Sunk costs in shipbuilding skills

Opposition SA senator Simon Birmingham says the Naval Shipbuilding College, based in Adelaide is set to close

This, he says, is a bad thing, because, “one of the biggest risks to successful naval shipbuilding in Australia are workforce challenges.”

CMM asked the Department of Defence if the closure claim is so, but alas, DoD did not respond.

But if the senator is correct he has a point, just not one the college ever did much to address – not teaching anybody how to build anything.

The Naval Shipbuilding College was supposed to start training people in 2018 (CMM November 15 2017) but instead “supports job seekers through providing personalised career and training advice, to help you secure employment” (CMM September 5 2022).

Whether or not the college is officially sunk, it is not much use to the Navy’s skills-needs, what with a big surface-ship building programme and the need to plan for maintaining (at least) nuclear subs.

In September SA Premier Peter Malinauskas proposed a defence manufacturing workforce plan, which the feds have backed (CMM September 5 2022). It will, “make recommendations on key defence industry workforce and skilling issues in South Australia.”

Good – o, but perhaps the new plan might suggest picking up the pace on institutions and courses to do the skilling.