Workforce and Skills Development

The South Australian Government, in partnership with defence industry, the Australian Government and our local educational institutions support and develop our workforce.

South Australia is enjoying unprecedented growth in the defence industry, with many major shipbuilding and ISREW projects underway or about to commence. We are committed to growing and enhancing our current workforce and increasing the number of graduates in advanced trades, diploma and technical professions. These skills are an essential ingredient in meeting the workforce demands of the defence industry and the increased focus on advanced manufacturing and new technologies.

A key initiative is a whole of government Defence Industry Workforce and Skills Strategy led by Defence SA. The strategy will provide a framework for engaging collaboratively with the Australian Government, industry and educational institutions to promote the opportunities that exist and provide responsive and meaningful curriculum and qualifications to those who aspire to join the industry. The plan also supports workers transitioning from other sectors, STEM programs in our schools and increasing the participating of women and indigenous people in the industry.

Other major initiatives include:

  • a $200 million apprenticeship program to support an additional 20,000 work-based apprenticeships and traineeships in key industries including defence
  • New Designated Area Migration Agreements, including the Adelaide Technology and Innovation Advancement Agreement, which supports local businesses to sponsor skilled overseas workers in high-tech growth industries such as defence, space, technology and advanced manufacturing sectors.  
  • development and implementation of a Veterans Employment Program for ex-service personnel in collaboration with the Defence Teaming Centre
  • the Naval Shipbuilding College, headquartered in Adelaide, has partnered with education and industry providers across Australia, to increase the size and skill-level of Australia’s naval shipbuilding and sustainment workforce
  • the state’s three universities have established tailored graduate and postgraduate programs to meet the demand for skills in naval shipbuilding
  • a dedicated Maritime High School and The Heights School as a defence high school with defence scholarship and internship programs
  • dedicated defence honours scholarship and internship programs
  • new technical college planned for Adelaide’s western suburbs, with a focus on defence
  • a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Skills Strategy for South Australia 
  • Defence industry representation on the South Australian Training and Skills Commission and supporting Industry Skills Councils
  • new $1 million welding simulator centre at the Regency Campus of TAFE SA