TAFE gets four new high-tech CNC machines

The WA State Government is successfully progressing its strategy to build a strong defence industry workforce and support the sector’s role in economic diversification and job creation in Western Australia. As part of its $18 million package to build WA’s defence workforce capabilities, students at South Metropolitan TAFE (SM TAFE) will now be training on the latest equipment used by industry to manufacture components that support a range of industries — including defence —with exceptional precision and efficiency.

The four newly installed computer numerical control (CNC) machines at SM TAFE's Rockingham campus are being used to train apprentices in the use of programming, setting and operation of the latest CNC equipment with multi-axis and using a range of ferrous and non-ferrous materials. As well as learning manual techniques, students are able to gain hands on experience using the machines to manufacture components for key defence maritime trades. The many benefits of this game changing technology for industry include its potential to produce bigger quantities of parts with less manual labour and the reduced likelihood of human error or injury. The technology can reduce the time by up to 50 per cent to machine important parts, such as a pump shaft, for vessels of any size or shape. The machines are programmed with Mastercam software to help address demand for CNC programmers and machine operators in the industry. The State Government’s investment also includes 16 new welding simulators at SM TAFE’s Naval Base campus, to equip the future welding workforce for the rapid scale-up of defence and shipbuilding projects in WA.

Minister Ellery in a technical workshop with a TAFE lecturer using electronic machinery

SM TAFE has been producing job ready workers for the defence shipbuilding and sustainment industry for more than two decades, and this investment will enable the delivery of post-trade training with advanced CNC operations and programming above Certificate III level. It also allows for the delivery of two of seven new low-fee defence ready skill sets available to help get existing workers defence-ready.

To further boost WA’s defence industry workforce capability, the State Government recently announced funding of $11 million for a range of initiatives to support the industry’s professional and paraprofessional workforce, including through internship and graduate scholarships, and industry grants to upskill and reskill workers.

Information on defence industry training — including qualifications under the  Lower fees, local skills initiative with course fees reduced by up to 72 per cent for a range of defence related qualifications. Visit jobsandskills.wa.gov.au/defence to find out more.

You can also contact the dedicated defence industry team at the Rockingham Jobs and Skills Centre on 08 9559 8655, for free advice and information about training and careers in WA's defence industry.

Speaking at SM TAFE today, Premier Mark McGowan said “The McGowan Government continues to invest in the skills needed for priority industries such as defence to provide jobs and economic prosperity for Western Australians. The new CNC machines support training in blue collar trades needed for the maritime defence industry. Providing modern equipment to support the reskilling and upskilling of existing defence workers, veterans and new entrants to the industry is crucial for getting Western Australia ready for a rapid scale-up of defence and shipbuilding projects.”

“South Metropolitan TAFE’s specialist training and facilities and links with industries ensure Western Australians are trained to industry standard to take up defence job opportunities," said Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery. "Strong investment in defence industry workforce initiatives by our Government has generated more than 430 new apprentices in the sector in the past two years. South Metropolitan was awarded Academic Institution of the Year at the Australian Defence Industry Awards last month, and is a shining example of our State’s defence industry training capabilities and contribution to the nation’s defence industry.”

Defence Industry Minister Paul Papalia added that “Western Australia is Australia’s frontline for defence in the Indo-Pacific region, and a key contributor to defence requirements nationally. Our defence industry is competitive, flexible and resilient and contributing to its strength are our advanced manufacturing capabilities supported by world class tertiary institutions. Key areas of focus for this Government are future proofing the State’s sovereign workforce and creating opportunities for veterans to transition into defence industry jobs with wraparound support and guidance.”

Read the full media statement here