Australia is launching its first digital shipbuilding course to ensure the nation’s workforce is ready to tackle the $35 billion Hunter Class frigates program.
The partnership between BAE Systems shipbuilding business, ASC Shipbuilding, and South Australia’s Flinders University will shore up important digital technology skills for the country’s $90 billion naval shipbuilding plan.
Its first 53 recruits are finishing up jobs on the Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyer program and the course, which began this week, will save vital experience and upskill workers for new builds in South Australia.
“The face of modern shipbuilding is changing and the Diploma of Digital Technology will enable current shipbuilders to keep pace with the latest trends while ensuring they are equipped for the future,” ASC Shipbuilding managing director Craig Lockhart said.
“Not only does this course equip our employees with the skills that will be in demand at our digital shipyard at Osborne, but it guarantees we retain the shipbuilding skills between the end of the current shipbuilding programs and the ramp up of the Hunter program.”
The newly-created Diploma of Digital Technology based in South Australia is funded by the State and Federal governments.
“Our partnership with Flinders University means we will upskill shipbuilders on the latest in Industry 4.0 technologies and techniques, benefiting not only the Hunter Class Frigate Program but the broader shipbuilding industry,” Lockhart said.
“Flinders has responded very well to the COVID-19 situation and converted most of the tuition to online which is embracing the new technologies that we will require in a modern data-rich shipyard.”
Training is also being supported by TAFE SA and the Naval Shipbuilding College with a focus on building the world’s most advanced digital shipyard in South Australia.
“We are delighted to once again be partnering with ASC Shipbuilding to apply our research and teaching expertise across digital systems and industrial transformation to further equip these and many other highly skilled workers to meet the current and emerging needs of the defence industry,” Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling said.
Student Tony amassed 20 years experience in the mining industry before starting work at ASC 15 years ago, starting work on the Air Warfare Destroyer project in September, 2010.
“The opportunity to upskill while maintaining my company service is very appealing. I look forward to applying these qualifications in a practical way, enhancing the capability of the ‘new’ shipyard.”
Originally published in The Lead.