A one-stop-shop suitably armed to guide Illawarra’s manufacturing sector to a bright new future, was launched on Friday.
The Facility for Intelligent Fabrication (FIS) combines the knowledge and resources of the University of Wollongong (UOW), TAFE NSW and the Welding Technology Institute of Australia (WTIA).
FIF provides expertise, technology, equipment and training in automating steel fabrication to help manufacturing businesses adapt and compete in a climate where Illawarra transitions from large-scale heavy manufacturing.
Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW and Minister for Skills and Small Business, John Barilaro said the facility would be a valuable resource to ensure that manufacturing firms in the Illawarra and across NSW had access to the latest technology, training and certification.
Here we are creating a one-stop-shop where they can access impartial expert advice to improve their business.Professor Valerie Linton
“There are current and emerging opportunities for local fabrication companies to participate in steel intensive defence and infrastructure projects that will be a source of long-term skilled jobs,” Mr Barilaro said.
Parliamentary Secretary for Education and the Illawarra, Gareth Ward said the FIF was an example of how governments, businesses, industry and training organisations can work together to promote innovation.
UOW Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences Executive Dean Professor Valerie Linton said welding technology remained an integral part of the manufacturing industry, but firms needed to evolve rapidly.
“Here we are creating a one-stop-shop where they can access impartial expert advice to improve their business,” Professor Linton said.
Head of the TAFE NSW SkillsPoint for Innovative Manufacturing, Robotics and Science Karen Humphreys said TAFE worked collaboratively with UOW and WTIA to establish a facility with capabilities across planning, research, vocational training and development as well as access to the latest technology.
WTIA CEO Geoff Crittenden said FIS offers “innumerable benefits to Australian welders, as well as manufacturing firms in Illawarra and across NSW”.
FIF partners will provide services including:
- Expert, research-backed advice on automation technology adoption and implementation
- Robotics and automation fabrication solutions
- Augmented reality welding training for apprentices and trainees and ongoing welding training certification
- Industry linkages and partnerships that offer opportunities for collaboration and sharing of knowledge within the industry