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National Instrument and Control Forum

The organiser EE-Oz, with input from epic-itb, RMIT and the IICA, organised the first Instrument and Control Forum (held in Canberra in May). The main objective was to promote a coordi nated approach in putting the demand for a dedicated instrument and control training curriculum back in the spotlight.

Australian industry and training organizations are both affected by the decline in students (including electrical technicians) taking up the instrumenta tion and control automation trade as a preferred career. This has a negative snowball effect on all parties involved; RTOs have difficulty filling the instru ment training courses and therefore acquiring funding from government; and industry has a problem in filling the vacancies for instrument technicians. This is forcing industry to find qualified personnel overseas which is hurting the local RTOs.

The main message in the presenta tions was the recognition by industry, vendors and RTOs servicing the instru mentation, control and automation markets of a decline in the availability of qualified instrument technicians and a lessening interest in making this a preferred career path.

The significance of up-to-date training units is reflected in the increasing rate of technological and regulatory change in the instrument and process control area what forms the backbone of almost all industries.

A recognised gap in the training units is the availability of access to the latest hardware and software technology. An independent industry specialist can be engaged to re-write the available vendor- training packages into general training units.

Equally important is the funding of Career-Pathways.With an attendance of representatives of a range of training organisations and industry representa tives, the forum presented a draft proposal to the Electrical TAC (Technical Advisory Committee) to agree to the formation of an Instrumentation TAC.

A separate Instrumentation TAC will be able to more effectively interact with Australian industry, RTO and government.

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