Sovereign shipbuilding capability retained in Hunter Class Frigate project

January 28, 2021 – The Morrison Government’s Hunter Class Frigate Project continues to ramp up its Australian workforce, with the graduates of Australia’s first digital shipbuilding course beginning work on the Project.

The Diploma of Digital Technology, run by the prime contractor for the Hunter Class Frigate Project, BAE Systems Maritime Australia and Flinders University, was launched in March last year.

The course has been training workers in the systems and processes required to build Navy’s nine new anti-submarine warfare frigates.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said important naval shipbuilding capability had been retained, with the graduates having a combined total of around 700 years of shipbuilding experience.

“All 51 students who completed the course were originally working on the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Project. They will now begin work on the Hunter Project, with two students initially commencing on the Offshore Patrol Vessel Project,” Minister Reynolds said.

“With the major milestone of commencement of prototyping reached in December last year, it is vital that we see continued growth in the shipbuilding workforce that will employ 15,000 personnel across Australia as part of this Government’s $183 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan.

“Following the completion of this course, the graduates now have the required skills to work in our state-of-the-art digital shipyard facility at Osborne South in Adelaide.

“They can use their newly gained digital skills to forge a new career path, with more than half being redeployed into engineering, project management and supply chain roles on the Hunter Class Project. The remainder will go into operations roles where they will put their new skills into practice on the shop floor.”

Some 2500 direct jobs are expected to be created under the new Frigate program.

Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said the course has been an important tool to upskill existing employees to ensure Australia retains a skilled and experienced naval shipbuilding workforce.

“The course has allowed Flinders University to deliver skills that are directly relevant to the naval shipbuilding industry, and allowed students to undertake hands-on solutions in their workplace,” Mr Tudge said.

“Less than a year after we launched the diploma, we have the first graduates applying their skills in the workforce.”

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the Morrison Government is working with industry partners like BAE to ensure we have the Australian workforce for projects such as the Hunter Class Frigates.

“BAE Systems Maritime Australia has already brought on apprentices who work alongside the 1000 personnel working on the Hunter project,” Minister Price said.

“We look forward to seeing many more graduates in the coming years who will assist in building the Hunter project workforce.

“Our Naval Shipbuilding College is also working with Australia’s growing defence industry and education institutions to ensure we have the workforce required for our record investment in defence capability.”

The Diploma of Digital Technology was awarded Training and Mentorship Project of the Year at the 2020 Defence Connect Australian Defence Industry Awards.

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