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Search begins for Australia’s future naval shipbuilding workforce

Defence

Australian Defence Minister Christopher Pyne today launched a National Workforce Register to connect Australian workers and students with new career opportunities as part of the $90 billion Naval Shipbuilding Program.

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Announced at the official opening of the Naval Shipbuilding College in Adelaide, South Australia, Minister Pyne said building a suitable workforce would be the hardest part of Australia’s navy upgrade.

“Trying to convince people to join what was a dying industry is hard, we have to undo the perceptions and get young people thinking about a trade or project management,” he said at the college next to the Osborne shipyard in South Australia.

“This is now meat on the bone of what three years ago was mainly just a concept.

“The workforce register enables Australians who are interested in long-term shipbuilding career opportunities to express their interest and receive assistance through the skilling and employment process.

“It will help connect people with potential employers or education providers.”

The Australian government is investing $90 billion into the continuous shipbuilding program, which is expected to create 5200 shipbuilding jobs within 10 years, to build Australia’s new fleet of 12 Offshore Patrol Vessels, nine Hunter Class anti-submarine frigates, 12 Future submarines, and 21 Pacific Patrol boats.

Based in Osborne, South Australia, the Naval Shipbuilding College is being delivered by NSI (Australia) Pty Ltd, a joint venture between KBR and the largest shipbuilding company in the United States Huntington Ingalls Industries, which has been servicing the US Navy for 130 years.

College program director Bill Docalovich said the college helped answer the question he was often asked ‘where are the workers going to come from’?

He said shipbuilding offered a diverse range of skilled and professional career opportunities from working on the ship deck, through to project management and into the boardroom.

“More than 15,000 direct and in-direct jobs will be created to build the Future Submarines, Frigates and Offshore Patrol Vessels, not to mention the workforce required around Australia to sustain the current and future fleet,” Docalovich said.

BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive Gabby Costigan said the Naval Shipbuilding College would play a pivotal role in helping develop the capability the company needed to deliver the Hunter Class frigates.

“With the pipeline of work ahead of us, we must continue to invest in the skills and education,” she said.

The Naval Shipbuilding College is a hub that links prospective workers with suitable and accredited training at universities, TAFEs and training institutions in all states and territories.

The Workforce Register helps first-time entrants, people transitioning from adjacent industries or up-skilling within the industry to connect with employers or education providers.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

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