Next generation enters shipbuilding industry – Naval Shipbuilding College

Next generation enters shipbuilding industry

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sixteen new apprentices recently joined the naval shipbuilding industry with ASC and Naval Group Australia operations in Western Australia and South Australia.


The apprentices were selected from applicants from across the country and will become fully qualified tradespeople in fabrication, electrical and mechanical trades.


Benefiting from 30 years of ASC’s experience, building and sustaining submarines, they also become part of ASC’s strong safety culture, which prioritises the safety of all workers.


They join ASC’s 1300-strong workforce across two states, bringing their total number of apprentices to 57, including the first three submarine apprentices for the Attack Class Submarine Program with Naval Group Australia.


On commencement with Naval Group Australia the submarine apprentices met with the Naval Group Australia team and experienced a virtual walk through of the future Submarine Construction Yard, which is due to commence construction in 2020 on 40 hectares of land at Osborne, South Australia.


“I have always wanted to work in the Australian Defence Force but I have been limited due to a [sporting] knee injury, so I thought through doing something like this I could help our country in another way,” 19-year- old apprentice Renee McDonald said.


“It will be challenging getting up to speed with it all, but I am sure this will lead to long-term employment and I’m really happy to be here.”


The three apprentices also visited several high schools in Adelaide and spoke to Year 10 to 12 students about why they should consider a career within the naval shipbuilding industry and the steps they need to take to get there.


Dylan Raggat, 25, has always enjoyed working with his hands, so when his last career path as a personal trainer didn’t end up being what he wanted to do, he decided to try the next best thing.


“I grew up in a town called Morgan in the Riverland, and I went to Waikerie High School where I enjoyed doing metal work,” he said.


“I decided to pursue a career in the welding industry and ended up really enjoying this.”


The apprentices have now transitioned to ASC where they have commenced their four-year fabrication apprenticeship program working on the Collins Class submarine program at their submarine deep maintenance operation in Osborne, South Australia.


Luke Thompson, 19, undertook two weeks of work experience at ASC and really enjoyed it. “I always knew I wanted to do a trade rather than going to university,” he said.


“When this opportunity came up I was very interested and I felt this would be a really positive experience with a lot of opportunities.”


Nick Dudley, former Workforce Planning & Development Manager for ASC now Workforce Planning Director for the College, welcomed the new generation of apprentices.


“Welding and fabricating submarine steel is highly challenging work that requires dedication, skill and attention to detail over an extended period,” he said.


“Every weld is examined using a range of non-destructive techniques, to ensure the apprentice reaches the required level before winning qualification.”


Upon completion of their apprenticeships with ASC towards the end of 2023, the three submarine apprentices will transfer back to Naval Group Australia and form part of the hull qualification section’s core team for the Attack Class Submarine program.

The first three submarine apprentices: (L-R) Dylan Raggatt, Renee McDonald and Luke Thompson

Please note: images contained in this article took place before COVID-19 social distancing restrictions were in place. The College is currently following whole-of-government guidance from the Department of Health in relation to COVID-19.

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