Subs workforce: how many and trained where

Ever since the Turnbull Government announced the then big-deal indeed naval shipbuilding programme CMM has been asking about skill requirements and workforce planning

The question has just got way bigger with the future need to maintain and then build RAN nuclear submarines.

So good for Troy Williams from private provider lobby Independent Tertiary Education Australia who sets out the three stages,

* building the construction yard – the 4000 worker project is “the easiest part”

* supporting the USN Virginia Class subs – which will require trainers and assessors, “with expertise that the skills training system currently does not have” to develop a maintenance workforce

* design and construction of the successor AUKUS submarines, requiring up to 5500 workers, with skills not now “found domestically”

So where will the workers come from

Last September SA premier, Peter Malinauskas proposed a defence workforce plan to meet skilled labour needs in the state, for the RAN’s construction programme – and that was before there was any public word of building nuclear submarines. The feds agreed (September 5) but not much has been said since.

Perhaps from a “dedicated skills academy”

Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor told Adelaide Radio 5AA  HERE,we are looking at having a dedicated skills academy.”

“If you look at what happens in the United States and the United Kingdom, they have dedicated defence skills academies, where they can really ensure people are acquiring the skills that are necessary. Whether they’ve been re-skilled, upskilled, or provided new skills, and that’s really important to ensure that people understand that if they’re gaining those skills, they’ve got the prospects of good employment.”

Good- oh, as long as any academy does not end up like the previous government’s Naval Shipbuilding College, which did actually teach how to build ships (CMM March 2 2020).