Future shipbuilding engineers learning with hands-on industry experience
2020 has been a challenging year for many university students, but for the recipients of the National Naval Shipbuilding Pipeline Scholarship Pilot program, the year is finishing on a high.
32 students from QUT and RMIT studying critical disciplines including computer and software systems, mechatronics, mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering will gain valuable experience through a supported work placement with Australia’s Defence Industry over the summer study break.
Students will be working with BAE Systems/ASC Shipbuilding, BOUW Ballistics, Cubic Defence Australia, DefendTex, Department of Defence, KBR, Laser Central, PHM Technology, Products for Industry, Protonautics, Raytheon and RUAG.
The National Naval Shipbuilding Pipeline Scholarship Pilot Program, funded by Defence and facilitated by NSC, aims to strengthen the pool of future engineering talent available for Australia’s Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise, and these work placements will provide the students with hands-on experience to ensure they’re job-ready upon graduation.
We caught up with three scholarship recipients to find out more about what they’re looking forward to about their placements over the next 12 weeks.
Brendan Mansell, studying a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering at RMIT, is looking forward to gaining first-hand experience with BAE Systems Australia, and says that the opportunity to work with a global leader that has many high-profile engineering projects is key for a developing engineer.
“I look forward to being able to learn more about the electrical/electronic systems that are integrated to maritime ships. In conjunction with this learning process, I hope to be able to participate in some of the electrical system design and development associated with the Hunter Class Frigates to be built for the Royal Australian Navy,” said Brendan.
“The scholarship really gives students the confirmation that their hard work and determination is being recognised. It further sharpens our focus on our university studies, as we are given the extra time, resources and work experience opportunities required to help us truly succeed in academic life, as well as preparing us for entry into the professional shipbuilding workforce.”
BAE Systems Australia Chief Technology Officer Brad Yelland says: “BAE Systems and ASC Shipbuilding need thousands of the brightest and most innovative minds to deliver the Hunter Class Frigate Program and provide important sustainment work across the country.”
“Many of our future workers are coming through our education system right now, and through supporting placements for these students we develop our future workforce. This is a positive step for these students towards securing a long-term career, sustainable career within the sector,” he said.
For QUT Bachelor of Engineering and Computer Software Systems student, George Patterson, a placement at the Hydrographic Systems Program Office in Cairns will provide him with an opportunity to work with hydrographic processing software, data collection and algorithms.
“What I’m most excited about is the opportunity to finally apply what I’ve learnt at uni into a professional environment and get that hands-on experience. I know that industry experience is very important and having studied for three years I’m very keen to get a taste for the workforce. I know that there is cutting edge technology in the shipbuilding programs and I’m happy to be a part of it,” said George.
”The scholarship means a great deal to me. To be involved in the shipbuilding workforce makes me excited for the future. The scholarship provides me a lot – financial support, the internship placement, and the NSC’s Workforce Register has shown me a lot of opportunities I can expect when I graduate.”
Mechatronics Engineering student from QUT, Maria Vargas Duque, has been placed with Laser Central and says: “This is a unique experience that I wouldn’t get anywhere else. I am looking forward to testing out my skills at Laser Central and gaining real-world experience in the shipbuilding enterprise. I feel that I will be better placed as a graduate to enter the workforce after this experience.”
“As a mechatronics engineer in the making, using the latest technology to find solutions for real-world problems is exciting. The opportunity of gaining work experience in the shipbuilding enterprise – which is such a massive endeavour that means so much for the whole of Australia – is a once in lifetime opportunity,” she said.
Suzanne Ship, CEO of Laser Central said “Laser Central is a 100% Australian Owned business, aspiring to be the number one metal processing partner by 2025. In order to achieve this goal, we must be innovative and constantly challenging the status quo.
“We focus on our people, our clients and our future and by supporting the next generation of engineers through this scholarship program, Laser Central benefits, by staying abreast of new ideas and the best technology and enabling diversity.
By supporting this program, we are also able to help grow and provide opportunities to young Australian talent who will be the future leaders, to prosper and succeed.”