Inaugural digital shipbuilding graduates shine

51 shipbuilding workers have all started in new highly-skilled roles after graduating from Australia’s first digital shipbuilding course, the Diploma of Digital Technologies.

Developed through a partnership between Flinders University and BAE Systems Maritime Australia, the Diploma was launched in March 2020 and funded by the Federal and South Australian governments

The inaugural group of graduates have been recognised at a special ceremony held at Flinders University’s Tonsley campus, after successfully completing the digital upskilling program.

The Diploma equipped graduates with the digital skills required to support the $45 billion Hunter Class Frigate Program, which is being delivered by BAE Systems Maritime Australia.

During the 10-month course, students developed future-focused skills in innovation and industry 4.0, cybersecurity, digital design, design for manufacture, cyber-physical systems, robotics and automation.

26 year old Jaryd spent seven years on the Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyer Program before embarking on the diploma to expand his opportunities in the shipbuilding industry.

“The digital diploma has given me the opportunity to expand my career from my trade as a fitter, combining skills I learned in the Diploma with those I already had, to start a new career in digital design.”

34 year old Judd, now a Detailed Designer with BAE Systems Maritime Australia, says the Diploma provided detailed exposure to new technology, industry innovations and expert support.

“Giving me skills and knowledge that will be the foundation of my new career in digital design at Osborne.”

Vice President and Executive Dean of the College of Science and Engineering Professor Alistair Rendell, Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni MP, Flinders University Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Clare Pollock, Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling, Professor in Innovation & Director for the Diploma of Digital Technologies Giselle Rampersad and BAE Systems Maritime Australia Managing Director Craig Lockhart.

In congratulating the students on their achievement, Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling reflected that the course is testament to the power of partnerships.

“I extend thanks to the federal and state governments for their support in bringing this award-winning program to life, built on the combined expertise of Flinders University and BAE Systems Maritime Australia, in collaboration with TAFE SA. Congratulations to our inaugural students for their determination and resilience in completing this course despite the disruptions of Covid-19.

Flinders University Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Clare Pollock, says the university is delighted all 51 students secured roles in the defence industry.

“This wouldn’t have been possible without the Diploma, which equips those who have been in the workforce for many years with the new, digital skills essential for modern shipbuilding.”

“We applaud our students on their terrific achievements in graduating, with all securing roles at BAE Systems Maritime Australia. This represents 100% employability following the Diploma.

“It’s a genuine team effort  with our collaborators, students and federal and state governments and we look forward to building on this success into the future.”

BAE Systems Maritime Australia Managing Director, Craig Lockhart, says the Diploma of Digital Technologies provided shipbuilders on the AWD program the opportunity to update their skills and knowledge by combining theoretical approaches to Industry 4.0 technology with hands-on experience.

“The students are already applying the skills they’ve learned over the past 10 months at the new shipyard at Osborne, where prototyping for the Hunter Class Frigate Program is underway.

“More than half of the group have transitioned from trade-based roles to engineering, project management and supply chain roles, and I’m looking forward to watching Hunter’s newest employees forge new career paths.

“It’s fantastic we’ve been able to retain this naval shipbuilding capability representing hundreds of years’ shipbuilding experience.”

2020 was a challenging year but the course was quickly transitioned online in response to Covid-19 and returned to face-to-face learning at Tonsley when it was safe to do so.

The Diploma has already been recognised nationally for its significant advancement in teaching, winning the prestigious ‘Training and Mentorship Program of the Year’ in 2020 at the Defence Connect Australian Defence Industry Awards.

Professor in Innovation & Director for the Diploma of Digital Technologies, Giselle Rampersad, says the program highlights successful partnership between university, industry, and government.

“And the strategic importance of Australian organisations being able to use digital technologies to boost sovereign manufacturing capacity in a cost-effective fashion and for international competitiveness.

“We plan to expand the program to include SMEs and organisations from a broad range of sectors from defence to manufacturing, health, energy and construction, which will also benefit from digital upskilling, a key contributor to economic growth.”

“I congratulated our inaugural group of Diploma graduates at a special ceremony on Friday, 5 February at our Tonsley campus which recognised their outstanding achievement having upskilled in advanced manufacturing and industry 4.0.

“The success of this program is a testament to Flinders experts applying their research and teaching expertise in digital systems in collaboration with our partners to develop this nationally awarded program.”


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College of Science and Engineering Defence Research

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