Hundreds of scholarships are being offered to budding engineers and nuclear scientists to shore up Australia’s workforce to deliver its flagship AUKUS submarine program with the US and UK.
Adding to the existing National Naval Shipbuilding education pipeline, the 300 scholarships will be available during the next five years.
Defence minister Peter Dutton says the delivery of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines will result in thousands of jobs in Australia in coming decades.
“We must ensure our people have the right skills and qualifications to support and deliver this once-in-a-generation endeavour that will bolster our national security and defence,” Dutton said in a statement.
Once qualified, the workers will fill roles across Defence, nuclear stewardship and environment agencies, research and training, and the broader shipbuilding industry.
“These scholarships will provide Australians [with] the opportunity to develop essential skills and qualifications to work in the nuclear-powered submarine enterprise,” Dutton said.
The government is also working to increase Australians undertaking vocational education and training that lead to nuclear-related careers.
Australia, the UK and the US held meetings this month at the Pentagon in Washington DC to discuss Australia’s Nuclear-Powered Submarine Program.
“The meetings were productive and the participants outlined next steps to continue the positive trajectory in implementation,” a Whitehouse statement said.
“Participants committed to finalising a program of work in relation to advanced capabilities by early 2022.”