SA government partners with HII to boost shipbuilding capabilities

A new partnership between the South Australian Government and the United States’ largest shipbuilder, HII, will accelerate the development of the state’s defence industry workforce, skills and supply chain.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the South Australian Government and HII’s newly formed Australian entity, HII Nuclear Australia Pty Ltd, was signed on 13 November in Adelaide. The MoU outlines an arrangement to work together, leveraging HII’s international expertise to ready South Australia for major shipbuilding projects on the horizon.

The parties will work with local companies, academia and education providers to develop a skilled workforce and strengthen Australia’s industry capability, including:

  • Workforce and skills interventions to increase diversity of the STEM pipeline and address critical skills needs
  • Supply chain capability uplift programs
  • Pilot programs with South Australia’s education and training providers for innovative approaches to skills delivery.

With a division of HII, Newport News Shipbuilding, one of only two shipyards capable of designing and building nuclear-powered submarines, the MoU will prove invaluable as South Australian embarks on the construction of Australia’s fleet of nuclear-powered submarines (SSN-AUKUS), to be built at the world-class Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide.

HII also has a strong track record of delivering long-term workforce development initiatives in the US, investing early to engage primary and high-school aged children in STEM education, which is a critical pillar of work required in South Australia to build the skilled workforce required for major shipbuilding projects.

HII President, Nuclear and Environmental Services, Michael Lempke who visited Adelaide to sign the agreement, welcomed the partnership.

“This partnership with the South Australian Government is an honour and a significant strategic advantage in HII’s effort to support workforce development aligned with the goals of AUKUS,” Ms Lempke said.

“As the largest employer in many of the communities in which HII operates, we believe that businesses share in the responsibility of developing a skilled workforce.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Defence and Space Industries Susan Close said work needs to begin in earnest to equip the local workforce with the specific skillsets required.

“This Memorandum of Understanding is a great step towards preparing South Australians for defence industry roles and unlocking the full economic potential of our major shipbuilding projects,” he said.

The MoU follows the recent release of the SA Defence Industry Workforce and Skills Report, which details targeted initiatives to grow and sustain South Australia’s defence industry workforce for the future.

Read the media release