A new post-graduate course from Swinburne University will equip engineers with the skills and knowledge they need to lead the transition to Industry 4.0 in their own workplaces.
Industry 4.0 technologies open up new ways to capture and create value and are vital for ensuring Australian manufacturing thrives into the future. Engineers will play a vital role in seizing the opportunities presented by the next industrial revolution, but do they have what it takes to lead the change?
A new post-graduate course from Swinburne University — Industry 4.0 and Systems Engineering Specialisation — aims to equip engineers with the skills and knowledge required to help lead the transition to Industry 4.0 in their own workplaces.
Relevant for both new graduates and experienced engineers, it will help to future-proof their skillset and give them a deeper understanding of the Industry 4.0 technologies that are already reshaping industries beyond manufacturing.
Preparing for Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 refers to the fourth industrial revolution and includes a fusion of technologies — from artificial intelligence, robotics and additive manufacturing to the Internet of Things and materials engineering — that are disrupting businesses across a range of industries. On top of these technologies, Industry 4.0 also leads to changes in way value is captured and created in business — allowing them to compete on value add and business model innovation.
A recent report from CSIRO shows that disruptive technologies are changing the skills required from the workforce of tomorrow. It also shows that adoption of technology will support a revitalised and resilient economy.
Associate Professor Suresh Palanisamy, Deputy Chair of Swinburne’s Department of Mechanical and Product Design Engineering, said the wide-scale impact of Industry 4.0 could not be underestimated.
“People often think that Industry 4.0 is only linked to manufacturing, but it is in fact linked to almost every sector,” said Palanisamy, who is also the university’s Industry 4.0 and Systems Engineering Academic Co-ordinator.
“It is imperative that engineers are equipped with the right skills and knowledge to lead the necessary changes in their workplaces.”
The first course of its kind
The first of its kind in Australia, Swinburne’s Industry 4.0 and Systems Engineering Specialisation is embedded into a one-year post-graduate program that brings together expertise from the fields manufacturing and computer science to prepare graduates for the digital future.
Palanisamy said the course builds on Swinburne’s expertise in delivering Australia’s first Associate Degree in Applied Technologies (Industry 4.0), which launched two years ago. He explained that the master’s degree is based on the key pillars of edge computing, additive manufacturing, digital twin, cyber security and artificial intelligence.
“It’s a multidisciplinary program,” Palanisamy said.
“People recognise the impact of Industry 4.0 and are asking industries to get ready today and this course will give them what they need to not only face new challenges but also to become change agents toward Industry 4.0 in their own workplaces.”
Filling a skills gap
The course will prepare graduates for the digital future at a time when many Australians believe their current skillsets may soon be outdated.
A recent report from Swinburne’s Centre for the New Workforce shows 56% of working Australians expect that in five years’ time, work will require skills they currently do not have, while just over half are worried about losing their job to automation and artificial intelligence.
Associate Professor Nico Adams, Director of Swinburne’s Factory of the Future, said the new post-graduate course “fills a skills gap in the market”.
“Businesses that are investing in industry 4.0 quite often go to PhD educated candidates to access the technical skills they need, when what they need more often than not is someone at a master’s level,” he said.
Along with the engineering and STEM skills required to be effective in Industry 4.0, Adams said the course equips graduates with the uniquely human skills vital to economic growth, such as creative problem solving, change management and collaboration.
“Swinburne’s Factory of the Future is a business-led engineering facility,” he said.
“Rather than having a technology conversation with a business straight off, we have business strategy conversations. We want to understand the outcomes that a business needs and the value drivers of these outcomes. We then look at how we can use technology to achieve them.
“This post-graduate course will expose students to this approach, along with providing an environment like the Factory of the Future, where they can experience, work with and learn to create new industry 4.0 technologies.”
To know more about Swinburne’s Industry 4.0 and Systems Engineering Specialisation, please contact Assoc. Prof. Justin Leontini.