Sinking a skills shortage: education and training for shipbuilding set to expand

 Last week universities scrambled aboard the starlight express when the government announced a national space agency. This weeks the news is naval.

Still set to sail

Christopher Pyne still says his proposed navy shipbuilding college will launch next year. The Defence Industry minister announced the college back in March (CMM March 27) and since then has consistently said it will be based on Adelaide (at the Osborne ship yard, we now know) but will involve universities and trainers around the country in a hub and spokes structure.

In  a speech this week Mr Pyne added the college,“will attract, train and re-train more than 1,500 students across Australia in its first few years.”

“The college will also manage the rapid expansion of skilled shipbuilding workers in Australia, collaborating with government and industry to ensure the right workforce supply,” the minister said.

The government requested proposals for the college at the end of May but when the college will launch and who will crew it continues unannounced. If it is to launch for the standard academic year a 2018 start looks tight.

Another plan

The college is not the only training programme on the slips. German firm Luerssen wants to build the next patrol boat fleet and plans to partner with the Defence Industry Education and Skills Consortium (including UniSA, UniAdelaide, Flinders, RMIT) to provide shipbuilding training.

Plus ideas

Shipbuilder Fincantieri will fund technology innovations proposed by researchers at Flinders U and partner Genoa University. Flinders VC Colin Stirling points to university research that adapted fibre optics used in gastrointestinal research to work on noise and pressure in submarines. Fincantieri is shortlisted to build the navy’s nine antisubmarine warfare frigates.

Just when it gets interesting

The University of Tasmania’s Australian Maritime College is losing its principal. Neil Bose is leaving after 10 years at the AMC, including five at the helm, to become vice president research at Memorial U, the higher education institution for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Professor Bose departs as the AMC extends its reach, announcing new degree courses at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney ( CMM August 31). Five day courses in supply chain management and “fundamentals of naval architecture are on at the ANMM next month.


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