The ASI has co-signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Apprenticeship Support Australia (ASA) to assist its nationwide membership to build workplace capability using the Australian apprenticeships program.

The MOU was signed at the steel industry’s premier annual event, the Australian Steel Convention at the Marriott Surfers Paradise by ASA General Manager, James Moran and ASI Chief Executive, Tony Dixon in the presence of Australian Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Karen Andrews MP who also presented at that conference session.

The conference event this year focused on the emerging opportunities in infrastructure development in the wake of the petering resources boom and the beginnings of a slowing housing market.

Mr Dixon said the agreement would encourage a more coordinated approach to steel-specific trades development to better match the industrial sector’s skills requirements as the market rapidly evolves.

“This level of cooperation will be particularly important to meet the skills needs of our many downstream steel processors and fabricators increasingly investing in advanced automated plant and machinery,” he said.

He said steel fabrication has changed considerably over the past few years as new innovations such as 3D scanning and BIM models open up new opportunities for Australian school leavers to participate in these exciting initiatives.

“It will also help to ensure the steel supply chain maximises opportunities to shore up the skills required as more and more seek third-party certification to the new National Structural Steelwork Compliance Scheme,” Mr Dixon said.

He pointed out that as more and more fabricators become certified to the new Australian Standard AS/NZSW 5131, demand is increasing for young people to join the new wave of innovation building in the steel fabrication sector.

Apprenticeship Support Australia will provide advice to employers, free of charge, to develop and maintain apprenticeship programs.

“We will work with ASI members to maximise the benefits available nationally with advice on incentives and training options available, linking employers to Registered Training Organisations, registering apprentices as needed and providing mentoring,” Mr Moran said.

Members of ASI will have the choice between having one national contact or multiple state-based contacts to execute their programs.