Industry Forum: Recruiting Talent for Australia: Opportunities and Barriers


Industry Forum

Recruiting Talent for Australia: Opportunities and Barriers

Convenors: Professor Chris Berndt (SEAM Director) & Professor Peter Kingshott (SEAM Deputy Director)

The ARC Training Centre in Surface Engineering for Advanced Materials – SEAM, presented a panel discussion which aimed to address the challenges and opportunities in Australia for key areas in Additive Manufacturing across different sectors where surface engineering is a critical technology. Aims included discussing opportunities and barriers in training a skilled workforce, optimising gender and ethnic diversity, strategies to attract and onshore the best talent, including domestic students, and strategies to deliver research outcomes during a global pandemic.

Moderator by Professor Alan Duffy (Swinburne) we heard from a range of specialist industry panel members: Professor Virginia Kilborn (Swinburne), Mr Jason Coonan (IMCRC), Mr Peter Richings (MTSA), and representatives from the Department of Home Affairs.

Professor Alan Duffy (Swinburne)

Lead Scientist of the Royal Institution of Australia and astronomer at Swinburne University of Technology, Professor Alan Duffy is the inaugural Director of the Space Technology and Industry Institute at Swinburne, finding ways to use space to help companies and communities on Earth. Alan is also the cofounder and CEO of mDetect Pty Ltd, a spinout company from his research that uses particles from space to scan through rock for mineral exploration, identification of structural weaknesses in tailings dams, and subsidence/air gaps below critical infrastructure.

Professor Virginia Kilborn (Swinburne)

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Swinburne Research and Enterprise Professor Virginia Kilborn is also Swinburne’s inaugural Chief Scientist, working to further education, research, policy and equity at Swinburne and beyond. Virginia is also a radio astronomer with the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University, where her research interests include tracing galaxy evolution by studying the neutral hydrogen gas in galaxies. Virginia is an enthusiastic educator and has taught into the Swinburne Astronomy online program since 2006, as well as undertaking numerous public outreach opportunities.

Jason Coonan (IMCRC)

Jason (Deputy CEO, IMCRC) is an innovation sector executive with a long history of leading in organisations that operate at the intersection of industry, scientific research and government. He is experienced with managing business operations, research & development partnerships and intellectual property commercialisation. Prior to joining IMCRC, Jason had senior roles at the Young and Well CRC and the University of Melbourne, leading industry engagement and commercialisation operations. He holds advanced qualifications in medical science, intellectual property law, business administration and corporate governance.

Peter Richings (MTSA)

Peter Richings is the Director of MacTaggart Scott Australia. An ex Royal Navy Helicopter Test Pilot and Qualified Helicopter Instructor who Commanded 771 Sqn, SAR at RNAS Culdrose, as well as Royal Naval Flying Standards flight. He spent 9 years with Agusta Westland based in Malaysia before moving to Australia to set up MacTaggart Scott Australia 10 years ago. The Company looks after the MTS equipment on Collins Class and the LHDs. Weight is critical for Submarines and in addition the equipment sits in sea water for most of its life, so advance materials are of great interest.

DHA representatives

Department of Home Affairs (DHA) representatives: Global Talent Officer Australasia and Business, Industry & Regional Outreach Officer. Their role is to engage with key businesses, employers, industry bodies and regional communities to promote the Skilled Visa Program and help stakeholders understand appropriate visa options to fill employment gaps where Australian workers are not available. BIROs seek feedback regarding skill shortages impacting regions and offer visa solutions and pathway options to help address these shortages. They are also responsible for engaging with peak industry bodies in the following priority sectors: Meat and Livestock (incl. Aquaculture); Medical and Allied Health; Supply chain and Infrastructure including Food Supply/Retail. BIROs can conduct small scale meetings to discuss any skilled workforce challenges and information sessions to a broad audience to highlight various visa topics and programs. The Global Talent Officer (GTO) for the Australia/Pacific region promotes the Global Talent Visa Program and the Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce by engaging with prospective applicants, business and industry. GTOs drive proactive efforts to identify talent within specific high value sectors and attract individuals whose expertise, entrepreneurial ideas and cutting-edge skills will make significant contributions to the Australian economy.


Enquiry : email for questions about this event.


07 December 2021

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