The Western Australia government has unveiled its blueprint to build a strong and sustainable local defence industry, including analysis, planning, and investment to support the sector’s workforce and diversify Western Australia’s economy. The Western Australian Defence Industry Workforce Development Plan 2022−27 is a ‘WA joint force’ approach to building defence capabilities across all five defence domains.
The plan has been developed through the Department of Training and Workforce Development’s Western Australian Defence Industry Workforce Office and co-signatories comprised of government agencies, Team WA universities, TAFE, and unions working with the State’s defence industry and peak representative bodies.
A key focus of the plan is boosting WA’s capability to develop a pipeline of skilled professional and para-professional defence industry workers, including university graduates and skilled trade workers. It will guide the state government’s work with the Commonwealth government, industry, and education and training sectors to further strengthen the state’s defence industry skills and capabilities to:
- Give WA a competitive advantage;
- Grow its ‘smart’ industry 4.0 skill capabilities;
- Engage with individuals, veterans, businesses, and the wider public to improve access to information, defence industry careers, and job opportunities; and
- Provide the skills needed for the current and future defence industry workforce.
The strategic initiatives in the plan will be delivered to meet the needs of key WA defence industry stakeholders while supporting national defence interests. The government has already invested $35 million to directly support the development of a strong and sustainable sovereign defence industry workforce.
This includes $11 million in the 2022-23 State Budget to further build the WA defence industry’s professional and para-professional workforce by supporting internship and graduate scholarships, industry grants to upskill and reskill workers, and improved articulation of courses between WA universities and TAFE.
Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan said, “Western Australia’s world-leading defence industry increasingly has a vital role in the State’s economy and economic diversification. Through the Western Australian Defence Industry Workforce Development Plan 2022−27, my Government is taking its already significant work to support and grow our defence industry workforce to the next level. WA’s united team approach of government, industry, and tertiary sectors working together will ensure our State continues to be a strong contender for defence projects as we continue to build the skilled and diverse workforce needed to deliver them.”
Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said, “Attracting future defence work requires a workforce recognised as one of the most highly educated, qualified, and skilled of its type in the world. Western Australia’s education and training system is ready to meet this challenge as evidenced by the valuable contribution of the WA universities and TAFE to the development and implementation of this plan. Thanks to the commitment and shared vision of this plan’s co-signatories, we have a solid roadmap for collaboration, and to drive our investment in the skilled defence industry workforce further.”
Defence Industry Minister Paul Papalia said, “The McGowan government is committed to growing WA’s defence industry and ensuring the State harnesses its competitive advantages. As the competition for skills is increasing across the nation, this plan outlines strategies to address forecast demand in the key defence industry occupations for WA over the coming decade. Our growing defence industry workforce is bringing a whole range of diverse, rewarding, and long-term career opportunities, including in skilled professional and para-professional roles. This plan will help WA prepare for its pivotal role as the future home of our nation’s nuclear submarines, and the sustainment hub for our AUKUS allies. We are creating the skills and capabilities of the future, today.”