Australia is only one player in a global business network in which fibre, textile and apparel industries are all intrinsically connected, and must optimise efficiencies throughout the complete value chain. High-speed communication has resulted in unprecedented demands on logistic and creative response times by organisations in efforts to maintain competitiveness. From the Changing Skills for a Changing World Conference, held on Thursday 14th February 2013, it was apparent that there is significant variation in how the mix of multi-nationals and SMEs based in Australia are confronting these challenges.
In her opening speech, concerning mentoring and training for the fibre, textile and apparel industries, Ms Caulfield, CEO of the TTNA and Conference convenor, explained that “Working towards achieving this is everyone’s business. “Governments, employers, employees, parents and students need to establish effective and equitable arrangements as to who pays for what, when and how”.
Ms. Caulfield shared a quote from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: “Skills have become the global currency of the 21st century. Without proper investment in skills, technological progress does not translate into economic growth, and countries can no longer compete in an increasingly knowledge-based global society....”
Business, government and the community all need to address this pressing issue of training, in particular for areas of materials science and manufacturing, to develop more fulfilling career paths and emerging opportunities for new and young employees for an invigorated collective of the Australian fibre, textile and apparel industries.
In each of the Conference presentations, the fundamental challenge revealed was ‘how does an individual business develop a workforce with the appropriate set of skills?’ More specifically, skills that enable it to efficiently manufacture products that result in high sales and repeat orders - satisfying consumers, end-users and retailers. Or, as Ms Caulfield succinctly remarked, the skills to support the “business of making things”.
Click here for full conference report: Conference report