As SA gears up to build nuclear-powered SSN-AUKUS submarines, the South Australian Government is working with its Australian Government counterparts to make sure our future workforce has the skills it needs to keep up with the huge demand for defence sector jobs.
Training to fill 8500 jobs
As well as the AUKUS subs, our state has a whole lot of major defence projects going on – right now and for generations to come. These major projects are set to grow SA’s direct defence industry workforce from 3500 to 8500 within 20 years.
To equip South Australians with the skills to be part of that workforce, the South Australian Government has just announced a new wave of education opportunities that lead straight to defence jobs, plus big international research and industry partnerships set to power up our local defence education sector.
The announcements follow hot on the heels of the inaugural South Australian Navy and Shipbuilding Careers Expo, which saw thousands of students and jobseekers turn out to discover first-hand what a career in naval shipbuilding can offer.
It’s an exciting time for our growing defence sector workforce, and there are plenty of opportunities for young South Aussies to be a part of it. Here’s a round up of all the latest news and opportunities you need to know about.
The first apprenticeship to come with a uni degree
South Australian apprentices will be able to study at university and earn money at the same time by working for a defence employer. It’s all part of Australia’s first genuine Degree Apprenticeship, which will welcome its first intake of up to 30 apprentices next year.
The South Australian Skills Commission recently declared the Bachelor of Software Engineering (Honours) to be a formal trade under the South Australian Skills Act 2008 – the final step in the process of approving new apprenticeships.
Where it’s happening
The software engineering degree apprenticeship is being offered by the University of South Australia, through a partnership with the defence industry and peak national employer group, Australian Industry Group.
The South Australian Government has committed $450,000 over three years to make it happen, and it’s the first time in Australia that apprentices who successfully complete their studies will receive a degree qualification as part of an apprenticeship. Applications are open now.
A submarine company partner for Tonsley Technical College
Australian Submarine Company, ASC has partnered with Tonsley Technical College to provide employment pathways for school students into defence industry jobs. ASC already has a skilled workforce of more than 1900 employees, but needs a whole lot more staff for its future workload as SA gets ready to build nuclear-powered subs.
As a key employer partner at the Tonsley Technical College, ASC will bolster the school’s advanced manufacturing and engineering program, plus provide job opportunities through apprenticeships for graduating students. The partnership gives school students the opportunity to learn with a prestigious defence company in advanced manufacturing and engineering. It also ensures the graduates get a head start on their career in the defence industries.
A deep dive into how we’re preparing for AUKUS in SA:
Findon Technical College is open for enrolments!
The announcement of the partnership follows the agreement with BAE Systems Australia as a key employer partner at the Findon Technical College, which is open for enrolments now, and will be the first of five new technical colleges to open.
The South Australian Government has committed $208.8 million to build the five technical colleges – three in metropolitan Adelaide and two in regional South Australia – to provide a specialist senior secondary option that equips students with the workplace skills needed in areas of high demand, like defence.
Here’s a sneak peek into the new SA Technical Colleges:
Flinders Uni joins the US Navy
Meanwhile, Flinders University has become the first university in the nation to join forces with the US Navy’s key research centre.
The landmark Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Naval Undersea Warfare Centre (NUWC) Division Newport marks a significant step forward in advancing collaborative research between the US and Australia in the field of undersea technology.
Welcome to the undersea battlespace!
NUWC is the US Navy fleet’s full-spectrum research, development, test support centre for submarine warfare systems and other systems associated with the undersea battlespace.
Under the agreement, Flinders University and NUWC will collaborate on cutting-edge research projects and initiatives related to undersea technology.
The historic collaboration will enable Flinders University’s world-class researchers and NUWC Division Newport’s undersea experts to combine their skills, capabilities and technologies to address critical Navy challenges and opportunities faster.
A big plan for SA’s defence industry future
The South Australian and Australian Governments have launched a joint report and action plan to ensure South Australia’s defence industry workforce grows from 3500 direct jobs to more than 8500 in the 2040s. You can read and download them both here.
The Plan lays out a detailed strategy to ensure our state receives the support it needs to deliver some of the nation’s most complex defence projects, including building the nuclear-powered submarines and continuous naval shipbuilding.
The Report details targeted initiatives funded by the South Australian and Australian governments and to be co-designed and delivered with industry, including:
- Engaging around 27,000 students and 1500 teachers in SA schools in STEM education.
- Equipping around 2600 additional VET and university students with the skills the defence sector needs through flexible training programs, technical colleges and STEM-focused higher-education places.
- Employing more apprentices, graduates and undergraduates through the Early Careers Program, with more than 70 young Australians to join the program this year.
- Engaging and upskilling experienced workers and industry leaders through mid-career transition programs.
A boost from a US big gun
The South Australian Government is also partnering with the US’s largest shipbuilder HII to accelerate the development of our state’s defence industry workforce, skills and supply chain.
HII Nuclear Australia and the SA Government have just signed an agreement for a cooperative working arrangement – leveraging HII’s international industry expertise to prepare our state for the major shipbuilding projects on our horizon. HII is all set to work with local companies, academia and education providers to develop our skilled workforce.
Find out more about the major defence projects happening in South Australia here.
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