Future submarines attracting best and brightest to SA

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By Lana Guineay

The Future Submarines Program is one of the biggest defence contracts in Australian history – set to deliver more than 2,800 jobs and ticketed at $50 billion.

The SA-based project is cementing the state’s defence industry as one of the biggest in the country, and providing an economic linchpin for the future by designing and constructing 12 state-of-the-art submarines at Adelaide’s Osborne shipyards.

It’s also attracting some of the best and brightest minds that the state, the country – and the world – has to offer.

Shane Bewry, General Manager Commercial and Contracts for Naval Group Australia, is one of them.

Re-locating to Adelaide from Melbourne to take up the position, the Deakin and Stanford alumnus brings more than 25 years’ experience in commercial management to the role, with extensive national and international experience with the likes of Transfield, AGL, Visy and Arrium.

He could live and work anywhere in the world, but Shane says the decision to re-locate to Adelaide was an easy one.

“The opportunity to join one of the largest defence procurement projects in Australia’s history was too good an opportunity to say no to.”

Shane Bewry, General Manager Commercial and Contracts for Naval Group Australia. Photo courtesy Naval Group

The Naval Group made headlines in 2016 when they were selected by the Australian Government to design and build Australia’s next fleet of submarines for the Royal Australian Navy.

The decades-long program will see the French-based company grow their Australian base to deliver the Future Submarines.

Less than 24 months after securing the contract, the Naval Group’s Adelaide headquarters in Keswick are buzzing.

A mixture of South Australians and French, 77 staff are currently at work on the program, across design, supplier engagements and infrastructure planning for the shipyard, with recruiting underway for a further 11 positions.

But that’s just the beginning, Shane says.

“The Program is expected to generate an annual average of around 2,800 Australian jobs,” he says. “1,100 direct and a further 1,700 in the supply chain.”

“By around 2028-29, we will be sitting at around 1,500 employees based in Adelaide.”

The impact will be long term, he says.

“The first submarine will commence service in the early 2030s, with the last to be constructed sometime in the 2050s. Sustainment will continue into the 2080s.”

Working in partnership with Lockheed Martin Australia and the Commonwealth of Australia, Naval Group are creating a range of opportunities.

“To build submarines we need hull framework and steel workers, ship and electrical technicians, hull and piping welders, health and safety officers, infrastructure and maintenance workers, quality and product controllers, metal workers and pipefitters, painters, boilermakers, mechanics and crane operators… to name but a few of the occupations involved.”

Photo courtesy Naval Group

Shane says that by creating a solid Australian supply chain, the Program is keeping the know-how in the state, and making sure that the submarines are operational for decades ahead.

To achieve that goal, attracting the brightest minds to Adelaide is key.

“We need to attract and retain the right people, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time,” he says.

“We will work closely with education facilities, TAFES, universities and the Australian Maritime Technical College, seeking the best people.”

Shane says the involvement of Australian industry in the Future Submarine Program is vital to the sustainment of the submarine fleet into the future, and that 628 companies have already registered their interest in working with Naval Group on the project.

For Shane, the move to Adelaide has been fulfilling in more ways than one.

“I chose to relocate to Adelaide for work, but also for the excellent family environment and the great quality of life the city offered me and my family.

“I was after a city smaller and less hectic than Melbourne, but one that still had festivals, concerts and things to keep me and my family entertained and engaged on the weekends.”

The final bonus? Our premium wines.

“I have a great interest in the growth and production of Australian wines, and South Australia is the premier state.”

Naval Group are currently looking for people to join the team and help make the Future Submarine Program a reality, find out more here.

I Choose SA for Shipbuilding and Defence Industries stories are made possible by City of Salisbury:

Visit the I Choose SA for Industry website to read more stories about key industry leaders, why they’ve chosen SA as a base and how the state is enabling them to succeed.

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