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Manufacturing and Engineering

Manufacturing and Engineering are cornerstones to the Australian labour market. Despite the demise of the Australian car manufacturing industry, manufacturing continues to produce goods for the Australian and international markets.

Manufacturing is transforming into an integrated and collaborative ecosystem that provides customised solutions within a global environment. Global supply chains, ‘green’ credentials, and the management of waste and resources are increasingly important in manufacturing and engineering.

New technologies are affecting the types of design work and products created by these industries.

With the skills you gain you may work across different industry sectors, including building and construction, mining, agriculture, health, food and hospitality.

What does this industry cover?

Manufacturing and Engineering is a diverse sector that includes people who conceive, design, manufacture, assemble, install, repair, package and sell manufactured products.

Sectors included are: Engineering, Boatbuilding and Shipbuilding, Jewellery Manufacture, Locksmithing, Watch and Clock Service and Repair.

New technologies are a major driver for change, such as automation and robotics, 3D printing technology, sensors and data analytics. This means we are seeing an increase of the range of products that can be engineered or manufactured. There are now more opportunities for business to increase efficiency and productivity by taking advantage of these technologies.

Other changes in areas such as Locksmithing has seen it change from mechanical to electronic which means that new skills are needed to understand highly sophisticated security systems.

Job hunting preparation

The majority of organisations in this industry are small to medium businesses. It is important that you do your research into what sector you would like to work in.

You will find that more than one third of boatbuilding and repair employers are based in Queensland, and in South Australia they have an ongoing contract with the Defence department to build naval ships and submarines.

There are skills shortages are across the whole industry, especially in trade and technician worker roles.

Some employers in the engineering sectors may prefer potential apprentices to have completed a pre-apprenticeship before starting.

Search for Pre-apprenticeships


Information for further research

Industry information is published by peak level associations, government and major employers.  Accessing industry association sites, including member lists, is a good way of building up an understanding of an industry.  Visiting employer websites and looking for careers or employment menus helps identify how employers recruit and the skills they are recruiting.

Employment and wage data for this industry

Apprenticeships Employment Size

This is a large industry for Australian Apprenticeship commencements. In the year to September 2022, commencements were: 10 982

Source: VOCSTATS, extracted on 11/4/2023. AATIS analysis.

Commencements Change

Commencements in the year to September 2022 in this industry have remained stable, compared with the previous year.

Source: VOCSTATS, extracted on 11/4/2023. AATIS analysis.

Apprentice Employment Outcomes

For Australian Apprentice graduates from this industry, employment outcomes are high.

Source: NCVER National Student Outcomes Survey, 2020, unpublished. AATIS analysis.

Industry Employment Size

This is a medium sized industry compared with other Australian industries.

Source: National Skills Commission, 2022. AATIS analysis.

Industry Employment Change

In the next 5 years, change in employment in this industry is predicted to increase.

Source: National Skills Commission, 2022. AATIS analysis.

Industry Wage

The average wage of all employees in this industry is high.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2022. AATIS analysis.

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