• Luerssen's Lemwerder yard near Bremen, with one of the company's OPV builds alongside. Credit: Luerssen Defence
    Luerssen's Lemwerder yard near Bremen, with one of the company's OPV builds alongside. Credit: Luerssen Defence

Sea 1180 Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) bidder Luerssen Australia has joined forces with its local partners ASC Shipbuilding and Civmec/Forgacs to announce a Shipbuilding Education and Apprenticeship (SEA) program to teach critical skills as part of a scholarship and vocational education program aimed at meeting the demands of a continuous naval shipbuilding industry.

Applications from across Australia will be called for from 2018 for scholarships from undergraduates in relevant engineering, marine architecture and design courses as well as for sponsored vocational study for apprentices and tradespeople to achieve higher TAFE qualifications. 

The SEA scholarship program would also include workplace placements in Australia and Europe for selected scholarship recipients with Luerssen, ASC Shipbuilding and Forgacs, to develop professional experience.

The program is designed to support the OPV’s workforce skilling requirements, should the Luerssen team prove successful in the OPV tender, and it is seen by its proponents as complementary to the Government's Naval Shipbuilding College initiative. 

“With our partners in the Offshore Patrol Vessel program, Luerssen is dedicated to ensuring young Australians can learn a range of skills to set them up for a satisfying and rewarding life-long career,” Luerssen Defence managing director Dirk Malgowski said.

“I have no doubt Australia can build a world class workforce that can assist Luerssen, our partners – indeed every shipbuilder looking to hire – in taking advantage of the Government’s national shipbuilding endeavor.”

CEO ASC Shipbuilding Mark Lamarre said the exciting new program builds on the SA company’s existing commitments to building a skills base that will ensure Australia can become an export hub for shipbuilding.

“ASC Shipbuilding is engaged in ensuring Australia can sustain a future naval shipbuilding industry that will offer fresh opportunities for school-leavers and others wishing to embark on an exciting career in shipbuilding,” he said. “This initiative will build on, and complement, our existing collaborations with SA universities, graduate and school-based programs.”

Managing Director of Forgacs Marine and Defence, Mike Deeks said with ten of the 12 OPVs to be built at Henderson in Western Australia – and with Luerssen already collaborating to establish an export hub for minor warship vessels in Australia – WA stands to reap generational rewards from this program.

“We want to see hundreds – if not thousands – of Australians employed over coming years in what I believe will become a significant job creator, not just in Western Australia and South Australia but right across the nation.” 

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