Meet The Innovative MD Addressing the Energy Sector’s Future Skills Needs
Technology is advancing faster than we ever imagined. While this is good news for the energy sector, it brings with it a specific problem: the current lack of skilled people to work within it.
Lab61, the first spin-off company from robotics specialist, Nexxis, that’s taken an innovate approach to the problem. Rather than bemoaning the difficulty in finding the skilled manpower they needed, they decided to take positive action.
What is Lab61?
Led by Managing Director, Lina Velosa, Lab61 is a Perth-based indigenous company that’s female-owned and dedicated to the skilling and upskilling of Western Australian residents. Indeed, the plan is to take the concept nationally, meaning all Australians can benefit from the opportunities on offer.
The idea was seeded through the rapid expansion of Nexxis over the past 5 years. Having grown dramatically, the lack of a skilled workforce became increasingly obvious. To one as passionate about education and technology as Lina, there was only one obvious course of action – to help people gain the skills they needed to work in this rapidly advancing field.
The industry is growing exponentially. Within WA, the use of robotics in the main industries of mining and oil & gas is fast-moving. In addition, working within robotics provides a skillset that easily transfers to other industries, such as the space and defence.
The creation of Lab61 is to help people of all ages move along the journey of gaining necessary skills to work within robotics and associated fields – either from an early age or for those in more traditional, manual jobs that are likely to become obsolete as tech takes over.
The problem today is that while technology is moving at breakneck speed, people’s abilities are not keeping up with it. For companies looking to employ workers, this equates to a big skills shortage. This is the gap that Lab61 wants to fill.
Of course, the question is how to do that quickly, in a relevant manner and in a way that remains up to date with technology and industry needs
Where Practical Meets the Theoretical
The Lab61 ethos is that it’s vital to combine practical experience alongside a classroom approach. Therefore, their training and upskilling involves both theory and on-site learning. As Lina says, it’s only by getting hands-on and experiencing the day-to-day happenings that it’s possible to keep up with current technology.
Lab61 offers people of all ages the chance to train, retrain, gain skills or upskill current knowledge to ensure that they’re able to apply for and be employed within various areas of the robotics industry.
Training for all Age Groups
One of the most positive aspects of the Lab61 training model is that it’s relevant for everyone – no matter what their age or background. The program is split into two value streams:
Lab61’s Community Engagement Projects focus on giving back to the community and making sure our brains of the future are well placed to make an impact on the robotics industry in years to come.
The Robotics Academy: This is for children in years 5-7. Starting early and driving their enthusiasm and passion for technology and robotics. Two Lab61 Robotics Academies will be held during the next school holidays (October 2021), with students building and coding their own robots and getting a taste for the latest technology revolutionising the energy and mining sectors.
Lab61 is hosting a Foundation Robotics Academy for Years 5 to 6 in the first week of the holidays and an Advanced Academy for students in Year 7 to 9 in the second week.
To register your interest and be considered for selection join us at the Lab61 Robotics Academy
- Work Experience: Year 10 students get the chance to get onsite and learn how robotics works in a real-world environment.
- University Students: Including work placements and final year projects
Another major focus for Lab61 are the training programs for people who want to enhance their current skills or retrain entirely and work in the robotics and technology field.
- Practical Training Courses: All meet industry demand for training in practical everyday language. A combination of knowledge and practical skills.
- Nano Degrees: Mini qualifications and learning experiences that are becoming very sort after by people wanting to gain skills and experience in an area of robotics in a short period of time.
- Awareness Training: Practical, flexible, customisable courses aimed at upskilling the current workforce.
Role Models, Real Life Scenarios & Exciting Times Ahead
Enhancing training opportunities for WA and Australia’s current and future workforce is the passion behind the Lab61 model. Their engineers (and those of Nexxis) are engaged in the program, providing real-time role models for students to talk to, watch and get hands-on with their projects.
Robotics is an exciting industry – and it’s only set to get more so. The path ahead is a long, but it’s one filled with potential. Lina says that she’ll know their project has been a success when she can see the children whose enthusiasm they’ve lit at an early age flowing from the Robotics Academy into various universities. And, of course, the success stories of those who’ve chosen to retrain or upskill to ensure their career opportunities are as positive and lucrative as possible.
Carry on reading How Robots Are Shaking up NDT Inspections to find out more.