Stitching Up The Gap To Take A Seat With Us

The Australian skilled labor shortage for upholsterers and textile fabricators is being addressed by an innovative new training initiative launching in April. “Take a Seat With Us!” Taster Program embeds the Design Specification and job-ready tasks into the delivery.
The Multi-Industry Collaboration Group (MICG) involved in the initiative includes five industry groups made up of the Australian Furniture Association (AFA), Boating Industry Association Victoria (BIAV), Caravan Industry Victoria (CIV), Specialist Textiles Association (STA) and Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce (VACC).

The primary focus of the MICG is to respond to the increased demand from Australian manufacturers which has occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. This surge in product demand has created a significant need to address the backlog of orders for furniture, exterior specialised textile products, cars, caravans and boats. The identified skills shortages are for ‘Upholsterers and Textile Fabricators’ and the key activity is to attract individuals who have an interest in a career in upholstery or textile fabrication for one or more of the industries represented in the MICG.

The combined industries are concerned that without a strategy to attract new entrants, Australian skills and trade knowledge will be lost in the aging workforce. 82% of employers surveyed agreed that “accessibility and training strategies need to be updated” to secure a future vibrant workforce.
The Australian Furniture Association (AFA) will lead the program that helps address the specific Australian Skills Shortages and together with Holmesglen Institute and workplace engagement, will deliver the 12-week taster program which will see ~100 students get a feel for the industry and promote transition into apprenticeships.

The industry-driven Marketing campaign will create awareness to attract new entrants into the 5 Industry groups.
The new Workplace Integrated Training (WIT) project-based delivery will be for students to Build/Create/Make an item from the design specification provided by industry collaboration to promote the MICG industries.

VACC CEO, Geoff Gwilym said “Delays to work commencement are stretching to days and weeks.“

Michael Ryan at Darling Downs Tarpaulins said, “Our industry needs to promote and train apprentices to ensure the future of the trade.”

John Harbor owner of Maritime Boats said, “I really think we are lacking in a desire for the younger generation to join a trade skill job. We have lost our ability to properly introduce, skill and support skilled jobs in the manufacturing sector and now Australia struggles behind many countries seeking skilled staff.”

The proposed innovative training solution will create new delivery of a Taster Program in designing training products that engage the next generation to ensure the industry’s survival. The intent is to enhance job-ready outcomes to meet the unprecedented high demand for Australian Manufactured goods and products and to fast track students’ employability, skills and knowledge, potentially leading to more apprenticeships.

The ‘Take a Seat With Us! Taster Program’ will deliver study in the following skills units/standards:
AUR32320 – Certificate III in Automotive and Marine Trimming Technology
MSF30713 – Certificate III in Upholstery
MST30220 – Certificate III in Manufactured Textile Products


Six programs will be delivered throughout 2023 and 2024 in Victoria.

We are currently calling for expressions of interest for prospective students and businesses wanting to employ apprentices.

If you are interested, please provide your contact details to

Further information and project flyers can be found below.