TAFE course to establish Coast as defence manufacturing hub
LOCAL workers have a new pathway to find jobs at Maryborough's $60 million munitions factory with courses in advanced welding now being offered at the Fraser Coast's Tafe campuses.
Both Hervey Bay and Maryborough were chosen as sites for Tafe Queensland's new ISO 9606 course in fusion welding following a successful pilot program in Brisbane.
The program was developed in response to the Federal Government's commitment to spend $200 billion in defence services over the next decade.
It follows Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions seeking expressions of interest in the factory's development and revealing a timeline for jobs at the site.
With hundreds of local businesses eyeing potential jobs at the site, the new welding course will provide an opportunity for businesses and professionals to up-skill their workforce and provide a direct skill path in preparation for the factory's development.
Tafe Queensland's East Coast general manager Ana Rodger said the course was an opportunity for local manufacturing and engineering businesses to train welders to an international standard.
"We predict that there will be a growing need for qualified welders as well as those trained to an international standard and we want to make sure that the Queensland supply chains that will be utilised in this growth area are up-skilled to the ISO standard,” Ms Rodger said.
"This will come at no cost to the employer; the only cost will be the time it takes for employees to be trained.”
Maryborough Chamber of Commerce president Richard Kingston said the new Tafe courses were proof of the "ripple effect” coming from the factory announcement.
When asked about the potential for the Heritage City to house a future defence hub, Mr Kingston said it was a "no-brainer”.
"I don't know why those ones are being built down near Ipswich when we have a Wide Bay training area down the road,” Mr Kingston said.
"Maryborough is the future of military manufacturing, they should be looking to us.”
The highly-anticipated munitions factory is tipped to bring 100 new jobs during construction.
An RNM spokesman said the initiative from Tafe would help strengthen Maryborough's "inherent industrial base”.
"It provides an opportunity for local businesses to work with RNM on this project as well as potential global supply chain opportunities (and) a solid platform for other like-minded defence-focused businesses to establish themselves in the region and leverage off the work that RNM is already doing,” the spokesman said.