The Australian economy is in transition. Its future prosperity will depend on greater economic diversification and on innovation and entrepreneurship, hallmarks of Industry 4.0. This has implications for skills development for future workers and for those needing to move into new jobs or roles. It also has a direct impact on apprenticeships — an enduring and well-respected feature of Australia’s skill-development landscape. It is concerning then that overall apprenticeship commencements and completions have been declining.
What impact does Industry 4.0 have on the future of Australian apprenticeships? This paper was presented to the 4th KRIVET International Apprenticeships conference in Seoul, Korea, 28th September 2017, and explores the challenges and constraints in the capacity of the Australian system of apprenticeships to respond adequately to Industry 4.0. It also covers directions in government policy, and the opportunities to create change found within industries and the training system itself.