PODCAST: Attracting skilled and semi-skilled workers to defence

PODCAST: Attracting skilled and semi-skilled workers to defence

PODCAST: Attracting skilled and semi-skilled workers to defence
PODCAST: Attracting skilled and semi-skilled workers to defence

RPR Trades managing director Darren Da Costa and regional manager NSW Sonia Gouveia join regular Defence Connect host Phillip Tarrant and co-host Paul Robinson to discuss the state of the skilled and semi-skilled workforce in Australia.

In this episode of the Defence Connect Podcast, Da Costa and Gouveia dive into the absolute war for talent between oil and gas, rail-works, infrastructure and now, defence sectors.

With the sheer number and scale of defence projects coming down the pipe, how will Defence, the primes and SMEs attract the massive workforce it needs for success? Listen in to find out.

Enjoy the show,

The Defence Connect team

 

Listen to previous episodes of the Defence Connect podcast:

Episode 62: PODCAST: The industrial dating service, Peter Webster, Industry Capability Network NSW
Episode 61: PODCAST: Expanding UK business interests in Australian defence industry, Stephen Phipson CBE, DIT DSO
Episode 60: PODCAST: Defending the defence industry, Daniel Mendoza-Jones, Mendoza Legal and Consulting founder
Episode 59: PODCAST: Making industry a fundamental input to capability, Andrew Garth, general manager, CDIC
Episode 58: PODCAST: The shifting sands of AIC, Lee Stanley, Daronmont Technologies
Episode 57: PODCAST: Fostering the future of defence industry, Margot Forster, Defence Teaming Centre CEO
Episode 56: PODCAST: Propelling Defence through advanced automation – Andrew Seal, Siemens head of defence and marine solutions
Episode 55: PODCAST: Exports key to the future of Australia’s defence industry, Richard Marles, opposition spokesman for defence
Episode 54: PODCAST: Mining boom to defence boom – Minister Paul Papalia, WA’s Defence Issues Minister
Episode 53: PODCAST: Gearing Victoria for growth, Greg Combet, Victoria’s defence industry advocate

Full transcript

Announcer:

Welcome to the Defence Connect podcast, with your host, Phil Tarrant.

 

Phil:

Good day everyone. Welcome to the Defence Connect podcast. Thanks for tuning in. I'm Phil Tarrant. I am the director of Defence Connect and I am joined by my regular co-host. Well, you weren't regular the last podcast, I think, we did?

 

Paul:

Yeah, thanks for leaving me out.

 

Phil:

You were absent without ... AWOL.

 

Paul:

AWOL.

 

Phil:

I've got Paul Robinson, who's the editor of Defence Connect. How are you going mate?

 

Paul:

Very good. Yourself?

 

Phil:

Good, thanks mate. Mix it up a little bit today. Have a bit of a chat around some hardcore heavy engineering stuff and the way in which we can get a lot of these projects which are planned and underway to support our capabilities built. What I'm talking about is a lot of the work happening, or pending work, for future frigates, our off-shore patrol vessels, submarines coming online and some of the LAND 400 work. I think often a lot of the times we forget, and we probably should be accountable for this as much as everyone else. We always talk about theoretical capabilities and these great, wonderful plans that are happening in defence, which is great, but often we forget and I think a lot of people do forget also, that what we're talking about is making stuff.

 

Paul:

Yeah, absolutely.

 

Phil:

Making very sophisticated machinery to support our defence forces. How do we make these great stuff, particularly our ship building capability, which historically we've been very strong in and moving forward, particularly down in Adelaide, the construction of our frigates moving forward? We need a lot of welders, we need a lot of electricians and we need a lot of other skilled labour and, often, semi-skilled labourers, to come in and provide this expertise to get this stuff built.

 

 

With that premise, we thought we'd have a bit of a chat today around how we actually equip our manufacturing capabilities with talented people to actually do the work. We've asked a couple of guys in from RPR Trades to have a chat with us. I've got Darren Da Costa and I've got Sonia Gouveia in the studio. How'd I go with that? Okay?

 

Sonia:

Yeah, you did good.

 

Darren:

Spot on, Phil. Well done.

 

Paul:

Beautiful Portuguese.

 

Darren:

I'm impressed.

 

Phil:

That introduction, and it's off the cuff, but to me it's a very practical situation that we sit within now. The government, and we write and report on this continuously as do a lot of other sources, are investing heavily in defence capability moving forward. The White Paper has set that strategy out. $195 billion in investment over 10 years, and part of that is going to go towards key manufacturing projects, submarines, ships, et cetera. How do you guys feel? You work primarily in the recruitment for skilled trades and semi-skilled trades?

 

Darren:

Correct.

 

Phil:

Do you think we've got the people in Australia ready to go to actually make this work a reality?

 

Darren:

We've got the people. Have we got the necessary trade qualifications and skills? Not right at this moment. If we project forward through that 10 year period, we've got an opportunity, if we think about things the right way and ensure we've got practical solutions, to look at where those skill gaps are and look at what areas within our workforce we can potentially retrain to cover those gaps. There's elements of that happening at the moment, but I don't think we've quite got the concept of how big that gap is.

 

Phil:

I think it's becoming a lot clearer how big that gap is, and as more of these projects or programmes come online, the competition for that skilled workforce, particularly in the manufacturing capacity is going to increase. If we can't get people to do the work, what's the net result? Projects take longer to complete and therefore these capabilities take longer to get online and there's lots of ramifications associated with that in terms of the purpose or goals of our defence forces.

 

 

Before we get into the specifics of that, I just want to have a really quick chat with you guys around your journey through defence. We were speaking very quickly offline and you mentioned that you're relatively new to defence. This is something we're seeing a lot more of. I know this is one of the guiding principles of a lot of the work that the government is undertaking right now in the way it's connecting with industry, is to try and get people who traditionally, businesses who traditionally weren't in a defence environment, or weren't a defence contractor, to realise the benefits of expanding their businesses to concentrate on defence. Particularly from an SME sector, there's a lot of really good skilled, smart, SMEs who are developing technology which has relevance in the defence space. The recent hub launched by the government is helping to facilitate that, but your particular journey in defence, and you said it's only been a year or so. Can you tell us why you got into the defence space and how that journey has been so far?

 

Darren:

Sure. We saw that there was this gap in the workforce with the amount of investment that was planned over the next 10 years. We had an interest in being involved, but didn't know how to start. Went along to a local government event in Brisbane, Defence 101. The guest speaker was an ex-general of the army reserve and gave us good insight into how the supplier chain, or the supply chain, was evolving. Previously, my misconception through not being informed was that it was a pretty closed shop, highly litigious, lots of compliance and unless you're a prime contractor, it's very tough to break into. What I learned, was that that next level down has really been opened up outside of the prime contractors and as long as there's a demonstration of quality in what you do, and good process, there's opportunity. What we've also learned since being more involved over this last year is that those businesses work well with each other and are there to support each other, and we've enjoyed that aspect of getting to know the defence industry.

 

 

There's elements of it that are so specialised. I've walked into production and manufacturing environments in Brisbane that you wouldn't even know they're there. Some of the work that they're doing and what they're producing is world class, literally. There's an opportunity to be involved in that if you take and interest and listen to the instructions.

 

 

That's really been our journey and we know we're far from complete in that. We're learning all the time and as we're expanding our business, it's certainly one of the avenues that we're looking to grow our business behind.

 

Phil:

So you went to ... Was it called Defence 101?

 

Darren:

Defence 101 was the name of the seminar.

 

Paul:

They're good at coming up with the good names.

 

Phil:

Which is pretty much the most basic introduction university course, a 101, you can do. You did that and you went ... Was it a light bulb moment? You went, "Hang on a second. There's an opportunity here?"

 

Darren:

The interesting thing ... There were some great presentations. There were some excellent speakers, but the last guy that spoke was a business development manager for a packaging business. He didn't have a slideshow, spoke from the heart and spoke about his experience in supplying to defence, which he'd done pretty much for his whole career. He was the vice president of the Australian Industry and Defence Network in Brisbane, which I hadn't heard of prior to that.

 

Phil:

AIDN.

 

Paul:

AIDN.

 

Darren:

Of AIDN. I went and caught up with Peter at the end of the event and just asked him more about what AIDN did and how we could be involved. He was only too happy to help. I went along with my regional manager to meet with him at his business the following week and he couldn't have been more generous with his time or advice on how we could develop our business if that was of interest to us. We've subsequently attended AIDN events every month. We've now done so in New South Wales and Victoria as well, and we've found the reception exactly the same everywhere we went.

 

Phil:

To put you on the spot and say when you had that meeting with him after the event, what were his three primary steps or strategies for cracking Defence, if you had to summarise those things?

 

Darren:

Summarising them, one would be relationships, number two would be quality and number three, persistence. He said that he'd been doing what he's been doing for quite some time and the first door opened probably three years into the work that he'd been doing, but since then ... He was supplying to every prime contractor and the reciprocal commitment from those relationships has been fantastic. They were really the take outs for me with that, and there was no impediments to that. They were all things that we felt confident that we could do.

 

Phil:

You could already do. Have you receive a mandate for anyone yet about ... I don't know how you work. Maybe you can explain it? Do you get mandated or engaged to start equipping a prime contractor, I imagine that's your customer, with x number of people? How does that work?

 

Darren:

How it's happened so far, it's more the SME businesses at that next level down. We've wanted to cut our teeth and earn the right to go to the prime contractors when we've got a better knowledge of how everything works and what the requirements are. We've made approaches, primarily through the AIDN network, got to know people and asked about opportunities. Our core business is in the supply of temporary contracts and permanent skilled and semi-skilled labour. We identify where those opportunities exist and ask for a chance to help out. How it's grown since then is really referrals. That's where we've found the community very tight. Do a good job and people are happy to help.

 

 

The two aspects of the workforce aspect is really about temporaries, where supplying can be volume. We've created our business in the knowledge that our industry's changing a lot, or needs to. It can't be just about recruitment. That should be a given that we are able to identify good talent. What we need to do for the employees that we identify is then engage them in a different way to ensure there's relationships and we're investing in their personal and professional development. That's one aspect. Then from our client's perspective, we find that our language with them has moved beyond just finding the right person, but if they're in a workforce scenario, how do we optimise that performance and, as a recruitment agency, how do we take some responsibility for that? Mostly, and this is where Defence has a real appetite, understandably so, risk mitigation. Be that compliance. Be that safety and wellness. Be it industrial relations. We've made it our priority to have good solutions and have good knowledge in that space, so we can assist clients in all those three areas.

 

Phil:

You've been in the defence industry for a year now. Do you have benchmarks for your business as a proportion of revenue income or work that you do which is going to come from defence? Do you have plans to be primarily a defence orientated business?

 

Darren:

Not just yet. It's interesting how it's evolved. Our business has only been established since December of last year, so it's very early for us. We're in our infancy. What we've learned over that period of time is there's an enormous opportunity and reason to align yourself with the defence sector. Whether that becomes our sole area of focus or our majority area of focus, we need to do some more due diligence on that, but certainly there's lots of appeal there and we're gravitating to that as we speak.

 

Phil:

That's really good. I think, and you mentioned when we started chatting, there is a potential skills shortage in terms of skilled labour, if you want to call it that. Welders, electricians, manufacturing capabilities. It's not only the defence sector that's fighting this war for talent. You have oil and gas. You have other manufacturing, like railways. Obviously, car manufacturing's in decline, so there's a lot of people that can be retrained into defence. How do you guide where you place a potential, say a welder, to steer them down a defence route, or steer them down another industry sector? Is there any fundamentals which would make you go one over the other?

 

Darren:

There aren't. Our approach, there's a role for everyone and our passion is to find the right one. One of the reasons why we've taken the approach to look after the skilled and semi-skilled market and blue collar is that we see a lot of those are transferable between industries. One of our passions in starting the business was in being able to contribute to the creation of a workforce rather than just recycling it and moving people from one place to another. We see an opportunity. In the manufacturing environment, in the project environment, employees are often left with a situation where they're coming to the end of a project, they don't know what's going to happen next. There's a period of time where there's huge uncertainty. Then what typically happens is they secure another opportunity with another project, but doing the same job. There's no investment in their skill development, in their career progression, and we see there's the potential for somebody to coordinate that and get much better outcomes that advantage defence and other industry sectors as well. There's such commonality between a lot of those sectors and between trades. Then you finesse the other parts of it until you know you've got a good fit and they've got a full time career.

 

Phil:

Yeah. It's a perpetual problem because you also the apprenticeship side of things as well, so making sure we're getting good young Aussies in there, learning their craft early. The optimist would say, well, Australia is investing in heavy industry, in terms of construction or manufacturing within defence and therefore there's a really good work life for Australians who are choosing a trade over perhaps something in professional services. Which is good, and I think the government is focused on this, but then we can all do a lot more to champion the career benefits of choosing a trade and the longevity of the work and the diversity of work. The fact that you're proactively looking to not only provide accessibility for people to find a job, but that continued up-skilling, I think that's going to be fundamental to how we grow and evolve.

 

 

The question I have for you is, has you experience of defence so far been a good one? Is there anything that has annoyed you or frustrated you, or something that you've had to maybe change your mindset around?

 

Darren:

The change in mindset has just been, everything we've experienced has surpassed expectations. The quality of the businesses that we meet with, the relationships that we're able to enjoy with the people that we've met with, and the outcomes that we share in. I can't think of a single thing that we look back on negatively. There's always areas to improve. We see those, but we just see a great platform to build a really good business in partnership with people who have the same inclinations. One of the great things I love about Defence, there's no BS. What you see is what you get and the straight talking's great. It helps with business. If you haven't done the right thing, if you've screwed up in anyway, you get told so you know what you need to do get it right.

 

Paul:

You know where you stand.

 

Darren:

You can't beat that. I'd love to find something, Phil.

 

Paul:

Defence are going to love you for that answer.

 

Phil:

It's okay to say no. Obviously there is this culture change, mindset change. The government's been working very hard to try and ... They understand that, over the years, they've had their limitation and their restrictions in terms of how they've engaged industry to get the best out of industry and the subsequent impact on our capabilities as a Defence Force. To hear your story is a good one, I think that will resonate with Canberra, because it's actually in action. This is what people want to achieve. I'd be interested to know, and maybe it's a bit early, is to how that relationship has been with prime contractors. When these large manufacturing projects come online and they're scrambling. Sometimes they're going to be scrambling. They'll try and pre-plan as much as possible, but scrambling to get the right people on the ground, with the tools, doing the work, so these projects can be delivered. I'd be interested to pick that conversation up when we get there.

 

 

A question for you, Sonia.

 

Paul:

You've been trying to avoid the mic.

 

Sonia:

I have been. I can't hide. You've locked me in.

 

Phil:

Would you concur with that experience? Your role, you're a regional manager for New South Wales, so I imagine it's a BDM type role. You're out there trying to make new connections with people who need the services of someone that you provide. Has it always been quite open doors?

 

Sonia:

Look, yes and no. I wish I could say yes, most of the time, but no, because you do have to prove yourself. You are trying to sell a service and it is your brand. It's your reputation that you're putting on the line and you do only have that one chance most of the time. I take a lot of pride in handpicking the ones that I do want to deal with and actually assist and add value to that business. Yes and no would be both ...

 

Phil:

A ‘yes and no’ answer's all right.

 

Sonia:

Sometimes good, sometimes not so good.

 

Phil:

You can probably answer this question I'm going to ask with yes and no as well. Is the hard thing for you guys in your business is finding people to supply skilled and semi-skilled tradespeople for? Or is it finding the semi-skilled and skilled tradespeople to fulfil the requirements or the mandates or the requests that you're getting from customers? Where's the pressure point?

 

Darren:

The former, and particularly in Sydney. There's so much going on here in terms of infrastructure and engineering, which is great, but there's an absolute war for talent that we're right in the middle of, which you mentioned at the outset. I think, certainly in Sydney, there's an understanding of that. Companies are looking seriously at how they put a good proposition forward that's going to differentiate and appeal to people. Our business is Brisbane based. That's where we originate from. We had this experience not long ago through mining and construction booms. There were some valuable lessons to be learned from that and some of the pressure on labour costs that arose as a result. That can't be the only solution. It's part of it, but there's so many other aspects that can be considered. Key to that is career progression and career development, so the people have skills that they can take elsewhere once this cycle is through.

 

Phil:

What do think defence, i.e. defence industry, can do as a collective motherhood issue to make it more attractive to skilled manufacturing workers to choose defence over oil and gas, or mining, or et cetera, et cetera. What's the ...?

 

Darren:

I think part of the appeal, for me it's just getting the message out there, which has been happening. The likes of me have become better informed because of the work that's been done. The appeal in defence is there's the stability, the security. What people are challenged with in construction environments and resourcing environments, or resources, are often locations and fly-in, fly-out work and difficult rosters. Those elements put pressure on family life. That's become much more of a consideration for those in skilled and semi-skilled blue collar roles than it ever has been. If there's a viable alternative that's presented where none of those factors are an issue. There's security, there's good earning potential and there's good career progression. For me, defence ticks all of those boxes.

 

Phil:

Well you don't need to be in defence manufacturing building ships out in Kalgoorlie.

 

Darren:

Correct. You're right in the heart of it in every capital city in Australia and some big regional centres. There's some amazing work going on down in regional Victoria and infrastructure building around those regional centres as a result of that, which give people alternatives where the cost of living in the capital cities has become very difficult as well. I think defence has so much to offer and I'm pleased that there's been so much progression through the supply chain and through government at all levels, driving initiatives like this so that we can be better informed.

 

Phil:

With the work that you've been doing with mainly SMEs, a lot of defence businesses are so focused on chasing contracts, getting tenders together, which as we all know is onerous, hard work that requires a level of sophistication and investment. They're so focused on chasing the next contract, chasing the next job that they often sometimes overlook the importance that the people component is of the delivery of every single project. They think too late about the resourcing of a project before or after they win that. Do you see that much in your experience so far?

 

Darren:

I've been in the industry for 25 years and had experienced supplying to defence over that period of time where that has been an issue. Where it was very much it's reactive and it was seen to be, the perception was, people are on tap, we can get them when we need them. Almost near enough is good enough. The change has been 180 since, because there's a realisation of the impact that the workforce has on the project and on delivery and on outcomes. Whether it's the quality of the person or the cost or the timelines, the deadlines. If you don't have all of that in place and have a plan in place to ensure that it happens, it's not going to happen. That's been a complete turn around.

 

Phil:

Paul, I know you did some work on this a month or so ago where we looked at the thesis of how a defence business needs to be thinking about their image and the way they're perceived by the market to attract the best uniform talent out of services into industry. I know you did quite a lot of articles around how a lot of service people have perceived notions or prejudices against a particular company. Even though they might win the great jobs or the great contracts, they don't want to work for them. I'd be interested to have a quick chat around whether that same situation exists within your skilled, semi-skilled, blue collar. Do they have any preconceived ideas about, "Oh, I don't want to work for that ship builder, because their coffee is bad"? Is that largely a moot point at your end of town and the people you're getting?

 

Darren:

No.

 

Phil:

Do they think, "I want to work for the big brands in defence"?

 

Darren:

There is still that preconception. One of the questions that we ask people when they do come and approach us for an opportunity, we ask them if there's anyone that they want to work for in particular. The same names come up. One of the other dimensions that's changed radically across industry is what people are looking for in a job. There's an understanding now that stability isn't guaranteed wherever you work, so it's more about the experience and the association with the people you're working with. Where am I going to get that return, where I actually enjoy going to work every day? It's not just about the task. It's about the environment and about the culture of the business. Now, typically we see people gravitating to smaller businesses for that reason. Where they feel connected, they feel valued, they feel challenged and there's that sense of belonging. I see one of the challenges for the primes and the other bigger businesses is trying to replicate that in a large environment.

 

Paul:

That family feel you mean?

 

Darren:

Yeah, totally. It's just not an easy thing to achieve when you've got such scale, but where it can be done, it's going to offer an alternative to employees that they're not able to get elsewhere.

 

Phil:

Could you put an umbrella over, say, your skilled manufacturing workforce, so electricians, welders, other skilled metal workers? What do you need to do to ... We're talking guys probably working 50 hours a week with maybe a little bit more with overtime. What are the things that a company, a defence company, needs to be thinking about to make these guys happy, keep them engaged, keep them retained? Do they make sure they get their smoko on time, make sure they get an RDO? Is there anything really fundamental like that that keeps these guys happy?

 

Darren:

With our business we have a set of values that the team developed. Just five of them. One of them was around that very aspect of focusing on the little things and the perceived little things and making sure they get done. I think often people get the impression that you've got to have a complexity and a convoluted process to find out what it is that people want. Often it's the littlest things. Just recognition, acknowledgement, courtesy, respect. They're things we crave as humans and people are no different at work. They look for the same things. I don't know that it's that complicated. It just needs attention and simply asking a question will often tell you what you need to know in terms of what people want.

 

Phil:

Good advice.

 

Paul:

I think you hit the nail on the head too when you said perceived little things, because what you see from management might be completely different to what the guys actually doing the work thinks.

 

Darren:

Absolutely.

 

Sonia:

You'd be surprised on what I get when I meet these great guys. An hour earlier, just to start at 6am, rather than 7, will help them in traffic getting to and from home and they can see family, or eat dinner with them. That's just an hour early change your tradie.

 

Phil:

So flexible working conditions is something that appeals.

 

Sonia:

Makes a huge difference. They're working 12 hour days, Monday through to Saturday, so by the time they get home the kids are in bed.

 

Darren:

I think industry's made some really good changes in offering those sort of flexibilities, Phil, particularly around rosters. You see far more four day work weeks, 12 hour days, the three day weekends. The advent of those has been quite interesting to see the level of take up. There's been lots of thought go into what sort of structures are going to appeal to different people and give them that flexibility they're looking for.

 

Paul:

Rewind a little bit. We're talking about the shortage in the workforce, is there enough being done, do you think, to attract people while they're in school? Because I can see these projects are going to start in the 2020s. You're going to start needing to hit that senior high school age group now. Do you think there's enough being done and what can they actually do to attract people to join the trades?

 

Darren:

There hasn't been. We've gone through a period where apprenticeships just have not been offered. There has been no interest and limited take up, limited investment and we're paying the price now. Over the last year, there's been a shift in approach, both by industry and by government, to address that. That focus needs to continue sharply and it is those things that you're talking about, Paul. It's getting to the schools and providing the information that kids want to hear about, "What's going to excite me about a career in defence?" Or "If I get a trade under my belt, where could it take me?" The key to that is ensuring that they're not ... One of the challenges that people will face is finding the balance between specialisation and not being pigeonholed. I think, from a trades perspective, if people are looking at acquiring a trade as an apprentice, we've got a challenge in front of us to ensure that the trade we're actually providing for them gives them an ability to forge a career in a number of different sectors and not just steer them down one path, necessarily, that might potentially restrict them if the environment changes.

 

Phil:

I think, I've really enjoyed this chat because it's got me thinking about this whole concept of sovereign capabilities.

 

Paul:

Yeah, exactly.

 

Phil:

The need, strategic need, for Australia to have its own capabilities to manufacture key essential equipment that’s used by the ADF. I guess I can bookend that comment with what we started speaking about that my role in defence is sitting in a nice office here and it's air conditioning. I've just come back from a lunch where I met with a Defence person and I'll go to a networking function. The paradigm of my exposure to defence is my paradigm. It's not very often, and I want to do a lot more of it, where I go and stand there in a major manufacturing plant and see sparks coming off a welder and the plates of a ship getting built. I think we need to remember, as an industry, that's what the industry we're in. We're about creating this capability and sustaining this capability. That only become really clear to us, it's only probably a week or so ago, we spent a day up at Williamtown checking out the new facilities for the JSF, the Strike Fighter. We sat back and went, we knew there was large scale construction happening up there, but it was on a huge scale and the capability that's going to provide to us is great and excellent, but the build going on there and the people on the ground, the trades guys doing the job, it was huge.

 

Darren:

Sonia's trade guys.

 

Sonia:

My trade guys.

 

Phil:

Is that your trade guys, are they?

 

Sonia:

Yes.

 

Paul:

The sheer number of them doing all sorts of different roles. We were sort of a bit gobsmacked. Like Phil said, we expected it to be big, but it's almost like a whole city's being built at the same time.

 

Phil:

Yeah, it's incredible.

 

Paul:

Not one building, then the next. It was all being done at the same time, and there were yellow and orange fluorescent shirts everywhere. They outnumbered the uniforms.

 

Phil:

Yeah. Made me feel quite proud, the fact that we had this capability and to see this plan being realised. Obviously, that's one very small component about building for a more capable ADF moving forward. I've enjoyed the chat. It's sort of again just triggered that mindset for me and I'm thinking sparks and heavy industry happening. Australia's built the backbone of its manufacturing capabilities. Let's keep having this dialogue. Let's keep having this chat.

 

Darren:

Really enjoyed it. Thank you.

 

Phil:

Let us know how you guys are getting on with it, because, as Paul mentioned, we need this talent coming through. These big builds coming in through the 2020s and we're going to need a lot of feet on the ground. A lot of guys on tools, and girls, doing the work. We'll keep this as an ongoing theme within Defence Connect and play our part, I think, in helping to communicate the opportunities for people to immerse themselves in opportunities in defence right now.

 

Darren:

Excellent.

 

Phil:

Good to have you here.

 

Darren:

Enjoyed the time.

 

Sonia:

Thanks for having us.

 

Darren:

Thanks Phil. Thanks Paul.

 

Paul:

It wasn't too bad on the microphone.

 

Sonia:

Wasn't so bad after all. Thank you.

 

Phil:

No, it's good.

 

Paul:

It's good to hear the shift too. Good to hear, what you're saying, that the last 12 months they’ve actually made an effort. I remember when we went through school, trades, they were really attractive. It's nice to hear that that's starting to happen again, because we need it.

 

Phil:

We do need it.

 

Darren:

No question.

 

Paul:

I mean, after all, we're an island.

 

Sonia:

Yeah. I think schools need to get involved outside with those employers as well ahead of time before these trades finish their qualifications, start preparing them, because I find it too, a lot of these guys feel like, "Well, if I complete it, do I have a job or am I guaranteed something?" I think most employers need to have that initiative of some kind to add value to these young guys who want to learn from you, but I don't have the time to train and develop you. I just need you to do the job. I think that is where the gap is too.

 

Darren:

Yeah, that's important.

 

Phil:

I think we're fortunate that a lot of this manufacturing's going to be coming out of south Australia. We've got a very proactive Minister for Defence Industry down there who is championing growth of that, so I guess we'll probably start seeing a lot more work from government visiting schools and showing and highlighting the opportunities to get involved. It's a career for life and there's nothing wrong with that.

 

Darren:

Absolutely.

 

Paul:

And it's cool stuff that they make.

 

Phil:

It's cool stuff.

 

Darren:

It is cool stuff.

 

Phil:

We'll finish on that note. That's good. Thanks for coming along guys.

 

Darren:

Thank you.

 

Sonia:

Thank you.

 

Phil:

Darren and Sonia. If you want to hear anything more about these guys remember to check out rprtrades.com. Shows all the projects and stuff that you're working on there. Thanks for tuning in everyone. Remember to go to defenceconnect.com.au. We're also on all the social stuff, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram. Remember to subscribe to our daily bulletins and alerts. That's where you're going to get all the information you need to know before everyone else about what's happening in defence. Please keep the reviews coming on iTunes. The more you guys rank us and rate us the more we can open up this podcast to a wider defence community and that's something we're passionate about. Thanks for tuning in. We'll see you next week.

 

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