Hunter frigate apprentices sail to next stage of career

Some of South Australia’s youngest and brightest apprentices are forging life-long careers in the state’s naval shipbuilding industry, having recently completed the first stage of their apprenticeship on the Hunter Class Frigate Program.

Marking a significant step towards building Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding workforce, BAE Systems Australia’s first 16 school-based apprentices graduated from high school and will now enter the next phase of their apprenticeship program.

The apprentices, who are from 10 South Australian high schools, will now work full-time at the Osborne Naval Shipyard for a further three years, before becoming fully qualified skilled tradespeople on the Hunter Class Frigate program.

BAE Systems Maritime Australia Managing Director Craig Lockhart congratulated the students, who joined BAE’s Shipbuilding Readiness Training Program after it was launched in 2020.

“It’s been tremendous to track the progress of our first apprentices on the Hunter Class Frigate Program and see them develop professionally and personally,” he said.

“At the Osborne shipyard we’re building more than ships, we’re building a sovereign defence industry and a workforce capable of designing and building the ships our navy needs today, and the future warships they’ll need tomorrow.

“Next year we’ll have our apprentices working full time in the shipyard alongside our seasoned and experienced naval shipbuilders who have built some of the most capable warships in our nation’s fleet; the experience and training they will gain will set them up for a long and rewarding career in the defence industry.”

BAE Systems Australia currently employs 34 apprentices on the Hunter Class Frigate Program and they are among the first of 1000 apprentices and graduates who will work on the multi-decade program to design, build and deliver nine anti-submarine warfare frigates for the Royal Australian Navy.

There has never been a better time to consider a career in South Australia’s defence industry. The state is home to a critical mass of world-class industry, delivering many of Defence’s largest and most complex projects.

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