RMIT and Siemens are partnering to establish a new Industrial Digital Innovation Hub to help businesses transform for Industry 4.0.
Siemens, the largest industrial software company in the world, is helping to fund the new hub with a “significant” hi-tech industrial software grant.
This coincides with a $1.2 million federal government grant enabling RMIT to join a multi-university trial of an advanced apprenticeship-style new dual-sector Associate Degree in Digital Technologies (Industry 4.0).
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan announced the grant this week.
With these grants, RMIT joins a national network of universities driving change to help prepare students for the future of work.
RMIT will join five other universities across Australia participating in the pilot, which will provide an opportunity for employees of local industry partners to gain skills in industrial software applications, digital systems and process automation, and practical, problem-solving approaches in advanced manufacturing for Industry 4.0.
The grants will enable RMIT to lead industry clustering in Industry 4.0 and develop and rollout workforce transformation pilot programs across VET and Higher Education programs, said Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College of Science, Engineering and Health Professor Aleksandar Subic.
“We need to think big with Industry 4.0,” Professor Subic said. “An industrial revolution doesn’t discriminate – it impacts every sector and therefore requires a multi-disciplinary approach with a holistic view across the entire continuum of education and training from TAFE through to Higher Education.”
Competing with the world’s best
Professor Subic expects up to 10,000 RMIT students across a range of disciplines in engineering, science, technology, health and design to access some of the most advanced industrial software available over the next three years.
Siemens Australia Chairman and CEO, Jeff Connolly says Australian industries can compete with the best in the world, providing students are equipped with skillsets to “tackle the needs of the future.”
The new partnership will have significant implications for energy, healthcare, transport, building and construction, engineering and sustainability industries, Mr Connolly says.
“COVID-19 is forcing Australians and Australian businesses to look for new ways to keep our economic engines running.
“The university sector has been hit by the pandemic also, so like other industries, they also need to innovate and evolve during this time. No doubt the software grant and the government grant will support RMIT to continue the constant drive to innovate their models and offerings and to ensure an even greater connectedness to industry.”
New ways of thinking are required
Digitalisation has no borders, Mr Connolly says.
“We have to learn how our economy can participate and thrive and be resilient in a global economy.
“This requires new ways of thinking, new ways to collaborate and new skills across the entire spectrum of the workforce. Digitalisation technologies and skills are critical to Australia’s prosperity in this new world.”
Professor Subic said it had never been more important to provide this type of industrial digital environment for the development of workforce of the future.
“I believe this will be the first time an Australian dual sector university in partnership with a global industry leader has considered the international implications by connecting Australian campuses and industry to those in Vietnam and the region, he said.
“For successful industry transformation at scale we need our students, staff and industry partners to work collaboratively on same global digital platforms based on globally accepted industry standards and processes.”
The new Industrial Digital Innovation Hub will be managed out of the RMIT Advanced Manufacturing Precinct in Melbourne in collaboration with key industry partners.