History of MSA

Manufacturing Skills Australia has a long history of industry engagement in education and training and workforce development. Our origins as a registered company go back to 1985.

26th June 1985 – initial formation

The original company was first registered with the name Australian Textile Clothing Footwear Industry Training Council. The company was registered by the Victorian delegate of the National Companies and Securities Commission with a registration number C- 244100-Z. The company was registered under the Companies (Victoria) Code ‘…with limited liability but without the addition of the word “Limited” to its name’.

The Articles of Association provided for two classes of membership being ‘member’ and ‘associate member’, with ‘members’ having the right to vote in company business.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) advised on 10th September 1985 that the company ‘.is considered to be exempt from tax under section 23(e) of the Income Assessment Act 1936, as amended.’

The company was tripartite in that the membership was based on the inclusion of employers, unions and government. The subscribers to the Articles of Association included all of these classes, with the government party being the Assistant Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Employment and Industrial Relations.

One of the stated objectives of the company was ‘to take over the funds and other assets and liabilities of the present unincorporated association known was the National Textile Clothing and Footwear Industry Training Committee’.

The new company was supported by funding from the Australian Government.

A prime objective was ‘to develop and implement national training policies and strategies; to aid and stimulate the development of systematic training programs in all sectors of the textiles, clothing and footwear (TCF) industries in Australia: and to overcome shortages and inefficiencies in the allocation of skilled labour.’ State Groups were established by the Executive Committee of the company in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia.

April 1992 – change of name

During this period the company name was changed to Australian Textile Clothing Footwear Industry Training Board (previously ‘Council’).

November 1995 – change of name and extended coverage of furnishing

Following the establishment of the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) in 1993 a review of national Industry Training Advisory Bodies (ITABs) and competency standards bodies was undertaken. ANTA determined in 1995 to rationalise the number of bodies. ANTA then facilitated discussions between the various bodies and new arrangements were put in place.

The company changed its name to Australian Light Manufacturing Industry Training Advisory Body with an extended coverage to include the sectors of TCF and furnishing. The objectives of the company remain fairly much the same but with extended coverage of the TFC and furnishing industry sectors.

Funding was provided by ANTA and included a 20% contribution towards funding state and territory ITABs.

Other industry sector rationalisation occurred as the various process manufacturing ITABs and competency standards bodies combined to form the National Process Manufacturing ITAB (trading as Manufacturing Learning Australia) in December 1995. In addition, the National Metal and Engineering Training Board and the National Aeroskills Project Inc. were combined to form a new incorporated body in January 1996 titled Manufacturing Engineering and Related Services Industry Training Advisory Body (MERS ITAB).

December 2001 – adoption of Light Manufacturing Training Australia as a trading name

August 2004 – establishment of Manufacturing Industry Skills Council

In 2002 ANTA commissioned an independent review of existing industry advisory arrangements funded through the Commonwealth with the objective of strengthening industry leadership of the national VET system. At that time, 23 national ITABs and six Recognised Bodies existed – the latter did not receive annual Strategic Funding Agreements, rather they received project funding for specific pieces of work and without guarantee of future monies.

The review, undertaken by the Allen Consulting Group, found that by virtue of their number, the 29 bodies were duplicating activities and inadvertently reinforcing outdated delineations between sectors. It found that available funding levels had led to a project-oriented approach not always aligned with industry’s priorities and as a result opportunities for collaboration between the national ITABs were not being optimised.

The review recommended a smaller number of bodies representative of major groupings of a modern economy to better reflect the new world of work.

As had occurred in 1994-1995, ANTA facilitated discussions between the industry sectors with a view to achieving consensus on reconfiguring arrangements so that the total number of bodies was significantly reduced from 29 to around ten.

Following extensive negotiations, the company adopted a new constitution and name change, becoming an Industry Skills Council (ISC). The new industry scope included the industry sub-sectors of TCF; furnishing, metal and engineering; aerospace manufacturing and maintenance; process manufacturing in chemical and hydrocarbons, plastics, rubber and cable-making, and mineral products.

The new company arrangements commenced from August 2004, with operations effectively commencing in January 2005.

March 2005 – launch of Manufacturing Skills Australia

The company was officially re-launched in a significant event held in a Qantas hanger at Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne. The adoption of the new trading name Manufacturing Skills Australia (MSA) was accompanied by new livery and firmly established the new ISC.

February 2009 – the automotive industry is put with Manufacturing Skills Australia

During the negotiations leading up to the initial establishment of the ISCs, agreement was not reached on the inclusion of the automotive industry within MSA as proposed by ANTA. A number of automotive industry stakeholders continued to seek a separate ISC. Automotive Training Australia (the previous national ITAB) continued to undertake Training Package development and related work through a funding agreement with the Australian Government.

Early in 2009, the Hon Julia Gillard – Deputy Prime Minister determined that the formal national ISC coverage of the automotive industry come under MSA. Uneven levels of traction across industry parties saw the Hon Steve Bracks engaged in 2009 by the Australian Government to undertake a review of the industry training advisory arrangements for the automotive industry.

The outcome from the review was a proposal that MSA form a wholly owned subsidiary for the automotive industry, and that this should have ‘a high degree of autonomy’. This view was supported by the Deputy Prime Minister and in 2010 MSA was requested to undertake this formation.

December 2010 – MSA establishes Auto Skills Australia Ltd as a wholly owned subsidiary

MSA agreed to the Deputy Prime Minister’s request and in December 2010, a new company, Auto Skills Australia Ltd (ASA) was registered with ASIC. Whilst MSA is the owner of the subsidiary, it is not involved in any decisions regarding the operation of ASA.

ASA carries out the role of an industry training advisory body for the automotive industry. Although ASA is not an ISC, the funding agreement between ASA and the Australian Government mirrors that held by the 11 ISCs and requires the fulfilment of the same roles and responsibilities to June 2014.

August 2014 – MSA separates Auto Skills Australia Ltd

In March 2014 the Australian Government Department of Industry requested MSA to take steps to separate ASA from its parent body as soon as practical, and in any event, ideally by 1 July 2014. Negotiations and consultation were undertaken by the MSA CEO, with final membership negotiations for the new company taking place in the last few days of July 2014. By 31st July 2014, MSA had gathered a sufficient and appropriate number of valid consent forms (consent to become a member of ASA) to enable a new company membership structure to be put in place. On 1st August 2014, a series of decisions were taken by the MSA Board Executive Committee to give legal rise to the formal separation of Auto Skills Australia Ltd from Manufacturing Industry Skills Council (MSA), effective from that day. MSA sent its congratulations to Auto Skills Australia Ltd, wishing them a long and successful future.

September 2014 – Minister Macfarlane announces the end of Industry Skills Councils

The Minister for Industry, the Hon Ian Macfarlane announced that at the end of the current contract period (June 2015) with the 12 Industry Skills Councils, the Government will move to a more contestable model for the development and maintenance of training packages. He said that “Current ISCs are welcome to tender under this new model along with new groups. The Government will consult with the sector to deliver this outcome. Industry must have the freedom to design the type of training they’re after, through both full trades qualifications and through skill sets.”

This announcement and its ramifications were discussed at length during many regular and special meetings of the MSA Board of Directors. Although there had been quite a few consultation sessions with industry and other players, it was not until August 2015 that the government opened an Expression of Interest (EOI) process to put new Skills Service Organisations in place. The MSA board did not seek to pursue an EOI. In the meantime, MSA continued to provide services related to Training Package development and review as well as other funded work.

January 2016 – Government announces appointment of the first Skills Service Organisations

The Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, the Hon. Luke Hartsuyker MP announced the outcome of the Expression of Interest process to identify Skills Service Organisations (SSOs) to support Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) in their work to develop and review training packages. The Minister also announced the arrangements that have been put in place for the Mining and Drilling, the Manufacturing and the Automotive sectors. The IRCs for these sectors will receive support from their former Industry Skills Councils until their SSO is identified. The services to these sectors will be consistent with those provided to other IRCs in line with the Expression of Interest (EOI) to operate as a Skills Service Organisation and the new arrangements. It was also said that “the Department of Education and Training will shortly be conducting a further selection process to select a Skills Service Organisation for automotive, manufacturing, mining and drilling sectors.”

MSA continued under a ‘transition agreement’ for the 2016 calendar year to provide the services of a Skills Service Organisation for the six Industry Reference Groups linked to MSA.

November 2016 – Announcement of Skills Service Organisation to take over from MSA

The Hon Karen Andrews MP, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills announced on 11th November 2016 that the Skills Service Organisation for the manufacturing sector will be Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IBSA). The MSA Board of Directors agreed that operations would conclude at the end of the ‘transition agreement’ with the Commonwealth, 28th February 2017. The future of the company is to be determined in 2017.