TAFE Queensland skilling Queenslanders to support growing defence industry

TAFE Queensland, along with the Queensland Government and Weld Australia are revolutionising welder training in Queensland by offering a new ISO 9606 Course in Fusion Welding that uses state-of-the-art Augmented Reality (AR) technology.

The ISO 9606 qualification is the required international standard for welding of materials undertaken in industries across defence and maritime.

In 2017 Weld Australia and TAFE Queensland identified a national shortage among welders qualified to the ISO 9606 international standard with only 17 people in Australia holding the registered qualification.

To address the national shortage and to give Queensland businesses the opportunity to support defence and maritime prime industries, TAFE Queensland has begun offering the ‘Course in Fusion Welding to ISO 9606 for Experienced Welders ’ to train Queensland welders to an international standard.

The program, which is a Queensland first, was developed in response to the Federal Government’s commitment to spend $200 billion in defence services over the next two decades, which will see opportunities opening up for Queensland businesses to support industries such as defence, advanced manufacturing, engineering and maritime.

An $800,000 investment from the Queensland Government enabled TAFE Queensland to purchase 15 new 3D AR welding simulators for training in the specialised program. The funding also coincides with the $5 billion Land 400 phase two defence deal which will see Queenslanders play an integral role in manufacturing a new generation of combat reconnaissance vehicles for the Australian Defence Force.

Technical Manager from Brisbane-based manufacturing company Minecorp Brad Geraghty was one of three employees to complete the pilot program at the TAFE Queensland Acacia Ridge campus in March 2019 and said he hoped would open up defence new supply chain opportunities for Minecorp.

“Having qualified welders to an ISO standard allows us the ability to not only sell our capabilities to the defence sector, but also to the global markets,” Mr Geraghty said.

“It was incredibly valuable to upskill and gain knowledge about the codes of practise and the ISO standards we need to meet and then how we should apply them on real world welds,” he said.

The ISO 9606 program is fully-funded by the Queensland Government which means that there is no cost to eligible employers choosing to upskill workers.

TAFE Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mary Campbell said the course will provide an opportunity for local manufacturing and engineering businesses to upskill welders to an international standard, opening up opportunities for upcoming defence industry contracts.

“The growth in the defence industry and building sovereign defence capabilities provides enormous opportunities for Queensland manufacturing, maritime and engineering businesses, and the ISO 9606 program will support them in upskilling their workforce to capitalise on these opportunities,” Mrs Campbell said.

“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 upskilled to the ISO standard.

“The opportunities for Queensland to support the state’s manufacturing and defence industries during this growth period will equate to a stronger economy and more jobs for Queenslanders,” she said.