The Naval Shipbuilding College believes strengthening the flexibility and attractiveness of Australia’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector can play a critical role in avoiding any future skills shortages.
The Naval Shipbuilding Institute (NSI) established the Naval Shipbuilding College to grow the sovereign workforce needed to build and sustain the Royal Australian Navy’s future fleet, including the Attack class submarines, Hunter class frigates and Arafura class offshore patrol vessels.
The NSI provided a submission to the Australian Government’s review into the Australian VET system, which is focused on enhancing the existing capacity and capability to help equip Australians with the skills they need for success in a changing labour market.
NSI Program Director Bill Docalovich said it was important for VET learning, including apprenticeships, to shake off the tag of the ‘poor cousin’ when it came to post-high school education and training.
“Many people are unaware of the broad range of qualifications than can be obtained through the VET sector which can directly lead to meaningful and rewarding careers,’’ he said.
“Advanced manufacturing and trade occupations require high level numeracy and communication skills across all levels within organisations.
“Students, parents and schools have often focused on pathways towards university degrees and placed all their eggs in one basket with an over reliance on an ATAR result without consideration of other very worthwhile options for further learning.
“To meet current and future industry requirements in naval shipbuilding, Australia needs to ensure the VET and higher education sectors are both high functioning and complementary.
“It is beneficial for students and industry for people to complete both VET and higher education qualifications throughout their careers.’’
In naval shipbuilding there is a diversity of skilled and professional jobs coming through the pipeline providing individuals with the unique opportunity to move from the ship deck to the board room.
VET courses are often the first gateway into these long and rewarding careers – they offer students and transitioning workers the practical skills and knowledge they need for success.
It’s also hoped the report will lead to additional support for Australian’s Small to Medium Enterprises to gain access to a skilled workforce, promoting growth across the naval shipbuilding enterprise.
The Naval Shipbuilding College is collaborating with shipbuilders and supply chain industries to understand workforce requirements throughout the construction and sustainment stage.
This collaboration provides the details to work with established training and education providers nationally and support the enhancement and endorsement of their programs of study. This will ensure their programs align with the future needs of the naval shipbuilding industry.