Skills Forecasts and Industry Outlooks draft report released

T&L Industry Reference Committee eyes technological challenge

Skills Forecasts and Industry Outlooks draft report released
Truck-driver training is crucial for T&L


Transport and Logistics Industry Reference Committee (T&L IRC) has released its draft 2020 IRC Skills Forecasts and Industry Outlooks and is seeking responses from interested parties before it is firmed up.

For the T&L IRC, which works under the umbrella of the Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC), the industry is facing digital and technological disruption but the challenge is one of accommodation of these sorts of efficiency tools with the task at hand.

"Realisation of these opportunities requires access to two things – affordable capital and relevant workforce skills," T&L IRC chair Mark McKenzie says in the draft report’s foreword.

"Unlike recent times, the new workforce skill needs do not neatly fit into occupational categories. Rather, they impact multiple occupations and span multiple industries.

"Responding to this requirement therefore requires an approach that involves adjustment of the skill requirements of existing occupations in a manner that complements traditional skills – as opposed to replacing them.

"Accountants and schedulers, for example, must learn to operate digital supply chains effectively.

"Truck drivers and machinery operators must learn how to operate machines with growing levels of autonomy.

"The entire workforce must acquire increased digital skills in workplaces filled with data.

"And every workforce participant must develop varying levels of cybersecurity skills in order to protect Australian enterprises from the growing global cybersecurity threat."

But the report sees structural issues at play, particularly in the age demographic.

Just as the average age of Australian truck drivers, for instance, is put at 47 while that of the workforce in general is around 39, so that of T&L students and trainees, at 34.3 years, is just shy of four years older than the national average and 68 per cent of apprentices are 25 years and older.

On a more positive note, employment trends for T&L sub-sectors are generally positive but to varying extents.

The strongest projected growth is for storage and delivery (7.3 per cent) which just about matches the expected population growth (7.5 per cent) over the five-year period.

Passenger transport is expected to grow by 6.1 per cent in the same timeframe and Freight Transport following behind at 5.5 per cent. The Other category, comprised of freight forwarders, removalists, customs agency services and stevedoring, is expected to grow slightly at 1.1 per cent over the projection estimate.

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Against that, there is mixed news regarding job vacancies in the 10 years to 2019.

Viewing its graph, online advertisements for the main occupations in T&L visually seem to fall and rise together, however significant differences are seen between the occupations.

In the last five years, online advertisements for forklift drivers have increased by 7.2 per cent, falling back after a peak in 2017.

Advertisements for the remaining occupations have declined substantially, with storepersons declining by a quarter, truck drivers by 13.3 per cent and purchasing and supply logistics clerks by 9.1 per cent since 2014.

The story of enrolments, on a state basis, is also uneven.

T&L IRC reports Qualification enrolments in Queensland have fallen significantly in the last four years (-68.2 per cent) "driven primarily by a decline in government funding at the unit level".

It adds that 97.5 per cent of the decline in TLI unit enrolments in Queensland was attributable to a decline in government funding which fell 80 per cent in four years while domestic fee for service enrolments fell 7.5 per cent in the same period.

Enrolments in Western Australia have also declined steadily, falling by more than 20 per cent since 2015, it says, adding: "Again, this was led by a decline in government funding which fell at nearly twice the rate of domestic fee for service enrolments.

Declines in Victoria and South Australia between 2015 and 2016 appear to have stabilised and qualification enrolments in New South Wales have grown 48 per cent since 2015.

Action points

The T&L IRC’s focus on particular issues identified in the draft report are:

  • labour shortages – support reduction in workforce adjustment costs through skill set development
  • workplace automation – skill set development on automation to complement existing qualifications
  • navigating complex compliance – skill sets development to allowing occupations to extend their core qualifications
  • workplace safety – develop, amend, or delete occupational standards/qualifications as appropriate
  • digital literacy – better understand the nature of the opportunities to modify skill sets/qualifications and embed digital literacy where relevant
  • environmental performance and traceability – the IRC has already developed new skill sets, subject to approval from the AISC, to be incorporated into the Transport and Logistics Training Package
  • cybersecurity – incorporate relevant units into Transport and Logistics Training Package
  • Supply chains – development of new Units to support workforce with the end-to-end operation of blockchain and related digital supply chain technologies.

The full draft report can be found here.

Enquiries by March 31 can be addressed to


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