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 which are spread across a wide range of enterprises and industries. The Laboratory Operations Training Package (MSL) addresses the training and recognition needs of samplers, testers and laboratory personnel working across this spectrum 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

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.

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.

The IRC for the Laboratory Operations sector is the Process Manufacturing, Recreational Vehicle and Laboratory Industry Reference Committee.

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. 

The SSO for the Laboratory Operations sector is IBSA Manufacturing.