As discussion around securing quality, homegrown talent and how best to address Australia's STEM skill shortage continues, six local graduates have secured the opportunity of a lifetime, working with Future Submarines combat systems integrator Lockheed Martin Australia.
Adelaide's recruitment fair The Big Meet will take place today and visitors to the Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA) stand will have the chance to meet some of the company's latest South Australian recruits.
Ahead of the recruitment fair, Defence Connect spoke with LMA's head of the Future Submarine Program, Mike Oliver, about how success of Australia's major defence projects hinges on investing in an Australian workforce.
"Lockheed Martin Australia knows first-hand that investing in our current workforce, and planning for our future workforce, is critical to our success," Oliver told Defence Connect.
"As our defence capabilities become more technologically complex, recruiting Australians with the right skills mix for these capabilities is even more important. Attracting and retaining talented professionals now and into the future will be an ongoing challenge. That is why we work to identify and attract the right candidates through targeted recruitment initiatives, retention measures and career support."
As the combat systems integrator for the $89 billion Future Submarine project, LMA will be responsible for combining the technologies of the hull, combat systems, sensors and weapons.
"In a human analogy, it’s akin to the combination of the brain, eyes, ears, nervous and muscle system. The work is complex and requires highly skilled Australian expertise, and we are reaching out to local talent to join our team," Oliver said.
The submarine expert said offering career opportunities, as well as access to developing and working across leading technology and innovation, will play a key part in attracting the top talent to both the company, South Australia and the broader defence industry sector.
"A career with Lockheed Martin Australia working on the Future Submarine Program will be exciting and rewarding, as it is the largest defence capital investment program in Australia’s history and is a truly national endeavour. The opportunities are unparalleled, you will be working at the leading edge of defence technology and innovation," Oliver said.
Ryan Fletcher, one of LMA's newest employees who interned for the company last year, said aside from the excitement of being at the forefront of technology and innovation, landing a job in his home state was an added benefit of joining the company.
"I have always been interested in the defence industry. The Future Submarine Program offers unparalleled opportunities for career development, and the fact that it is all located in my home state, well that is a big bonus," Fletcher said.
Helen Lawrence has also joined the LMA team as a graduate software engineer in the human factors team. Lawrence, another South Australian local, said the opportunity to work on one of Australia's most complex projects was part of the lure of joining LMA, along with the job opportunities in South Australia across the naval shipbuilding and broader defence industry sector.
"When I first heard about the Future Submarine Program, I knew this project would be great for me. I loved the idea of being involved in such a large and complex project, and submarines are pretty amazing! It has certainly been a wonderful opportunity to be involved so early on in the project," Lawrence said.
"The job opportunities in South Australia have increased, particularly within the naval shipbuilding and defence sector.
"Having lived all my life in Adelaide, it was my preference to find work locally. It is exciting to be a key part of the developing defence hub here in South Australia."
Design of the Future Submarine has already commenced, with construction due to begin in 2022-23 time frame, with the first Future Submarine likely to enter service in the early 2030’s. All 12 Future Submarines will be built in Adelaide.
LMA currently has 120 employees working on the Future Submarine program and is expecting to employ more than 50 over the next eight months, with an additional 50 employees in 2019. Opportunities will be open for project subcontract program managers, contract specialist, system engineering, mechanical engineering, integrated logistics specialist, human resources, administration, finance, and information technology.