The federal government has maintained the recently unveiled Naval Shipbuilding College in Adelaide will work with, rather than against, the University of Tasmania's Australian Maritime College (AMC).
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The new college, to be run by KBR and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), has partnered with key education providers under the Defence Industry Education and Skills Consortium (DIESC), which is made up of the Defence Teaming Centre, the University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia, Flinders University, RMIT University, Edith Cowan University, TAFE SA, South Metropolitan TAFE and the Indigenous Defence Consortium, as well as the AMC.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said the Tasmanian college will play a key role in the new South Australian based college.
"The Australian Maritime College, which is based at the University of Tasmania in Launceston ... will be a really intrinsic part of this consortium," Minister Pyne said at the announcement of the new college. "Because the way that the Naval Shipbuilding College will work is the employers will say these are the number of people we need in skilled trades – engineers, mathematicians, others – and then they’ll go out to institutions."
Under phase one of the college, KBR and HII will operate under a 'hub and spoke' model where the companies will look at what existing institutes already provide and go on to utilise these capabilities, according to the minister.
"They’ll [KBR and HII] say, where are those places, the institutions around Australia, and the Australian Maritime College will say – this is what we provide already. So, rather than duplicating that, we will use the Australian Maritime College’s capability. So, the students will go to the AMC, physically, for the first year or two, and then transfer to this shipyard or submarine yard here to learn some of their skills on the actual tools. That’s what the hub and spoke approach means," Minister Pyne said.
"So, this is an enormous boon to the Australian Maritime College, in the same way that it is to RMIT, the South Australian universities, TAFE in Western Australia, TAFE in South Australia."
The announcement of the college has also been welcomed by AMC, which said it was excited to be a strategic partner of the new college.
"There will soon be unprecedented career development opportunities in the maritime sector, particularly in the fields of maritime engineering and logistics, as a result of the Australian government’s multibillion-dollar naval shipbuilding program," University of Tasmania vice-chancellor Professor Rufus Black said.
"AMC is Australia’s leading maritime research, education and training institute. Our specialist maritime engineering, global logistics and maritime management programs are world-renowned and attract a strong mix of national and international students each year."
Paul Gregg, chairman of AMC, said the Naval Shipbuilding College is not an additional educational institution; rather an industry-led entity, supported by the education and training sector, that will manage the necessary workforce pipeline around the nation.
"The NSC will work with education and training providers around the country to develop programs that will produce the highly-skilled workers crucial to delivering on the $90 billion investment in naval shipbuilding," Gregg said.
"As a strategic partner, the AMC will play a prominent supporting role, developing and delivering key maritime higher education and training programs, and as an independent representative on the NSC’s strategic governance forum."
The federal government has committed $25 million for the college with enrolments expected to commence mid-year.