The heads of seven major Australian defence primes and organisations have signed on to an unprecedented collaboration to ensure shipbuilding projects have the workers they need.
Through the Naval Shipbuilding Industry Strategic Workforce Plan – signed at the Pacific 2019 International Maritime Exposition in Sydney on October 8 – industry partners will embark on a four step planning model to deliver the required industry workforce.
The plan starts with defining workforce requirements and the priority short, medium and long term skills. Step two is analysing training needs and supply.
Step three is designing a workforce program, which includes buying in the needed skills or upskilling, while step four is delivery for each priority skill area.
The Plan has been implemented following ongoing collaboration between the Naval Shipbuilding College and five naval shipbuilding primes – ASC, BAE Systems Australia/ASC Shipbuilding, Lockheed Martin Australia, Luerssen Australia, Naval Group Australia, and SAAB Australia.
Naval Shipbuilding College Chief Executive Ian Irving said it was ground breaking to see this level of cooperation.
“I have not seen this in the 30 years I have been involved in this sector,” he said.
Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said this was a who’s who of shipbuilding in Australia.
“Our government is committing $90 billion to our national shipbuilding enterprise and it is great to see so many people interested in making sue we have the skillsets we need,” she said.
Naval Group Australia chief executive officer John Davis said the defence shipbuilding primes needed a workforce which at its peak would be more than 5000 direct employees.
“When we look at the sustainment and the flow on into the supply chain the real number of people who will be engaged in these programs is much much higher,” he said. “Ensuring we have this workforce with the right skills at the right time to be able to deliver the program is what this is all about.
“We recognise the important role that we have to shape this workforce of the future and that is why we have come together with the NSC to do the architectural work to transform the educational system to support the development of this workforce.”
Mr Davis said he had not seen this kind of collaboration any time during his career, and that showed how important it was.
He said companies were not just looking for workers to start the program. “We have to sustain this workforce for decades to come so we really are creating the generational skills and capability for Australia.”