New era defence industry workforce

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Australia’s next fleet of 12 submarines will be built in Adelaide, with the Federal Government announcing 2,800 jobs as a result. The $50 billion contract is being hailed a ‘real victory for the people of Adelaide.’


Couple this with the recent commitment to build our offshore patrol vessels in Australia, and things are looking bright for the defence industry.

Building a sustainable defence industry

The seamless flow of work from the Air Warfare Destroyer, to OPVs, future frigates and now submarines, will see local businesses and workers provided with sustainable work for decades to come – according to an article by the Defence Teaming Centre.

The industry will play a key role in facilitating innovation. Advanced manufacturing is at the core of our country’s future growth and we’re now in a position to invest in it. As a result, this will stimulate the Australian domestic economy.

New high-tech jobs

The all-new, advanced local defence manufacturing industry, outlined in a 20-year defence industry plan, shows thousands of new jobs and huge investments in our capacity and security.

Detailed in the budget is $195 billion of funding, including $50 billion for 12 submarines, plus $35 billion for frigates and $3 billion for offshore patrol vessels.

“Increasing defence’s capability supports the government’s efforts to respond to challenges to global security and secure Australia’s advanced defence manufacturing industry here in Australia, driving new high-tech jobs for decades,” the budget papers state.

Protect the industry that protects us

The Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull believes we need a strong Australian defence industry so that we have continuous construction.

Turnbull has recently shared plans for a $230 million defence innovation centre in Adelaide. Geared to help small businesses to supply defence markets and open up export opportunities, the centre will support new manufacturing activity in the state.

This means that innovative approaches to workforce planning and development will need to underpin capability.

For example, the SA Defence Industry Leadership Program. It’s an action-packed, eight-month program – combining facilitated workshops, presentations from senior defence, site visits to key infrastructure, physical & intellectual assignments with access to build industry relationships.

But South Australia isn’t the only state benefiting from the changes. A Queensland Air Force project will also create 3,500 civilian jobs in Ipswich. The Amberley Defence Support Centre will bring in $500 million per year, as well as other economic and operational benefits.

With all of the changes coming to fruition, there’s a need for long-term, independent national planning – instead of ‘project-centric bursts.’

It requires a clear vision and tangible plan. Workforce planning can help the defence industry, as well as many others, to become a strong and sustainable economic force.

If you would like to know more about workforce planning and development strategies in your own industry, please contact Wendy Perry at

November 2016

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