Systems Australia announced that its Hunter Class Frigate Program’s first 16 apprentices have graduated from high school and will now enter the next phase of their apprenticeship program. As full-time apprentices at the Osborne Naval Shipyard, the apprentices will train for a further three years before becoming fully fledged tradespeople on the Hunter Class Frigate program.

In 2020, BAE Systems Australia launched its award winning Shipbuilding Readiness Training Program which saw the first apprentices join the Hunter Class Frigate Program. Since then, these school-based apprentices from 10 South Australian high schools have undertaken classroom based learning at school, and practical training at Regency TAFE and in the shipyard. The students have used the South Australian Government Flexible Industry Pathways program by firstly completing their Certificate II in Engineering Pathways in 2020 and in 2021 commenced their Certificate III in Engineering/Fabrication and used this qualification as credit towards their South Australian Certificate of Education.

BAE Systems Maritime Australia currently employs 34 apprentice on the Hunter Class Frigate Program and they are among the first of 1000 apprentices and graduates who will work on the multi-decade program to design, build and deliver nine anti-submarine warfare frigates for the Royal Australian Navy. Progress on the Hunter Class Frigate Program continues at pace with construction underway on the first two prototyping blocks and more than 1,300 people working on the program. Contract awards to Australian industry exceed contractual commitments, with more than 40 contracts with Australian businesses to support design and prototyping placed. The program recently achieved a major engineering milestone, transferring more than 2 million digital artefacts and 90,000 documents from the UK to Australia in support of local warship design capability.

Craig Lockhart, Managing Director BAE Systems Maritime Australia said: “It’s been great to track the progress of our first apprentices on the Hunter Class Frigate Program and see them develop professionally and personally. At the Osborne shipyard we’re building more than ships, we’re building a sovereign defence industry and a workforce capable of designing and building the ships our navy needs today, and the future warships they’ll need tomorrow. Next year we’ll have our apprentices working full time in the shipyard alongside our seasoned and experienced naval shipbuilders who have built some of the most capable warships in our nation’s fleet; the experience and training they will gain will set them up for a long and rewarding career in the defence industry.”

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