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Manufacturing and Related Services


This page provides high-level information on the Manufacturing and Related Services industry. The industry, as it is represented here, covers the following eight sectors (in alphabetical order):

The Manufacturing and Related Services industry is very diverse, covering multiple sectors. It forms a large part of the Australian economy and is one of Australia’s largest employing industries. It has, however, declined in size due to factors such as the increasing availability of manufactured products in lower cost economies.  

The ANZSIC classified Manufacturing industry employed approximately 1.1 million people in the year 2000, however this has declined to about 960,000 thousand in 2018. This represents 7.6% of all employed persons in 2018 as compared to 12.4% of all employed persons in 2000, at which time it was the largest single industry sector for employment (sixth largest in 2018).

Nationally recognised training for Manufacturing and Related Services occupations is delivered under the following training packages

For information on other Manufacturing related industries see the following cluster pages:

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Manufacturing and Related Services IRC’S

The relevant Skills Service organisation for this cluster is IBSA Manufacturing.

Industry cluster snapshot

There were approximately 113,500 program enrolments during 2017 in Manufacturing and Related Services training packages, down from around 151,000 in 2014. Program completions have also declined over the same period from approximately 45,600 during 2014 to just over 32,500 in 2017. 

During 2017, qualifications from the MEM Metal and Engineering Training Package accounted for nearly half (49%) of all program enrolments in the Manufacturing and Related Services industry, with qualifications from the MSF Furnishing Training Package accounting for a further 18%. There was minimal activity in the PMC Manufactured Mineral Products Training Package with only 42 enrolments in 2017.

Numbers of subject-only (no program) enrolments have fluctuated over the last four years. During 2017 there were approximately 137,000 subject-only (no program) enrolments, a similar number to that of 2015 and considerably more than in 2014. In 2017, training packages which had considerably higher numbers of subject-only enrolments compared to program enrolments included MSM Manufacturing and PMA Chemical, Hydrocarbons and Refining.

Industry insights on skills needs

The Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap by CSIRO Futures presents a vision of Australian (advanced) Manufacturing being transformed into a highly integrated, collaborative and export-focused ecosystem providing high value customised solutions within global value chains.

The report identifies three opportunity themes for Australian manufacturing in the future:

  • Customised high-margin solutions – this includes design services, and the manufacture of superior components and novel products.
  • Sustainable manufacturing – both business models and processes to support sustainable manufacturing and also the manufacture of sustainable products.
  • Selling services – this includes maintenance and repair services, workflow management services and health and biosecurity services.

Part of the enabling actions for manufacturing success in the future includes skills, training and the workforce. They highlight four main skill areas for development and acquisition:

  • Digital literacy – data science and digital literacy skills including expertise in smart data systems, communications and data interpretation.
  • Leadership and strategic management – a requirement for more a sophisticated approach to business planning and staff management for small family run manufacturing businesses.
  • Customer interface – the integration of product design requires more customer liaison skills.
  • STEM – seen as fundamental for advanced manufacturing, particularly in product design and development. 

For an analysis of skills needs for specific manufacturing sectors, please see the relevant sector pages.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.


Industry associations and advisory bodies

Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre

ANZLAA – Australian and New Zealand Laboratory Animal Association

Association for Manufacturing Excellence

Association for Rubber Products Manufacturers (ARPM)

Association for Sustainability in Business

Association of Rotational Moulders

Australasian Association of Clinical Biochemists

Australasian Bioplastics

Australasian Laboratory Managers Association

Australasian Piano Tuners and Technicians Association (APTTA)

Australasian Plastics and Rubber Institute Inc (APRI)

Australia New Zealand Industrial Gas Association

Australia Woodworking Industry Suppliers Association

Australian 3D Manufacturing Association (A3DMA)

Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council

Australian and New Zealand Society of Blood Transfusion

Australian Cablemakers Association

Australian Explosives Industry Safety Group

Australian Fashion Council

Australian Fertiliser Services Association

Australian Furniture Association

Australian Helicopter Industry Association

Australian Hide, Skin and Leather Exports Association

Australian Industry Group

Australian Institute of Medical Scientists

Australian Manufacturing Technology Institute Limited (AMTIL)

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)

Australian Resilient Flooring Association (ARFA)

Australian Steel Institute

Australian Stone Advisory Association

Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council

Australian Sustainable Business Group

Australian Timber Flooring Association

Australian Window Association

Aviation Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Business Association (AMROBA)

Aviation/Aerospace Australia

Blind Manufacturers’ Association of Australia

Caravan and Camping Industries Association of South Australia

Caravan Industry Association of Australia

Caravan Industry Association Western Australia

Caravan Trade and Industries Association of Queensland

Caravan Trade and Industries Association of Victoria

Caravan, Camping Industry Association of NSW

Carpet Institute of Australia (CIA)

Cement Industry Federation

Cement, Concrete and Aggregates Australia

Centre for Sustainability Leadership

Chemistry Australia

Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Composites Australia

Design Institute of Australia

Dry Cleaning Institute of Australia

Energy Efficiency Council

Engineers Australia

Facility Management Association

Floor Covering Institute of Australia

Furnishing Industry Association of Australia (FIAA)

Getting to Sustainability

Jewellers Association of Australia

Kitchen and Bathroom Designers Institute

Laundry Association Australia

LEAN Enterprise Australia

Locksmiths Guild of Australia

Manufacturing Australia

Master Locksmiths Association of Australasia Limited

Millinery Association of Australia

Minerals Council of Australia

National Measurement Institute

National Precast Concrete Association

National Security Screen Association

Picture Framers Guild of Australia

Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association

Plastics Industry Manufacturers of Australia

Queensland Interior Decorators Association

Regional Aviation Association of Australia

Science Industry Australia

Science Education Technicians Australia (SETA)

Specialised Textiles Association

Standards Australia

Sustainability Matters

Sustainable Business Australia

Technical Textiles and Nonwoven Textiles Association

The Fifth Estate

Vinyl Council of Australia

Watch and Clockmakers of Australia

Water Stewardship Australia

Western Australia Furniture Manufacturers Association

Window and Door Industry Council

Window Coverings Association of Australia


Employee associations

Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU)

Australian Workers’ Union (AWU)

Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU)

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU)

National Union of Workers

Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia


Relevant research

Advanced manufacturing: building resilience in Australian manufacturing Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre 2018

Industry 4.0: An opportunity for every Australian manufacturer: submission to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre 2018

Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap CSIRO Futures 2016

Data sources and notes

Employment data has been extracted from:

The Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), sex, state and territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 – EQ06, viewed December 2017,

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET students and courses from the following training packages:

  • MEA Aeroskills
  • MEM Manufacturing and Engineering
  • MEM05 Metal and Engineering
  • MSA Manufacturing
  • MSF Furnishing
  • MSL Laboratory operations
  • MSM Manufacturing
  • MSS Sustainability
  • MST Textiles, Clothing and Footwear
  • PMA Chemical, Hydrocarbons and Refining
  • PMB Plastics, Rubber and Cablemaking
  • PMC Manufactured Mineral Products.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document.

Updated: 13 Sep 2019
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