A unique program, and the first of its kind in Australia, aims to address the looming welding skills shortage in the marine and boat building industry.
Supported by the Australian Government Department of Jobs and Small Business, East Coast Apprenticeships, with the help and encouragement of key industry proponents, plans to deliver the ‘Launch into Work’ pre-employment project targeting the superyacht sector. Queensland State Government has also committed funds to implement the program.
“There is a forecast deficit of skilled welders in the superyacht sector, predicted to worsen as the industry expands,” explained Alan Sparks, CEO at East Coast Apprenticeships.
“It is hoped that additional courses would be supported by industry in the future. In the meantime, this initial program aims to deliver 14 qualified specialist welders to the sector by May 2019.
“This initiative has been developed with TAFE Queensland, SkillsTech and superyacht industry representatives to offer a unique competency and proficiency-based program to provide specialist welders to AS/NZ 1655 standard, which is required on vessels in survey.”
On track to commence in early 2019, the training will involve a 10-week course delivered by Queensland TAFE at its SkillsTech Acacia Ridge Campus, followed by a two-week placement and on-the-job experience.
“We need the support of industry to offer graduates two-week placement at no cost to employers, with the aim of taking them on and mentoring them during the term of their Certificate III Metal Fabrication Apprenticeship,” said Mr Sparks.
“We believe it’s highly likely they will complete their apprenticeships in three years, rather than three-and-a-half because of this training head start.
“We are very keen to engage with the marine industry and stakeholders,” Mr Sparks continued.
“I would like to thank SkillsTech and Rivergate Marina & Shipyard for their encouragement and support in the creation of this initiative,” he added.
Rivergate Marina & Shipyard and its tenants have collaborated with East Coast Apprenticeships on the parameters of the program.
Andrew Cannon, Rivergate General Manager said “Such initiatives are vital for ensuring the future of our industry. We must focus on training enough qualified, competent welders to grow the export industry along with the new build domestic market,” he said.
“Currently the marine industry is calling out for more skilled welders and this program will provide the additional resources for the industry as well as providing job security for people entering into this arrangement. It’s a win-win.
“While Rivergate does not conduct the physical works, our company does Project Manage large refit and construction works. This program will provide the necessary resources to the companies Rivergate engages to carry out the works schedules under our supervision and will assist in ensuring the high level of workmanship that Rivergate has become recognised for around the globe.
“Rivergate welcomes the opportunity to be actively involved in the development of the program and praises East Coast Apprenticeships, Qld TAFE and SkillsTech for this strategy and collaborative initiative.”
**Photo credits: Thumbnail, copyright Rivergate Marina & Shipyard, modified; welding, courtesy of TAFE Queensland; marina, copyright Rivergate Marina & Shipyard.