Australia has commenced its first digital shipbuilding diploma course as part of the government’s $90bn Naval Shipbuilding Plan.

The Diploma of Digital Technology will help connect workers and information systems to build the $35bn Hunter Class Frigate Programme.

Traditional shipbuilding in Australia will be modified by educating participants on digital technologies.

Following the conclusion of the Air Warfare Destroyer Programme, this pioneering course is expected to retain Australia’s shipbuilding capability.

The course is funded by the Commonwealth and South Australian Government.

The Diploma of Digital Technology is being conducted in partnership with the prime contractor for the Hunter Class Frigate Programme ASC Shipbuilding and Flinders University.

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Australia Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said: “This government’s $90bn Naval Shipbuilding Plan is creating thousands of jobs in South Australia, with the workforce expected to grow from 2,500 workers today to more than 6,300 by 2030.

“As we build the world’s most advanced digital shipyards in South Australia, the Morrison government is focused on fostering a world class Australian workforce that can leverage digital information and intelligence systems to facilitate greater innovation.”

The programme will also create opportunities for local workers who will benefit from the continuous naval shipbuilding.

Skills developed by participants during the course duration will support the shipbuilding process.

Due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, students have been permitted to complete the coursework online. Classes will be conducted at Flinders University at the Tonsley Innovation District once the situation is contained.

Australian Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said: “More than 60 shipbuilding workers from the Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyer Programme will take part in this programme, teaching workers the digital technology skills that are required to work on the Hunter Class Frigate Programme.”