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Maritime school to boost Australia's shipbuilding skills


A MARITIME technical school will be established in South Australia to train workers for its $90 billion shipbuilding program.

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The Maritime Technical College will be based in the South Australian capital of Adelaide at Techport Australia, the biggest shipbuilding hub in Australia. It will be the centre of a program to deliver training across the country in areas such as steel fabrication, welding and naval engineering.

The college is expected to commence operations in early 2018 with a focus on increasing key entry-level trade qualifications through contracted Registered Training Organisations across Australia.

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said the college would help ensure long-term, secure employment for future naval shipbuilding and sustainment workers which will avoid the peaks and troughs the industry had previously experienced.

The Australian Government will invest $25 million in the college at a time of transition for the South Australian economy as thousands of car and component manufacturers look for new careers following the closure of the state’s last auto manufacturer by the end of the year.

“By the late 2020s the naval shipbuilding industry will expand to more than 5200 employees in construction in South Australia, and more than double this in sustainment and through the supply chain across the country,” Pyne said

“The Maritime Technical College is an investment aimed at attracting, recruiting, training and retaining the workforce we need to successfully deliver a continuous naval shipbuilding program.

“We fully expect workers previously employed in mining and automotive industries to be retrained through this college, ready to start work on our next generation of naval vessels.”

Techport Australia is home to the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance, which is building three next-generation destroyers for the Australian Navy. The $8 billion collaboration between ASCRaytheon Australia and the Australian Department of Defence is part of the most complex defence project in Australia’s history.

The first of the three destroyers, Hobart, completed its Sea Acceptance Trials off the coast of South Australia this month.

Techport is also the home of the sustainment program for the Collins class submarine fleet and is expected to be where 12 Shortfin Barracuda submarines will be built by French shipbuilder DCNS for the Royal Australian Navy.

A request for tender for the maritime college will be released in coming months. The Department of Defence is making arrangements for industry information sessions on the Maritime Technical College and its phased implementation from 2018.

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