Weld Australia, in conjunction with the state government and TAFE Queensland, is set to revolutionise welder training in Queensland to meet the demand for skilled workers for the state’s defence and manufacturing industries.
Weld Australia chief executive Geoff Crittenden said Queensland welders must be properly trained and ready to deliver the $5 billion LAND 400 project.
“This landmark project is an economic game-changer that is expected to create over 450 advanced manufacturing and engineering jobs across the state,” he said.
“With global defence giant Rheinmetall set to establish its Australian headquarters in south-east Queensland, local welders must be trained and qualified according to global best-practice to ensure they can reap the benefits of this huge defence industry program.”
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick and Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman joined Crittenden at state Parliament House this week to pledge $800,000 to the project.
That will enable the purchase of 10 state-of-the-art augmented reality welding simulators, the most advanced of their kind anywhere in the world.
Five of these welding simulator units will be based at SkillsTech in Acacia Ridge, Brisbane, with the other five in regional areas.
With the implementation of advanced technology and coursework, aspiring welders will be trained faster, more safely and more effectively to achieve their welding qualifications.
Minister Dick said the government was planning for the future.
“We want Queensland welders to have the technology and coursework to meet the international welding standard increasingly being required for major defence and commercial projects, so we are planning for the future,” he said.
Minister Dick said this investment would help address a national shortage of ISO 9606 qualified welders as identified by Weld Australia.
ISO 9606 is the only standard in the world accepted in both Europe and America. It is a simple test that assesses welding competency according to a specific weld procedure, based on a practical acceptance criteria.
“Training with the augmented reality system is considerably faster than traditional welding training, enabling us to get experienced welders to the ISO 9606 level in reduced time and cost over traditional training methods,” he said.
Crittenden said Queensland as a whole faced a significant shortage of qualified and certified welders.
“Without action, the state will be unable to meet future demand for Defence, rolling stock, infrastructure and resources projects,” he said.
“The combination of a welding curriculum based on global best practice delivered via advanced training technology will help ensure a strong supply of capable welders, ready to deliver the $5 billion worth of defence industry work already awarded to Queensland.
“Without a doubt, the successful implementation of this innovative training initiative will revolutionise welder training in Australia. It will raise the standard of welder education in Australia exponentially, putting our welder training on par with the best in Europe and America.”