Universities, global defence players establish AUKUS Workforce Alliance

Image credit: HII

UNSW Sydney has collaborated with other universities and leading defence industry players to establish the AUKUS Workforce Alliance (AWA), a coalition dedicated to addressing critical AUKUS workforce and skilling opportunities. 

The group will work in a tri-lateral alliance, combining proven and trusted knowledge, skills, and unrivalled experience from across Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 

AWA members include the University of Adelaide, Curtin University, and defence companies Babcock Australasia and HII. Together, these entities aim to educate thousands of qualified Australian engineering, maritime, and nuclear trade and professional workers required to support the nation’s nuclear-powered submarine enterprise from infrastructure, sustainment, and supply chain through to disposal. 

The AUKUS Workforce Alliance will establish an internationally recognised platform for skill enhancement and leadership to support the development of a sovereign, nuclear-powered submarine workforce in Australia. 

It will also lead the development and launch of critical upskilling programs, focusing on harnessing the full potential of Australia’s industrial base. Lastly, it aims to bolster cutting-edge research and practical experience for the future workforce. 

Professor Peter Hoj, vice-chancellor and president of the University of Adelaide, said the alliance brings Australia one step closer to realising the goals of the AUKUS partnership. 

It will also strengthen the University of Adelaide’s collaboration with industry in developing the workforce for the nation’s naval shipbuilding enterprise, Hoj added. 

Professor Attila Brungs, vice-chancellor and president of UNSW, said the university looks forward to the Australian Submarine Agency’s “whole of nation” skilling objectives through collaboration with partner universities in Adelaide and Perth, as well as with two global defence industry leaders, Babcock and HII.  

“Our postgraduate and short courses across many faculties are geared to skill-building in advanced capabilities. Coupled with UNSW’s nation-leading Faculty of Engineering, the only nuclear engineering program in Australia with cutting-edge work on nuclear safety, UNSW is already pivoting towards generating the workforce needed across the entire nuclear ecosystem, from social licence to manufacturing facilities to regulatory authorities,” Brungs said.