The companies building the $3.5 billion Offshore Patrol Vessels have awarded scholarships to engineering and trade students in SA, WA and NT to train the next generation of shipbuilders.
OPV prime contractor Luerssen Australia and shipbuilders ASC and Civmec have awarded 12 scholarships, each with a value of $10,000, to help cover education costs. In addition, three of the scholarship recipients have also been awarded internship placements.
The Shipbuilding Education and Apprenticeship (SEA) program will help build the skills needed for Australia’s multibillion-dollar naval shipbuilding industry, which is forecast to employ a further 5,000 people in coming years.
Chairman of Luerssen Australia, Tim Wagner, said the SEA program was part of “our commitment to helping Australia build a world class workforce that will be essential for the Government’s $89 billion naval shipbuilding program."
Construction of the Luerssen-designed vessels, which will be 85m in length and equipped with a forward gun turret and helicopter, began last month. The first two will be built by ASC in Osborne, SA and the remaining 10 by Civmec at Henderson, WA.
The scholarship program is being administered by the Defence Teaming Centre (DTC) and addresses the naval shipbuilding workforce challenge, which will require more than 5,000 skilled employees to build the OPVs, Hunter Class Frigates from 2020 and Attack Class submarines from 2022.
“ASC is proud to partner with Luerssen and Civmec to launch these scholarships, which will deliver the high-calibre future engineers and tradespeople Australia will require to deliver continuous naval shipbuilding for decades to come,” ASC Chief Executive Officer Stuart Whiley said.
“We are thrilled to partner with Luerssen Australia, ASC and DTC to support young Australians in establishing the skills and expertise required to meet the demands of a continuous naval shipbuilding program, and it is with pleasure we welcome Kayla Roemer-Hanisch back to the business," Civmec Chairman James Fitzgerald said.
"The recipient of the Civmec internship, Kayla undertook work experience with us this year, and we look forward to providing her with further hands-on experience to enable her to forge a career in the Australian shipbuilding industry.”
Participants will include those with masters, bachelors and Cert III qualifications.
“The DTC has been very pleased to work alongside its industry partners to deliver this initiative," Defence Teaming Centre CEO Margot Forster said. "Successful applicants have diverse education backgrounds from vocational all the way through to doctorate students.
"This shows that there are so many ways that you can get involved in the naval shipbuilding industry in Australia.”