• A dockyard welder working on the hull of an AWD being built at the ASC yard in Osborne SA. Credit: Defence
    A dockyard welder working on the hull of an AWD being built at the ASC yard in Osborne SA. Credit: Defence

Defence has issued a Request for Proposal (RfP) for the Naval Shipbuilding College announced as a key initiative in the Naval Shipbuilding Plan, released earlier this month.

The Naval Shipbuilding Plan outlined that the naval shipbuilding workforce is expected to grow to around 5,200 workers by the mid to late-2020s, and according to Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, the release of the RfP is an important step in ensuring the required workforce is equipped with the right skills at the right time to implement the Government’s ambitious naval shipbuilding program.

“The initial focus will be on key entry-level trades, and will later expand to include higher education qualifications such as naval architecture and engineering.”

Headquartered at Adelaide, the college would provide opportunities for education and training providers across Australia.

“Training providers from across the country such as the Australian Maritime College in Launceston and TAFE providers across the country are in the perfect position to benefit from this government initiative,” Minister Pyne said. “[It] will be national in scope [and] will work with, rather than compete with, existing education institutions across Australia.”

There would be opportunities for current workers in shipbuilding, sustainment, and supply industries and he expected the College will have to attract, train or retrain more than 1,500 students across the country over the first few years of operation.

“Developing training to facilitate career paths from entry level trades to more senior positions like foreman and middle managers will be important. The [college] will also reach out to workers in adjacent industries, including those recently made redundant in the automotive industry,” he said.

On 24 March 2017 the Government announced an initial investment of $25 million, over the first few years, to establish the Naval Shipbuilding College.

Minister Pyne said the Naval Shipbuilding College must be industry driven to be effective and SMEs are also encouraged to participate.

“Not only will the shipbuilders selected for the various shipbuilding projects be key stakeholders, but also companies involved in sustainment and supply chain work.

“A person could be enrolled at the Naval Shipbuilding College headquartered in Adelaide, but be completing the course at a TAFE in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, or a regional centre such as Cairns.”

The Naval Shipbuilding College will commence operations on 1 January 2018.

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