SA breaks ground on tech colleges to support submarine build

James Riley
Editorial Director

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas has broken ground on the first of five new technical colleges aimed at producing the skilled workforce to build – among other things – the nuclear submarines that have been promised to the state.

The Premier announced that BAE Systems as the Findon Technical College’s key employment partner. BAE Systems designs and builds warships and submarines – among many other things – and is already working closely with state authorities on curriculum design.

The BAE partnership would underpin the development of skills to support critical future industries like defence, ship and submarine building, among other advanced manufacturing pathways. It includes the development of employer programs including school-based traineeships as well as apprenticeships.

South Australia announced in June last year a commitment of $209 million to build and operate five technical colleges, giving students in Years 10 to 12 the opportunity to learn in purpose-built environments.

South Australia Premier Peter Malinauskas

The colleges are designed to replicate the look, feel and flow of industry workplaces – and to create an environment for practical, hands-on skills training that is valued by industry.

Premier Malinauskas used the groundbreaking ceremony for Findon to helpfully remind his federal colleagues of its commitments to build nuclear submarines in South Australia as quickly as possible.

With the federal government expected to announce its nuclear submarine acquisition strategy in the coming days – and speculation rife about what that plan looks like – Peter Malinauskas expects that commitment will be fulfilled.

“Both federal Labor, and the federal Coalition went to the last election making a clear commitment for building nuclear submarines here in South Australia as quickly as possible,” Mr Malinauskas said this week.

“Federal Labor won that election, and I will be holding them to account on that promise. But everything that the Prime Minister and the Defence minister has said up to this point indicates that they [will honour] that commitment,” he said.

The Premier said there would be students at Findon who will work at building nuclear submarines for the Navy.

“Kids who go in this building right here are going to be learning the skills and the trades that set them up to work on building on nuclear submarines, which are the most complex machines ever produced …in the history of the world,” he said.

“This is a big deal. It is our chance to a major step up in economic complexity. But you’ve got to have the workforce to do it.”

Other metropolitan technical colleges will be located at the Heights School in the north-east of Adelaide, and the Tonsley Innovation precinct in the southern suburbs. Two will also be built in regional South Australia – at Port August and Mt Gambier – with all five operational by 2026.

Each of the five technical colleges will have employer partners to work with the colleges to build a pipeline of skilled workers to their industry and to provide entry level jobs or apprenticeships for school students.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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