Next generation future submarine apprentices commence

The first three submarine apprentices for the Future Submarine Program have commenced with Naval Group Australia, following a competitive recruitment process which saw over 400 candidates apply.

Over the coming days, the apprentices will meet the Naval Group Australia team, be briefed on the program and experience a virtual walk through of the future Submarine Construction Yard, which will commence construction this year on 40 hectares of land at Osbourne, South Australia. 

“I have always wanted to work in the Defence force but I have been limited due to a [sporting] knee injury, so I thought through doing something like this I could help our country in another way,” said 19 year old Renee McDonald.  “It will be challenging getting up to speed with it all, but I am sure this will lead to long-term employment and I’m really happy to be here.”

The apprentices will also visit several high schools in the Adelaide area and speak to year 10 to 12 students about why they should consider a within the Naval Shipbuilding industry and the steps they need to take to get there.

25 year old Dylan Raggat has always enjoyed working with his hands, so when his last career path as a personal trainer didn’t end up being what he wanted to do, he decided to try and next best thing. “I grew up in a town called Morgan in the Riverland, and I went to Waikerie High School where I enjoyed doing metal work,” he said. “I decided to pursue a career in the welding industry and ended up really enjoying this.”  

The apprentices will then transfer to ASC on Monday, 10 February to commence a four-year fabrication apprenticeship program working on the Collins Class submarine program at their submarine deep maintenance operation in Osborne, South Australia.

19 year old Luke Thompson undertook two weeks of work experience at ASC and really enjoyed it. “I always knew I wanted to do a trade rather than going to university,” he said. “When this opportunity came up I was very interested and I felt this would be a really positive experience with a lot of opportunities.”

The first three submarine apprentices: (L-R) Dylan Raggatt, Renee McDonald and Luke Thompson

The new apprentices will join 29 other ASC apprentices (across all trade disciplines) and will be trained to the highest level in submarine steel fabrication and welding. Their training will meet the stringent safety standards required by the Department of Defence for Australia’s current operational submarines, the Collins Class fleet.

Nick Dudley, Workforce Planning & Development Manager, ASC looks forward to welcoming a new generation of apprentices onboard. “Welding and fabricating submarine steel is highly challenging work that requires dedication, skill and attention to detail over an extended period,” he said. “Every weld is examined using a range of non-destructive techniques, to ensure the apprentice reach the required level before winning qualification.”

Upon completion of their apprenticeships towards the end of 2023, they will transfer back to Naval Group Australia and form part of the hull qualification section’s core team where they will be the first of our production workforce to learn the know-how and know-why of our future submarines specific to their trades.