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Welding accreditation first step in Australian shipbuilding future

Australia’s Naval Shipbuilding College has certified the welding course at TAFE SA as its first training program to build the nation’s future navy.

Based at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia, the Naval Shipbuilding College has endorsed the welding component of the Certificate III in Engineering Fabrication Trade at TAFE SA to help up-skill workers to build Australia’s future frigates, offshore patrol vessels and submarines.

Welding has been identified by the college as a critical requirement for future shipbuilding needs due to the long lead time required to train tradespeople.

It is estimated that almost half of the 2,600 tradespeople needed for the continuous naval shipbuilding program in South Australia will be welders.

TAFE SA has fabricated a welding rig specifically for shipbuilding, which will also be used as a template by other training providers around the country for up-skilling existing workers and apprentices.

TAFE SA interim Chief Executive, Alex Reid, said that TAFE SA is helping to meet the increase in demand for a skilled workforce.

“We will continue to work hard to align programs with the shipbuilding needs of Australia’s defence industry, which also increases the employability of our graduates,” he said.

The South Australian government has also pledged $1 million for state-of-the-art welding simulators to be installed for the Advanced Welder Training Centre at the TAFE SA facility in Regency Park.

The Australian government established the Naval Shipbuilding College in April to secure a sovereign workforce to implement its $90 billion continuous shipbuilding program.

The college doesn’t teach courses but instead links industry and accredited education providers nationwide and connects the workforce with employers and the education system using a national workforce register.

It is operated by the Naval Shipbuilding Institute, an Australian joint venture between Kellogg Brown & Root and America’s largest military shipbuilding company Huntington Ingalls Industries.

Naval Shipbuilding College skilling services manager Mark Scott said it would continue to work closely with each sector to complete a needs analysis, to help align training and education programs with the cutting-edge needs of further shipbuilding.

“Endorsement is a vital step in ensuring quality assurance and consistency in delivery across training and education providers,” said Scott.

“The endorsement framework stipulates ongoing monitoring and evaluation of associated programs with our training providers and partners to meet the needs of industry.”

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