South Australia’s Axiom Precision Manufacturing may nearly double its local workforce in the next decade after transitioning from the automotive industry to other growth industries, including defence.
Once a key supplier in Australia’s automotive industry, the Wingfield-based company is now working on some of the largest defence projects in the state.
Axiom general manager Craig Maynard predicts the firm’s 50-strong workforce will grow by 25 to 40 per cent in the next 10 years, thanks to the increase in work from major defence projects.
“The automotive industry once accounted for almost 95 per cent of our business, now it represents less than 5 per cent, with the majority of work coming from other growth sectors like defence,” he said.
“We are currently working with ASC to provide reverse engineered components for submarine engines, and BAE Systems Australia creating vertical tails for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
“It’s an exciting time for South Australia’s defence industry. There’s some big opportunities for companies to build on their futures over the next 30 to 40 years.
“We see a lot of growth coming from other future defence projects, including the Future Frigates, and exporting defence products.”
Mr Maynard said the company is now focused on upskilling and re-training its current workforce in advanced manufacturing to be ready for upcoming defence projects.
It has assisted three of its automotive workers undertake mechanical apprenticeships and is training an additional two school leavers, with help from a specialist in-house trainer in conjunction with TAFE SA.
Axiom apprentice Joseph Walasek, 26, started at the company in 2013 as a machine operator, assisting with the production of Ford and Holden car parts, but is now a second year machinist apprentice, receiving in-house, on-the-job training.
“The transition (from automotive to defence) has been pretty smooth. Some of the skills were transferrable, but it’s just more skilled work and you have to think about it,” he said.
“There’s a lot of work coming up for South Australia’s defence industry which is good. It will definitely be more sustainable than automotive, which is almost gone in South Australia.”
Axiom will be among a number of companies showcasing their capabilities to the world on the Defence SA exhibition stand at Land Forces in Adelaide, from 4-6 September 2018.
For more information about the company, including job opportunities, visit: http://www.axiompm.com.au/