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Industry, universities join forces to build AUKUS workforce

Babcock Australasia and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) have announced a partnership with the University of Adelaide, Curtin University, and University of NSW to establish the AUKUS Workforce Alliance (AWA).

Babcock Australasia and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) have announced a partnership with the University of Adelaide, Curtin University, and University of NSW to establish the AUKUS Workforce Alliance (AWA).

The AUKUS Workforce Alliance is a dedicated partnership committed to preparing a skilled workforce in support of all steps of Australia’s optimal pathway to sovereign nuclear-powered submarines under AUKUS Pillar 1.

The AWA seeks to address the current and future workforce needs that are required to accelerate sovereign capability, capacity, and resilience for Australia’s defence sector. As part of this, AWA will work together in a trilateral alliance, combining proven and trusted knowledge, skills and unrivalled experience from across Australia, the UK, and the US.

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Sir Nick Hine KCB, Babcock Australasia managing director AUKUS and international, welcomed the announcement saying, “Babcock is proud to be partnering with HII and some of Australia’s top universities in a true, trilateral alliance to form the AUKUS Workforce Alliance.

“Given our extensive global experience in sustainment, nuclear safety and stewardship, Babcock stands ready to assist Australia in delivering this very significant opportunity, including growing the required workforce to support the delivery of the nation’s first nuclear-powered submarines,” Hine added.

The AUKUS Workforce Alliance will:

  • Establish a proactive, innovative, and internationally recognised platform for skill enhancement and leadership to support development of a sovereign, nuclear-powered submarine workforce in Australia.
  • Lead the development and execution of critical upskilling programs, focusing on harnessing the full potential of Australia’s industrial base.
  • Foster cutting-edge research and practical experience for the future workforce.

Michael Lempke, HII president of Nuclear and Environment Services Group, expanded on the comments made by Sir Nick Hine KCB, saying, “HII is proud to work with Australia’s education institutions and to bring more than 60 years of nuclear shipbuilding expertise to the training of a workforce capable of supporting, and ultimately executing, nuclear shipbuilding.

“The AWA is an investment in the security and economic and technological progress of Australia. This comprehensive and rigorous training approach is also a commitment to the safety and protection of people and the environment and fostering public trust,” Lempke explained.

Professor Peter Høj AC, University of Adelaide vice-chancellor and president, said, “The University of Adelaide is pleased to be joining the AUKUS Workforce Alliance (AWA). This alliance will strengthen and broaden the university’s partnering with industry in developing the workforce for the nation’s naval shipbuilding enterprise.”

Curtin University vice-chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne echoed the sentiments, saying, “Curtin is proud to be a foundation partner with global defence industry leaders HII and Babcock, and the University of NSW and University of Adelaide, in developing a highly skilled workforce to support the nuclear-powered submarine program in Australia and Western Australia.”

University of NSW professor Attila Brungs, vice-chancellor and president of UNSW added, “We look forward to supporting the Australian Submarine Agency’s ‘whole of nation’ skilling objectives through collaboration with our partner universities in Adelaide and Perth, as well as with two global defence industry primes, in Babcock and HII, boasting a deep shared submarine capability sustainment heritage.”

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