports are refreshed annually by the Committees.

If your business has a skills issue you would like to raise in relation to specific Committees or VET qualifications, please contact Anne Younger ( or 03 9867 0172).

Click here for more information on all IRCs.

Click here to stay up to date with relevant cross-sector projects.

Contact Us

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1300 55 66 77

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1300 13 47 56