Australia’s newest shipbuilding team, building the $3.5 billion Offshore Patrol Vessels, has set its sights on training the next generation of shipbuilders, awarding scholarships to engineering and trade students in South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
OPV prime contractor Lürssen Australia and shipbuilders ASC and Civmec have awarded 12 scholarships, each with a value of $10,000, to help cover education costs. In addition, three of the scholarship recipients have also been awarded internship placements.
The Shipbuilding Education and Apprenticeship (SEA) program will help build the skills needed for Australia’s multibillion-dollar naval shipbuilding industry, which is forecast to employ a further 5,000 people in coming years.
Chairman of Lürssen Australia, Tim Wagner, said, "The SEA program was part of our commitment to helping Australia build a world-class workforce that will be essential for the government’s $89 billion naval shipbuilding program."
Construction of the Lürssen-designed vessels, which will be 85 metres in length and equipped with a forward gun turret and helicopter, began last month. The first two will be built by ASC in Osborne, SA and the remaining 10 by Civmec at Henderson, WA.
"ASC is proud to partner with Lürssen and Civmec to launch these scholarships, which will deliver the high-calibre future engineers and tradespeople Australia will require to deliver continuous naval shipbuilding for decades to come," said ASC chief executive Stuart Whiley.
The scholarship program is being administered by the Defence Teaming Centre (DTC) and addresses the naval shipbuilding workforce challenge, which will require more than 5,000 skilled employees to build the OPVs, Hunter Class frigates from 2020 and Future Submarines from 2022.
Civmec executive chairman James Fitzgerald said, "We are thrilled to partner with Lürssen Australia, ASC and DTC to support young Australians in establishing the skills and expertise required to meet the demands of a continuous naval shipbuilding program, and it is with pleasure we welcome Kayla Roemer-Hanisch back to the business.
"Kayla undertook work experience with us this year, and we look forward to providing her with further hands-on experience to enable her to forge a career in the Australian shipbuilding industry."
Participants will include those with master's, bachelor's and certificate III qualifications, which shows that regardless of what you are studying, there is an opportunity for a long-term career in naval shipbuilding.
Defence Teaming Centre CEO Margot Forster said, "The DTC has been very pleased to work alongside its industry partners to deliver this initiative. Successful applicants have diverse education backgrounds from vocational all the way through to doctorate students. This shows that there are so many ways that you can get involved in the naval shipbuilding industry in Australia."
The $3.5 billion SEA 1180 project will deliver 12 vessels to replace the 13 Armidale Class patrol boats when they enter service from 2022. The primary role of the OPV will be to undertake constabulary missions, and they will be the primary ADF asset for maritime patrol and response duties.