• Half of demand for the shipbuilding program will be for welders.
    Half of demand for the shipbuilding program will be for welders. AWS

One of the nation’s first Advanced Welder Training Centres (AWTC) will open in SA in a bid to ensure local welders are ready to meet the demand that will be created by the naval shipbuilding program.

It is anticipated that the continuous naval shipbuilding program in SA will require around 2,600 tradespeople from 2020 to 2027. Almost half of this demand will be for welders.

The AWTC will be established at the Regency Campus of TAFE SA. Minister for Industry and Skills David Pisoni has pledged $1 million of funding.

The newly refurbished centre will feature an augmented reality lab equipped with advanced welding simulators.

“This technology is three times cheaper, faster and more effective when compared to traditional training methods," Geoff Crittenden, CEO Weld Australia, said. "By using this technology, TAFE SA will not only be able to upskill existing welders, but also train transitional workers and apprentices to be part of the defence program.”

“The successful implementation of this innovative training initiative will revolutionise welder training in Australia. It will raise the standard of welder education in Australia exponentially, putting our welder training on par with the best in Europe and America,” Crittenden said.

The training delivered at the AWTC will qualify welders to the ISO 9606-1 industry standard, which is also accepted in both Europe and America. It is the minimum requirement for working on rolling stock, defence and infrastructure projects.

“The combination of a curriculum based on global best practice delivered via advanced training technology will help ensure a strong supply of capable welders, both now and well into the future,” Crittenden said.

The AWTC is a partnership between TAFE SA and Weld Australia, representing industry. 

Weld Australia expects the AWTC to open later this year. An additional five AWTCs will receive funding for establishment in 2018, with similar numbers expected in the next two years.

The first AWTC will be established at the Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council (TMEC) Centre of Excellence in South Burnie. This is expected to open in September 2018.

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