Australia’s leading shipbuilding companies have signed a new Naval Shipbuilding Industrial Strategic Workforce Plan at the Pacific 2019 exhibition in Sydney.

With three simultaneous shipbuilding streams set to start in the next few years that will provide the Royal Australian Navy with 12 new submarines, nine frigates and 12 offshore patrol vessels. Worth a combined A$90 billion the Australian government is keen to ensure that it is able to provide the workforce of skilled engineers and technicians to complete the tasks over the coming decades.

The companies include: ASC, BAE Systems Australia, Lockheed Martin Australia, Luerssen Australia, Naval Group Australia and Saab Australia and commits them to developing the workforce for these programmes. Each company will provide the Naval Shipbuilding College with workforce demand and skill set data that will allow it to implement supply solutions for each priority skills area.

Industry will work to a four step workforce planning model looking at short, medium and long-term needs. Step one defines the requirements, step two is the analysis of training and supply needs, step three is design to buy, build, borrow, balance the workforce needs over time, with step four is the implementation of a delivery plan for each priority skill area.

Meanwhile Naval Group Australia announced an initiative to place the first three Australian apprentices with submarine builders ASC to start a four-year fabrication programme that will start in January 2020.  It is part of the framework agreement that is designed to train the next generation of submarine builders.

Naval Group Australia CEO, John Davis, said that it will benefit both Naval Group in France as well as ASC with workers to not just build new submarines but also sustain the existing Collins-class boats. Stuart Whiley, CEO of ASC said he hopes this will be the start of an apprentice framework programme that will evolve into a graduate programme between companies.

Tim Fish

Naval Group CEO John Davis and ASC CEO Stuart Whiley announce the initiation of an apprentice programme between the two companies as a first step to expand workforce skills. (Tim Fish)

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