Plan for South Australian defence workforce revealed

Building on our proud legacy as Australia’s Defence State, the State Government has partnered with the Commonwealth Government to help the defence industry shore up the necessary pipeline of highly skilled workers required to fulfil current and horizon projects – funding workforce initiatives that help attract, upskill and retain workers.  

The South Australian Defence Industry Workforce and Skills Report details targeted initiatives that accelerate the work already underway to grow the South Australian defence industry workforce.

Building a capability pipeline across education, training and employment, the initiatives are designed to grow a skilled and inclusive workforce; from school, VET and university graduates through to those looking to switch careers.

Importantly, the report also recognises the need to broaden the existing demographic of defence industry workers, and outlines initiatives designed to bolster the diversity of the defence and broader STEM workforce – supporting more women and First Nations people to access these high-value careers.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Richard Marles, explained the report presents a comprehensive plan to grow, build and sustain the South Australian defence industry workforce, which is critical to delivering SSN-AUKUS, continuous naval shipbuilding and other Defence projects.

“Some initiatives will leverage and expand on existing programs, building on substantial work already underway across government, defence industry and education and VET sectors. Other initiatives are new to help address identified skills gaps,” said Mr Marles.

“Collaborative and enduring partnerships between the Commonwealth and South Australian Governments, defence industry, unions and education and training providers will underpin this critical workforce expansion and capability uplift overtime.”

South Australian Premier, Peter Malinauskas, echoed that the state will play a lead role in growing the nation’s industrial base to build the most complex machines in the world.

“Our critical national Defence projects, including nuclear-powered submarines, will be delivered with the strength of a highly educated, highly trained workforce with the cutting-edge skills and capabilities of the future,” said Mr Malinauskas.

“The South Australian Defence Industry Workforce and Skills Taskforce has enabled our South Australian and Commonwealth Governments to work together towards a common goal – an agile and highly-skilled workforce equipped to execute Defence’s most complex national security projects.

“It is my hope the integrated workforce and skills plan for South Australia can be used as a best practice model for workforce expansion across the defence industry nationally.”

The report was developed by the South Australian Defence Industry Workforce and Skills Taskforce in close consultation with industry, education and training providers and unions.

The next phase of activity is the implementation of the South Australian Defence Industry Workforce and Skills Report, which will commence with a detailed co-design process of the proposed initiatives with key stakeholders, including industry, unions, and the education and training sector.

View the full report at