Australia launches first digital ship building course

Image courtesy of ASC Shipbuilding, BAE Systems Australia

A new Commonwealth-funded course at Flinders University has opened as part of a $35 billion digital upskilling program to provide further training for ship builders.

The Diploma of Digital Technology will combine theoretical approaches to Industry 4.0 technology with hands-on experience to prepare students for work at the state-of-the-art Osborne Naval shipyard in South Australia.

The course, which is a partnership between ASC Shipbuilding and the university, aims to apply research and teaching expertise to meet the needs to the defence industry.

Flinders University president and vice-chancellor Professor Colin Stirling said the university was delighted to once again partner with industry to train skilled workers.

“Flinders University is committed to collaborating with our national and international partners to achieve practical, industry-aligned research and education solutions that build the capabilities, productivity and expertise of their workforce as well as contribute to broader economic benefits,” he said.

According to the press release, the government’s $90 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan will create thousands of jobs in South Australia, with the workforce expected to grow from 2,500 workers today to more than 6,300 by 2030.

The Naval Shipbuilding Plan was first announced by the Department of Defence in 2017, which outlined the government’s vision for the Australian naval shipbuilding enterprise and significant investment.

The plan is expected to create a long-term, sustainable naval shipbuilding and ship sustainment capability to serve strategic and economic interests for many decades.

ASC Shipbuilding managing director Craig Lockhart said the partnership will enable current shipbuilders to keep pace with the latest trends and ensure they are equipped for the future.

“Our partnership with Flinders University means we will upskill shipbuilders on the latest in Industry 4.0 technologies and techniques, benefiting not only the Hunter Class Frigate Program but the broader shipbuilding industry,” he said.

Fifty-three shipbuilding workers, whose roles on the Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyer Program have ended, will take part in the program.