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A Decade of Australian Shipbuilding & Integration

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Over the past decade, more than 5,000 people have dedicated millions of hours of effort to the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) program. As the most complex defence program ever undertaken in Australia, this program has developed the specialist shipbuilding and complex systems integration skills that will form the foundation for Australia’s future shipbuilding projects for decades to come. 

With an Adelaide workforce of 1,700, the highly skilled men and women working at the Osborne Naval Shipyard are the backbone of Australia’s shipbuilding industry. The breadth of the industry spans across hundreds of skill sets – from project managers to systems engineers to welders and administrators – these are the faces of the workforce behind the Defence Force.

Over the coming months, people across every aspect of the AWD program will be featured in a series of profiles and videos to celebrate a decade of Australian shipbuilding and integration, continuing this week with Nick Woods, AWD Sea Trials Ships Master for the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance.

 

 “I don’t think you can be a part of Defence and Defence industry without developing a strong sense of pride in what you do and how, together, we all represent Australia. The ability to showcase what we’ve developed at the AWD Alliance, what we’ve built and then put into service, is a very unique opportunity,”

Commander Josh Wilson
Commanding Officer, NUSHIP Brisbane
Royal Australian Navy

Josh Wilson

Growing up in country Victoria as a Navy Cadet, Commander Josh Wilson has always had a strong interest in the military, ships and the sea. This combination of interests led Josh to commence a career in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), which has spanned over 21 years. 

After graduating from La Trobe University with a Bachelor of Business majoring in Economics, Josh worked for the Victorian Government as an Economist before joining the RAN in 1997 and has held numerous positions with the Navy, and has deployed to the Middle East on three separate occasions. 

“I’ve had the privilege of being involved with AWDs since 2013. I can still remember looking at the ships being built in Osborne, and then casting my mind forward to how they would look at sea and what we’d be able to do with them,” Josh said. 

“At the time though, I never dreamt that I would end up being the Commissioning Captain of one of these ships.”
As NUSHIP Brisbane’s Commanding Officer, Josh is the officer in command of the ship. He is responsible for the platform in its material state, as well as every sailor and officer onboard. 

“The RAN provides sailors to execute specific roles within the AWD Alliance. So, if there’s a particular maintenance activity or activation on one of the ships, we bring in our sailors so they can build relationships and get exposure to the equipment. And the knowledge that these sailors have built up while working with the AWD Alliance will pay dividends into the future when we take the ship out to sea.” 

Through his involvement with the AWD Alliance, Josh has gained insights into the relationship between Defence and Industry. 

“Working in this environment allows you a greater understanding of the interaction between Industry and Defence, and the need for both to be in sync as we build these ships. It’s important to remember how complex and challenging it is to take a concept from a piece of paper and turn it into a commissioned naval ship at sea.” 

Josh is very proud of his role within the RAN and believes that while some days can be challenging, successfully building and running a navy vessel comes down to pride in what you do and working together as a team.  

“One of the best parts of my role is the wide range of people I work with on a daily basis. Each team member has their part of play, whether they are building the ships, trialling them, or the ones who may one day take them into harm’s way – there is a connection between each person and being involved in this process is what makes my job great. 

“When you’re in the Navy, you are a part of something that is bigger than yourself. A ship is a real embodiment of what you represent and you are committed to your ship and its history. I believe very strongly in that. And the success of what we do in the AWD Alliance is completely down to working well as a team – and it’s that team effort that allows these fine warships to be built. A ship does not work based on any one individual, every single person contributes.”  

 

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“I feel very privileged to work in the Australian shipbuilding industry, especially now, at a time where the country is on the cusp of entering multiple decades of continuous shipbuilding.”

Jason Loveday
Ship 03 Manager
Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance

 

Jason Loveday

 

Growing up in South Australia, Jason Loveday was always interested in repairing and maintaining all things mechanical. He started go-kart racing at the age of eight, which led on to 20 years of speedway racing, so he knew that from a young age he was destined for a career in mechanics and construction.

 
Jason began his career in the defence industry with Tenix as part of their M113 Armoured Personnel Upgrade Program as a CAD Designer, then a Mechanical Engineer. Following this, Jason spent three years as consultant mechanical engineer, before joining ASC on the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Program where he worked in the Planning team for two years, before becoming the Ship 01 Machinery Area Manager for three years.
 
After three years as an Area Manager, Jason was then promoted to Ship 03 Manager and has held this position ever since.
 
“Many engineers go straight from high school into university, but I’ve always been more hands-on so I did an Advanced Diploma in Engineering at TAFE SA. It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s and working full time that I went back to university to complete a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering with First Class Honours at the University of South Australia.”
 
In his role as the Ship 03 Manager, Jason is responsible for everything happening and everyone working onboard the third future destroyer. With over 400 people currently working onboard the future Sydney, it is a role that keeps him busy.
 
“My role is to ensure the team are safe and productive each and every day. From the early morning daily meetings, through to the end of the day, I try to spend most of my time onboard the ship, ensuring that I am present for my team and that together we can work towards our goal of delivering a safe and high quality product to the customer.” 
 
While Jason already holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, he is always looking to learn more and improve himself as both an employee and a manager. 
 
“I am currently studying a Masters in Business Administration. Through continuing to study, I am able to learn new skills that help me develop as a manager. I hope that I can then share my knowledge with my colleagues. I believe learning in the workplace is very powerful and that it’s important to be able to apply what you have learned.”
 
Having worked on the AWD Program for over eight years, Jason has been a part of many successful milestones and had numerous program highlights. One of these highlights is seeing the Alliance team become a family.
 
“What I’ve seen over the past eight years, since we started cutting steel, is that different teams have come together to become a shipbuilding family. Many of us have worked in multiple areas of the business, and I think that’s very important in a complex organisation like the AWD Alliance. When people have knowledge of the different areas it helps the shipbuilding process, and gives our people an understanding of how everything interrelates.”
 
 “It is humbling to know that I, my team and my fellow colleagues have developed unique skills working in this industry. We have developed such a strong shipbuilding and integration capability through the AWD program and sometimes it takes a large milestone such as Brisbane sea trials, or the recent Sydney Launch to take a breath, and appreciate what we have achieved together.”
 
“It is a privilege to be a part of the industry that is producing high quality products for the Royal Australian Navy, which in turn, skilled sailors will utilise to protect our national and international interests.”
 

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“The defence ship building industry in Australia is so unique and the people involved are so talented, passionate and committed. This is an industry that brings together the most highly skilled people to work on the most exciting and innovative maritime acquisition projects.”

Nick Woods
AWD Sea Trials Ships Master, Teekay Shipbuilding Australia
Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance

 

Nick Woods

 

Growing up in Brisbane, Nick Woods always knew that he wanted to pursue a career in the Merchant Marine. Throughout high school, Nick worked as an apprentice to a boat builder and a deckhand on a local ferry, spending every spare moment on Moreton Bay, either working on or driving boats of all shapes and sizes.
 
“My step father was a Leading Seaman in the Royal Australian Navy in the 1970’s and served on our last carrier, HMAS Melbourne. He always hoped I would join the navy, but I decided that I was going to follow my own path and pursued my own maritime goals from a young age. This career path was also driven by my passion for war time history in particular the role of the Merchant Navy and the Atlantic convoys during the Second World War. I remember my grandfather had bookshelves filled with stories of ships, boats and the sea. Reading these stories, coupled with romantic visions of seafaring throughout the ages and the responsibility of command led me to want to be a Ships Master,” Nick said.
 
Following high school, Nick was successful in obtaining a cadetship as a Deck Officer with Teekay Shipping Australia and joined his first ship, the M.V Broadwater in Botany Bay in 2002. Over the next decade Nick worked his way through the ranks of Teekay and at the age of 28 was promoted to Ships Master and took command his first vessel, Ocean Shield, an Australian Defence Vessel operated on the behalf of the Royal Australian Navy in 2012.
 
Nick has been working in the sea trials space since 2013, having had command of both HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide during their trials phases. This has led to working with the AWD Alliance where Nick has taken command of the air warfare destroyers during their sea trials period. 
 
After undertaking sea trials for HMAS Hobart in 2016-2017, Nick has been in command of the second destroyer Brisbane for Builder’s Sea Trials in November 2017 and Sea Acceptance Trials which are currently occurring off the coast of South Australia.
 
“Brisbane will be the forth future naval vessel that I have taken on sea trials as a civilian Ships Master. I am able to bring a level of experience and a set of skills that allow me to not only operate the ship but also lead and command the team during trials.”
 
“With me, I bring 16 qualified marine crew from Teekay Shipping Australia, but the destroyers need approximately 200 people to run and successfully execute trials. These 200 additional trials crew from the AWD Alliance are made up of all walks of life and levels of experience. While a large number are South Australians, many have come from around Australia, and the world. Taking a ship to sea, crewed by those who built her is a true honor.”
 
In his role, Nick says that one of the most rewarding, but also challenging aspects can be leading and managing a large team in a sometimes hazardous and very demanding environment.
 
“I have always had a thirst for leadership and responsibility; I am unwavering in ensuring the success of a team in proving what they can achieve.”
 
“As a Ships Master, physically driving the ship is the easiest part. The most challenging part of my role is managing risk and expectations amongst all stakeholders, and taking final responsibility for ensuring the ship and the entire sea trials team is safe in all respects to proceed to sea.”
 
“Whilst there are many of my colleagues with Ships Masters qualifications within the civilian sector, it is my unique experience in sea trials for the defence industry that sets me apart. It is this industry that also motivates my work. The defence industry is so unique and the people involved are so talented, passionate and committed, I am inspired by them every day.” 
 
His own commitment and passion for the maritime industry has now provided Nick the opportunity to start his own business, Endurance Maritime. 
 
“Endurance Maritime will focus on the operational side of supporting maritime acquisition and sustainment, particularly execution of sea trials, and civilian compliance in support of military and paramilitary vessels as well as providing expertise in terms of risk management. Starting Endurance Maritime to me, was about bringing together like-minded individuals that have specific skillsets in this industry. I still have a very close partnership with Teekay Shipping Australia and represent them here with the AWD program. Teekay is an organisation that equally shares my passion and drive to effectively support our maritime defence capability for future decades.”

 

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“The focus for us is to find and develop the people who are going to be our future leaders in the Australian Shipbuilding Industry. It's necessary to find people who show great leadership qualities and have the skills to lead very complex programs in the future – and we have a very strong core set of skills available.”

Meaghan Matthews
Human Resources Manager, ASC Shipbuilding
Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance

 
Meaghan Matthews
 
Meaghan Matthews joined the AWD Alliance in 2008 when she was hired by ASC Shipbuilding to assist the recruitment team on the ramp-up of skills for the AWD program.
 
Initially employed for a short-term contract role, it wasn’t long before Meaghan’s expertise and dedication was recognised and she was offered the opportunity to join the Alliance in a full time capacity.
 
Over the next few years, Meaghan worked in a Human Resources (HR) Advisor role, where she worked closely with the Production and Engineering teams on day-to-day HR activities, before being promoted to the role of ASC Shipbuilding HR Manager for the AWD program.
 
Meaghan now manages a team of nine who assist in delivering HR training and employee relations services. Meaghan speaks of her team’s core focus, which is ensuring the experience the workforce has on this program makes them feel positively about working in shipbuilding in the future.
 
“I didn’t initially begin a career in HR on purpose. I have an affinity and a genuine regard for people, and an understanding of how important people are to an organisation achieving its goals, whether it's shipbuilding or accounting. You can't deliver the work that you need to deliver without a good set of people doing that work,” Meaghan said.
 
“Our HR team works hard to foster talent management and identify people in the business who are making a positive and strong contribution. We look at how to further develop those people so they can contribute to the industry now and in the future.”
 
Throughout her time with the Alliance, Meaghan has faced varying challenges in her role. Her first challenge when joining the Alliance was during the recruitment process as the skills required for the delivery of the program simply didn’t exist yet. 
 
Meaghan explained that with the challenges she’s also enjoyed some real highlights, witnessing first-hand some great success stories in this industry.
 
“Over the past ten years, I've watched people who have been my peers grow and develop into leaders, and the Alliance has been really supportive of those people stepping up and taking those opportunities, and developing themselves and taking their places as future leaders. It's really inspiring to watch people who I know will succeed in their careers, and people who have been friends for a long time achieve their goals in their careers, and succeed, and go on to lead others to success."
 
Meaghan said the current focus for her HR team is to find and develop the people who are going to be future leaders in the industry. 
 
“It's necessary to find people who show great leadership qualities and have the skills to lead very complex programs in the future. The AWD Alliance has developed a workforce with a particular and unique skill set, and we are taking this opportunity to develop our people so they ready to be exceptional leaders on future programs.”
 
More recently, Meaghan and her team have been working on capability retention and workforce planning, to ensure that skills are retained in this industry.
 
“We partner with high schools, TAFEs and universities, to find students in the later years of their education who are interested in STEM subjects,” Meaghan said.
 
“Our focus is to encourage as many young Australians to join the shipbuilding and integration industry.”
 
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“Seeing these ships come alive from a piece of paper is something that makes me very proud. Being a part of the team that allows this to occur is inspiring..”

Commander Les Crawford
Combat Systems Engineering Manager, Test & Evaluation
Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance

 
Les Crawford

 

After previously spending 28 years in the British Royal Navy, Commander Les Crawford joined the Royal Australian Navy over a decade ago, where he has served in many roles across Waterfront, Sustainment and Support areas. Over a year ago, Les took on a new role within the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Alliance as the Combat Systems Engineering Manager with the Test & Evaluation team. 
 
Speaking about how he decided on his career, Les said he chose the navy for the opportunity of top-of-class training, travel and a wide variety of in-service employment options.
 
“Choosing the navy for a variety of in-service employment opportunities has rung true for me, as I have received a new posting almost every two years. The practical and management skills I have learned through these changing roles have enabled me to be in a good position throughout my naval career to date.”
 
Les’ team of eight, which is made up of uniformed and civilian team members, is responsible to the Director, Engineering Test & Acceptance. 
 
“We provide our director with assurance from a Department of Defence perspective that the AWD is ready for provisional acceptance. We do this in a number of ways; witnessing Alliance testing, approving test procedures and accepting test reports. Each of these activities requires an individual to have a degree of subject matter expertise.”
 
“Teamwork is especially important to what we do here in the Alliance. I recognise that we are all individuals and we all make individual contributions, but to put a warship to sea requires teamwork. If you don’t pull together, you won’t succeed. That’s the environment we’re working in – the shipbuilding and combat system integration environment.”
 
Over the next few months, Les’ team will be exceptionally busy with the upcoming Category (CAT) 5 Sea Trials for the second destroyer, Brisbane.
 
“During CAT 5 Sea Trials for Brisbane our team will witness the test activities that are being conducted by the Alliance Test & Activation (T&A) team. We will monitor how the tests are conducted and their results, and will work very closely with the T&A team to ensure the testing is appropriate, completed successfully, and that the results are to the satisfaction of the Department of Defence.”  
 
Les’ motivations to be a part of the maritime industry is seeing a concept, such as a drawing of a warship, become a reality. 
 
“Being able to see these ships come alive from a piece of paper, to then be on-board as the ship goes out to sea for trials is something that makes me very proud. Being a part of the team that allows this to occur is inspiring when one considers the breadth and depth of the skills and experience that exists within this team.”
 
As well as his role in the Alliance, Les is also the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group’s (CASG) lead for AWD US Combat System Sea Qualification Trials (CSSQTs). 
 
“The first destroyer, HMAS Hobart will undertake CSSQTs later this year and will aim to demonstrate the full capability of the combat system of the ship in near realistic combat scenarios. Planning and coordinating this significant event is perhaps the most challenging, yet exciting role I have had to date.”
 
“I have come to realise that in a small way my contribution will eventually have some bearing on the quality and functionality of the combat systems and ships that we will deliver to the Australian Navy.”
 

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“This team is proving that they are able to deliver some of the best ships in the world and are guaranteeing the future of the Australian shipbuilding industry.”

Jose Lopez
HVAC, Accommodation and Outfitting Senior Production Manager
Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance

 

Jose Lopez

 
Growing up in Ferrol, Spain, Jose Lopez always loved everything related to the sea and shipbuilding. He remembers hearing stories when his father would come home from working at Spanish shipbuilding company, Navantia. It was these stories that fascinated Jose, and motivated him to study at a Naval Technical University. Whilst at university, Jose applied through an open government selection to join Navantia. His exam scores placed him in the top 25 of 2500 applicants, allowing him to gain a position with the shipbuilding company in 1999.
 
Jose joined Navantia as part of the HVAC, Accommodation and Outfitting team, where he worked on projects including the Spanish F-100 Frigates, Norwegian Frigates and the Canberra-class LHDs. After more than a decade working for Navantia in Spain, and a six month stint in Australia providing technical assistance in Newcastle, Jose, along with his family, made the move to Australia in 2014 to join the  AWD Alliance where he is now the HVAC, Accommodation and Outfitting Senior Production Manager. 
 
“I started with Navantia in Spain as an apprentice almost two decades ago, and now I am here. My role in the HVAC, Accommodation and Outfitting team is to implement process and the sequence of installation to ensure the ship’s compartments are built according to schedule.”
 
“I remember when I was offered the opportunity to go to Australia with Navantia. It was the chance to work on a different project, with different people as part of a different culture. It was an experience that I couldn’t turn down, and it turned out to be the best decision for myself and my family.”
 
When asked about his time working in an Australian shipyard, Jose said that he is overly impressed by the people here and the products they are creating.
 
“The effort that the people here put into building ships is unbelievable. The AWD team should be very proud of what they have achieved on this project; they have developed their skills very fast and as the project continues, these skills are only growing stronger.”
 
“I have learned so much from the people here in Australia, both professionally and personally. I have many memorable experiences and have not only learned different work methods, but also how to be open-minded and to interact with a large team.”
 
Speaking of his most memorable moments with the AWD Alliance, Jose spoke of the feeling of achievement he got seeing the launch of the first destroyer, Hobart, as well as seeing the ship undertake its initial sea trials.
 
“Seeing the launch of a first-of-class ship is always a very exciting moment and seeing Hobart, and then Brisbane undertake sea trials for the first time makes you realise what a huge achievement the team has made. It makes you very proud to be a part of the shipbuilding industry in Australia.”
 
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“Over the last decade, thousands of skilled people have invested millions of hours in developing this very advanced capability. This dedication will result in a very capable platform for the Royal Australian Navy.”

Paul Evans
General Manager, Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance

 

Paul Evans

 

Paul Evans began his 35 year defence career in 1982 when he joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as an Electronic Engineering Officer. Growing up, he was always interested in both aircraft and military history, so joining the air force was a natural fit. Due to his military background, making the switch to the maritime industry was very easy.
 
“Growing up I was attracted to the technology and history of aircraft and aerospace. This led me to join the RAAF as an Electronic Engineering Officer, where I completed an Electronic Engineering degree at RMIT and a Masters of Aerospace Engineering at Loughborough University in the UK.”
 
“Although my background is aviation and aerospace, I have always found the maritime industry fascinating in comparison. Shipbuilding is such a large, complex environment where all sorts of trades, skills and people come together to produce a very complex platform with very complex systems.”
 
Joining the AWD Alliance in 2007, Paul was responsible for leading program management and business services, and in 2017, he became the Alliance General Manager. This role allows Paul to facilitate the smooth execution of the program. 
 
“I am responsible for bringing teams together to work as one Alliance, and to resolve any problems that arise. It is great to watch people, from different areas come together in the most complex defence program ever undertaken in Australia.”
 
“On any one day, I am working across all our teams, primarily with the leads of each area. My role is to ensure the Alliance delivers three ships to the Royal Australian Navy, maximising the quality and capability for the sailors and officers, but also ensuring we sustain this shipbuilding capability into the future.”
 
Having been a part of the AWD Alliance for over a decade, Paul has first-hand knowledge of the lessons learned within the project and how these can assist with continuous shipbuilding in Australia.
 
“The organisation is now much more mature than it was in 2007. I believe that as we continue, we will all be able to take our knowledge and experiences and carry these forward to assist to build the foundation for continuous shipbuilding.”
 
“Over the past 10 years on the AWD program, there have been millions of hours spent on design, management, procurement, and production. What we have demonstrated as we’ve moved through the recent Brisbane Sea Trials, is that significant improvements have been made since Hobart Sea Trials. I expect that as we embark on trials for our third destroyer that even further improvements will be made.”
 
Speaking of his most memorable moments working on the AWD program, Paul spoke of the positive feel on the program since Reform in 2015, seeing the hard work and dedication of each team and being able to reach project milestones as an Alliance.
 
“A major part of my role is to understand what is occurring across the program as a whole. I am very fortunate to get a view across the entire program, which enables me to bring the right people together at the right time. It’s important to facilitate the communication between teams so they can successfully do their job.”
 
A program highlight for Paul was the conclusion of sea trials for our first destroyer, Hobart.
 
“I remember returning from the final phase of Hobart Sea Trials, and there was a huge energy on the ship. Everyone knew the trials had been successful and that it was due to their hard work and dedication. They had all been a part of that success and it formed a great atmosphere as the ship returned to the wharf. It was fantastic.”
 
“What the workforce of the AWD Alliance has learned over the past decade will form the foundation for a continuous shipbuilding program in Australia. We’ve learned about the systems, techniques, planning, reporting, management, and most importantly our customer’s needs, and this knowledge will form the basis of what is required for future maritime programs in Australia.”
 
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“Shipbuilding in Australia is a great opportunity for young people, and is able to offer long-term technical careers. It’s never the same.. Always changing and improving, it’s amazing.”

Javier Porto
Delivery & Acceptance Manager, Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance

 

Javier Porto-02

 

Javier Porto joined Spanish shipbuilding company Navantia when he was just 19 years old, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, father and brother who were all shipbuilders. Growing up in Ferrol, Spain, renowned as a major shipbuilding hub, Javier knew being a part of the shipbuilding industry would allow him to, not only gain a technical career but also be a part of his family history.
 
After working for Navantia in Spain for well over a decade, Javier moved to Australia to work on the Canberra-class LHD project, before joining the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance in 2013 to begin working on the Hobart-class destroyers.
 
“It’s exciting to be a part of shipbuilding in Australia. The Hobart-class destroyers are, without a doubt, the most advanced ships ever built in this country. The expectations that the Australian Navy has of these ships is very high, and we are confident the destroyers will meet these expectations.”
 
Javier believes that he has been able to bring both skills and experience to his role within the Alliance, but more-so that working in the Australian shipbuilding industry has enabled him to gain much more knowledge.
 
“My team is made up of people of all different areas; structural, electrical, piping and engineering. It’s amazing how we can all come together from different areas and all teach each other so much. I consider myself to part of a really great, well-functioning team.”
 
Being a part of the Australian shipbuilding industry has provided Javier with a different outlook on how the same industry can be very different on opposite sides of the world.
 
“Working in the shipbuilding industry in Australia has opened my mind to not only different procedures, but also different facilities and management styles. Experiencing something you are not accustomed to makes you a better worker, and increases your capability to deal with new challenges in the future.”
 
“When the Alliance achieved the Compartment Completion Acceptance milestone, it was really important to me because this was the reason I was brought here from Spain, to help achieve this target. It makes you very proud to be a part of this team.”  
 
When asked what his motivation is to continue working in the shipbuilding industry Javier said being involved in building military vessels is always exciting and ever-changing.
 
“Shipbuilding, especially the building of military vessels, is never boring. The products are so complex and sometimes challenging, but when you are able to find a solution to a problem, it can be so rewarding.
 
“For young people who are interested in shipbuilding, whether it’s learning a trade or engineering, the current situation in Australia is ideal. The future for shipbuilding here is great and there are long-term opportunities for anyone that wants to become a part of this industry.”

 

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“Over the past ten years, the RAN has seen the importance of sailors in shipbuilding – and with their support of a Continuous Shipbuilding Program we will continue to see more sailors and officers in shipbuilding in the future.”

Warrant Officer Wayde Bilsborow
Warrant Officer Shipbuilding, Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance

 

Wayde Bilsborow-02

 

Warrant Officer Wayde Bilsborow joined the AWD Alliance in 2006, after already serving in the Royal Australian Navy for 11 years. Bringing a wealth of naval and maritime knowledge to his role has allowed him to be part of the project that is the beginning of a Continuous Shipbuilding Program.
 
Wayde Bilsborow joined the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) 22 years ago, following in the footsteps of both his grandfathers: one who served in the RAN and one in the British Royal Navy, and he recalls how both his grandfathers taught him how to tie knots, to sail and to shoot.
 
While still a serving member of the RAN, Wayde was recently promoted to the role of Naval Warrant Officer – Shipbuilding within the AWD Alliance’s Test & Evaluation team.
 
“I am the only Naval Warrant Officer of Shipbuilding in South Australia. My role revolves around the acceptance of the destroyers for the Commonwealth of Australia. I previously worked in Test & Activation (T&A) in the shipyard and now I am apart of Test & Evaluation – accepting the product that T&A has produced.”
 
Being with the Alliance has provided Wayde with a number of opportunities to increase his skills and knowledge of shipbuilding and the defence industry.
 
“When I first joined the Alliance, apart from a few officers, I was the first sailor here. Soon after joining the Alliance, I relocated to Ferrol in Spain for three years where I was a part of the Design team, working with both Navantia and the Spanish Armada,” said Wayde.
 
“Following my time in Spain, I returned to Australia and was able to put the knowledge I acquired, both in Spain and through my naval background, into a new role in Support.”
 
Returning to his role in T&A, Wayde was responsible for leading the integration of navy sailors were embedded in this team. 
 
“I’ve always been a big advocate for my sailors and I want to ensure that they are all trained and mentored, allowing them to become the quality sailors that they can be.”
 
“We currently have 20 naval apprentices in the Osborne shipyard, all of various skills sets; from welding fabricators to diesel fitters, refrigeration technicians and electricians. Having the naval apprentices here allows them to not only assist in the shipyard, but to develop their core skills, and their careers.”
 
When asked what motivates him to work in the shipbuilding industry, Wayde said, “Coming into the shipyard, we can bring the experience of being a mariner into the design and production processes of building these ships. We know how to operate the ships and we can lend our knowledge and experience. It’s motivating to know we can assist in making the destroyers the most capable warships Australia has ever had.”
 
“I’ve spent over half of my naval career working in the shipbuilding industry. Being a part of the selection team during the past 11 years,” Wayde said.
 
“From seeing the ship design on paper to delivering our first destroyer earlier this year – these moments have been some of the best experiences of my career with the Alliance and I am looking forward to the RAN’s support of a Continuous Shipbuilding Program and seeing more sailors and officers in future shipbuilding.”

 

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“When you’ve had the opportunity to see something being built from day one - starting as just sheets of steel and bits of pipe, right through to seeing it operate for the first time - that’s what this industry is all about.”

Bruce McIntee
Test & Activation Auxiliary Systems Manager, Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance

 

Bruce McIntee-02
 
As a member of the Defence industry for over 35 years, Bruce McIntee brings a wealth of knowledge to his role of Test & Activation Auxiliary Systems Manager as part of the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Alliance.
 
Growing up in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia, Bruce remembers his father building a yacht in their own front yard. Assisting his father with this project helped Bruce learn skills in areas such as carpentry and welding, and this motivated him to start an apprenticeship with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO). 
 
Bruce spent nine years with DSTO as a Fitter & Turner before accepting a role at the then Australian Submarine Corporation working on the Collins Class submarines. After 19 years working on submarines, Bruce moved to ASC Shipbuilding where he joined the Air Warfare Destroyer project.
 
“I was very lucky to be one of the first people to start work on the build of the Collins Class submarines and was there through the production, set-to-work and trials. I was then given the opportunity to be a part of the AWD project, where I’ve had further opportunities to increase my knowledge and acquire new skills.”
 
“Test & Activation is a great role because you get to see the product come alive. We take a system that is built, but lifeless, and we input the energy sources which brings it to life, able to continue to the next phase, which is to test the product alongside and at sea before handing it over to the navy.”
 
Through his role with the AWD Alliance, Bruce has gained a Masters Degree in Systems Support Engineering. “Since first starting with the Alliance I have moved up into other positions, and have been given the opportunity to undertaken University and other studies. This is something I wouldn’t have had the chance to do if I weren’t working in the Defence industry,” Bruce said.
 
When asked what motives him and why he enjoys working in shipbuilding, Bruce replied, “Every day brings new challenges, but also new opportunities. When the ship’s systems and equipment are tested for the first time and you are able to witness the ship successfully complete trials at sea; that’s the real reward.”
 
“Being a part of the team responsible for both our first destroyer Hobart, and most recently Brisbane, during the sea trials period is one of the most memorable moments of my time on the AWD project. These milestones are the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication of every person involved.”
 
“When you’ve had the opportunity to see something being built from day one, starting as just sheets of steel and bits of pipe, right through to seeing electrical power coming on for the first time, to then seeing it operate – turning motors, steering, propulsion – that’s what this industry is all about.” 
 
“For anyone who is considering joining the shipbuilding industry, but is unsure how their skill set would transfer over, just think of shipbuilding as a big assembly line,” Bruce explained.
 
“You’re on the conveyor and you’re slowly putting parts together and in the end you have a fully operational ship. Initially, the skill sets differ slightly but if someone is prepared to commit to self-education, and willing to put in the time, they’ll reap the rewards.”
 
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“We are not only building an industry, but we have built a capability in Australia that will be here for a very long time.”

Jim Hillock
Sea Trials Director, Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance

 

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Following on from the recent success of the first phase of sea trials for the second Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD), Brisbane, Jim Hillock has demonstrated the critical role he plays as part of the Australian shipbuilding and integration industry as the Sea Trials Director for the AWD program.
 
As one of the only people in Australia to direct the sea trials process for a ship the size, scale and capability of AWD, Jim’s experience working on more than seven different classes of ships has positioned him well to lead this role for the industry.
 
“From working on patrol boats to frigates and destroyers, my varied background in the naval environment has led me to this exciting role in a program of national importance – that is what motivates me to come to work every day,” said Jim. 
 
Having served in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) for more than two decades, Jim has always had an interest in being part of Australia’s naval sector. His time in the RAN saw him undertake 14 deployments across the world, eventually leading him to work on the AWD program as the Deputy Director of Capability Development. 
 
It was as a result of his time working on the AWD program that Jim transitioned from Navy to industry, taking on the role as Project Manager in the Combat System team for Raytheon Australia. “Transitioning from a Navy environment to the shipbuilding industry was an easy choice for me to make. It ticked all the boxes – I was still involved with the sea, and by working in the maritime industry I was able to continue doing something worthwhile for my country,” said Jim. 
 
After almost a decade working in combat systems for the AWD program, and a stint at Defence SA as the Director for Maritime, Jim returned to Raytheon Australia as the AWD Sea Trials Incident Manager in 2016, and was promoted as the Sea Trials Director this year.
 
“My core role as the Sea Trials Director is to coordinate all of the various teams working in the shipyard. A sea trials environment is very unique – you bring together a team of personnel from all aspects of a shipbuilding and integration project and get them to work together as one collective team.”
 
The sea trials process is the first time that a ship is taken to sea in order to perform testing on all the ship’s functions, and establish a fully operational condition before the ship is delivered to the RAN. The first phase of sea trials which Brisbane has recently completed focuses on the operation of the platform systems, followed by the second phase of trials, which allows for the testing of the ship’s combat system.
 
“As we progress towards the next phases of sea trials for Brisbane, we are implementing key learnings from Hobart’s sea trials process. When we took Hobart to sea trials last year, only 20 per cent of the team had been to sea before. Now with Brisbane, this team has the experience and skills to apply their knowledge learned from Hobart, and this will all benefit our third destroyer, Sydney.”
 
“As we mature these key skills as part of the AWD program, we have built not only an industry, but an Australian capability that will be here for a very long time. This capability reaches across the entire shipbuilding and integration industry – everyone here holds a unique skill, and those skills are being built upon every single day through the production and integration of our Air Warfare Destroyers,” said Jim.
 
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“There have been a huge number of people who have believed in what we can do…and that’s why we’re going to be building ships and submarines here for the next hundred years.”

Paul Bates
 General Manager, Operations, Australian Naval Infrastructure

 

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As one of only a handful of dockmasters in Australia qualified to launch a ship the size and scale of an Air Warfare Destroyer, Paul Bates has been an integral part of Australia’s shipbuilding industry for more than a decade. 

Growing up in a small Tasmanian town, Paul had an interest in the maritime industry from a young age, leading him to follow his father’s path to serve in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) for more than 15 years. During this time, Paul’s role predominately centred around warfare navigation, sparking his interest in the broader shipbuilding industry.

“I have developed a huge sense of pride in what this country can do and our maritime capability, and from early in my Navy career I formed the view that Australia should have an indigenous shipbuilding capability,” said Paul.

It has now been more than ten years since Paul made the leap from the Navy into the defence industry, first joining the Defence Maritime Services before taking on the role of Operations Manager with Defence SA in 2009. Through this role, Paul became the dockmaster for the Osborne Naval Shipyard, with responsibility for the Common User Facility.

“I remember when I started working at the Common User Facility – it was basically a lump of concrete. Nothing really worked at that point, but it was the people and their skills and teamwork that brought it all together.

“Now, due to the people responsible for the operation and maintaining of the infrastructure, plant and equipment, we are able to deliver services to the AWD program, directly supporting the delivery of our air warfare destroyers to the Navy.”

In his role as the dockmaster, Paul has now launched two air warfare destroyers, with the third to launch next year. “To stand there as the dockmaster, I get to witness the entire experience - from seeing the first blocks arrive on the dry berth, to seeing the completed ship float off for the first time – having all that behind you and being a part of it; you can’t beat that,” he said.

Earlier this year, Paul transitioned into a new role as the General Manager Operations at the recently formed Australian Naval Infrastructure (ANI). Paul said his passion for maritime is what motivates him to continue working in this industry.

“I enjoy being part of an industry that has a desire to make a difference, and I am confident that the existing Australian defence industry can deliver on the Government’s Naval Shipbuilding Plan,” said Paul. 

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