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WA TAFE trade program endorsed for naval shipbuilding plans

WA TAFE trade program endorsed for naval shipbuilding plans

South Metropolitan TAFE (SM TAFE) has been recognised by the Naval Shipbuilding College for producing job-ready workers to support the $95 billion Naval Shipbuilding program.

South Metropolitan TAFE (SM TAFE) has been recognised by the Naval Shipbuilding College for producing job-ready workers to support the $95 billion Naval Shipbuilding program.

Western Australia’s commitment to skilling workers for Australia’s new high-tech naval fleet has been formally recognised with the Naval Shipbuilding College endorsing SM TAFE’s Certificate III Engineering Fabrication Trade course.

The program has been endorsed by the college for providing students with the skills they need to build Australia’s new high-tech naval fleet.


More than 15,000 jobs are expected to be created over the next 10 years as part of the Australian government’s $90 billion National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said attracting the next generation of highly-skilled workers is one of the government’s highest priorities.

"We created the Naval Shipbuilding College to drive growth in our defence industry and ensure education providers are producing job-ready graduates ready to step into the workforce," Minister Price said. 

WA Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery and Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia welcomed the recognition, saying the government would continue to work with the Commonwealth government to ensure a multi-skilled workforce was available to support the defence sector in WA well into the future.

Minister Ellery said, "This endorsement recognises South Metropolitan TAFE as a leader in defence industry training and places Western Australia at the forefront of providing a skilled and highly capable workforce to the naval shipbuilding industry now and into the future."

This was reinforced by Minister Papalia, who said, "Western Australians who work in the defence industry apply their skills to some of the most exciting and complex projects in the world. The courses taught at the South Metropolitan TAFE Naval Base Campus are the gateway to that exciting career."

Chief executive of the Naval Shipbuilding Institute Ian Irving said the endorsement process will help ensure consistency in delivery across training and education providers nationally. 

"The welding and fabrication trades have been identified by industry as priority roles for naval shipbuilding and sustainment contractors. SM TAFE’s commitment to continue to incorporate the most appropriate method for improving shipbuilding fabrication and welding skills is recognised by the college," Irving explained. 

The college will continue to collaborate with prime shipbuilding contractors, supply chain partners and the educational and training sector to ensure a skilled and diverse workforce is available when required.

Irving added, "Industry acknowledge that graduates of college endorsed programs of study are job-ready for opportunities within the enterprise across Australia."

Terry Durant, SM TAFE managing director, said SM TAFE has extensive experience delivering training and workforce development for the defence industry in WA.

"We have further demonstrated our capability with the recent college endorsement of the Certificate III in Engineering Fabrication Trade. SM TAFE is committed to ensuring WA has the workforce and skill base to support current and future defence programs. WA is well placed strategically to support national defence programs," Durrant said. 

WA is currently building 21 Guardian Class patrol boats and will commence construction of 10 Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels in March 2020.

The college operates a national Workforce Register for first time entrants, people transitioning from adjacent industries or those wishing to upskill.

Once registered, candidates receive tailored advice on which education and training pathways can help them to upskill and secure a meaningful a career in Australia’s growing naval shipbuilding industry, or they may be referred to potential employers across Australia.

SM TAFE has been working in partnership with the defence sector for more than two decades, delivering a range of qualifications and courses throughout WA and nationally.

The WA office of the Naval Shipbuilding College is co-located within the Naval Base Campus, enhancing the partnership with the Australian government.

Stephen Kuper

Stephen Kuper

Steve has an extensive career across government, defence industry and advocacy, having previously worked for cabinet ministers at both Federal and State levels.

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