PM earmarks $108m for defence industry workforce expansion

PM earmarks $108m for defence industry workforce expansion

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged to bolster the nation’s defence manufacturing base under an expanded training program.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced $108.5 million would be invested in the upskilling of an additional 1,500 Australians for jobs in the defence industry if re-elected to government later this month.

This would involve expanding the Defence Industry Pathways Program beyond its pilot to 14 regions across the country under a nationally accredited Certificate III – Defence Industry Pathways.

Students would be provided with practical experience in technical trades, including welding, electric, engineering, project management and logistics, cyber security, and computer-aided design skills.

More than 50 major prime and small businesses are reportedly committing approximately 170,000 hours of supervisory oversight for the current 120 trainees, offering commercial premises, facilities and equipment.

Some of the existing trainees have already entered discussions for longer term employment opportunities.

Regions to be supported by the expanded program include:

  • Newcastle and the Hunter region (aerospace);
  • Sydney and surrounds (maritime and aerospace);
  • Cairns (maritime);
  • Townsville (land and aerospace);
  • Brisbane and surrounds (land and aerospace);
  • Darwin and surrounds (maritime, aerospace and land);
  • Perth and surrounds (maritime, aerospace and explosive ordnance);
  • Adelaide (maritime, aerospace and land);
  • Bendigo (land);
  • Benalla and Mulwala (explosive ordnance);
  • Melbourne and surrounds (maritime);
  • Geelong and surrounds (land);
  • East Sale (aerospace); and
  • Hobart and Launceston (maritime).

“Our investment in building the capabilities of Australia’s defence force is about keeping our country strong and secure and backing local skills and jobs,” Prime Minister Morrison said.

“Australia has a record 220,000 people in trades training but as our defence investments grow, so does the demand for skilled Australians to move into the industry.

“A strong pipeline of workers will make our $270 billion defence investment into the equipment and capabilities Australia needs.”

He added: “The skills and knowledge this program will give to graduates will set them up for a career in defence equipment manufacturing technology and set them up for life.”

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the initiative would help meet the growing needs of Australia’s defence industry workforce.

“By training an extra 1,500 workers with on-the-job experience we know these graduates will be ready to walk into the workplace.”