SSO Skills Forecast

MSL Laboratory Operations

Laboratory operations is not technically an industry. Rather it covers a diverse group of generally non-professional technical and scientific occupations including samplers, testers and laboratory personnel which are spread across a wide range of enterprises and industries including agriculture, manufacturing, construction, mining, health and environmental management.

The diversity of industries supported by the Laboratory Operations Training Package makes it difficult to give an accurate picture of enterprises with laboratory operations. In June 2015, 3,164 businesses operated in the scientific testing and analysis services industry sector. Of these, 96% were micro and small businesses and 88% were in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia. An unknown but much larger number of enterprises in other industries have laboratory staff and facilities that support their core business.


Laboratory services are highly regulated as they play a critical role in the safety, quality and compliance of many industry sectors. Standards, regulations and legislation cover many aspects of laboratory operations, including accreditation of laboratories, testing procedures, use of materials, and documentation and maintenance of equipment.
In 2014, 65 registered training organisations had scope to deliver MSL Laboratory Operations qualifications with a total of around 7,633 persons enrolled with good coverage across all MSL qualifications.

Sector Overview


Laboratory Operations is not technically a sector, rather it covers a diverse group of technical and scientific occupations located across the whole of industry. The Laboratory Operations Training Package (MSL) addresses the training and recognition needs of samplers, testers and laboratory personnel working in a wide range of enterprises and industry sectors including:

  • manufacturing testing

  • food and beverage testing

  • process manufacturing

  • biomedical laboratories

  • pathology testing

  • efence laboratories

  • biotechnology

  • construction materials testing

  • mineral assay

  • environmental testing/monitoring

  • scientific glassblowing

  • wine making

Industry Reference Committee (IRC)

Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) are the formal channel for considering industry skills requirements in the development and review of training packages.

Each IRC is made up of people with close links to industry. They are leaders in their own sectors from big business to small enterprise and peak bodies to unions, who understand the skills needs of their sector, industry or occupation.

IRCs ensure training packages meet the needs and concerns of employers, employees, training providers, and people seeking training qualifications.

IRCs gather information to help develop and review training packages, ensuring the national training system provides the qualifications, knowledge and skill sets that industry needs.

Each IRC is supported by a Skills Service Organisation (SSO) to help them in their work. 

Skills Service Organisations (SSO)

Skills Service Organisations (SSOs) are independent, professional service organisations that support IRCs in their work developing and reviewing training packages.

SSOs support industry engagement while remaining independent from both industry and the training sector.

SSOs prepare documents, such as the skills forecast and proposed schedule of work, and assist with training package development and review.

SSOs are a key access point for other industry stakeholders who want to play a part in the development of training packages. 

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Looking for a Career in this Industry?


Here you will find links to a range of career resources which contain information on RITC industries and also apprenticeships and traineeships.

Industry Reports


This section contains a range of industry reports from a wide range of sources which provide a broad perspective on the RITC industries with a focus on skilling and industry development issues.

Workforce Priorities


Find out more information about the skilling priorities of the laboratory operations sector in Western Australia.

The Resource Industry Training Council (RITC) is a state government funded joint venture between Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association Ltd (APPEA), gathering industry intelligence, on current trends, skills gaps and training needs, which it provides to industry, the State Training Board (STB), Department of Training and Workforce Development (DTWD), the WA Government. RITC governance is facilitated through the RITC Advisory Board. 



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Perspective is designed to give a quick snapshot of RITC activities and contemporary issues in the world of skills development for the mining, oil and gas and downstream process manufacturing industries of Western Australia.

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