"Ramping up" a shipbuilding workforce has fallen to South Australia twice before, the first time in 1987 for the Collins Class construction and again in 2005 for the construction of the Air Warfare Destroyers. On both occasions, South Australia delivered on the workforce requirements of the build programs. We are willing and able to do this again, this time with the benefit of the lessons learned in the past, and with the added ability to build on a long-term commitment of the Australian Government to Continuous Naval Shipbuilding.
We understand the future workforce requirement nationally and for the state and we are on track to deliver the workforce of 3,700 shipbuilders required to meet the Future Frigate, Future Submarine and still sustain the Collins Class Submarine.
Our shipbuilding ability is amply demonstrated in the Collins Class submarine maintenance where shipbuilders have met or exceeded international sustainment benchmarks and delivered the best operational outcomes for the Royal Australian Navy in the life of the class. The South Australian Government has proactively addressed the issue through the Defence Industry Workforce and Skills Strategy. To be clear, these initiatives are the result of several years of planning and consultation that recognise the need to develop a workforce capability to meet Australia’s shipbuilding needs for the next thirty years.
An overview of the initiatives now in place are shown above, this begins with engaging our youth, encouraging participation and capability development in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), developing skills through scholarships and building the workforce through investments in apprenticeships and traineeships, not only for us to meet the needs of the Defence force, but also to address the broader industrial landscape. We are addressing our more immediate needs through re-engaging highly skilled veterans to the workforce and are attracting professionals through the Adelaide City Deal (Designated Area Migration Agreement), an initiative that supports experienced engineering migrants.